This year marks the 20th anniversary of operations for Rainforest Adventures, who opened their first park in Costa Rica in 1994, and have since gone on to create one of the world’s most recognized sustainable adventure park companies, with current operations in four countries and plans for expansion.
With two parks in Costa Rica, Rainforest Adventures has undertaken a number of initiatives to help protect the environment, engage with local residents, and educate guests on the importance of sustainability practices. And, many of these initiatives started during to construction of the first park, Costa Rica Atlantic, in 1994. According to the Rainforest Alliance, Earth University and Costa Rican Tourism Institute, these two parks are the model for best practices in the world when it comes to sustainable development and operations.
“When we decided to build our first park in Costa Rica, we had two choices: cut down trees to build our aerial tram experience, or find a way to preserve the pristine environment,” says Joaquín von der Goltz, president of Rainforest Adventures. “While it was complicated and expensive to construct the aerial tram without removing trees, for me, the decision was easy – we had to protect the rainforest. Otherwise, why build a park to help educate visitors on the importance of rainforest conservation?”
During the construction of the Costa Rica Atlantic park, local loggers were hired to help with the erection of the aerial tram lift. Rather than cut down part of the 1,200-acre rainforest in order to create a lift-line (much like a chairlift at a ski resort), the tram was completed without cutting down a single tree. By using helicopters to construct the tram (and, in turn, all future trams at the other parks), the result was an untouched rainforest environment, where guests could travel at canopy level, and view the flora and fauna in an in-depth, immersive experience.
This initial commitment to sustainability continues to present day. All park locations and operations in Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, and St Lucia have on-going practices in place to reduce the impact on the environment on a day-to-day basis, including park-wide environmental management systems and an extensive recycling program for both guests and staff. The environmental management system includes: an energy savings plan where all electricity is measured and reduced whenever possible, thereby reducing the reliance on bio-diesel; a management plan for liquid and solid waste generated in parks; a water saving plan that involves water-saving taps, urinals and toilets; and a response plan for the care and management of potential spills. The recycling program for guests and local teams includes international signage to help identify the correct containers for plastic, metal, glass, paper, compostable and non-recyclable waste.
In addition to these programs, Rainforest Adventures has a commitment to buying local, and encouraging their guests to do the same. The parks have an agreement with local artisans in which they are invited to showcase their crafts for sale to guests. And, more than 95 per cent of food and beverage available for park guests is derived from local products produced by local farmers.
With a focus on social sustainability, Rainforest Adventures employs more than 500 local, multilingual guides at their parks. Each guide adds depth and colour to the visitor experience by sharing insider information about the region’s rainforests, native plants and animals and about local customs, cultures and traditions
Rainforest Adventures is committed to minimizing their overall impact on the environment, while encouraging their guests to take the in-park methods and apply them at home. Parks feature education centres where guests can learn about conservation and the importance of preserving the world’s natural resources. Understanding that youth are future policymakers, Rainforest Adventures pays special attention to this demographic by offering a number of all-age, family-centric experiences, activities and exhibitions that are designed to empower and educate youth about the environment.
And, with the commitment to sustainability, government and NGOs have taken notice. Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Pacific has been recognized for its sustainability by the country’s government, earning an Ecological Flag, a Blue Flag, a Decree of National Interest for the Republic of Costa Rica and Certification for Sustainable Tourism. Both Costa Rica parks were verified by the Rainforest Alliance– a standard recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council – achieving the highest rating possible. In 2012, EARTH University officially certified the Costa Rica Atlantic park as carbon neutral, Costa Rica’s first tour operation to receive a carbon neutral title.
For more information about Rainforest Adventures, visit www.rainforestadventure.com.
About Rainforest Adventures
With tour operations in Panama and award winning, adrenaline-inducing adventure parks located in Costa Rica (both Pacific and Atlantic), Saint Lucia, and Jamaica, Rainforest Adventures locations serve as ecotourism attractions, nature reserves and wildlife refuges. Since 1994, the company has been combining unique rainforest adventures such as aerial trams, bobsleds and zip line rides, with exceptional, multi-lingual naturalist guides, giving each guest an educational, adventurous, sustainable and unforgettable rainforest experience. For more information, visit www.rainforestadventure.com
Owner’s Cottage Creates A Home Within Matakauri Lodge
Guests at Matakauri Lodge can now look out over Lake Wakatipu from the new four-bedroom “Owner’s Cottage.” The 5,000-square-foot suite opens as the highest tier of accommodation at the Queenstown, New Zealand luxury lodge. The $5 million suite can host up to eight people in a four-bedroom reservation. It’s also available in a two-bedroom format.
