Tag Archives: eco-travel

Alaska Fishing Lodges: The Lodge at Steamboat Bay

Steamboat Bay
Steamboat Bay

When I was a kid, my father used to take me fishing for rainbow trout. It’s one of my favorite memories to date. The casting of the line, the waiting for a bite, the cleaning of the fish, perhaps my least favorite part, but memorable and at one with nature, nonetheless.

I’ve never been to Alaska, but I do know this. If I go, you bet I’ll be fishing. Steamboat Bay Fishing Club came across our radar when we heard they were expanding their accommodation offerings with the addition of The Residence at Steamboat Bay, available to book for the 2015 summer season. Completed February 2015, the new eight-bedroom manor will join The Lodge at Steamboat Bay, inviting an additional eight guests (increasing the total guest count to 24) to indulge in luxury amenities at the closest lodge to the best fishing in southeast Alaska. The 2015 season (mid-June to mid-August) also brings to the Club a new fishing fleet of custom-built 27’ heated cabin cruisers each equipped with a livewell and dual outboard engines. The new fleet provides guests with an upgraded boating experience, including more deck space, an onboard head, and satellite radio. Sounds like a facing party, doesn’t it? Exclusively located on Noyes Island near Ketchikan, just a 90-minute flight from Seattle, The Residence at Steamboat Bay is adjacent the original Lodge.

A Room at the Residence
A Room at the Residence

Like the Lodge, the Residence features iconic Steamboat Bay styling including Native American artwork and artisan hand-crafted construction using island timbers, local stones and antique materials reclaimed from the island’s original seafood cannery. The new Residence also has something particularly cool: a transparent floor showcasing views of the salmon stream that runs beneath the house! Residential-style oceanfront and forest view accommodations with en-suite bathrooms, a comfortable Great Room featuring a large wood burning fireplace (because you can’t have a lodge without a fireplace), and its own hot tub on the Residence’s spacious deck overlooking the bay are other super fine lodge lovin’ features.

Getting toasty by the fire
Getting toasty by the fire

Guests at The Residence get complete access to the services and amenities at the nearby Lodge, including a made-to-order cocktail reception at the hosted open bar, fine made-to-order Alaskan cuisine, on-site therapeutic massage, bay kayaks, a sauna styled after a traditional Slavic banya, and more. Not bad for a fishing club that hosts novice and experienced anglers alike to enjoy the region’s best-guided salt-water Alaskan sport fishing, while exhilarating in spectacular coastlines and wildlife. This premier location is just minutes from the best fishing spots for trophy-sized wild Alaska King Salmon (Chinook), Silver Salmon (Coho), Halibut, Lingcod, Yelloweye Rockfish and more than 20 other abundant species. To ensure an exclusive experience for guests, Steamboat Bay Fishing Club will reserve booking The Residence for travelers that bring up to eight guests in addition to accommodating sixteen at The Lodge.

I’m hungry now. You too?


Prana del Mar: Eco-Resort

Eco-Retreat, Baja: Prana del Mar

Prana del Mar

We love the sound of this brand new eco-resort and we’re proud to say that we’re one of the first to cover it. We sure feel special. But not nearly as special as you’ll feel all holed up in this deluxe eco-resort and yoga retreat center.

Featuring 15 spacious rooms and suites, each one with polished travertine-tiled floors, custom-made Indonesian teak and rattan furniture, pillow-top mattresses, organic sheets and bath towels, balconies and terraces with ocean views. All seven of their two-room suites also feature full stainless steel and granite kitchens. What else does your weary soul need?

Beyond their accommodations, they also have a Community Building with full restaurant and bar, lap pool and hot tub, spa treatment rooms, lounges, rooftop deck, and meditation room. For those seeking a little pampering, spa services include several styles of massage, body wraps, scrubs, reflexology, aromatherapy, and more.

A separate building houses their 1850 square-foot yoga studio with its airy palapa roof, honey-colored bamboo floor, and vista of the Pacific to the west and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to the east. Take all that and five acres of xeriscaped gardens featuring native desert trees, plants, succulents, and a stone labyrinth for quiet contemplation and you’ve got yourself a solitary stretch of OM-nipotent golden sand and crashing waves all to your disposal.

Prana del Mar's Fine Rooms

All this does not come at the expense of sustainability though. All electricity is solar-powered (166 solar panels!), all wastewater is treated on-site and reused to irrigate the gardens. The salt water pool is solar-heated, the vegetable garden organic, the floor of the yoga studio is strand-woven bamboo, and all sheets and bath towels are organic. We think Prana del Mar is the future of sustainable travel so big up’s to them.

For a list of upcoming events, check out their Calendar: http://pranadelmar.com/calendar2011.html

Pricing differs depending upon the retreat, but starts as low as $1500 and includes 7-nights accommodations, all meals, roundtrip airport transfers, and taxes.

Nicaragua: Private Island Pilates Retreat

Nicaragua Beach Pilates Retreat: Jicaro Island Ecolodge

This just in, kiddos.

Now who’s taking me?

Jan. 29 – Feb. 4, 2011

Alycea Ungaro, celebrated author, celebrity trainer and wellness expert, will host Real Wellness, a private island retreat in Nicaragua. Real wellness will take place at Jicaro Island Ecolodge Nicaragua, a tranquil, 500 square meter private island in the Granada Islestas from January 29 to February 4, 2011.

