August
25

Top Five Labor Day Weekend Trips

With Labor Day next weekend, why not send off summer with a three-day weekend exploring the outdoors? Need some inspiration? You are in luck as we have you covered (literally!) with our top five trips to take before summer ends. Check it out below:

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Roadtrip in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a collection of 43 islands connected by the 113 mile/42 bridge Overseas Highway. Follow our ambassador Amanda (@Mermanda_) on a mermaid style road trip down the Florida keys where she uncovers and discovers sunken treasures in her own backyard.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

 

Chase Waterfalls in Escalante, Utah

Escalante is the hub for all things outdoors in south central Utah where visitors can hike, rock climb, race around in ATVs, explore amazing slot canyons, and chase some gorgeous waterfalls. Check out ambassador Becca’s #GetOutThereGuide to Escalante, with over 3,000 square miles of pristine backcountry paradise.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

Learn to Kiteboard in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks in North Carolina is an outdoor lover’s playground, from fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or taking kiteboarding lessons with ambassador Adrienne (@yokeens). So go on hop in the car and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Explore Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches

This tropical island paradise is the home of MI OLA ambassador Andrea (@mermaid.drea ). When she isn’t in the water – free-diving to 40 feet, surfing, fishing, lobstering or playing in the waves – she’s on land doing yoga and exploring the outdoors (like hiking El Yunque Rainforest). After you check out her guide to her top five beaches in Puerto Rico, you’ll be booking the next flight to Puerto Rico!

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Photo by Elvin of MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @mermaid.drea

 

Surf trip to El Salvador

Are you feeling really adventurous and need to get off the grid for more than a couple of days? Head on down to El Salvador to catch some beautiful waves – – El Salvador’s coastline has 200 miles of beautiful beaches with magnificent, clean point breaks that are mostly right handers. Ambassador Verena has you covered with her Surf Guide to El Salvador!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

August
11

#GetOutThere Guide: Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park

Our MI OLA brand ambassadors inspire us everyday to #GetOutThere – – these amazing women surf, paddle, hike, salute the sun, mountain bike, ski, kite surf,   and so much more. One of these amazing ambassadors is Ashley B. (@ayeboulet). Whether she is downhill skiing at her home base in Lake Tahoe, CA, hiking up a 14,000 footer White Mountain, beach hiking the coast in the Kalalau Valley on Kauaʻi, Hawaii, or exploring in the Turks and Caicos, we love following Ashley’s adventures. We caught up with this awesome mermaid and got the details on her latest #getoutthere adventure: hiking the Kesugi Ridge in Denali State park in Alaska.

(If you are in hiking shape and ready to tackle a challenge, read on and #GetOutThere.  BUT, if you are just starting out or need to refresh the basics, have another look at Hike Like a Girl, and work your way up to this challenge by doing shorter, less ambitious hikes.)

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

#GetOutThere Guide: Kesugi Ridge

The Kesugi Ridge trail is to date one of the best, most rewarding, and beautiful backpacking missions I have done.  Being a mountain girl from the Sierra Nevada’s I had high expectations for this backpacking trip, and this trail surpassed any preconceived notions I may have had.  I would highly recommend this trail for any intermediate backpacker wanting to explore the various terrain of Alaska.   Expect your jaw to drop around each bend on this one of a kind North American trail.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Kesugi Ridge- Denali State Park

This trail is located in the Denali State Park, bordering the Denali National Park. The state park and national park vary in regards to regulations, permits, trail access, etc.  The Kesugi Ridge is a well-defined 30 mile trail. Most backpackers will opt to hike the ridge one-way requiring the need for a shuttle to the trailhead, carpooling, or hitch hiking.

 

Getting there:

The trail is best accessed from Little Coal Creek Road.  I would recommend arranging a trail head shuttle with Byer Lake Campground.  A local family operates a daily shuttle from the day parking lot at Byer Lake to Little Coal Creek trailhead.  Call in advance and be sure to make a reservation.  Overnight parking in Byer Campground is $5 per night.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Distance and trail maps:

Byer Lake Campground is about a 2.5 hour drive from Anchorage. After arranging a trail shuttle, park in the campground day lot. Most backpackers prefer to hike from north to south as the vertical rise is less this way. Below are the maps we carried with us and used on this hike.

Northern section: http://dnr.alaska.gov/Assets/uploads/DNRPublic/parks/maps/kesuginorth.pdf

South section: http://dnr.alaska.gov/Assets/uploads/DNRPublic/parks/maps/kesugisouth.pdf

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Pacing:

We hiked this trail in 3 nights/4 days.  We were hiking the duration of most days but wanted to make sure to allow ourselves enough time to enjoy the landscape and scenery. We camped alongside a small lake around mile 6 the first night.  The second night we camped near Ermine Hill junction around mile 15.  The third night we camped near Mini Skinny Lake around mile 25. Our last day (hiking out by way of Byer Lake) consisted of a mostly downhill hike for 4 or so miles.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Weather:

We were lucky when it came to weather on this trail. We had an opportune window of fairly dry weather for most of our days hiking.  Of course the highlight of clear sky day is seeing Denali (Mount McKinley) towering above the horizon.  This monstrosity of a mountain can be seen to the west for most of the trail.

I would imagine that certain sections of this trail would be much more challenging and difficult had it been raining.  If possible, leave yourself a window of time for hiking so you can plan according to the weather.

 

Wildlife aware:

Bears are a serious concern when it comes to hiking in the backcountry.  Be bear aware by packing smart, staying loud on the trails, and knowing what to do in case you come across a bear. There is other wildlife to be aware of in these areas as well, be sure to read up on what to do in case you come across any animals when hiking.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Decompression after hiking:

Talkeetna is a nearby mountaineering town where you can enjoy a Denali brewing company beer and burger while viewing Denali in the distance.   This is the ultimate stop for refueling and decompressing after hiking.  This small town has several patio restaurants, cafes, and shops to walk around. Live music can be heard from several restaurants or in the park on certain days of the week. I would recommend the Wildflower Café and Mountain High Pizza for something local and satisfying to eat. Couple that with a local beer, and you will be in mountain heaven.

Remember to stay hydrated and stretch after hiking to prevent sore muscles and cramping.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

What to pack:

Backpack – I love my women’s 65L Osprey backpack. My pack is lightweight, has lots of compartments, and provides a great fit for my body. A good backpack is always worth the investment.

