Category Archives: wildlife

Pura Vida Luxury Wellness Retreat

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Costa Rica

Have you been longing to escape daily stress and treat yourself to a special trip that will enrich your mind, body, and soul? We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new wellness retreat program, designed with our partners at The Shorter Approach.

The inaugural retreat will take place in Costa Rica Oct 8-15, 2016 – a week-long adventure hosted by wellness expert Michele Shorter. Michele is a wellness advocate and has 18 years of experience training clients from all fitness levels and backgrounds.A brown throated three toed sloth spotted by Valerie on the _ManuelAntonio national park tour. _arenasdelma

We worked with Michele to craft a special itinerary focused on health and wellness, for men and women of all fitness levels. Throughout the retreat, you’ll have the chance to stay in two enchanting eco-lodges, eat local, healthy cuisine and participate in a fun, action-packed agenda that will help you get flexible, strong and energized.

And what better destination to host the retreat than Costa Rica? Renowned for being one of the world’s five Blue Zones, Costa Rica is not only a longevity hotspot because of the clean air and lush setting which encourages outdoor activity, but for the laid-back ‘pura vida’ lifestyle that rubs off on all who visit.

We invite you to have a look at the itinerary below and contact us if you are interested in signing up or have any questions. Pre and post-extensions are also available for those who would like to explore more of the country.

Day 1 – Arrival at Finca Rosa Blanca Resort

Arrive from home or from your pre-extension and transfer to Finca Rosa Blanca. This coffee farm plantation and luxurious inn lies in the central valley highlands of Costa Rica, a short distance from the San Jose International Airport.

We’ll kick off our wellness retreat with introductions and goal-setting conversation. Throughout the evening we’ll enjoy tapas and beverages and get to know each other and build a foundation of support for a rejuvenating week in gorgeous Costa Rica!

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Day 2 – Yoga, Fitness & Exploration

Wake up to a morning of yoga, as well as the opportunity to explore Finca Rosa Blanca’s beautiful grounds. We’ll also spend time thinking about the food and beverage that we nourish our bodies with. Today we’ll work up a sweat by exploring the beautiful resort and we’ll work on strength and spend time enjoying the amazing environment.

Wellness retreat Costa RicaWe’ll also dive into our fitness & wellness goal-setting session and take part in a coffee tasting tour at Finca Rosa Blanca. There will also be a cooking demo, where we’ll talk nutrition while harvesting fresh vegetables and herbs from the resort’s organic greenhouse. Prepare a fresh salad with the chef in a personalized cooking class. Plus, this evening’s dinner will feature an innovative coffee-themed experience, utilizing coffee from the hotel’s plantation in creative ways throughout each course, including wine pairings. Overnight at Finca Rosa Blanca [BLD]

Day 3 – Hiking, Salsa Dancing & Planning for Nourishment

Today we’ll focus on a various components of our holistic approach to wellness – staying active, nourishing ourselves with healthy food in our lives, while we enjoy nature. We’ll get our bodies moving with a hike to one of Costa Rica’s magnificent volcanoes where we’ll get a chance to observe some fantastic wildlife, including the red spider monkey and the Fabulous Quetzal. Later, we’ll take time to dive deeper into our goal-setting efforts and begin thinking about (and trying a few of) the activities that help us to maximize our best selves. In the evening we’ll continue moving with early evening salsa lessons. Overnight at Finca Rosa Blanca [BLD]

Day 4 – Bootcamp & Yoga at Manuel Antonio National Park

We’ll wake up this morning and say farewell to our hosts at Finca Rosa Blanca, before heading to Manuel Antonio National Park, with its expansive white sand beaches backed by evergreen forest. Here we’ll stay at the five-star luxury resort, Arenas del Mar, where we’ll workout in a picturesque setting and dig into creating your personalized wellness action plan. Enjoy a nourishing dinner and sunset yoga session. Overnight at Arenas del Mar Resort [BLD]

Arenas del Mar - Photo Cayuga Collection

Photo Cayuga Collection

Day 5 – Ocean Fun & Nutrition

It’s time to play at the ocean! You may choose a kayak tour through protected inland waterways, which allow you to combine adventure with education, as you learn about the Mangrove Forest and its inhabitants, including the white-face capuchin monkey and a vast array of birds. Alternatively, you might decide to try stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). There is free time to savor the beach or have an optional spa appointment to nourish your body. We’ll also continue our discussions around planning nourishment for wellness. Overnight at Arenas del Mar Resort [BLD]

