Search Results for: ski

Skiing in Switzerland – The Best Day at Crans Montana Ski Resort

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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!

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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!

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

Skiing in Switzerland - The Best Day at Crans Montana Ski Resort 6

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

The morning was a bit foggy but it cleared up soon. The afternoon sun brought the most beautiful views and blue skies!

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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.

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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!

 

Skiing in Switzerland - Crans-Montana

 

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 ...

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

... go on a walk around the frozen lakes ...

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

... 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.

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

Crans-Montana by night

 

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!

 

Skiing in Switzerland - My favorite resort and views of the Alps
Skiing in Switzerland - My favorite resort and views of the Alps

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.

 


 

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver

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.)

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 15

 

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.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 16

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 17

 

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).

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 18

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 19

 

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?

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 20

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 21

 

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.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 22

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 23

 

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.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 24

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 25

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 26

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 27

 

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.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 28

What is your favourite skiing region?


 

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Ultimate 1 Week Costa Rica Itinerary

Costa Rica is a fabulous Central American country that packs so much nature and diversity into an area smaller than the state of West Virginia. Whether you are looking for a hiking adventure to beautiful waterfalls, exploring diverse rainforests and nature parks, or relaxing and surfing by the beach, Costa Rica offers it all!

There is so much to explore in Costa Rica, it can be a bit overwhelming when you first look into planning a trip to the Pura Vida country. We spent a full month in Costa Rica to be able to put together the ultimate one week in Costa Rica itinerary for you, to make your travel planning easier!

Costa Rica Volcan Arenal

Disclaimer: Europcar Costa Rica provided us with our rental car for the duration of our Costa Rica itinerary. Sky Adventures Arenal provided us with the ziplining experience. All opinions are our own. 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.

Top Things to Do on the Ultimate One Week Costa Rica Itinerary

With a one week Costa Rica itinerary you can see a large part of what makes Costa Rica so enticing for visitors. After having spent one month in this beautiful country, we compiled all our favorite locations and put them together in this itinerary for you. Of course, you can organize your own Costa Rica itinerary as you see fit, however if you do plan to see the below locations, we recommend doing them in this order (or reversed) so that you don’t spend too much time crisscrossing the country!

Bajos del Toro Area

Arrival into San Jose

Most people will arrive into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José. This is the main international airport in Costa Rica, and likely the one you will arrive at. The other international airport is located near Liberia, in the northwest area of the country, about a four-hour drive from San José.

Many flights arrive into San José during the middle of the day, so it’s nice to pick up your rental car, a few supplies, and get acquainted with Costa Rica before heading out the next morning. There is a large Wal-Mart near the airport which can be perfect to pick up a diverse mix of supplies and groceries before heading out too far.

Our favorite hotel near SJO airport is the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen, which is located about a 15 minute drive away. The hotel is close to all of the action and shopping near San José but it feels like you are staying far out in the countryside. The hotel has two large outdoor pools, walking paths, and a driving range if you’re looking to get a bit of exercise after a long flight.

Costa Rica Itinerary Marriott Hacienda Belen

Additionally, the rooms are large and bright, with many having beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Settle in for a good night’s sleep before getting up early to head for a hike in Bajos del Toro.

Day One: Hiking in Bajos del Toro

Bajos del Toro is a wonderful region in Costa Rica which is quite literally overflowing with beautiful hikes and waterfalls. You can find some of the most stunning waterfalls in Costa Rica here, however it is still relatively under the radar compared to the more popular tourist trail locations.

The drive to Bajos del Toro takes about 1.5 – 2 hours, and covers some very steep and narrow roads. Once there, you have so many beautiful waterfalls to choose from. Here’s a list of some of the more popular waterfall hikes to get your started, varying in difficulty and length:

  • Catarata del Toro (1.3 mile / 2.1 km loop, steep with lots of steps)
  • Blue Falls of Costa Rica (2.8 miles / 4.5 km return, moderate with established trail)
  • Catarata Vuelta del Canon (8.7 miles / 14 km return, requires multiple river crossings)

The Catarata Vuelta del Canon is a highlight of the area, featuring an impressive double waterfall in a stunning, lush green setting. This hike however does require a guide as you are hiking through private property and you will encounter 8+ river crossings, in each direction. If you’re hiking in the rainy season, expect a lot of mud and water. The river water is cool, but not glacial cold. It’s all worth it though once you reach the end of the hike at the beautiful waterfall. The blowing mist and lush green mountain sides give an ethereal feel to this location which can’t be missed.

Catarata Vuelta del Canon Costa Rica

We organized a local guide with the help of Senderos Del Toro Tours. If you’re in the area and interested in this hike or any other, check them out on Instagram and the can help you out!

After spending a good part of the day in Bajos del Toro, it’s time to hit the road to take in one of Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes, Volcan Arenal. It is a 2 hour drive from Bajos del Toro to Arenal. If you didn’t pack your own snacks, grab a quick meal in Bajos del Toro before heading out.

Day Two and Three: Adventure at Volcan Arenal and La Fortuna

The town of La Fortuna and surrounding area including Volcan Arenal is a tourist hotspot in Costa Rica, and for good reason! La Fortuna is an adventure-tourism mecca, with it being a great base to go ziplining, volcano hiking, whitewater rafting, waterfall rappelling, mountain biking, and more. Plus, once you’re done you can relax at one of La Fortuna’s 12 popular hot springs!

We suggest planning an adventure each day while in the area, and experiencing one of the hot springs. The small town of La Fortuna has a nice walkable town square with lots of great restaurants serving up delicious meals made from local ingredients. Be sure to wander the side streets to find some of the best shops. The Organico Café is one of the best in the area with amazing healthy options including gluten-free, diary-free, vegetarian, and more.

The Ultimate Ziplining and Canopy Walk Experience with Sky Adventures

If you’re looking to go on a ziplining adventure, and you should be because it is one of the most typical Costa Rica experiences, then look no further than Sky Adventures Arenal for the ultimate experience. You will get the typical Costa Rica ziplining experience of traveling through lush rainforests, but you will also get outstanding views of Volcan Arenal and Lake Arenal.

Skyline Adventures Arenal Area

The ziplining experience includes 7 different cables where you will experience speeds of up to 43 mph (70 km/h) all the while traveling up to 656 feet (200 m) in the air, across cables up to 2,460 feet (750 m) in length! It’s a truly impressive experience, and the best zipline experience we have had anywhere in the world. The ziplining experience also includes a ride in the Sky Tram and a visit to La Mano del Arenal, a giant hand sculpture with an amazing view.