Water proof/water resistant hiking boots- The weather is variable in Alaska, especially in the mountains.  Be sure to pack water worthy hiking shoes as you will likely cross some creeks, muddy areas, and wetlands. Pack extra socks too!

Mole skin- In case of blisters you will want to be sure you have mole skin in your first aid kit. Happy feet is critical for long duration hiking!

First aid kit- Backpacking first aid kits are not only smaller size but also lightweight.  It is always wise to backpack with some basic medical items, just in case.

Bear mace/repellant- This is a must.  Although you cannot bring bear repellant in your checked luggage with most airlines, be sure to purchase some when arriving in Alaska.

Bear canister- This is mandatory in the National park, but not in the state park.  Regardless, I would highly recommend bringing one.  Be sure to place all scented items in the canister.  Aside from food items that would include sunscreens, toiletries, lotions, etc.

Flare Gun- We carried a flare gun in case we found ourselves face to face with a charging bear.  The flare gun supplements having a loaded gun with you.  The flare gun is much lighter and safer when it comes to protecting yourself.

Bear bells- This will help put your mind at ease when hiking in more lush areas where a bear, moose, or other animal may be near.  You do not want to sneak up on any of these animals, so be loud on the trail.

Bug spray- This is a MUST.  There are many flies and mosquitos in this area, especially in the wetlands.  Repellant is necessary to help prevent the likelihood of irritating bites while hiking.  That being said, Benadryl cream is a worthy item to pack in your first aid kit.

Sunscreen- Even if you’re lucky enough to get a clear sky day with lots of sun, you should always be protected.  Even with cloudy days, you will want to be sure to wear sunscreen to prevent any uncomfortable burns.

Meals- Backpacker meals are not only lightweight but packed with the protein necessary for hiking. Depending on the amount of time you plan to backpack, you will want to pack as lightly as possibly. Every pound counts when it comes to food within your bear canister. I would recommend freeze dried meals, rice, pasta, granola bars, oatmeal, jerky, etc.  Canned food products tend to weight more than other freeze dried meal options.  Fruits are difficult to pack and perish quickly.  Be sure to pack enough food and snacks to supply energy and satisfy hunger throughout your trip.

Jet boil (or similar cooking device) – The jet boil helps store the items necessary for cooking conveniently in your backpack.  I have a mini backpack burner, small propane, and pot which I also pack for the convenience of cooking a few items simultaneously. Be sure to pack a cook utensil, small sponge, and environmentally safe soap as well.

Water purifier- You will find yourself purifying stream or lake water several times a day.  The water is fairly clean, yet I would recommend treating the water before drinking. Be sure to always top off or fill your water containers when passing a water source.  You do not want to find yourself hiking without water or desperately searching for the next water source. Plan ahead.

Face/eye mask- Depending on when you plan to hike, the sun may be a bit of a nuisance.  In July, the sun was shining until after 11pm.  This in mind, if you are light sleeper I would recommend bringing an eye mask.

Binoculars- You will want binoculars to view Denali (Mount McKinley) in the distance.  You will also want these on hand for bird and animal watching.

Other miscellaneous items:  There are a few items that I like to bring to help lift my spirit when backpacking.  On this mission I brought the following items:

Peanut butter – this sweet treat and can be mixed into oatmeal in the morning, making breakfast that much better.

Ipod/small speaker- music is always nice when decompressing in camp or leisurely hiking along the trail.

Camp pillow/sleeping pad- although not necessary, they do help make for a more comfortable night of sleep.

Hot sauce- This will help add some much needed spice to any generic meal.

Sugar/sweet treat- Something sweet to look forward to while hiking such as a fruit snack, lollipop, snickers bar, etc.

Essential oil- I love my oils especially when outdoors.  A little goes a long way when it comes to aromatherapy.

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

June
23

MI OLA 2017 Summer Bucket List

Ahhhhh, summer 2017 is officially here! With the super long days and warm weather, we chatted with the awesome MI OLA mermaids + brand ambassadors to create one epic Summer 2017 Bucket List. Are you ready for this? Check it out below!

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The MI OLA 2017 Summer Bucket List

Do you love paddle boarding, hiking and biking? Then head out to Lake Tahoe with Briana @wanderlovebri ! She is planning to paddle board around Lake Tahoe (~75 miles) over 4 days in July. Then, she will bike around the lake in a day.

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Photo by Briana @wanderlovebri

Sunlight until midnight?! Yes, yes, yes! Head to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway above the arctic circle with Susu @insta_susi. The Lofoten Islands have been on her list for years and this summer it’s finally gonna happen! Picture road tripping, comfy tent, pristine white sand beaches, beautiful mountains, and even waves to surf! Check out Susi’s Surf Guide to Northern Norway.
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Photo by Susi @insta_susi

Ahhhhh Tahiti! Pristine beaches, crystal clear water, waves, tropical foliage, and our very own brand ambassador Elise @babeinthewaves who just so happens to have a kite surf school with her hubby. Yogi + ambassador Amanda @mermanda_ would LOVE to visit Tahiti this summer – – so connect with these two because you’ll definitely get great kite surfing lessons AND yoga sessions!
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Photo by Amanda @mermanda_

A yoga outdoor festival? Yes please! Check out Wanderlust, a favorite of several of the MI OLA brand ambassadors. With over 15 Wanderulust festivals in just North America alone this summer, you can stay as close to home OR have an adventure!. Briana @wanderlovebri will be attending and working Wanderlust in Vermont and California! Be sure to check out our guide to Wanderlust!
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Photo by Lauren @rock3roll

Do you love hiking as much as ambassador Ashley @ayeboulet? Ashley is heading to Alaska this summer for a two week road / backpack trip. She’ll be backpacking the Kesugi Ridge in Denali National Park. Or check out these hiking guides by our ambassadors: Na Pali Coast, White Mountain, El Yunque Rainforest, Columbia River Gorge, Glacier National Park, Lost Coast Trail, and our beginner’s guide to hiking ‘Hike Like a Girl‘.
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Photo by Ashley @ayeboulet

 What’s on your list this summer?  Let us know in the comments and inspire us!

 

April
21

How Whitewater Rafting Changed My Life

We love to support awesome mermaids that push the limits and #getoutthere. Like MI OLA brand ambassador Andrea (@andybabe88) who spends her weekends paddling some serious whitewater in her home state of Idaho. We caught up with Andrea recently and chatted about her passion for paddling – – what resulted was a beautiful dedication to the sport she loves. Check it out below!

