Epic adventures in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica with Canopy Safari Tours

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves

- in finding themselves.

Andre Gide

 

There are some trips you take only to rest, relax, eat, drink, sleep and repeat. Then there are others you take because you want to rise up to challenges, experience new things, feel pure adrenaline rush through your veins and are complete unexpected adventures. Inevitably, they change your life…FOREVER.

That is exactly what happened to me just recently when I went to one of my absolute favorite countries on this planet, the ever amazing and spectacular Costa Rica.

Now, I have already shared with you my special visit to a local primary school as part of the Pack for a Purpose Program. As you know, it was a heart-warming and humbling experience which I believe will make me a far better teacher in the future!

However little did I know that I was going to face my biggest fear, go through a roller coaster of emotions, and overcome it thanks to some amazing persons! I would be completely transformed, become stronger and life, as I knew it, would never be the same…ever again!

Quepos Verde Aventura, the exciting tour desk located on site at Parador Hotel and Spa, had programmed some incredible activities during my stay and I learned that I was going to go zip lining in the middle of a tropical forest! They only work with the best tour companies and that is great to know before booking any tour.

Since going to Tiquicia meant going with an open mind and ready for anything, I thought: “Ok, I will go and see how it works. What do I have to lose?” After all I was in the land of epic adventures and unforgettable adventures, sustainable tourism, ecotourism, where else would I have the opportunity to do so?

I decided to do some research online about the company, Canopy Safari, and I was so relieved to learn that it is one of the best, safest and original canopy zip lines in the Manuel Antonio area.

For the past 17 years, they have been taking visitors, children and adults, from around the world to the forest and have allowed them to spend an incredible day doing the following activities:

  • Hiking
  • Zip lining
  • Rappelling
  • Swinging from a tree (The Tarzan Swing)
  • Crossing a suspension bridge
  • Visit a butterfly garden and fishing ponds
  • Walking simply feel the adrenaline rush while admiring the stunning environment, truly enjoying Pura Vida = Pure Life!

After the exalting tour, a typical meal awaits adventurous and hungry souls at the restaurant with the soothing sound of a nearby river.

It is important to wear appropriate clothing and gear for the day. Pants and running shoes are suggested but if you decide to wear shorts and a t-shirt, make sure you apply anti-repellent lotion or cream, bring a face towel and an extra shirt because you will need to change at the end of the tour.

The adventure begins from the moment the modern and comfortable company mini-bus comes and picks you up at your hotel.

I was the first one on the list that Saturday Morning, so I got to meet Lester, the driver and Joe who was a perfectly bilingual and fun guide.

We stopped at different properties to pick up some passengers, coming from a few countries.

Once everyone on the list was on board, we started our descent towards the town of Quepos where the Canopy Safari Tour head office is located.

We went inside to sign a waiver which must be read carefully. After going through the formality, it is time to hit the road.

The rain forest is located about one hour away so the road trip is quite pleasant because you get to admire the Costa Rican country side and take it all in!

Costa Rica, Costa Rican countryside, country side, travel, photography, TS76

Costa Rica, Costa Rican countryside, country side, travel, photography, TS76

A view like this simply takes your breath away. Luscious greens, nature untouched. It is completely energizing and you can feel its power!

Costa Rica, Costa Rica country side, nature, Tiquicia, Central America, Centro America, TS76, travel, photography

We even had to go across some river beds and we were treated to a “Costa Rican Massage” as the guide was telling us! Is it totally worth it? Absolutely! A river runs through it.

River, river stream, Costa Rica, Costa Rica country side, nature, Tiquicia, Central America, Centro America, TS76, travel, photography

After going up and down on gravel roads and countless turns deep into the heart of the land, we finally arrived at our destination!

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tours, Costa Rica, Tiquicia, Canopy, Sign, Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Travel, Photography, TS76

What seemed to be a rustic wooden home is actually the starting point.

We went straight into the restaurant and sat at the tables to listen to the procedure and very important safety measures.

Now Joe, the main guide of our tour was explaining to us in clear and simple terms how it works and how he was going to help us.

My mind, however, was in another place. Let me be completely honest with you. My heart was definitely not skipping a beat nor was I jumping up and down with excitement.

