Growing up in Switzerland, and learning to ski at Crans Montana Ski Resort, I didn't understand what everyone's fascination with the Alps was. Being surrounded by mountains was normal. I wanted to experience the big city life instead! Things changed very quickly though, once I moved to Illinois - the flattest state in the U.S. I realized that once I was so far away from mountains, that I actually miss mountains a lot! Every time Kyle and I go back to Switzerland, we like to spend some time in the Alps and go skiing if there is snow and the weather conditions are reasonable.
Crans Montana Ski Resort
I have been to a few ski resorts in Switzerland, but grew up exploring the hills of Crans-Montana, a ski resort in the French part of Switzerland, in the canton Valais. It's a two hour drive to get there from Bern and you can either drive via Lake Geneva and stop in gorgeous Montreux and visit Chillon Castle on the way, or you can drive through the Bernese Alps and take the Lötschberg car train which is a fun experience by itself. If you have never heard of the car train before, check out this video.
The first time I took Kyle to the car train, he was stunned as he had never driven onto a train with his car before! If you are driving from Zurich, it is a bit further, but Zurich is also worth exploring, see our post on Zurich and exploring Oro De Cacao from the same trip!
Crans Montana Ski Resort is 1,500m or 4,920ft above sea level and from there you can access the glacier Plaine Morte which is even higher at 2,927m or 9,600ft above sea level. Because the Crans Montana Ski Resort faces south, you often get the sunniest skiing conditions and best views of the Swiss Alps and the beautiful valley below. In addition, you may have heard of Crans Montana Ski Resort as it is a famous location in alpine ski racing.
Hitting the Slopes
Once you take the gondola up to the top of Crans Montana Ski Resort, you can even see the famous Matterhorn. Although you'll only see the backside of it which makes it difficult to recognize its famous shaped peak. It doesn't matter which way you look, the views from the top of Crans Montana Ski Resort are incredible!
After a bumpy ride up in the cable car, Kyle and I couldn't wait to finally hit the slopes and go skiing in Switzerland at Crans Montana Ski Resort for the first time in 4(!) years.
Shop My Skiing Outfit
Many of the items I'm wearing, I've had for years. My jacket is from H&M and I linked similar ones below. My goggles are by Arnette and you can get them on Amazon still.
The morning was a bit foggy but it cleared up soon. The afternoon sun brought the most beautiful views and blue skies!
Luckily, skiing is just like riding a bike if you haven't done it in awhile; although our legs were starting to get sore rather quickly. After a few runs, we had enough confidence to go down a double black diamond run, but regretted our choice as soon as we looked down the hill. Check out my Instagram stories if you're curious to see the run! We certainly weren't graceful, but we made it down without any issues.
Arguably, the best part about skiing is getting away from the busy city life to enjoy a day in the snow and sun. The fact that you get a little bit of exercise along the way is even better.
Après Ski - Essential When Skiing in Switzerland
While you're out there enjoying your day at Crans Montana Ski Resort, make sure you stop by one of the many slope bars and restaurants and enjoy a drink and snack. Some people would even argue that the après ski is just as important, if not more important, than the actual skiing! There are eleven restaurants and bars scattered all across the Crans Montana Ski Resort. Every single one has a fantastic view.
We enjoyed glasses of hot glühwein and a charcuterie board with local Swiss cheese and meats. It was just what we needed to continue skiing well into the afternoon!
Crans Montana Ski Resort Village
For all the non-skiers among us, I can still highly recommend a visit to the village of Crans Montana, just down the hill from the Crans Montana Ski Resort. You can take the cable car to the slopes to enjoy the views or stay in the resort town. There are options to go ice skating ...
... go on a walk around the frozen lakes ...
... and enjoy the holiday decorations. The village of Crans Montana is pretty typical for a Swiss resort town. It has a number of high-end restaurants and hotels, plus a few grocery stores and shops down every lane. Crans Montana is one of my favorite Swiss ski resort towns.
Have you ever been to Crans Montana Ski Resort or skiing in Switzerland? Where is your favourite place to go? Let us know in the comments below!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
At least once every winter season, we like to enjoy some fresh white powder. Snow, obviously! The crisp winter air and blue skies together with fresh snow are the perfect conditions to go skiing (or in my case snowboarding). In reality, it isn’t always this exciting, especially when you plan a ski trip and find out that there’s no snow. (We had to hike ourselves up the mountain last winter in Switzerland, though we didn’t complain about the view.)
Or when it hits you that you need to get up really early, jump into your cold skiing outfit, make your way to the ski resort, and stand in line to get into a jam-packed gondola.
Let me tell you, all the hassle is totally worth it once you’re up there.
Cypress Mountain greeted us with the most beautiful views of Horseshoe Bay. This is the coastal mountains of British Columbia in their full glory. I’m blown away every time I get off the lift and have a view out over the Pacific Ocean all the while sliding down a slope.
If you get up early enough, you can get the entire slope to yourself and can take up all the space you would like to cruise down the hill. As a skier, I couldn’t get downhill fast enough and back on the lift. As a snowboarder, I have a slightly different approach and like to sit down every once in a while to enjoy the view (in other words, catch my breath).
The snow conditions were just perfect. Fresh, light powder, glittering in the sun, making trees look like fairy tales. Who could resist soaking up the winter sun here for a minute or two?
On the hill, the winter sun can be quite warm (and the reflection of the snow makes it a sunscreen mandatory zone) but on the lift, it can get windy and cold fast.
A few runs and hours later, we decided to get a hot chocolate in the hut and relax a bit. After all, we had come here early, enjoyed a few runs having the slopes to ourselves, and didn’t mind the crowds slowly taking over.
Warmed up and newly motivated, we decided to explore the other side of the resort, Black Mountain, and make our way down runs we hadn’t been on before. By the end of the day, the morning clouds and fog had disappeared completely, leaving us with the most astonishing views of the sun setting over Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re thinking about hitting the slopes in Vancouver, here are a few tips on where to go. All of the listed ski resorts offer detailed snow and weather reports on their websites as well as live views, which can be very convenient when deciding if it’s worth getting out of bed early.
Vancouver has three popular local mountains.
Grouse Mountain is closest to the city and offers beautiful views of downtown Vancouver. It’s easy to reach with public transport but can get quite busy and you need to take a gondola from the base to reach the ski resort. It is the smallest of the three local mountains. Unlike some of the large ski resorts I’m used to in Europe, they offer night skiing which allows you to walk around the city during the day and still enjoy a few rides after late into the night. Due to the close proximity to the city, Grouse Mountain is definitely the best choice for people who are only in town for a few short days.
Cypress Mountain is only a very tiny bit further away and for those without a car, you might want to look into Cypress Coach Lines. The views are equally as breath-taking as from Grouse Mountain but the skiing area is larger with two different mountains, thereby offering a wider variety of runs for all skill levels. There is night skiing on both mountains. I personally like Mount Strachan best for views of Horseshoe Bay during the day and Black Mountain for night skiing as the runs are well-lit.
Mount Seymour is the third of the local mountains and is the furthest east of the three. Just like on the other mountains, the views out over the city are amazing. To get there, you would need to drive or take the Mount Seymour Shuttle bus. Similar to Grouse Mountain, they offer a nice variety of easy runs as well as night skiing.
If you are a true ski aficionado, the local mountains may seem a bit tame and crowded. If you are in town longer and have the time to drive north to Whistler, you won’t be disappointed. Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and has everything to offer that a winter-loving heart would desire. The resort encompasses two mountains, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, which are connected with a Peak 2 Peak Gondola. You can spend an entire day skiing and still won’t have seen every run there is.
Situated between the ocean and the Sierra Madre mountain range in Jalisco, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is incredibly photogenic and a dream for every photographer and instagrammer. The endless ocean views, mountain views, day trips to islands off the coast, and the colorful streets are paradise. The Instagram world is quickly catching on. There is no shortage of instagrammable places in Puerto Vallarta ranging from beautiful scenery, city views, architecture, murals, and tiled staircases.
Here are the 15 best Puerto Vallarta Instagram spots which you can’t miss on your trip here. Whether you are a professional instagrammer or love to take your vacation photos to the next level, this guide includes everything you need to know about each spot.
Puerto Vallarta is a relatively small city and most of the Puerto Vallarta Instagram spots are relatively close to each other. It is easy to hit most of these instagrammable places in one day. However, there are a few places like Sayulita, Islas Marietas, and Punta Mita which are further away and are the perfect day trip destinations.
This map includes all the most instagrammable places in Puerto Vallarta and has a separate layer for where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. Make sure to use it to plan your trip to visit all the Puerto Vallarta Instagram spots.
15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots
We compiled the 15 best Puerto Vallarta Instagram spots for every instagrammer and photography lover. These spots will help you capture the beauty of Puerto Vallarta and make sure your photos are as memorable as the trip to this cute city.
Mar Y Vino
Located right on Playa Los Muertos, Mar Y Vino is a brand new restaurant overlooking the beach and the famous Muelle de Playa Los Muertos monument. What is even more impressive than the beautiful view is the design of the restaurant itself. The Santorini and Mykonos inspired restaurant is a rooftop restaurant and features a hot tub, palm trees, boho design features, and most impressively a dining pool. The dining pool is a shallow pool with tables and chairs set up for a very unique dining experience. Mar Y Vino offers special bags for your shoes which you need to take off before accessing the dining pool area.
Mar Y Vino’s unique design makes for a great photo and it will certainly gain a lot of traction on Instagram. It provides the ultimate Greek vibes in the middle of Mexico with stunning ocean views. While you are here, make sure to try their delicious drinks and fresh seafood as this restaurant is so much more than just the view!
Hours: Mar Y Vino is open every day from10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is around sunset for the best light and view. However, it can get quite busy. To make sure you don’t have to worry about other people in your photo, make a reservation and ask for one of the pool dining tables. Alternatively, you can stop by in the afternoon at 3:00 PM to have the place almost to yourself.
Tips: As the most instagrammable corner of the restaurant is an ankle-height pool, remember to not wear any long pants or skirts as they will get wet in the pool. Taking photos is allowed here but please be respectful and do not disturb other guests.
iK Mixology Bar & Cuisine
Right next door to Mar Y Vino is iK Mixology Bar & Cuisine. It is owned by the same people as Mar Y Vino, but has a completely different concept. iK Mixology Bar & Cuisine is inspired by all things Bali. Think of boho rooftop vibes, dining tables which look like cute birds nests and a famous Bali swing! The restaurant was designed with Instagram in mind as it offers multiple Instagram spots. It is one of my favorite places in Puerto Vallarta and a must visit when you’re in the city.
The dining tables are little birds nest eggs imported directly from Bali and they will remind you of the tropical Indonesian island as well as the famous Azulik in Tulum. In addition to an instagrammable table, the restaurant also has a Bali swing which is specifically set up for photos. The swing is located in a way that you can take photos there, regardless of which table you are dining at, which makes it perfect if you can’t reserve a table ahead of time but are stopping by spontaneously. The swing is set up so it faces the sunset, making the end of the day one of the best times to get incredible photos.
Make sure you try their great drinks and international dishes when you visit for a photo!
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is around sunset for the best light and view.
Tips: Every corner of this restaurant is incredibly instagrammable. If you are looking for a photo in one of the egg nests, make sure you make a reservation and request one of the nest tables. The Bali swing is open to everyone dining here but you may have to wait in line to get your photo if the restaurant is busy.
Muelle de Playa Los Muertos
Los Muertos beach is a great place to spend a day. Between ample shopping possibilities, countless restaurants, and the beach, having a great day is guaranteed. But what makes Playa Los Muertos instagrammable is the new pier. The pier was rebuilt and inaugurated in 2013. The pier is 335 feet (100 meters) long and in addition to stunning ocean views, features a unique lookout construction which very much looks like a mini replica of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
You can see the pier from the entire shoreline but the most instagrammable spot is on the pier itself with the Mexican Burj Al Arab in the background. It is one of the most unique instagrammable places in Puerto Vallarta.
Hours: The pier is open every day, 24 hours a day.
Best Time for Photos: The light is best at sunset as you can photograph the setting sun behind the pier. However, the pier gets very busy and getting a photo without other people in it will be almost impossible. If you are looking for soft lighting and no people, visiting at sunrise is your best bet.
Tips: If you are looking for a sunset photo with the pier but want to avoid the crowd, consider going to one of the rooftop restaurants on the beach and photograph the pier from there.
Los Arcos del Malecon
Just a few blocks north of Playa Los Muertos, right on the seafront pathway, are four free standing arches with undisturbed ocean views. The Malecon Arches are an iconic landmark of Puerto Vallarta and have been brought from a colonial hacienda close to Guadalajara. The original arches were washed away due to a hurricane in 2002, but were replaced soon after.
The simplicity of the arches together with their stunning location right on the ocean make them a perfect Instagram spot in Puerto Vallarta that you can’t miss. They are every photographer’s dream as they allow you to play with different angles and lighting without having any buildings in the background.
Hours: Los Arcos del Malecon are open every day, 24 hours a day.
Best Time for Photos: Because the arches are a public landmark, they can get quite busy during the day. The best time to take photos here is early in the morning to avoid the crowds. If you want to catch the sunset here, you will have to be very patient to get the arches to yourself.
Tips: Try out some different angles to take photos here. There is a skate park right in front but you can have your photographer take a photo from the other side of the skate park to get the full view of the 4 arches. Another great angle is showing the arches from the side to showcase the construction and angles.
Puerto Vallarta Sign and Seahorse Statue
A few steps north from Los Arcos del Malecon is the Puerto Vallarta sign. The sign is one of the most photographed places in the city and is the perfect Puerto Vallarta Instagram spot due to its colors, the ocean backdrop, and the grand seahorse statue in the middle.
Hours: The sign is open every day, 24 hours a day.
Best Time for Photos: The sign is a public landmark and can get quite busy during the day as well as in the evening as it is on the seaside promenade which is a prime tourist location. The best time to take photos here is in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Tips: There are several impressive statues in the area so make sure to check them out as well while you are here!
Colorful Tiled Stairs at Gaby’s Restaurant Bar
When you think of Mexico, you automatically think of colorful houses and streets and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. Every corner you turn, there are different colors of buildings which creates an incredibly vibrant city. With the city being on an incline, there are lots of stairs and most staircases – as buildings – are tiled with the prettiest and boldest patterns.
One of the most instagrammable staircases are the tiled stairs at Gaby’s Restaurant Bar. The steep stairs make it a great place to get a sitting photo and capture all the colors at once. Right next to the restaurant is another beautiful staircase on Calle Mina which is just as colorful with beautiful tiles.