“No man ever steps in the same river twice for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

I frequently hear the same question again and again, “Why?”

Co-workers, family, old-friends and new non can’t seem to grasp my “why”.

Why do I spend every weekend, countless days and hours doing the same thing over and over? Why am I never in town? Why don’t I ever see my friends and family? Why do I put myself in harm’s way? Why do I paddle every chance I get?

I guess my response at this point is, “Why not?”

Why not utilize this life doing what I love and now?! Right now!  The future is something not guaranteed.  Spending these countless days and weekends adventuring and paddling as much as I do seems all but obvious.  Why not spend my time letting the river challenge me in new ways.  She is ever changing, can humble and bring elation all in the same trip. She’ll bring you closer to people than you have ever been.  So to answer their question of, “why”  – – the faces and places are my why.

Paddling has changed my life. 

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

For better or worse, I’ve learned more about myself in one summer on the river than in all my time spent at home. Who you are currently and who you want to be… you can find it out there.  The river lives and breathes, and will get deep into your veins.  She teaches many lessons, most of all you that you cannot control everything in life.  Love the hole you’re in. In order to make it to the takeout unscathed, the river requires teamwork, respect, love, courage, patience, and self-worth.  There’s a saying you hear a lot from true dirt bag’s –  “The river doesn’t care about you”.  This may be true but the river also offers you a beautiful thing – the time to care, care about the moment, the people, and the places.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

A lot of activities bring people together, like the river.  The only difference I have seen is EVERY single person I have met on the river has been the most caring, loving, and genuine soul. I have met and made friends with some of the most remarkable people. I have gained lifelong friends I call FRAMILY, people who have absolutely made a difference in my life. I have had some of the best laughs, deepest conversations, wildest adventures and scariest moments of my life in the short time I have been paddling.  I love listening to people’s stories of adventure as well as am motivated by those stories.  I want to strive for more adventures, more days on the river.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

My heart grows more and more with each run, every stoke,  every boat flip, every booty beer!.  All while screaming at the top of my lungs because we just conquered what you thought was going to be the impossible.

So again, you may ask me – WHY?

Because I love the life we have been given. The people in it, the relationships with rad humans.  The places and the stunning canyons. I have never felt so at peace and so in control of the moment, past and present than when I am on the river. So, next time instead of asking why maybe come and find out. Who knows maybe it will change your life like it has mine.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

If you ever happen to be in Idaho and want to experience this all for yourself here are some great companies and guides to get in touch with.

PRC – Payette River Company
(208) 259-3702
Boise National Forest, 14 Memory Ln, Lowman, ID 83637
Guide – Jesse Delamotte  – Jesse will show you a great time and also help you stay cool on your trip down the river.

Cascade Raft & Kayak    
(208) 793-2221
7050 ID-55, Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629
Guide – Shane Ramasco (Head Guide for Cascade)

Bear Valley Rafting       
(208) 793-2272
Boise National Forest, 7864 ID-55, Banks, ID 83602
Kaylie Hoffman – Guide

Canyons River Company  
 (208) 634-4303  
160 Commerce St, McCall, ID 83638

Hells Canyon Raft
(208) 634-6366
1308 Roosevelt Ave, McCall, ID 83638

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

If you’re looking to get hooked up with some sweet gear, PFD, drysuit, helmet anything you can think of that is need to be on the river to have a fun and safe time check out these local outfitters in Idaho.

Cascade River Gear – Ask for Renee Zettle

Aire –Ask for Sarah Ostberg

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

April
14

Start Making Your Summer Plans! || Summer 2017 Outdoor Adventures

Are you ready for summer? Here at MI OLA, we can’t wait.  With the sun setting later, Summer means more time to #getoutthere! Summer will be here before you know it, which means it’s time to start planning your epic trips now – before the campgrounds and park passes sell out.  Read on  for inspiration… we know you’ll be adding these spots to your bucket list. Check out our top places to #getoutthere this summer!

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B. camping.

Hike, SUP, Kayak, and Whitewater Raft through Glacier National Park

Imagine jagged peaks reaching towards the Heavens, turquoise water inviting you to take an dip and hiking trails leading every way you could want to explore. If this sounds amazing, head to Glacier National Park. The park is quite literally changing before our eyes. The glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate so much so that they could be entirely gone by the next generation – – which means you need to go now! Check out Becca’s #GetOutThere Guide to Glacier National Park for more!

Taking an alpine dip in Grinnell Lake

Taking an alpine dip in Grinnell Lake. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Hike a 14er!

If you love hiking, get these spots on your calendar – White MountainLost Coast Trail, and the epic coastline of Kalalau Valley on Kauaʻi, Hawaii. White Mountain is a 14er (peak over 14,000 feet) –  the highest peak outside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Lost Coast trail is one of California’s best kept secrets. Divided between two national parks, this hike is perfect for the adventure seeker wanting to sleep under the stars next to the ocean.  Kalalau Hike offers pristine views of the Na Pali Coast that are unlike any other coastal hike; the trail leads to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Kalalau Valley.  

And, if you’re a less advanced hiker, we have you covered. Hike Like a Girl offers some great advice on how to start out and work your way up to doing a 14er by doing shorter, less ambitious hikes.

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Lost Coast Trail. Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

Roadtrip in Southern Utah through the Grand Staircase of the Southwest!

Picture yourself wading through a crystal clear emerald river with massive, red canyon walls on either side. Just a few days ago, you were camping out under the stars surrounded by nothing but desert and a few cacti scattered about. In another few days, you’ll mountain bike across some of the best slickrock in the world. Where are you?  Southern Utah is home to some of the best hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing and canyoneering in the world. Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Southern Utah to plan your own epic road trip.

Enjoying the view on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

Enjoying the view on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Explore the waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge!

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boasts 292,500 acres of beautiful landscapes, incredible hiking, and the infamous waterfalls. The Gorge is just a short drive out of Portland making it a perfect after-work jaunt or a weekend getaway. There are a plethora of waterfalls, so you can spend as little as one day exploring multiple waterfalls OR plan a longer trip exploring all the Gorge has to offer. Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Columbia River Gorge and start dreaming.

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Weisendanger Falls. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Do you have other awesome summer travel plans?  We’d love to hear about them – – leave a comment below! Now go on and #GetOutThere!!