Developed by Ungaro, the retreat is based upon her signature Principles of Wellness. Attendees will experience an immersion of healthy eating, exercise and wellness training. Known for motivating some of the world’s leading A-list celebrities at her Tribeca studio, Real Pilates in New York City, in addition to twice daily Pilates practice, each day, students will be guided through the teachings taken from her soon to be released book, The Pilates Practice Companion. Since the program was created to forge a foundation for sustainable and realistic lifestyle changes, customized take-home workouts and nutritional planning will be created for each participant. Through a combination of nutrition and learning, the group will gain knowledge that translates to life-changing possibilities for health and well-being. Jicaro, a secluded getaway,named in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 Hot List, the private island is ideal for relaxation or an out of the ordinary wellness vacation. Jicaro’s Eco-luxury accommodations offer the perfect refuge for relaxation and renewal designed in harmony with nature. Guest suites also provide an exceptional experience within the lush tropical forest.
I could really use an eco-luxury private island pilates retreat, couldn’t you?
Alycea Ungaro, Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire

Package Includes:

6-night accommodations at JICARO ISLAND ECOLODGE

Roundtrip ground transportation (Managua Airport to AQUA)

2x Daily Group Pilates Sessions with Alycea

All organic meals

Guided nature walk, lake kayaking, visit to local school

Package Pricing:

Single (Master Studio Accommodation) – US $2795

Double (Penthouse Accommodation) – US $2450


Panama… Pana-ma-ma

Panama's La Amistad Bird Sanctuary

Oh, we sure love la selva and, let’s be real, it’ll always get better if we invest our dollars to visit nature’s finest jungle reserves. That’s what keeps ’em reserves.
Plus, who doesn’t love Central American life?
Great food, warm people, nature, and plenty of crazy history. To that end, this just in from a little birdie’s mouth. Check out:

Panamá, La Amistad Bird Sanctuary
La Amistad was declared by UNESCO to be a Natural World Heritage Site in 1983. Spread out between Panama and Costa Rica, the sanctuary covers a whopping 207,000 hectares of forests on Panamanian soil (of which 95% are located in the province of Bocas del Toro and the other 5% in Chiriquí). One of the most popular attractions of this park is its potential for bird watching, given that about 425 species of the 925 bird species located in Panama have been identified in this area alone. In this amazing natural reserve, travelers can watch the illusive resplendent quetzal and the harpy eagle. The park also offers the opportunity to be in contact with the indigenous communities of the Teribe and explore ecological trails like La Cascada and El Retoño. With an array of ecosystems such as cloud forest, coral reefs, mangrove forests, and the unique paramo, Amistad/Bocas del Toro is rich in biological and cultural diversity: it is the most culturally and ethnically diverse region where Panama’s indigenous Afro-Caribbean, BriBri, Ngöbe, Naso, Cabecar and Latino ethnic groups live. I had a chance to hike into the jungle and have lunch the Bribri. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life  – complete with fresh fish eaten out of a banana leaf.

A Bribri Shaman

La Amistad International Park is also the perfect place for travelers who enjoy river adventures and mountain hikes through dense, humid forests.

The Teribe and Changuinola Rivers are the life blood of this ancient forest and offer endless opportunities for site seeing, forest travel, and adventure. Just remember: this area is located 2000 meters (6,000 ft.) above sea level, its also important to be prepared for the altitude.
How to get there
From Panama City, you can fly (1 hour) or by land (6 hours) to David, the third largest city of Panama and the capital of the province of Chiriqui. Once you’re there, you take a ride to Cerro Punta that is 1 hour from David. From Cerro Punta to the Administration Center of the park (Las Nubes) is another 5 kilometers by car.

Where to stay
Near the park, you can find three towns that provide hotels, banks, health centers, transportation and guides to the different attractions of the park:

Volcan in Chiriqui
Cerro Punta
David City

Here is a list of lodgings at David, unfortunately most of them don’t have a website, but you can contact them and get a quote at the following site: http://panamatoptravel.com/en/ficha_hot.php?idhotel=6

Most of these hotels are 3 or 4 stars, clean, simple accommodations:

Alcala Hotel
Gran Nacional Hotel
Occidental Hotel
Iberia Hotel
Iris Hotel

You can also find more luxurious accommodations such as:

Las Olas Beach Resort

Volcan is a small, beautiful town located in the mountains of the Chiriqui province, just beside the Baru volcano.
In the town of Volcan, you can find hotels like the Bambito Hotel or fully equiped mountain cabins like Las Huacas or Kucikas Cabines.

Bambito Hotel: $264.00/night
Las Huacas Cabines: 1 or 2 bedroom cabins from $85 to $125/night
Kucikas Cabines (Bambito): $70 to $165

Cerro Punta is a small and beautiful village located in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province Cerro Punta, the newest tourism destination of Panama, with amazing landscapes, abundance of natural resources and cool climate. So, with that in mind, here are some other places to visit within the stunning region:
Finca Dracula Orchids Farm
Los Quetzales Trail
Baru Volcano National Park