Hours: The staircase is in front of the restaurant and always open.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is behind the restaurant so that there are no odd shadows in the photo.
Tips: The biggest problem of street photos is having harsh shadows in the photo. Make sure you take a photo with the entire area in the shade or completely in the sun. Half sun and half shade photos will make it difficult to edit.
Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana
No trip to Puerto Vallarta is complete without having at least one photo with a colorful house wall. One of the most instagrammable spots and buildings is Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana. The restaurant walls are the perfect combination of white and red and have cute decorations all over. It’s the perfect spot to capture the Mexican vibe in an Instagram shot.
Hours: The outside of the restaurant is open to the public at all times.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is behind the restaurant so that there are no odd shadows in the photo.
Tips: There are different angles to take photos here which look great! In addition to taking a photo of the sides of the building, taking photos from the center of the street showing the full building angle would make for a great Instagram spot as well!
Hotel Playa Los Arcos
If you are looking for more colorful houses, you can’t miss out on hotel Playa Los Arcos. Regardless of what colors you are looking to capture for your Instagram feed, Hotel Playa Los Arcos has you covered and is one of the most instagrammable spots on Puerto Vallarta.
The hotel is located in the Zona Romantica, right on the beach and features one full side of colorful stairs and windows ranging from teal, to yellow, to orange, to pink. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to take photos of the colorful wall as it is an outside wall and easily accessible on Basilio Badillo.
Hours: The outside of the hotel is open to the public at all times.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is behind the restaurant so that there are no odd shadows in the photo.
Tips: If you are looking to take photos with the different wall colors, you can consider bringing different outfits that work with the wall colors to take multiple photos at the same time.
Mirador La Cruz del Cerro Viewpoint
If you are looking for an instagrammable spot in Puerto Vallarta with a view, Mirador La Cruz del Cerro is the place to go! The Mirador La Cruz del Cerro is an open tower, looking out over the city of Puerto Vallarta with an incredible view of the entire city and ocean. The tower has no walls and is a great place to take photos of the incredible view and to spend a few minutes to relax and take it all in.
Because of its location, getting to Mirador La Cruz del Cerro is not for the faint-hearted. It’s only a 20-minute walk from the Romantic Zone in Puerto Vallarta but it’s a very steep incline. Be prepared to walk up some very steep staircases to get there. Many locals use these stairs as a place to work out as they are quite challenging.
For anyone who is not fond of walking stairs, there is also a cable car about three quarters of the way up that will take you part of the way there. The cable car runs during high season only from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Hours: The Mirador La Cruz del Cerro is open every day, 24 hours a day
Best Time for Photos: Mornings and evenings are best to take photos here as the light is very magical. But even if you visit during the day, the view is amazing and guarantees incredible photos!
Tips: The tower has multiple floors so you won’t need to be worried about having too many people here and not getting “the shot” without anyone in the background.
Butterfly Wings at Azul Orquidea Café
There are few more instagrammable murals than a set of beautiful wings. Puerto Vallarta is full of murals and this one is one of the most beautiful ones, perfect for a great Instagram shot. These blue butterfly wings are located right downtown on the outside walls of the cute Azul Orquidea Café. The sidewalk in front of the mural is very narrow which means the photographer would either need to stand in the street to take a photo or stand on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road.
Hours: The butterfly wings are on the outside wall and accessible every day, 24 hours a day.
Best Time for Photos: The best time for photos is early in the morning or in the afternoon when there is no direct sun. Having direct sunlight will make every mural photo difficult to edit.
Tips: The street in front of the café is not busy at all so you can easily snap a photo while standing in the street. Another tip is to bring a wide angle lens to make sure you can capture the full mural, as the area is quite narrow.
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and Andador Independencia
One of the main attractions and most beautiful buildings in Puerto Vallarta is the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Located right downtown, the church impresses with its crowned renaissance-style tower and makes for the perfect Instagram spot.
The best place to take a photo with the church is right in front of the church on the pedestrian street Independencia. From here you can take a great Instagram photo of the entire tower and the beautiful Mexican street decorations.
Hours: The church is generally open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. You can take photos of the church at any time of the day.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is in the morning around 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Being here early will allow you to avoid tourist crowds visiting the church and the souvenir shops and stands set up on the street. Depending on the time of year you are here, you might consider going even earlier.
Tips: In spring and in fall you can capture the sun shining through the tower providing an incredible sun flare. You can use the Lumos app (iPhone version / Android version) to see what time the sun will be right behind the tower to plan your perfect Instagram shot for the next day.
Nuevo Vallarta Beach – Playa Varadero
If you are looking for shallow beaches that go on forever, Nuevo Vallarta Beach is perfect for you and it is one of the most instagrammable beaches in the area. The beach in Nuevo Vallarta differs distinctively from the beaches in Puerto Vallarta. In Nuevo Vallarta, you can find a long stretch of beach and endless soft sand, leading into the shallow and warm ocean. The shallow beach makes for the perfect instagrammable spot in Puerto Vallarta if you are looking to play around with the water reflection in the sand or are looking for fewer waves.
The beaches in Puerto Vallarta itself are more rugged with deeper water and stronger currents, making for great waves but not any cool Instagram shots with reflections.
Hours: The beach is open every day, 24 hours a day.
Best Time for Photos: The best time for photos here is at sunset. The sunsets here are incredible with very vibrant colors and capturing the reflection of the sun in the shallow and calm ocean is worth the effort.
Tips: You will find different hotels along the beach in Nuevo Vallarta. However, the beach is accessible to everyone and does not belong to the hotel. Meaning you can easily enjoy the beach without staying at one of the hotels.
Sayulita is an up and coming surf town and is often referred to as the new Tulum. It is a 1.5 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta and is incredibly charming with all its vibrant colors as well as bohemian vibes. If you are looking to capture bohemian-style photos and love the lifestyle, Sayulita is the perfect place for you.
Given its popularity with digital nomads and surfers, the town is full of instagrammable coffee shops, souvenir stores selling all things macrame, and rooftop bars with great ocean views. Sayulita is one of the many pueblo magicos in Mexico and hands down one of the most instagrammable places around Puerto Vallarta.
How to Get to Sayulita
The best way to get to Sayulita is either by renting a car for the day and driving yourself, taking a taxi, or by bus. If you have a lot of luggage and are planning to stay in Sayulita, it might be easier to taxi or rent a car. If you are traveling light or without luggage, the bus is a great option. The taxi from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita cost around $700 MXN ($35 USD).
The bus from Puerto Vallarta takes between 1 to 1.5 hours and costs $46 MXN ($2.30 USD). The best place to catch the bus is from Nuevo Vallarta at the Walmart and Sam’s Club bus waiting area. At the waiting area, there is usually someone with a clipboard that can help you get on the correct bus. The bus you are looking for is by Compostela and is a white and green bus. Look for the “Sayulita” name written on it. The buses run every 20 minutes.
Hours: Sayulita shop hours vary by store but are generally open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos in Sayulita is early in the morning as the streets fill quickly with cars, delivery trucks, and people. Getting here right after sunrise is your best bet to snap a photo without any people or cars in it.
The Marieta islands are a small group of islands a few miles off the shore from Puerto Vallarta. The islands are one of the most beautiful and most instagrammable nature spots in and around Puerto Vallarta. The seaside views, underwater life, and stunning formation of the islands themselves make for incredible photo opportunities and will wow everyone.
The main attraction of Islas Marietas is the hidden beach. The hidden beach, also referred to as Lover’s Beach, is a beach within a wide-open cavern. The entire beach looks like a beach hidden in a hole of lush green grass, with clear blue waves crashing in. It is an incredible sight to see and makes for a great adventure in addition to stunning photos!
How to Get to Islas Marietas
The best way to get to Islas Marietas is with a local tour company. It’s about an hour-long boat ride to get there from Puerto Vallarta. The number of people that can access the hidden beach at a time is limited and you need to reserve wristbands to the hidden beach with the tour company ahead of time. Some of the main tour companies that will take you to Islas Marietas are Riviera Nayarit, Vallarta Extreme, and All PVR Tours. Tour prices vary between $65.00 USD and $140.00 USD per person, depending on everything that is included.
Hours: Tours leave as early as 8:00 AM and the last tours leaving Puerto Vallarta leave around 4:00 PM.
Best Time for Photos: The best time to take photos here is anytime when your tour is not fully booked. Usually the early morning tours are least busy and should allow you to capture the hidden beach without having a big crowd.
Tips: Each tour only allows people to stay on the beach for 10 minutes. Make sure you know exactly what Instagram photo you would like to take here before arriving as the time limitations could make it difficult to get the perfect shot otherwise.
Punta Mita Beach
Punta Mita is a private peninsula and is located 10 miles (16 km) north of Puerto Vallarta. This quiet peninsula is home to the St. Regis Punta Mita and the Four Seasons Punta Mita. The peninsula truly feels like you are in Bali as it borders a lush jungle and has soft beaches with perfect ocean views on the other side. Due to the peninsula being privately owned, you are guaranteed to take the perfect Instagram photos at the beach here without having to fight the crowds.
In addition to being the most instagrammable place to take beach photos near Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita also has a beautiful golf course.
The only way to access Punta Mita beach is by staying at the St. Regis Punta Mita or at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. Both hotels are equally stunning with a beautiful setting, thoughtfully designed pools, and impeccable service and culinary offerings.
Hours: The beach is open every day, 24 hours a day, as long as you stay at one of the hotels.
Best Time for Photos: The best time for photos here is at sunset. The sunsets in Punta Mita are incredible and due to the privacy of the beach, you won’t have to worry about other people when taking photos.
Tips: While staying in Punta Mita might be a splurge, it is one of the most serene places in Jalisco and a perfect getaway from the busy everyday life. It truly feels like you have been transported to another world far from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta. It also has endless instagrammable spots on the peninsula.
How to Get to Puerto Vallarta
Getting to Puerto Vallarta is relatively easy and depending where you’re coming from, there are several ways to travel to this beautiful city. The most common ways area arriving by bus or by plane.
Most people will be arriving in Puerto Vallarta via plane, landing at Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR). The airport has direct service from all major Canadian and American airline hubs, and is also well served by Mexican air carriers. The airport is modern and has lots of signage, making it very easy to navigate. Once you exit the airport it can be intimidating with all of the taxi drivers and private transfer companies trying to sell you their services, but there’s no need to worry. If you already have transportation arranged, it’s fairly easy to find each company representative, and if not, be sure to pull up the Uber app and request a ride to your hotel!
If you arriving in Puerto Vallarta from other nearby areas of Mexico, or from the nearest large city, Guadalajara, you may chose to arrive by bus. Coach bus services between major cities are mostly in luxurious, air-conditioned buses with television screens at every seat. The buses are more luxurious than what you typically find in the United States, but they also charge prices that are more in line with what you would expect in the United States. There are multiple bus stations in Puerto Vallarta, so be aware of where your bus is taking you. Once you arrive, you can walk to your hotel or transfer to an Uber or taxi.
If you don’t have much luggage and are looking for an adventure, you can also travel through Mexico via local bus service. The routes and companies are constantly changing so you’ll need to ask around, but you can travel all over for hardly any money.
How to Get Around Puerto Vallarta
The downtown area of Puerto Vallarta is fairly long and narrow, which means it could take an hour or more to walk from one end to the other. If you’re looking to get around the city or back to your hotel, you have a few options.
Uber in Puerto Vallarta
Our favorite option is Uber. Uber cars are widely available within the city, and every Uber driver we met was very friendly and we never had any issues. Note that most of the drivers do not speak English, but that shouldn’t be a problem as the destination and payment is all taken care of through the app. One other benefit of using Uber is the ‘chat’ feature with your driver has a translate feature. For example, if you need to tell the Uber driver exactly where you are waiting, you can write your message in English, and they will be able to translate and understand it within the Uber app.
Another thing to note is Uber is very safe in Puerto Vallarta. Your ride is constantly being tracked online. Furthermore, Uber is incredibly affordable, oftentimes less than half the cost of taxis- with no need to worry about haggling or being ripped off by taxi drivers.
Taxis in Puerto Vallarta
We’re not generally fans of taking taxis where there is a tendency for taxi drivers to overcharge and rip-off tourists. Certainly not all Puerto Vallarta taxi drivers are out to get tourists, but you do have to be careful. It’s best to agree on the price before you get in the taxi, and also best to travel with someone else for safety. With Uber being a viable option for all destinations in Puerto Vallarta, we would only recommend taxis when Uber is not an option.
Best Resorts in Puerto Vallarta
Many people travel to Puerto Vallarta to enjoy the resort and beach life, and Puerto Vallarta offers so many resort options it can be truly hard to choose!
Best Budget Hotel – Hotel Rio Malecon
If you are looking for a city escape to Puerto Vallarta and want to spend your time out exploring the streets and on fun activities, the Hotel Rio Malecon has you covered. The hotel is basic, but the rooms are recently renovated with clean concrete walls and floors giving it a modern and clean vibe. The location is perfect at the south-end of downtown, near the Romantic Zone.
Additionally, the hotel shares it location with the COEXIST Bistro which has an excellent breakfast, and is also a great place to get some work done online.
Best Resort for a Quiet Beach Getaway – Hyatt Ziva
The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta has a very unique location. It is located just a few minutes drive south of downtown on its own private beach are which is enclosed by cliffs on both sides. This means that the beach (while technically still public) is very difficult for anyone to access that is not staying at the hotel. You’ll have a large part of the beach to yourself, and can also indulge in the many pools and hot tubs at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.
As an all-inclusive resort, the Hyatt Ziva has great food options, and we especially loved dining at Blaze. The restaurant is located right where the waves meet the cliffs, and offers truly stunning views. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Best Resort for Entertainment – Hard Rock Hotel
Many people also come to Puerto Vallarta to party and have a good time, and you will be well taken care of at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta! They offer daily entertainment outdoors in their theatre, or on a stage set-up near the pool area. The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta also has a great collection of rock and music memorabilia spread throughout the hotel which is a lot of fun to explore and learn about some music history.
The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta has multiple pools, a waterslide, outdoor pizza oven, swim-up bars, and an amazing beach – it’s the perfect place to head for a good time in Puerto Vallarta!
Best Luxury Resort – St. Regis Punta Mita
If you’re looking to truly get away from it all and feel like you are worlds away, the St. Regis Punta Mita is one of the best options around. Located on the exclusive Punta Mita peninsula, which also includes the Four Seasons Punta Mita, private residences, and a golf course, the St. Regis Punta Mita mixes jungle luxury and beach vibes in a perfect combination. The resort is quite expansive, meaning that you are always surrounded by nature, and never feel like there are too many other guests around.
