Category Archives: Vancouver

Amazon tour with Events & Adventures

Amazon Tour with Events & Adventures

Amazing Amazon Tour with members of Events & Adventures

An Amazon tour is not something the average American gets to experience firsthand, but visiting the rainforest is something that has always been beyond my bucket list.  How awesome would it be to visit one of the most remote and spectacular places in the world?  But to actually do it…um, no thank you.  I wouldn’t say I’m a girly girl, but I really don’t like bugs.  I mean I really Don’t. Like. Bugs.  But as event manager with Events & Adventures, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel across the country and around the world with the club and its members, and I can tell you Events & Adventures does travel right.  So when I saw an Amazon tour was being planned my curiosity was immediately piqued.  We reserved the entire Amazon Clipper Premium boat, and Erik’s Adventures customized an eight day Amazon river trip just for us.  I had to ask myself, “When was I going to get this opportunity again?”

When I told my family and friends I was going on a trip to the Amazon River they either laughed or looked at me dumbfounded—but I am so glad I did it!  The Amazon Clipper was lovely. Our cabins were super clean and even had air conditioning, and the staffed visited two or three times a day to make the bed and tidy the room.  Even though I brought PB&J in case the food was weird (don’t judge), the food was amazing.  While we enjoyed all kinds of meat, fish, veggies and fruit from the area, the chefs prepared the meals with Western tastes in mind.  Sufficed to say, I never opened the peanut butter or jelly, and I ended up giving them to the head chef before we left.  I swear I’d not eaten that much the entire month before.  I definitely packed on a few pounds from the yummy and seemingly never-ending food we were so graciously served during our trip.

So now that I felt assured my creature comforts were not going to be uncomfortable, I felt safe enough to check out my surroundings. That’s when it really occurred to me—I was actually on a boat in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, and it was spectacular!  Did you know that every 100 km there is a different ecosystem?  That means there are different species of trees and plant life, as well as different inhabitants and cultures, throughout the rainforest.  We traversed the Amazon River and then explored one of its main tributaries, the Rio Negro.  We took ‘canoes’ (a 16-seat long boat with an engine) every dawn and after sunset from the boat to tour smaller tributaries and explore the shorelines.  We saw variety of birds, snakes, and reptiles (like gator relative the caiman) on every ride. We even had flying fish land in our canoes—usually after ricocheting off someone’s leg or chest!

I was thrilled that all my insect repellent purchases were rarely needed.  A little bug spray and we were fine.  Back home in Texas seemed to have more mosquitos than we encountered on our Amazon tour.  During the trip, we drank bottled water and showered in filtered river water.  We were advised to get some vaccines prior to the trip.  The hepatitis A vaccine was a good idea, but I’d probably skip the malaria, typhoid and yellow fever vaccines if I did it again.  We walked through the rainforest with a guide that carried a machete to clear the path that is covered with overgrowth in days.  The naturalists showed us how the trees release rubber, milk and sap and how the native people remove the cyanide from the plant to use the fibrous root.  They even showed us how to protect ourselves from a jaguar and how to build a fire in an area that is always wet.

One day we planned to visit the ‘ruins’.  I was very excited because I love ancient history and super old stuff in general.  Well, these ruins were from the rubber baron era of the early 1900s, so they were not quite ancient as it turns out.  But the way the jungle has consumed them you’d think these ruins were at least 500 years old.  Besides the ruins, there are national parks that are world heritage sites.  These sites have the highest level of environmental protection in the world and are rarely visited except by scientists.  Visitors on an Amazon tour must leave anything that could be hunting or fishing gear with the park rangers upon entering (which is by boat).  These rangers work a month at a time since it takes eight to nine hours by speedboat just to get there.  We kept these hard working rangers entertained by trying to make conversation, but they spoke no English and we spoke almost no Portuguese.  So we just gave them candy!

We visited areas that are almost never encountered by humans.  We couldn’t even leave our canoes in the park, it was that pristine.  The sunsets over the Rio Negro (so named because the slow moving water contained so much decomposing vegetation it is almost black) were astounding.  And the stars?  WOW. I had no idea the southern hemisphere has different constellations. They were so bright; I wish they would have come out better in our photos.  Even the occasional downpour in the rainforest was impressive.  On our first night, I watched one for a few minutes from the comfort of the partially enclosed bar.  It was just me and Mother Nature at four in the morning.  One surprising highlight was when we met the most elusive and probably ugliest water mammal ever, the fresh water pink dolphin. There is a spot they are known to frequent because they are fed fish they don’t have to hunt.  But belly rubs were out of the question—a quick touch is all they would accept. Even the amount of food and how often they are fed by humans is strictly controlled to ensure preservation.

