March
10

Living the Dream: How I’m making it – Tamarindo, Costa Rica

8 years ago, I moved to Costa Rica after falling in love with surfing.  And I found that everyone I knew back in NYC either thought I had lost my mind, or found the meaning of life.  And most tourists I met who were visiting Costa Rica were dreaming about living there, and were full of questions on how people make it work.  The answer?  Everyone hustles to figure it out.  And then keeps hustling.

Many of the jobs or skills that people have in the US corporate world are not available or useful when you’re living in Costa Rica in a tourist town.  So you’ve got to be opportunistic, and still find a way to enjoy your new life in paradise.  Here is an account of how one of our favorite surfer girls is making it happen in Costa Rica, from Kristen @sambatothesea.   — Chief Bikini Officer, Helena Fogarty

Kristen M. Brown of Samba to the Sea headed for a surf in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Kristen @sambaotothesea headed for a surf in Tamarindo.

 

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun – – and I really can’t believe over four years have passed since leaving NYC:  quitting my corporate job, putting all my belongings in storage (called Mom & Pop storage), and moving to Tamarindo, Costa Rica to surf. When I first moved, I worked for Robert August (AKA Mr. Endless Summer), blogging and running his social media. Working for such an iconic person in surf history was definitely an experience. I loved how most of the time I could make my own work schedule and I was stoked to not be working “in the office” every day.  And I got to surf.  All the time.

Kristen M. Brown of Samba to the Sea photographing a beautiful sunset in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Kristen @sambaotothesea chasing sunsets in Costa Rica with her Chihuahua Gidget.

In my free time, I started to follow my other passion, photography. First, photographing and posting images of Tamarindo on my blog + Instagram was a good way to keep my family and friends updated on my Costa Rican adventure. Then, it became a side job.  Why?  Because I saw way too many ugly postcards for sale in Tamarindo.  I decided to take the #uglypostcarddilemma into my own hands. I made my own, featuring my Costa Rican sunset photographs. They were an immediate hit in Tamarindo and I was stoked to have found a niche in market.

What started with nine postcards has evolved into over forty postcard designs with ~15,000 postcards sold in three and a half years. And selling my photographs via the postcards gave me confidence to pursue photography as a career – which happens to also be a good way to make a living here in the tropics.  Today I’m so stoked to launch something I only dreamed of a year ago – – an online store designed to help you have a little bit of paradise in your home, with sunset prints, pillows, baby blankets (and more to come), aptly named The Sunset Shop.

(P.S. you totally want to keep reading for a special offer just for MI OLA mermaids!!)

The Sunset Shop by Samba to the Sea.

Ahhhh, the magic of sunsets in Costa Rica! Prints of breathtaking Costa Rican sunsets available at The Sunset Shop.

I now spend most of my year in Costa Rica, with the remainder spent in magical Savannah, GA – which is gorgeous, amazing and also happens to be where my family lives. I know, you’re probably thinking why would I ever want to leave Costa Rica or split time? The honest truth? Costa Rica may be a little slice of Pura Vida for vacation, but living here (like I believe living anywhere else in the world) has its pluses and minuses. So what should you expect if you’re thinking of moving to Tamarindo, Costa Rica?

Pros & Cons of  Living the Dream in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Pros:

No need for a beach getaway:  I don’t have the crazy urge to go on vacation like I did when I lived in NYC. Sure, I miss the ease of hopping on a plane at JFK to Europe, but I’m at the beach every day!

Sunsets:  The sunsets in Tamarindo are AMAZING!!! Soon after landing in Costa Rica, I started chasing and photographing the sunsets.

Pura Vidadise print by Samba to the Sea at The Sunset Shop. Image of a gorgeous sunset in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Free mobile background download!

A breathtaking sunset in Costa Rica. Photo by Kristen M. Brown, @sambaotothesea

Surfing:  The waves in Costa Rica are simply magical – – peeling waves, offshore winds, and warm water. Within a 5-10 minute bike ride, I have access to several surf breaks and several others within 30 minutes. Without a doubt, I’ve gotten spoiled here real fast!
(Check out MI OLA’s surf guides to Tamarindo, Avellanas, and Playa Grande)

Surfing Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica.

Wave breaking at Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica. Photo by Kristen M. Brown, @sambaotothesea

 

Nature:  Ahhhh, nature. It’s right outside – –  the Howler monkeys at dawn, iguanas, singing birds. I love my daily walks on beach and through the hills in Tamarindo with my little Chihuahua Gidget.