Of course the St. Regis Punta Mita offers exquisite food options, as well as stunning sunsets – perfect for a romantic trip to Puerto Vallarta!
Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots
With all of this information on the 15 best Puerto Vallarta Instagram spots, there’s no point in wasting any time in planning your trip to Puerto Vallarta! It is a fantastic city that is great fun for a long-weekend or weeks at a time. Do you know of any instagrammable places in Puerto Vallarta we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Pin this post to your Mexico travel Pinterest board to save all the instagrammable places in Puerto Vallarta and help you plan your trip!
Known for its beautiful setting between ocean and mountains, whale watching opportunities and summer all year round, Cabo is one of the most famous destinations in Mexico and it is easy to see why!
Cabo San Lucas has undergone a big transformation over the past number of years from a hot-spot party area to a luxury destination. There have been more and more luxury resorts popping up on the famous Tourist Corridor, beckoning you with amazing food and drink options, and more pools than you can count. Whether you are looking for a budget travel destination, a party destination, or a luxurious getaway, Cabo has it all! The little city at the tip of Baja California Sur has so much to offer that it can easily get overwhelming. We’ve prepared the ultimate Cabo San Lucas itinerary so that you don’t miss out on the best that Cabo has to offer.
If you are planning to spend more time in Mexico, make sure to add Puerto Vallarta and Cancun to your bucket list!
Top Things to Do on the Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary
We’ve complied some of our favorite things to do on the ultimate Cabo San Lucas itinerary to make sure that you make the most out of your trip to Cabo! This guide summarizes the best things to do while you’re in Cabo, the best day trips from Cabo, and where to stay and eat.
While Cabo is not known per se for its beaches, it still offers some incredible beaches you can’t miss. Medano Beach is the main swimming beach in Cabo, and as a result is the busiest and most popular. This is the place to see and be seen, and is also a go-to location for vendors selling anything from boat tours to jetski rentals to handicrafts. If you do not end up staying at a beach hotel and resort, then this is the main public access beach.
It’s a place to enjoy the sun, sea, and have fun with friends, but is not necessarily a tranquil beach setting. If you’re looking for a beach with a slower pace, head out to Santa Maria or Palmilla beaches for a little more space and less noise.
Opening Times: Always open.
Price: Free to enter by public access. There are many tour operators and vendors walking the beach. If you spot something you’d like, don’t forget to haggle on the price! If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, you can also purchase a day-pass at a beach club or rent a cabana.
Why is Cabo so famous? It’s mostly because of the breathtaking natural beauty of the Cabo Arch, or El Arco. It is also known as Land’s End, and is such a distinctive feature of Cab San Lucas, that we would have to argue if you haven’t seen the Cabo Arch, have you really been to Cabo? The Cabo Arch was formed through natural erosion over thousands of years and today stands as one of the furthest south points of land in Baja California.
Near the arch are also the famous Divorce Beach on the Pacific side, and Lovers Beach on the Sea of Cortez side, which are popular places to relax and less-crowded than Medano Beach, however they can only be accessed by boat.
Opening Times: Boat tours run practically from sunrise to sunset, and there are countless tour operators, both large and small to choose from.
Price: It depends. The most basic tour could be less than $10.00 USD per person, however if you want extra time, a private boat, or to spend time on the nearby beaches, expect to pay a more. You can opt for a non-negotiable rate with a larger tour operator, or try your haggling skills with the many boat operators in the marina or on Medano Beach.
Location on Google Maps: If you walk anywhere near Medano Beach or the Cabo San Lucas marina, expect to have people selling you tours. You won’t have trouble finding one!
What to Bring: Each tour is different, it depends if you plan on snorkeling, landing on a beach, or going on a standard scenic boat tour. Sunglasses and sunscreen when on the water are always important.
Clear Boat Tour with ENVA Tours
If you want to have a truly unique experience that will make your friends jealous, why not visit the Cabo Arch with a clear boat tour. Now, there are quite a few glass-bottom boat tours in Cabo, however there is only one that has a fully transparent clear boat. Instead of trying to look through a small hole in the bottom of a boat, the transparent boat tour from ENVA Tours allows you to see through the whole boat!
The tour starts and stops from the Cabo San Lucas Marina and first heads to some of the famous rock formations near the Cabo Arch. Here the water is also quite shallow and it is a great place to do some fish viewing. If snorkeling or scuba diving isn’t for you, this is the next best thing to get up close and personal with the beautiful fish in this area.
After passing by the interesting rocks you will reach the beautiful Cabo Arch, which will likely be one of the highlights of your Cabo San Lucas itinerary. Keep in mind that you are not the only boat tour out there. There are countless tour operators operating in the area and in order for everyone to get that picture-perfect shot, each boat waits its turn in line before allowing its occupants a few minutes to snap pictures.
Opening Times: The clear boat tours run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, departing every hour.
Price: $35.00 USD. Reserving online is recommended, especially during busy times.
What to Bring: Your camera! Also note you will be required to take your shoes off or put on booties so that you do not scratch the floor of the clear boat. You will also be provided with a life jacket which has to be worn at all times.
Hike Mount Solar
One of our favorite activities from our Cabo San Lucas itinerary was hiking up to the top of Mount Solar. This is a little-known activity, but it doesn’t take too long and it offers truly stunning sunset views. Besides, there’s no better way to work off the many tacos you will eat in Cabo than with a steep hike up a mountain!
The only thing a little tricky about hiking Mount Solar, is that it crosses private land, and so the only way to complete the hike is on a guided tour. No worries though, as tours are offered daily at 8:15 AM and 4:15 PM, and you will be completing your hike with a group of adorable dogs! The tour guide, Enrique, runs a dog training camp here and some of the dogs will join each of the hikes.
As you get near the top, don’t forget to turn around and look back at the stunning views of Cabo San Lucas. The closer to the top you go, the steeper it gets, and there is also a fair bit of scrambling over loose rocks. Once you’re at the top you are rewarded with fantastic views of Cabo, the beaches, and the ocean. You will have about 30 minutes at the top to catch your breath, relax, and take some pictures. Be careful as the drop offs are steep! This is a great item to add to your Cabo San Lucas itinerary, and something unique that you can do on your visit to Cabo!
Opening Times: Tours are daily at 8:15 AM and 4:15 PM (on Sunday, only at 8:15 AM) and last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the start time.
Price: Free, however tipping the guide is recommended.
What to Bring: The hike is not very long, however there is quite a bit of scrambling over loose rocks, so shoes with good traction are recommended as well as some water on a hot day.
Explore the Cabo San Lucas Marina
The marina is the heart of Cabo San Lucas, and here you will find luxury yachts and boats from all over the world. Surrounding the marina are many popular restaurants and bars, as well as shopping areas. The Cabo San Lucas marina and surrounding streets are the main entertainment district, so you’ll most likely be here for at least some part of your Cabo San Lucas itinerary.
Opening Times: The marina streets are always open. Many restaurants offer breakfast, and the bars and clubs are open to the early hours of the morning. Hours vary from store to store, but follow fairly typical hours.
Price: It’s free to enter, walk around, and explore the marina.
What to Bring: Your wallet! There’s lots of places to eat and shop as well as other entertainment options.
Where to Eat on your Cabo San Lucas Itinerary
Cabo San Lucas has a large number of highly touristy, low-quality food restaurants, but it also has a lot of great taco stands and hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are worth your time. If you’re looking for more high-end dining, the best options are right at the Cabo San Lucas marina, or at a nearby resort. While we didn’t dine at them, we were told that some of the best high-end restaurants in Cabo are El Farallon at the Waldorf Astoria Pedregal for amazing seafood and an unmatched seaside location and SEARED at the One&Only Palmilla Resort for an elegant steakhouse experience.
If you’re looking for some good home-cooked Mexican food, look no further than La Ranita. It’s not big and not fancy, but you will be rewarded with some excellent home-cooked local Mexican food and very reasonable prices. We tried both the red and green enchiladas, and loved them both! Note that La Ranita is very local and the owners don’t speak fluent English. They are extremely friendly and are happy to help you decide on what to order as much as they can. And when in doubt, there is always Google Translate for those who don’t speak Spanish.
Of course, tacos are also highly recommended and there is no shortage of places to try on your Cabo San Lucas itinerary. Some of the places that we tried and were recommended to us were Tacos Guss, Tacos Gardenias, and 1 & Only Taco. We are sure that there are countless other hidden gems in Cabo for some amazing tacos, but you’ll have a great baseline by starting at one of these places.
Where to Stay for your Cabo San Lucas Itinerary
As we mentioned above, most of the big hotel resorts are located along the Tourist Corridor, so not necessarily in Cabo San Lucas. The resorts are great for enjoying your time by the pool, beach, and indulging in all-inclusive bliss. If we had a week for a Cabo San Lucas itinerary we would probably divide our time with three days at an all-inclusive resort and the rest at a hotel near town where we could walk to all of the Cabo San Lucas attractions and also take some day-trips.
If you ask us, there’s no point in paying the high costs of the all-inclusive resorts to spend your time out on excursions and in-town. Enjoy the resorts 100% for what they are, and then transfer to a city hotel for the adventurous days.
Best Luxury Stay: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
If you are looking for the ultimate luxurious stay for your Cabo San Lucas itinerary, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is hands down the best place to stay at. The resort is located on the very southern tip of Baja California, situated between the ocean and the hills. The resort is only accessible through Mexico’s only privately-owned tunnel. Once you drive through the tunnel, you are greeted with an open lobby area and incredible ocean views.
Due to its location, the Waldorf Astoria is the perfect place for whale watching in the winter months as whales mate, give birth, and raise calves nearby. Every room at the Waldorf is outfitted with binoculars so you can watch the whales from the comfort of your room.
If you are a sunrise and sunset lover, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal does not disappoint. Its unique location allows you to watch the sunrise and the sunset and these were some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets we have seen in all of Mexico.
Even better than the location and the beautiful resort area is the service. The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal went above and beyond with their service. After you book your stay, your butler will be in contact with you prior to your arrival to see if there is anything you need arranged during your stay. They can organize dinner reservations, or schedule one of the many tastings and experiences offered at the hotel.
Best Adults Only All-Inclusive: Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos
Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos is located on the Tourist Corridor, alongside many other hotels, and dazzles with its beautiful modern design, white marble, and impeccable layout to make sure every guest has the perfect ocean view.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos knows how to make a great first impression. Upon arrival you are guided through the impressive lobby made of white marble with stunning ocean views. You are greeted with a welcome drink, a flower, and a warm neck pillow to help you relax after a long journey.
The resort is adults only and is a great place to go if you are looking for some quiet days to relax. The design of the resort has guests best interests at heart and offers ocean views from every angle. The pool area features 3 different pools, one of which is an infinity pool, and 2 large hot tubs. The design of each is very well thought through and each pool has cabanas which you can reserve for the day as well as countless lounge chairs to make sure everyone has a chance to enjoy the sun.
If you like international cuisine, Le Blanc has you covered. There are several different restaurants on the resort including a standard buffet breakfast, a Lebanese restaurant open for breakfast and dinner, a pizza place for lunch, an Italian restaurant for dinner, a Mexican restaurant for breakfast and dinner, as well as an Asian fusion restaurant for dinner. If you can’t decide which one to try, we highly recommend the Lebanese restaurant for breakfast, pizza by the pool for lunch, and the Asian restaurant for dinner.
Best Culinary All-Inclusive: Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos
Also located along the Tourist Corridor, Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos impresses with a stunning modern design, beautiful ocean views, a family friendly resort, and a culinary experience you won’t forget.
The suites at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos are everything you would be looking for in a luxurious getaway and are perfect when traveling with children. Suites include a fully outfitted kitchen, in-room laundry, a gorgeous living room, and a lot of attention to detail. It is the little things that make this resort standout, such as automated curtains, a Japanese toilet, battery-operated candles by the bath tub, and a private hammock on every balcony.
The resort features 8 swimming pools, including a rooftop infinity pool and multiple hot tubs which make for a great place to relax.
The highlight of Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos is their culinary experience. Chef Carlos impresses with the fusion of Mexican cuisine and modern western cuisine, offering everything from French toast, to delicious spaghetti al pesto, and an incredible steak with table-made Caesar salad. The resort also includes a gourmet Japanese restaurant with amazing Japanese fusion creations.
There are so many great daytrips from Cabo, that also make for a great circle route to explore more of Baja California Sur. You could easily rent a car and take a couple days to see all of the below places for an amazing short road trip.
The Magical Town of Todos Santos
The town of Todos Santos has had a rich history since its founding in 1723 as Misión Santa Rosa de las Palmas. Today the town has experienced rapid growth and renewal over the past decade as new hotels, cafes, and restaurants have made Todos Santos a must-visit town for tourists in the area. The town will win you over within minutes of walking through the cobblestone streets past colorful houses.
It is conveniently located just off the main Highway 19 that runs between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. It’s almost halfway in the middle, making it the perfect rest stop for a bite to eat as you drive between the two cities. However, you will want to stay more than just an hour to eat! Todos Santos has a fairly small core area, but it is filled with brightly painted buildings, unique stores, as well as many great cafes and restaurants. During our visit we had amazing coffee and pastries at Taller 17.
Relax in La Paz
La Paz is the largest city in Baja California Sur, and is an important port city. It has a distinctively different feel from Cabo San Lucas as it is significantly more relaxed with a slow-pace, care-free way of doing things. There are less tourists here, but also a large number of American and Canadian expats, due to its status as an extremely safe city in Mexico with high standards of living. You can find lots of restaurants here, especially along the waterfront and Malecon. The Malecon has a large pedestrian path and bike lanes that stretch over 3 miles (5 km).
One of the other main draws of La Paz is its location near the famous Isla Espiritu Santo and Balandra Beach.
Boat Tour to Isla Espiritu Santo
Isla Espiritu Santo is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site due to its incredible natural beauty and biodiversity. The island is home to nearly 100 species of birds, sea turtles, as well as many reptiles and other flora and fauna. Due to its location and status, you can only reach Isla Espiritu Santo through a tour operator. There are a few options, however one of the best is to hire your very own sailboat for an epic day-long adventure to Isla Espiritu Santo and the nearby Balandra Beach.
You can book a sailboat with Dream Chaser Charters for one day, or multiple! For the standard one-day sailboat tour you will start your day at the La Paz marina, where you will meet your crew for the day and get settled on board. Heading out into ocean will give you a sense of freedom, that is hard to achieve without heading out on a boat! The first stop is a very small island that is covered with sea lions. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even jump out and do some snorkeling amongst the sea lions!
