The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

  I’ve always been a notoriously horrible packer. I wait until the very last minute to decide what I should throw in a suitcase. I pack ridiculous items that I never use at home, but for some reason feel like I must bring along just in case of an emergency. (You know, the shoes/lotion/sunhat/other miscellaneous items I found tucked away in the back of the closet hiding beneath a blanket of dust.) And, without fail, half the things I end up toting around—or, let’s be honest, Dan ends up carrying—don’t get used at all. In recent years I’ve gotten a little bit better at packing. I won’t say I’m an expert, but I’ve written enough articles about it (and had practice traveling to 30-some odd countries) that I’m no longer completely embarrassed by my luggage. Without a doubt, one of the reasons I’ve been able to pack far less is by learning how to make the most of multi-purpose items. Why pack three dresses, a scarf and a cardigan when one classic piece can be worn all three ways? Enter: The Chrysalis Cardi I first stumbled upon Encircled, the company behind this versatile piece, around three years ago. I rushed ordered a Chrysalis Cardi so it would arrive before we headed off to Europe—and since then, it has been a constant travel essential for all our trips. From Sweden to France to Costa Rica to Hawaii, my Chrysalis Cardi has racked up quite a few miles—with much more to come in 2017 and beyond.   “Pack lighter. Do more with less.” Rockin’ my Chrysalis Cardi as a Cardigan in...
What It’s Like To Run A Marathon In The Jungle: Tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run

What It’s Like To Run A Marathon In The Jungle: Tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run

  If you’ve been following along with us since our days of teaching English in Taiwan, you might remember that a few years ago we ran our first marathon in Taipei! As two non-runners (when we started training I could barely finish three miles!) this was a massive accomplishment.     Since that first marathon, we’ve been eager to get back into running shape and successfully tackle another 26.2 miles. But, as it would turn out, traveling all the time makes it a bit difficult to stick to a long-distance running schedule… Well, it might have taken us almost exactly four years, but we finally did it! We managed to survive another marathon. In fact, we survived an ultra-marathon—but only because we got lost and ended up running a few extra kilometers. Don’t worry; we get to that part below. This was by far the most difficult physical challenge of our lives. It was also one of the most beautiful, offering up a chance to soak in some of the most spectacular scenery we’ve ever experienced in Costa Rica.         The Moon Run is not only a marathon but also a trail race through dense jungle and remote mountains of Costa Rica. We clambered through shin-deep mud, crossed a hanging bridge, trekked up mountains, and waded through rivers. While we had made a point to train on hills and trails, nothing could have prepared us for the truly off-the-beaten-track experience that is the Moon Run.   If you’re interested in tackling Costa Rica’s Moon Run yourself, here are all the detail you’ll need to know for...
7 Must-Visit National Parks In Costa Rica

7 Must-Visit National Parks In Costa Rica

This post is brought to you by Luxury Resorts.     One of the top reasons to visit Costa Rica is to witness the country’s diverse flora and fauna. And with some 5% of the world’s biodiversity, often all it takes to experience Costa Rica’s natural abundance is looking out your window. No matter how many times we spot toucans in our garden or hear howler monkeys calling out in the distance, the wildlife in Costa Rica just never gets old. And one of the best ways to appreciate the country’s natural beauty is with a visit to any one of its National Parks. An astonishing 25% of Costa Rica is protected in wildlife parks or reserves. That means that whatever region of Costa Rica you’re planning to visit, there is more than likely a great National Park nearby. We’ve yet to visit each of the country’s 27 National Parks, but we are doing our best to cross them all off our Costa Rica bucket list. In the meantime, here are our favorite seven spots we have visited—it should be enough to get you started on your own adventures through Costa Rica’s National Parks! Pro Traveler Tip: Luckily, there are plenty of stylish accommodation options nearby most of the parks. We prefer luxury accommodation or glamping to sleeping bags any day. These Costa Rica luxury resorts look particularly awesome.   7 Must-Visit National Parks In Costa Rica   1. Arenal Volcano National Park     While it no longer smokes, Arenal Volcano is still a site to behold—especially if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear, sunny day....
Animal Encounters in Costa Rica: Sierpe’s Spectacular Wildlife In Images