 

The people: My friends are from all over the world.  Tamarindo is a great example of a diverse, mixed community.

 

Cons:

When your dream becomes everyday life, there are definitely things that can wear on you… until you get back in the waves. Here’s the reality that many don’t consider when they dream of moving to paradise.

Pura Vida:  Ahhhh, the small thing called Tico Time. Meaning “latin time” or tomorrow is another day. Pretty much everything here just operates slower than the US. Long lines at the bank, slow internet, and driving 40 miles down the coast takes over two hours!  Convenience and ease is not a focus, like it often is up north.

Sometimes I don’t surf everyday:  Contrary to what my parents think,I don’t surf everyday. I’d love to surf everyday, but my work takes priority and other times the conditions are just not that great. Sometimes a week or more goes by without surfing – – (gasp!) I know!

Cost of Living is high:  It’s expensive to live here.  Costa Rica is not a cheap country. Most tourists are surprised at the cost of accommodations, tours, and food.  And people who live here make a lot less.  Think US prices, but much lower wages than the US.

It’s tropically hot:  The sun is HOT, HOT, HOT! Tamarindo is located 10 degrees north of the equator, meaning that the sun is very strong here! And in April, the temperatures soar over 100 degrees with high humidity.

People come and go:  Tamarindo is a tourist and very transient town. Just as fast as you make a new friend, another one is moving out of town! Some people only come for high season to escape the northern hemisphere winters and others are like me – – how has it been over four years?!

 

Four years ago, never did I think I would still be living in Costa Rica AND working for myself – – a passion that my pre-Costa Rica self would have said was impossible. In celebration of the launch of my shop, I’m stoked to offer you FREE sunset downloads, oh-so-perfect for your phone or computer background! Click here for your freebie, add the downloads to the shopping cart, and use code “MIOLA” at checkout! AND this weekend only, for MI OLA mermaids only, enjoy 25% off her whole shop – – use code “MIOLA25” at checkout.

 

 

 

 

August
12

Surf Guide: Surf Road Trip – Southern Europe

Chasing Waves on the European Atlantic Coast

Our MI OLA Brand Ambassadors are always planning their next adventure.  Ambassador Verena (@laa_sirenaa) is no exception. When she is not flying as a flight attendant for Lufthansa, she is exploring the world. We first met Verena in our tropical home base of Tamarindo.  Now we follow her adventures around the world as a brand ambassador. We caught up with Verena this month to hear all about her recent surf road trip to southern Europe she took this past April and May.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Surf Roadtrip – Southern Europe:

Since it is hard to get a lot of nice waves in Germany, my friend Nico and I planned a two-week surf trip to the Atlantic coast of Europe. The plan was to do a 14-15 hour drive from Munich to France and stay in the well-known surf region around Biarritz, or go even further South to catch some waves in the beautiful Spanish Basque country, close to San Sebastian. In general, the best time of year for big waves is during the winter, and the summer offers much smaller waves, but a lot of sunshine!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

The first challenge was to decide which board to take!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

After a one day drive across France, we stayed our first night in Biarritz and had a lot of fun with the locals at a nice Bar called Cafe Miguel. We were really excited to get wet and desperate to catch some nice waves! It was small, but we had at least a few little waves for our first surf at a reef break in Guethary.

Biarritz! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Travel Info: Biarritz is located in the French Basque Country, about 35 kilometers from Spain. The city has one of Europe’s longest surfing cultures, which began in 1957 after a Californian surfer visited Biarritz and left some surfboards with the locals. Now the town is known throughout the world for its strong surfing scene.

Surf: My favorite spot is Guethary. It is best with a southwest or west swell and southeast or east wind. It breaks on all tides and is a reef break, a right and a left. Recommended for experienced surfers. Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Go to Cafe Miguel for dinner and really good cocktails. It is located close to plage du port vieux.

Sleep: We stayed at Hotel de la plage, a nice, clean, hotel right that has a sea view and is in the city center.

 

After surfing Guethary, the same day we went further down the coast to San Sebastian. But, unfortunately it was completely flat! And according to the forecast it was not going to get any better, because there was no north swell at all!

Travel Info: San Sebastian is located in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain.  It is also called Donostia in Basque. It was chosen the European Capital of Culture in 2016 and San Sebastian claims to have more Michelin Star Restaurants per square meter than any other city in the world.

