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!

 

Andrea MI OLA Sweepstakes 4

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.

Andrea MI OLA Sweepstakes 2

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.

Andrea MI OLA Sweepstakes 1

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!

July
15

#GetOutThere Guide: Northern California Lost Coast Trail – Kings Range

Can you keep up with MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B. (@ayeboulet)? From downhill skiing at her home base in Lake Tahoe, CA, mermaiding with fellow ambassador Elise in Moorea, hiking up a 14,000 footer White Mountain, beach hiking the coast in the Kalalau Valley on Kauaʻi, Hawaii, or relaxing on a beach in St. Maarten, we love Ashley’s sense of adventure. We caught up with this awesome mermaid and got the details on her latest #getoutthere adventure: hiking the Lost Coast Trail at Kings Range in Northern California.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

#GetOutThere Guide: Northern California Lost Coast Trail- Kings Range

Seeking solitude? Adventure? Sleeping on the ocean beneath the stars? Look no further than the Lost Coast Trail. This hike/backpacking trail is among my top rated, and perhaps one of California’s best kept secrets. This hike is divided between two national parks. The northern segment is in the Kings Range while the southern segment is in the Sinkyone Wilderness. Each segment is approximately 25 miles in distance, totaling 50 miles altogether. For this #getoutthere guide we will focus on the northern segment of this backpacking adventure.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

How to get there:

For this hike you will hike from north to south, however you can go from south to north as well. If you plan on hiking only one way (25 miles), you will need to contact a shuttle service. I arranged a shuttle with Sheri Lualin (Phone: (707)986-9895, sherriluallin@gmail.com). Be prepared that the shuttle service is expensive, approximately $150-200 and it takes about 2.5 hours one way. Sherri will meet you in Shelter Cove at Black Sands Beach. You will leave your car there in the designated parking area. From there Sherri will drive you north to Mattole Beach. She will provide you with a map, tide chart, and permits for your hike.

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What to know:

You need a tide table and you must plan on hiking at low tide. The tide table is easy to read and follow, just be sure you have one before starting your hike, as sections of this trail involve walking on the beach. You will also need a bear canister for this hike to store all your food. You can purchase one at most outdoor department stores, or rent one for your journey at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Project Office in Whitehorn.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

Permits:

Permits can be obtained from the visitor center, your shuttle driver, or at the trailhead in self-serve stations. The permit is free, however you want to be sure you have one with you. A permit is required if you plan to use a camp stove or have a campfire. Campfires are permitted only during the fall, winter, and spring.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

What to pack:

Bear canister (required)

Durable/ water resistant hiking shoes- you will need to cross water and will be hiking on the beach.

Lightweight jacket- rain is likely and expect cooler temperatures at night.

Headlamp/batteries- necessity for light

Pack foods with minimal packaging-what you pack in, you must pack out.

Mole skin- in case of blisters.

Rain poncho- to protect pack and yourself from potential rain, which is likely on the coast.

Extra tent stakes-Expect high winds on the coast and beach when camping.

Water resistant/water proof tent- rain is likely and you’ll want to stay dry when inside your tent.

Water purifier- You will not be able to pack enough water for this hike if you plan to hike for multiple days. There are plenty of water sources that are easily accessible and can be found on a map. I would recommend initially packing a gallon of water per person, and then purify water for the duration of your hike.

To check trail conditions and water sources, go to the BLM website.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

When to hike:

Do your research. The best times to hike the Lost Coast Trail are between the months of May-September. I hiked the trail in mid-June. We had fair weather until the last day of our hike. I would recommend hiking in July-August, although there may be more foot traffic during these months. When I hiked this northern segment, I stayed 3 nights and 4 days on the trail. With this pace, I averaged 6 miles a day. I paced my trip according to the tides and allocated enough time to enjoy the coast and unparalleled beauty. Some hike each segment in a few days, but take your time if possible!

To check current weather conditions, click here for the National Weather Service forecast.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

After your hike:

After days spent backpacking on the coast the best reward will be eating some fish and chips at the Shelter Cove RV campground and Deli. This market/eatery is quaint and perfect for decompressing with a few brews and a hot meal. After hiking be sure to stretch and continue to drink lots of water.

 

Helpful links/websites:

https://lostcoasttrails.wordpress.com/

 

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

July
8

#GetOutThere Guide: Southern Utah

Our MI OLA brand ambassadors know how to #GetOutThere and ambassador Becca (@roamwildandfree) raises the bar with her outdoor adventures. Becca and her husband are on an eight-month road trip across the United States. They recently spent a couple of weeks exploring Southern Utah. We were so inspired by her photos of picturesque landscapes, so we caught up with Becca to get the insider tips on how to #GetOutThere in Southern Utah.