After this break you will head out to the beautiful bays of Isla Espiritu Santo, stopping by bird nesting grounds you might even spot some sea turtles. The best part is that the captain will anchor the sailboat here and you can get out and enjoy the water in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to take it all in. Once back on the boat, enjoy some fresh ceviche and your favorite beer waiting for you!
Heading back towards La Paz you will also have the opportunity to stop by Balandra Beach for some swimming and walking out on the extensive sand backs. It’s a truly beautiful location we have also covered in more depth, below.
Finally, as La Paz has some great sunsets, you’ll end you sailboat charter anchored near the La Paz marina watching the sun go down. If you’re looking for an amazing day and trip out to Isla Espiritu Santo, be sure to check out Dream Chaser Charters for your adventure!
Balandra is the most famous beach in the area, and rightly so. It’s a huge bay filled with clear blue water. The bay is extremely shallow and protected from the strong ocean waves, making it a beautifully relaxing area. You can easily walk out to nearly every corner of Balandra in the shallow waters.
It’s an amazing place to swim and relax, but also perfect for kayaking and paddle-boarding. One of the main draws, is ‘El Hongo’ the mushroom shaped rock, that is for some reason or another a popular place for everyone to take photos. It’s certainly an interesting rock formation, but I’m not sure it counts as beautiful!
The easiest way to get to Balandra Beach is by rental car, though you can also take a taxi from La Paz. As we visited during COVID-19 restrictions, they only allow 70 people into Balandra Beach each day, which means that if you want a spot you need to arrive very early, usually between 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM. If you have managed to get a spot, you can then enjoy the whole day here. There are a few beaches to relax on, lots of water to wade and swim in, as well as a few short hikes to go on.
Waterfalls of Santiago – Cascada Sol Del Mayo
The small town of Santiago is located an hour and a half from Cabo San Lucas, but towards the east, making it a perfect last stop on a Cabo San Lucas itinerary that loops north from Cabo past Todos Santos to La Paz, and then down to San Jose del Cabo, before returning to Cabo San Lucas.
The waterfall here is beautiful, and perfect for a refreshing swim! There are even a number of small shallow pools along the river both above and below the waterfall to relax in and spend a few hours. The hike from the parking lot is not far, but fairly steep, and the waterfall does require an entry fee of $150 MXN ($7.30 USD). Make sure to bring shoes with good traction for the hike and a swimsuit and towels if you intent to go for a dip in the refreshing water.
Popular Cabo San Lucas Itinerary Questions
Here you can find some answers to the most popular questions about visiting Cabo San Lucas.
How Many Days Do You Need in Cabo San Lucas?
There is no perfect amount of days for a Cabo San Lucas itinerary, as the best is simply what you have available! You could have an amazing three-day weekend at a resort or in downtown Cabo, or spend a couple of weeks hopping between resorts and taking a large road trip through Baja California Sur. Our ideal timing would be around 10 days, allowing for a 3 day resort stay, 3 days in Cabo San Lucas, and the remainder to explore the nearby towns of Todos Santos and La Paz.
What is the Best Month to Visit Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo is most popular during the winter months, as Americans and Canadians from further north flock to the sun and sea of Cabo. The shoulder months are the best time to visit Cabo for the combination of fewer other tourists, great weather, and affordable prices. If you have the flexibility, aim for May and June or October and November.
How Dangerous is Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo San Lucas is an extremely safe city, with crimes against tourists no more frequent than any major American city. There is an extremely large number of American and Canadian expats living in Cabo and surrounding areas, and with that brings a lot of the comforts of home for Americans (ie. popular stores, products, etc. are all widely available). If you exercise common sense such as not wandering alone at night down dark alleys, you will be just fine. At no point in our 4 weeks spent in Baja California Sur did we ever feel unsafe, including driving through much of the state.
Have You Been to Cabo San Lucas?
A Cabo San Lucas itinerary is great for a long-weekend getaway, or a two-week adventure filled trip. Cabo has so much to see and explore, and is a great place to explore natural Mexico if you haven’t ventured too far from the resorts before. Baja California Sur is one of the safest places in Mexico, and if you follow all the precautions that you do in the United States, you should have no problems during your Cabo San Lucas itinerary.
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Having a post go viral on Instagram can boost your account exponentially. Your followers and engagement rate will increase and with a larger audience, you have a much higher chance to grow your brand, sell your products or services, or gain new clients. But how do you go viral on Instagram? How do you create such a viral post on Instagram?
I am sharing how I managed to go viral on Instagram with one post and grow my account by 4,000 followers in 1 WEEK and by 10,000 followers in 3 WEEKS!
One Viral Post Alone Grew My Account by 4,000 Followers in 1 Weekand by 10,000 Followers in 3 Weeks!
Given the many algorithm changes, it seems almost impossible to grow your Instagram account and get good engagement. Trust me, I have struggled to grow my account, but I also know how fast you can grow when one of your posts go viral on Instagram.
The good news is that there is a strategy to set yourself up for success and have your posts go viral. There are three simple steps that help you go viral on Instagram:
Post Viral Content and Use Instagram Reels
Have High Engagement Right After Posting
Post Consistently and on Brand
These three steps are a great strategy to focus on to go viral on Instagram. I will break down the strategy for each of these three points so that your posts can go viral. Please note that this strategy won’t make all of your posts go viral overnight. It is a strategy that will pay off over time and with some luck, you can have posts go viral on Instagram as well and grow thousands in 1 week!
Going viral is not all about the likes, comments, and views. It creates a large increase in followers which can in turn help you increase traffic to your website, increase sales, and help you land future partnerships or collaborations.
How many followers can you gain from a viral post? That really depends on the post and how well it reflects your brand. If it is right on brand and you post similar content, the viral post can create a large increase in following. I had 2 posts go viral on Instagram and grew my account by 4,000 followers in 1 WEEK and by 10,000 in 3 WEEKS!
Growing your account on Instagram takes a lot of work and time. The fastest way to grow your account organically is by having your posts go viral. But how can you go viral on Instagram? This might sound super difficult to accomplish but it may not be as hard as you think.
There is a strategy you can follow to increase your chances of having a post go viral on Instagram. This strategy includes three simple steps which I will explain in detail.
Post Viral Content
How can I go viral on Instagram? Posting viral content is the most important part when it comes to having a post go viral on Instagram. This may sound obvious and yet it is probably the most difficult thing at the same time. How are you supposed to know what content will go viral? If you knew what content would go viral on Instagram, you would have already posted it!
There are a few strategies that can help you create more viral content and have your posts blow up on Instagram.
Find Content That Is Already Viral
One of the easiest ways to come up with viral content is to look at what is already viral. If you see that certain posts perform incredibly well for other accounts, chances are that a similar post might perform for you as well.
The concept is very similar to opening your own pizza place for instance. You already know everyone loves pizza. There are already many successful pizza places out there and if you can create a great pizza, chances are that people will buy your pizza as well.
Of course, the goal is not to copy anyone’s work. It is completely okay to be inspired by other creators, but I highly recommend you put your own spin to your content and always make sure you credit your inspiration in your caption. As an example, if you find that one post with a specific pose performed well for another account, you can try to use the same pose in a different location with a different outfit.
The same goes for videos. If you see that a specific type of video is performing well (behind the scenes, dance video, etc.) for other people in your niche, come up with similar videos and they will likely perform.
It is important that you always keep your own voice and stay true to yourself. If you are for instance in the travel niche but are creating a viral food post, the new audience you are reaching might not be interested in following you as your viral content does not align with your usual posts and they really would be looking to follow an account that always shows food posts.
Find Viral Content in Your Niche on Instagram
Look at other accounts in your niche and see which posts get 2x-3x their average engagement. These are posts that spoke to their audience and reached people outside their audience by likely showing up on the explore page. If you are in the same niche and have a similar following, chances are that a similar post would perform for you as well and could go viral on Instagram.
Find Viral Content Using Viral Findr
A tool that is great for finding which posts did well for other accounts is Viral Findr. You can analyze any Instagram account you like and sort their posts by highest engagement, highest views, most comments, etc.
You can sign up to ViralFindr for free and start analyzing profiles and find out what content went viral. The platform allows you to export your results in .csv files so that you can save them and access them anytime.
Find Viral Content on Other Platforms
Look at other social media platforms to see what is viral out there. If a certain type of video content goes viral on TikTok, it is likely going to be popular on Instagram as well.
Participate in Trends and Challenges
Another great way to go viral on Instagram is to participate in trends and challenges. You have probably seen multiple viral dance challenges, fitness challenges, and other trends on TikTok already. Challenges are something people love to see and will watch again and again. They are also more likely to save your content which in turn helps you go viral. Simple challenges without using a lot of props are a perfect way to get a lot of views and potentially go viral.
Following trends can also be incredibly helpful when creating viral content. If there is a certain item that’s incredibly trendy, a song or audio that is trending, or anything else you have seen over and over again in other people’s content, try to incorporate it in your content as well. This is especially true when it comes to creating videos. If you use trending songs or audio, your video is more likely to go viral as your audience likely already knows the song and recognizes it.
Visit Instagram Famous Places
Similar to following trends and using trending songs in your videos, creating content in already famous places can help you go viral on Instagram. The theory behind it is relatively easy. People are generally more interested in content if they recognize it from somewhere else, have been there personally, or are emotionally touched by the content. They will generally spend more time on your post and engage more if it is a place that they have heard of or been to.
You can post an incredible photo from a remote lake in the U.S. and while it might be beautiful, most of the time people won’t stop scrolling when they see your post because they don’t recognize where it is. If, on the other hand, you post a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you are more likely to capture people’s attention.
Paris is one of the most visited destinations in the world and everyone knows the Eiffel Tower and is either dreaming of going to Paris or has already been there. As a result, they are more likely to comment on your post or save your post if they are thinking of going there and want to remember the best places and angles to take photos from.
Creating content of Instagram famous places can certainly help to capture your audience’s attention and go viral. That being said, not every location works for every account. For example, many creators have gone viral by posting content from Bali. This won’t guarantee that your photo from Bali will go viral on Instagram as well, but there is a higher chance that it will.
Create Behind the Scenes Content
As much as everyone loves to see beautiful photos in beautiful places, people love to see the behind the scenes of how a photo came together. Sharing the process of how a photo or video was created is something that captures the attention of a large audience and can easily go viral on Instagram. This is especially true if the outcome was unique and the photo/video is relatively unusual.
The most viral behind the scenes content are in the form of videos but you can also share behind the scenes content in photos and upload them as carousels so that people can swipe from the final photo to how it was created.
Another very popular type of content is sharing how you edited your photos. Having a before and after editing photo captures the attention of your audience as they are curious what the photo looked like prior to the edit. The more people stay on your post and look at your photo, swipe, or otherwise engage with it, the higher the chances that your post will go viral on Instagram.
Create Surprising Content
Another great way to capture people’s attention and making sure that they engage with your post is by sharing controversial or surprising content. This doesn’t need to be anything dangerous or crazy, but photos or videos that include something out of the ordinary will generally perform better. Examples are wearing a fancy dress in a surprising location, wearing clothes in a pool, or playing with reflections and turning your photo upside down.
The reason why these kind of posts tend to do better is because the viewer is caught by surprise and will stay on the photo longer or re-watch the video to understand what is really going on. Depending on how out of norm your content is, you can get a lot of comments questioning the content and the reasoning behind it. These comments might not be the nicest to read but they certainly boost your engagement which ultimately boosts your post.
Make sure you always follow the Instagram community guidelines to make sure your post will not be taken down afterwards. And of course also make sure you don’t put yourself in dangerous situations just for a photo. No photo is worth risking your life.
Use Instagram Reels
Instagram just recently launched their newest feature – Instagram reels. Reels are short videos, either 15 or 30 seconds long, and are Instagram’s response to the increasing popularity of TikTok. Creating video content can be intimidating and it is a lot to learn. However, if you want to grow on Instagram and go viral, Instagram reels are your best bet!
People have a short attention span. If you want to create a reel that goes viral, make sure you use a trending song and keep your video short.
Since Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok, they are pushing reels to all of their users so that they use Instagram rather than TikTok. For content creators, this means that if you create a reel, Instagram is more likely going to show it to your audience and a new audience compared to a photo because it wants people to watch more videos on the Instagram platform.
If you want to create a reel that goes viral, make sure you use a trending song and keep your video short. Most people don’t have a long attention span and get bored very easily. It’s important to capture their attention in the first 1-2 seconds and wow them in the rest of the video.
It is crucial for the algorithm that viewers watch your entire video and preferably watch it over and over again. If a viewer decides to skip to the next video before your video has ended, this will indicate to the algorithm that your video is not worth showing to other viewers.
Boost Engagement Right After Posting
The single most important thing after posting viral content is boosting your engagement on the post. The more people engage with the post, like it, comment, save, watch it multiple times in case of a video, or swipe to see the other photos in case of a carousel post, the more likely the post will be pushed by the Instagram algorithm and shown to a larger audience.
Boosting engagement sounds easier than it is though and many times, getting a lot of engagement right after you post may seem difficult. Here are some tips on how to make sure you can maximize your engagement on Instagram and have a viral post.
Post When Your Audience Is Active
A simple thing to do is to post when your audience is active. Since your audience already follows you and is probably going to like your post and engage with it, posting when your audience is active is the best way to getting high engagement right away.
If you have an Instagram business or creator account, you can easily find out at what time your audience is most active by looking at the audience insights. You can find the times under Insights > Audience > Most Active Times (scroll at the way to the bottom of the audience insights).
One thing to keep in mind when thinking about posting times is what time zone your audience is in. If your audience is based in Europe and in North America, the best posting time is likely a time when both audiences are awake, i.e. the evening in Europe is also morning in North America. Since everyone’s audience is different, you can test which time of the day provides the highest engagement by posting at different times.
Try posting in the morning (before people go to work), around noon (when people are on lunch break), and in the evening (when people are off work) and compare the engagement over a few posts to see what works best for you.
Create a Good Hashtag Strategy
Having a good hashtag strategy and great views can really help you push your post and increase your chances of having a post go viral on Instagram. Hashtags are a great way for people outside your audience to find your post and hopefully follow you.
Use Relevant Hashtags
It is important to use relevant hashtags in your posts – rather than any hashtags. The reason is very simple. If you are looking for a new spring outfit and you come across a pizza recipe post, you are likely going to scroll past that post and ignore it. If you use relevant hashtags, you make sure that your posts are being shown to people when they are looking for exactly your type of content.