Surf: One of the most consistent spots around San Sebastian is Zarautz, which is a nice, little beach town close to San Sebastian. It breaks best with a northwest or west swell. It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Go to the old town (parte vieja) for bar hopping and have a lot of tapas (pintxos) and beers (cañas)!

Sleep: We arrived in San Sebastian on the weekend without a hotel reservation, so everything was booked out. We went to the tourist info in town and they knew which hotel still has some space. Unfortunately, we did not get the best deal out of it and stayed at a hotel called Hotel Terminus, right next to the train station. Let’s say it was O.K. for one night, but the people were really nice.

San Sebastian! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Instead of hanging around and watch the ocean acting like a lake, we spontaneously decided to drive all the way through the north of Spain to its west coast, where we could also catch some west swell. After another day of driving through the beautiful countryside, we arrived in Valdoviño, a lovely little fishing town in Galicia, somewhere at the most northeastern tip of Europe!

One guy told us, “‘You will have empty perfection” Instead we saw empty flatness!
 We had to wait twoooooo mooooore days until some west swell arrived. So, we chilled, went running, did yoga, checked every beach in the area, and had some food while waiting for waves. Eventually, we spotted some swell arriving and jumped into the water at a really nice bay called Doniños. We were so happy to just get wet!

Waves at Doninos! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Travel Info: Valdoviño is a sleepy village with just 7,000 inhabitants. It has a stunning beach and a large lagoon.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini!

Surf: Doniños breaks best with a northwest, west, or southwest swell. Best winds are from the southwest, south, or southeast wind. It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.

Eat and Drink: Eat at Restaurante El Gitano and order one of the weirdest seafood dishes I have ever hear of, called gooseneck barnacles (percebes)!

Percebes. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Sleep: We camped at Camping Valdoviño. It was a fantastic campsite. You can rent tents, apartments or bungalows with terraces if you don’t have a big van to sleep in. It has great view of the beach.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Valvodino! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

In the end, both of us had some really fun waves at Doniños, which was not crowded at all! We were the only tourists in the water, surfing with some locals. Galicia is the place to be if you are in search of quiet, stunning nature and surf some spots on your own.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

After a few days we headed back to Mimizan Plage, near Hossegor, France, to stay for our last week. Finally, we were lucky with the swell; the waves in Hossegor were pumping and in perfect shape!

Travel Info: Mimizan Plage is a popular beach spot for tourists during the summer, but during the winter and spring it is a quiet and nice village located directly on the long and wild Atlantic beach breaks.

Waves at Mimizan Page.Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Surf: Mimizan Plage breaks best with a northwest, west, or southwest swell;It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Pura Vida Surf Camp, where we stayed, has delicious and healthy food, from homemade bread and marmalade, to mint leaves from their garden for your tea! At night, you could also check out the Pura Vida Bar in town for good drinks and dancing music.  It has the same name, but a different owner.

Sleep: We stayed at Pura Vida Surf Camp
. It has a pool and a really lovely garden to hang out. You can get bikes with surf racks to drive down to the beach (just 5 min.)
 They also rent surfboards.

 

All in all, it was such a fun road trip! To travel along the Atlantic coastline wherever and whenever we wanted made me feel so free! Exploring new places, enjoying empty beaches, getting to know different cultures, and talking to local people is so rewarding to me. This is one of the reasons why I love surfing! And as far as the swell is concerned, sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not, and sometimes you have to chase it!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively!  To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

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
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
1

Surf Guide: Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

This month, we are back in Costa Rica in Nosara.  Nosara was recently named as one of the 20 best surf towns around the world by National Geographic, and it’s also rated by Trip Advisor as on of the top beach destinations in Costa Rica.  It’s located centrally in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, on the Pacific.  Playa Guiones, in Nosara, is a long stretch of beach, with good waves all year.  When you add in warm tropical water, and a charming town filled with yoga studios, boutiques and restaurants, it’s a great place to get away from it all.

Team Rider Kristen @sambatothesea loves surfing this beach break and she recently got back from a weekend work-cation in Nosara, photographing a beautiful wedding AND surfing perfect waves in Playa Guiones.

Wave in Playa Guiones

Photo courtesy Wave Tribe Company.