The Owner’s Cottage operates separately from the rest of the property, creating the feel of a separate home, a quality that works well for families or groups of gathering friends. There are six separate outdoor spaces, including a courtyard and Jacuzzi, supplemented by a full kitchen where guests may cook for themselves or employ a lodge chef. Each suite has a private balcony and floor-to-ceiling views of the aptly named Remarkable Mountains on Lake Wakatipu.
Nightly rates range from $5,000 for a two-bedroom suite to $12,000 per night for the four-bedroom house and include: full breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, dinner, complimentary in-suite refreshments and bar, Wi-Fi and use of lodge facilities (excluding spa treatments).
The Blue Mountains is one of the best adventure playgrounds in Australia. But that statement is not merely a parochial boast.
The globally-recognised destination, home to a million square hectares of pristine wilderness, appears twice in global travel authority Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures guide.
Published this month, the book features 100 top 10 lists of the world’s most exciting activities and challenges to captivate and inspire gung-ho adventurers and armchair travellers – from the epic to the local, on land, sea and in the air.
The Blue Mountains were recognised for Adventures in Tandem: Abseil in the Blue Mountains and Most Thrilling Canyoning Adventures: Blue Mountains categories.
Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) chairman Randall Walker congratulated outdoor adventure tourism operators such as Blue Mountains Adventure Company (BMAC), High n Wild and River Deep Mountain High for the quality of their abseiling and canyoning experiences.
“We know we live and work in one of the most magnificent regions on the planet, and we know our abseiling and canyoning guides are some of the most qualified, experienced, responsible and environmentally-conscious in the world.”
“So it is wonderful when that quality is recognised by such an impressive authority as Lonely Planet.”
BMLOT board director responsible for adventure tourism and BMAC owner Dylan Jones said: “All adventure tourism guides are passionate about this region and love sharing it with visitors.”
“To be included in this list by the best travel writers in the world who have literally experienced it all is fantastic.”
Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase welcomed the news that NSW had been named ahead of other states as offering the most in ultimate adventure travel experiences in Australia.
“NSW offers a huge diversity of exclusive adventure travel experiences and to be acknowledged by such a world renowned travel publishing organisation as Lonely Planet is recognition of the world-class quality of our tourism products.”
“Nine NSW-based thrills have been listed by the Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures guide from 58 of Australia’s ultimate adventure experiences.”
“To be chosen ahead of other Australian states in this highly competitive field is a great achievement and is a testament to the unique experiences that NSW has to offer visitors.”
An international group of 30 travel writers selected the nine NSW travel adventures to appear in the publication including:
Adventures in Tandem: Abseil in the Blue Mountains
Best City Hikes: Great Coastal Walk, Sydney
Best Hidden Huts & Shelters: Illawong Lodge, Kosciuszko National Park
Best Urban Climbing Adventures: Plumbers Mate, Bondi Sea Cliffs
Get on Board!: Wakeboarding, Stoney Park, Telegraph Point
Legendary Odysseys: Captain James Cook Collection, Australian Museum, Sydney
Most Spectacular Honeymoon Adventures: Lady Bay Beach, Sydney
Most Thrilling Canyoning Adventures: Blue Mountains
Old School Adventures: Australian Billycart Championships, Corowa.
While we often see the food of a destination as an emblem of its culture, the recent turn towards locally produced organic foods has also emphasized that the taste of food and wine can also be emblematic of the land itself.
The foods at Fiji’s Laucala Island Resort, thanks to the efforts of new executive chef Anthony Healy, are now giving visitors a true flavor of Fiji itself.
The resort is putting authentic Fijian food into both its service culture and its marketing. Healy is a proponent of the “farm-to-resorts” movement. Healy forages the forests of Fiji to find the freshest and truest ingredients for the resort’s kitchen. The resort’s main restaurant, Plantation House, features Healy’s daily menus that are based solely upon what’s been collected and received from fishermen earlier that same morning.
Every day, Healy and his staff forage for mushrooms and other local edibles. Healy also uses organic produce that is grown on a 240-acre hydroponic farm with 15 different types of fruit, 35 varieties of vegetables and more than 50 Fiji Vanilla plants.
The resort catches 80 percent of its seafood within a mile of the shore to preserve the offshore habitat of the South Pacific, with fish ranging from rock cod and tuna to mahi-mahi, crayfish and coral trout. These combined efforts allow the resort to operate as 80 percent self-sustainable, while guests’ overall on-island experience is enhanced through cooking classes and explorations led by Healy.
“Here we maintain ‘paddock-to-plate’ like nowhere else in the world,” said Healy. “Our menus are very much based upon what is available on that particular day; there is no back-up option of ordering from suppliers. I have grown up in the hospitality business, but no place has given me this degree of creative liberty. On Laucala Island, my freedom to craft authentic, natural dishes is infinite.”