Use Hashtags With Between 10k – 100k Posts
Use hashtags which have between 10k – 100k posts. If you use very large hashtags, for instance #love, your post will appear on the recent section in hashtags for a few minutes only before it gets pushed down by newer posts. Your goal is to remain in the recent section of a hashtag for a while but using hashtags that have enough search volume.
Make Sure None of Your Hashtags are Banned
Before posting your post, make sure none of the hashtags you use are banned. Hashtags can get banned if other accounts post unsuitable content. The way the Instagram algorithm is set up, the algorithm will detect when a hashtag is used to post a lot of unsuitable content and it will block the hashtag.
Every subsequent post that includes this hashtag is being blocked from being seen in that banned hashtag and it is also not shown in any other hashtags. This means that even if you accidentally have one banned hashtag, your post will not be shown in any hashtags at all which will severely reduce your chance of going viral.
You can check if your hashtags are banned by looking up each hashtag individually or you can check Kiksta which includes a list of the most commonly used banned hashtags.
Engage Your Audience with a Call to Action
So you created a viral photo or video to capture people’s attention and have the perfect hashtags lined up to reach a large number of accounts. But how do you get people to engage with your content? How do you get your audience to comment on your post? While it is relatively easy to like a post, commenting takes a lot more time and there needs to be an easy call to action for others to react.
Ask a Question
The best way to get people to react to your post is by asking a question in the caption. People love talking about themselves and sharing their experiences. Asking about their preferences, their favorite food, or their favorite sport in emojis is a great way to engage your community.
Motivate People to Swipe on Carousel Posts
If you are posting a carousel post, it is always a great idea to let people know what the other photos/videos in the carousel entail and motivate them to swipe. Asking which photo they like best is a great way to engage your audience and make sure they swipe through your carousel.
Ask to Tag Someone
A third great way to get your audience to engage with your content is to ask them to tag someone who they would want to do visit a place with or do a certain activity with. Simple statements like “tag your best friend” or “tag someone you would go for brunch with” will engage your audience. On top of an engaged audience, your post is also more likely going to be seen by the person who was tagged in the comments which can increase your reach.
Engage with Other Creators in Your Niche
For your Instagram post to go viral, you need a lot of engagement in a short amount of time – preferably right after you posted. In addition to making sure you post at a time when your audience is active, make sure you engage with other creators in your niche around the same time when you post.
If you comment on another creator’s post right when it went live, they will likely see your comment right away and might go to your profile and comment on your latest post. As a general rule, it is best to set about 1 hour aside when you post in order to engage with other creators in your niche. You can start engaging with other content 30 minutes before you post and for 30 minutes after posting. It helps if you focus on new content, i.e. posts that have just been published as the creators are likely online at that moment and engaging themselves.
The more engagement you get in the first 5-30 minutes after you post, the more likely it is that your post will go viral.
If you are posting reels, the first 30 minutes might give you some indication on how well the video will perform. However, there are also several videos that go viral on Instagram or TikTok a week or more after being published.
Post Consistently and on Brand
Creating viral content and boosting your engagement right after you post are the most important aspects of going viral on Instagram. Another point that many creators tend to forget is that you need to post consistently. Most accounts don’t go viral with one post but they may have hundreds of posts before one of their posts go viral on Instagram. This should not discourage you to create. The more posts you have in your feed, the more people are likely to follow you when they see one of your viral posts.
As an example, if you see a viral post on the explore page and click on it only to find that the account has just a handful of posts, you may not stay on their account for very long as there is not much content there and you may not follow them. On the other hand, if you find an account on explore and then scroll through their profile and find hundreds of great posts, you are more likely to follow them.
Post Multiple Times per Week
When you are trying to grow your account and work on having your posts go viral, make sure you post multiple times per week. A general rule of thumb for growing on Instagram is to post between 5-7 feed posts per week and if you can post reels, post at least 3-4 reels per week.
Since Instagram is pushing reels at the moment, posting viral reels with trending music, popular challenges or in famous locations is the best way to go viral on Instagram and grow your account.
Post Content on Brand
Similar to posting regularly, it is important that your posts are on brand. If you see a great post of a pizza and are interested in following a pizza account, you may not end up following the account if you notice that the account really is all about gardening.
Posting viral content that is on brand is extremely important to maintain a high retention rate. You want to make sure that the people who find your viral post and your account on Instagram will find more of the same content on your profile. Since they are already interested in the one viral post, chances are they are also interested in all your other posts if they are in the same niche.
Find Out What Your Audience Likes
If you don’t know what type of content you should be posting, find out what your audience likes. That way you can make sure you create something they will find entertaining and will engage with.
One way to find out what your audience likes is by testing several different types of content and seeing how well the content performs. If you are a travel blogger but are not sure if your audience likes beach or city photos better, test both types of content and see what performs better. You can easily access all your post insights on Instagram directly by going to Insights > Content You Shared > Posts. You can sort the posts by highest reach, engagement, likes, comments, and many other metrics.
Another way to find out what your audience likes is by directly asking them in Instagram stories why they follow you and what content they would like to see from you. Instagram stories offer amazing tools to create pools and question boxes so you can get a great understanding of what people who follow you are looking to see.
Implementing these three strategies and posting viral content consistently will make your posts and your account go viral. When you post viral content, it is only a matter of time until one of your posts will go viral and your account will grow exponentially. These strategies are what helped me go viral and grow 4,000 followers in 1 WEEK and 10,000 followers in 3 WEEKS! With a post that goes even more viral, it is entirely possible to grow even more.
Have You Had a Post Go Viral on Instagram? What Are Your Biggest Struggles on Instagram?
Have you had any of your posts go viral on Instagram? If so what type of post was it? And if not, what are your biggest struggles on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!
Pin this post to your Instagram tips Pinterest board to remember how to go viral on Instagram!
Jasper National Park is one of the top destinations in Canada, and is perfect destination for a winter weekend getaway. With its beautiful setting right on the Athabasca River, wild life everywhere you go, and surrounded by mountains, Jasper has so much to offer and will blow every traveler away who enjoys beautiful scenery. There is so much to see in Jasper National Park and you could easily spend weeks here exploring.
However, if you only have a weekend to spare, we have put together the ultimate Icefields Parkway and Jasper Itinerary so that you don’t miss out on the top sights.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored blog post by The Crimson Hotel Jasper and the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit. We have stayed at The Crimson Hotel Jasper and thoroughly enjoyed our stay during our Jasper itinerary. Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!
Why You Need to Visit Jasper, Canada
Jasper National Park is one of Canada’s largest national parks, so you won’t be able to see everything in just a weekend Jasper itinerary, however many of the sights are accessible on a weekend trip, including the amazing Icefields Parkway, which is magical in winter.
The Icefields Parkway is one of the most famous drives in Canada, containing some of the top sights in Jasper National Park and amazing wildlife.
If you want to see stunning frozen waterfalls, glaciers, and frozen canyons, then this Jasper itinerary for a winter weekend getaway has you covered. You may not think that the Icefields Parkway is worth visiting in winter but we think it is actually more magical than any other season. The snow covered mountains, crisp air, and blue skies make for an incredible scenery. If you have more time, check out our blog post on more of the best things to do in Jasper in winter.
Ultimate Icefields Parkway and Jasper Itinerary for a Winter Weekend Getaway
If you only have time for a weekend in Jasper National Park, it is most likely that you will be arriving from the nearest major city and international airport, in Edmonton or Calgary. While this Jasper itinerary is set up for a winter weekend getaway, it can easily be applied to any visit to Jasper and the Icefields Parkway in winter if you only have two days to visit Jasper National Park.
Arriving in Jasper and Where to Stay
The drive from Edmonton to Jasper is about 4 hours and 240 miles (386 km) and from Calgary it is 5 hours and 256 miles (413km). You’ll arrive in Jasper on a Friday evening, and after a long drive from Edmonton or Calgary will want to easily find your accommodation and find a spot to eat.
Located right on Connaught Drive, the main road through Jasper, The Crimson Jasper is one of the newest hotels in town. With only two days in your Jasper itinerary, you will want a hotel that is convenient to access and close to everything that the town of Jasper has to offer.
The hotel is welcoming, with clean rooms and a modern mountain feel. There is ample parking located at the hotel for no additional charge. Additionally, if you arrive and find the parking lot full, there is also more than enough street parking immediately in front of the hotel, or at the large public parking lot just across the street.
The Crimson Jasper has standard hotel rooms, but also offers studio hotel rooms which include a small galley kitchen, perfect for making breakfast or snacks while in the room. There are also larger rooms that include full kitchens if you prefer to cook your own meals during your visit to Jasper.
Additionally, there are pet-friendly rooms if you are traveling with your furry friends.
As you are located right in the heart of Jasper, many shops and restaurants are all located within a 5-10 minute walk.
The on-site restaurant at the Crimson Jasper is Authentic Burger which offers breakfast using locally sourced ingredients. In addition, they are open seasonally for lunch and dinner, check their website for up to date hours during your stay.
Jasper Itinerary Day 1: The Icefields Parkway in Winter Top Sights
Starting off your first day of your Jasper itinerary, you’ll be starting with driving the amazing Icefields Parkway in winter. The full Icefields Parkway stretches from Jasper all the way down to Banff National Park, and is one of the best drives in all of Canada. There isn’t time in this Jasper itinerary to complete the full drive, but many of the top sights are located in the northern section of the Icefields Parkway, perfect for visiting during a weekend getaway to Jasper in winter.
There are three main attractions included in this Jasper itinerary of the Icefields Parkway in winter, however almost every corner of the Icefields Parkway is magical, and stunning views are just around the next corner.
Just 21 miles (33 km) from the town of Jasper, Athabasca Falls is the first exciting destination for the day. Athabasca Falls aren’t overly tall, but are incredibly powerful. There is a huge volume of water that is constantly tumbling over Athabasca Falls, and it is incredible to take in the raw power of nature here.
There are multiple viewing platforms above the falls to get the best view, which are a short walk away from the parking lot. Check them all out to find your favorite view.
Next up is the impressive Sunwapta Falls, which are a further 14 miles (23 km) from Athabasca Falls. The falls are known for their unique feature of having a small island in the middle of the river, just above the falls. Sunwapta Falls drop approximately 60 feet (18 m), and in winter the sides of the drop are covered in icicles, which is breathtaking to take in.
There are actually an upper and lower Sunwapta Falls, with the upper falls being more famous and popular. It is a very short walk to the bridge that overlooks the falls, however the path can be quite slippery in winter. If you’re interested in checking out the lower Sunwapta Falls, it is a bit of a hike. The trail begins at the same parking lot and is 2 mile (3.2 km) out and back trail. The lower falls are not nearly as spectacular, but it is a nice short hike to see more waterfalls and get out, stretch your legs, and enjoy nature.
A further 30 miles (48 km) from Sunwapta Falls, is the impressive Columbia Icefield. The Columbia Icefield is quite literally, a field of ice! It is comprised of six major glaciers and covers 125 square miles (325 sq km). The glaciers that you can see from the Icefields Parkway are just a very small portion of this massive icefield.
During the summer months you can take a walk, if you dare, out onto the glass bottomed Skywalk, which stands 918 feet (280 m) above the ground. You are able to take a trip in one of the huge off-road buses up to the base of the glacier, but during winter the area is mostly popular for sightseeing and ski mountaineering.
After you’ve taken in the impressive Columbia Icefield, it is a 65 mile (104 km) drive back to Jasper to complete the first day of your Jasper itinerary and the Icefields Parkway in winter. The total driving time for the day is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, however you will also want to stop frequently to take pictures, and explore each of the destinations above. That makes this a pretty full day in your Jasper itinerary, but you should have sufficient time to return to Jasper and enjoy a nice dinner in one of Jaspers many restaurants that feature great local cuisine.
A couple things to note while driving the Icefields Parkway, is that it is quite remote. There are no gas stations, restaurants, or cell-service once you leave the town of Jasper. This means it makes sense to pack enough water, snacks for the day, and make sure you fill up on fuel before setting off. Also make sure to bring a blanket and warm clothes as it can get quite cold in winter.
Jasper Itinerary Day 2: Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake
Day 2 of the Jasper Itinerary for a winter weekend getaway involves less driving, and some very unique sights closer to the town of Jasper. The highlight of the day is the Maligne Canyon Icewalk, however the order in which you complete these three activities will be dependent on which tour time you select. The Maligne Canyon Icewalk begins and ends at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen, meaning there is no driving between these activities.
Additionally, the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is located just 6 miles (10 km) from the town of Jasper and is located on Maligne Lake Road.
Maligne Canyon Icewalk
The Maligne Canyon Icewalk includes incredible views of jaw-dropping frozen waterfalls from the top of the narrow Maligne Canyon, as well as an icewalk through the base of the canyon. Each tour is slightly different as where you go within the canyon changes based upon the ice conditions.
Dates: Tours begin in mid-December and run to the beginning of April, Thursday to Monday through December, and Friday to Sunday for the rest of the season. All tours are subject to weather conditions.
Time: Tours are available in the morning at 9:00 AM, afternoon at 1:00 PM, and evening at 6:00PM and last approximately 3 hours.
Cost: Tickets start at $69 CAD ($53 USD) for an adult, and $35 CAD ($27 USD) for a child.
What’s Included: A Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour ticket includes:
Pick-up by shuttle bus from your Jasper hotel (if needed)
Warm winter boots and crampons to use for the tour
Guided tour in small groups
Warm beverage at the end of the tour
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
The Maligne Canyon Icewalk tours start and end at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. If you select the morning icewalk beginning at 9:00 AM, you will arrive back at lunchtime, and it will be hard to resist the delicious looking food they serve up here.
The Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is located in a beautiful building, with nature views in every direction and is oozing in luxury Canadian mountain style. They offer a smokehouse inspired menu, with a focus on sourcing local and natural ingredients.
It’s even a great place to sit outdoors for a hot beverage and snack with their many firepits and fire tables to keep you warm as you take in the natural beauty that is all around.
As the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is located on the dead-end Maligne Lake Road, if you are not hungry just yet, you can make the drive out to the end of the road, and Maligne Lake, and stop by the Wilderness Kitchen on the way back.
Maligne Lake is located at the end of the twisting and turning Maligne Lake Road, which is a 23 mile (37 km) drive from the Wilderness Kitchen. There are great views all along the road as it follows the Maligne River and passes by the smaller Medicine Lake, all the while towering mountain peaks are right above you.
In summer, this is a very popular place to take the Maligne Lake Boat Cruise, however in winter the lake freezes over! It does however offer many opportunities for snowshoeing and exploring the trails around the lake.
