Trekking through Singapore’s River Safari

River Safari 2

Towards the end of 2012, the Wildlife Reserve Singapore opened the River Safari, which highlights the Giant Panda Forest, the new home of Kai Kai and Jia Jia, two exotic Giant Pandas.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to visit the River Safari and it was truly a spectacular experience.

Interestingly, just like Capella Singapore, the River Safari is set on 30 acres of tropical rainforest.  It is a river-themed zoo located right in between the Singapore Zoological Gardens and Night Safari.  As its name suggests, the River Safari is inspired by eight of the world’s most famous rivers, like the Nile, Congo, Ganges, Yangtze just to name a few.

River Safari 1

My favorite part of the experience was learning about the different rivers and their unique eco systems.  At the Yangtze River, you can find exotic Chinese Giant Salamanders, while the Mekong River housed the endangered and rare Giant Catfish and Giant Stingrays.  Over at the Congo River and Mississippi River, you can find the world’s smallest crocodile, the African Dwarf Crocodile, a mesmerizing Jewel Cichlid and North America’s largest fresh water fish, the impressive Alligator Gar.

In addition to the exotic marine species, the River Safari also features an array of adorable mammals like the famed Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia as wells as the sedentary Red Pandas.

River Safari 2

At the Giant Panda Forest, there is also a quaint restaurant called Mama Panda Kitchen, which is a must-try. True to its namesake, the restaurant is Panda themed and features traditional Chinese dishes with a modern twist—like the steamed Tau Sa Pau (Red Bean Paste Bun) in shape and with the face of a panda.

River Safari 3

While the River Safari is still not fully open, the completed park is expected to be ready later this year. The new section will feature the Amazon River quest where you will find other interesting creatures like the White-Faced Saki Monkey, a Two-Toed Sloth, Brazilian Tapir and many others.

If you are planning a holiday to Singapore, be sure to save a day to visit the River Safari. What is perfect is that the Singapore Zoological Gardens, River Safari and Night Safari are all connected and the Personal Assistants at Capella Singapore are more than happy to arrange for you to visit all three attractions.

Buceando los Morros de Potosí

Diving Morros de Potosí

Vivir cerca del océano me hace apreciar su sorprendente y bella naturaleza aún más.  Me encanta pasar mis días de descanso explorando las playas cercanas y el mundo submarino. Christian, asistente personal en Capella Ixtapa me platicó sobre su experiencia buceando un sitio muy peculiar, los Morros de Potosí, así que tenía que experimentarlo personalmente.

Zarpamos desde Zihuatanejo y cruzamos la bahía. Apreciar la masa continental de la Costa del Pacifico Mexicano mientras veleabamos el área conocida como “Los Cocos” fue solo el inicio de nuestra aventura. Después de unos 40 minutos llegamos a nuestro destino. Los Morros de Potosí están conformados por grandes rocas de granito blancas  que emrgen del océano, y son también conocidos como los Frailes Blancos. El capitán nos explicó como el perfecto equilibrio de flora y fauna y la gran variedad de pelícanos y gaviotas, hace de estas rocas ¡una de las zonas de buceo más espectaculares del Pacífico Mexicano!

Los Morros de Potosí están llenos de fascinantes sorpresas submarinas como: cuevas, acantilados, muros verticales, canales y túneles. Debido a las fuertes corrientes este sitio es recomendado sólo para buzos experimentados, así que mejor nos dirijimos a otras zonas más protegidas para poder hacer un poco de esnorkel. Uno de estos sitios fue la Caleta Norte. Este fue el sitio ideal para mí, ya que tuve la oportunidad de admirar algunos de los arcos, cascadas y acantilados submarinos, así como la abundancia de fauna acuática que podemos encontrar aquí. Al sur de los Morros hay muchas cuevas submarinas, una de ellas se llama la Cueva de Gertrudis, y dice la leyenda que alguna vez estuvo habitada por un tiburón gato del mismo nombre.

Delfines, tortugas y mantarayas me mantuvieron entretenida en el camino de vuelta a Zihuatanejo. Maravillada por la belleza natural del océano me encontré muy satisfecha con la recomendación de Christian.

Los Asistentes Personales de Capella Ixtapa pueden organizarte un tour de buceo o esnorkel, una aventura en velero o incluso un romántico crucero que hará de tus vacaciones aún más inolvidables.

 

Foto: Diversion En Montana

A Visit to the Magical Espiritu Santo Island

Espiritu-Santo-LA76-Photography-1

Espiritu Santo Island is a hidden, uninhabited gem, in Baja California Sur, Mexico.  It is located about 1 hour boat drive from the capital of Baja, La Paz, which is 2.5 hours away from Capella Pedregal and Cabo San Lucas.  This Unesco-protected natural reserve is a place where nature, peace and tranquility prevail.

Here, you can literally unplug and take a break from it all.  There is no phone signal, no internet connection and no electricity.  Perfection!  Instead, the activities on Espiritu Santo Island take you outside.  From swimming with sea lions (the island is a home to a colony of around 300 sea lions), to stand up paddle boarding in some of the most amazing turquoise bays, to kayaking and watching dolphins and manta rays jump out of the water right in front of you, to witnessing amazing sunsets and starry nights, chance are you won’t even miss your electronics!

I like the island so much that I’ve made it my traditional birthday getaway.  Every July we drive from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz (two hour drive with amazing desert scenery) and park at Tecolote beach, which is looking straight at the island.  From there we rent a panga to take to the island.  The captain can give you a tour around the island (don’t forget your sunblock and a camera).  I like to book a campsite and stay for a few days, but I also highly recommend the visit to the island as a day trip.

