Posts tagged with "outdoor adventures"

SAFARI RETREAT IN AFRICA

NEW WELLNESS SAFARI RETREAT COMPANY MAKES SPLASH IN AFRICA

For years wellness influencers have taken their show on the road to beautiful settings in the Caribbean and United States, but now The Safari Retreat company is giving wellness travelers the chance to combine the serenity of Africa with the exhilaration of a safari for one of the most unique travel offerings available.

The Safari Retreat company is the premiere wellness retreat company in Africa. Founder Becky Robertson came up with the idea to bring retreats to Africa to take advantage of the almost mystical quality of the land. Robertson’s family has offered traditional safaris for more than 35 years.

“I grew up in the safari business and saw first-hand how Africa awed, inspired and changed our guests,” she said. “I thought there was no better setting to offer transformative wellness retreats. Our programs allow people to disconnect through nature and the wild to reconnect with themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

The Safari Retreats couldn’t be more timely as the Global Wellness Summit named adventure wellness travel as a Top 10 Trend for 2022.

The Safari Retreats are held at personally vetted mid-range and luxury safari lodges in the private and off the beaten track region of Laikipia. Lodges such as Lewa Wilderness, one of Kenya’s oldest and most private safari experiences, Borana Lodge and El Karama offer incrediable wildlife settings and experiences, with the chance to see the Big 5 at many locations. The Safari Retreat works with some of the top wellness influencers in the world to bring yoga, Pilates and mind/body retreats to Africa. The retreats blend the wellness programming with daily safari activities including; game drives, safari walks, horseback safari expeditions and camel rides. Each retreat includes all accommodations, meals, and transfers and travel within Africa.

For 2022 The Safari Retreat is pleased to offer the following retreats:

All Safari Retreats are designed to take people out of their comfort zones to allow them to have a-ha moments that truly change the way they think about themselves and their internal stories. Through adventure, slowing down and attuning to nature people are primed to have a transformational experience that goes far beyond simply traveling to Africa to view “The Big 5.”

About Safari Retreats

The Safari Retreat Company is Africa’s premiere choice for wellness safari travel. Working with personally vetted safari lodges in Kenya and East Africa, Safari Retreat Company combines the adventure of a traditional safari with wellness programming offered by the world’s top wellness influencers. Combining the serenity and beauty of Africa with transformative program, guests leave with a different mindset and an adventure of a lifetime in their memory.

Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa

Wyoming Guest Ranch Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa Celebrates 100 Years of Adventurous Getaways

Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa is celebrating a milestone 100 years in July 2022, creating memorable vacations for guests at its stunning lakeside location deep in the Wyoming backcountry of the Shoshone National Forest since its construction in 1922 as a stopover for travelers to Yellowstone National Park. While the lodge has evolved over the past century, for decades it has provided an exclusive, all-inclusive resort experience, offering a rustic yet luxurious escape near Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole that combines Western pioneer-era charm with modern amenities.

The year was 1922: President Warren G. Harding spoke at the dedication of the newly commissioned Lincoln Memorial. Construction began on the original Yankee Stadium. The Girl Scouts started making their very first sugar cookies to sell door to door, and Prohibition trudged on. Meanwhile, the year also saw the creation of a much-needed stopover for travelers heading to Yellowstone National Park, a comfortable haven for outdoor adventure in a perfect mountain destination. The resulting Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa celebrates its centennial anniversary this July. Initially called the Two-Gwo-Tee Inn, the Shoshone word for “spear,” the 100-year-old lodge is nestled in the Rocky Mountain wilds of Wyoming adjacent to 300-acre alpine Brooks Lake. That ideal location quickly helped the original remote inn transform into a dude ranch and then into the luxury guest ranch and all-inclusive resort it is today.

“From the beginning, the mission of Brooks Lake Lodge has been to offer guests an out-of-this-world escape where they can engage with the outdoors in ways that allow them to relax and recharge,” says Brooks Lake Lodge General Manager Matthew Tousignant. “The fact that we are now delighted and grateful to celebrate 100 years of hospitality is testament to the continuing need for true immersion in the natural world, which is becoming increasingly difficult but more critical than ever before.”