SURF GUIDE: Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica by Kristen Brown – @sambatothesea

Where and when to surf: 

Playa Guiones is a beach break. There are the waves up and down the long stretch of beach, so you can walk as far as you wish to find a nice, uncrowded wave.  Playa Guiones is exposed to swells coming from all directions, so it is rarely flat.

Best Tide: All tides.
Best Wind: Offshore, from the East.
Best Swell: All swells.
Ability: Beginner to Advanced
Season: For offshore winds all day, January – April. But there is surf year round.
Crowd Factor: Some peaks can get crowded, but there are plenty of waves to be found.

Surfer at Playa Guines, Costa Rica. Photoraphed by Samba to the Sea Photography.

Surfer at sunset in Playa Guiones. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Water Temperature:

Water temperatures in Costa Rica are almost always tropically warm (MI OLA Bikini temp!), except for when there are strong offshore winds.  So before you head out, check it out.  If there are strong offshore winds, the water temperature can drop, and you’ll want a spring jacket or spring suit.  You don’t want to paddle out to perfect waves and be too cold to surf!

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Where to Stay:

There are many options for all budgets.  If you are looking to surf, surf, surf AND improve, I have several friends that highly recommend Surf Simply Surf Camp.

Check out Harmony Hotel, Olas Verdes, and Casa Romantica for a higher budget. Great lower budget options are Beach Dog Hostel, steps away from the beach and serving up great food, and The Gilded Iguana.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Apres Surf:

I don’t think you can get a bad meal in Nosara. A couple of my favorite places to eat are Harmony Hotel, El Chivo, Beach Dog Hostel, Gilded Iguana, Go Juice Nosara, and Nosara Pura Vida. Although the food is great, the bill will tend to be a little higher than you are expecting – about $10-$20 per meal without alcohol.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Ring Halter top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Other Activities:

Nosara is also known as a yoga town. From yoga retreats, teacher trainings, to yoga classes, you can spend the whole week surfing and practicing yoga! Check out Nosara Yoga Institute and Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort.

In addition to yoga, there are zip lining tours, ATV tours, horseback riding, and more.

How to #GetOutThere:

From Liberia Airport, Playa Guiones is about a two hour drive. The last half hour of the drive is on dirt road, so depending on the road conditions, it can get quite bumpy. We recommend renting a 4×4 SUV for higher clearance, especially if you plan on visiting and surfing nearby towns and surf breaks, OR if you’re coming during rainy season. You can also arrange a shuttle van from the airport via your accommodations.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively. To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

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
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.

catherine 3

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
10

You’re not too old to learn how to surf!

Our MI OLA Brand Ambassadors are pretty amazing. They inspire us to get up and #getouthere EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. They are not only passionate about what they do, but they also are always open to try new things. Brand Ambassador Jen P, loves running marathons, is an avid SUPer, and took her first surf lesson at the awesome age of 41.

Learning to surf at ANY age is hard, so we chatted with Jen to get the insider tips on learning to surf at 40 and beyond.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

I took my first surf lesson at the ripe old age of 41 at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. We won’t even talk about when that was. It was all because a runner pal of mine with a keen sense of adventure called me up.  She was organizing a girls trip to learn how to surf. Honestly, I didn’t even know if I would survive my first lesson.  I assumed I might be the one floating out the back in a big ole inner tube with a drink in my hand, cheering on everyone else! Of course, you know that isn’t what happened – I had a great time the entire week!

Being in beautiful, warm water with a really fun atmosphere didn’t hurt, either. I will say, it was very helpful to go with a group of like-minded women. We were all about the same age, and we were all pretty fit. I only mention the fitness part because I think it really helped us succeed and enjoy the lessons. Surfing definitely goes better when you have some strength and endurance already under your belt.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

Tips:

– You are never too old to learn something new! Seriously, that type of thinking ages you more than any physical passage of time.

– Learn with a group so you feel less self-conscious about being a total beginner. As adults, we haven’t had to be beginners at much of anything in a very long time. It is humbling, especially if you are active and used to being pretty competent in other sports. Learn with a group of friends so you can encourage each other and laugh at the learning process together! If you can’t find a group of people to travel with, don’t be afraid to travel solo and either stay in a women’s single-traveler room (like WRSC) or join up with a women’s only surf retreat. You will be amazed how everyone welcomes everyone!

– At some point, you may realize that you are never going to be surfing 10 foot waves. This is ok. There will always be someone surfing better, or surfing bigger waves. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, but don’t apologize if the conditions are beyond your limit. It’s supposed to be fun! No one cares but you!