Why, you may ask?

Well, first of all, I had never done such a thing, a daring activity.  Moreover, I have become afraid of heights in the past years. Isn’t it ironic for someone who is completely happy flying at 30 000 feet? :)

I was really anxious and nervous since I had never done zip lining in my life and I was not probably the most enthusiastic person of the group. People could see my long face and how serious I was!

I was simply PETRIFIED! I was literally shaking even before going on the first zip line. You know, I had never felt this way in my life and I didn’t like that feeling…AT ALL!

All sort of silly things raced through my mind. Things like:

“Great thing that you bought travel & life insurance before leaving Canada girl!”

“What if I fall? Great way to end your days Karla!”

“What if people laugh at me?”

“I will probably be my last stop, my last adventure”

I really had to snap out of my thoughts and really see this opportunity as a challenge and unforgettable experience!

We left our belongings (my backpack with my camera and other things inside) on the tables. We were guaranteed that they were safe, so we just trusted them.

Next, we proceeded to put our gear on: helmet and harnesses in order to make it across the 1st platform.

I saw everyone go one by one to the other side and decided to be the last. Go figure.

I didn’t know then that the other local guide who helped me prepare for the trip was going to be a key figure and great supporter throughout. The man looked like someone who considers the forest as his second home and to make me laugh and ease the tension, I was told that his nickname is Rambo. Oh dear Rambo, he may seem scary at first but one should never judge a book by its cover right?

He said: “Oh we have more to are cover (I’m a big mama!) but don’t worry, we’ll take great care of you and just have fun OK?”

Then I was finally ready and stepped on the platform. Joe prepared me for the first ride and he said “Go”. I just had to release and let go indeed!

Now for those of you who have or haven’t gone zip lining, you go so fast on the line that everything just rushes by and my heart was about to burst so I let out a scream obviously. What I was mostly afraid of was not being able to stop and slam head on the tree so I mistakenly touched the line with my left hand & Rambo yelled out at me:”Karla, don’t do that. You’ll hurt your arm!” I obeyed and I was quickly approaching the platform and I told him to stop me and he said: “Don’t worry, I got you! Everything’s going to be ok!” So I had no other choice but to trust him and I had to bend my knees to slow down and he was there with open arms to grab me and once he did, my first reaction was to take a deep breath and my eyes simply swelled up and filled with tears…of relief!

I told you I had never felt that way so it was like a fight or flight reaction! The nice couple from Houston, Texas who arrived before me cheered me on and said that the worst part was over! I received a pat on the shoulder and then Rambo came to see me and looked at me straight in the eye. He said: “Karla you can do this, you are safe and we are here for you! You just have to trust us and let fear go!”

You know? That went right straight to my heart and from then on I couldn’t help but change my attitude, kick fear in the face and let my demons go. Knowing that there were a dozen more lines, I simply had to have faith that everything would turn out just great and have some fun. After all, am I not the one encouraging everyone else to go on adventures anywhere in the world and follow my own or unique experiences? I just had to practice what I preach right? :)

So you can only imagine that the next line was going to be far easier and I’m happy to report that my change of heart and mind made things WAY better! What a notable difference…night and day as they say.

Standing on a platform, high above the forest is just impressive. How on earth did they plan the entire course and how long did it take for them to build and secure each and every one of them?

Although our group was small, we were united in this and we encouraged each other.

As you will see in the following pictures (captured by amazing photographer Alejandro Marten and his assistant Kara who accompany groups during tours and they also go zip lining ahead of all visitors!) my expression and feelings completely changed and became lighter and actually started having fun…and LOTS of it :)

Getting ready to roll…the pros do what they do best and clearly are the best at what they do!

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Wee…Slide on!

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Rappelling was intimidating at first but actually it it’s not that hard…except the part where they let the line go, it’s a surprise but quick drop that makes you scream :) Bah I knew that Rambo was standing on the platform while Joe released me and I knew it was safe to go!

Before the drop

 Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Going down

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventureAfter the drop :)

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

Next thing you know you land softly and quickly on the platform and still buzzing from the adrenaline rush (and your heart goes back to where it belongs!