Hidden away in Shoshone National Forest but within easy driving distance to Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, the 25-acre crowd-free property seamlessly blends its pioneer-era foundation with modern amenities. For instance, the main lodge, constructed in a record four months in a Western Craftsman architectural style in keeping with Yellowstone’s “Parkitecture,” has been carefully preserved. Décor details evoke the grandness of the time – magnificent stone hearths, antler, and wagon-wheel chandeliers, plush leather furniture, stained-glass windows – while simultaneously offering current-day comforts such as sink-into feather beds, state-of-the-art spa treatments, freshly prepared and locally sourced gourmet meals and free Wi-Fi.

The views from the property’s perch at 9,200 feet above sea level just one mile from the North American Continental Divide – and including the Pinnacle Buttes, Austin Peak and Brooks Mountain – could not be more jaw-dropping, inviting visitors into the surrounding natural playground for the range of outdoor adventure that is the hallmark of this all-inclusive getaway. The breathtaking setting with its majestic mountains and endless evergreens even compelled Bryant B. Brooks, the seventh governor of Wyoming and Brooks Lake’s namesake, to write in 1889 upon his discovery of the valley, “Among the fir and pine there glistened a lake … what a sight! I stood closer that day to nature’s heart than ever before.”

Summer and winter activities on the property and in the more than 2 million neighboring acres of pristine national forest and mountain-ringed farmland focus on connecting guests of all ages with the area’s natural abundance and include such authentic and immersive experiences as:

  • Horseback riding along trails and in the arena with experienced wranglers, as well as on glamping-style overnight pack trips complete with backcountry golf, hiking, and fishing; Hiking for all skill levels, from short nature trails to summitting an 11,000-foot peak;Year-round fishing for trout in Brooks Lake, complete with the chance for guests to have their catches brought back to the lodge to be cooked up for dinner; Canoeing around the stunning Brooks Lake; Archery lessons and target practice with expert instructors; Skiing and snowshoeing on miles of groomed trails or into the backcountry; Expert-guided wildlife excursions; Stargazing tours of the pristine Wyoming heavens; and Snowmobiling into the nearby forests, including 2 million acres of scenic terrain.

At day’s end, guests – who are treated to the highest level of service that can only come with a 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio – can enjoy a restorative treatment in the relaxing Rocky Mountain Spa, designed to replicate the National Historic Register of Places-designated main lodge and featuring a tranquility room, dry sauna, fitness center and 11-by-14-foot hot tub with incredible mountain views (spa treatments priced separately). They also can peruse the ever-expanding collection of Western fine art and sculpture before retreating to the handful of lodge rooms – individually decorated with handcrafted lodgepole pine furnishings and goose-down comforters – or private cabins sporting wood-burning stoves and inviting sitting areas, each ensuring a quiet and restful stay.

In addition, all guest meals are included: The chef serves hearty Western breakfasts every morning, filling lunches at noon and gourmet dinner nightly in the homey Great Hall, as well as Governor’s Tea with hors d’oeuvres for a pick-me-up in the cozy, fireplace-centered Tea Room. Meanwhile, the Cowboy Bar within the lodge serves up an extensive selection of spirits along with fun and casual nighttime entertainment, echoing the charming and wholesome atmosphere of a bygone era.

Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa will celebrate its centennial with a grand open-to-the-public party that will take place at the lodge on Saturday July 2, 2022 (check the Brooks Lake Lodge website for details; no overnight reservations are available for July 2).

About Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa
Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, a 100-year-old historic guest ranch is located in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest near Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. Surrounded by evergreen forests next to alpine Brooks Lake, the exclusive, all-inclusive Rocky Mountain resort offers five-star service, luxury accommodations and gourmet dining. The lodge enjoys frequent media acclaim, including as a “Top All-Inclusive Family Resort in the U.S. by Reader’s Digest, and one of the “20 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S” by U.S. News & World Report in 2021, the best place to “Lean into Winter” by Travel + Leisure in 2020 and a 2018 “Best Lake Resort” by National Geographic Traveler. Brooks Lake Lodge is in partnership with Shoshone and Bridger-Teton National Forest and is an equal opportunity employer and provider. For additional information and reservations visit their site or call 866.213.4022. Follow Brooks Lake Lodge on Facebook and Instagram.

Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine

Caliwater Escape

Vanessa Hudgens and Oliver Trevena host a Caliwater Escape in Joshua Tree At The Mojave Moon Ranch. The event was presented by Outdoorsy to launch their new cactus water beverage. The event was filled with VIPs and wellness activities.