Laucala’s kitchen also manages 18 beehives in different locations allowing the honey to vary in taste and scent. Animals such as poultry, cattle (including Wagyu), pigs, quails, ducks, goats and coconut crabs, are also raised on the farm. Each species of livestock is kept on a specially designed diet to make for the healthiest and happiest animal possible, which includes the island’s commitment in ensuring all products remain 100 percent hormone and chemical free.
At Laucala guests can join Healy on tours of the farm and hydroponics area, with the ability to pick and taste ripe produce as available. The tour is part of a cooking class that ends with guests dining on their collected ingredients. The Fijian lovo, or earth oven, cooks food with pre-heated rocks and moisture from leaves or banana stumps. The resort presents a lovo during every guest’s stay on a Fijian Cultural night, when they introduce the Kava ceremony featuring dances and prepared routines from 40 performers.
The Laucala Resort sits on a 3,200-acre island in the Fijian archipelago. The all-inclusive resort has 25 villas. Once owned by the Forbes family as a private island escape, Laucala Island was purchased in 2002 by Dietrich Mateschitz, CEO of Red Bull Drink Company, and launched in 2011 as the southern hemisphere’s largest private island resort.
Backyard Travel, Asias most innovative tour company, has released news of a new trip taking travelers on an exploratory tour of Sagar to the south of Inle Lake. The tour visits one of Myanmars most beautiful, yet largely undiscovered regions and is home to the iconic sunken stupas as well as many Pa-O hill tribe settlements, such as the Sae Khaung and Tar Kaung villages.
The insightful one-day, two-night Myanmar tour begins with a three-hour scenic cruise across Inle Lake. Along the way, travelers will see fishermen going about their daily duties and drift past small hill tribe villages on the banks of the lake.
Once in Sagar, travelers will have the opportunity to discover the ‘sunken stupas’, over 100 stupas that have been submerged by the lake making a curious spectacle. The local Backyard Travel guide will then take travelers around the lesser-seen region, paying visit to Sagan’s most attractive sites before escorting them to their quaint lodge where they will spend the night.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, travelers will awake to a scenic breakfast service on the lodge’s rooftop terrace before heading out with their expert Backyard Travel guide to explore various Pa-O hill tribe settlements including the Sae Khaung and Tar Kaung villages.
The Sae Khaung village is famous for its production of rice wine and travelers will not only have the chance to witness its production but also sample the wine should they wish. While in Tar Kaung village they will also have the chance to learn the ancient art of pottery making using an underground kiln.
“We think the Sagar region in the Shan State of Myanmar is one of the unearthed gems of Southeast Asia,” said Backyard Travel’s General Manager Maeve Nolan. “At the moment it seems that not many have discovered it’s beauty, which makes now the perfect time to visit.”
About Backyard Travel
Bangkok based Backyard Travel is an online travel company specializing in tailor-made tours to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and Japan. For more information about Backyard Travel, visit www.backyardtravel.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/BackyardTravel.
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GATEWAY TO PENINSULAR MALAYSIA’S BEST KEPT DIVING SECRET OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Dive season begins at Tanjong Jara Resort
London, March 2014: Dive Season 2014 at Tanjong Jara Resort has now started, taking advantage yet again of its unique position as a luxury resort which not only fronts the pristine South China Sea and boasts a multi award-winning Spa Village, but is also located a mere 50-minute speedboat ride away from one of the region’s best kept diving secrets, Tenggol Island. Guests are invited to try the new Tenggol Divers Delight Break for the ultimate Tanjong Jara Resort Diving Experience.
One of Malaysia’s most beautiful and serene islands, the untouched Tenggol in Terengganu Marine Park provides access to over 20 stunning diving and snorkelling sites, perfect for beginner snorkellers or advanced divers. Less than three kilometres long and two kilometres wide, the steep and rugged cliffs of Tenggol Island form a spectacular canvas of underwater sights. Bright corals and a vast array of stunningly vibrant nudibranchs are first to catch the eye, while a variety of species such as the giant double-headed parrotfish, yellowtail fusiliers, eagle rays, black-tipped reef sharks, barracudas and majestic sea turtles play cat and mouse.
Depths of up to 30 metres guarantee sightings of some of the world’s most spectacular sea creatures such as the whale shark in its element; giant trevallies come in to feed and schools of jacks and barracudas prowl the reefs on the hunt. Whether it be ‘Moonraker’s’ remarkable coral formations, climbing 10 metres tall from the seabed, or the spectacular fish life at ‘Tokong Talang’, ‘Tanjong Api’ or ‘Tokong Timur’, the resort’s experienced dive instructors will lead guests on a journey of discovery.