Day 6 – Wellness Action Planning 

Today we’ll explore the national park with a morning hike on a coastal and tropical forest trail. You’ll solidify your action plan to guide you towards achieving your fitness and wellness goals once our Costa Rica retreat wraps up. We’ll take part in an informative “Easy Being Green” tour where we’ll learn about Costa Rica history, nature and sustainable practices. You will learn strategies for reducing waste, saving energy, and having a positive impact on the environment, which you can apply in your own home as a component of a healthy lifestyle. We will reserve some free time to spend at the beach or an optional spa treatment. Overnight at Arenas del Mar Resort [BLD]

Day 7 – Departure or Begin Post-extension

Today, return to San Jose on a local flight or continue your adventure in Costa Rica with a post-extension.  [B]IMG_0850

Details:

Price of the trip: $3,295 USD per person based on double occupancy, not including airfare. Package price will be higher for guests requesting a single room and slightly lower for groups of three sharing a room.

Pre and post extensions are available — please contact GreenSpot for help designing your perfect trip. Extension ideas include:

  • Silencio Lodge Cloud Forest
  • Copa de Arbol / Osa Peninsula
  • Harmony / Nosara area
  • Dominical area / Kura

Note: for guests traveling on pre or post extensions, transfers may require additional cost.

Contact us today to secure your space!

kayak costa Rica

10 Year Anniversary Photo Contest!

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We are very excited to announce, that in honor of GreenSpot’s 10th Anniversary, we’re running a photo contest! The winner will be rewarded with 500 Green Bucks, toward their next GreenSpot trip ($500 off). Choose from any one of our destinations! From the entries, we will also select a top 10 and feature them on our blog.

To enter, please send us your favorite travel photo that celebrates culture or nature, and be sure to tell us what the photo means to you. Post your photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @greenspottravel. Also use the hashtag #GreenSpotContest.

Don’t forget to share with friends! Submission deadline has been extended to: March 24th.

Please see our terms & conditions below:

1. The promoter is: GreenSpot Travel

2. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

3. Closing date for entry will be March 24th, 2016. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.

4. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

5. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: Top 10 photos to be used on our blog. One winner will receive $500 off their next GreenSpot trip to any one of our destinations chosen by the entrant.

6. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in any event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

7. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

8. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable and are subject to availability.

9. Winners will be chosen based on entry rules:

  • “A travel photo which celebrates culture or nature and gives a description of what it means to you”
  • The promoter will appoint an independent judge of photos submitted.
  • Photo must be an original – the entrant must own the rights to the image.

10. The winner will be notified by email and/or letter within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

11. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

12. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

13. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by United States law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts.

14. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material related to the competition (without payment) by GreenSpot Travel. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current U.S. data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

15. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to GreenSpot Travel and not to any other party.

 

 

GreenSpot.travel kicks off tenth anniversary celebration, welcoming new president and managing director

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Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

Press Release:

GreenSpot.travel, a leading experiential travel designer for custom eco-luxe vacations, has kicked off its tenth anniversary celebration with the announcement that the company has expanded its team, welcoming Jeremy Sampson and Selena Solis to senior leadership positions.

Other announcements for this year include the recent expansion of trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, the planned unveiling of a reimagined website featuring GreenSpot’s growing list of destinations, and a special-access custom anniversary trip to be announced in coming weeks.

Galapagos Islands travel

In his new role with GreenSpot, Sampson oversees operations, destination development, and implementation of the company’s marketing strategy. A travel industry veteran who has worked in more than a dozen countries, Sampson balances a diverse set of cross-functional management skills with experience in sustainable tourism, social enterprise development, and community engagement. Sampson joined GreenSpot after a five-year stint at international NGO Sustainable Travel International, where he was most recently vice president of partnership development.

Solis, a native Costa Rican born and raised in San Jose, has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years, focusing on trip operations and travel planning for upscale travelers and special interest guests, making her an essential asset to the team. Before joining GreenSpot, Solis managed an inbound tour operator and spent time exploring Nicaragua while working at Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge. In her new role, Solis oversees in-country operations for GreenSpot Costa Rica.

Ecuador HummingbirdSampson and Solis join a staff that includes company founders Irene and Richard Edwards, both of whom are Conde Nast Top Traveler Specialists for Costa Rica and continue to play integral roles at the company. GreenSpot is also a 2016 Trusted Travel Expert for Costa Rica on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List.