By: Joanne Dunn

The Caliwater Escape was hosted by brand co-founders, Vanessa Hudgens and Oliver Trevena. The event was held in Joshua Tree at the Mojave Moon Ranch (a gorgeous estate designed by Morgan Brown) to celebrate the official launch of their new cactus water beverage, Caliwater.

Guests at the weekend-long desert retreat experienced life under the stars while staying in airstreams, campers, and RVs from Outdoorsy

Timeless Vapes were also on hand in a customized RV, offering their clean and effective cannabis medicine vapes to the VIP attendees.

Talented attendees at the exclusive #CaliwaterEscape included actor Ross Butler (Caliwater Investor/Ambassador) along with his fellow “13 Reasons Why” co-stars Alisha Boe, Justin Prentice, Anne Winters, Brandon Flynn, and Brandon Larracuente. Ashlee Simpson Ross and Evan Ross also attended the desert getaway along with Bazzi, Kyra Santoro, Bria Vinaite (“The Florida Project”), Carmela Zumbado (“You”), Dean Geyer and Jillian Murray, Derek Hough and fiance Hayley Erbert (DWTS), Serinda Swan (HBO “Ballers”), Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky/ABC), Zelda Williams, Kat McNamera, Emeraude Toubia, Jazmin Garcia, Alexander Deleon, Hudson Thames, Haley Reinhart, Luke Baines, Bar Malik, Emma Zander, Giden Adlon, Kristina Kane, Ajay Nwoso, Courtney Deitz, Maximilian Acevedo, Amelia Zerbe, Aaron Dominguez, stylist Natalie Saidi, Loreen Hwang, David Brackett, as well as Vanessa’s sister Stella Hudgens, and her mother in attendance to support along with many more VIPs, influencers, and industry notables.

The festive weekend in the desert included DJ sets by Ruckus, Zen Freeman and GG Magree, presented by Resorts World Las Vegas. An incredible performance by Barns Courtney closed out the festivities. Guests danced the night away under the stars and hung poolside all day long. They enjoying delicious cocktails at the Resorts World bar such as the ‘JAJA Caliwater Escape’ from JAJA Tequila, ‘Socali Mojave Mojito’ by SoCal Rum, Calamity Gin and Nue Vodka, and ‘Cali Style’ Desert Mule by Dos Hombres Mezcal. Refreshing white, rose and sparkling rose wines were offered by Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards. The weekend kicked off with a beautiful poolside picnic by The Gypsy Picnic, along with superfood bowls by VitaBowl.

Poolside, attendees changed into eco-friendly fashion-forward footwear styles from Cool Planet. Cool Planet is the new sustainable line by Steve Madden that was made with the earth in mind, and is perfect for the desert vibe.

Caliwater is also officially partnered with No Kid Hungry in their fight to end childhood hunger. Caliwater has pledged to donate $1million by April 2022. Every can sold makes a difference.

The weekend also featured a bevy of wellness and beauty activations such as massages by Artha, featuring transformative skin products and lotions from MIAGE Skincare, group yoga and Cryotherapy Facials also provided by Artha (wellness sanctuary), tarot reading/reiki, sound baths by Mystic Starseed, and more.

Each morning kicked off with coffee by Dragonfly Coffee Roasters, Mean Green juice by VitaJuice, Essentia. There was also a a breakfast burrito bar by Chef Shane Fatemian of Soho House, who catered the entire weekend with delicious food spreads for lunch and dinner. Friday night’s dinner included Shamen Raman’s organic ramen. Craig’s Vegan ice cream cart was also on hand to keep guests refreshed. At the end of the night, Stuffed Puffs provided late-night marshmallow roasting.

The RVS and airstreams by Outdoorsy for weekend guests were fully stocked with Caliwater, snacks by Candy Pop, Take Out Puffs, Vegan Pig Out Pork Rinds, Good Fish, DragonFly Coffee, Volition Beauty SPF, MOBOT, Lasso custom Caliwater socks, MIAGE skincare, Resorts World bar sets, Outdoorsy lanterns, and Plein bath products.