March
17

#GetOutThere Guide: Jamaica

MI OLA brand ambassador Lauren @rock3roll was born in Houston (the birthplace of Beyoncé…) and spent time living in the Midwest before moving to NYC six years ago.  Now, she professionally wanders every four weeks, and is an incessant adventurer.  We caught up with this sandy mermaid and got the details on her latest #GetOutThere adventure to Jamaica.

 

#GetOutThere Guide: Jamaica

How to get there: I flew from JFK to Miami, and onward to Montego Bay. I would highly recommend flying into MBJ, as your trip from the airport to your hotel in the Montego area will be no more than 20 minutes!

Where to stay: I stayed at the SeaGarden Beach Resort. My intent in Jamaica was to explore (as is always!) The SeaGarden had great views (grab an ocean view room) and authentic Jamaican food. It was perfect for what we were looking for! If you’re looking for more of a “stay-put” type of vibe, I would definitely stay at one of the Sandals locations. Partly because of The Office, but also because they seem to have a lot of properties to choose from, and great reviews!

When to go: I traveled to the island in July and had great weather. It’s always good to be aware of the rainy seasons on any island. Jamaica has two main rainy seasons. May is the first, followed by October- November.  Also, keep Hurricane Season in mind from June through the end of a November. Island rain typically is brief and patchy (in my experience), but if this is your one and only escape for the year, better to not take your chances!!!

Negril:

Jamaica has no shortage of beaches. The most famous, and well worth it, is ‘Seven Mile Beach’ in Negril. Endless white sand, turquoise water, and palms for days makes for one epic beach experience.

If you’re not staying in Negril, travel by cab or by catamaran. The Dreamer is a fun snorkel (booze) cruise that takes you from Montego Bay to Negril. If traveling by car, it’s best practice to rent a driver for the day (prices very from $100-$200, not including tip). Your driver will stay with you, affording you the flexibility to go and stop where you please!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

While you’re in Negril, make sure you stop by The Cliffs, more specifically, Rick’s Café! There are multiple spots along the cliff where the brave can jump in from various heights. Not interested? No worries grab a drink at the bar and watch the professionals do what they do best: jump. If bar food isn’t up your alley, head to Ivan’s. Located not far up the road from Rick’s Café, Ivan’s is nestled within the cliff side, offering up stunning ocean views. It’s the perfect place to nom on jerk lobster and drink flaming rumrunners while the sun floats down.

 

 

Montego Bay:

Centrally located between tourist haunts Negril and Ocho Rios, Montego Bay is the perfect spot to find an all-inclusive for your stay. Walk down to Margaretville for a Bob Marley (your new favorite drink for all-of-time) and a bounce on their ocean trampolines and slides.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

 

 

Ocho Rios:

Up the road roughly 1.5 hours from Montego Bay is a plethora of unique island experiences. Popular among locals and tourists, the Blue Hole is made up of a combination of waterfalls and swimming holes. Interested in cruising around the watery landscape solo? Take the paths, and wander. Looking to jump and swim? Hire a guide. Water shoes are recommended, and sold at the entrance for you to comfortably cruise around the falls. Have a GoPro? Your guide will happily become your professional photographer (just make sure you’ve got a waterproof case!) You’ll be able to jump off of falls as steep as around 20 feet. Expect to pay around $15 to enter, plus a little extra for a guide!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

After the Blue Hole, take a car back down towards Montego Bay for an afternoon stop at Bamboo Blue. Located in Mammee Bay, you’ll get a first class beach seat and bright blue water, all for the cost of a Piña Colada. Rent a cabana, and sip on whatever frozen concoction floats your boat.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

Finish up your trip back to Montego Bay, by stopping at the Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth, Jamaica. The brackish water in the Lagoon is home to millions of microorganisms called dinoflagellates, that when disturbed emit a light-blue GLOW.

YES. YOU CAN SWIM IN GLOW-IN-THE-DARK WATER!

Get to the Lagoon around 6-6:30 p.m. (in the Summer months; in the Winter, arrive an hour earlier,) to grab your free rum punch (included in the $25 USD per person tour) before the tour starts. It’s not enough just to go on the boat to look at the glow in the boat’s wake; you will want to swim, so wear your MI OLA suit and bring dry clothes to change into (I made that mistake; I swam in a dress…WORTH IT). There are four other places where this phenomenon exists: Indonesia, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. It is said that Jamaica is home to the brightest Lagoon out of the four!

 

Roadside Stops

If you do end up taking a cab to various places (or renting a car), make sure to stop for roadside soup and porridges. Some of the best porridge I’ve ever had was on the road (full disclosure, it was also the first time I’ve ever had porridge).  Jerk Chicken stands, and highway restaurants are frequent sights, so absolutely jerk the wheel to pull into any one you see. On your way out of town headed towards Ocho Rios, you’ll pass a few coconut stands. Stop at the LAST one that is nestled in the woods. The coconuts are known among locals as THE BEST.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

 

Jamaica is home to beautiful people and culture. Get out there and have a blast!

 

 

 

September
16

#GetOutThere Guide: Columbia River Gorge

We’ve all seen photos of lush green foliage with a rushing waterfall cascading down the center. Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is subject of many of these photographs with incredible views, hiking, and an extra special emphasis on the waterfalls!  MI OLA ambassador Becca is currently on an 8 month road trip with her husband traveling in a 38 year old Toyota Chinook. They take the time to explore diverse landscapes in every area they visit. Here Becca give us her insight into an epic day of chasing waterfalls in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls 

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boasts 292,500 acres of beautiful landscapes, incredible hiking, and the infamous waterfalls. The Gorge is just a short drive out of Portland making it a perfect after-work jaunt or a weekend getaway. There are a plethora of waterfalls. I could go on and on about how many days you could spend here, however, I’ve shortened the list to my favorites that YOU CAN SEE IN ONE DAY.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Multnomah Falls

Where to start/ How to get there:

From I-84, take exit 28 and follow the Historic Columbia River highway 3 miles to the Multnomah Falls parking area. You will want to arrive early as parking is limited and may be full by 9AM.

Multnomah Falls:

Begin your day early at Multnomah Falls to beat the crowd.  This is one of the most photographed waterfalls.  It’s a must see, but you don’t want to be jocking for space as you focus. Multnomah Falls, at 620 feet, is the 2nd tallest waterfall in the United States with over 2 million people visiting far and wide stopping to see her beauty.