#GetOutThere Guide: Southern Utah

Greetings from our 4-wheeled adventure mobile! My husband, beloved pup and I are on an 8 month road trip all around the American and Canadian West hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and summiting peaks. We fill our days with the activities that we love the most and I’m here sharing one of my favorite areas of our journey – Southern Utah.

Rappelling from Looking Glass Arch outside Moab, UT. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Imagine you’re wading through a crystal clear emerald river with massive, red canyon walls on either side. 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 find yourself mountain biking across some of the best slick rock in the world. Where is this paradise? None other but Southern Utah. Southern Utah is home to some of the best hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing and canyoneering in the world. Read on to plan your own epic road trip.

Your treasure road trip map to paradise! Map courtesy MoabAdventureCenter.com

Your treasure road trip map to paradise! Map courtesy MoabAdventureCenter.com

Starting your Journey – How to Get There:

Geographically, it makes the most sense to start your adventure either in Springdale, UT and head east, or begin in Moab, UT and work your way west. In the effort to streamline your road trip planning, this guide will be broken up into three geographical areas – Moab, UT (Arches and Canyonlands National Parks), Capital Reef National Park, and Springdale, UT (Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks). Since most of your journey will be in a desert climate, plan your road trip for Autumn- Spring. Avoid the summer unless you enjoy roasting away in the sweltering heat. 

 

What to Bring:

For the outdoor lover, bring your camping gear because I’m about to tell you about some of my all-time favorite camping spots! Pack clothing accordingly. You’ll be in the desert and it may be hot during the day and chilly at night. Don’t forget a trusty pair of hiking shoes and a reusable water bottle!

Overlooking Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park.

Overlooking Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Moab, UT (Arches and Canyonlands National Parks)

Moab is the home for all things adventure. Hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, sky diving… It’s all there! Moab is your “one stop shop” for a wide variety of landscapes and awe-inspiring views around every bend.

Where to Hike
– Devils Garden Loop in Arches National Park – 7.2 miles round trip offering a variety of views including eight arches, a relatively flat trail, steep ledges and rock scrambling.
– Gooseberry Canyon in Canyonlands National Park – 5.4 miles round trip descending (and ascending) into the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands providing hikers with Grade A panorama views.
– Negro Bill Canyon off Scenic Byway 128 – 4 miles round trip along an easy going stream winding through steep canyon walls to an underground spring and Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

Where to Mountain Bike
– For beginner riders, check out the Bar M Loops. It’s a great spot to test out your skills and jump on more intermediate trails as you progress.
– For intermediate to advanced riders, look into THE Slickrock trail in Sand Flats Rec Area.

Where to Rock Climb
– Wall Street off Potash Road – Belay from the comfort of the top of your car! Famous for the “park and climb” day, Wall Street offers top rope routes for beginners to advanced.  Be aware, you will have road noise and the area is quite popular.
– Indian Creek – The mecca for crack climbing, any rock climbing enthusiast will be happy here for days and weeks on end!

Where to Camp

– Goose Island – A BLM managed campground right on the river just minutes outside Moab.
– Jaycee Park Campground – Another great BLM managed campground less than 10 minutes outside Moab with great access to rock climbing.
– Sand Flats Recreation Area – Boasting over 120 private campsites, Sand Flats is the place to camp for those interested in mountain biking the infamous Slick Rock Trail.

Where to Eat
– Moab Coffee Roasters for your morning brew.
– Eklecticafe to load up on fuel for the day.
– Milt’s has the best burgers and milkshakes in town.
– Zak’s pizza has an impressive all you can eat buffet to reward yourself after that grueling hike.

Plan for at least 3-4 days in the Moab area, there will be so much you’ll want to do without near enough time! We spent a full 3 weeks in Moab and still have a list of things to do when we return.

Exploring the never ending canyons around Capital Reef & Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Exploring the never ending canyons around Capital Reef & Grand Staircase-Escalante. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

Capital Reef National Park

Capital Reef National Park, as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, will leave you inspired for years to come with giant sandstone formations, impressive arches and an ever-changing horizon for the wander-lusting soul.