It’s not over yet, oh no. Before you is a suspension bridge which can be quite a physical challenge to stay in balance. To make things more interesting, the guides shake things up…literally. They move the bridge with their feet so you have to stay focused and go across!

How did I do? What do you think?

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

I was so pumped up and super happy that I just encouraged myself: “You go girl! See that was easy. Keep going…you got this!”

Can you believe we only had one last line to zip? Hey the fun had only begun and really started to enjoy it!

This was the last capture and you can see that I couldn’t stop smiling, I  LOVED the feeling of euphoria, pure adrenaline, heart racing a hundred miles an hour, excitement, freedom, living life to the max and complete gratitude that I made it safe and sound in one piece (without even being afraid of heights) back to where it all started?

One last smile for the camera on the last ride? Absolutely :)

Canopy Safari, Canopy Safari Tour, Costa Rica, Central America, Karla, TS76, travel, photography, canopy, zip lining, adventure

As I crossed the last line, I enjoyed the last minutes to breathe in pure oxygen, observe details of the rich, green and vibrant vegetation; I couldn’t help being in awe before such spectacular panorama. I could see the restaurant and Rambo waiting for me and felt a little sad that it was coming to an end.

I set foot on dry land, mother earth once again and what a relief! We removed our gear and went straight to get a glass of cold water.

I didn’t tell you that being in the middle of the jungle means being in the heat right? Well, I couldn’t wait to go to the bathroom to change clothes which I did.

Upon our return, the kind ladies from the restaurant had prepared typical Costa Rican food, fuel to recharge batteries!

What did we have?

Typical Costa Rican Lunch, lunch, food, foodie, Costa Rica, Canopy Safari, photography, TS76

Rice, black beans, braised chicken, salad and a refreshing (and very welcomed) iced tea. Que rico, yum! That really allowed us to replenish our energy after an intense workout!

While we were enjoying our meal, we were able to see the photos that Alejandro and Kara had taken of our adventures on the TV screen.

At the end of our tour we had the option of buying a package of 10 and a DVD but all is optional. I saw that mine came out great after all, so I did sign up to receive the link by email!

I had a few minutes to speak to the unsung hero of the day, Rambo and I started asking him all sorts of questions (I’m very curious you know).

He told me that he grew up in the area and knew it like the palm of his hand and the many activities offered by the company allowed him and the staff to be employed.

He truly enjoys meeting people from all over the world but he felt a bit sad that he did not speak English which would allow him to communicate better with them. However his dynamic personality and charm need absolutely no translation :) The man is a rock star!

Rambo, Canopy Safari, Guide, Canopy Safari Tours, Costa Rica, Central America, TS76, photography

I thanked him again for helping me become stronger and for being such an inspiration. I learned a lot of important lessons I learned that day!

There was just one thing left that I needed to see after all those wild rides. Little did I know that they saved the best for last.

Rambo took me to the Butterfly farm and I was able to see my favorite animal, the Blue Morpho.

Blue Morpho Butterfly, Butterfly, Canopy Safari Tour, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, Sign, TS76, photography

That was one of the happiest moments EVER!  Everything I had experienced earlier was just worth living and this was THE sign that everything is going to go great from now onwards.

I felt so much joy in my heart and so much gratitude. Right there and then I just knew I was in the right place, right time and was thanking the Universe for having offered me that incredible opportunity.

I am also sure someone, whom I loved dearly but is in heaven, would have been very proud of me. It’s definitely what I needed to feel fully alive!

If you are ever in Costa Rica or in another exciting destination where zip lining is offered, go for it! If I was able to do it and succeeded, so can you :) It is a great activity for people of all ages and all walks of life.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Parador Resort & Spa and Quepos Verde Aventura for organizing this unforgettable experience on my behalf. It was life-changing, transforming and healing all at once!

I invite you to learn more about Canopy Safari and follow them on their Social Media Channels

Website: http://www.canopysafari.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/canopysafari

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CanopySafari

Instagram: http://instagram.com/canopy_safari

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWRlHxrGwnJcshdrVbxV1HA

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure!

Now tell me something,

 

Have you ever gone zip lining?

If so, where was it and did you enjoy it?

If you haven’t, would you love to try it?