Weisendanger Falls:

After viewing Multnomah Falls, hike along trail #441 (Larch Mountain Trail) up the switchbacks to the brink of the falls. Follow the trail up the creek to Weisendanger Falls. You can either continue on to complete a loop trail to view more waterfalls or continue back to the Multnomah Falls parking area.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Weisendanger Falls

Upon returning to the Multnomah Falls Parking Area, drive 2.2 miles east along the Historic Columbia River highway to Oneonta Creek. Park here along the side of the road in one of the pullouts, grab your MI OLA bikini and get ready to cool off from your hike in Oneonta Gorge!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge and Oneonta Falls:

From the parking area, head towards the obvious creek and start walking upstream. After a short ways, you will be met with a giant log jam. Carefully scramble over the logs. Pay close attention as they will most likely be wet. After scrambling over the log jam, continue walking upstream. You will shortly come to a narrow portion where you will be required to wade chest high in the creek. After wading through the water, you will be rewarded with Oneonta Falls!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Exploring Oneonta Gorge just after the log jam.

From the pullout next to Oneonta Creek, continue heading east along Historic Columbia River highway 0.5 miles to Horsetail Falls Trailhead.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Ponytail Falls

Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls:

From the Horsetail Falls trailhead, walk along trail #438 viewing Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls. Walk behind Ponytail falls and continue walking along the short trail to a gorgeous lookout of the Columbia River Gorge. Retrace your steps to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge from the lookout just past Ponytail Falls

Upon returning to your vehicle at Horsetail Falls Trailhead, drive back west along the Historic Columbia River HWY to I-84. You’ve completed some of our favorite hikes in this beautiful landscape!

A few things to keep in mind:

  • These hikes are not considered strenuous, but be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • The Columbia River Gorge is a very popular destination for locals and travelers alike. Respect the land, pick up trash and be courteous to other hikers.
  • The Columbia River Gorge can be accessed year round. Spring boasts the “most impressive” waterfalls with increased water volume. The waterfalls in Summer will offer relief for hot hikers. Autumn will reward hikers with beautiful leaves. Hikers in Winter can be awestruck with frozen waterfalls. Pick your season, it won’t disappoint!

 

LODGING & EATS

  • The Columbia River Gorge does not have much to offer in the lodging department. It would be best to stay near or in Portland.
  • The only food options in our waterfall guide are located at Multnomah Lodge. Reservations are recommended for a table at Multnomah Lodge. However, they do have a small snack bar with coffee. Packing a lunch with lots of hiking snacks is a great option to keep yourself going!

Happy Travels Mermaids!

 

Be sure to check out Becca’s guides to Southern Utah and Northern California Highway 1!

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

September
2

#GetOutThere Guide: Northern California Highway 1

 

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

MI OLA ambassador Becca just spent over 3 weeks traveling up the coast of Northern California along Highway 1. She is in the middle of an 8 month journey around the American and Canadian West discovering the most incredible landscapes along the way. Read on to plan your own NorCal Highway 1 journey!

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Highway 1 twists and turns through massive Old Growth Redwood Forests, traverses across rocky shorelines and takes the traveler through vistas one can only imagine. Exploring Northern California along Highway 1 is not a quick 70mph drive. Although Google Maps says the 324 mile trip from Bodega Bay to Crescent City takes just over 7 hours, you’ll want at least 4 days! My husband and I spent over 3 weeks exploring the coastline by backpacking the Lost Coast Trail, hiking among the Redwoods and finding private beaches along the way. We narrowed down our favorite spots just for you!

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Backpacking along The Lost Coast. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Backpacking Trip

The Lost Coast Trail is located in the King Range National Conservation Area – which encompasses over 68,000 acres of wilderness along 35 miles of untouched shoreline. Enthusiastic backpackers enjoy a one-way, 25 mile trip along the shoreline with awe-inspiring views for the entire way. This backpacking trek does require a shuttle unless you would like to double the mileage. We backpacked a small portion of The Lost Coast Trail departing from Black Sands Beach. Don’t forget to register for a permit and rent a bear canister! If you want to spend more time on the Lost Coast Trail, check out our more in depth Lost Coast Trail #GetOutThere Guide by Ashley B.!

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Mountain biking in Jackson Demo State Forest. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Mountain Biking

A mountain biking paradise lies right outside one of the larger towns along HWY 1, Fort Bragg. The biking is in the Jackson Demo State Forest, just a few miles outside of town. There is enough singletrack that any biker will have fun for days and chances are you won’t see a soul! This area boasts soft trails through a towering Redwood Forest. What’s not to love?! Stop in Fort Bragg at Fort Bragg Cyclery for more info and directions.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Beaches

EVERYWHERE! Literally everywhere. While we were traveling along the coast, we drove an average of about 30 miles/day stopping at every beach we saw along the road that looked promising. Our rule of thumb – If there’s a beach, stop and soak up the sun! Some of our favorites were in Salt Point State Park, Sonoma Coast State Park and MacKerricher State Park.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Day Hikes

The Humboldt Redwoods in Northern California boasts the largest remaining old-growth forest of coast redwoods. It’s impossible not to be humbled and inspired all at the same time as you’re meandering through the forest. These trees live up to 2,000 years and can be over 200 ft tall. Stop at a visitor center to learn more about these impressive trees and find the right trail for you!

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Hiking in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

The Best Place to Get Off The Grid

If you’re looking for a place to get off the beaten path, Usal Beach at Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is your paradise! To get to this deserted beach and hiking paradise, visitors need to travel along a very steep, narrow and rough dirt road for 6 miles. From the trailhead, hike along the beautiful coast and through a Redwood grove for sweeping, 360-degree views. Don’t forget ample food and water as there aren’t any modern facilities. Usal Beach is camping only.

California is known for being sunny and 75 almost every day of the year. Lucky you, this means you can plan your road trip anytime you feel the need to get away! Be aware that this area can become quite crowded during the summer months because of families on vacations.

 

 

What to Bring and Where to Sleep

Your journey along HWY 1 will consist of a whole lot of gorgeous scenery and not a whole lot of amenities. The sleepy coastal towns that you’ll pass through will provide gas, one or two B&Bs, a local restaurant and the obligatory bar. First, decide if you’d like to camp (many people choose this option as there are a plethora of campgrounds along the route) or stay in a plush bed! You can’t go wrong with either! I’d recommend bringing the following whether camping or not.

• Reusable Water Bottles or a Water Jug – There aren’t too many public drinking sources along the way. Make sure you don’t get dehydrated and fill up along the way!

