Tips from a Ziplining Newbie
- Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:15
- Mandy Haakenson
I’ve experienced my share of adventure – white water rafting, paragliding, canyoning, high-peak trekking, a bit of rock climbing. I had a feeling that ziplining through a rainforest canopy was in my future. It was certainly on my bucket list. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go ziplining in Costa Rica.
One of my travel companions had some ziplining experience. As we ate lunch together she said, “Oh, I don’t want to eat a big lunch before going ziplining.” “Why?” I asked. “It’s a bit scary and might make me queasy.” I sized her up as a person with a bit of a weak stomach and probably scared of heights. I’m not scared of heights.
Into a void of green – Costa Rica
We set off and our guide went over all the safety precautions and did a little demonstration. The first zip-line stretched high above a beautiful canyon of treetops and disappeared into a dense void of green. I watched the person before whizz along and when it was my turn, I was ready and couldn’t wait to soar over the trees. I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face.
However, something funny happened as the subsequent platforms became higher and higher. For me, flying high in the air was a piece of cake, but each time I was standing on a platform (albeit hooked onto a safety wire) I felt vulnerable and a little shaky. I hadn’t expected that platform-standing would provide an adrenaline rush.
This particular course also comprised of rappelling down the side of a rock cliff and climbing up the other side, which was a fun challenge. We also experienced a “Tarzan rope” that is used to swing from one high platform to another (additionally secured to a safety line, of course). I was first on the Tarzan rope. When I reached the other side, one of the guides thought it would be funny to throw me back over to the other side again. Turns out, it was quite funny, because everyone laughed at my stunned expression.
Here a few tips for the Ziplining Newbie:
- Keep an open mind. If you think you might be scared, consider a tandem zipline with a professional guide, like in the above photo. On the other hand, if you are a thrill-seeker and don’t think it will be thrilling enough…you might be surprised!
- It is fun for the whole family, although children should be over 5-years old. Many outfitters will accommodate disabled and elderly people as well.
- Wear well-fitted clothing and shoes (no flip-flops!)
- Book with an operator who has researched outfitters with the highest safety standards. (Like us!)
- Pay close attention to your guides while on the course.
- Have fun!
Sunset Saturdays (aka #SunsetSaturdays)
- Saturday, 14 March 2015 06:16
- Mandy Haakenson
Photo courtesy of GreenSpot traveler, Eric Asch
Palm trees: A sunset’s best friend
Every day, in every part of the world, the sun falls below the horizon. This happens rain or shine, in summer and through winter. We might be stating the obvious; however, the spectacle of a truly beautiful sunset is something that most of us do not take for granted. In fact, I wonder if you can remember some of the most striking sunsets you have seen in your lifetime. I bet you can. You might even be able to remember what you did that day or something that made that moment special. Maybe you have spent time chasing a sunset or put a lot of thought into the best place to see the sun go down. You might even have a picture of a sunset that capped off a special day.
The beauty often requires no filter and perhaps the most splendid can be seen amid stormy skies, when the colors can reflect upon the clouds. Yet, most people would agree that it is less about the photography and more about the moment. It is true that each sunset is unique in color and hue, yet they are also unique to each onlooker. We are most interested in what is happening on the other side of that vibrant glow…a couple holding hands; friends sharing cocktails; a family relishing a much needed break; the traveler reflecting on the adventures of the day…
Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
For example, the photograph to the left is a favorite of mine. Usually the one pressing the shutter, I am rarely the subject of a photograph, yet my husband snapped this picture of me (left), gazing at the sunset on the Thai island of Ko Pha Ngan. I remember, I was not only captivated by the beauty of the sky, but by the overwhelming gratitude I had for that moment. This photograph always reminds me of that feeling.
Costa Rica sunset
A sunset often generates a sense of tranquility that many of us wish we could capture more often. This is what Sunset Saturdays are all about. If you can’t be on the beach, with your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand, we hope to offer you the next best thing: A moment to daydream. You might be reminded of a beautiful sunset you have witnessed in the past (and we hope you might send it our way!) or you might be dreaming up your next adventure, to a place where sunsets blaze orange and red every night. For a moment, you can transport yourself there. Breathe and surrender to the daydream, conjuring up ways to make it a reality.