 

I want to read all about it and how did you overcame your fear.

Until next time, Hasta luego!

Pura Vida

Karla :)

My latest obsession: Montreal Street Art through 20 Instagrams

Have I told you about my latest obsession? I think it might have become a healthy addiction. I simply can’t get enough of Street Art right here in my city, Montreal!

I promise I am not just going around looking for them (well, I might be) but they just seem to stand out and they call my name. Oh do they ever!

No matter where I look, there’s one or two or more and trust me it makes my heart skip a beat. It literally stops me in my tracks. Some I found just as I turned the corner of the street and left me speechless :)

As an enthusiast photographer, I just can’t help but capture it and share it with street art lovers locally and globally!

They say that you don’t need to go far to find jewels in your own backyard right?

Well I have been discovering some awesome work of art during the past year and I thought about sharing them with you.

Enjoy these incredible and colorful creations though the following 20 Instagrams!

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

Montreal, Quebec, street art, art de rue, murals, art, art lovers, photography, TS76

 

Now it’s your turn.

Tell me,

 

Do you like street art?

Are there lots of awesome art creations where you live?

 

 

If so tell me where…Better yet, show me!

If you have a photo it’ll be even better :)

 

Until next time!

Tashi Delek, All the best,

Karla :)

Travel to do good: Parador Resort & Spa and Pack for a Purpose

“Seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you.”

~James Freeman Clarke

You may already know this or maybe not, but one of my greatest passions in life is being a teacher. As long as I can possibly remember, I’ve always been willing to help my classmates, people around me or just about anyone comes to see me in search of answers or needing some things to be explained to them in an easy manner :) It is like a second nature for me.

My teaching career has allowed me to teach English as a Second Language to young students (primary school), teenagers (foreign students) and adults (government and company employees) in the past decade at home in Canada and in South Korea.

ESL, ESL teaching, South Korea, Travellersoul76, TS76, teaching, passion

Karla Teacher with Oxford Class

It has brought so many satisfactions, not only professionally but also personally. The knowledge shared affects or impacts positively the lives of many persons, young and old, is worth a lot in my eyes. I’ve learned so much from every single one of them and made me a much better person and professional in return.

Now whenever I travel to a new location, I do not just go and enjoy il dolce far niente which is to do nothing but rest, relax, sip a cold drink and work on my tan. Well I used to in the past but not these days.

I have become more aware about the reason why I travel; I’ve become a more educated and responsible traveler. Therefore I am always looking for a way of contributing to the community or at least give something back that they can use and benefit from.

That is why I did some research prior to my visit to Costa Rica. I was super happy to learn that Parador Resort and Spa (the hotel where I was going to stay at) was a supporter of the Pack for a Purpose program. I thought it would be a great idea to participate and leave some room in my carry on to bring some school supplies and deliver them in person!

Now what exactly is Pack for a Purpose you may ask?

Let me start by telling you that it is an awesome initiative that Rebecca Rothney, a former teacher from North Carolina, developed.

The idea came first when travelled to the African nation of Botswana. She followed her mother’s advice and true words of wisdom: to always bring something to her hosts or to the local community she was visiting. She did see the need of bringing school supplies to local schools for under served students. Therefore Pack for a Purpose was born.

For the past five years, she has inspired thousands of travelers all over the world to contribute to programs in over 60 countries!

How can I help or How do I get involved?

You can start by heading to their website: http://www.packforapurpose.org

Pack For a Purpose, travel to do good, social good, great cause, community, global community, travel

Then select the destination by continent

Pack For a Purpose, travel to do good, social good, great cause, community, global community, travel

Next, you choose the country and a detailed list will come up.

Once you see the hotel where you are going to stay in click on their link.

Pack For a Purpose, travel to do good, social good, great cause, community, global community, travel

and the school (s) selected by the establishment will list their needs.

Pack For a Purpose, travel to do good, social good, great cause, community, global community, travel

Once you have an idea what you can bring (5 pounds or 2.27 kg), it is time to go shopping and gather the material.