“We are thrilled to have Jeremy and Selena join the team,” says Irene Edwards. “Their expertise in the tourism industry, strong leadership skills, and deep commitment to meaningful personal and professional relationship building make them both valued assets to our team as we evolve.”

While Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua have been GreenSpot’s geographic focus to date, the company is thoughtfully expanding based on customer demand and enthusiasm for exploring new places. New destinations recently launched include Iceland, the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico), and Ecuador and the Galapagos. All destinations were selected based on extensive research and relationship building that align with GreenSpot’s values, including high standards of quality and social responsibility.

GreenSpot was founded on the idea that travel should support conservation and the well-being of destination residents. The GreenSpot team has deep experience in sustainable travel including community engagement, enterprise development, and best practices in responsible tourism.

“Our wish is that travelers are able to learn about conservation, biodiversity, and culture while experiencing just the right mix of adventure and relaxation they desire from a getaway,” says Sampson. “GreenSpot makes a point of getting to know the communities, companies, and local business people we work with, and we only recommend accommodations and activities that we have experienced and are aligned with our values.”

About GreenSpot.traveltree frog, Costa Rica

GreenSpot partners with travelers through its patented Trip Design approach to design customized vacations and unrivaled ecotourism experiences in destinations like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Iceland. GreenSpot trips inspire meaningful exchanges with people and places, and leverage the top-rated boutique hotels, eco-lodges, and activity providers. As a result, GreenSpot clients embark on vacations that align with their values, including high standards of quality and social responsibility. GreenSpot has been a Condé Nast Traveler Top Costa Rica Specialist since 2006 and is included on Wendy Perrin’s 2016 WOW List as a Trusted Travel Expert for Costa Rica. www.greenspot.travel

Ecuador: Why 2016 is the Year to Go

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Why 2016 is the year to go

Have you been postponing those New Year’s resolutions? What about the one where you finally book that trip of a lifetime? Procrastination is not usually your friend, but if you’ve been putting off a dream trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, waiting until now might have been a blessing in disguise.

Ecuador has always had a lot going for it, but the destination has stepped up its game in recent years, and last October it was named South America’s leading tourist destination at the World Travel Awards!

Here are a few reason why we think Ecuador is a 2016 hotspot:

Better Accessibility with New Flights

Starting in February, discount airline Jet Blue will fly nonstop from Fort Lauderdale to Quito. Also, Ecuador’s premier airline, TAME, recently introduced nonstop flights from New York to Guayaquil. Flying to Ecuador only takes a few hours from the southern USA. You can get there easily from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Atlanta and New York. And if you’re headed to the Olympics in Brazil this year, you could seamlessly make Ecuador a stopover!

Quito’s Renovations

Ecuador’s capital city is complimenting its UNESCO heritage charm with some 21st century renovations. A handy new metro system* is opening this year, conveniently carrying people from the bus station to all of the important and historic districts across town. Coupled with a new, conveniently located airport and revamped train station, there is a fresh glow to Quito’s old-world appeal. Many colonial treasures remain in the heart of this city, surrounded by towering mountain peaks and volcanoes that call out to adventure enthusiasts.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Increase in Galapagos Penguins

Unlike their cold-water-relatives, Galapagos penguins are special because they have adapted to the warmer climate of the islands. Expert conservationists created shady nesting sites for this extremely rare and most endangered penguin species, and this has resulted in a doubling of their population. If you’ve ever wanted to see them, or perhaps even swim with them, you now have twice the opportunity!

Galapagos Islands cruise

Galapagos Islands Family Cruise

The Cultural Experience you Crave

There is a growing desire for more authentic and meaningful holiday experiences like the ones we offer at GreenSpot. This means travelers are seeking out destinations with significant cultural draw. Ancient traditions are alive and well across Ecuador. Stumbling upon authentic cultural encounters is as easy as strolling through a bustling market. Strike up a conversation with weavers who are making Panama hats – which are not only a hot fashion trend, but are in fact Ecuadorian.

authentic Ecuador town

Colorful Ecuador

Go Green in 2016!

For Ecuador, ‘going green in 2016’ is not just a catchy rhyme. Their Ministry of Tourism has recently adopted sustainability standards for the country’s tourism sector. This means that the country recognizes the importance of working toward sound tourism policies and will actively protect Ecuador’s heritage so that future generations can benefit from it. Also, responsible-minded travelers have plenty of award-winning, green hotels to choose from in Ecuador.

Ecuadorian hacienda

Ecuadorian hacienda

Contact us to discuss your 2016 dream trip to Ecuador.

