Scuba Diving

PATHWRANGLER NAMED HONOREE AS PART OF OUTSIDE’S ACTIVE TRAVEL AWARDS

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA | MARCH 12, 2013 PATHWRANGLER has been selected by Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, as a recipient of its second annual Active Travel Awards.  PathWrangler was honored as an Honoree. The full list of award winners will be published in the April issue of Outside magazine, available on newsstands March 12, 2013, and at Outside Online.

To select this year’s awards, Outside tapped our global network of correspondents, who spent months on the road traveling from the Philippines to Switzerland to Namibia and then some, to report a definitive roundup of the best new adventures, secret paradises, mountain epics, stunning beaches, airline deals, gorgeous islands, and more. The result is 42 fresh trips that we guarantee will change your life, plus smart travel strategies, the best travel gear, and five exciting new frontiers.

PathWrangler is proud to be awarded honoree of Outside Strategies to “Plug-In.”  With all these beautiful destinations and incredible activities to do, PathWrangler is the tool that brings it all together and makes these dream trips a reality. 

Outside magazine has long been one of the world’s most trusted advisors for active and adventurous travelers,” says Outside Editor Christopher Keyes. “In addition to truly award-worthy destinations and travel providers, this year we unearthed a handful of amazing new frontiers in active travel. Our annual edit franchise honors the year’s best trips, hotels, lodges, luggage, islands, and new destinations that will be an invaluable travel resource for years to come.”

Simply put, PathWrangler makes creating experiences and telling those stories easier than ever before.  Planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It is maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. Our web app brings the conversation together in an interactive place designed specifically for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts to dream and organize their trip together, and then share their stories after.  Over 100 Tour Operators, Outdoor Clubs and Outdoor Wilderness Programs and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts are using PathWrangler to run better trips and share them with their friends.

In celebration of the Outside Active Travel Awards, PathWrangler is offering its award-winning product for free in preparation for a new premium rollout in the upcoming months.  That means unlimited trips and users for any individuals or business that sign-up now.  Please sign-up here to take advantage of this offer.  Please contact us at info@pathwrangler.com if you’d like any help in getting you or your organization started.

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About Outside

Outside is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. For more than 35 years, Outside has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world Outside. The Outside family includes Outside magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside+ tablet edition, and Outside Books. Visit us on www.outsideonline.com and www.facebook.com/outsidemagazine.

Contact PathWrangler

For further press inquiries or other requests, please contact CEO Doug Heinz at doug@pathwrangler.com and 415-309-2242.  Please visit us online at www.pathwrangler.com, www.facebook.com/pathwrangler and @pathwrangler.

Share Your Adventure with the World

A year ago, we created the first way to build your own adventures and organize them with your friends, clients and associates in one, central, integrated place on a map.  Six months ago, we built a way for everyone to tell their own stories and share photos with each other.  After doing this, we made all kinds of enhancements to the product that made doing all of these things easier and better.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that you can now publish your trips, as well as your individual stories with the public.  We’ve integrated with Facebook so you can easily publish them to your friends and family.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 10.01.37 AM Your PathWrangler Story on Facebook

Benefits to You

PathWrangler is now almost seamless.  We can’t create the ideas for you, but once you get an adventurous idea, you can build it, invite others, organize together, share your experiences as they happen and then share them with the world.

For the Traveler: it is the best way to organize and journal your trip.  We make it easier to store your memories.

For Trip Organizers: not only is the the best way to organize the many trips that you run, but it helps you to get business.  As your clients/members share their trips with their friends, it is a way to get those crucial testimonials and word of mouth referrals naturally.

Share Your Trips Today

Start building and sharing your trips on PathWrangler today!  Please contact us if you have any questions.

We’ll be sending out more details around these exciting new features from some of trips and users that we find particularly inspiring.  If you want to submit a trip, contact and share it with us and we’ll put it up on our blog!

Scuba Dive in a Museum…

…an underwater museum that is!  Located in the sea on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico within the National Marine Park of Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Nizuc, is a museum created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor.  It’s comprised of over 400 life-size reinforced cement sculptures within two galleries.  The PH-neutral clay has allowed algae to form and invertebrates to proliferate.  This will in turn provide a new underwater habitat for coral to flourish while attracting colorful marine life.  The museum also hopes to attract divers and snorkelers away from the Peninsula’s delicate coral reefs and to give them some relief from all the traffic.