Where to Hike
– Chimney Rock Loop in Capital Reef National Park – 3.6 miles round trip best suited for sunset views.
– Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante – 11.5 miles round trip winding through a slot canyon as well as passing numerous arches.
– Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante – 5.8 miles round trip rewarding hikers with a 130 foot waterfall with a swimming hole underneath!

Where to Camp
– Fruita Campground is the only developed campground inside Capital Reef National Park. Fill up on water here for your hikes.
– Calf Creek Campground is inside Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park with sites filling up on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Where to Eat
– Kiva Koffeehouse in Escalante for your morning coffee and bodily fuel.
– Escalante Outfitters Café in Escalante will feed your hungry belly after an arduous hike.

Capital Reef National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are a bit off the grid and the “beaten trail”. Many folks plan 1-2 days but the opportunities for the outdoor lover are endless in this vast area.

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

 

Springdale, UT (Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks)

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks are some of the most picturesque landscapes in the entire world. Springdale, a cute little trendy town located just outside Zion National Park, offers visitors a plethora of restaurants and local art.

Where to Hike
– Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park – 4.8 miles roundtrip of strenuous, exposed hiking leading up to one of the best views in Zion. Be aware, this hike is extremely popular (with good reason). To avoid crowds, plan for a sunrise or sunset hike.
– The Narrows in Zion National Park – The Narrows are not necessarily a hike, but rather a thrilling experience wading through the Virgin River with steep walls on either side.
– Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park – 8 miles roundtrip offering hikers impeccable views of Bryce Canyon.

Where to Camp
– North Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park.
– Watchman Campground in Zion National Park.
– South Campground in Zion National Park.

Where to Eat
– Cafe Soleil provides a great breakfast and friendly baristas ready to prepare you for your day.
– Oscar’s Café is a perfect spot for a lunch complete with outdoor seating at with canyon views all around.
– Bit and Spur can’t be missed for dinner, the prices and experience are well worth it.

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks provide excellent opportunities for the outdoor lover. Plan for at least 3-4 days here to enjoy the minimum that this pristine area has to offer!

Happy Trails! Stay tuned for more #GetOutThere guides coming your way from our 8-month journey around the American and Canadian West!

Happy Travels!

Happy Trails! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

June
24

#GetOutThere on July 4th!

Don’t you just love when a holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, making your weekend a three-day weekend? Even better is when the three-day weekend is during the summer. Extra long days = more time to #GetOutThere! Can we get a heck yes?! Just in case you haven’t made plans yet for the long July 4th holiday next weekend, here are some great last minute ideas on how to #GetOutThere before your July 4th weekend BBQs.

Get up early and surf! If it’s flat or you are not close to waves, grab a stand up paddle boarde and SUP or do SUP yoga at your local lake, pond, river, or ocean. Not only will you get your water time in, you also have motivation not to overdo it the night before. Our Brand Ambassadors have written some pretty awesome Surf Guides to waves right here in the USA, like Montauk, La Jolla, Rockaway, Deerfield Beach, Tybee IslandLong Beach, and Folly Beach.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica – @jessicabellofatto

Wave

Photo by MI OLA Influencer Lex Weinstein – @lexweinstein_

Plan a 1/2 day hike. Research options within an hour of you, and make a hiking date with your best friend or significant other. We love the conversations you have when out on the trails with friends! Check out our Ambassador #GetOutThere Guides to the Shawangunks and White Mountain.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley.- @ayeboulet e

A long weekend is the perfect time to plan an all day adventure. There is still time to book a long weekend getaway adventure, from diving, skydiving, learning to kite board, etc. Why not turn a three-day weekend into a four-day weekend by taking an extra day off and get there early?  Our ambassadors love to #GetOutThere in The Outer Banks, Naples, Marathon in the Florida Keys, and Lake Tahoe!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Plan your own surf and/or yoga retreat with friends. Are all the flights booked to the retreat you have had your eye on? Why not plan your own surf and/or yoga retreat with your friends? Be sure to plan your surf time around the tides and swell, and then your down time with a good yoga flow. Head to your local farmer’s market to make some healthy meals with fresh summer produce.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Catherine.- @kathmarquis

Salute the sun @bvalorosi

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

June
3

#GetOutThere Guide: El Yunque Rainforest Hike, Puerto Rico

For this month’s #GetOutThereGuide, we’re catching up with MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @vitiviti . Her favorite activities include free-diving (40 feet), surfing, fishing, lobstering and playing in the waves. On the turf, she is doing yoga and exploring the outdoors.