Another thing Maligne Lake, and Maligne Lake Road, is known for is that it is one of the best places to spot a moose in Jasper National Park! We were told this was our best chance to spot a moose in Jasper National Park, and we were not disappointed! One unique thing to know is that moose like to lick the road salt off of people’s cars, which is not a good behavior for them to learn. So if a moose tries to lick the salt off your car, slowly drive away.
After taking in the sights of Maligne Lake, it’s time to head back to Jasper and back home, signaling the end to your winter weekend Jasper itinerary.
Ultimate Icefields Parkway and Jasper Itinerary for a Winter Weekend Getaway
While you won’t be able to see all of Jasper National Park in a weekend, it still makes a great winter weekend getaway destination to take in some of the amazing sights that the Canadian Rockies have to offer. Have you been to Jasper National Park? Let us know in the comments below!
Pin this post to your Icefields Parkway Itinerary Pinterest board for when you plan your trip there!
If you are looking for the ultimate destination to escape to for a wonderful winter getaway, look no further than Pyramid Lake Resort. Pyramid Lake resort is located within Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada and is situated on the beautiful Pyramid Lake. Prepare yourself for gorgeous lake views with the beautiful Pyramid Mountain towering in the background. The Pyramid Lake Resort offers recently renovated cozy chalet style rooms, with direct access to nature right at your doorstep.
If you are planning on going on a winter getaway in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, combining a trip to Jasper with a trip to Banff makes for an unforgettable experience. Make sure you don’t miss out on the best things to do in Banff and Jasper in winter.
Disclaimer: This is a paid blog post for Pyramid Lake Resort and the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit. We have stayed at Pyramid Lake Resort in Jasper, Alberta and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!
Pyramid Lake Resort Location
Perhaps not surprising based on its name, Pyramid Lake Resort is located on the shores of the beautiful Pyramid Lake, which is just under 4 miles (6 km) north of downtown Jasper, Alberta. Jasper is a small town of less than 5,000 people located in the heart of one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks, Jasper National Park. If you are visiting Jasper in winter, don’t miss out on these best things to do in Jasper in winter. Pyramid Lake Resort is about a 10-minute drive along the aptly named Pyramid Lake Road.
It is not uncommon to see lots of wildlife on the drive. As you arrive at Pyramid Lake Resort, the peak of Pyramid Mountain dominates the skyline and tranquil Pyramid Lake beckons to be explored.
Pyramid Lake Resort – Everything You Need to Know
The beauty of Pyramid Lake Resort is that have all the luxuries of a resort setting, while still feeling like you are out enjoying nature. And that’s because you actually are! Being located in Jasper National Park, there is hardly anything else around, meaning you really are staying out in nature. You can go hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, or canoeing right outside your room, depending on the season.
Pyramid Lake Resort Setting
The Pyramid Lake Resort is situated in the south-east corner of Pyramid Lake, along Pyramid Lake Road. The resort has chalet-style rooms that are located in multiple buildings on the hill above the main building where you check-in, dine at the Pines restaurant, and where all the amenities are located. There are parking areas in front of each of the buildings, allowing you to park close to your room.
It’s just a short walk down the small hill from your room to the main building, and then a skip across the road to shores of beautiful Pyramid Lake. You can enjoy the views of Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Island with no interruptions from other hotels or houses as Pyramid Lake Resort is the only accommodation at Pyramid Lake Resort, making it a very tranquil setting.
Pyramid Lake Resort Rooms
The rooms at Pyramid Lake Resort range from standard rooms to larger loft suites that also include kitchens that allow you to cook your own meals. One of the great benefits of staying at Pyramid Lake Resort is that all rooms include Keurig coffee machines for your morning fix, balconies to sit and take in the sunrise, and a gas fireplace – perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring Jasper National Park.
All of the rooms at Pyramid Lake Resort have a clean contemporary style, and feature touches of Canadiana throughout for the perfect Canadian Rockies chalet vibes.
If you love traveling with your furry family members, Pyramid Lake Resort also offers pet-friendly rooms.
Pyramid Lake Resort Activities
We visited Pyramid Lake Resort in winter, but they offer a number of amenities year-round as well as those tailored to specific seasons. No matter when you visit, you will have access to the outdoor hot tub, dry sauna, and exercise room. One of our favorite activities is to soak in a warm outdoor hot tub while the snow is falling!
Basically, the summer activities listed below will be available in late spring and early fall as well, when there is no snow. Once the snow starts flying in late fall and into early spring, the winter activities are more applicable for your visit.
Summer at Pyramid Lake Resort
If you are visiting during the summer months you can rent a kayak, canoe, paddle boat, or electric cruiser boat and head out to explore Pyramid Lake. The lake is larger than it appears from Pyramid Lake Resort as the lake is in a large “C” shape, with the resort being located in the bottom right-hand corner. Be sure to get up early on at least one day of your stay to take in a calm and mirror-lake Pyramid Lake as the sun rises!
Summer Rentals and Activities Price Guide
Mountain Bike: $20 CAD per hour or $45 per day
Rowboat: $40 CAD per hour
Canoe: $40 CAD per hour
Kayak: $40 CAD per hour
Paddle Boat: $45 CAD per hour
Electric Family Cruiser Boat: $109 CAD per hour
All around the resort are trails for mountain biking, walking, hiking, or trail running. There is an endless supply, surely to keep you busy during your visit.
One of the most popular trails is the Pyramid Lake Loop Trail, which is used year-round for all kinds of outdoor activities. Expect beautiful vistas of Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Mountain.
Length/Time: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) loop, takes 2-3 hours. The
Hours: Open 24 hours a day.
Facilities: There are washrooms at the various trailheads around Pyramid Lake and at Pyramid Lake Resort.
Cost: No additional cost. You would have paid a Jasper National Park entry fee to get here.
During the winter months Pyramid Lake Resort turns into a magical wonderland destination for the ultimate winter escape. The resort offers horse drawn sleigh rides as well as snowshoe, ice skate, and fat bike rentals. Due to its location right on the shores of Pyramid Lake, the winter ice skating, and trails for snowshoeing and fat biking are all located just outside your doorstep.
Winter Rentals and Activities Price Guide
Snowshoe Rental: $10 CAD per hour
Ice Skate Rental: $10 CAD per hour
Fat Bike Rental: $18 CAD per hour or $30 CAD for a half day
Sleigh Rides: $30 CAD per person
Due its location just outside of the town of Jasper, in the winter low season you can enjoy this peaceful slice of nature with hardly any one else around. During the summer, many visitors come to see Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Island, but there are far fewer travelers during the winter months.
We couldn’t talk about Pyramid Lake without mentioning the incredible Pyramid Island. This small little island has become an iconic photo location in Jasper and Alberta due to its jaw-dropping setting and long pedestrian bridge to access the island. There is a small shelter and a few benches to enjoy a picnic lunch on the island.
It is a perfect place to go for a walk and spend a few hours. The little island can get quite busy in summer. If you are planning to visit in the summer months, make sure you get here early in the morning or later in the evening as parking is limited.
Other Activities in Jasper
While you would be forgiven for wanting to spend your whole stay at Pyramid Lake Resort and taking in the natural beauty that surrounds the resort, you may also want to venture further afield to discover more of Jasper National Park. There are so many great activities and things to see here, there is surely something to fit everyone’s taste.
Best Winter Activity: Maligne Canyon Icewalk
If you are visiting Pyramid Lake Resort and Jasper National Park in winter, you definitely need to check out the Maligne Canyon Icewalk tours. You will be taken on a guided tour through Maligne Canyon and will get to see some spectacular frozen waterfalls. For more in-depth information on the Maligne Canyon Icewalk, check out our blog post featuring the best things to do in Jasper in winter.
The Maligne Canyon Icewalk was a highlight of our trip to Jasper National Park in winter!
Best Summer Activity: Maligne Lake Cruise
When you are visiting Jasper National Park in summer, one of the top attractions is to see the beautiful Maligne Lake. The lake is actually quite inaccessible, and so taking the Maligne Lake Cruise is one of the best ways to explore the lake, take in the mountain views, and see the iconic Spirit Island.
If you have more time to spend in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, be sure to check out nearby Banff National Park which has amazing activities in to enjoy Banff in fall and Banff in winter. Alternatively, the nearby town of Canmore is becoming more and more popular as an outdoors hotspot.
Most Frequently Asked Questions About Pyramid Lake Resort in Jasper
How Far is Pyramid Lake Resort from Jasper?
Pyramid Lake Resort is just under 4 miles (6 km) north of downtown Jasper, Alberta and it takes about 10 minutes to drive.
Is There a Restaurant at Pyramid Lake Resort?
Yes! The restaurant located at Pyramid Lake Resort is called The Pines, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner using locally sourced ingredients and dinner. The hours of The Pines Restaurant are seasonal, so be sure to check their website prior to your stay.
What’s great is that you can enjoy a deliciously crafted meal focusing on fine Alberta ingredients and not have to drive anywhere to get there. And once you’re done, it’s a short walk to your room or a romantic stroll along the lake to watch the sunset.
For a truly unique experience, The Pines offers a Stargazers Lakeside Dinner package during certain days in February through April. You will be treated to a special three-course meal and then head out onto the frozen shores of Pyramid Lake for stargazing with powerful telescopes. Jasper National Park is one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves, which means the stargazing opportunities are incredible.
Can You Swim in Pyramid Lake?
You can absolutely swim in Pyramid Lake, but you are being warned that it will be cold! Just like all other lakes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the lakes are fed with ice cold glacier water. They are beautiful to look at but cold anytime of the year, however a quick dip can be very refreshing in the summer months.
How Do You Get to Pyramid Island?
Driving from Jasper, take Connaught Drive/Highway 16A northeast for about 10 minutes. Once you get to the Pyramid Lake Resort, turn left and continue on Pyramid Lake Road for another 1 mile (1.5 km) and you will see the parking lot and Pyramid Island on your left side.
How Big is Pyramid Lake?
Pyramid Lake has a total area of 0.46 square miles or 1.2 km2 and is one of the smaller lakes in Alberta.
Have You Been to Pyramid Lake Resort in Jasper, Alberta?
Have you been to Pyramid Lake or Pyramid Lake Resort before? Which season did you visit and how did you like it? Let us know in the comments!
Pin these pins to your Canada travel board to remember Pyramid Lake Resort on your future trip to Jasper!
You have probably seen those dreamy shots of vanlife as people wake up to the waves of the ocean or with jawdropping mountain views. With waking up to these stunning views, with well-designed van interiors, perfect weather, and the freedom to roam wherever you choose, vanlife looks like it’s a dream come true. And if you are like us dreaming of a life of exploring freely, renting a van to try out vanlife is the perfect way to get into it!
What is Vanlife?
Vanlife is a type of lifestyle, encompassing living in and out of a van. It is a lifestyle adopted by many nomads either full-time or part-time to be able to travel freely and follow their passions, with less commitments and more mobility. Some people experience vanlife to travel with lower expenses as they don’t need to rent a car our stay in a hotel each night, while others work remotely and the van really is their home on wheels.
One thing to keep in mind though, is vanlife is not just what you see on Instagram. There is so much more to it, which is why you should absolutely try out vanlife before jumping in with both feet first!
Why Should I Try Out Vanlife?
Vanlife is the ultimate way to explore freely while having your home with you and not having to worry about packing a suitcase and catching the next flight. Having a house on wheels also comes with the added benefit of being able to relocate whenever you like. You don’t like the weather where you are? Just drive somewhere else! You want to explore a remote place with no airports or hotels? No problem, you can just drive there and bring your house with you.
However, before you go out and buy your own van, we highly recommend you try vanlife first by renting a van. What hardly anyone tells you about are the struggles of vanlife, as it seems we are all conditioned to show those glamour shots on Instagram and the ‘freedom’ vanlife provides. What you don’t see is the van breakdowns, the struggle of finding somewhere to camp, or the difficulty in keeping yourself well-showered and clean while living vanlife.
Vanlife brings an incredible sense of adventure and freedom that few other lifestyles can match. We would argue that the true benefit of vanlife is freedom, and for that reason alone we recommend everyone try out vanlife, even if it is just for a short period of time.
How to Try Out Vanlife Without Buying a Van and Quitting Your Job
Vanlife isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s okay. What’s important is that everyone finds what works best for them and their lifestyle. Buying your own van either fully outfitted, or building out the inside of the van yourself is a huge investment in time and money, and is not something that you want to do only to find out that you don’t actually like vanlife.
That’s why we highly recommend that anyone who is thinking about trying vanlife should first rent a van for a roadtrip to try out vanlife and see if this really is a lifestyle that works for them before getting a van of their own. We recommend a week or longer roadtrip so that you get a true sense of what it would be like.
Cabana Campervan Rental Los Angeles California Experience
We had the opportunity to test vanlife with Cabana, which offers converted Ford Transit campervans to dip your toes into this lifestlye. Cabana is the best option for those looking to try out vanlife, as the vans that Cabana offers are designed to be a hotel room on wheels, allowing you to travel anywhere you please with nearly all of the comforts of home (or a hotel room).
You can currently start a Cabana campervan rental from their Los Angeles or Seattle locations, however they will soon be expanding campervan rentals to other locations in California and the western United States.
We worked were Cabana vans and they provided us with a campervan for us to try out vanlife. We are excited to share our experience with you and all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Cabana Campervan Rental Pickup and Dropoff
One of the most unique aspects of the full Cabana experience, is the Cabana app which you download prior to picking up your Cabana van. Cabana vans are located in West Hollywood, which was easy to access and find. Once you arrive, it is a completely contact-free experience to pick-up your van. You are able to unlock your van, get the keys, and get your trip started within the Cabana app.
As you tour all of the features of your Cabana van, the app provides an extensive FAQ on how to use many of the features, as well as any other questions you might have as a vanlife first-timer. As an added bonus, you can safely park your own car at the pick-up location in West Hollywood while out using the Cabana campervan.
When your Cabana experience comes to an end, it is again an easy, contact-free few steps to drop off your van. Just like a rental car, you should fill up the fuel tank of your Cabana campervan rental before you bring it back. You park your Cabana van right where you found it before your trip started, unpack your luggage, and then safely lock the van through the app. The whole process takes just a few minutes and then you can be on your way to catch a flight, or go on to your next adventure.
Cabana Campervan Rental Ford Transit Features
Cabana’s Ford Transit campervans are packed with features that make living vanlife a dream! Firstly, most people somehow think that sleeping in a van is incredibly uncomfortable, but not in a Cabana campervan! Each van has a memory-foam mattress just like you’d find at home. It’s a little bit shorter than a standard queen mattress, but just as wide! We found the incredibly comfortable bed to be a highlight of our trip.