Mano del Arena Costa Rica Itinerary

In addition to the ziplining, you can choose to hike the trails at Sky Adventures Arenal to visit some waterfalls and suspension bridges, high up in the jungle canopy.

Lake Arenal

The Lake of Arenal is actually mand-made, created in 1979 for a hydroelectric project that at the time, provided energy for 70% of Costa Rica! The lake is the largest in Costa Rica, and also a great location for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, as well as kite surfing and windsurfing.

One of the most iconic views in Costa Rica is of Lake Arenal with the distinctive Volcan Arenal in the background. The top of the mountain is often covered in cloud, so if you end up seeing Volcan Arenal in all of its glory, count yourself lucky! A great place to view the lake and volcano is from the Mirador la Armonia campsite and viewpoint. This is a great place to bring a picnic lunch and relax out in nature, enjoying the view! There is also a toilet onsite, plus a small shop with snacks and drinks.

If you are looking for an adventurous trip and love camping, make sure you check out the Ultimate Costa Rica Campervan Experience with Pura Van.

Night Sky in Arenal Area Costa Rica

Day Four and Five: Above the Clouds in Monteverde

As the crow flies, Monteverde is not far from La Fortuna and Arenal, however there are no roads that directly connect the two tourist hotspots, so you will have to drive west along Lake Arenal from La Fortuna, and then south through more twisting roads to reach Monteverde. This is a great location for two days, allowing you to take in the amazing nature, views, and restaurants on offer.

Monteverde is famous for its cloud forests. You may be wondering what exactly is a cloud forest? A could forest is actually a type of rainforest, but at a much higher altitude of 3,000 to 8,000 feet (914 to 2,400 m). Cloud forests are often blanketed in mist and clouds, giving them their name, and also include an incredibly diverse mix of flora and fauna.

Manuel Antonio Rainforest Costa Rica

If you didn’t manage to go ziplining in Arenal, Monteverde is the next best location and there are multiple tour companies available. In addition, Monteverde is a popular place to go on nature walks through the cloud forests. Hiring a guide is optional, and based on preference. You will no doubt see and learn way more by using a guide, however you can still see a lot on a self-guided tour, but you might just miss that sloth lounging in a nearby tree!

Monteverde also has one of the most diverse sets of accommodation in Costa Rica, so you should be able to find the perfect hotel, bed and breakfast, or hostel to suit your needs. Owing to its popularity as a tourist destination, Monteverde has a ton of great restaurants serving up all kinds of cuisine.

Day Six and Seven: Surfing at Jaco and Playa Hermosa

Have you really been to Costa Rica if you haven’t seen their gorgeous beaches? Costa Rica has a great mix of beaches, ranging from white-sand to black-sand, and rugged rocks to never-ending flat sand. There are a number of popular beach areas, namely in Guanacaste province in the northwest Punta Arenas, along the southern west coast.

The Nicoya Peninsula is beautiful and includes the surfing hotspots of Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa, however it is sufficiently far from San José that it is difficult to include in a one week Costa Rica itinerary. Alternatively, the beach and surf town of Jaco and nearby Playa Hermosa offers up just as much surfing, a vibrant expat community, and everything else you will need for your Costa Rica beach experience.

Nosara Surfing Costa Rica Itinerary

Jaco is a 2 to 2.5 hour drive from Monteverde. Just like the road into Monteverde, the road down is equally steep and twisty. Take your time and enjoy the views on the way to the coast. Once you reach Jaco, you’ll find everything you need in town for groceries, restaurants, and cafes. A great café to try authentic Costa Rican coffee is Café Bohio, and if you’re looking for a fun evening with live music, great food and drinks, try out PuddleFish Brewery.

Heading just a little bit further south you will find the picturesque Playa Hermosa. Note that there are multiple Playa Hermosa’s in Costa Rica, so keep that in mind when doing any additional research on what to do in the area.

Costa Rica Beach

Playa Hermosa is incredibly large, and surprisingly quiet, allowing for perfect walks along the beach, taking it all in.

Option Extra: Drive to Manuel Antonio National Park

The Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, yet it is also one of the most visited. At just over an hour’s drive south of Jaco, it is easily accessible as a day-trip or addition to your one week Costa Rica itinerary. The park is so popular due to it’s truly incredible biodiversity, packed into such a small area. Here you can see sloths, monkeys, toucans, and many other of the amazing plants and animals that call Costa Rica home.

Monkey in Manuel Antonio Rain Forest

The park is located at the end of the road in the town of Manuel Antonio. There is a large number of hotels and restaurants in the area, owing to the park’s popularity. You can choose to walk through the park on your own or hire a guide. We found that the park was sufficiently busy that there were groups of people watching the sloths and monkeys, such that if you didn’t have a guide you would still get to see these amazing creatures.

Alternatively, if you decide to hire a guide, it can be quite reasonable and you will learn so much about the plants and animals in this incredible park.

After spending your time in Jaco, and possibly Manuel Antonio, head back to San José to catch your flight home.  The drive back to the capital is about 2 hours. Plan extra time for traveling to San José as traffic jams are quite common, especially on weekends, and anytime near rush hour. With that, you’ve successfully completed the ultimate one week Costa Rica itinerary!

The Next Trip Top Five Tips for the Ultimate Costa Rica Itinerary

We’ve put together a list of our top tips for you to have the ultimate one week Costa Rica itinerary.

Rent a Car with Europcar Costa Rica

While Costa Rica is not physically a very large country, it can still take a very long time to get between popular locations due to there being limited roads, and the roads being full of sharp curves, steep hills, and slow trucks. Public transportation does exist, but is not really suitable for the ultimate one week Costa Rica itinerary, as you would spend half of your time taking and waiting for public transportation.

That’s why having a rental car is almost essential. Europcar Costa Rica has a large inventory to choose from so that you can select the size of car you need, and whether or not you want to have a 4×4 for piece of mind, or for some of the more off the beaten path destinations. Four our trip we picked up our Europcar Costa Rica rental car from San Jose International Airport. The pick-up process was quick and easy, and they conveniently send pictures of the car to you at the beginning of the rental period to document the condition of the vehicle when you pick it up.

Costa Rica Itinerary Europcar Rental

We had a Hyundai Tucson 4×4 for our Costa Rica itinerary, and it was perfect for our trip. It handled the steep hills, rough gravel roads, and everything else with ease, all the while getting great fuel economy, and being fully loaded with charging points, Bluetooth, and all the creature comforts we needed. We can highly recommend Europcar Costa Rica for you rental car needs during your one week Costa Rica itinerary!