Tanjong Jara Resort offers the Tenggol Divers’ Delight experience for guests looking to explore the teeming marine world in the Terengganu Marine Park. This includes two daily dive excursions at Tenggol Island over two days and rental of dive equipment, sumptuous barbecue lunches on the beach, as well as daily breakfast and dinner at the resort. Available for booking till October 28, 2014, at a minimum of three nights’, based on twin-sharing accommodation, rates for this package begin at £300 per room per night.
The resort’s five-star in-house dive centre, operated by the award-winning Quiver company, also offers snorkeling day-trips, Discovery SCUBA Diving, Fun Dives and a variety of PADI course for guests looking to venture beyond the Tenggol Divers’ Delight experience.
For further information on Dive Season 2014 at Tanjong Jara Resort, please visit www.tanjongjararesort.com or call YTL Travel Centre at +603 2783 1000. Guests may also email firstname.lastname@example.org to book their underwater escape.
Sea Turtles Swim Close to Tenggol Island
2 Whale Shark diving tenggol island tanjong jara resort malaysia
Diving and Swimming with Whale Sharks Near Tenggol Island
About YTL Hotels
YTL Hotels owns and manages a prestigious collection of award-winning resorts, hotels, boutique experiences and Spa Villages in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, France and the UK, including Pangkor Laut Resort, voted the world’s best resort in 2003.
In July 2012, the company added Gaya Island Resort, a luxurious resort on the exotic tropical island of Borneo to the fold, while December 2012 saw the unveiling of The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the second heritage jewel in the group’s Classic Hotel collection.
With each new experience that it unveils, the company strives to embrace and highlight the natural essence of culture, character and tradition of its surroundings. YTL Hotels is the hospitality arm of YTL Corporation Berhad.
Visit www.ytlhotels.com for more information.
World-Class Event Showcases Maritime Adventures in the Pacific Coast Destination
New York – March 5, 2014 – Mexican Ocean Racing Circuit, or MEXorc, the international that began in the 60’s, will return to Puerto Vallarta on March 23 to 29, 2014 when the participants of the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Yacht Race come to the shores of the Mexican Pacific Coast destination.
The week-long event also coincides with Mexico’s Fleet Week, bringing to life a celebration of maritime sports where over 500 participants will participate in long and short races taking place in the Bay of Banderas, to and from Las Caletas, Marietas Islands and Puerto Vallarta’s Marina while enjoying the beaches, restaurants, cultural offerings, traditions, incomparable landscapes of the Sierra Madre fused with the sea and the endless number of activities and services found in Puerto Vallarta.
For its 2014 edition, the fleet for SDPYYR has grown to 25 highly competitive boats, the most since 2002. The race will feature two trimarans, Mighty Merloe and Orion who will be screaming down the coast.
Set on Bandera’s Bay, member of the World’s most beautiful Bays club, Puerto Vallarta’s rich history is reflected through its diverse culture, gastronomy and inhabitants. Its horseshoe shaped bay shelters tropical lagoons, rainforests, mangroves, pristine beaches, waterfalls, and spectacular mountains, making it a prime ecotourism destination ideal for a variety of water sports.
A newly renovated Los Muertos Pier, with a $2.4 million makeover, was re-opened last year. The pier, which at one point was the entry way into what is now the Romantic Zone, has a surface of 2,182 feet squared with a pedestrian friendly zone, a waterfront promenade, scenic lighting and a landing dock that can hold up to 6 different medium size boats.
Puerto Vallarta’s Marina Vallarta, just south of the airport, is a 500-slip marina surrounded by condos, and a boardwalk housing a variety of shops, galleries and restaurants. The Marina area is also home to an 18-hole golf course, luxury accommodations and in the same area as the destination’s cruise port.
MEXORC has been placed as one of the most important events in the world in the area of the sailing along the West Coast of the American continent.
Meet the meat at The Bull Shop, a working stud farm and breeding operation nestled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Every Saturday morning, the Bekker family open their stud-farm doors to teach visitors the A-Beef of the cattle industry. Guests will take the bull by the horns and get hands on by feeding cattle, holding a branding iron and nose ring before striking a pose with a bull 15 times their own weight. In a fitting finish, there’s a juicy steak cooking class and gourmet steak burger on the tour menu.
Rates: Adults $25, Kids $15
Get a taste of the Fraser Coast on board Whalesong Cruise’s Fraser Beach and Barbeque Cruise, a day-long boat tour that takes in the best of Fraser Island.
Stretch your sea legs with 1.5 hours on Fraser Island and discover why the world’s largest sand island has earned its place as a World Heritage Listed site. Back on board, the crew will fire up the BBQ for an Aussie lunch stacked with steak, snags, fresh Hervey Bay Prawns, garden salads and freshly baked bread.
Rates: $80 for adults, $40 for children and $220 for families.
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