Helping you sleep in comfort is the forced-air heating in each Cabana van which will keep the van heated to a comfortable temperature throughout those cooler nights. On the contrary, if your Cabana campervan experience is in the heat of the summer, you will appreciate the ceiling fan for air circulation.
Lastly, there’s no better way to fall asleep than watching some of your favorite shows on Netflix. We were surprised to see such a luxurious item as a TV in the Cabana van. If you are hooked up to power at a campsite and have cell service on your phone, you can easily stream your favorite shows to the TV in the Cabana van.
Some of the other features that made our Cabana campervan experience a dream were the built-in toilet and shower. These are luxuries that we don’t have in our truck camper, but we wish that we did! The shower and toilet are both easy to use and you don’t have to feel like you are “roughing it” at all when you try out vanlife.
Speaking of not having to “rough it” the Cabana campervan includes a coffee maker with complimentary coffee pods! This was a great way to start each morning. Another one of our favorite aspects of vanlife is enjoying our morning coffee with an incredible sunrise and view.
Also inside the Cabana campervan you will find a nearly full-size sink, drawer fridge to keep your beverages and food cool, along with a trash can and enough storage for all of your clothes and other items, not to mention a safe hidden away in the cabinets for valuables.
The Cabana campervan was also designed with flexibility in mind, which means that the passenger seat of the van swivels 180-degrees to face backwards. This is perfect when you install the bamboo table and pull out the bench seat from under the sink. Here you can enjoy your morning coffee, get some work done, or play a game!
Our overall experience and thoughts on the Cabana campervan after having used it for five days, is that the design has been well thought out and executed. The bed is comfortable, there’s enough interior space and storage, and the van and it’s features (sink, shower, toilet, heater) are all easy to use. It’s a great way to try out vanlife for the first time and hit the road, exploring new destinations along the way.
Cabana Campervan Add-Ons
If you’re looking to make your Cabana campervan experience extra-special there are a few add-ons that you can select for your trip. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, you can add a pop-up tent for shelter from the sun or rain, as well as camp chairs to enjoy more time outdoors.
If you plan on cooking with your Cabana campervan, you will want to select the rear outdoor kitchen, which slides out of the van and includes a two-burner propane stove, outdoor sink, and some cooking pots and utensils. We absolutely love cooking outdoors and used this feature every day, and for the full experience when you try out vanlife, you should opt for the kitchen!
10 Most Frequently Asked Vanlife Questions
We’re here to answer all of the questions you may have about vanlife! Our responses are based on living out of our truck and camper full-time as well as our Cabana campervan experience.
Is Vanlife a good idea?
Vanlife works for some people, but not everyone! We love the freedom and flexibility that you have to travel wherever you like. If the weather is too cold or too hot, or you want a change of scenery, you just drive on to next destination. If you love to travel and experience nature, and don’t mind living in a small space, vanlife is a good idea and definitely something that you should try!
Is it realistic to live in a van?
Everyone has different priorities, but with a few compromises it is certainly realistic to live in a van. You won’t be able to have as much personal space as you might be used to, nor will you have the space to bring everything with you that you might want. That being said, living in a van is a great way to simplify your life and only focus on what is truly important to you. All vans will allow you to cook, sleep, and live in easily, with some having added amenities such as a toilet and shower.
What is vanlife really like?
Vanlife is a lifestyle that is all about freedom! This freedom allows you to create the lifestyle that you want the most. Whether that be staying put in locations for weeks at a time, or being constantly on the move to new destinations. Vanlife is not without challenges and compromises, primarily surrounding the lack of space and some creature comforts of home, but it’s lower cost and flexibility gives you more freedom to make it your own and see more of the world.
Is a campervan easy to drive?
Driving a campervan is super easy! Anyone who is confident in their driving abilities can easily drive a campervan as they are very similar to driving a car or SUV. We were surprised at how easy it was to drive the Cabana Ford Transit campervan. You notice that the van is a bit bigger than a standard SUV, and it takes a bit longer to get up to speed and to stop, but other than that it is easy to drive, fits in standard parking spaces, and doesn’t require any special skills or training to drive safely and easily.
How much money do you need to live in a van?
If you are thinking about vanlife, you first need to consider the costs before making the plunge. Especially if you are taking a break from your career, or pivoting to a digital nomad lifestyle and you don’t already have an established income. We have heard from others that for two people they spend around $2,200 to live and travel in their van. For us living in Swifty, our monthly cost was closer to $3,000.
A lot of the costs are highly variable though, fuel usage highly depends on how much and how far you drive, food and beverage costs depend on your diet and lifestyle, and your overall costs also depend on how often you treat yourself to Starbucks, a hotel room, or other attractions and experiences. Our costs were slightly higher due to us driving a lot, trying to eat healthy (more expensive) foods and enjoying an airbnb or hotel every few weeks.
Can you park a campervan anywhere?
It’s important to know where you can and cannot park your campervan to sleep for the night. Generally speaking, you are not allowed to park and camp in any city or on any private land. Obviously any private campgrounds, or state or national parks with campgrounds are great places to spend the night, however they also come at a cost.
If you are looking at minimizing costs, your best bet is to search for BLM-managed public lands where you can park for free. Be sure to leave no trace, do not drive off already established trails, and note any signs prohibiting camping in the area. The iOverlander app is a great resource to find campsites, but make sure to do your own research as not everything listed on the app is up to date or accurate. As a last resort, we have also used our fair share of Wal-Mart parking lots to spend the night.
How much does it cost to rent a campervan?
The cost to rent a campervan to experience vanlife can vary quite extensively as some campervans are very basic with few features, whereas some are full-on luxury and designed to go off-road. Cabana vans are a perfect mix right in the middle, with everything you need in a comfortable and convenient package. The daily cost of a Cabana campervan varies based upon the location and time of year, but can be found for around $200 per night. There are no additional booking or cleaning fees, and Cabana includes insurance in all of their rentals.
When you compare what you get with a Cabana campervan, and consider that it is your hotel room and rental car costs all wrapped up together, renting a campervan from Cabana can be a great way to try out vanlife.
Where do you shower when you live in a van?
When living in a van, some of the luxuries of living in a house or apartment, like showering, are not always as easy. When we lived on the road in Swifty, our camper only had an outdoor shower. This worked fine during the summer months, but is less than ideal in winter. Many other campervans, such as the rental campervans from Cabana, come with an indoor shower.
The indoor shower of the Cabana campervan is easy to use, has enough space to not feel claustrophobic, and includes toiletries.
How does the washroom work in the campervan?
One of the most mysterious aspects of campervan living, is where the washroom is and how you do your business when nature calls. The Cabana campervan has a fully enclosed washroom with a toilet and toilet seat just like at home. You manually push a button to add a small amount of water to the toilet before you use it, then you use it just like anywhere else in the world, and when you are done, you pull the lever to flush from the toilet into the gray water tank. That’s it, it is super easy.
If you are on a longer trip and using a lot of water, you may have to empty the gray water tank (where all of the waste water from the shower, sink, and toilet goes) at an RV campground, but during our 5 day rental that was not necessary.
What are the downsides of vanlife?
Sometimes it may seem that vanlife is just full of beautiful landscapes and Instagram worthy views, however there are definitely downsides. When the weather is poor, you are stuck living in an extremely small space. You don’t have the luxury of bringing everything you want with you, and you would be shocked how quickly your van can get dirty even when you actively try to keep it clean every day.
Finding a safe place to camp every night is not always easy, and can lead to some stressful situations racing against the setting sun and finding a campsite in the dark. Experiencing showering, doing dishes, and using the toilet varies van by van, but in the back of your mind you are always thinking about how much water you have and where you can empty your gray water tank. You also have to constantly monitor your solar charging and battery usage to make sure you don’t end up without power.
There’s also the possibility of your van breaking down and needing repairs, or getting broken into when you leave it.
Are you looking to try out vanlife with a campervan rental?
If you were thinking that you wanted to try out vanlife, we can highly recommend renting a van for a roadtrip in a Cabana campervan. The Cabana campervans have many of the luxuries of home, while also giving you the freedom to get out there and explore.
If you have any questions about vanlife which we did not answer yet, make sure to leave a comment!
Pin this blog post to your Vanlife Pinterest boards to save the best campervan rental to try out vanlife and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Having grown up near Vancouver, and having spent a few years living in Downtown Vancouver, we are excited to share our favorite things to do in Downtown Vancouver. These are all the must do things in Downtown Vancouver which you cannot miss and our top tips on how to make the most out of your visit to one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Vancouver Travel Blog Fast Facts
Vancouver is one Canada’s best cities, and each year, it is in fact often cited as one of the top cities in the world to live. Here are some fast facts about the city you may not know yet!
The Weather Is Very Mild
The city is located in the very southwestern corner of Canada, and while many people may believe that Canadians live in igloos and it snows everywhere north of the United States, Vancouver has a very mild, temperate climate similar to Seattle. It rains a lot, which you get used to…kind off, but doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
Vancouver Is Called ‘Hollywood North‘
When you visit, don’t be surprised if you recognize a lot of locations from TV or movies. Vancouver is also known as “Hollywood North” and the city comes second in North America after Los Angeles for TV production and third in North America after Los Angeles and New York for feature film production. More often than not, Vancouver stands in for a major U.S. city in TV and film, rather than the production being set here. Even if you haven’t already been to Vancouver, you’ve definitely seen it on TV and in movies.
The Architecture Is Very Modern
The city isn’t overly old, so the downtown core is mainly filled with shimmering glass skyscrapers rather than the big concrete structures in some older North American cities. It makes for an incredible skyline, especially given the location being right on the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by mountains.
Vancouver Has the Highest Real Estate Prices in Canada
Vancouver has the highest real estate prices in Canada, but wages don’t necessary keep up with those sky-high prices, making it one of the top three least affordable real estate markets in the world. There is good reason for those high real estate prices, because everyone wants to live here!
What is Vancouver Best Known For?
Vancouver is probably best known for it’s stunning location. Downtown Vancouver, with its glimmering glass-covered skyscrapers, is set out on a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides, with the North Shore Mountains forming a distinctive backdrop over the city. It doesn’t get much better than this for a location for a city.
Outside of its location, Vancouver is well-known for a diverse and thriving food scene, with predominant influences from many Asian countries. That lovely California Roll that you love so much? Yep, that’s not actually from California, but originally from Vancouver. Sushi is big, as is ramen, pho, hot pot, dim sum, and everything in between. There is also a lot of Canadian ‘west coast fare’ restaurants focusing on seafood, salads, and locally sourced ingredients.
On the other side of the coin, Vancouver is well known for its dreary, rainy weather. If you’re familiar with weather in Seattle then you know what to expect in Vancouver. It’s not uncommon for it to rain a week straight or more through the end of fall to mid-spring, and the weather reports will have more ways to describe rain than you ever thought possible.
Top 10 Must Do Things in Downtown Vancouver
The city of Vancouver is not overly large, but there are a number of neighborhoods that have different vibes and are worth checking out, as are nearby cities such as Richmond, for even more delicious food, and North Vancouver for its mountains, hiking trails and the nearby ski hills of Cypress Mountain, Seymour Mountain, and Grouse Mountain. Further afield, you have the Gulf Islands, Squamish, Whistler, and Vancouver Island.
That’s a lot to cover in one Vancouver travel blog post, so we’re just going to focus on the 10 best must do things in Downtown Vancouver here. We have a slightly liberal definition of ‘downtown’ as these are not all technically in downtown, but they are all close enough to easily walk or bike to.
Bike the Seawall and Breathe the Fresh Air
Starting off with what is hands down our favorite must do activity in Vancouver (other than eating!). If you’re visiting Vancouver you should do everything you can to rent a bike and spend a day biking along the Seawall. The Seawall stretches from Canada Place in Downtown Vancouver and wraps its way along the edge of the city to Stanley Park, completing a full loop of the park, before circling all of False Creek and out towards Kitsilano.
When riding your bike along the Seawall, you will pass by almost all of the famous sights in Vancouver, many of which are on this list! It’s about 17 miles (28 km) to ride the full pathway, which will take at least a full day for someone visiting the city. There are so many photo spots, places to eat, and places to visit along the way that while you could just ride it all at once without stopping, we wouldn’t recommend it!
It’s mostly flat, and easily bikeable by people of all skill levels with dedicated biking and walking paths in most areas. Because a large portion of the Seawall path borders Downtown Vancouver, you can easily make your trip as short or long as you would like and complete it over multiple days.
Mobi Bike Share
If you’re visiting Vancouver, you probably didn’t bring your own bike, so you will most likely need to rent! The most common plan for tourists is using the Mobi bike share program. You can purchase a 24 hour pass (which includes unlimited 30 minute rides) for $12 CAD ($9.50 USD). The program works just like bike share programs in any other large city, which is great for short trips, but not as useful if you are trying to bike the whole Seawall in a day as you are limited to each ride being only 30 minutes long.
An alternative option is to rent a bike from a bike rental company. Read the section below under Stanley Park bike rental for a list of great bike rental companies near Stanley Park.
Get Outside at Stanley Park
Visiting the Stanley Park Seawall is a must do activity, but there is more to Stanley Park than just riding the path around the outside. There are a number of trails that crisscross through the 1,001 acre park through dense forests, along lakes, and by towering totem poles. Stanley Park is a great place to go walking or biking and to just get lost in the maze of pathways in the park. You can only get so lost as the park is surrounded by water on 3 sides and Downtown Vancouver on the other!
One great thing about Stanley Park is that the Seawall at Stanley Park is completely car free and if you want to see the famous Seawall, you can chose between biking, inline skating, skate-boarding, walking, or any other unmotorized mode of transportation.
In the middle of Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium, both Canada’s largest and first public aquarium. The aquarium is also a center for marine research, conservation, and marine animal rehabilitation.
Stanley Park Bike Rental
If you’re visiting Vancouver, you probably didn’t bring your own bike, so you will most likely need to rent! For short rides, the Mobi Bike Share (mentioned above) is probably the best option, however for a bike ride of a couple hours you will want to rent a bike somewhere else.
The Stanley Park Bike Rental shops are not actually in Stanley Park, but just a few blocks away on Denman Street, close to the entrance to Stanley Park from Downtown Vancouver. The most popular one is Spokes – bikes start at about $10 CAD ($7.80 USD) per hour and you can rent for as many hours as you would like. An alternative option is Yes Cycle, which starts at a similar rate, but offers discounts the longer that you rent.
The below map shows our recommended biking trail and includes the most beautiful viewpoints along the Seawall.
