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In 2011, we held an online competition to be the host of the Paradise Hunter TV series for one year.  700 people from around the world applied for the opportunity of a lifetime.  Ryan Van Duzer was the lucky applicant who was selected for the "job".

Each episode Ryan will be creating videos and posting his thoughts as he travels around the world in search of his paradise.  Follow along, or ask Ryan questions about the places he's been... and the places he'd like to visit.

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Behind the Scenes at Casa Todo Bien

This magical trip started in style!  On the flight down to Mexico and the short drive to Punta de Mita, I was quickly able to see what a great group of people I'd be taking this journey with.  As we pulled up to our temporary home, Casa Todo Bien, we were greeted by four smiling faces and ice cold margaritas.  That night our personal chef made some incredible chiles rellenos and the Paradise Hunter team ate and drank in style on a patio overlooking the Pacific ocean.  It was my 33rd birthday and Karla, our chef, had made a special chocolate cake and my new Canadian friends showed off their amazing voices singing me Happy Birthday.  My dream job is now a reality and I couldn't feel more fortunate to be starting the adventure in one of my favorite countries, Mexico!

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Making Breakfast with the Gang at Casa Todo Bien

When we arrived at Casa Todo Bien, we were blown away by the incredible villa.  By the time we left, we were blown away by the staff.  This is a great place to get away from it all.  Muchas Gracias Karla, Eloy, Marcela and Giovanni

 

Crocs, Fiestas and Birdies OH MY!

Our first week in the Riviera Nayarit was full of surprises and exploding with culture.  We attended a town fair full of color, excitement and loud Mariachi bands.  From there we drove inland to the mountains of Tepic to visit an indigenous village of Huichol indians.  I was really excited about this because I've seen the Huichols before selling their brightly colored artwork but never had the chance to see them up close.  We all jumped in a boat and traveled through a beautiful and desolate desert region.  Upon arrival we were greeted by a Huichol Shaman who performed a cleansing ceremony before entering the village. I got to sit down with a friendly woman named Teresa who patiently taught me how to string some beads into a flowery bracelet.  Their bead work is the coolest thing I've ever seen and bought a few items to bring home to Colorado, mom will be happy!  It's good to see that these people have maintained their vibrant culture while living in a modern world. The next day we traveled to the fishing village of San Blas which is world renown for its variety of exotic birds.  We boated through lush mangroves and also saw tons of Crocodiles and iguanas sunning on logs, it was pretty cool to see these creatures up close.  I grew up loving reptiles and it was fascinating to see them in their natural habitat.  

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Soccer, Yachts and Whales

Before leaving San Blas I had to find a soccer game to jump into, I've lived in latin America before and this is always the best way to meet the locals.  My wish was granted without much searching (everyone plays soccer in Mexico) and I ran around with a group of very excited little kids until I was dripping in sweat.  Our next activity was far from the dusty streets of San Blas...It was time to participate in a little yacht race!  I met up with Richard, a man who has traveled the world by boat for many years and jumped on his beautiful Catamaran for a day of cruising in the bay of Banderas.  He has chosen to live in this region because of the incredible weather and large population of ex-pats.  We didn't win the race but as Richard said at the very beginning of the day, the goal is to have fun.  He's a great guy and invites about 1,000 people onto his boat each year so they can experience the thrill of sailing, and all he asks in return is for them to donate $20 to their favorite charity.  The next day we jumped on a much smaller boat and went on a search for Humpback whales.  This was the most incredibly display of nature I'd ever witnessed and I even got to jump into the water and swim with wild dolphins.  

 

Para Sailing and Polo

 I've always wanted to try para sailing and finally got my chance.  It was a very freeing feeling as I soared above Puerto Vallarta.  When I got my feet back on the ground we headed to Punta de Mita to give the King's Sport a shot, Polo.  I'm not good on a horse and I've never swung a mallet, but they were good sports with the uncoordinated Gringo.  I pretty much just trotted behind everyone while they played in front of me.  I think I hit the ball once, and that was good enough for me.  

 

Final Montage Video

 The Riviera Nayarit was an incredible place to film the first episode.  The people, the food, the activities and the developments we visited were all top notch.  I didn't want to leave Mexico and come home to Colorado's cold winter, but I know we'll be on the road soon again.  I'm definitely the luckiest guy in the word to have this opportunity and I promise to continue showing you the best of Planet Earth

Got a question for Ryan?  Click here to ask

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