In my case, I went out and got the following:

  • A dozen notebooks
  • Erasers
  • A box of HB pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Hand sharpeners
  • Pens
  • Highlighters

And a few more things for the teacher :)

The day after arriving in Punta Quepos, the hotel had arranged a special visit to Anita Primary School which is located about 30 minutes away by bus. Let me be totally honest with you…nothing, absolutely nothing had prepared me for what I was going to experience!

It was a hot and sunny Thursday morning as we arrived in front of the school. At first sight it is a very simple structure, nothing too fancy but the gardens, trees and flowers around make it an inviting place.

Garden, Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

Then we knocked on the door and we saw a small group of students diligently working and Mariano, the head teacher came to greet us at the door. He was very happy to see us and he asked his estudiantes to pause for a moment.

Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

They were pretty shy as they don’t get to see foreigners very often but they were in luck, we all spoke Spanish :)

We said hello to them and they waved back. I took a quick look and I saw what it meant to have basic education. Not that it matters but I totally understood right there and then that they do need help and a lot!

Mariano proceeded to explain to us that the students were all grouped together from 3rd and 4th year and one student, the oldest is in 5th grade. Since there is only 1 teacher, he had managed to share his knowledge to his students depending on their needs and sometimes they did activities that everyone knew and that helped build their social, analytic skills as well as team work.  It is just admirable if you ask me.

In my case I had 10 children to look after and that was enough to make me pull my hair, imagine teaching different subjects to different grades! Wow!

We learned that these children were from migrant parents who came to work in the fields close to the school. As you know, Costa Rica is a great producer of fruit, vegetables, coffee and so much more. Hence, people from neighboring countries come and look for better opportunities to help their families and provide a better life for them!

Normally it costs quite a bit for them to send them to school but Anita Primary School is there to help. We were told that the oldest student has to travel a great distance by motorcycle and his father drops him off every single day. Imagine if he had to walk all the way to class? It sure makes you think right?

The main reason while we were there in the first place is to deliver the supplies we had brought with us in our luggage!

Thanks to awesome Moisés Duran, who is the e-commerce Supervisor at Parador Resort & Spa.  He organized this visit on my behalf (and all my activities) as well as the beautiful ladies: Lydia, her daughter Mia and Vanessa (the dynamic Puerto Ricans :)

Karla, Lydia, Mia, Vanessa, Moisés, Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Parador Resort & Spa and Pack For a Purpose, Pack for a Purpose, social good

We then proceeded to share the goodies with the students.

Karla, Lydia, Mia, Vanessa, Moisés, Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Parador Resort & Spa and Pack For a Purpose, Pack for a Purpose, social good

Delivering Pack for a Purpose Supplies

Karla, Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Parador Resort & Spa and Pack For a Purpose, Pack for a Purpose, social good

So we went around the small classroom and distributed them. The expressions on their little faces were priceless.

It was like watching children open their presents on Christmas Day :)

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this precious moment!

Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

The teacher let them admire them for a few moments and he said that they all knew what do to which is to classify and arrange them accordingly in the shelves for future use! Now that’s what the spirit of giving and sharing is all about.

Just seeing them smile and be excited about our small contribution made my heart very happy. It reminded me to never take anything for granted, may it be big or small. Who knew that such simple things in life can actually bring an east to west smile, especially a young child. They do have a great memory and remember long after you’ve given them something cool and useful. Trust me I used to be one of them and my ex students did too. Those memories are irreplaceable but mostly the feelings can’t be explained!

Now they wanted to offer us a presentation of a typical dance of Costa Rica called “Tico de Corazón” (Tico at heart).

There were technical problems, so they decided instead to dance for us :) How sweet of them! Again Moises was quick to act and saved the day. He looked for the song on his smart phone and thank God for Youtube!

It only took a few minutes to put shyness aside and for the beautiful dance to start

Anita School Students Dance, Anita Primary School, Costa Rica, travel, photography, TS76, Pack For a Purpose, social good

 

I filmed a short video, so enjoy :)

What a fun way of learning a bit more about the Costa Rican Culture thanks to the children!

It was now time for them to go back to class and try to focus once more.

That was so lovely to watch and right there and then I felt much more appreciation as well as admiration for the teacher and the students.

I definitely felt a lot of respect and it will teach me to be even more humble and count my blessings and not to complain about anything…ever again!