Relax at the English Bay Beaches
As you bike along the Stanley Park Seawall and head towards False Creek, you will pass by English Bay and its beautiful beaches. These are city beaches, and not never-ending stretches of beautiful white sand, but they are a great place to spend some time on a hot summer day. English Bay Beach and Sunset Beach are popular places to watch the sunset over the water, a perfect ending to a day spent adventuring in Vancouver.
In the middle of the two beaches is one of the iconic Inukshuk’s that was built for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, which is an excellent place for a photo.
Discover Granville Island
Granville Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver, and for good reason! Granville Island is located near False Creek under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge, just outside of Downtown Vancouver. It is easily accessed from the Seawall, and is a great stop for lunch or a snack along the way! If you are in downtown, you can walk south along the Granville Street Bridge and then walk down the stairs to Granville Island, or take the Aquabus for a short trip across.
Once you’ve arrived at Granville Island, the best place to start is the public market. Here you can purchase all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, and meats and seafood, but you can also find a large number of restaurants serving up delicious food. We recommend picking up some food here at the public market and making your way outside to sit and enjoy the view – just watch out for the seagulls as they are known for stealing food!
Outside of the public market there is a large collection of performing arts theatres, art galleries, and artisan shops to spend the afternoon discovering. If you’re looking for a drink, head to the popular Granville Island Brewing Company to sample some local small batch brews that are brewed right on site.
False Creek and Olympic Village
The area around False Creek and especially around Olympic Village is a great place to spend some time outdoors, taking in the views, and is also a popular place to grab food or drinks. Olympic Village is conveniently located right along the Seawall path, so you can also stop here along your bike ride along the Seawall.
Olympic Village was, perhaps unsurprisingly, used as an Olympic Village for the 2010 Winter Olympics hosted in Vancouver. The area was formerly an industrial area, but is now a bustling neighborhood with many apartments, restaurants, and a grocery store, all steps from the beautiful views looking out over False Creek and Downtown Vancouver.
While you are here, one of the main draws is Craft Beer Market, which has a huge selection of beer with 140 taps, and great happy hour specials. It is located in a huge converted factory building.
Once you’ve had your fill you can stroll along the Seawall pathway, either west towards Granville Island or east towards the iconic Science World building. Getting to Olympic Village is also easily done with a quick ride on the Aquabus from Downtown Vancouver.
Canada Place and Flyover Canada
Canada Place is another one of the iconic buildings in Vancouver. The building is primarily a large convention center, cruise ship terminal and hotel, but also includes gift shops, restaurants, and more. Canada Place’s distinctive white sails have a beautiful backdrop with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains.
If you happen to be near Canada Place around lunchtime don’t be surprised to hear some very loud horns. The 12 O’clock Horn, located here, belts out the first four notes of ‘O Canada’ every day at 12:00 PM.
Canada Place is also the home of FlyOver Canada, one of the must do things in Downtown Vancouver. FlyOver Canada is a flying theater attraction which takes you on a virtual ride over Canada, utilizing ride equipment that feels like you really are flying over Canada as you take in the beautiful aerial views on the spherical screen. To make it seem even more real, the attraction uses wind, mist, and scents to enhance the approximately 25-minute experience.
The FlyOver Canada experience is an incredible way to see Canada from the air, and appreciate the beauty of this huge country. FlyOver Canada also showcases additional experiences throughout the year, such as ‘Fly Like Santa,’ ‘FlyOver Iceland’ or ‘Soar Over Taiwan.’
The newest experience is the holiday themed ‘Fly Like Santa’ where you can experience the magic of Christmas, while taking in breathtaking views of Canada, all the way up to the North Pole to see Santa.
Opening Times: FlyOver Canada experiences are generally scheduled every day of the week, but exact timing and experiences on offer change throughout the year. Check out the current experience on their website.
Price: Pricing varies by date, but approximately $30 CAD ($23 USD) per person, you can book your experience and reserve a time online.
Disclaimer: Our FlyOver Canada experience was provided by FlyOver Canada and we loved it. As always, all of our opinions on our experience, and the must do things in downtown Vancouver are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!
Visit Historic Gastown
Gastown is a historic neighborhood, and the original settlement of what would become Vancouver. The vibe is similar to other historic districts in large North American cities as it has cobblestone streets and historic brick buildings. Today it is a popular and thriving neighborhood with lots of independent fashion boutiques, galleries, and some of the best drinks and eats in Vancouver.
Gastown is easy to get to and on the eastern edge of Downtown Vancouver, within easy walking distance of the main business district. If you’ve heard about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, it is an area with a lot of social issues with high drug use, homelessness, and poverty. It is not overly dangerous, but it is advisable to not walk alone at night or stray too far from the main streets of Gastown. In reality though, you are pretty safe in every party of the city.
One of the most popular places in Gastown is at the famous steam clock on the corner of Cambie and Water streets. Although the Gastown steam clock is thought to be one of the first built in the world, it’s not actually as old as it looks! The clock was built in 1977 by a Canadian horologist specifically for this location. Be sure to hang around here for a bit as the clock will whistle every 15 minutes to tell the time.
Eat Your Way Through Chinatown
Chinatown is another great neighborhood on the eastern edges of Downtown Vancouver, just south of Gastown. It also easily accessible as it is about a 10-15 minute walk from Gastown. Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest historic Chinatowns in North America, though it is not the largest area of ethnic Chinese in the Vancouver area. If you are looking for more Chinese and Asian inspired shopping malls, stores, and restaurants, head just south of Vancouver to Richmond’s Golden Village. If you are staying in Vancouver for a longer trip, it is well worth the half-hour trip by Skytrain into Richmond – just be sure to go on an empty stomach!
In Chinatown you can explore the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden which has both a freely accessible public park as well as a garden with paid admission.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the hub of the city for large events, gatherings, and protests. The Vancouver Art Gallery, or VAG as it is affectionally known, is the largest art museum in Western Canada. If you’re into art, it’s a great place to spend a rainy day in Vancouver. The permanent collection features many local B.C. and Canadian artists in it’s 165,000 square feet (15,300 sq meters).
The Vancouver Art Gallery sits at one end of the public plaza known as Robson Square. Robson Square hosts not only the Art Gallery, but the B.C. Provincial Courts, the downtown campus of the University of British Columbia, and other government buildings. It’s popular year-round, but especially in the winter when a free outdoor skating rink is created. In summer, you might find free dance classes!
Shop Till You Drop on Robson Street
Robson Street is where you want to go if you are looking for some retail therapy while spending time in Downtown Vancouver. Robson Street has a lot of brand-name fashion from international companies, but also thrives on local brands such as Lululemon and Aritzia. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, the nearby department stores of Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew, and Nordstrom, should allow you to find what you are looking for.
Robson is also home to a large number of ramen and Korean restaurants, so be sure to finish off your shopping trip with a delicious bowl of ramen! Some of our favorites are Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Marutama Ramen, and Jinya Ramen. It’s not uncommon to find long lines at these locations, so you may have to go somewhere else, but with so many great places close by, it’s not a problem to find some great ramen or Korean food.
What Should I Not Miss in Vancouver?
If you are coming to visit Vancouver, there a couple must do activities and things to experience.
Bike the Seawall
Visit Stanley Park
Relax at English Bay Beaches
Discover Granville Island
Stroll through False Creek and Olympic Village
Visit Canada Place and do the Fly Over Canada Experience
Wander Through Historic Gastown
Eat Your Way Through Chinatown
Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery at Robson Square
Shop Until You Drop on Robson Street
We believe that these 10 activities are the top 10 must do things in downtown Vancouver, however, if you were to only do one thing when visiting Vancouver, that should be riding the Seawall. You get to experience so much about what makes Vancouver special as the Seawall goes from glistening skyscrapers to dense forests, surrounded by water, with mountain views.
Vancouverites love to exercise so you definitely won’t be out of place heading out for a bike ride, walk, or run. While you are enjoying the best of the must do things in downtown Vancouver activities, you will be working up an appetite, which leads to the next thing that you must experience while in Vancouver. With Vancouver being such a diverse city, and Vancouver being the most Asian city outside of Asia, filling yourself on delectable Asian cuisine is another must do. Whether you are looking for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, or Thai cuisine, you are sure to find something delicious in Vancouver.
The food scene is competitive, and there are always new places opening, or old standards reinventing themselves. One of our favorites for a special celebratory meal is the Japanese restaurant Miku. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, try Phnom Penh for some delicious Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine, located in the heart of Chinatown. There are so many great places in downtown Vancouver, if you find something that looks interesting just give it a try!
What Can You Do for Free in Vancouver?
The great thing about visiting Vancouver is that while the city would not be described as ‘cheap’, it also doesn’t have to be a budget-bursting trip when spending some time in Downtown Vancouver. Almost all of the top 10 must do things in Downtown Vancouver that are listed above cost nothing at all.
There are only a few top attractions worth spending entrance fees for (listed above) and the rest of the time (and money) can be allocated towards trying delicious new foods and a bike rental to get the most out of the city. The main draw of Vancouver is not for theme parks, tourist attractions, or casinos. To get the most out of Vancouver and see it like a local you need to get outside and enjoying the endless bike paths, hiking trails, and breathtaking views.
Where Should I Stay in Downtown Vancouver?
As Vancouver is so walkable, or bikeable, a car is not needed and a hotel in Downtown Vancouver is a great base so that you can waste no time in heading out and exploring the city. Some of the best high-end hotels in the city are the Fairmont Pacific Rim for a killer location and views, the Loden Hotel for a central location near the shops and great food on Robson, and the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver for its False Creek location, steps from restaurants in Yaletown and Chinatown.
Great mid-range hotels are the iconic Sylvia Hotel with its ivy-covered building and location at English Bay, the Hotel Belmont Vancouver for a very central location and fresh modern design, and the Skwachays Lodge for it’s unique aboriginal Canadian design.
If airbnbs are more your style we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite airbnbs in downtown Vancouver.
All of the above hotels and airbnbs should put you in a great location to enjoy all of the must do things in downtown Vancouver without having to venture too far. If you’re looking to save a bit more money, it’s possible to stay a little bit further outside of the downtown Vancouver and commute in each day. Look for somewhere that is close to a Skytrain station, so that you will have easy and frequent access to public transportation when you need it.
Are we missing something on our must do things in Downtown Vancouver?
Have you been to Vancouver? And are we missing something on our list of must things to do in Downtown Vancouver? Let us know in the comments. We’re always looking to expand our guides and would love to include your recommendations.
Save this post on Pinterest to plan your trip to Vancouver, Canada and to explore all the must do things in downtown Vancouver.
Do you struggle to get your winter photos to look magical? Do you want bright white snow and a pastel dreamy winter wonderland? This Winter Mobile Lightroom Presets Collection is for you! It has never been easier to edit your winter mobile photos on the go!
FOR LIMITED TIME ONLY: Get 4 presets for the price of 3! Purchase the Winter presets collection today and get the Christmas Indoor Vibes preset for FREE!
Turn your photos from a day in the snow, your afternoon stroll through the city admiring holiday decorations, or beautiful winter landscapes into eye-catching winter Instagram shots with this Winter Mobile Lightroom Presets Collection! These mobile presets help you adjust the brightness of snow, reduce shadows in dark photos, add warmth to your grey and gloomy winter day photos, and make your playing in the snow photos more vibrant.
These winter mobile Lightroom presets have been specifically designed to work with mobile photos and they work best to enhance your winter photos. These presets turn your day in the snow and winter landscape photos into the perfect Instagram posts, bringing out the magic of winter and helping reduce the overall blue hue of snow.
Use these presets to enhance your favorite photos this winter and create a cohesive Instagram feed that captures everyone's attention.
What Is Included in the Winter Mobile Lightroom Presets Collection?
With the Winter Mobile Lightroom Presets Collection, you get:
1 AFTERNOON IN THE SNOW - perfect for editing your snowy winter photos which have a lot of shadows and a blue undertone. The Afternoon in the Snow preset will make sure your snow does not look blue, add warmth to the overall photo, and make the white snow look brighter.
1 PASTEL WINTER DREAM - perfect for editing winter landscapes with harsh contrast. The Pastel Winter Dream will make your photos look softer, increase shadows and blacks, turn down saturation for colors, reduce contrast, but still give you that sun-kissed glow.
1 PLAYING IN THE SNOW - perfect for editing your vibrant and sunny photos in the snow. The Playing in the Snow preset will tone down the bright snow, make blue skies pop with a slight hue of turquoise and will enhance the vibrance of your photo.
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY: Get the Indoor Christmas Vibes Preset for FREE with your purchase! The Indoor Christmas Vibes Preset is perfect for editing all your dark indoor photos, making your photo brighter and removing the orange hue from indoor lighting.
All three Winter Mobile Lightroom Presets are different and work for different sets of photos. The name of each preset gives you an indication of which type of photo they are designed to work best for. However, once you download the collection, you are free to test which preset works best with your photo and can use them as you like.
While the mobile Lightroom presets have been designed for mobile photos, I have also used them on my camera photos and they work perfectly.
Mobile Lightroom Presets Installation Guide
You will need to download the Lightroom app to your iphone/android. The app is free.
Download the preset to your computer and unzip the presets.
Save the unzipped presets on your favorite cloud storage such as iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive so that you can access them on your phone.
Save the files on your phone, either on your camera roll or in your files.
Open the Lightroom app on your phone and choose Add Photos. If you saved the presets on your camera roll, click "From Camera Roll," if you saved them in your files, click "From Files."
Select the presets you would like to import. NOTE: Preset files are DNG files. When you initially open the image, you may get an error that says, “Cannot Load File”. This is normal. Press the check mark in the corner anyway.
Now that you imported the DNG file, you can click on the three dots on the top right of the screen and hit Create Preset. Choose whichever name you want for the preset.
Done! Now you can apply the Lightroom presets to all your mobile photos.
Please use #presetsbythenexttrip when you post your photos so that I can share your edit on my Instagram stories.
If you have any questions with regard to the presets or struggle installing them, please send us an email at [email protected].
If you like the presets, leave a review below and add a photo so I can see your edit magic!
Hi, we are Bettina and Kyle! Originally from Switzerland and Canada, our goal is to inspire you to explore the world, even if you have a full-time job. With our travel content and photography, we want to spark your sense of wanderlust!
Our passion for travel started when we met studying abroad in Finland in 2011 and we have not been able to stop since! We have traveled to 59 countries and have visited all 50 U.S. states.
In September 2019, we quit our corporate jobs, sold our apartment in Chicago, and embarked on a trip to discover North and South America in our pop-up camper (named Swifty).
We love exploring different cultures and meeting people from all around the world. We hope we get to meet you on one of our trips around the world! If you are curious about our daily travel updates, follow along on Instagram!
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