The museum is now a few years old now, which means the ocean’s inhabitants are well on their way to establishing it as their own.  Local dive operators, like AquaWorld, divePro Cancun Diving and Scuba Cancun, can outfit your trip and guide you to this unique place.

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Conscious Travel in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

The most biologically intense place on Earth.  ~ National Geographic

Conscious travel; on the Osa Peninsula, it is common practice.  Located in the southwest region of Costa Rica, Osa is remote and naturally beautiful, but is also very poor.  It is comprised of 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and is mostly covered by the last pristine virgin rainforest on Central America’s Pacific coast.  Conservation is well under way in this area with at least half of the area being protected by the Corcovado National Park and other Reserves.  Corcovado is known to be the most biologically important area in Costa Rica and includes around 25-30 ecosystems.

Taking flight amongst the 750 types of trees are the Technicolor scarlet macaws, the great curassows and harpy eagles.  Other endangered species, like Baird’s tapir, jaguars and pumas can be found roaming the jungle floors.  10,000 insect species, 2,418 plant species, almost half of Costa Rica’s 860 bird species, 140 mammal species, and 117 amphibian and reptile species inhabit this condensed area.

This diverse and dense environment not only has an abundance of rare wildlife, but also has tropical rainforests, coral reefs, swamps, cascading waterfalls, miles of deserted beaches that are kissed by the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. With all this going for it the local tour outfitters can offer such outdoor activities like hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, bird watching, rappelling.  All of these activities can be experienced in just a single trip.

However, protecting this fragile ecosystem takes a lot of effort.  This haven for wildlife and natural adventure is being impacted negatively by unauthorized development.   There are also plans in the works for a cruise ship terminal and an international airport, both of which a growing tourism industry wants but a fragile ecosystem cannot afford.  These additions could undermine the local efforts for sustainable development and conservation.

There are people out there who want to help conserve this region.  People like the folks at iSeeiTravel.  They are creating a documentary project, 2.5%: Conscious Travel in the World’s Most Biologically Intense Rainforest of the Osa Peninsula, to raise awareness about the positive effects of ecotourism efforts, the negative effects of mass tourism and unauthorized development, and how conscious travel can aid in the conservation of this region.  There is a way for the local population to win and develop economically, while the ecosystem thrives.

Check out iSeeiTravel’s documentary project and donate today, with as little as $5.  Help them to Rock the Osa!

Guide Promotion: Free Setup and Best Practices Training ($300 value) – Until July 31st Only!

Guides are the engines that run the adventure travel and outdoor industry.  Being able to share your passion with willing customers and enthusiasts make guiding incredibly rewarding, but it also brings business and professional challenges with it.

PathWrangler is an industry-first web application that empowers guides interact with the clients and run their business better than ever before.  The trips you run can now look like this:

Why Guides Love PathWrangler

Let’s let one of our clients, guide and owner of Inner Passage, Matt Walker, talk about how PathWrangler is making a difference for his company:

“When a guest registers for an Inner Passage adventure we begin an exchange of emails containing word docs, pdfs, and logistical details. I have always wanted to support our guests with a centralized place that they can refer to the necessary information, purchase equipment needed for their trip, and interact directly with Inner Passage staff for support. I am thrilled that PathWrangler will be an aspect of all of our programs from March 2012 forward – it will be a central point of interaction between Inner Passage and our guests following their enrollment in an adventure….not only do they share our vision for bringing adventure into the forefront of our lives, but their product integrates a seamless design that decreases some of the barriers that we all encounter while planning and putting together an adventure. I can think of no better solution!”

Here is what PathWrangler empowers guides to:

  • Save time with preconfigured trip templates for simple trip creation
  • Improve service to clients with intuitive & interactive collaboration tools
  • Maximize efficiency through unified & single point communication
  • Increase customization & tailored trips capability
  • Retain & Attract new customers/members
  • Competitive Advantage vs competitors who run trips using flat files & generic project management tools
  • Expand capacity with less time spent in the office, more time with your clients/members on trips

It can work for you whether you are an independent guide with your own business or if you are employed by a larger company.

This month, PathWrangler is offering guides free setup along with best practices training ($300 value) with any paid account subscription.  Contact us at support@pathwrangler.com to get started today.

Wildlife and Adventures on the Galápagos Archipelago Using PathWrangler

Screen shot of Galápagos Islands Itinerary mapped out in Pathwrangler.