Caliwater is defined by a drive to create innovative, fresh, functional beverages that connect us to the Earth and to one another. Inspired by the lush and varied landscapes of California, Founders Oliver Trevena (Actor/Host/Entrepreneur) and native Californian Vanessa Hudgens (Actress/Music Artist/Influencer and now Entrepreneur) looked to their own desert regions to locally source prickly pear cactus fruit. Their vision is for consumers to sip on Cali in a can. Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, known for its rare and potent healthful properties, is brought to life in their first, brand new, canned beverage product. Caliwater is not only delicious and organic, but super hydrating, refreshing, and filled with rare antioxidants and digestion benefits. Additionally, from every can sold five cents will be donated up to one million dollars to nonprofit No Kid Hungry.  

Caliwater is a functional beverage. The functional benefits of cactus water include being high in antioxidants (which is great for the skin), reduction of cholesterol levels, natural elimination of hangovers, regulation of blood sugar levels, and possession of antiviral properties. Only 25 calories per can, Caliwater is organic, vegan, Kosher, and non-GMO.

The Benefits: Prickly pear is full of antioxidants, which research shows provide a myriad of health and wellness benefits. Early studies have shown evidence of a decrease in cholesterol, specifically LDL (bad) cholesterol. The study showed overall levels dropping significantly. Some research also indicates that prickly pear may provide a complementary solution to regulating blood sugar levels by decreasing regular blood sugar. Prickly pear cactus has natural antiviral properties. Research has found that it has antiviral activity against viral and respiratory diseases, as well as protects nerve cells.

  • Proven hangover release
  • Refreshing and delicious
  • Naturally occurring electrolytes to support hydration
  • Locally + fairly wild-harvested
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Skin revitalizing antioxidants
  • Half the calories and sugars of coconut water
  • Decreases “bad” cholesterol
  • Regulator of blood sugar levels

Head over to their website to order Caliwater for delivery and join their Cali Club for subscription deliveries!!

*The VIP weekend followed all Covid-19 guidelines with pre-testing of guests and on-site protocols.

Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine
Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine
Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine
Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine
Caliwater image via Alexandra Lasky (President + Founder of The influence), all images coutesy of Caliwater. For use by 360 Magazine

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Las Vegas-Based Tour Provider

When Bindlestiff Tours owner Rachel Urban opened the Las Vegas-based adventure tour company nearly 10 years ago, she sought to offer adventurers the most immersive experiences throughout the Southwestern United States, Alaska and Western Canada. In the days leading up to the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours was doing just that. Business was booming and the company welcomed thousands of international visitors each year.

Then borders closed, shutdowns began and the international tourism industry dried up. As reservations were cancelled and trips delayed, many tour operators opted to close their doors entirely. Yet, Bindlestiff made the bold, yet tough, decision to remain open last year as one of the only fully operating national park tour companies in Las Vegas during the height of the pandemic. Today, Bindlestiff continues to fight challenges created by the pandemic while still welcoming drive-market travelers to keep the business afloat.  

“Like many small businesses in the tourism industry, we’re fighting every day to keep our operation running while safeguarding our staff and customers’ health and well-being,” said Urban. 

With group size limits, mask enforcement rules and social distancing guidelines differing state by state, Bindlestiff’s high operating and cleaning costs for their spectacular multi-state tours through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California have risen while the number of guests they are able to accommodate continues to remain restricted. 

Navigating which national parks and campsites are open also presents another obstacle for Bindlestiff Tours. A spike in COVID-19 cases often leads to sudden park or campsite closures or limited access to certain destinations which creates challenges in how Bindlestiff times tours, according to Urban.

Last-minute tour reservations and cancellations also add to the company’s dilemma of planning how many guests they are able to welcome on a given day. 

“While it certainly has been difficult to accommodate travelers visiting Las Vegas on a whim, it brings us such gratitude knowing there are still domestic tourists searching to get away and immerse themselves in nature,” said Urban. 

The immersive tour operator celebrates the small victories such as welcoming travelers from neighboring states, even if group sizes remain small, and continues to offer flexible booking conditions, value tour pricing and additional traveler options. 

Among these additional options are Bindlestiff Tours’ new multi-day, self-driving camping tours and private, custom single- or multi-day tours from Las Vegas.


The self-drive camping tours, also available with hotel upgrades, offer travelers an opportunity to socially distance under the stars. According to Urban, these tours are designed for guests interested in driving to the national parks of the American Southwest on their own, while still receiving expert guidance and an immersive, personalized adventure. 