– The real reason I love surfing (even though I’m not very good at it, and continue to work on it) is because I love the water.  It is one more way to have fun in the ocean! And it seems like a sport I can do for a very long time. I’ve been a runner my whole life, but I’ve always said that if something happens where I can’t run because of injury or something else, I don’t want to be left feeling sorry for myself or lost without any activity or sport.  Surfing (and SUP) seem like lifelong activities that I can continue to enjoy forever!

My goal is to be a somewhat competent surfer by the time I’m 50. I don’t even really know what that means, but I’m having fun in the pursuit of this nebulous decade-long goal!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively!  To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

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

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

 

May
13

#GetOutThere Guide: Whanganui River, New Zealand

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

New MI OLA ambassador to the sisterhood is canoer Leslie – @lesnorberg. Her past adventures include paddling the Canadian Arctic roughly 500 miles, with six other women in 50 days. Now she is spending the summer in New Zealand as a canoe trip leader.

For this week’s post explorer Leslie guides us on how to #GetOutThere on the Whanganui River in New Zealand.  The Whanganui is a major river on the North Island of New Zealand and is the country’s third-longest river.

The river and the land surrounding it have tremendous importance to the region’s Māori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). They arrived in voyaging canoes from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki over 1000 years ago.  An important route for communication and trade, the river was the primary way to reach the interior of the North Island.

The flora, fauna and land surrounding it is incredible. Wild and natural, draped by steep hills, you’ll feel the heart of the forest. Hear the songs of the outstanding native birdlife as your adventure flows through a breathtaking national park.

“Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko.” – “I am the river and the river is me.” – Māori Tribes.

 

#GetOutThere Guide: Whanganui River, New Zealand by Leslie Norberg

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg


Getting Started

You will need a canoe, paddles, life jacket, etc. Most people hire gear through an outfitter. There are several to choose from to suit all budgets. Before you choose, make sure you do a bit of research. Tripadvisor is great for this.

Ask your outfitter about transportation options, what equipment is included, if campsite bookings are included, and if you get a personal locator beacon.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the river on your own, hire a guide.  The best time to visit is between October and April.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

 

The Journey

Most people choose to paddle for three days, starting in Whakahoro and ending in Pipiriki, covering roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) in total. This is the most popular option.

Map compliments of Teara

Map by Teara

Another paddle is a five-day journey starting in Ohinepane (just north of Whakahoro) and ending in Pipiriki covering roughly 120 kilometers (74 miles).

Want to customize your own trip? Start as far north as Taumarunui and travel the entire length of the river all the way to Whanganui, where the river meets the sea. Check in with your outfitter to see what options they offer.

A must see and a highlight of many people’s trips is the Bridge to Nowhere – it’s literally a bridge in the middle of nowhere.

BridgetoNowhere

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

 

What To Bring

Your outfitter will supply canoes, paddles, bailer, PFD’s (lifejackets), personal locator beacon, map, and waterproof barrels for your personal gear and food. 

Everything else is up to you!

Campsite bookings sheet  Either your outfitter or yourself will have to book campsites.

The basics  First aid kit, cooking and eating utensils, matches or a lighter, toilet paper.

A good tent  I’ve seen some pretty rainy nights on the Whanganui and was glad I had a solid tent to keep me dry and happy. Even if you book a hut bring a tent just in case.

Sleeping bag  Preferably not down as it does not keep you warm when wet.

Headlamp  Bring spare batteries.

DCIM109GOPRO

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Paddling clothes  These are what you will wear during the day. You should be ok with getting them wet. I recommend my clients wear polyprops/thermals/merino on cooler days and quick dry material on warmer days. No Cotton!

Definitely, bring your MI OLA BIKINI.  This is a river and there are plenty of awesome places to swim and jump!

 

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Camp clothes  These clothes should never be worn on the river. You need dry clothes at the end of the day. Again, these should be fleece, polyprop, or merino. Cotton takes forever to dry when wet and will not keep you warm.

Stove  Make sure you’ve tested it before your trip. Bring plenty of fuel for your stove.

Food  Take plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout the day, you will need them. For your meals, you can go as simple as “boil in a bag” or as complex as a 3-course meal with fresh veggies, bacon, etc. Bring an extra day’s worth of food as “emergency food”.