600 miles off the coast of Ecuador’s mainland is the remote Galápagos Archipelago.  Over 30 islands and dozens of islets with white sandy beaches make up this national park. It is home to such species as giant tortoise, sea and land iguanas, birds and over 400 types of fish.

Made famous by Charles Darwin, this part of the world still has wildlife thriving on the islands, flying above them and swimming in the waters around them.  There are limitless chances to observe some of the earth’s most unique animal species in their natural habitat as well as rare flora and fauna.

The adventures available in these enchanted islands can all be made into reality by using PathWrangler.

Screenshot of the ease of building a Galápagos Islands trip in PathWrangler.

Baltra Island (South Seymour) and North Island- The entry point to the Galápagos Islands. Baltra is dry and flat and North Island has a rocky coastline consisting of white coral and black lava rocks.
Wildlife: Blue-footed boobies, frigite birds, sea lions, pacific green sea turtles, hammerhead sharks
Adventures: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving

Bartolome Island- A barren island known for its needle shaped lava formation called Pinnacle Rock. The underwater rock formations make it ideal for snorkeling.
Wildlife: Green sea turtles and Galápagos penguins
Adventures: hiking, snorkeling

Española Island- The oldest and most remote island in the chain. Due to this seclusion the wildlife adapted to the environment and marine iguanas are the only ones that change color during the breeding season.
Wildlife: Waved Albatross, blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropic birds, masked boobies, Galápagos hawks, marine iguanas
Adventures: snorkeling

Fernandina Island- Still an active volcanic island it is the youngest and being the furthest out, it is also the least visited.
Wildlife: Galápagos hawks, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, cormorants
Adventures: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving

Floreana Island- Long before tourists landed on the greenish tinged beach made of olivine crystals this extinct volcanic island was visited by whalers and pirates.  The native flora is in great quantity due to the rich soil that developed from the eroding volcano.
Wildlife: Boobies, Galápagos penguins, sea lions, flamingos, sea turtles, Galápagos sharks, hammer head sharks, stingrays and tree finches
Adventures: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving

Genovesa Island- Shrouded in fog with a rocky coastline this island is known as the bird island.
Wildlife: red-footed boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels, tropic birds, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, short-eared owls
Adventures: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving

Isabela Island- The largest of the islands is over a million years old and is shaped like a seahorse.  It’s the only one to have the equator run across it.
Wildlife: Batfish, octopus, Galápagos sharks, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, stingrays, sea turtles, flamingos, Alcedo tortoise, boobies
Adventures: surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving

Marchena Island- Due to its sensitive ecosystem this island is off limits to visitors, but has good diving sites around it.
Wildlife: variety of sea life
Adventures: scuba diving

San Cristobal Island- This well developed island is named in honor of Christopher Columbus, is the capitol of the Galápagos and has El Junco, the only fresh water lagoon in the archipelego.
Wildlife: Batfish, octopus, Galápagos sharks, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, stingrays, sea turtles, flamingos, Alcedo tortoise, boobies.
Adventures: surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking mountain bike

Santa Cruz Island- Not only does this island have a large tortoise population, but Charles Darwin’s research station is located here as well.
Wildlife: Batfish, octopus, Galápagos sharks, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, stingrays, sea turtles, flamingos, Alcedo tortoise, boobies
Adventures: hiking, camping, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking

Santiago Island- Lacking in shade and covered in mostly black rock, it tends to get hotter than the other islands. Feral goats have turned this once vegetation rich terrain into a barren landscape.  Back in the 17th and 18th centuries it was a popular place for pirates to stash their booty.
Wildlife: Batfish, octopus, Galápagos sharks, cormorants, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, rays, sea turtles, flamingos, Alcedo tortoise, boobies
Adventures: surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving

The following Ecuador based cruise companies can get you to these islands to interact with the wildlife and experience the adventures.

With PathWrangler’s itineraries and maps you can effortlessly plan your Galápagos Island cruise to as many islands as you like.  Then share these itineraries and trip planning updates with your travel companions.

There are so many islands and creatures to explore that the time spent here could be endless.  The Galápagos are probably on every traveler’s bucket list.  I know they’re on mine.