Guests are provided with all the necessary camping equipment and tour guides assist with camp set-up in scenic locations. Expert tour guides meet guests at key locations throughout the tour and escort groups on remote hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints while providing live interpretive wildlife and nature content throughout the adventure. 

According to Bindlestiff, guides also facilitate evening campfires and locally sourced, fully catered al fresco dining options at camp or for hotel guests. 

To enhance the self-drive experience, Urban says guests can download the recently reconfigured Bindlestiff Tours mobile app. Now featuring tour narrations in English for domestic travelers in addition to multiple languages for international visitors, the app allows travelers to access additional details, instruction and information.


For families or groups of friends of four or more interested in experiencing national parks in a more intimate setting, Bindlestiff also offers private, custom tour options. These tour packages are pre-made and offer exclusive one-on-one attention from a dedicated, expert local guide. Guests may select day tours or multi-day outdoor camping tours or the comfort of hotel accommodation. Guides escort groups on a completely private tour throughout the experience. Guests have the option to choose from classic itineraries or request a custom-tailored tour and add on other areas of interest, according to Urban. 

Despite the overall decrease in travelers resulting from the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours understands the importance of continuing to provide vacationers with spectacular opportunities to visit some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks when they are ready to travel again.

“During the height of the shutdown last year, we were one of the only fully operating tour providers in Las Vegas,” said Urban. “We understand the importance of offering travelers expert guides for incredible experiences they’ll never forget, especially during such a difficult time. It truly brings our team joy.” 

As Bindlestiff continues to expand its tour offerings when more people begin to travel again, the challenges of remaining viable and laying the foundation for recovery in a post-COVID economy remains present. This year, Bindlestiff is excited to launch “glamping” tours that allow families and private groups the peace of the great outdoors paired with more elevated living accommodations.

According to Urban, the tour company remains hopeful about the future. She said guests booking trips with Bindlestiff this year have felt reassured about their health and safety – some even going as far as sharing their uplifting experiences on social media. 

“Our company is beyond grateful we have remained open throughout these challenging times to welcome those searching to get out of their houses and into the wilderness,” said Urban.

For more information about private custom tours and self-drive tours, visit www.bindlestifftours.com

Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, illustration

Natural Lithuania Attractions

Historically a forest country, Lithuania has much to offer travellers looking for sustainable outdoor adventure. Under-the-radar wonders of nature draw into new experiences perfect for adventure-seekers looking for ways to safely travel.

“We are a forest country,” explained Indrė Trakimaitė-Šeškuvienė, Head of Marketing at Lithuania Travel. “Forest is an important symbol of Lithuanian history and culture. Despite industrial development of the 19-20th centuries, we have preserved large spaces of natural forest. With the rise of eco-tourism these locations are turning into sites of meditation, natural health practice and other ways to achieve the deeper sense of unity with nature.”

Eco-tourism is on the rise and people who decide to travel in post-quarantine world are looking for nature experiences rather than big cities. Here are seven amazing outdoor attractions in the lush forests of Lithuania, according to Lithuania Travel.

  • Herb picking: In North-Eastern Lithuania, in the forest-surrounded town of Anykščiai, professional herbalist Ramūnas Daugelavičius combines traditional Lithuanian experience with knowledge of other cultures and scientific methods to provide unique experience of herbs. From herb picking for spices to special tea ceremonies, fire rituals and seed root coffee, travelers can follow the Lithuanian tradition.
  • Butterfly and dragonfly watching: Lithuania is the only place in the world where dragonflies are professionally monitored and marked.At Ventė ornithology station, the secrets of dragonfly migration are only now being uncovered. Not far from the station, in the Western part of Lithuania, ecotourism enthusiast Daiva Stanislovaitienė offers butterfly, dragonfly and bird watching trips combined with cozy stay in a comfortable villa.
  • Forest bathing: The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is a way to heal and restore the human spirit, which tires of work and rush of the technology-dominated world. For example, a certified guide of shinrin-yoku Mila Monk gives both private and group tours in different Lithuanian forests which visitors can join in on. 
  • The largest dreamcatcher in the world: Those with serious nightmares should visit the pine forest in Asveja regional park in Eastern Lithuania. The dreamcatcher is located in the territory of the eco-resort Golden Forest. The resort also houses a forest labyrinth of four elements which can be passed only using the intuition, and holds the annual Masters of Calm festival for active and conscious community.
  • The forest gramophone: The forest sound catcher may be found in the Curonian Spit – the natural seaside reservation in the Western Lithuania. Here, a 3 meters high gramophone-like construction enhances the natural sounds of forest which visitors can spend about half an hour inside.
  • The forest dunes: Sand dunes are the usual sight of the Baltic seaside, but, some of them are located far from the sea and deep in the forests. In the pine forests of South-Eastern Lithuania, the dunes totally transform the landscape and provide unique experience of the raw nature.
  • Meteorite crater: 165 million years ago a huge meteorite landed near Vepriai in Central Lithuania. Now, visitors can explore the site by biking along one of the many routes across the crater.