• Snacks, and lots of them! – As you’re traveling along HWY 1, you won’t see many options for quick eats. Pack a cooler with lunch food and snacks to avoid hanger!

• Athletic clothes to enjoy the outdoors, hiking boots or good walking shoes and plenty of SPF.

• Your favorite MI OLA bikini!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

August
26

Yoga Teacher Training Guide – Yandara Yoga Institute

Born and raised in Northern California, MI OLA brand ambassador Briana (@openheartadventure) is no stranger to the outdoors. She loves to hike up mountains, practice yoga in the beautiful outdoors, ski fresh powder, and mountain bike challenging trails. After practicing yoga for years, Briana took a month-long yoga teacher training in Mexico to deepen her yoga practice. With countless options for yoga teacher trainings, we caught up with Briana to get an in-depth perspective on a month long course.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Yoga Teacher Training Guide – Yandara Yoga Institute – by Briana Valorosi
Yoga presented itself in my life at a time when I was experiencing a significant amount of personal growth. About seven years ago I started attended yoga classes across a broad spectrum – beach yoga, exercise-oriented yoga, meditation, and traditional asana practices at local studios. The physical aspect of non-competitive flow resonated with me. I’ve never really been excited about competitive sports, often finding myself engaged in an active lifestyle in the outdoors with individualized forms of recreation. Yoga offered a spiritual aspect which had been lacking in my life, a physical aspect that was non-competitive and really felt good in my body, and a meditation practice that calmed my anxieties. Through yoga, I developed an awareness of self-love, self-respect, and strength. I’ve been hooked ever since.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Yandara Yoga Institute:
Three close friends of mine attended Yandara Yoga Institute over the past ten years, which initially sparked my interest. It had been a planted seed for many years before it aligned for me. I knew that I wanted an intensive program, as opposed to one weekend each month for example, and I was pretty set on a warm climate. Mexico for a month in the spring was the main enticement, and  then knowing three women who already attended, brought it all together. Honestly, I wasn’t as focused on the teachers or the style so much as the whole package, including the mission statement of the school.

Small community of yoga loving people on the beach, growing their food, truly connecting, and instructing from their place of personal and community connection.

The Yandara property is a beautiful off-grid gathering of yoga pavilions, partially enclosed bathrooms, and tent living. It’s simple living at its best. The sound of the waves soothed me to sleep each night. A diverse range of birds singing were my alarm clock. All of the food is vegetarian, local and organic if possible, with the option for fresh, local fish 1-2 times a week. They offered gluten free/ dairy free options upon request.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Type of yoga teacher training:
Yandara Yoga Institute is a Hatha school that is heavily influenced by Iyengar. Hatha yoga is a broad categorization which pretty much umbrellas over all physical asana practices.  The program focused on asana as taught by Iyengar and his students, although we also learned about, vinyasa flows, Yin, Restorative, Bhakti, meditation, and philosophy. The program I did at Yandara was 26 days (200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified), not including travel days. It was nearly a full month!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

The Daily Routine:
Our days began at 7:30 AM with an hour and a half asana and meditation practice. I personally had a karma job to make tea before the sun rose, so my days began at 6:15 AM or earlier. Following our practice, we had a silent meditation breakfast, then two hours of class where we broke down each pose, the sequencing of poses, how to assist others in the pose, and how to support or modify it. We learned about philosophies of yoga during this morning class as well. Then we had lunch for a couple hours- the food was amazing! And there was plenty of time to hand wash laundry or lay on the beach- only a five-minute walk from my tent. The afternoons were packed with workshops, bhakti yoga, dinner, and counseling type circles. Each night ended around 9pm. The days were long but truly enjoyable and inspiring. The curriculum is presented in a way that is absorbable and tangible. The days were organized by chakra- moving from the root chakra to the crown chakra- with three days on each. During each set of chakra days, we learned about the poses that corresponded, meditations, and philosophies. It was incredibly well presented.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

How to Get There:
Yandara Yoga Institute is located in Baja Mexico, about 15 minutes south of Todos Santos on the Pacific Ocean. Travel was very simple with the organization of private shuttles to and from the San Jose Del Cabo airport. It is an hour drive from the airport- a beautiful road winding through the desert landscape, overlooking the ocean, crossing over river beds and washes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The simple living aligned with my personal goals of leading a sustainable lifestyle (as much as possible). All of the teachers became family, offering so much light and love toward their teachings and their connection to each of us. It is a beautiful community – the Yandara community and the yoga community at large. The yoga was taught in a comprehensible way that wasn’t overwhelming. The love that grew between each of us inspires me, to this very moment. We all supported each other through personal growth as well as through the process of becoming yoga teachers. I am eternally grateful for each and every individual at Yandara and in my group of trainees. The food was spectacularly nutritious and delicious. The landscape was humbling and beautiful. All in all, I wouldn’t trade that experience for any other. It was magical and perfect.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

August
19

Top 5 Summer Road Trips

Oh summer, you always fly by so fast! Your long days are already getting shorter. So we better get a move on those summer #getoutthere plans!

With Labor Day around the corner, make the most of a three-day weekend and go exploring outdoors. Need some inspiration? You are in luck as we have you covered (literally!) with our top five summer road trips.

Photo by Muse Marianna @mrskalabin

Top 5 Summer Road Trips

#1 The Outer Banks, North Carolina:  Hop in the car, and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. With ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, the sun rises and sets on the water. Be sure to pack all of your outdoor gear, as the Outer Banks offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach!

Check out our guide to the Outer Banks.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne @yokeens

 

 

#2 Rockclimb + Hike + Mountain Bike Shawangunks, NY:  NYC #miolamermaids, grab a ZipCar, drive two hours north of the city, and you will find an awesome outdoor playground. You can rock climb, hike, mountain or road bike, kayak, fish, and even swim in a waterfall. To top off all the outdoor activities, Labor Day Weekend is the perfect time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables. Before you head back to the concrete jungle, be sure to stop at one of the  roadside farm stands to stock up.

Check out our guide to the ‘Gunks.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Meredith Drangin

 

 

#3 Hike Lost Coast Trail at Kings Range in Northern California: OK, this is not a simple road trip.  It’s  a multi-day 50 mile (roundtrip) hike along northern California’s coastline. If you want to do the hike only one way, there is a scenic 2.5 hour drive to take you back to your starting point. Brand Ambassador Ashley B. calls the Lost Coast Trails, “top rated, and one of California’s best kept secrets.” And when you finish the hike, drive and explore the magnificent California coastline and forest.