Prepare for Changing Weather

Costa Rica has a dry season from December to April, and a rainy season from May to November. That being said, you can have significant rain in the dry season and lots of sun in the rainy season. The dry season will have consistently better weather, and is the preferred travel time, however don’t count out the rainy season!

During the rainy season it will likely rain at least once per day, either in the morning or the evening. In Costa Rica it rarely rains for a whole day straight, meaning that if you are traveling to Costa Rica in the rainy season, you should be prepared to adjust your schedule to the timing of the rain.

Try the Local Food

Costa Rica is not known for the most exciting food scene; however, they do have an abundance of fresh local fruits and vegetables as well as seafood, allowing for some delicious meals. You will find that almost all typical Costa Rican meals have a side of Gallo Pinto, a flavorful dish of rice and beans. You may then also have a portion of fish or meat, and a small salad. Alternatively, gallo pinto is popular for breakfast, served alongside eggs, bacon, and fried plantains.

Remember that Costa Rica is Not Cheap

Many people assume Costa Rica is cheap based on it’s location in Central America, however you’ll be in for quite a shock if that’s what you’re expecting going in. Prepare for food and dining prices consistent with what you will find in the United States, Canada, or Europe, similar to gas prices, and the costs for tours and other items. It is possible to have a budget trip to Costa Rica, however this just takes a bit more planning and more self-guided tours and homecooked meals.

Enjoy the Pura Vida Lifestyle

Not everything in Costa Rica will be exactly as you are used to. Driving and transportation take considerably longer than you may be used to, you might not be able to find the food you are used to, and services might be slower or later than expected. However, Costa Rica embraces the Pura Vida mentality, which literally means a pure life, or simple life, however in Costa Rica Pura Vida means much more than that. It is commonly used as a greeting and encapsulates Costa Ricans desired way of life: laid-back, stress-free, and happy.

If you encounter anything frustrating, just remember Pura Vida, and enjoy the nuances of travel and rich cultural experience of traveling in one of the most beautiful countries.

Ultimate 1 Week Costa Rica Itinerary 30

Frequently Costa Rica Itinerary Questions

We answer some of the most popular questions about visiting Costa Rica to make your trip unforgettable.

How Many Days Do You Need in Costa Rica?

Despite being relatively small geographically, Costa Rica packs in a lot of amazing sights, making it a destination that many people come back to again and again. The perfect amount of time for a trip to Costa Rica is entirely dependent on your schedule, but we would suggest at least 1 week, with 2 weeks being ideal. Of course, you could spend a month in Costa Rica and still not see everything! With a one week Costa Rica itinerary, you can get a great sense of what makes Costa Rica so famous and take in many iconic locations.

How Dangerous is Costa Rica for Tourists?

Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America, however you should always keep your safety in mind. Violent crimes against tourists are quite rare, however petty theft from unattended cars or while on the beach is relatively common. If you keep aware of your surroundings, and always lock up your valuables and don’t leave anything in view in the car, you should be fine. Additionally, it’s highly recommended not to drive at night, or travel alone at night or on the beaches. If you are sticking to the main tourist areas, Costa Rica is very safe for all travelers.

How Easy it to Travel in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a surprisingly easy country to travel around on a self-guided vacation. Most people speak English, however the further from the tourist trail you go, the more likely you will need some basic Spanish skills to communicate. Many places accept credit cards, or even USD cash, however it is best to have some Costa Rican Colons with you at all times for smaller purchases. Driving in Costa Rica is straight-forward, but it is best to drive more defensively than you do at home as not everyone follows all of the rules, and you should also not drive in the dark. Costa Rica is a great country to travel to if you’re new to traveling in foreign speaking countries.

When is the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?

The most popular time to visit Costa Rica is from December to April, during the dry season. Visiting during this time will guarantee you the best weather, which is perfect for a shorter one week Costa Rica itinerary. If however, you have a bit more time and flexibility to your schedule, visiting during the rainy season of May to November will provide you with incredibly lush and green rainforests, fewer crowds, and more affordable hotel rates.

Have You Been to Costa Rica?

If you’ve already been to Costa Rica, let us know if there is something missing from this one week Costa Rica itinerary, otherwise be sure to pin this post to your Central America Pinterest board to plan your trip to Costa Rica!

Save this post on Pinterest to plan your Costa Rica trip!


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20 Most Instagrammable Places in Tulum – Best Tulum Photo Spots and Tips

Tulum is one of those places every Instagrammer and blogger dreams of visiting. It is a dream destination for many and if you have been there, it is easy to see why! Tulum is known for its luxurious hotels, turquoise waters, and restaurants which has every food blogger’s heart beat a little bit faster. Every restaurant, hotel, and beach club, seems to have made it their mission to come up with an instagrammable design that draws you in. You can hardly walk one minute here without wanting to snap a photo or take a video of some impressive sculpture, artwork, or building. The boho vibes are flowing with instagrammable  places in Tulum everywhere you turn.

Bettina and Kyle at Ahau Tulum Entrance

We have been to Tulum three times at this point and completely understand what all of the hype is about. There is no better place to take photos than here. Not only are there countless photo opportunities here, but also the Instagram algorithm seems to love all things Tulum which should help you get your Instagram posts seen!

Bettina and Kyle at the Follow that Dream Sign

These are our favorite 20 instagrammable places in Tulum. Most of these are right in the Tulum beach area but there are also a few other places which make for a great day trip when you’re visiting Tulum.

A note on cell service in Tulum: Tulum beach is known for hardly having any cell service at all, regardless of which service provider you use. Make sure you download a map with all the places you want to visit beforehand. Every restaurant and hotel in Tulum beach does have complimentary wifi though, so if you are consuming something there, you should not have any issues with connectivity.

Disclaimer: 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.

Map of the Most Instagrammable Places in Tulum

The beauty of Tulum is that there are two very concentrated areas where you can find everything. One area is Tulum town which is the actual city away from the ocean. This is where most of the locals live and you can find grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and everything you need to live. The other area is Tulum beach. This is where all of the famous hotels, beach clubs, restaurants, and instagrammable places are. It is very easy to get around Tulum beach as you can just walk between the instagrammable places here.

This post also includes a few places further away from Tulum which make for a great day trip. You can use this map to locate all the instagrammable places in Tulum and plan your content creation itinerary.

20 Most Instagrammable Places in Tulum

Tulum is by far one of the most instagrammable places in the world. With the bohemian and eco-friendly vibes, every corner is picturesque and on top of that, the Instagram algorithm seems to love posts from here. These are the 20 most instagrammable places in and around Tulum.