I told the kids to keep up the great work and to always believe in their dreams. Anything they set their mind to is possible and not to let anyone tell them otherwise.

After bidding them farewell, we left and walked around the beautiful gardens before heading back to our HQ (Headquarters).

I now understand that giving back, even if it’s something small is truly a gift for those who receive it. There simply is no better feeling in life than knowing that you made a difference or a positive impact in their lives!

I would like to thank Parador Resort and Spa for being a fantastic hotel with a heart and for supporting the community. I really hope more guests will become aware of the Pack For a Purpose program and remember it whenever or wherever they travel.

This humbling, educating, eye-opening (and life-changing) experience in Costa Rica is definitely something I needed and certainly recommend to anyone.  I hope to visit another school or institution in the near future!

I hope you enjoyed the first adventure! Stay tuned for more :)

Tell me something,

 

Have you ever contributed to a community or

Have you participated in a similar activity while abroad?

 

Let us know!

 

Make sure you follow Parador Resort and Spa

 

Web: www.hotelparador.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelParador

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParadorQuepos

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/paradorresort/

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/hotelparador

 

And Pack For a Purpose

 

Web: http://www.packforapurpose.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PackforaPurpose

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PackforaPurpose

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/PackforaPurpose

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/PackforaPurpose

 

Hasta Luego, see you soon!

All the best, Pura Vida

Karla :)

Destination of the Month: Parador Resort & Spa in Quepos, Costa Rica

I have a confession to make. I’ve been keeping a secret from you for a little while. I’ve been biting my tongue and really had to hold myself back for as long as I could but now I can let it all out and spill the beans :)  I am beyond excited, thrilled, and enthusiastic to finally be able to share the great news with all of you!

By the time you read this I will already be in one of my absolute favorite countries on earth, COSTA RICA!

Aerial view, Biesanz Beach, Parador Resort &Spa, Costa Rica, Tiquicia, Central America, Centro America, travel, photography

Aerial View of Parador Resort & Spa, Biesanz Beach and the Pacific. Photo Credit: hotelparador.com

Yes you read that right, the Rich Coast, Tiquicia baby yes! Pura Vida :)

Words cannot even begin to describe how much excitement and gratitude there is in my heart right now and it is about to burst with joy!

To be honest, it’s been quite some time since I was last there and I was WAY overdue for another visit.

I am so grateful and really fortunate to go and stay at the prestigious, luxurious, eco-conscious and award-winning hotel Parador Resort & Spa

Located on the Pacific Coast and the hotel is about 3 hours away from the Costa Rican Capital, San José.

Map, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, Tiquicia, Central America, Go Visit Costa Rica

Map of Manuel Antonio. Photo Credit: govisitcostarica.com

Perched high above Punta Quepos, the hotel was built around 12 acres of tropical and protected rainforest, rich and varied wildlife and is next to one of the country’s most incredible national parks, Manuel Antonio.

So what will I be doing there you may ask?

I will be relaxing on the beach and work on my tan…NOT!

Well I might do that every chance I get. But before that happens, I’ll be participating in a wide variety of activities in and around the hotel and area.

For starters, I will learn why Parador Resort & Spa is Friendly by Nature and Responsible by Choice.

What truly makes the Resort an eco destination? It actively promotes sustainable tourism, living in harmony with nature and has received many national and international accolades in return.

Aerial view, Parador Resort &Spa, Costa Rica, Tiquicia, Central America, Centro America, travel, photography

Aerial view of the Resort, protected area and the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: hotelparador.com

Next up, I’ll allow myself to get pampered and recharge my batteries. In order to rejuvenate and relax, I will get a hot stone treatment and mud wrap at Pacifica Spa. Now that promises to be quite an experience :)

Massage, Parador Resort & Spa, Costa Rica

Rest & Relaxation, massage at Pacifica Spa. Photo Credit: hotelparador.com

Since I am an educator (and always learning) and I want to find out more and see how the Costa Rican Education System works. That is why I will visit a local school as part of the Pack for a purpose program. Education is truly a passion for me and the more I know, the better teacher I can be and share my knowledge and also improve my teaching skills. It’ll certainly be a very valuable and unforgettable lesson!