Garbage bag  Be tidy. Dedicate one of your barrels to garbage as animals can chew through the bag.

Water bottle / storage  Everyone should have their own water bottle. Stay hydrated! Every campsite has water tanks. In the beginning of the season, there is rainwater and it is safe to drink -at your own risk. As the season progresses, the water in the tanks becomes questionable.

Either boil all of your water or bring your choice of treatment system. I recommend you bring a larger container to store your treated water in so you can refill your water bottles during the day.

Sunscreen, Sun Hat & Glasses  New Zealand has a hole in the ozone layer. The sun is strong. We’re talking a ten minute burn time – yeow! Sunscreen or covering up is your best option. I wear tights on the river and a sun shirt or your MI OLA RASHGUARD. You’ll need a hat and sunglasses to protect your face.

 

 

Leave No Trace

Pack out what you pack in. Practice Leave No Trace at campsites and on the river.

Don’t chuck garbage into the bush, including organic waste. Keep your garbage in a garbage bag and put it in a barrel for the night. Animals will chew through anything else, including tents, so put food and garbage in your barrels overnight.

Mangawaiiti

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Use the sinks provided by the campsites to do your dishes.  There are toilets at campsites. Use them to keep the river clean so others can enjoy it after you. You cannot get far enough away from the water to “do your business”.

Safety Tips

1.  Outfitters are required to give their clients a safety briefing before they get on the river. It is very important you listen carefully and ask questions.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

2.  Check the weather. metservice.com has a rain radar I use before I take a trip out.

3.  Have basic knowledge of rivers and paddling in current. Check the river level. If it is above 3.5 meters your outfitter will not let you start the trip.

4.  You must stay at a designated campsite. These are the best places to be in case the river rises.

5.  Flooding and heavy rainfall causes The Whanganui to rise and fall very quickly. If you see large logs floating down the river, your best option is to stay put at a campsite until the river drops. If a hut warden recommends you stay put, listen to them.

6.  Wear your PFD at all times. This is a big one. I see a lot of people paddling down the river with no lifejacket on. Wear it in the boat no exceptions! You are doing yourself and your fellow travelers a favor.

7.  There is no cell service on the river. You can find a radio at John Coull Hut and a phone at the Bridge to Nowhere lodge in case of an emergency.

8.  Canoes give way to jet boats. Move over to the side of the river and let them pass.

9.  Tell someone about your plans. Travel in groups even if they’re strangers. It is safer.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

10.  Be smart and swim in an eddy – still water with no current. Do not swim anywhere near logs or rocks.

GETTING HERE

Depending on the outfitter you have chosen, your journey will most likely start out of Ohakune, Raetihi, or Taumarunui. Traveling from Auckland or Wellington is easy, as they both have major international airports. The drive from either of these cities is roughly 4 hours.

Taking the bus is another option, just allow more travel time. Make sure you check in with your outfitter a couple of days out, or the night before your trip. They will be able to answer any last minute questions you have.

 

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

May
6

Fun in the Sun!

MI OLA WORLD is so excited for warmer weather. It’s time to play outside without all the extra gear to keep you warm.  Summer is right around the corner and May is Skin Cancer Detection and Awareness month, so let’s protect our beautiful skin when we #GetOutThere!

Here are some of our favorite products and accessories, so we can safely maximize our time in the sun, look stylish and feel great from head to toe.

MI OLA RASHGUARD

MI OLA RASH

Photo by MI-OLA.com

We surf, we swim, we paddle so when it comes to keeping the sun off our backs nothing does it like a sexy rashguard that looks and feels great while you play.

These rashies go quick so make sure to check out MI-OLA.com to find your second skin.

 

OluKai Ohana Flip Flops

OluKai Ohana

Photo by OluKai

The Ohana rocks it!  Bike riding, short hikes, trips to the grocery store or dipping in & out of the shore.  These sandals are a BIG favorite for active, beach lovers who want happy feet to go the distance. Thumbs up on the non-chaffing straps and comfy arch support.

We love how the non-marking rubber outsoles have traction ridges inspired by a coral reef.

OluKai Ohana’s come in a  tons of colors – 25 to be exact! Put your best foot forward this summer.  Go to OLUKAI.com and get your pair and explore.

 

Shade Sunscreen 

Hey,  Steph Gilmore wears it and MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea swears by the tinted SPF30. She surfs Tamarindo beach every day, and like her MI OLA BIKINI, this sunscreen stays on!

