Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Lokal Travel Launches the Ultimate Sustainable Travel Sale

Exciting news! I’ve teamed up with Lokal Travel to share their Ultimate Sustainable Travel Sale. For the next month Lokal is offering discounted gift cards and deals on unique bucketlist adventures, so you can give (or receive) the gift of meaningful travel. From expeditions in the Amazon with indigenous guides to stays in family-run guesthouses in the Himalayas, Lokal makes it easy to book hundreds of incredible trips that support local communities, protect nature and preserve cultural traditions. Through Third Eye Mom you’re getting early access and month long deals to Lokal’s launch specials. Deals include:

  • $100 Gift Card for $50
  • $1,000 Gift Card and custom trip plan for $750
  • Over 30% off a Costa Rica Jungle and Community Adventure (which I did this past January and it was amazing!).
  • Lots more!

Lokal Travel, a platform that allows intrepid travelers to book immersive local experiences and adventures around the world has launched an incredible Indiegogo campaign. From November 12-December 12, 2017, the campaign is offering extraordinary travel adventures that will help Lokal launch in ten new countries and support 1,000 inspiring local business. It is a brilliant concept and as a traveler who has experienced one of Lokal’s life-changing trips this past January to the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, I am getting itchy feet just sitting here reading about the amazing deals!

From expeditions in the Amazon with indigenous guides to stays in family-run guesthouses in the Himalayas, Lokal makes it easy to book hundreds of incredible trips that support local livelihoods, protect nature and preserve cultural traditions. Better yet, at Lokal over 80% of every dollar you spend goes directly to independent, locally-run and vetted travel businesses who are creating amazing experiences and real benefits for communities. Pretty fantastic!

Here is more information on this exciting sale and a few of my photos from my past trip to get you wanting to click on over now and book your next adventure.

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Canoeing down a private lagoon was one of the many highlights I had during my week in the Osa.

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

TRAVEL

Watching the Sunrise over the Osa Peninsula

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed”. –  Walt Whitman

After my invigorating bath in a nearby jungle waterfall, it was time to go back to Xiña’s’ cabin and relax a little before dinner. We were going to have an early night as our alarm clock would go off at 3:30 am for a pre-dawn hike up to the top of the jungle to watch the sunrise over the Osa Peninsula.

Xiña’s’ sister Nuria prepared our meal in the rustic cabin kitchen over a wood-burning fire and served us pasta with the vegetables we brought from Puerto Jimenez. We ate by candlelight since her cabin has no electricity and then spent the rest of the evening on our own. I sat on a hammock under the canopy of darkening trees and closed my eyes and listened. I was amazed by all the changing sounds of the jungle. From the continual buzz of the cicadas to the rustling of leaves and branches somewhere high above in the trees, it was a riotous symphony of sounds.

At first it was difficult for me to just sit there because as an active person it is always hard for me to be still. My body and mind seem to crave movement.  Yet once the lights were out for the night, it forced me to embrace the peace and tranquility of the jungle and fully, slowly unwind and relax. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

After a little while, I decided to change positions and left my hammock to move to a new place. Josue placed one of his handmade wooden chairs onto a platform that launches out into the jungle. He laid the chair back for me and told me to just listen. And I did. It was a surprisingly delightful experience somewhat like a deep meditation that made every inch of my body soft and warm. I closed my eyes and let the sounds of the jungle penetrate my soul.

Adventure Travel Central America Costa Rica Osa Peninsula TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION TRAVEL RESOURCES

An Overnight Stay in the Heart of the Jungle: Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre

“Look for the bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife”. – Baloo, The Jungle Book

We slowly drove down the narrow dirt road through Dos Brazos de Tigre until we reached a grouping of small wooden homes at the edge of the vast rainforest jungle. At the end was a one-bedroom house with green and red flowered curtains. It was Xiña’s house, our host, for the next twenty-four hours.

We parked the Land Cruiser, grabbed our day packs and knocked on the door. Xiña greeted us with an enormous smile and welcomed us to her home. Inside an adorable neighbor girl in pigtails was sitting shyly on the couch watching a Chinese soap opera dubbed in Spanish. I couldn’t help but laugh at the hilarity of it all. I smiled even brighter when I asked her name and she replied “Me llamo Nicole“. “Me llamo Nicole tambien” I replied.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Xiña was dressed in shorts, knee-high wool socks, calf-length mud boots and a pink tank top. Her long black hair was pulled tightly back in a braid. Besides a wrist watch, the only piece of jewelry on her was a homemade necklace with a red and black seed found in the jungle. Her warm, charismatic smile made me instantly like her and feel at ease. I had no idea what was in store for me over the next day!

p1120208-1

Xiña standing outside her home in Dos Brazos de Tigre

p1110998-20

Xiña displays her new handmade sign for her mountain cabin open to tourists, “Descanso La Pizota”. “Descanso” means “a place of rest” and “pizota” is the indigenous word for coatimundi.