One of her favorite hikes is to La Roca in El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @vitiviti in our Pin Up Top and Striped  Boyshort

#GetOutThere Guide: El Yunque Rainforest Hike

I love the ocean. I can spend an entire day lounging on the warm sand, snorkeling a reef, or surfing the day away. Unfortunately, spring time in Puerto Rico usually means it rains a lot. Almost every single day.

One of my favorite rainy day activities, is hiking up the “El Yunque Rainforest” in search of La Roca, known to have the most amazing views. You feel as if you are literally on top of the world.

View from La Roca El Yunque

Photo by Marfeus Murf

The Hike:
From the parking lot, the trail takes you to Mt. Britton, which you should definitely check out if you have the energy and time. It is a very steep, slippery trail so it’s important non-slip hiking shoes are worn.

Hiking El Yunque

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @vitiviti

The first part of this trail will end on Forest Service Road 10. Once you get to this road you can follow the signs to Mt. Britton, which will lead you to “El Yunque Trail”. From here you can then find your way to La Roca.

El Yunque Hike Map

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @mermaid.drea

Look out for signs for “Los Picachos” and “El Yunque Peak,”. If you have time, check out these spots too.

The overall hike is a bit challenging since as it’s a steep uphill climb, but many have done it. The goal of this hike is to reach the clouds.

Roundtrip the hike will take about four hours. When you finally reach the top you’ll enjoy the cold air from the mountains to cool you off! And on the way down, you get another refreshing reward:  ice cold waterfalls to cool off in.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea - @mermaid.drea

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @vitiviti

Waterfalls:
After you’ve finished your hike, be sure to check out La Mina waterfall. It is very easy to get to as there are marked signs. There is a stairway that takes you down and the walk is about 30 minutes.

Waterfalls El Yunque

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @vitiviti in our Casita Boythong and Pin Up Top

What to bring:
Good non-slip hiking shoes, and athletic gear.  Pack your MI OLA BIKINI – you’re gonna need it. Also pack a bag with drinks, snacks, a towel, and a light jacket. Bring water and more water. But if you don’t want to lug about heavy bottles, El Yunque has mini waterfalls everywhere, where you can get a refill.
Bring something dry and comfortable you can change into after your play day in El Yunque.

Hike El Yunque

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador – @vitiviti

Where to stay:
Although you are able to camp in the rainforest itself, I don’t recommend staying there. Tourists are better off going back to their hotel.

Apres Hike:
Eat at “La Parilla” located in the Luquillo Kiosks (it is kiosk #2). Relax in front of the beach with an ice-cold Medalla (our local beer) and and hot plate of deliciousness. A parade of food and drink kiosks, you have tons of options to sample local delicacies. You will not be disappointed.

How to #GetOutThere:
El Yunque is about a 45 min drive from San Juan. Take PR-26 until you see the exit for PR-66. Follow signs to get on road #3 South. Keep right to continue on #3 S and then on the third cross street you will make a right onto PR-191.

Once you get into the Rainforest the drive up the mountain becomes very windy with blind bends, so drive with extreme caution.

It is customary to honk your horn when driving up a bend to let other drivers know you are there. After driving for about 20 minutes you will come to a one-way roundabout. Bear to the right (road 930), where you will find a parking lot.

There is only one trail into the forest from here.

 

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

 

 

May
27

Epic Summer Adventures

The unofficial start of SUMMER IS HERE! We survived another winter. Now it’s our time to #GetOutThere and have some fun in the sun. We are ready for  trips to the beach (or lake, or river, or pool), summer BBQs, super long days, and new MI OLA bikinis.

Our mermaid ambassadors are preparing for some epic summer adventures. Get some #GetOutThere inspiration from their plans, which include exploring the Galapagos Islands, to retreating to Greece for intense yoga practice, to camping in Zion National Park.

 

Galapagos

Jen P (@flentil) is headed to the Galapagos to celebrate her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. She will be enjoying family time, hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling to see all the amazing creatures that live there. Her family started planning this trip about 18 months ago and on the trip will be Jen’s parents, he brother’s family, her sister’s family, Jen, her husband and son.

MI OLA brand Ambassador Jen P on vacation in the Grand Caymans

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

Accommodations: On a boat, Jen will be traveling with a group from Lindblad Expeditions.

How to get there: Fly to Miami and then to Guayaquil, Ecuador. From there they board the boat and depart for the Galapagos.