Shade formulas contain the highest quality Non-Nano Zinc and Titanium Dioxide. They have no chemical sunscreens, are paraben free, glycol free, and have no animal derived ingredients. We love a bit of natural at MI OLA.

Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil

Aveda

Photo by Aveda

Wanna surf and turf with foxy hair? Hell yeah. Then try this awesome hair defense mist. It’s a lightweight, water-resistant shield that protects your hair from sun exposure for up to 16 hours.  Perfect for those long days out, this fab stuff  helps minimize damage and dryness.

And the smell is total outdoor fresh. Wintergreen, cinnamon bark oils and 100% certified organic essences of neroli, ylang ylang and cistus.

Wolfram Sun Exposure App

WOLFRAM

Worry about sunburn no more. This resourceful app calculates how long you can bake in the sun before you get toasted! Under a buck, a small price to pay for skin damage prevention.

The app auto-detects your current location and pulls UV forecast data for the area. You just need to add in info like your skin type, date, time, and the SPF you’re going to use. Tap the calculate button and it will show you a range of data including ‘time to burn’ and sun protection advisory.
DOWNLOAD IT HERE:

WLOFRAM APP ICON

 

Solar Recover After Sun Care

solar recover

Photo by Solar Recover

Got too much sun? Try Solar Recover’s fine mist made of all natural ingredients and oils that rehydrate your skin. It’s pretty handy for sunburn and to help prevent peeling.

Ingredients include distilled water, natural vitamin E, calendula, lavender oil, sesame oil, geranium oil, roman chamomile oil, sandalwood oil, and French seaweed absolute.

 

 

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

 

April
29

Surf Guide: Ollie’s Point

We love a good wave at MI OLA WORLD. One of our favorite places to catch one Ollie’s Point.  Luckily for MI OLA, this baby is just a day trip away from us in Costa Rica.  Ollie’s was made famous by the surf film The Endless Summer II and it is a perfect right point break.

You must take a boat to Ollie’s Point, and most surfers do a combo day trip with some time at Ollie’s and some at the world famous Witch’s Rock, depending on which spot is breaking better. 

So grab your MI OLA BIKINI and RASHGUARD and #GetOutThere with MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea.

 

SURF GUIDE: Ollie’s Point, Costa Rica by Kristen Brown – @sambatothesea

Oh, Ollie’s Point, how I love you so.  I adore this wave so much I surfed here four times in one month. Heck! I even celebrated my 30th birthday with this amazing wave.

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Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

Where and when to surf:

Ollie’s Point is a point break – so there is only one area where you take off and catch the wave. The takeoff point is right by the rock – you can’t miss it during low tide, which is when Ollie’s is best – and your guide can show you where it is, if that’s not clear.  Ollie’s needs a south swell to break, so check the forecast while you’re planning your trip.  It is not unheard of surfers taking the long trip to Ollie’s, only to find it flat.

However, when it’s breaking, the wave is perfect.  The beauty of Ollie’s is that even if it is big, the wave is not going to pound you. Nor is it hard to paddle back out.

dances-with-waves

Photo by Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

When to surf:

The best time to surf Ollie’s is around low tide. The wave becomes fast, steep, and if the sandbar is just right, it will peel towards the beach giving you a nice long ride.

Many surfers head to Witch’s Rock (Roca Bruja) for mid-tide. I like to stay. I have surfed Ollie’s several times, all day and the wave is still great fun at different tides.

So let everyone leave and enjoy the wave just for your boat group. Bliss!

Water Temperature:
Water temperatures in Costa Rica are almost always tropically warm (MI OLA Bikini temp!)… except for when there are strong offshore winds.  So before you head out, check for offshore winds.  If they are coming in strong, the water temperature may drop a bit, and you’ll want a spring jacket or spring suit.  Nothing like getting to a perfect wave and being too cold to surf.

What to Bring:
Ollie’s Point is very remote and you’re traveling on a boat.  And many of these boats are completely open, and may not even have a sunshade.  So bring everything you need.  Be sure to bring substantial food and water to help keep you fueled for a full day of surfing and activity.  But also remember sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, rashguard for sun protection, a long sleeve shirt and a sarong for sun protection.   The trip out is typically calm and not too windy… somehow though the hour boat trip back always seems to be super choppy and incredibly windy.