We sat down next to pequeña Nicole and drank a glass of homemade lemonade, its bittersweet tang resting pleasantly on my tongue. Xiña and Eytan conversed in rapid fire Spanish while I desperately tried to follow along. Meanwhile, Xiña’s sister Nuria gathered up our food for the next lunch, dinner and breakfast, and placed it into a rucksack. Despite only being a few years older, Nuria looked much older than her younger sister whose fit shape, sturdy legs and youthful air reflected a certain joie de vivre of life in the jungle.

Xiña and her sister who lives in Puerto Jimenez and will be our cook for the next day.

Xiña and her sister Nuria who lives in Puerto Jimenez and will be our cook for the next day.

Shortly after ten, we were out the door and ready to begin our hour and a half hike up through the rainforest to Xiña’s cabin which she proudly named “Descanso El Pizote” after the infamous Coatimundi (indigenous name pizote) a raccoon-like animal that is common in the jungle. If we were lucky, we would possibly see one on our hike today.

Adventure Travel Central America Costa Rica Osa Peninsula TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION TRAVEL RESOURCES

The Journey Begins: My Adventure to the Osa Peninsula

“May the sun bring you energy by day, may the moon softly restore you at night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength onto your being, may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.” – Apache Blessing

Gently pushing off the southern tip of Costa Rica lies the beautifully pristine Osa Peninsula, a magical paradise of untouched virgin rain forests, deserted beaches and rural communities relatively hidden from mainstream tourism. Named by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth,” the Osa Peninsula is a treasure trove of land, water, and life hosting 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity within an area of just 700 square miles.

It is here where conservationist and filmmaker Eytan Elterman and his good friend photographer Marco Bollinger lived for five months to produce the award-winning documentary “2.5 %  – The Osa Peninsula”. This experience changed the course of their lives and inspired them to create Lokal, an online booking platform and marketplace for community-based rural tourism in remote places around the world.

It was my interview with Lokal’s co-founder Eytan Elterman that would inspire me to join Lokal on their first ever week-long adventure in the Osa Peninsula, rewarding me with the unique opportunity to immerse myself in local life, culture and nature in one of the most magical places on the planet. I would travel to places few tourists have ever seen, and spend a week bathing in waterfalls, swimming in the sea and hiking in the deepest parts of the rainforest. I confess it would be even an adventure for an adventurous girl. Yet I was ready.

p1120687-1

The Osa Peninsula has the largest population of scarlet macaws in all of Costa Rica.

Osa Peninsula

Swimming in crystal clear waterfalls is a must in the Osa Peninsula.

Adventure Travel Costa Rica TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION

Lokal Travel’s Upcoming Epic Trips to the Osa Peninsula

Quietly pushing off the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica lies the beautifully pristine Osa Peninsula, a magical paradise of untouched primitive rain forests, deserted beaches and rural communities relatively hidden to mainstream tourism. Known for its conservation efforts and robust ecotourism industry, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet with over 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity in less than one millionth of the Earth’s surface area.

It is here where conservationist and filmmaker Eytan Elterman and his good friend photographer Marco Bollinger lived for five months to produce the award-wining documentary “2.5 %  – The Osa Peninsula” that would change the course of their lives and inspire them to create Lokal, an online booking platform and marketplace for community-based tourism in remote places around the world. Lokal is unique in that it also helps support the local economy and protect the environment by offering ways for locals to embrace sustainable, responsible tourism.

One of the many colors found in Costa Rica's biodiverse rain forests. Photo credit: Lokal Travel

One of the many colors found in Costa Rica’s biodiverse rain forests. Photo credit: Lokal Travel

I wrote about Lokal back in July when I first learned about their amazing, unique platform for local travel opportunities in some of the most remote places in Costa Rica. I have been in love with their work ever since and a colleague of mine, Kelley Louise, the Executive Director of Travel+SocialGood recently went on a trip with Lokal describing it as one of the best trips she has done in a long time.