Our Amazon tour brought us as close to a truly native people as you will ever be.  Meeting a tribe and watching some of their ceremonial dances was incredible.  They were a very private people, but they like to have visitors so they can share their heritage and customs.  If they are accepting visitors, two white flags are hung by the river bank. If not, they hang black ones. The truly live in large huts made of the trees in the area. All the furniture is handmade too; their pots and cooking tools are made of metal.  No plastic, no glass.  Our naturalists translated for us and we even got to participate in one of the dances.  We bought crafts and jewelry they hand make; the blow dart guns were a huge favorite.  They were so friendly and the kids amazed by our clothes…and our height.

For our last travel day on the Amazon tour we had one final dawn canoe ride.  We took a small tributary from the Amazon to the Rio Negro. The trees were moving—and not moving because of wind.  As we got closer we could hear a chirping, squeaking sound.  Suddenly, we saw lots of little faces!  The canoe drivers and guides opened their sacks and started pulling out dozens of overripe bananas.  A few spider monkeys make a bee line for their treats.  Once the others figure out that there really is a snack and it’s safe, they make their way onto the boats, too; over, under, across, however they can get to the fingers that are offering a sweet treat.  We were inundated with 30 or 40 friendly little monkeys sitting on our shoulders, laps, even heads where they were enjoying the snacks we had to offer.  Naturally, when the bananas were gone the spider monkeys made their way back to the trees.

I still can’t believe I went on this trip.  Going as a member instead of staff was the best decision I could’ve made!  It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, one everyone should try and I’m so glad I left my comfort zone (or at least thought I was going to) to take the chance to do something this amazing, astounding, spectacular…words really can’t do it justice.  If anyone ever has this opportunity, take it—with both hands!  I hope Events & Adventures offers this Amazon tour again so you can take advantage of it too!  The staff and members of all the clubs from around the country will make sure it’s an experience you will never forget.

~ Jacque C., Events & Adventures Dallas

e&a winery tours in vancouver

Winery Tours with Events & Adventures BC

Winery tours were on the agenda this past weekend for the members of Events & Adventures Vancouver.

This past weekend, Events & Adventures Vancouver crew went on winery tours around the lower mainland.  The weather has been up and down going into the fall season, but we were lucky to have such a beautiful autumn day. The leaves were turning red, the breeze was cool, and the sun was shining as we ventured out on the tour.  We decided to take a limousine bus so we would arrive in style, and indeed we did as it was equipped with its own sound system, lights, and chilled water.

The host of the day brought breads with balsamic and oil to snack on in between stops, and everyone brought snacks to share, as well. We had the option to stop for lunch, but we wanted to make the most of the winery tour.  Our first stop of the day was Vista Doro, where we sampled reds, whites, and a port, plus we got to sample their own mimosa recipe (made from a blend of their wines).  They also carry a wide selection of preserves, which we also sampled and were so good we couldn’t leave without taking some with us.

The second stop of the day was Township 7, and there was a private party going on when we arrived.  They had live music that really set the mood, and the atmosphere was wonderful. We stopped and took pictures by the vineyards after the sampling was over.  The third stop of the day was Backyard Winery, a personal favorite, and was packed with people!  The atmosphere was brilliant and the description of their wines made you wants to taste every single one. This winery has been recognized for many of their wines and won multiple awards (even gold).

Our fourth and final stop of the day was The Fort Wine Company, and the building was quaint and adorable. They served us fruit wines that were sweet, making it a very different experience than the other wineries that we visited previously.  We finished off with a mini tour throughout Fort Langley before heading back into the city.  It was so nice to be able to get out of town a little bit and enjoy a day in the countryside with other great members of Events & Adventures Vancouver!

world travel to spain

World Travel with Events & Adventures

The only way to sum it up our visit to Spain is to say that Events & Adventures really does world travel well.  This wasn’t a trip where we were on a clock throughout the experience; there was a great mixture of planned tours and free time.  We started our adventure at JFK in New York, getting some quick introductions to the over 40 people who were taking part in the trip.  And believe it or not, someone was sweet enough to bring everyone homemade cookies!

world travel to spain

Events & Adventures members from around the US and Canada visited Spain!