Sunrays at Cenote Suytun

Ven a la Luz at Ahau Tulum Beach

Ven a La Luz is likely the first thing you think of when you think of Tulum. It has become one of the Tulum photo hotspots and is incredibly popular on Instagram as well as in the city itself. The sculpture which resembles a woman showing the entrance to her heart was originally the entrance way to the ArtWithMe festival in Tulum. It is 26 feet (8 m) tall and is now permanently installed at the entrance to the Ahau resort in Tulum Beach.

Bettina and Kyle at Ven a la Luz Tulum

Best Time to Visit: The Ven a La Luz sculpture is probably the most popular in all of Tulum and if you get here during the day, you are likely to be met with an hour-long line up to take photos. The best time to take photos here is early in the morning, after sunrise. If you are here between 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM, you should only encounter a small line, and might have to wait about 5 minutes.

Hours: The sculpture is accessible any time of the day, every day.

Entrance Fee: Free! The sculpture marks the entrance to the Ahau resort and it is right on the street. You can access it any time of the day and it is free.

Which Hashtags to Use: #VenALaLuz #AhauTulum

Location: Ven A La Luz at Ahau Tulum Beach

Follow That Dream Sign

Possibly one of the most photographed signs in the world is the Follow That Dream sign in Tulum beach. It is exactly as beautiful as you imagine and the perfect motivator to share on your Instagram account. It is no surprise that it is one of the most instagrammable places in Tulum. Taking photos here is incredibly easy as it is located right on the street by the Lolita Lolita Tulum boutique.

Tip: If you want to get a photo here with a bike, you can rent a nice turquoise colored bike at the nearby Alaya Tulum hotel. Bikes are available to rent for 24 hours and cost $15 USD. They will ask to keep a piece of ID as a deposit.

Best Time to Visit: Because the sign is a bit further away from the heart of Tulum beach, it is not as busy as other instagrammable places in Tulum and you can take photos here with minimal waiting in line any time of the day.

Hours: The sign is publicly accessible any time.

Entrance Fee: Taking photos here is free!

Which Hashtags to Use: #followthatdream

Location: Follow That Dream Sign

Swings at Coco Tulum Beach Club

Tulum is full of swings. Almost every restaurant and beach club has a set of swings to sit on and eat/drink on which makes the entire experience even more fun. Our favorite set of swings are at Coco Tulum. The black and white swings are right on the beach and with the pristine sand and turquoise water, these swings are one of the most instagrammable places in Tulum.

What is best is that you can spend the entire day at the beach club and enjoy the beautiful ocean view and a few drinks as you are taking photos.

Best Time to Visit: Coco Tulum can get relatively busy as it is a popular beach club. If you want to take photos on the swings here, we recommend going early in the day, around 10:00 AM.

Hours: The beach club is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Entrance Fee: Entrance is free but there is a minimum consumption of $25 USD during the week and $50 USD on weekends when you spend the day here and are not staying at the hotel.

Which Hashtags to Use: #cocotulum #cocobeachclub #cocobeachbar

Location: Coco Tulum Beach Club

Selina Tulum

Another instagrammable hotel entrance is the entrance to Selina Tulum. It is just a couple steps away from the other Instagram famous spots in Tulum and it’s a great place to take a photo. The design is made out of wood and looks like a circle with sun rays all around it. It’s very photogenic and with the right light, the perfect place to snap an Instagram photo.

Bettina Twirling at Entrance to Selina Tulum

Best Time to Visit: Selina Tulum is not as popular as other spots in Tulum Beach so you can visit this place later in the day without having to stand in line.

Hours: The entrance is open 24/7.

Entrance Fee: Free! The entrance is open to the public.

Which Hashtags to Use: #selinatulum

Location: Selina Tulum

Vagalume Beach Club

Vagalume is a relatively new beach club in Tulum Beach and very much like the other beach club, it draws you in with a very unique design and beautiful layout! It has direct beach access and outstanding food but the reason why you want to visit is for its instagrammable design and décor. The beach club consists of a semi closed in area which very much reminds of a cross between Morocco and Bali – with beautiful area rugs and wooden chairs. The outdoor beach and pool area has a large relaxation area and beautiful macrame sun umbrellas.

The most instagrammable place at Vagalume is their bridge which is held by a hand. The bridge leads from the indoor area to the beach and has a beautiful ocean view, making for a great photo spot.

Vagalume Tulum Hand Bridge

The theme of the hand is apparent throughout the beach club and even the entrance features a floating hand which is very instagrammable. If you are short on time, you can easily just stop by and take a photo at the entrance.

Best Time to Visit: The entrance is not as popular as other places in Tulum Beach and you can easily take a photo here in the afternoon. If you are looking to take a photo inside the beach club, being here in the morning is best as the beach club tends to get busy around noon and will stay busy until well after sunset.

Hours: The beach club is open from 7:00 AM to 10:30 PM. The entrance is open to the public 24/7.

Entrance Fee: You can snap a photo in the entrance without any fee. The entrance to the beach club itself is free but you need to make a reservation and there is a minimum consumption requirement of $150 USD.

Which Hashtags to Use: #vagalume #vagalumetulum

Location: Vagalume Tulum

I Scream Bar

Right across the street from Vagalume is the I Scream Bar. You really can’t miss the bar as it has an incredibly unique design with a turquoise tuk-tuk out front that serves as an ice cream truck as well as turquoise cars hanging upside down in the bar itself. The turquoise cars and tuk-tuk make the I Scream Bar one of the most instagrammable places in Tulum as they are a unique sight and pop of color for your feed. While you are here, make sure you also try some of their vegan and raw ice cream!

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit is right at 2:00 PM when they open as they get quite busy and it can be difficult to take a photo without having a lot of other people in it.

Hours: Open daily from 2:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Entrance Fee: Entrance is free. We highly recommend trying their ice cream while you are here!

Which Hashtags to Use: #iscreambar

Location: I Scream Bar

Crooked Palm Tree on Playa Paraiso

Tulum wouldn’t be Tulum without its famous beach and clear turquoise water. However, given its popularity, it is not as easy to find public beach access if you are not looking to visit one of the beach clubs in Tulum Beach. One of the best places to get a beach photo without going to a beach club is on Playa Paraiso. This is also where you will find the Instagram famous crooked palm tree.

This is arguably the most posted palm tree on Instagram! Note that the palm tree you might have seen before has actually lost its crown in a storm. There is a similarly beautiful palm tree right next to it though which is also crooked enough to climb on.

Bettina and Kyle at Crooked Palm Tree on Paraiso Playa Tulum

Best Time to Visit: Sunrise is the best time to take photos here as it is quiet, and the lighting is best. If you are here by car, getting here at sunrise is key to ensure you have a parking space. There is some free parking along the road, or a paid parking lot at the public beach access entrance.

