Category Archives: Cruise

The Life Extending Magic of Pura Vida in Costa Rica

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Pura Vida Costa Rica beach

Playa Samara, Costa Rica at sunset

If you have traveled to Costa Rica, you have heard the term “pura vida”. Literally translated, it means “pure life”, but most foreigners transform it into a chilled-out, surfer expression meaning, “life is good” or something to that effect. However, if you listen closely, you notice that Ticos (Costa Ricans) use it as a greeting, in gratitude, to explain how they are feeling or even to describe a person’s character. You begin to realize that “pura vida” has a more profound meaning than you thought.

Fresh fruit, Costa Rica

Fresh fruit after kayaking

Sitting on a beach in Nicoya, our local guide explains that we are currently in one of five ‘blue zones’ of the world. For those who don’t know (I didn’t), blue zones are longevity hotspots – Five precise points on the globe where people live the longest. Costa Rica already has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, but the Nicoya Peninsula goes beyond that, as one of these hotspots, with high statistics of people living up to 100 years old.

Costa Rica beach and palms

Costa Rica beach and palms

Subconsciously, I inhale deeply, as if the humid and salty sea air will infuse a little of this magic into my body. Perhaps the magic isn’t only in the clean air they breathe. Like the saying goes…there must be something in the water. In Nicoya, that something is calcium – lots of it. This helps fight heart disease and build stronger bones. Furthermore, all those volcanoes produce sulphur-rich, anti-bacterial mud, which does wonders for the skin. The humidity is good for the respiratory system and ample sun provides vitamin D. So, it is no surprise that this is a popular spot for wellness journeys, such as yoga retreats and spa vacations.

Volcanic mud baths in Nicoya, Costa Rica

Volcanic mud baths in Nicoya, Costa Rica

According to the blue zone study, there are many more factors, such as diet, activity level, ambition, socialization and much more, that make up this remarkable statistic. I am sure the pura vida philosophy has something to do with it too. No doubt, there is a life-loving state of mind in Costa Rica.

As we traveled through Nicoya for a few days, we sampled a bit of the blue zone lifestyle through the food we ate, the activities we enjoyed and the people we met. I am guessing that one visit to this bright and breezy country is probably not going to extend my life. However, I am quite certain that a little bit of magic penetrated into my sun-kissed shoulders or stowed away in my sand-filled suitcase, because I feel healthier and more relaxed upon my return. And if it wasn’t enough, I guess I’ll just have to go back for another dose.

To get your dose of pura vida, longevity magic, contact us.

 

Safari Spirit – On a Wildlife Cruise in Alaska

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By Shirley Linde, of  SmallShipCruises.com

It was not like traveling on a big cruise ship, but like cruising in your own private yacht. In fact, I hung out at the helm station most of the time we were underway, getting the captain’s eye of the voyage, following our course on the charts, and hearing stories of how whales migrate and the crews’ experiences swimming with whales on research voyages. On two afternoons I even got to take the wheel for an hour or so…

Read more about this Alaskan Safari Adventure.

Cruising the Amazon

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MV TucanoIt was a pitch black night as we sat there in our canoes in the inky dark river waters. The guides shined search lights onto the shoreline and the trees, and eyes reflected back at us from the darkness with a cayman cooling off in the water. Cayman are a crocodile-like creature that can grow to 18 ft. in length! As we sat silently in the canoes we could hear the sounds of the night forest — crickets, frogs croaking, birds calling.  As our eyes became accustomed to the night, we saw a few tree frogs and birds, and the area seemed bright in the light of the almost full moon. There were lightning flashes in the distance. Awesome.

CaimanWe were on a seven-day expedition trip in the Amazon with Amazon Nature Tours on the Motor Yacht Tucano. We were cruising the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon River. It is the second largest river in the world with the Amazon being the largest. The color of the water is that of strong tea, giving it its name Rio Negro or black river.  It is much more remote and pristine than the Amazon River. An added benefit — the chemistry of the waters is such that the Rio Negro has no mosquitoes. The entire river system is part of the Amazonas Region, the largest state in Brazil.

The Tucano is a classically constructed wooden river boat. It is 84 ft. long and has 3 decks. There are 9 cabins accommodating 18 passengers. The top deck includes a large shaded observation area. There is a crew of 8, including our 2 naturalist guides.

Follow this Amazon cruising adventure and see more photos on: Smallshipcruises.com

A Green Small Ship Cruise to Alaska

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Have you ever been on a SMALL cruise ship?

These boats are great because they use way less fuel and conserve overnight to reduce emissions in a big way. How do they do this? The Island Spirit shown here has large batteries – total battery weight is 7500 lbs. The batteries allow the vessel to shut off the generators at night, providing 10-12 hours of quiet and 0 emission bliss. Through the special 48 volt DC inverters, power is turned into normal electricity like home…Guests can run their heater fans, lights, razors, lounge tv, bar, etc. – even microwave popcorn for the evening movie.

In Small Ship Cruises’ SE Alaska itinerary the Island Spirit charges the large battery bank by day and uses those batteries at night to keep passengers warm. All ships engines and generators are turned off at 9 pm for quiet Alaskan evenings and you can listen to the sound of Alaska right outside your opening window.

The ship engines are low emissions and low smoke, making her one of the most environmentally friendly small vessels to cruise the region. Cruises, usually 9 days, feature small ports with a focus on wildlife, environment and local culture and include kayaking.

For more information on these Alaska Cruises visit:  www.smallshipcruises.com or www.smallalaskaship.com

Wildlife Cruising on the Amazon

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By Shirley Linde, SmallShipCruises.com

We were 16 days on the cruise and 10 of them were on jungle rivers or exploring wildlife in some way. The wake-up calls on exploration days sometimes came at 5:30 a.m., with passengers having a quick breakfast of fruit, melon and pastries, then boarding zodiacs and heading for the shores or tributaries of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers. Many days there were two scheduled zodiac trips, one in the morning and one in late afternoon, to check out wildlife or to visit local villages.

This is not a casino/cabaret/dancing-till-dawn kind of  cruise. It’s an ecotourism-style voyage on the Clipper Adventurer, the expedition ship of Clipper Cruise Line that was a former Russian research and passenger ship. Renovated and refurbished, carrying naturalists and culturists as guides and lecturers, the ship now takes 122 passengers (max) on adventure cruises into off-the-beaten-path places where big ships don’t go.  Read about the rest of the adventure here.

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