After landing in Madrid, we got to stretch our legs with a quick tour of some of the city’s most famous sights, before taking a break to enjoy a welcome lunch that offered a staggering amount of delicious traditional Spanish cuisine.  Our first full day started with a tour for the presidential palace, which was spectacular.  We then journeyed to the ancient city of Toledo, which is thousands of years old, and got the chance to get lost in the labyrinth of tiny streets that wind around the historic town.  Dinner was a casual five-course party with several small plates (tapas) before our entrees. We learned the hard way we would have to pace ourselves with the food here because they just keep bringing it out!

We headed to towns ancient towns of Avila and Segovia. The Roman aqueducts are still soaring over the town.  How can the residents just go on about their day when they have such spectacular history all around them?!   After we returned to Madrid we refreshed ourselves and headed out to a popular bar area for a Tapas crawl.  The bars here are more like pubs, not clubs—because those open way later.  Each bar we tried different luscious small dishes, and we loved how everyone shares!

We packed up from Madrid and headed to Bunol, where the residents were preparing for the Tomatina Festival the very next day.  It was such a cute little town. We spent our afternoon and evening touring and eating in this historical city by the sea.  The next morning was the beginning of the adventure that is the world famous Tomatina Festival—probably the world’s largest annual food fight.  Security was tight.  To make sure no one got hit with anything other than tomatoes we couldn’t bring anything in.  Twenty thousand people packed the long narrow streets before the dump trucks just started unloading as they drove down the street, and at the starting pistol—it was pure madness.  Goggles were the best idea ever—as long as you kept them on!  It was so exciting, and everyone was there for the fun of it, not to kill other with these little red bombs.  As much as we laughed, it was best to keep your mouth closed though!  After the ending pistol the fire department and locals brought out hoses to wash everyone off.  There is nothing like experiencing world travel by being involved in the local culture.  Getting smashed tomatoes out of hair proved to be the most challenging part of the whole trip.  Even playing in the warm and relaxing Mediterranean Sea didn’t get it out.

world travel to spain

Barcelona was the final hotel location for our world travel to Spain.

We took a tour of what is probably one of the biggest promenades you’ll ever see, and thousands of people were out for an evening stroll.  The shopping, food, bars, and views of the Gothic neighborhood were everything you’d expect it to be.  Small lanes that are no wider than one car have little bars and restaurants around each turn, with people spilling out into the lanes.

It wasn’t long before we got to witness La Sagrada Familia, one of the most incredible cathedrals in the world—and they are still building it!  Every tiny detail has a meaning, and the colors the stained glass creates and projects into the building are breathtaking.  Designed by several architects, the most influential being Gaudi, it has different styles in throughout the construction.  Afterwards, we had an amazing tour of Park Guell.  It was the original planned neighborhood.  At the time it was too far out of town and too expensive but for a handful of the super elite. Gaudi’s influence could be felt everywhere we went, and he managed to translate beauty even in the unusual, as everything he produced appeared to be curved and wavy.  His mosaics were everywhere and they were beautiful, even the monochromatic ones.  World travel can expose you to so many wonderful things you might have otherwise never seen.

Monserrat Benedictine monastery is a historical and religious jewel. Hidden up, up, way up in the mountains, disguised by the hills, how’d they build this gorgeous place?  There are still monks there and a school for boys!  So after our tram trip to the ‘top’ of the mountain (there’s a small chapel and alter up even higher if your legs can get you there), we went to the coolest place ever for another never-ending lunch—a traditional hacienda (ranch house) that was turned into a restaurant.  We learned the traditional Spanish way to drink wine and had never ending courses of family-style food (again).  People were stuffed before they brought out the chicken, traditional sausage (which tasted like Texas BBQ!), and meats.  We HAD to get to the winery so dessert was taken to go—Biscotti-like biscuits and fresh fruit!

Speaking of wine….  We had a tour of the most amazing winery I’ve ever seen, and I live in Northern California.  This was not a regular winery; it was a huge commercial business that makes great wine.  It was simply amazing.  The tram we rode had headset options for six languages, though we didn’t use them since it was a private tour.  Stories of the wineries founding and growth were projected on walls that lifted up so we could see the barrel storage.  We got to walk down the original storage cellars below ground. They told and showed us how they produce spectacular “healthy” wines that don’t harm the environment.  Using solar power the facility is almost entirely self-sustained!  Everyone was impressed before we even started the tasting and got to try four different delicious wines.  I imagine the wine drinkers were ready to move in.