As you already know by now, I can’t stand still for too long. My adventurous spirit (and antsy feet) will probably want to go explore the area, observe the flora and wildlife as well as connect with nature. That is why I will go to neighboring Manuel Antonio National Park which is only a short distance from the hotel.

Manuel Antonio, National Park, Costa Rica

Entrance to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Photo Credit: hotelparador.com

As I just mentioned, I love adventures and that makes skip a beat. That is why I simply cannot wait to go on a Canopy Tour. Can you imagine what that will be like? How’s that for connecting with Mother Nature in all her glory and splendor? It will be a thrilling ride for sure!

Moreover, there will be a Night Tour and that, I must admit, makes me a little scared. Life and wildlife moves to a complete rhythm once the sun goes down. It’s like another world comes alive and we must learn to accept, respect and admire living creatures in THEIR habitat. As any good guest, we must observe the rules and appreciate what surrounds us right? :)

You know what I’ve learned so far? Whatever I fear the most never happens and the only thing left to do is simply go ahead and do it anyway! There is no better feeling than having faced what you were afraid of and conquer it. That is one of life’s best rewards for taking a risk. It is totally worthwhile in the end don’t you think?

There is something I am very much looking forward to and that is seeing one of the best things in life (and Mother Nature’s finest shows): sunrises and sunsets like such as these.

Amazing, Sunset, Parador Resort & Spa, Costa Rica, nature, atardecer, photography

Phenomenal and fiery sunset over the Pacific. Photo Credit: hotelparador.com

Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy a few of them during my stay. It’s like a wonderful canvas of colors and a spectacular movie ending if you ask me! Ah did I even mention that I plan on having a drink in my hand to celebrate that? Yes, yes I will!

There will be also several meetings with important persons at the Hotel who will teach me a lot and I can’t wait to learn more, so much more!

I intend on enjoying every single moment to the maximum and take time to fill myself up with positive energy, come back stronger than ever, prepare for the next chapter in my life and definitely be ready for anything life brings.

Now do YOU want to tag along and go with me on my adventures? It’s very simple. Follow the hashtag #ParadorPuraVida on my Social Media accounts :)

I will be reporting live when I get the chance to be connected to Wi-Fi and will sure be sharing lots of photos and stories of the day and trust me there will be plenty of them!

I hope that you will be inspired, motivated, educated and I’ll do my best to keep you entertained :)

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them.

Before I go I would like to invite you to also follow my awesome hosts Parador Resort & Spa on Social Media:

 

Web: www.hotelparador.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelParador

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParadorQuepos

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/paradorresort/

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/hotelparador

 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for welcoming me with open arms and for allowing me to live this amazing experience!

We’ll be talking very soon.

Until then, enjoy the rest of the week wherever you may be!

Hasta Luego y Pura Vida mi gente :)

Lots of love always,

Karla xo

Review of NETGEAR Trek N300 Travel Router & Range Extender

Disclosure: The following is an unbiased review. I was selected as a

NETGEAR, NETGEAR Ambassador Logo, Technology

Opinions are always mine. I was not asked to write a favorable point of view

but to actually share my experience about the usability and performance of the product.

I LOVE trying out new products, especially related to technology & connectivity as well as productivity. That is why I was thrilled when I found out that I was chosen to test and review one of NETGEAR’s products: the N300 Travel Router and Range Extender.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

You may or may not know this but in addition to being a travel writer, blogger and photographer, I am a freelance translator (my main occupation during the day! My language combination is mostly from English to French but I also translate from Spanish to English or French. ) and I often go to a café (instead of sitting at my home office, inside 4 walls and talking to the wall or myself ;) to get some work done!

More often than not, coffee shops are usually quite crowded and connecting to an unsecured network is not exactly the most ideal situation but hey, you have to go what you’ve got to do right?

Now I am a professional and I NEVER miss deadlines (I promise + I’ve proof  and always deliver what I promise!) In fact, I have been doing this for the past 6 years and so far I’ve not had any complains, so that means I have done something right :)

When I learned that it is possible to share an internet connection in a public hot spot and adding a firewall to make it more secure, I said to myself: “I wish I knew about it earlier! That’s just what I need to work more efficiently without having to worry!”