Animal Encounters in Costa Rica: Sierpe’s Spectacular Wildlife In Images

  It’s no secret that Costa Rica is known for its abundant wildlife and while there are plenty of animal sanctuaries where you can get an up close view of monkeys, toucans and sloths, there’s nothing like seeing these creatures in their natural habitat. There are few places on earth that rival the diversity and multitude of wildlife than southern Costa Rica.     Also known as the “Gateway to Corcovado”, a boat tour on the Sierpe River offers the unique opportunity to see wild animals without having to trek for hours through the hot humid jungle. Below are just a few of the fauna we were able to see during our trip.   Capuchin Monkeys     Muscovy Duck     Grey-necked Wood-Rail     Boa     Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron     American Crocodile     White Ibis     Slider Turtle     Jesus Lizard     Mangrove Swallow     Boat Billed Heron     Proboscis Bat     Iguanas     Barn Owls     Thinking Of Planning A Trip? Check Out More Of Our Awesome Articles On Costa Rica!   We recommend booking your tour ahead of time with the Uvita Tourism Center. They’ll streamline your reservation and make sure you get all the details you need to know for an adventure on the river. The private 3-hour tour is $100 for the first two people and $30 for each additional person. Read More Costa Rica Travel Tips  Like this post? Pin it for later!...
Your Complete Guide To Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica

Your Complete Guide To Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica

  When we were first backpacking around Costa Rica (long before we ever imagined calling the country home), one of the stops we found particularly striking was Cahuita National Park. With palm-fringed beaches, abundant wildlife and powder white sand, it was everything we had first imaged Costa Rica would be. Fast-forward a few years, and we’re happy to say our return visit to Cahuita National Park proved just as wonderful as the first. If you’re wondering if the park is worth the adventure to Costa Rica’s Caribbean, then this post is for you! Your Guide To Costa Rica’s Cahuita National Park   First, check out our video we put together after our most recent visit to the park! This will give you a sense of what the area is like:     Arriving At The National Park     The national park gets its name from the laid-back town of Cahuita, known for its unique Afro-Caribbean culture and long sandy beaches. While the nearby town of Puerto Viejo continues to grow in popularity, attracting a large mix of backpackers and mid-range travelers alike, Cahuita has managed to maintain its sleepy charm. The “downtown” is a smattering of colorful wooden houses and restaurants. And while it doesn’t look like much on the surface, a bit of exploration around Cahuita and down the gravel road that lines the coast reveals lovely bed and breakfasts, retreat centers, and a surprisingly diverse array of cuisine. Most travelers opt to base themselves in Puerto Viejo, about 45 minutes or so from the park. However, if you’ve got the time, we recommend at least a...
How To Find Deeply Discounted Hotel Rates With Sears Vacations

How To Find Deeply Discounted Hotel Rates With Sears Vacations

  This post is sponsored by Sears Vacations     We love learning about free resources to save money on travel, specifically when it comes to hotels and accommodation. I mean, who doesn’t want to get the cheapest price possible when booking their hotels? Most people think that if they head to sites like Expedia, they’ll automatically get the cheapest rate possible. However, that’s not always the case. If you know where to look, you can get insider deals and discounts far lower than any advertised price. So when Sears Vacations approached us to take a look at their free hotel search engine—promising prices lower than any other third party booking site—we were immediately intrigued. And after a bit of time tinkering around in the booking engine (and using it to make hotel reservations for our own upcoming trip), we can say from experience that they have the best prices around. Some of the hotels we found with Sears Vacations were discounted by 39% when compared to other booking sites. That’s worth taking a look at! If you’re interested in a free and easy way to rack up savings on your upcoming travels, we recommend checking out Sears Vacations free member pricing. Here’s everything you’ll need to know:   How To Save Money On Hotel Reservations Through Insider Pricing     The key to accessing discounted rates with Sears Vacations is to sign up for a free membership. If you just head to their website and search through their hotels as a ‘guest,’ you’ll see the same prices you would find on any third party booking site. However, sign...