The deep, green and magic Lithuanian forest is the place to enjoy peace and solitude traveling on foot, by bike or by camper. Now, with the necessary cautions for traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, a forest-filled oasis like Lithuania is a perfect spot for globetrotters.

Whale watching, San Diego, food, travel, adventure, 360 MAGAZINE

Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour

Five-year Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award Winner Baja AirVentures offers an active travel program completely unique to the world of adventure travel. No other tour operator combines the best opportunities for marine mammal encounters on both sides of the Baja peninsula in one all-inclusive six-day ground and air-supported package. 
 
The 6-day/5-night Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour departs weekly from Feb.3 through April 11, 2020. The all-inclusive per person rate, including round trip private air carriage from San Diego across the peninsula and back, is $3,695 (exclusive of 13% IVA Mexican tax and 3% Marine Park entrance fee).
 
The package includes private roundtrip air from San Diego with ample opportunity for aerial flightseeing, Pacific whale watching in Scammons Lagoon by motorized panga, two nights at a B&B in the Mexican hamlet of Guerrero Negro and three nights of total seclusion at Baja AirVentures’ Las Animas beachside eco-lodge a scenic hour’s boat ride south of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez.
 
“The unique combination of seeing marine mammals on both coasts of the peninsula is something no other whale watching operator in Baja is able to offer in one itinerary,” says Kevin Warren, founder and owner of Baja AirVentures. “In fact, the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures from a bird’s eye perspective is a thrill and rarity in itself.”
 
According to Warren, through conservation efforts, the Grey whale population in the Pacific continues to rebound and grow. Last year saw a new record with over 1,800 breeding adults and babies sited at Ojo de Libre (Scammons Lagoon). This prime location has the largest concentration of the Grey whales on the planet.
 
After departing from San Diego in a private plane for Scammons Lagoon, participants spend the better part of three days scanning and interacting with migrating California Gray whales by boat. This is where guests often get to actually “pet friendly whales” in their natural environment. Two nights are enjoyed at a cozy B&B in the small village of Guerrero Negro. Days Four and Five are spent desert hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea lions and dolphins. Boat excursions from Las Animas provide an added opportunity to view several types of whales, including Blue and Fin whales (the two largest species in the world).
 
A recent guest had this to say on Trip Advisor about their intimate encounters with the Grey whales, “The small-plane flights alone, with one pilot and five passengers, were a treat. Once on the water of Scammons Lagoon, we did not merely ‘watch’ wales! Instead, our skiff was at times surrounded by these magnificent creatures. Playful and seemingly curious calves met out-stretched hands, allowing themselves to be stroked and patted, while their enormous mothers swam watchfully close by.”
 
After crossing the peninsula via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Valley of the Cirios (Valle de los Cirios), a large wildlife protection area filled with exotic Cirio cactus, guests arrive in Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) on the Sea of Cortez. A boat transfer follows, past bird-filled deserted islands and bays to Las Animas Wilderness Ecolodge. The only boat-in ecolodge along the entire coast Las Animas is a remote, eco-friendly property that accommodates up to 16 guests in eight romantic and private beach-side yurts equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable queen- and king-sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main palapa which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space.
 
The all-inclusive tour price of $3,695 includes double occupancy B&B and yurt accommodations, roundtrip air from San Diego, naturalist guided outings and lectures, boat transportation, healthy homemade meals, beverages (including beer and margaritas) and such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing and hiking.
 