Our last day of this world travel tour was spent visiting the ancient cities of Figueras and Girona.  Girona is a medieval city with narrow streets, castles and ramparts.  Figueras is another historical city that is such for a different reason—Salvador Dali.  The museum made of his birthplace was a trip in the madness of a truly brilliant artist.  The amount of art in so many different mediums was staggering.  Our farewell dinner was a little different since it was in the Catalonian style.  Less meat, meat, meat, more little flourishes on the dishes, but still way too much food.

The trip and tours were truly awesome, but getting to see people from the other E&A Clubs was like gathering of old friends while making new ones.  There were so many people I wanted to spend more time with but the time slipped away so fast. We’ll stay friends through social media until we meet again on our next world travel trip, maybe even on an in-between trip to visit friends!  We talked about the Amazon trip next month and Cuba and China trips already scheduled for next year.  I can’t wait to join my Events & Adventures world travel friends in our next exotic destination.

world travel to spain

Spend Canada Day Weekend Right With Events & Adventures

Happy Canada Day!

Here at Events & Adventures in Vancouver, our Canada Day weekend started off with a bang!
We began with a potluck picnic (where desserts were the main course), played Frisbee, threw some balls around, listened to music, and spent some time with old friends and also made new ones.  We had a friendly competition of Canada Day trivia and finished off our night with an amazing fireworks display.

The next day we set off bright and early on an adventure to paddle board on Jericho Beach. The sun started shining about 20 minutes before we got into the water and the conditions were ideal. We had two instructors who were fantastic hosts and showed us what to do and what not to do. After a two hour lesson we felt like experts. We continued our Canada Day weekend with ice breakers and games on Saturday night. We got to meet all the new members who recently joined our Events & Adventures family and hang out with our old friends, too. We also enjoyed Bingo, Cards Against Humanity, Jenga and much more.

Sunday was all about cycling; we hit up a beautiful trail and got some exercise. Our wonderful host Katie (who knows all about the best sights in town) gave our members quite the tour. It was sunny during our Canada Day weekend, but forecasts say that the coming week is going to be a rainy one. Thankfully we have a slew of indoor activities planned, showing that when you join Events & Adventures there’s always something to do regardless of rain or shine.

An Amazing Summer and new Friends in Vancouver

One of our lovely members threw a pig roast potluck at her house this past weekend where new and old Events & Adventures members gathered for a full day of festivities. Everyone brought something to contribute so there was tons of food to feast on, games to play and even an artist who did face painting and made our members into whatever their hearts desired. They’re all still buzzing about the weekend.

We’re making the most of this summer and memorializing all our great events with the hashtag #EandASummer. It’s going to be a blast, and if this summer is half as good as Sharon’s pig roast we are in for a treat.

With so many activities on our summer calendar you’ll definitely be able to scratch some amazing adventures off your bucket list. Some of these adventures include yoga on the beach, snorkeling with seals, white water rafting, Cuban cruising and salsa lessons. Join Events & Adventures and have the summer of a lifetime.

Vancouver and Seattle Team up for Outdoor Recreation

This weekend Events & Adventures Vancouver crashed the Seattle club’s Memorial Day camping trip, and we had a blast! It was a rainy weekend at Friday Creek campgrounds, but the rain didn’t stop us from having a great time with the weekend of outdoor recreation we had planned. Our members had an amazing time with countless activities to do.

We arrived on Friday and had the whole campground to ourselves. We set up the tents, made campfires, played Frisbee and volleyball, and mingled with our fellow members. Saturday was filled with a variety of outdoor recreation activities like hiking and white water rafting. Though some members stayed behind and played board games at the lodge to escape the rain. We had a bonfire Saturday night, and many of us were introduced to Reese’s Cup s’mores for the first time.

Sunday the rain stopped just enough for our members to enjoy horseback riding or a winery tour. That night we had a huge bonfire singing along to all the classics (“don’t stop believing…”), had a glow stick party, and played tag and even glow stick volleyball in the dark. Monday morning it was breakfast-to-go, packing up and heading home (and of course the weather was the nicest the day we were leaving).

All in all it was a weekend we will never forget.  Just one more reason to get out and enjoy life with the members of Events & Adventures!

Exclusive Summer Activities with Events & Adventures Vancouver

Summer is here and that means we’ve got tons of outdoor activities for the Vancouver club. Vancouver is the perfect place to embrace the beauty of nature. We have the mountains and the ocean at our fingertips. We don’t always properly utilize it, but we are truly blessed to have such a beautiful backyard.  Whether you are hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking or just strolling the seawall, there are an endless number of activities to do when the sun is out.