*Updated January 25, 2016: Sadly, like many transportation and construction projects, we have received news that the completion of Quito’s new metro has been delayed.  However, it is coming and we will keep you updated!

Ten Incredible Things to do in Ecuador

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10 incredible things to do in Ecuador

Ecuador lies in a privileged location, right in the middle of the world. This allows for mega-biodiversity to exist within a relatively small country. Not only can you travel from the mountains to the jungle in the same day, but you also have the opportunity to be exposed to thousands of species of plants, birds, insects, mammals and other creatures. In fact, the country is often described as a collection of four worlds in one, made up of the coast, Andes Mountains, Amazon Jungle and Galapagos Islands.

hummingbird Ecuador

Compiled of numerous protected areas, visitors can experience this rich flora and fauna first-hand while enjoying a wide range of activities, from wild adventures like river rafting and mountain biking to peaceful bird watching, horseback riding and cooking classes. For those who delight in wildlife and cultural tradition, a Galapagos cruise combined with a trip to Otovalo Market (South America’s largest!) while staying in a beautiful hacienda in the highlands, might be the perfect combination.

Ecuador travel

Here is a list of 10 incredible moments you can enjoy on a GreenSpot trip to Ecuador:

Galapagos Islands Cruise

The Galapagos Islands receive an abundance of well-deserved hype, so they pretty much speak for themselves. Even a wildlife novice can’t help but enjoy the close encounters with dancing and whistling Blue Footed Boobies or the opportunity to swim and frolic with penguins and sea lions, all  while cruising from island to enchanted island in the comfort of a luxurious vessel.

Galapagos travel

Horseback Riding in the Andean Highlands

Donning chaps and a poncho, take a ride like a true Ecuadorian chagra through pristine valleys of the Andean Highlands. As Cotopaxi Volcano looms in the distance, you have the chance to walk, trot, or gallop your way across the open terrain, on the outskirts of Cotopaxi National Park.

horseback riding Ecuador Andean Highlands

Downhill Mountain Biking in Cotopaxi National Park

If horseback riding is a bit tame for your wild spirit, you are sure to enjoy a thrilling bike ride through the extraordinary beauty of Cotopaxi National Park. Wild horses and wild flowers surround the rugged trails as you bump your way down the mountain, returning to a cozy hacienda at the end of the ride.

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Hike!

There are countless opportunities for hiking on mainland Ecuador and even short hikes throughout the Galapagos Islands. Whether it’s along the craggy foothills of the Andes, through the verdant rainforest, or over volcanic lava rock, we highly recommend packing those hiking boots and meandering along Ecuadorian trails.

hiking Ecuador

Shop at Otavalo Market

Woven textiles, panama hats, jewelry, and ponchos are just a few of the items that might tempt you at this marvelous bazaar of artisan goods. However, it’s the vibrant colors and display of cultural pageantry that you’ll take home and cherish for a lifetime.

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Kayak Through the Amazon Jungle

Imagine the jungle sounds that will surround you as your kayak glides through the twisting tributaries of the Amazon. Binoculars around your neck, there is no better way to observe the abundance of wildlife that inundates the rainforest.

Kayak Amazon Ecuador

Explore Quito’s Historic Plazas

Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sitting at a little over 9,000 feet, the air is crisp and skies are blue as can be. Quaint alleyways, pigeon-filled plazas, and ancient architecture are found around every bend, and there is enough to see to fill a few days of wandering.

Quito Ecuador

Visit the Middle of the World

Don’t pass up the opportunity to straddle the equator. It isn’t every day that you have the chance to stand with each foot in a different hemisphere. This is possible at the Middle of the World Monument, not too far from Quito.

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Stay in a Beautiful Hacienda

Ecuadorian haciendas frequently date back to the 16th century and have generations of stories to tell. Many are still working farms, and you can soak up the atmosphere and chagras (cowboys) way of life, as you learn about their history and enjoy the surrounding gardens and fertile land.

Hacienda Cusin Ecuador

Get to Know the Locals

As a tour operator with a mission to create meaningful connections with people and communities, we consider this to be a vital part of any travel experience. The hospitality of the Ecuadorian people makes it easy and enjoyable to discover the soul of this country through personal encounters with the local people.

kids Ecuador travel

All of this and more can be found in our sample Ecuador itineraries. As always, we can customize your trip to suit your desires. We’d love to talk to you about your Ecuador travel dreams. Contact us to find out how we can help you get there.

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