 

Ithaca, Greece

Jessica B (@jessicabellofatto) is headed to the small island of Ithaca in Greece! Visiting Greece has been on her bucket list, so when she got the opportunity to teach a stand up paddle (SUP) and yoga retreat there with Yogascapes, she jumped at the chance. In addition to yoga, SUP, SUP Yoga, they will be hiking, eating organic and locally sourced food, and sleeping on amazing organic mattresses. Ithaca is a peaceful, gorgeous  island that has some of the clearest waters in Greece.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica – @jessicabellofatto

Photo by Itha108

Photo by Itha108

Accommodations: The retreat location, Itha108 is out of this world beautiful and very eco conscious. Jessica says, “This place is totally in line with my own values and I can not wait to meet the owners and stay here! Itha108 overlooks the sea and the island of Kefalonia from an elevated wilderness of olive trees (olive oil!!!) and exposed rocks that form the elements around which it was built, allowing its natural beauty to speak for itself.”

How to get there: Fly to Athens and then hop a flight to Kefalonia.

 

Hawaii

We have another anniversary celebration trip in the house. Caroline (@carolinegcarlson) is headed to the Big Island of Hawaii to help celebrate her parents 25th anniversary, as well as her sisters’ 16th and 21st birthdays. Her whole family, including grandparents and cousins, are headed on this adventure. Caroline is looking forward to hiking, swimming, snorkeling, playing in the sand, and learning how to surf (luckily she’s got MI OLA to keep her covered while she surfs!)

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Caroline- @carolinegcarlson

Photo by Mauna Lani

Photo by Mauna Lani

Accommodations: Mauna Lani Resort, Big Island – Hawaii

How to get there: Flying

 

Zion National Park, Utah

Melissa G. (@thecrystal_fairy) is headed to Utah with friends to hike and camp in Zion National Park. How rad is that? They will be there for three nights.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Melissa- @thecrystal_fairy

Photo by Melissa

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Melissa- @thecrystal_fairy

Accommodations: They will be living the tent life all weekend, and expect cold nights by fires and wearing the same pair of socks everyday on this backpacking adventure.

How to get there: Fly into Las Vegas airport, then driving 2 hours and 45 minutes to Zion.

 

Sanibel Island, FL

Amanda (@mermanda_) is going to Sanibel Island on the West coast of Florida with her boyfriend.  Sanibel is known for its shell covered beaches, so there’s no better place this MI OLA mermaid. They plan on looking for shells, paddleboarding, relaxing, and our favorite yogi is sure to sneak in some yoga.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

Photo by Island Time

Photo by Island Time

Accommodations: Amanda is staying in a bungalow in the tropical jungle near the Sanibel Island lighthouse and rumor has it there is a restaurant that is Christmas themed year round! How Fun!

How to get there: Amanda is driving.  You can also fly into Fort Meyers, FL and drive to Sanibel.

 

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Yogi Rima (@rima_danielle), her husband, and her cat Zuko are moving to Costa Rica. A dream come true, they will be running a yoga retreat center there in Pura Vida-dise. Manifesting this move for about 4 years now, Rima will be living in Santa Teresa on top of a mountain in the jungle.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Rima- @rima_danielle

Accommodations: Rima, her husband, and cat have an apartment, but if you are in town visit be sure to visit them at Nautilus Boutique Hotel!

How to get there: Fly to San Jose, Costa Rica, then drive to the coast (and take a ferry along the way.)

Grand Cayman

Ashley A. (@theviewfrom6ft) is headed to the Grand Cayman Islands for a reunion with six friends. She plans on spending her time on the trip doubled over in laughter, re-telling old stories and making new stories. Ashley can’t wait to go paddle boarding, diving, and holding baby sea turtles and sting rays.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ashley A.- @theviewfrom6ft

Accommodations: Marriot Resort on Seven Mile Beach

How to get there: Flying!

Road-tripping in the USA

Becca (@roamwildandfree) and her husband and are in the middle of an 8 month road trip exploring the American and Canadian West. How cool is that? Their home currently is a 16 year old minivan; they have gutted the back and made a bed platform with ample storage underneath for gear, clothing and food. Their goal while on this trip to is discover the “hidden gems”, the “not so popular landmarks” and are willing to go the extra mile for it! Spending most of their days hiking, rock climbing, aimlessly exploring “that mountain over there”, Becca and her husband are loving every minute of it.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Photo by Becca

Photo by Becca – @roamwildandfree

Accommodations: Their 16 year old minivan

How to get there: Drive, drive, drive!

 

With all that planned, it’s going to be one epic summer.  We’d love to hear what you’ve got planned!

 

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