Let us help you get there! And when you do, please send us a photo! We hope that the next sunset photograph we receive is from your happiest of places.
Travel Tips to make the Most out of Your Trip
- Thursday, 28 August 2014 09:12
- Irene Edwards
You are perhaps thinking about visiting Costa Rica. Or maybe you’re headed to the country with the happiest people on earth soon! Your smile will fit right in.
While on your trip, your focus is on relaxing, having fun and soaking in your surroundings – a vacation. But we’ve found out that using some of our most important green travel practices below sets the stage for the kind of experience that changes you a little bit – the kind you remember and talk about for a long time afterward:
- Converse with the locals! Use HOLA, POR FAVOR and GRACIAS with at least one non English speaking Tico (Costa Rican).
- Capture the moment! Take a picture of your most adventurous moment in CR and consider sharing it with us (por favor??), so you can inspire other travelers!
- Sample the exotic! Try a cajeta, pejivaye, or – one of Irene’s favorite tropical fruits – mamones, especially if you have never had one before.
- Think green! Be ready to spread the word with family and friends about the “greenest” experience of your trip, and help to make the world a better place.
- Fill up! Don’t forget to take your GreenSpot water bottles with you so you can refill instead of landfill.
- Perhaps most important of all – Respect traditional culture. Everybody is working very hard to make your trip an unforgettable experience. You are in a different country with different priorities and ideas about values, time, and even daily life. So patience, an open mind and flexibility all let you learn something new about yourself and others.
High Season, Low Season and Whale Season in Costa Rica
- Thursday, 28 August 2014 09:04
- Irene Edwards
The dry Costa Rican “summer” is high season in Costa Rica for North Americans looking to escape a cold winter. Low season on the other hand, can be a great time to visit. During this time there is more rain, but the crowds are thinner and the forests lush. Whale season is a little different, and it takes place around the second week of September,
In the beach area of Punta Uvita, part of the Marino Ballena National Park on Costa Rica’s Southwest Pacific Coast, locals host a special celebration called the Whale Festival. The area around Punta Vita is a pristine wildlife refuge with gorgeous beaches, a distinct Costa Rican feel, and great tourism potential.
The Whale Festival is something like what many of us might call a local whale “country fair.” Ticos (Costa Ricans) from all over the country, and local vendors gather at this festival for a week-long celebration of local flavors, religious festivities, and most important of all – to witness the incredible Humpback whales as they migrate south with their babies!
Boat tours are available to witness this spectacular event, though tickets must be purchased in advance, as there is a limited amount of tickets available each day in order to avoid stressing the large mammals. Private boat tours can also be arranged in advance.
Don’t be afraid of the rain, contact us, pack your bags and witness an experience worth getting a little wet for!
Postcard from Costa Rica
- Monday, 04 August 2014 00:00
- Irene Edwards
We’re thrilled to be sharing another postcard from a trip we arranged for Zaria and her family to Costa Rica:
“Irene planned the PERFECT trip for my father and I! We had the perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation, jungle and beach. My family has traveled extensively all over the world, and our trip to Costa Rica was certainly one of the very best.
We stayed at Finca Rosa Blanca in their GORGEOUS master suite, overlooking their organic coffee plantation. We went to Arenal and stayed at Kioro Hotel, enjoyed their wonderful spa, hot springs, an insanely gorgeous and CLOSE view of the volcano, zip-lining, hanging bridges, and horseback riding to a beautiful waterfall. We had a wonderful, intelligent, sweet guide named Donald for our 3 days there.
We then drove down to Nosara and spent a week at the Harmony Hotel which I could not praise enough… Irene was spot-on with all locations and hotels.. and was extremely helpful in the planning process. Always efficient and attentive to emails, and always making herself available for questions/concerns. Thank you Irene!!!!”