What does the N300 Travel Router and Range Extender have to offer you may ask? Well actually a lot! This device allows you to do this and more:

  • Share one Internet Access with multiple devices (mobile, tablet, pc, laptop) at Home and on the Go
  • Boost public Wi-Fi signal for a stronger and more reliable connection thanks to a high-performance flip out antenna
  • No separate power adapter is required. It can be charged via USB cable with laptops
  • Access the NETGEAR Genie App Dashboard where you can monitor, control and repair your personal network in one place
  • Easy portability thanks to its practical palm size
  • Quickly Install and run it

The set up is quite easy. Let me show you exactly how I did it and step by step!

1- Take the content outside of the box.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

The content includes: a device and a USB cable.

2- Turn the antenna clockwise (turn it 90 degrees to get better reception).

3- Connect the USB cable to the device and then to the USB port of your PC or laptop or if you prefer, connect it to a power outlet.

4- Move the switch button from Off to Internet via wireless connection.

5- Look for wireless networks on your smart phone, PC or Laptop.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Connect to a Wireless Network  (BTW, do you like my desktop?yes,  I’m organized and if you’re wondering what it says in the background it’s: Ask, Believe, Receive. See I read your mind ;)

6-  Look for the Device ID (it is clearly identified on the back).

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Select the NETGEAR Device identified by a number

7-  Once you have selected the NETGEAR device, this prompt will appear. It will ask you to enter the PIN or do as I did, enter the network key or password (again this info is found on the back of the device).

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Enter Network PIN

8- Next, open your browser and enter the following address:

http://www.routerlogin.net and press the ENTER key.

9- The NETGEAR Genie Application Dashboard will come up and will display all the available wireless networks. It is suggested to check the box where it says “Extend my current wireless router’s range” to find more networks.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Available Networks and Extend my current wireless router’s range option

10- Select the network of your choice on the left, and then enter a name if you wish to save it for future use.

11- If you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi, then just click on the Green Apply Button. It will take you to this page with the following message.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Attention message

12- You will need to enter the passport of the Wi-Fi router (example at a café) or check & accept the terms and conditions as requested before connecting.

13- Once you’ve connected successfully, you will receive this message on your browser.

NETGEAR, NETGEAR N300 Travel Router and Range Extender, technology, connectivity

Success!

14-  Then all you need to do is surf the net as you normally do. Knowing that you have a firewall that protects you from any attacks is truly invaluable and puts your mind at ease!

15- Don’t forget to disconnect when you are done working or browsing. I always clear my history & cache at the end of a work session! Also properly disconnecting and turning the device off is recommended.

 

In all honestly, this took me less than 20 minutes to set up but I have something to confess. I guess it’s the teacher in me that makes me act this way but whenever I have a new product, I always go to Youtube to get a quick tutorial by people who used it before me and show me how it’s done in a few minutes :)

In this case I stumbled upon a great online teacher, Mr Geeks United (great name) who in less than 4 minutes shows you how easy setting up the N300 Travel Router and Range Extender truly is!

I found it very cool that I thought of sharing it with you (it’s the European version but it’s great anyway :)

Easy breezy, right? As you can see, not only it is a great and reliable product that I wish I had bought way earlier, back when I started working online but also during my travels!  I normally bring my laptop with me, because believe it or not it is my working tool and I DO work while I am away (I’ve even translated some urgent documents for some clients at an internet café! How’s that for being a pro?

Whether it is translating, editing photos, writing blog posts, answering emails (personal and business related), having Skype chats, updating or programming my Social Media updates, I really need to have a secure connection!

Now that I have this router, I believe it will be an indispensable travel companion (after my passport, laptop, and camera). It will definitely help me be more productive, perform better, feel safer and trust that everything that I do or work on will get done on time and sent where it needs to be :)

It’s your turn to tell me.

 

Have you ever used a NETGEAR product? If so which one?

If not, would you like to try it for home or for work?

How do you protect your systems?

 

I’m all eyes and ears and cannot wait to hear or read about it :)

 

Before I go, don’t forget to follow NETGEAR online!

Website: http://www.netgear.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NETGEAR

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Netgear

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NETGEARChannel

 

Until next time!

All the best,

Karla :)