Last weekend some of our members had a blast kayaking at Deep Cove. There was non-stop laughter and a lot of great memories made. Deep Cove is located at the foot of Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver. Paddling Indian Arm offered a unique opportunity to view the mountains and native wildlife while being on the ocean. You often find harbor seals, eagles, sea stars and other wildlife in a rich marine environment when kayaking Deep Cove.

If you want to shake up your summer and do something different from your usual weekly trip to the pool, just join Events & Adventures. We’ll show you how to make the most of living in our beautiful city and help you uncover exclusive events and activities that only our members can access!

Reinvent the Traditional Mingling Session

Classic meet and mingle nights at bars may be our go-to plan when you want to meet new people, but why not put a twist on the how you go about mingling with new people? Trivia nights are a method of mingling you probably never thought of—it’s also a fantastic way to spend a weeknight for those looking for a fun and relaxed activity! Events & Adventures has done everything from music bingo to pub trivia to themed trivia nights (like Vancouver’s upcoming Simpsons trivia night).

Putting our heads together in a competitive but friendly environment is always a great way to break the ice and making mingling easy! While any gathering can be fun with a great group of singles, there is a certain kind of bonding that happens when people put all the random facts in their head together to represent Events & Adventures at a local trivia night.

With trivia nights for music-lovers, travelers, TV show fans, any other interest you can think of there is no shortage of options in our city! Last week, we visited one of our favorite venues, The Bimini in beautiful Kitsilano. Events & Adventures members are always treated to prime seats in the house for a few hours of entertainment thanks to our connections in the city. It was a creative way to kick back after work, and trivia is a fantastic way to find out more about that special person you might feel you have a connection with, or even to just discover new friends who share an interest in the same topics as you!

Events & Adventures Vancouver Goes Hiking to Welcome Spring

The weather is warming again in the Pacific Northwest, and that means it’s time for us to dust off our hiking shoes! Vancouver has been blessed with sunny skies for the past two weeks, and Events & Adventures members took advantage of that. We spent the past two weekends on two amazing hikes.

There is no better way to welcome the start of spring and summer than by hiking and enjoying nature. Here in Vancouver we are spoiled with emerald green forests, crystal clear oceans and sweeping coastlines. We went everywhere from Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver, to Brothers Creek Trail in West Vancouver, and to more rugged hikes in areas like like Elm Mountain in Chilliwack. There is no shortage of trails so members of all experience levels can join in and make the most of the nature around us this summer.

Hiking is one of those activities that is always a great bonding experience. What better way is there to make new friends than by exercising outdoors, while laughing and exploring untamed with a group of singles just as adventurous as yourself?

If you missed out on the first few hikes of the year, don’t worry there will be many more to come. There is nothing quite as satisfying as dipping your toes into a stream while enjoying a picnic after a hike and meeting a special someone who appreciates nature the way you do, or climbing to the top of a mountain with the enthusiasm of new friends by your side!

Get Out There and Meet Other Active People in Vancouver

Adventurers, welcome to the new sport known as bubble soccer! A twist on the classic game of soccer (or football), this new sport is quickly becoming extremely popular all over North America. While the rules of the game do not differ from soccer, the intensity of the levels of fun certainly do! In bubble soccer the games are shorter, and while you try to score as many goals as possible during the games, you are doing so while inside a large and transparent inflatable bubble. The plastic force fields of your bubble let you flip, bounce, and roll out of any encounter!

Our Vancouver members recently enjoyed a private bubble soccer session with Bubble Ball Vancouver. We spent the afternoon being silly and trying out this hilarious game. Once we arrived at the gym Events & Adventures reserved just for us, it was time to play ball. Our instructors made sure that we got comfortable inside our inflatable bubbles, and taught us the most important rule of bubble soccer—to have fun!

After a few games of five against five, we were taught even how to play other childhood games like British Bulldog, Last Man Standing, and Red Rover from inside our bubbles. If you can’t imagine how imaginative we got with our giant bubbles you’ll just have to try out bubble soccer with Events & Adventures and next time see how creative it is!  It’s a sport for virtually everyone, and it was made for active people seeking something out of the ordinary. Bubble soccer was a huge hit, so don’t miss out on the fun next time with Events & Adventures Vancouver!