Hours: The public beach is open 24/7.

Entrance Fee: Beach access is free!

Which Hashtags to Use: #crookedpalmtree #playaparaiso

Location: Crooked Palm Tree on Playa Paraiso

Conestesia Bunny

Not as well known yet, but quickly increasing in popularity is the straw bunny at the entrance of Conestesia. The bunny is made out of straw, colored in pink, and is becoming another main attraction in the Tulum hotel zone. It marks the entrance of the Conestesia restaurant and beach club and is as unique as the other instagrammable places in Tulum.

The bunny’s recognition value is undeniable and certainly worth taking a photo.

Bunny Entrance to Conestesia Tulum

Best Time to Visit: This Instagram spot is starting to become popular which means the earlier you can be here the better. If you are here later in the afternoon, you may have to stand in line to take a photo.

Hours: The entrance is open 24/7.

Entrance Fee: Access to the entrance is free.

Which Hashtags to Use: #conestesia

Location: Conestesia Tulum

Casa Malca – Pablo Escobar Mansion

Casa Malca is a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant in the Tulum hotel zone and it is famous for being Pablo Escobar’s former mansion. It was purchased in 2012 by the art gallery owner Lio Malca who has since renovated the entire building and decorated it with pieces from his own art collection.

The most instagrammable spot in Casa Malca is without a doubt the grand foyer which is decorated with 20-foot (6 m) curtains made out of hundreds of wedding dresses, as well as hanging swing couches. It is easily one of the most instagrammable places in Tulum and one of the most recognized ones as well.

If you are looking to take a photo here but are not staying at the hotel, you can always stop by and go for a drink at the restaurant. They don’t allow photos with professional cameras but you can take a few photos with your phone.

Best Time to Visit: Given that the grand foyer at Casa Malca is not open to the public, you can visit any time of the day and should not have to wait in line to take a photo.

Hours: Every day from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee but the minimum spend to stay here is 1,000 Mexican pesos which is about $50 USD.

Which Hashtags to Use: #casamalca

Location: Casa Malca Tulum

ROC Luxe Tulum

Another stunning hotel entrance in Tulum beach which is a perfect Instagram spot is ROC Luxe Tulum. The entrance structure looks like a white dome with different sized holes in it. It is incredibly beautiful when the sun rays shine through the holes in the morning and it is a great place to get creative and take some stunning photos.

Entrance to ROC Luxe Tulum

Best Time to Visit: This is not a well-known Tulum Instagram spot yet but as it is a hotel, it can get busy in the late morning and early afternoon as people are checking in and out. The best time to take photos here is in the early morning.

Hours: The entrance is open to the public 24/7.

Entrance Fee: Taking photos here is free!

Which Hashtags to Use: #rocluxe #rocluxetulum

Location: ROC Luxe Tulum

Matcha Mama

One of the most instagrammable places in Tulum and without a doubt one of the most famous Instagram spots is Matcha Mama. The cute smoothie bowl and smoothie shop looks exactly like you have seen in photos. Nestled between trees and giving off a real jungle vibe, it is a little hut with swings instead of chairs, a “I love Tulum so Matcha” sign on a surfboard, and a menu sign written in turquoise. Everything about Matcha Mama is instagrammable and you can’t miss it if you are in Tulum to create content.

Bettina at Matcha Mama Tulum Beach

There are several Matcha Mama locations in Tulum. The most famous one is in Tulum Beach, not far from Vagalume, the I Scream Bar, and Casa Malca. There are also Matcha Mama locations in Aldea Zama (which is brand new as of April 20201) and Tulum town. All three locations are incredibly cute and have the same design ideas with swings, a surfboard sign, and a jungle hut. The Matcha Mama in Tulum town also features a flamingo wall which is great if you are looking for something pink for your Instagram feed.

Bettina at Matcha Mama TUlum Aldea Zea
Matcha Mama Aldea Zama

While you are taking photos here, make sure you try some of their smoothies and smoothie bowls. Our favorite is the Papacita which is made with almond milk, banana, vanilla, dates for natural sweetness and a shot of cold brew.

Best Time to Visit: Matcha Mama is incredibly popular and will get very busy during the day, especially if you are heading to the Tulum Beach location. Since it is a restaurant, you may have to wait a while to get your perfect photo on the swings if there are other guests here already. The best time to get here to ensure you have the place to yourself is right at opening at 8:00 AM.

Hours: Every day from 8:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee. However, it is a restaurant and we highly recommend you try one of their smoothies or smoothie bowls, especially if you are taking pictures on their swings. They are delicious!

Which Hashtags to Use: #matchamama #matchamamatulum

Location: Matcha Mama Tulum Beach (the famous one), Matcha Mama Tulum Town, Matcha Mama Aldea Zama

Cenote Calavera

One of the best things to do in Tulum to cool off is to visit a cenote. Cenotes are natural sink holes which are filled with water. There are several different types of cenotes, ranging from semi-open to fully open, which is also called a lagoon. The cenotes are filled with rainwater and water from underground rivers and they are the best way to cool down on a hot day in Tulum.

Cenotes are a lot of fun and a great place to spend the day but they also make for great Instagram spots. One of the most instagrammable cenotes in Tulum is Cenote Calavera. It features a swing and a steep ladder which make for great photo opportunities.

Bettina and Kyle at Cenote Calavera Tulum

The cenote is only a 5-minute drive from Tulum town and one of the best kept secrets. It is not as popular as other cenotes in the area, and you can get it all to yourself if you come here early. The cenote is also great if you enjoy diving as the water is crystal clear and around 15-20 feet (4 – 6 meters) deep.

Tip: The cenote looks quite small from the outside but once you are in the water, you will see that the cave is quite large. The best way to enjoy the cenote is by jumping in the water. Please be careful when jumping through the smaller holes as they are very narrow, and many people have injured themselves here.

Best Time to Visit: Because of the proximity to Tulum, the cenote is gaining popularity and if you are looking to get the place to yourself, get here early in the morning or after 3:00 PM.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entrance Fee: $250 MXN pesos ($12.60 USD) per person, cash only! If you want to bring a camera or a GoPro, you need to pay an extra $200 MXN pesos $10.00 USD).

Which Hashtags to Use: #cenotecalavera #cenotecalaveratulum

Location: Cenote Calavera

Cenote Dos Ojos

A bit further away from Tulum is the Cenote Dos Ojos. It is halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and a 30-minute drive north from Tulum town.