Easter Island: Mystery, Moai, Mountain Biking & More

“Mysterious:” the most common word used to describe the remote 63 square mile island of volcanic origin sitting alone in the vast South Pacific Ocean. A 2,400-mile flight from the nearest populated areas of Chile and Tahiti over the deepest, bluest water would arrive on the only runway of the Mataveri Airport. Discovered on Easter Sunday back in 1722 by Dutch explorers, Easter Island’s mystery still entices people today to not only explore its history, but to indulge in the outdoor activities that are available.

It is not the crystal clear ocean or the pristine white beaches that attract visitors like most Polynesian islands. Nor is it the volcanic craters or lava formations. It is the gigantic stone statues known as moai. The mystery of their origins still fascinates to this day even though the trade winds of time have eroded most of the coral eyes and statues details. There are about 900 moai throughout the island in various stages of completion, some sitting firmly on their ahu platforms while others still lay in transit near and in the Rano Raraku quarry where they were carved. Now, imagine the unique opportunity to do outdoor activities amongst these ancient monoliths.

For those who want to work up a sweat over the volcanic soil, there is mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and caving. This triangular-shaped island is hilly and there are bike trails throughout that can take a few hours to all day to finish. The terrain, depending on difficulty, can range from all paved roads to a combination of paved and dirt to all soil roads. The south side will especially challenge cyclists with steep, winding roads.  Most of these trails are available to horseback riders as well.

The hiking routes guarantee passing in and around archeological sites and moai. The three extinct volcanoes, Poike, Rano Kau and Terevaka, supply the elevation for the island, which make for some great hiking. For example, one route starts in the main town of Hanga Roa, passes Ana Kai Tangata, the Cannibal Cave, and from there it is a steady upward climb to Orongo, the ancient ceremonial village. It ends at the 1,063 ft. peak of Rano Kau where the reward is a fresh water crater lake. The crater has its own microclimate and for the experienced hikers, a walk around the crater is a challenge with a shear 820 ft. drop from the razor edge cliff to the sea. A hike to Mount Terevaka, the tallest peak at 1,676 ft., goes along grassy slopes and has the best 360˚ panoramic views.

The volcanic eruptions of long ago created a labyrinth of underground caves. The underworld here is riddled with caves and tunnels and it is believed this is where the Rapa Nui people hid from slave traders during their darkest times. There are a few official caves and several unofficial ones that have small hidden entries, but open up to large, deep cave systems worth exploring.

The South Pacific Ocean beckons as well. Scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing can all be enjoyed here. The volcanic origins not only helped form the cave system, it also formed a remarkable topography underwater where coral and marine life thrive. The temperate waters surrounding Easter Island and Motu Iti, Motu Kao Kao, and Motu Nui (the three islets just off the coast), offer divers and snorkelers 164 ft. of visibility. With this type of clarity it is easy to observe the local inhabitants like blowfish, butterfly fish, the Mediterranean moray eel, porcupine fish, trumpet fish and sea turtles.

Due to its remoteness surfers get the pleasure of a certain calm and feeling of having the waves all to themselves. Hanga Rova cove is a great place for the novice surfer where the more experienced would be satisfied with the waves at Mataveri and Tahai.

The remoteness of Easter Island, plus its abundance of outdoor activities and geographical, historical and spiritual richness make it a quintessential location for those looking for an authentic adventure.

Exhilarating Rio: Going Beyond Beaches & Bars

When people hear the word Rio most envision the infamous Samba-infused festival that is Carnival. But Rio also brings to mind long stretches of glistening white sands of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches packed with scantily-clad sun worshippers and a diverse Latin nightlife that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and majestic mountain ranges it is no wonder that Brazil’s “marvelous city” also offers plenty of exhilarating activities that go beyond the beautiful beaches and music pumping bars and nightclubs.

Tijuca Forest is an 8,000-acre urban jungle that sits in the middle of Rio. It is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World (Christ the Redeemer statue), has 30 waterfalls and a multitude of outdoor thrills to entice the novice as well as the expert.  Besides being amongst 100 different species of animals, there are plentiful opportunities to go spelunking in limestone caves like Caverna dos Morcegos, Luis Fernandes or Bernardo de Oliveira. For those who prefer to have their feet high off the ground, Pedra Bonita Mountain has a launching ramp at 1,700 ft making it the ideal spot to start a scenic hang gliding or paragliding experience.

A different twist to seeing this lush rainforest is with a bird’s eye view while zip-lining from the tops of the trees.  Lagoa Aventuras circuit is a 393 ft long zip-line that is 246 ft across, 19 ft off the ground.