For details on the Best of Baja tour call 1-800-221-9283 or visit online:
http://www.bajaairventures.com/bestofbaja/
 
For information on other adventure packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures please go to: http://www.bajaairventures.com/.

Tamara Yomour, illustration, japan, miyagi, 360 MAGAZINE

Miyagi Prefecture

From its dramatic coastline cliffs to its picturesque mountain ranges, Japan’s lesser-known Miyagi Prefecture boasts some of the country’s best terrain and natural environments for adventure travel and fitness aficionados.

As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom across Japan this spring, Miyagi will get ready to host two of the biggest marathons in the country. The Tohoku Food Marathon in Tome City is one of the biggest events in the region with hundreds of participants, including many from overseas. Inspired by France’s whimsical Marathon du Medoc, the multifaceted event features participants in costumes from their favorite shows and video games. The marathon events begin on April 25, 2020 with a relay marathon, followed by a full marathon, half marathon and several smaller races for teenagers and children on the April 26, 2020. Multiple food festivals are held in conjunction with the races, allowing runners and spectators to sample regional delicacies including over a hundred varieties of sake.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the Sendai International Half Marathon will be held in Miyagi’s capital on May 10, 2020. The annual marathon hosts over 10,000 runners from around the world. The route begins in Kohshin Rubber Athlete Park, traversing the city’s parks, lush avenues and stadiums. The race has several divisions, including 5K and 2K races, and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.

From the big cities to the picturesque landscapes of mountains and forests, Miyagi’s title as the “Land of Contrasts” comes from the prefecture’s incredibly varied environments. One of the best way to experience its diversity is by hiking the Michinoku Coast Trail, one of Japan’s longest hiking trails. This 560-plus-mile trek runs from Fukushima to the Aomori Prefecture, passing through four of Miyagi’s inner regions. The most sought-after hiking location is the Northern Kesennuma Section on the Sanriku Coast, which features a scenic rocky coastline and the Ogama Hanzo Monolith and Dairiseki Coast, a shore composed of natural marble. 

Along the trail, hikers can take a break at Matsushima Bay, one of the great views of Japan, and paraglide along the bay’s iconic islands. At Shobutahama Beach, Takeshige Yamaya, a three-time paragliding national champion, offers tandem paragliding experiences. These experiences last around twenty minutes and offer incredible bird’s eye views of Matsushima Bay and, at higher heights, the city of Sendai and Mount Zao.

While the Michinoku Coast Trail and Matsushima Bay provide the best views along the coast, the Zao Hill Climb Eco event on May 24, 2020 is one of the best ways to see Mount Zao. Every spring, Miyagi Prefecture hosts this mountain biking tournament on two of Mount Zao’s roads: the Zao Echo Line and the Zao High Line. The challenging courses reach an altitude of 43,000 feet and a total length of 11.6 miles, starting from green terrain and ending at the snowy mountaintop. While many participants race, others go at their own pace to admire the incredible landscapes of Miyagi, including a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Asahi Mountain Range (only accessible from the peak).

North of Mount Zao, the Onikobe Ski Resort offers the best ski runs with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes and boasts the longest ungroomed powder run in Miyagi. Skiers can also hit the slopes after dark, as night skiing is offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of the lodges feature on-site onsens – a cozy way to unwind after an eventful day of skiing.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com

Morro Bay, 360 MAGAZINE

Morro Bay – Holiday Activities

Have a Nautical Holiday in Morro Bay: Citywide Crab Pot Tree Lighting, Lighted Boat Parade Weekend, Artisan Shopping along the Embarcadero & Paddling Fun in the Bay

Whatever Morro Bay creates, they do it in their own style. This goes for holiday events, gifts for everyone on your list, and fun new ways to get moving outdoors! Brimming with 15 holiday trees made from old crab pots, brightly decorated boats sailing the harbor, and Santa Claus hanging out in his house on the waterfront Embarcadero, Morro Bay celebrates its true nautical roots during this festive period. 

This year the Friends of the Harbor Department will build a huge Crab Pot tree made of commercial crab pots on the waterfront in Anchor Park.  Anchor park is in the heart of the Embarcadero with uninterrupted views of the bay and Morro Rock – perfect for the family holiday photo-op.  