Even if you’re militant about sun protection, it’s hard to get back from a 12 hour day trip to Ollie’s without a sunburn.

Some boat companies often have water, fruit, and some type of snack for their clients. Always double check with them before you go though.

Other Activities:
Enjoy the boat ride and Costa Rica’s finest wildlife! At Ollie’s there is no development for miles. This is amazing because you get to experience loads of wildlife as you explore a natural, untouched habitat.

You could see a flying manta ray, whales, mating turtles, too many birds to list and schools of fish. You may even get a pod of dolphins racing by your boat.

The only setback are the crocodiles that live in the estuary. Come on guys it’s Costa Rica! So be aware but, like sharks – out of sight… out of mind.

How to #GetOutThere

Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen - @sambatothesea

Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

Ollie’s Point is located within Santa Rosa National Park. The only access to this wave is by boat. Most people catch a boat from Playa del Coco. From here it takes about an hour to get to Ollie’s.  You can also leave from Playa Flamingo or even Playa Tamarindo.

Many tour companies book tours to Ollie’s/Witch’s and the details are different based on where you’re staying.   Many include all transportation (van and boat,) in the price.  Or you can find your own way to the boat, and book directly.  Recommended boat companies are La Bruja Surf Trips out of Playa del Coco and Boos out of Playa Flamingo.

Ollie’s is a magical experience and you will feel every bit of the magic surfing this wave.

 

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

April
22

Happy Earth Day!

earth day 1Happy EARTH Day from MI OLA WORLD!

Today is Earth Day – an annual global day to celebrate our world and focus on protecting it!   This year, Earth Day is particularly historic.  We are hoping today will mark the day that the Paris Agreement is signed by over 120 countries, showing real progress in the fight against global warming.  However, while we wait on this legislation, MI OLA WORLD is taking our own steps each day to reduce, reuse, recycle, replenish and restore.

What are you doing today to #GetOutThere and save the earth? 

At MI OLA, as outdoor enthusiasts, we are mindful of our environment.  We literally immerse ourselves every day in the oceans, rivers and lakes around the world, so we want to keep them clean and healthy.  Our sisterhood makes every effort to make a difference where we can.  We recycle. Some of us bike everywhere. Others only eat organic. We pack in, pack it out.  Many of us use animal free sun care products to play in our waters.

Surfing turned MI OLA CEO Helena – @helenamania – into a bit of a hippie.   She transports her surfboard in a recycled surfboard bag.  She LOVES to compost – which has reduced her kitchen trash to almost 0.  Whether she’s in Costa Rica or NYC, she’s got veggies and fruits growing outside for her family.  And, with MI OLA, she has created a company that makes long lasting swimwear (not disposable!) which chooses environmentally friendly options – like using biodegradable bags made of recycled materials in our packaging.

recycled surfboard bag by Rareform

Re-purposed surfboard bag from Rareform

MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea loves to cruise to the beach with her 9’4″ longboard with the help of some pretty awesome surf racks. No driving with toxic emissions for her.  She loves the convenience of a bike plus the instant cardio warm up peddling to the beach!

More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day. Breaking it down, if one person were to only drink bottled water per the suggested water intake, that means 21, 8oz bottles a week and over 1,000 in a year! Shocking how it adds up, and this is only one person. MI OLA social media guru Melinda – @melinskw does her bit by using a stainless steel re-ususable water bottle by Klean Kanteen vs a plastic throw away bottle.

Photo by Klean Kanteen

Photo by Klean Kanteen

MI OLA Team Creative Myra – @myragonzalez likes to walk, hike and kayak. She makes a difference by cleaning up other people’s trash. Floating bottles in our waters, tin cans rusting into nature’s finest scenery, picnic goer leftovers?  Into the spare garbage bag they go.  Imagine what our planet would be like if everyone did this?

Myra Garden

Photo by MI OLA Team Creative Myra Gonzalez

The worse offender for Myra are ‘Witches Knickers.” In England, a term for plastic grocery bags that stick & choke tree branches until they slowly disintegrate. Yep ladies these are not crows. Instead 2 bags that have been stuck in my tree for 3 years.   They stay put even when the weather is at it’s worse.  Not even 90-MPH winds take these bad boys down.

 

All these little things add up to help keep us in the green. So next time you #GetOutThere in your MI OLA BIKINI think how else you can contribute to help regenerate this beautiful planet.

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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