Every time I visit, sky-high red cliffs, windblown sand dunes, picture-perfect turquoise bays and wildlife blow me away.  It almost feels like I am Robinson Crusoe on my own private island.  It is so beautiful and pristine, it will make you fall in love and come visit again and again.  I promise!

If you are interested in visiting the island during your next Cabo visit, by all means, ask your Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant to help plan it.

Una visita a la Mágica Isla Espíritu Santo

Espiritu-Santo-LA76-Photography-1

La Isla Espíritu Santo es una escondida y deshabitada gema en la Baja Sur, México. Se localiza a una hora más o menos en lancha desde La Paz, ciudad capital de baja California Sur, lo cual es más o menos 2 horas y media de distancia desde Capella Pedregal y Cabo san Lucas. Esta reserva natural protegida por la UNESCO es un sitio donde prevalecen la naturaleza, la paz y la tranquilidad.

Ahí, puedes literalmente desconectarte y tomar un verdadero descanso de todo. No hay señal para teléfonos celulares, tampoco conexión a internet, es más ni siquiera electricidad. Perfecto! En ves de eso, las actividades que puedes hacer en Espíritu Santo te llevaran a los exteriores. Desde nadar con los leones marinos (la isla es hogar a una colonia de más de 300 leones marinos), Stand Up Paddle (SUP) en algunas de sus maravillosas bahías turquesas hasta hacer kayak y ver a los delfines y manta rayas brincar fuera del agua literalmente frente a ti, así como presenciar maravillosas puestas de sol y noches completamente estrelladas, posiblemente ni extrañes tus aparatos electrónicos.

Me gusta tanto la isla que la he hecho mi escapada tradicional en fechas de mi cumpleaños. Cada Julio manejamos desde Cabo San Lucas a La Paz (2 horas de camino con un fabuloso paisaje desértico) y paramos en la playa El Tecolote, la cual está frente a la isla. Desde ahí, una panga nos lleva a la isla. El capitán te puede dar un tour alrededor de la isla (no olvides tu bloqueador solar y tu cámara). Personalmente me gusta reservar en un campamento y quedarme algunos días, pero también recomiendo ampliamente visitar la isla como viaje de un solo día.

Cada vez que visito, los enormes acantilados de piedra rojiza, las dunas de arena que se mueven con el viento, las perfectas bahías turquesas para postal y la vida salvaje que habita la isla y sus aguas me impresionan.  Se siente casi como si yo fuera Robinson Crusoe en mi propia isla privada. Es tan hermoso y prístino, que seguramente te hará enamorarte de ella y visitar una y otra vez. Se los prometo!

Si estas interesado en visitar la isla durante tu próxima visita a Cabo, no dudes en preguntar a tu Asistente Personal de Capella Pedregal que te ayude a planearlo.

Lacquered handcrafts from Olinalá

caja_olinal_

Mother’s Day in México is celebrated on May 10th, and for this year, I wanted to give my mom a unique present.  I found beautiful lacquered boxes at the local handcraft stores, and I immediately knew that this would be the perfect present.  From the artist I found out that these boxes come from a small town Olinalá, located miles up in the Guerrero Mountains.

This remote town Olinalá is famous for its beautiful lacquered boxes, made from “Linaloe”, the traditional fragrant wood, which grows in the area.  The boxes are usually decorated with the animals of the region of Olinalá: deers, armadillos, rabbits, coyotes, ‘tlacuaches’, iguanas, doves, ‘zopilotes’, snakes, scorpions, lizards, etc.  Besides the boxes, the artisans also produce other beautiful handcrafts like fruit bowls, masks, jewelry boxes, folding screens, trunks, and more.

The artisans have been passing the techniques for lacquer production from generation to generation since pre-Hispanic times.  These artisans, who are predominately made up of indigenous locals, still speak ‘nahuatl’, the ancient language of Aztecs.

When you visit Capella Ixtapa, it won’t be necessary to go all the way to the remote location of Olinalá to get some of these famed lacquered boxes and other wood handcrafts.  You can find these and other beautiful and delicate handcrafts in the Zihuatanejo market.

I have now the perfect gift for my Mom, it is beautiful and I love supporting local producers.  On your next visit, our Personal Assistant will be glad to organize the market tour for you, so you can see and/or buy beautiful local handcrafts for your loved ones as well!  And for those of you feeling extra adventures our PAs can even plan a visit to this secluded village!

 

A Day Trip To Barra De Potosi

IMG_7738

I love all the little escapes that I can take in Ixtapa.  There is just so much to explore!  Recently I shared about the beautiful Isla Ixtapa, and this week’s location is equally beautiful.

After hearing many stories about Barra de Potosí I had to visit for myself.  According to one of Capella Ixtapa’s Personal Assistants, this is a picturesque beach.

Barra de Potosí, a small beachside village, is like a time warp.  It is a very quiet and relaxing place, nestled at the southern end of Playa Larga and about 35 minutes south of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.  Barra de Potosí has an endless fine-sand beach and a large lagoon brimming with bird life.  You can swim, take boat trips, rent a kayak and paddle around the estuary or go horseback riding.

 Enramadas (or palapas) line the beach.  I found an open one where I relaxed in a hammock and enjoyed amazing local seafood specialties.  If you have the chance to go, try the pescado a la talla (broiled fish fillets) or tiritas, and don’t miss out on the savory handmade tortillas!

If you are a surfer, stop by La Barrita, a shell sized village on an attractive, rocky beach 10 minutes southeast of Barra de Potosí.  Not many tourists stop at this village, but this and Loma Bonita beach are some of the best local spots for surfing.  During my visit I was able to catch some great waves!

I really enjoyed my escape to Barra de Potosi.  I hope one day you get to visit this special town!

Images via Flickr user Loxy