Getting out of town during the holidays can offer a much-needed change of pace, and the chance to make completely new and unforgettable holiday memories.  Take part in any of the Morro Bay holiday events during December, complete your holiday shopping in Morro Bay’s unique boutiques, and find the perfect outdoor activity for everyone in your family along the Embarcadero.    

Winterfest 2019 Events

Visit Santa’s House
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday | December 6 – 22, 2019
Santa’s coming to the Embarcadero! Come visit and get a picture with Jolly ol’ Saint Nick.  Take a photo with St Nick with you, your kids or your fur-kids at no charge. You can find the man of the season in his house located next to the Giant Chess Board on the Embarcadero every weekend in December until Christmas. Hot coco and snacks will be available for purchase by various non-profit organizations.

City Wide Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration
December 6, 2019 | Beginning at 3:30 pm | City Park & City Wide
Starting at 3:30 pm in City Park, enjoy holiday performances and festive treats.  There’s a chance to visit with Santa, and of course the main event…the lighting of the City Park tree for the holidays. Crab pot trees throughout town will also be lit, so after the celebration explore the village and see if you can find them all. 

Lighted Boat Parade Weekend! Participate or just enjoy the fun.

Friday Night Lights
December 6, 2019 | 6 – 8 pm | Embarcadero
Make your dinning reservation for a night of great food and holiday sights as local large vessels and commercial boats cruise up and down the Embarcadero waterway.  U.S, Coast Guard Cutter, Pappagallo, Chablis, Black Pearl, Sub Sea vessels 1 and 2, Morro Bay Harbor Patrol and the crowd pleaser Bonnie Marie. The parade of holiday spirit starts at dusk. A local affair, Friday Night Lights is brought to you by these waterfront restaurants: Blue Sky Bistro, Dutchman’s Seafood House, , Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley, Hofbrau, The Libertine Pub, Port House, Toggnazini’s, STAX Wine Bar & Bistro, Window’s on the Water. Be sure to call and make reservations in advance! The public is welcome to join in the fun with their lighted vessels from 6-8 pm but this is not the official lighted parade.

Lighted Boat Parade
December 7, 2019 | 6 – 8 pm | Embarcadero
Don’t miss the 34th Annual Lighted Boat Parade along the waterfront. The Morro Bay fishing, leisure, and yachting community compete for cash prizes by stringing up mesmerizing lights that celebrate holiday cheer.  It’s the night to celebrate holiday wonder along the Embarcadero. The parade is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Morro Bay. Watch from a waterfront hotel room, restaurant or on a commercial vessel offering tours. Register your own boat for a chance to win! 

Holiday Paddle Parade
December 8, 2019 | 11 am – 1 pm | Embarcadero
The 3rd year of the non-motorized paddle parade rounds out a great weekend of festive parades on the bay. Open for anyone to join, Kayaks, Standup Paddleboards, small sailboats, surfboards, or any craft that floats take to the water. Sign-up to paddle a vessel for a chance to win cash prizes or come watch the spectacle and feel the holiday spirit. Either way, costumes, boat décor, and lots of fun are in store!  The Annual Paddle Parade is brought to you by The Rock community radio station – a local Morro Bay non-profit. All funds raised from the paddle go to support the station. Your Grand Marshall on the water will be The Paddleboard Co owners Sandi and Ken Twist. To register click here.

Locally Made Artisan Holiday Shopping #morrobaymakers 

If you’re looking for gifts outside the big-name box shopping centers, discover Morro Bay’s artisan makers. From handmade glass beads, craft olive oils, baked goods to custom leather goods and fresh saltwater taffy, Morro Bay has a distinct #craftculture and is filled with unique products that make great gifts for the holidays. Click here for more holiday shopping ideas!

Fantastic #OutdoorGoals Holiday Destination

If you like to travel, get out and make waves in the winter, Morro Bay is your holiday destination! Mild weather and an abundance of outdoor activities keep locals and visitors moving and shaking over the holidays. From hiking, cycling and kayaking, to kite surfing or paddleboard yoga, there is an adventure to suit everyone in your active family. Check out these #outdoorgoals video shorts!

Click here to find rates and availability!

For more travel information follow Morro Bay Tourism on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.
 

About Morro Bay
A true #outdoorhub, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a fun and funky getaway for travelers who seek great wine, seafood and outdoor adventures filled with wildlife watching. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California.  From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone. 

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Pinterest.