Check out our guide to the Lost Coast Trail!

 

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

 

#4 Stand Up Paddle at Spray Lakes, Canada: Head up north (up real north) and explore some of the most beautiful lakes in Canada:  Spray Lakes. Located 50 minutes outside of Calgary, Alberta, the lakes provides stunning views, are quiet, and absolutely serene. Activities include SUPing, hiking, golfing or even biking to Banff on backcountry trails! And for our wanderlusting #miolamermaids located in the US, we promise you will not be disappointed – hop on a plane to Calgary and take advantage of that three day weekend!

Check out our guide to Spray Lakes!

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Photo by Marianne @marienne.erika

 

 

#5 Surf in Canggu, Bali:  Do you have some extra vacation time and really want to #getoutthere? Instead of road-tripping in a car, how about road tripping on a scooter in Bali?  Book a ticket now, hop on a plane, and travel to one of the most beautiful tropical destinations. Canggu is known for its awesome surf available – for both beginner and advanced surfers – and has perfect warm water so you can rock your MI OLA bikini!

Check out our guide to Canggu, Bali!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Melissa @thecrystal_fairy

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

 

August
5

#GetOutThere Guide: Rio de Janeiro

Sun, Samba, surf, Caipirinhas, Carnival, Copacabana, bikinis, beach, football, Havaianas, sophisticated beach city, amazing landscapes, and a massive urban forest are just a few of the wonderful things that come to mind when you think about Rio de Janiero.  This city is amazing to visit anytime.  And now- starting today – it’s hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics.

MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley Averill(@theviewfrom6ft), visited Brazil for Carnival earlier this year.  Here is her scoop on Rio and its outdoor adventures  just in time for the opening ceremony of the 2016 summer games. If you are in Rio for the Olympics, or just planning a trip anytime, check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Rio de Janeiro.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

#GetOutThere Guide: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ashley grew up in the beach town of Clearwater, Florida with a love of all things water-related and shopping. She now lives in Texas working as an engineer and takes every opportunity she gets to travel, with her most recent adventure to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro sits on the Atlantic coast of Brazil and is the country’s second-largest city. The city is home to over 6 million locals, known as “Cariocas”. The year-round temperature averages  70-80 Fahrenheit, which means you can grab an Uber (equipped with a surfboard rack) and head the beach, hike from the city streets up to rain forest covered mountains, or if you dare, get a running start and jump off these same mountains to hang glide.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Hike:

While New York has Central Park, Rio has Tijuca National Park. Framing the city opposite of the Atlantic Ocean, this urban rain forest is home to miles of trails, waterfalls, monkeys, and most famously, the Christ the Redeemer statue. Most visitors get to Christ the Redeemer by train or bus, but MI OLA girls believe hiking beats hours spent waiting on transportation.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

To find the trail head, enter the forest behind the old mansion at Parque Lage, a property owned by the city’s botanical gardens, and follow signs to Corcovado, the name of the mountain the famous statue sits on (translates to “Hunchback”). Most of the 6km uphill hike is a natural staircase formed from tree roots. There is one scramble up a rock face, and the final stretch of hike is along the road. There are many online blog posts and guides for the hike, but it definitely is worth a Google search and a read to ensure you know where you are going.

As always, please go with friends, and let others know of your planned hike.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Paraglide and Hang Glide:

Farther south in the park, the lush peak of Pedro Bonita (literally “beatific rock”) offers year round paragliding and hang gliding! Both involve trustfully running off a cliff strapped to a tandem master.  Paragliding uses a soft parasail with the flyers in a seated position, while hang gliding uses a triangle-shaped wing supported by a rigid frame with the flyers in a horizontal position. Paragliding can offer longer flight times for heavier passengers, but doesn’t get as close to the “I’m a bird” feeling as hang gliding.

To take part in either, head to Voo Livre in the Sao Conrado neighborhood. At the end of the road on the right-hand side there is a small hut that’s crowded with people early in the day. You’ll know it’s the right place if the sky above is speckled with the small multicolored silhouettes of the other flyers. In the small hut a demo video plays on loop to get future flyer’s adrenaline going and their hands reaching for their Brazilian Reals (currency in Brazil) – cash payments will get a better deal.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Before each flight there’s some quick paperwork to fill out. It helps to have your passport number and an introduction to your tandem master. Before ever getting to the beach hut in Sao Conrado, most tourists are offered a hang gliding or paragliding excursion from hotels or friendly Cariocas on the street. It is advised to avoid these offers, booking through these middle-men takes more time, costs more money, and most aren’t official tourist bookers, but rather locals who leverage speaking English and Portuguese to earn a profit.

Go early in the day. Each tandem master has a limited number of flights they are permitted to do a day. After lunch many of the guides will have already exhausted their flights.

Hop in the car with your tandem master behind the wheel and the wings or parasail in the back.  You’ll get a quick briefing during the drive into the forest. Once on top of Pedro Bonita, you’ll meet the other flyers and tandem masters. Each flyer/tandem master pair practices running in sync for take-off a few times, making sure to maintain speed and not look down. Once confident with your running off a cliff skills it’s time to get strapped into the paraglider/hang glider and wait for the right wind.

While you might be nervous, rest assured.  The tandem masters do this a few times a day, every day.  Many of them compete or hold records in the sport.  So trust them. For instance, my tandem master held the South American record for longest flight time- 8.5 hrs! Our flight was breathtaking, but much shorter at around 5 minutes.  (Flight time can vary a lot depending on weight and wind conditions.) The flight offered bird’s-eye views of Christ the Redeemer in the distance, the clear teal ocean, and Rio’s many neighborhoods below. The flights land at Pepino Beach, not far from the hut where flyers fill out paperwork.

The key to landing is the same as take-off: run as fast possible and look straight ahead. Try to avoid tripping and face planting into to the sand as I did!

Beach:

Once you’re back at the beach, swim or paddle out to cool off and then dry off on the sand! To blend in don’t bring a towel to the beach as Cariocas either sit on sarongs, rent chairs along the beach, or just enjoy sandy cheeks. In Rio, the less bikini the better – pack your MI OLA Casita Boythong or Thong Tha Thong and you will fit right in!