The cenote is a system made of two different cenotes connected through a passage which explains the name Dos Ojos. The water at Cenote Dos Ojos is incredibly clear and blue and makes for the perfect Tulum Instagram spot.

The two cenotes at Dos Ojos are quite different as the main cenote is more open and thereby brighter. If you are planning to take photos, the main cenote is the place to go. Given the depth of the cenote, it is also a great place to practice your underwater photography skills and capture the beauty of the cave.

Best Time to Visit: Cenote Dos Ojos is quite popular, especially for families and divers. If you are looking to get the cenote to yourself, make sure you get here early.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entrance Fee: Entrance for the Dos Ojos Cenote is $350 MXN pesos ($17.00 USD) per person as of April 2021.

Which Hashtags to Use: #cenotedosojos #cenotedosojostulum

Location: Cenote Dos Ojos

Gran Cenote (Grand Cenote)

Possibly the most famous cenote in Tulum is the Gran Cenote. As the name suggests the Gran Cenote is big and is a system of several cenotes connected underground. The openings are not as large as the cenote system itself and you will only see how large it is once you are in the water and are exploring the caves.

The Gran Cenote is the perfect Instagram spot in Tulum if you are looking to show off the crystal blue water amidst the jungle. The platforms are very close to the water which makes it relatively easy to photograph. We did not have a chance to visit the Gran Cenote but our friend Talia from TravelWithTalia did.

One of the main draws of the Gran Cenote is the crystal blue water, the possibility to spot turtles, and being able to snorkel and dive here as well. If you are looking to explore the underwater world here and go diving, make sure you book your spot in advance.

Best Time to Visit: The Gran Cenote is very popular and can be quite busy. Make sure you get here right at opening or about 3:00 PM, an hour before closing, to have the cenote to yourself.

Hours: Every day from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM

Entrance Fee: Entrance fee for the Gran Cenote is $180 MXN pesos ($9 USD) per person. Renting snorkeling gear is $80 MXN pesos ($4 USD) and the locker is $30 MXN pesos ($1.50 USD).

Which Hashtags to Use: #grancenote #grancenotetulum #grandcenote

Location: Gran Cenote Tulum

Papaya Playa Project

One of the most instagrammable hotels in Tulum is the Papaya Playa Project. The hotel is right in the hotel zone with direct access to the beach. The reason why Papaya Playa Project has become Instagram famous is no doubt because of their instagrammable jungle casitas with a rooftop pool. The rooftop pool not only makes for a great photo opportunity, but it is also a great place to relax and get away from the busy Tulum strip.

The hotel offers a variety of rooms such as ocean-view casitas, loft casitas and jungle casitas with a rooftop pool. Regardless of which casita you are staying at, your room is surrounded by nature and will feel like a luxury jungle getaway. The hotel has made it their mission to create a new form of sustainable hospitality and combine modern luxury with Mayan culture. We have not personally had the opportunity to stay here but our friends Claudia and Kaan from TheLostTwo have.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to stay here is during shoulder season as there will be less people and prices are also going to be lower than during high season.

How to book: You can book your stay here.

Which Hashtags to Use: #papayaplaya #papayaplayaproject

Location: Papaya Playa Project

Las Coloradas

One of the most beautiful Instagram places in Yucatan is Las Coloradas. The vibrant pink salt lakes against the blue sky make for incredible Instagram photos and it is a great place to visit it you want to wow your audience. Las Coloradas has its vibrant pink color from the red and pink marine life such as red algae, brine shrimp, and plankton which thrive in high salt content water. It is a great destination if you are looking to do a day trip from Tulum as it is a 3-hour drive one way.

Las Coloradas Pink Salt Lakes Yucatan

Given the increased popularity of Las Coloradas, you are required to visit the pink salt lakes with a guide, which you will be assigned when you enter. Swimming at Las Coloradas or even dipping your feet is strictly forbidden and the guides here make sure that everyone follows the rules. Because of the pandemic, current visiting times as of April 2021 are limited to 30 minutes per person. And yes, they will track the time to make sure you don’t stay longer.

Las Coloradas is incredibly beautiful and if you have never been to a pink salt lake, you will absolutely love it! It is a unique experience and will make for great Instagram photos. That being said, creating content here can be a bit challenging given the time limitations.

Rules for Las Coloradas Yucatan

Tip: The watercolor is most vibrant when it is sunny and when the sun is directly above. Make sure you plan your visit on a sunny day as the lakes will appear dull when it is cloudy. Be prepared to see a lot of people here. It is a very popular place to go to.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit to have the most vibrant color is around noon on a sunny day.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entrance Fee: $75 MXN pesos ($4 USD) per person (as of April 2021).

Which Hashtags to Use: #lascoloradas #lascoloradasyucatan

Location: Las Coloradas

Cenote Suytun

Another great day trip and one of the most Instagrammable places around Tulum is the Cenote Suytun. It is famous for having sunrays shine through a small opening in the cave ceiling, illuminating a ular platform. The cenote is every bit as incredible as you may have seen in photos and seeing the sunrays shine through the cave ceiling is incredible.

Sunrays at Cenote Suytun

The cenote is a 1-hour drive from Tulum and it’s a great place to visit if you are looking to explore more cenotes and are wanting to get the iconic Instagram shot with the sunrays.

Note that the platform is not always under water. Whether or not the platform is flooded depends on the time of the year you visit. As the cenotes are filled with rainwater and with the underground river system, the water levels are usually higher during the wet season and if you visit at the end of the dry season, you may find that the platform is not under water. That being said, we visited in March which is in the dry season and during our visit, the platform was covered in about 4 feet (1.2 m) of water.

Sunrays at Cenote Suytun

Tip: If you are planning to swim here, you are required to wear a life vest. Life vests cannot be taken off at any time, not even for photos. However, the guide has a smaller life vest belt which you can borrow that does not look as bulky as the standard life vests.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the cenote to see the sunrays is around 12 noon to 1:00 PM. This is when the sunrays hit the platform.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entrance Fee: $120 MXN pesos ($6.05 USD) per person. Entrance includes life vests.

Which Hashtags to Use: #cenotesuytun

Location: Cenote Suytun

Cenote Chukum

If you decide to do a day trip to visit a few cenotes outside Tulum, you cannot miss Cenote Chukum. Cenote Chukum is one of our favorite ones we have been to and it is by far the best cenote when you are looking to do underwater photography. The lighting in Cenote Chukum is incredibly beautiful making it the most instagrammable Cenote around Tulum to take underwater photos.