The summits of Tijuca Peak (3,353 ft), Pedra Bonita (2,283 ft) and Sugarloaf (1,299 ft) reward ambitious hikers with breathtaking views of Rio with the challenging Pedra da Gavea offering the most experienced hikers the best never-ending views from its 2,763 ft summit. For rock climbers, impressive mountains like Sugarloaf, Urca, Corcovado, Pedra da Gávea and Serra dos Orgäos collectively have over 400 routes with difficulty ratings from 5.4 to 5.13a making Rio a dream destination for climbers.

The ocean around Rio is inviting with its brilliant turquoise hue and average temperature hovering around the mid 70s. For thrill-seekers who are happiest when wet, Rio has every type of water sport from surfing and sailing to paddleboarding. An abundant marine life reserve is only a 2 hour drive away in Arraial do Cabo where scuba divers go to swim with turtles and moray eels or explore the Dona Paula shipwreck. Kayaking the coast gives one a different perspective of the city, but kayaking on Macaé River steps up the excitement with rapids ranging from Class 1 to Class 5. Kayakers share the 15 rapids of Macaé River with white water rafters, but rafting can also be done on the 25 rapids of Paraibuna River.

With so much going on in this exotic location it is easy to have an exciting land, water or air experience by day and engage in the city’s culture by night. Rio de Janeiro is definitely an adventurers playground.

-Angelique

Scuba Diving: Underwater Adventures

“If you’re truly an adventure traveler, you’re missing out on a major opportunity [by not diving].”

With summer fast approaching thoughts of warm, tropical islands and thrilling ocean activities fill my head. Learning to scuba dive and dive exotic locals is on my travel bucket list and something I cannot wait to try. When I snorkel just below the surface I experience a world that is peaceful and wonderous. Imagine what it would be like to go very deep to experience the types of marine life that live in the dark, colder waters. Or to check out one of the over 3 million shipwrecks where sea life has taken up residency and made it its own.

Here is an article by Blane Bachelor about getting PADI certified and the benefits that come along with it. Once certified, there are over 30 different specialty courses, anywhere from wreck diving to cavern diving, to choose from that will take the adventures of diving to a whole new (deeper) level.

-Angelique

Travel Bucket List: A List Worth Making

Everyone who enjoys traveling and getting out there to see the world probably has a travel bucket list that’s inspiring. Personally, my list is long and I seem to be continually adding to it. Once I experience the top two I will have completed my quest of being to all continents. That doesn’t end my quest by any means: as there are there are so many places spanning the globe that are so rich with interesting places, people and activities I’ve yet to experience.

My top 10:

1. South America- I’d like to experience the wonder of the Galapagos Islands, the mystery of Easter Island and the wild of the Amazon. To explore Patagonia, hike to Machu Picchu and walk the upper and lower catwalks for an up close experience of Iguazú Falls. With so many countries the discoveries are endless.

2. Antarctica: One of the largest and most inhospitable places on the planet for humans, but the place Emperor penguins call home.   I must time my visit to coincide with the birth of baby Emperor Penguins.

3. A Bengal tiger safari in India: Hands down my favorite animal is the Panthera tigris. To watch them in their natural habitat is something I have to see.

4. An East Africa Safari: The elusive leopard stayed hidden from view on my Botswana safari. With any luck I might get to see one of these solitary cats in Kenya along with the other wildlife that’s plentiful there.

5. Explore Ancient Egypt and Jordan- Egypt and Jordan have both fascinated me since I studied their art, history and culture at University.

6. Scuba dive the Red Sea- The sea life is still very rich, colorful and unspoiled here and so I feel it’s a great destination for my first dive.

7. Volunteer for endangered species expeditions- Giving of my time with hands on volunteering to help endangered species from becoming extinct would be more personally rewarding to me than just writing a check.

8. Camel trek in Morocco- Maybe I’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia one too many times. Traveling over the dunes of the vast Sahara Desert on camel back just calls to me.

9. See the Aurora Borealis– I am eager to see the Northern Lights, imagining it would be twice as amazing as seeing the Milky Way on a dark, clear night.

10. Explore these islands: Fijian, Maldives, Seychelles, Tahitian- I love exotic islands. Plain and simple. Each one has its own unique attributes, from the sand surrounding it, to the water lapping up on its shores, to the night sky above and the sea life down below.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

-Angelique