Tag Archives: green travel

President’s Corner

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Hi. I’m Jeremy Sampson, the new President of Greenspot Travel. I’ll be writing a monthly post covering a variety of topics I hope will be interesting and relevant to our community of passionate travelers.

I joined GreenSpot in November, after five years at a global nonprofit called Sustainable Travel International, where my work focused on improving lives and protecting places through travel. I’m thrilled to join the GreenSpot team, where I’ll have the opportunity to continue the pursuit of my passions, albeit through a different lens.

I started my career many moons ago working for a boutique travel agency in San Francisco called Ambassador Tours. I’ve always believed in the tremendous value that travel specialists provide. It’s noisy out there, with endless blogs, booking engines, resources, and travel guides telling you what to do.But there’s nothing like talking with a knowledgeable listener on the phone who will take the time to understand your vacation needs and desires.

At GreenSpot, we pride ourselves on our destination expertise and relationships, and most importantly, on our patented Trip Design process. Using this approach, we work with all of our travelers to create unrivaled ecotourism itineraries and ensure special touches that matter most.

I’m particularly excited for the year ahead, which is a special one for GreenSpot because it’s our 10th Anniversary. How do we plan to celebrate?

  • We’re going to offer new and improved ways to bring our Trip Design process to life, including a new website in the coming months.
  • We’re bringing you new destinations, including Ecuador, Iceland, and the Yucatan. Stay tuned for a special announcement about our 10th Anniversary trip!
  • We’re providing you new opportunities to travel authentically while giving back to the communities we serve, which is core to our sustainability commitment (more on this in future posts)
  • We’ve made a promise to remain laser focused on unrivaled traveler experience at all costs. This steadfast commitment over our first 10 years, is the the very same reason we’re recommended travel specialists at Conde Nast Traveler and WendyPerrin.com, and why travelers have given us nothing but positive feedback about the trips we’ve created over the years.

I look forward to joining you on this GreenSpot journey. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at jeremy@greenspottravel.org
Jeremy

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!

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.

 

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