Lokal Co-Founder Dave Koken embarking on a traditional 'ox cart' ride through the community of Cedral in the highlands of Southern Costa Rica. Cedral offers hiking, visits to an indigenous cemetery, waterfalls, tours of their coffee plantation and coffee roasting factory, and overnight accommodations in a guesthouse.

Lokal Co-Founder Dave Koken embarking on a traditional ‘ox cart’ ride through the community of Cedral in the highlands of Southern Costa Rica. Cedral offers hiking, visits to an indigenous cemetery, waterfalls, tours of their coffee plantation and coffee roasting factory, and overnight accommodations in a guesthouse.

Lokal represents a unique kind of travel opportunity to experience local life in untouched, remote and rural areas around the world. Places that most travelers would never ever dream of experiencing and a much needed income to preserve a way of life. All trips work to support local communities by putting money directly into the hands of locals and supporting work to preserve natural and cultural heritage. Generally, only 5% of money spent by tourism around the world goes back into local hands however with Lokal Travel 80% of the money is reinvested back into the community. It is a fantastic way to promote sustainable, responsible travel.

Getting to visit the Osa Peninsula Lokal-style is bound to be one of the most unique, inspiring trips ever, and luckily Lokal Travel is offering two one-of-a-kind epic week-long adventures for those conscious, adventurous travelers who want to get a taste for going local.

Lokal Co-Founder Eytan Elterman visting the Seacacar community tourism project in Guatemala. Seacacar offers tubing through the El Boqueron river as well as hiking and overnight accommodations at the local ecolodge.

Lokal Co-Founder Eytan Elterman visting the Seacacar community tourism project in Guatemala. Seacacar offers tubing through the El Boqueron river as well as hiking and overnight accommodations at the local ecolodge.

I wish desperately I could go as I’d be there in a heartbeat. I wanted to let you know about the trips in case you or someone else you know is interested in signing up. There is also a discount offered below. Here are the details. 

Adventure Travel Central America Costa Rica TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION

Lokal Travel: Connecting conscious travelers with unique local experiences

“In a remote and lush corner of southern Costa Rica lies a realm of giant trees, potbellied spider monkeys, harpy eagles, prowling jaguars and herds of white-lipped peccary. This is on the last places on Earth where virgin rainforest grows right to the high tide line, and a visitor might walk for hours – or days – along its isolated coast without meeting a single person. This the Osa Peninsula and there is no other place in the world like it.” – Trond Larsen, Osa: Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea

Quietly pushing off the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica lies the beautifully pristine Osa Peninsula, a magical paradise of untouched primitive rain forests, deserted beaches and rural communities relatively hidden to mainstream tourism. Known for its conservation efforts and robust ecotourism industry, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet with over 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity in less than one millionth of the Earth’s surface area. However, recent plans to open up an international airport threaten the very beauty, uniqueness and ecological diversity of this place both to its inhabitants and its flora and fauna. Sadly, as little as only 5% of all revenue made on tourism goes back into the local community and the rest goes into other hands.

It is here where conservationist and filmmaker Eytan Elterman and his good friend photographer Marco Bollinger lived for five months to produce the award-winning documentary “2.5 %  – The Osa Peninsula” that would change the course of their lives and inspire them to create Lokal, an online booking platform and marketplace for community-based tourism in remote places around the world.

It all began in early 2011 when Eytan read an article about the plans to build an international airport in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Both Eytan and Marco were deeply inspired by their years of traveling and their passion for engaging with diverse cultures and they wanted to combine their vision of responsible, conscious travel with their expertise in powerful visual storytelling. The story about the building of an airport in the Osa Peninsula greatly piqued their interest.

Eytan and Marco had been working together as the founders of iSeeiTravela boutique travel media firm producing brand-building documentary content to showcase local experiences, inspire sustainable travel and highlight unique destinations and conservation. Yet they wanted to do something different and on their own. They moved to the Costa Rica and spent five months living in the Osa Peninsula learning about the unique issues of this area and eventually producing their beautiful documentary film 2.5% – The Osa Peninsula.

Unspoiled coasline in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. Photo credit: Lokal Travel

Unspoiled coastline in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Photo credit: Lokal Travel

Central America Conservation/Environment Costa Rica Global Issues Osa Peninsula TRAVEL BY REGION TRAVEL RESOURCES