Underwater Sunrays at Cenote Chukum

Cenote Chukum is semi-open and has a few small openings in the cave ceiling which let in some beams of sunlight. On a bright and sunny day, the light coming through these openings hits the water beautifully leaving you with incredible underwater sunrays. The natural phenomena looks spectacular above water but it is even more impressive if you put your snorkeling gear on and go for a dive.

Given the size and the depth of the Cenote Chukum, it is the perfect place for underwater photography. Cenote Chukum also has a zip line through the cave which is used as a different way to jump into the middle of the cenote. There are also three jumping platforms with different heights for every diving level.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Cenote Chukum to see the sunrays is on a sunny day around noon. However, during this time, the cenote can be quite busy. If you are looking to have the cenote to yourself, the best time to visit is early in the morning or around 3:00 PM. We were there at 3:00 PM on a Monday and still had the perfect light for underwater photos while being the only ones in the cenote.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Entrance Fee: Day pass is $10 USD per person which includes parking, life vests, and lockers. There is also a day pass including lunch buffet which is $25 USD per person.

Which Hashtags to Use: #cenotechukum

Location: Cenote Chukum

Cenote Oxman

Another great cenote for Instagram photos is the Cenote Oxman. The cenote has a Tarzan rope swing to jump into the water which makes it one of the most instagrammable cenotes around Tulum. The rope swing is also a great prop to film a fun reel.

Bettina Holding Rope Swing at Cenote Oxman

Cenote Oxman is semi-open and lets in quite a bit of light. There are beautiful tree roots cascading from the cave ceiling which make the cenote look like it’s straight out of a movie set. Even if you are not looking to take photos here, Cenote Oxman is a great cenote to add to your bucketlist. You can easily spend half a day here having fun and jumping in the water.

Bettina Swinging at Cenote Oxman Yucatan

Best Time to Visit: If you want to avoid crowds, the best time to visit is right at opening at 9:00 AM.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (as of April 2021)

Entrance Fee: $150 MXN pesos ($7.50 USD) per person, cash only.

Which Hashtags to Use: #oxmancenote #cenoteoxman

Location: Cenote Oxman

Chichen Itza

One of the best Instagram spots near Tulum and also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World is Chichen Itza. In 1988, Chichen Itza was named one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and in 2007, it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. If you have time, visiting and taking a photo here is a must!

Main Temple at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is an archeological site and used to be a Mayan city from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s. It is an incredibly impressive site to visit even if you are not a history and archeology lover. The main temple in Chichen Itza is incredibly beautiful and will make for a great Instagram photo backdrop.

The best time of the year to visit Chichen Itza is during equinox. The Mayans constructed the temple so that during equinox, the sun will cast a shadow from the edges of the temple which resembles a serpent slithering down the temple.

Regardless of what time of the year you visit, the site is full of history and worth exploring to get a better understanding of the Mayan culture.

Couple at Chichen Itza

Tip: If you are looking to take unique photos here, try to frame the temple with some of the surrounding trees to make for a more interesting photograph.

Best Time to Visit: The best time of the year to visit is at the equinox and the best time of the day to visit is in the morning. Being here early allows you to explore the place by yourself and also to avoid the heat. It can get very hot here and there is not a lot of shade.

Hours: Daily from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Entrance Fee: General admission for tourists is $533 MXN pesos ($453 MXN pesos entrance and $80 MXN pesos tax), about $27 USD. You will be asked to pay in two separate booths at the entrance. They accept cash as well as cards. Make sure you bring your ID if you are wanting to pay with credit card.

Which Hashtags to Use: #chichenitza #chichenitzamexico #chichenitzayucatan

Location: Chichen Itza

How to Get to Tulum

Tulum does not have its own airport. If you are vising from out of the country or a different state in Mexico, you will likely fly to Cancun as it is the closest major airport. From there, there are several ways to get to Tulum and the time it takes depends largely on what transportation method you chose.

One note about Uber in Cancun: Uber is illegal in Cancun, despite legally operating in other parts of Mexico. Getting an Uber ride to and from the airport is impossible as there is staff designated to make sure there are no Ubers. Generally, in the Cancun and Tulum area, it is incredibly difficult to find an Uber as there are hardly any cars available, however you may have some success in the Cancun area, however we found that it was not sufficiently reliable to use as transportation.

By Taxi

Regular taxis are not able to pick up passengers at Cancun Airport. However, there are Airport taxis available which you can book at arrival to take you to Tulum. The ride is about 1.5 hours and is generally $75 USD to $125 USD one way. You can get your taxi at airport arrivals; however, this usually involves haggling to get a fair price. The taxi union in Cancun is very strong, and they have been able to get away with overcharging tourists for years. This is not our preferred method for getting around, however it is possible to find honest and reputable taxi drivers that charge a fair price.

By Private Transfer

By far the easiest and most comfortable way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum is by private transfer. You can easily book your private transfer in advance and they will meet you in the arrival hall and pick you up. The cost for a private transfer to Tulum is $100 USD for up to 3 people and if you book the round trip in advance, you will save 25% off your return price and pay $175 USD. The larger your group, the more it is worth it to look into private transfers as they make your trip to Tulum much easier. You can book your private transfer right here.

By Shared Shuttle

A cheaper option, especially if you are traveling alone or in a group of 2, is to take a shared shuttle to Tulum. Shared shuttles are also easy to book in advance and are $35 USD per person one way. The shared Cancun Airport Shuttle guarantees a driver that speaks English and Spanish, an airconditioned vehicle, and traveler insurance.

You can book your shared shuttle in advance as a one-way trip or also as a return trip if you already know when you will be heading back to the airport.

The shared shuttle will drop guests off at hotel lobbies which means it might make several stops along the way before dropping you off. If you are two people, the shared shuttle will save you $30 USD one way. If you would rather not spend the extra time sitting in a car and are happy spending $30 USD more, you can book your private transport here.

By Rental Car

If you are planning to spend more time exploring Tulum and visit a few sites outside of Tulum such as Chichen Itza, Las Coloradas, Cenote Suytun, etc. you might want to look into booking a rental car. We have had three separate car rentals while we were in Tulum and loved the freedom that comes with having your own car. We always use Rentalcars.com to find the cheapest car rentals and book through them. You can check the prices and availability for your car rental here.

Tips when picking up your rental car

Make sure you inspect the car for damage such as scratches, dents, and chips in the windshield. These should all be marked on your car rental form. If they are not, make sure you ask a rental representative to add them. Further, we always advise to take photos of the outside of the vehicle before driving off and when you return, as well as of the gas gauge (with the number of kilometers of the car also in the same picture). That way you have proof of your car’s condition upon pick-up and drop-off should they ever try to charge you for damage.