Drink:

As you sit on the beach, a wandering Caipirinha salesman will pass. Buy one! The Caipirinha is made out of Cachaça (similar to rum), limes and sugar. It is the national cocktail of Brazil and a perfect anytime drink, but is especially good freshly muddled under the hot sun. All sorts of flavors of Cachaça and Caipirinhas can be found all around Rio, with the most memorable flavor being Cachaça de Jambu. Jambu is a Brazilian leafy green herb that causes the tongue and throat to tingle and go numb. Taking a shot Cachaça de Jambu had my life flashing before my eyes way more than hang-gliding did.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Eat:

Most mornings in Brazil begin with an acai smoothie from a local juice shop. (Acai is a small red-purple berry from a palm which is high in antioxidants and is said to boost energy- beyond being flat out delicious.) Almost every street has a small open aired juice shop, with a few stools along the counter and pile of fresh fruit behind the counter. Common tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, guava are offered, as well as amazonian fruits such as cashew fruit, guarana, pitanga and the most famous, acai. Grab and go pasteis (fried meat and cheese-filled pockets) and Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) will also tempt you from the glass display boxes at the juice shops. For more sustainable food to fuel adventures, look for flavorful stews, hearty rice and beans (black beans and rice, or Feijao, is a Brazilian staple), and authentic sushi (Brazil has more Japanese immigrants than any other country).

Where to Stay:

The best places to stay in town are along the beach. In particular, Ipanema blends tourists, trendy locals, and the LGTB party crowd. It offers options from hostels to luxury hotels. Bonus points to any lodging in the east side of Ipanema that is positioned walking distance to the General Osório subway station.

Copacabana is a good plan B, although it has become more commercially touristy. While in town check out the slightly inland neighborhoods of Botafogo for brunch, Santa Teresa for an art gallery walk, and Lapa for nightlife.

The business focused Centero, the true downtown of Rio, doesn’t offer much for tourists. It is best to avoid on weekends and nights when it is empty and possibly seedy.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Transportation:

The best tip for getting around Rio de Janerio is Uber. Uber is great because the same app that works at home in the US will work in Rio. The digital interface allows users to enter the destination and have confidence that the driver is going to the right place without putting their Portuguese skills to a test.

Rio even has UberEnglish and UberSurf for those willing to pay a few extra Reals for an English speaking driver or a surfboard rack. When out of Wi-fi range, the city also offers taxis (though not too many taxi drivers speak English so be prepared with a written address), two subway lines and buses (the most cost effective option).

For transportation to Rio the city has two airports: Santos Dumont for domestic connections and Galeao-Antonio Carlos (GRU) for international flights.

Tchau and enjoy your travels MI OLA babes!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

July
22

What’s it like to win a trip to Costa Rica?

Have you dreamed of getting away… on a free vacation to Costa Rica?  Sound too good to be true?   It’s not, if you win the MI OLA Grind TV sweepstakes!  Enter here.

Last July we were excited to give away a trip to one lucky winner and her guest to our tropical home base of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. There is nothing like sharing the stoke of our awesome surf town to new people. The lucky winner, Andrea, fell in love with Tamarindo just like we did ten years ago! We caught up with Andrea after her trip to get all the awesome details. This mermaid not only found the best spots in town to not only eat, but also went on some pretty awesome adventures. Check out her Tamarindo adventure below!

AND – if you missed it – we are giving away another trip to Tamarindo, Costa Rica. That’s right, a free trip to Costa Rica.  You’ll stay on the beach in paradise at the gorgeous Tamarindo Beach Diria Resort, travel with an airfare voucher up $750 per person, learn to surf, get $500 in the best swimwear for adventure from MI OLA, and 2 ultra-plush luxury beach towels from TIDE & POOL. Enter now!

 

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

My name is Andrea and I am from Boise, Idaho. I grew up in a small town 30 minutes outside of Boise called Emmett. I am a huge outdoors person; I snowboard, raft, hike, backpack, camp and just love to travel and see new places with my boyfriend Austin. We spend a lot of time seeking new adventures and learning new things. Last year, I won an amazing vacation to Tamarindo, Costa Rica from MI OLA. They flew us to Tamarindo, Costa Rica where we stayed at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel, our home base during the trip for all of our adventures.

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

Our adventures were endless; every day was something new and amazing. There was never a dull moment!

Austin and I went on some pretty amazing adventures. We rented a moped scooter and rode it everywhere all around Tamarindo – the back roads, beaches, anywhere we could manage to get the scooter! We even made it to the top of a mountain with an amazing view. We took surf lessons through Cala Luna, and also rented a board from Iguana Surf (they have super cheap rentals and awesome staff). We went on the Tamarindo Estuary Tour and got to see a lot of Howler Monkeys and Crocodiles! MI OLA also hooked us up with a catamaran sunset cruise, which was out of this world. The Marlin del Rey Catamaran was beautiful, the food was awesome, and drinks were never ending. Last, but not least of our adventures, was an ATV tour, where we went to a beautiful beach called Playa Grande.

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel was absolutely beautiful.

Cala Luna had so many great amenities! Our favorite part was their AMAZING daiquiris which they made with real fruit. Cala Luna also offers cocktails on the beach at sunset- YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT! The hotel had very romantic dinners every night in the restaurant, as well as the option to privately dine on the beach if you want to spice it up. The employees were always there to help us with anything we needed. The next time we go back to Costa Rica, we most definitely will stay there again.

Andrea MI OLA Sweepstakes 3

Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

 

COSTA RICA HAS AMAZING FOOD BOTTOM LINE!!!

We loved the food every place we ate at. It was just unbelievable and all so different. On top of that, the hospitality made our experience even better.  Shrimp Hole is a tiny little place that only seats around 12 people, but has such great food. Dragon Fly – holy wow, the best steak I have ever eaten! Witch’s Rock had a cool environment, very laid back, and also has a cool brewery and store. Roof Top Bar & Grill had an amazing view, awesome live bands, and a very low key restaurant. Patagonia was very romantic, with awesome argentine food and great service. Sprout had very healthy, light food and you get a lot of it! Bamboo Sushi Club was a really beautiful and open restaurant; it looks like it is indoors, but it’s completely open and you can look up to see the stars.

 

Everything about Tamarindo, Costa Rica is perfect – the people, beaches, tours, restaurants, hotels, bars, surfing, and night life. I fell in love with the town and I think about it every day. I truly feel like I left a piece of my heart there – it felt like home. I for sure will be returning very soon!! Thanks MI OLA for such a great trip!