By ADO Bus

ADO bus is the main bus company servicing most airports in Mexico. It is by far the cheapest way to get from Cancun airport to Tulum. The ADO bus has pick up locations at terminals 2, 3, and 4, and will take you directly to Tulum. A one-way bus trip is $288 MXN pesos ($14 USD) and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The bus schedule from terminal 3 is:

10:40 AM

12:00 PM

2:55 PM

4:55 PM

7:45 PM

9:15 PM

Make sure you check the ADO Bus website in case they made changes to their schedule.

How to Get Around Tulum

While most of these instagrammable places are right in the Tulum hotel zone and very easy to walk between, some of these spots will require you to use other means of transportation. There are several ways you can get around Tulum and get from one Instagram spot to the next or from Tulum Beach to Tulum Town.

Couple at Follow that Dream Sign Tulum

By Taxi

Likely the most convenient way to get around Tulum is by taxi. Taxis are everywhere and quite easy to find. They generally charge $100 MXN pesos ($5 USD) or more to get from Tulum town to Tulum beach.

By Rental Car

If you have a rental car, getting to and from Tulum is incredibly easy. However, if you are planning to drive in Tulum Beach, you will likely struggle finding a place to park. The hotel zone is only one street and does not have much street parking available. Most beach clubs, restaurants, and hotels will have parking lots associated to them and those are free as long as you consume at the establishment.

If you are looking for a free parking spot without consuming anything, there is only one place we saw which fills up quite quickly. Click here for the Google Maps location of the only free parking lot we found in Tulum. As this location is also near the beginning of the Tulum hotel zone, it is not overly practical for walking the full Tulum strip.

By Bike

Given the almost non-existent public parking, getting around the Tulum hotel zone by bike is a popular choice. Bike rentals are available in Tulum town and in the Tulum hotel zone, with many hotels providing bikes for their guests to use, or to rent. Given how spread out the main attractions and restaurants are along the Tulum hotel zone, it’s impractical to walk the full length, however as it is all flat and often filled with traffic jams, traveling by bike is an excellent choice.  As an added bonus, you can even use your bike as an Instagram photo prop, which goes especially well with the Follow That Dream sign.

Do you Know of any Other Instagrammable Places in Tulum?

Have you been to Tulum and know of more instagrammable places we should add to this list? Please let us know in the comments. We are always looking to visit more places and would love to hear what you recommend.

Pin this post to your Mexico travel Pinterest board to save the most instagrammable places in Tulum and help you plan your trip!


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15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots

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.

If you are planning an extended trip to Mexico, make sure to check out our Cabo San Lucas itinerary or how to plan the best Cancun mini vacation!

Disclaimer: 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.

Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots

Map of the Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 36

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!

Location: Mar Y Vino Puerto Vallarta

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 40

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!

Location: iK Mixology Bar & Cuisine

Hours: Daily from 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 43

Location: Muelle de Playa Los Muertos

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 44

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 45

Location: Los Arcos del Malecon

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 46

Location: Puerto Vallarta Sign and Seahorse Statue

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 47

Location: Gaby’s Restaurant Bar

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.

Location: Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana

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.

Location: Hotel Playa Los Arcos

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 52

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 53

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 54

Location: Mirador La Cruz del Cerro

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 55

Location: Azul Orquidea Café

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 56

Location: Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

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.

Location: Playa Varadero in Nuevo Vallarta

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

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 59

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.

Location: Sayulita

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.

Tips: Sayulita has a lot of great coffee shops which are photogenic and great to work at. Some of our favorites are the Anchor Café, Yah-Yah Sayulita Café, and Paninos.

Islas Marietas Hidden Beach

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.

Location: Hidden Beach Islas Marietas

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.

Location: Punta Mita

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.

15 Best Puerto Vallarta Instagram Spots 62

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!

By Bus

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.

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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!


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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!

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The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary and Best Day Trips from Cabo

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.

Medano Beach

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.

Medano Beach Cabo San Lucas

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.

Location on Google Maps: Medano Beach

What to Bring: A swimsuit and a beach towel!

Beach Vendors on Medano Beach Cabo San Lucas

Boat Tour to the Famous Arch – Los Arcos

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.

Land's Ending Cabo San Lucas Los Arcos

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.

The Arch in Cabo San Lucas

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.

ENVA Clear Boat at Los Arcos in Los Cabos, Mexico

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.

Location on Google Maps: Enva Tours at Cabo Marina

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!

View of Land's Ending from Mount Solmar

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!

Sunset View of Cabo San Lucas from Mount Solmar

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.

Location on Google Maps: Mount Solar Hike Meeting Point

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.

View of Cabo San Lucas from Mount Solmar

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.

Cabo San Lucas Marina

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.

Location on Google Maps: Cabo San Lucas Marina

What to Bring: Your wallet! There’s lots of places to eat and shop as well as other entertainment options.

Bright Orange Sunset in Cabo San Lucas Marina

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.

La Ranita, Cabo San Lucas Itinerary
Enchiladas at La Ranita, Cabo San Lucas Itinerary

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.

Pool Reflection at Waldorf Astoria Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas

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.

Sunrise at Waldorf Astoria Pedregal

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. Book your luxury stay here!

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 Resort & Spa Los Cabos Pool

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.

Turkish Coffee at Le Blanc Resort & Spa Los Cabos

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. Book your stay here!

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.

Sunrise at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos

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.

Best Resorts in Cabo San Lucas - Hammock at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos

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. Book your stay here!

For more information on the resort, make sure to read the full Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos review.

Cabo San Lucas Itinerary Daytrips

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.

Sunset view from Mount Solmar

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.

The Ultimate Cabo San Lucas Itinerary and 5 Best Day Trips from Cabo 77

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.

Sunrise at 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!

Sea Turtle on Espiritu Santo Island

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 Beach

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.

Balandra Beach Viewpoint

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!

El Hongo at Balandra Beach

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.

Bettina and Kyle at Sunrise at Balandra Beach

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.

River Near Santiago, Baja California

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.

Pin this post to your Mexico Travel Pinterest board to help you plan your trip to Cabo!


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How to Go Viral on Instagram: 3 Proven Strategies To Grow Thousands in 1 Week

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 Week and 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 Next Trip 3 Weeks Growth Chart

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:

  1. Post Viral Content and Use Instagram Reels
  2. Have High Engagement Right After Posting
  3. 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!

How to Go Viral on Instagram

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Why You Want to Go Viral on Instagram

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!

The Next Trip Instagram Growth March 9 - 15, 2021

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.

3 Strategies to Go Viral on Instagram by The Next Trip

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.

Bettina Analyzing Instagram Growth Insights

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.

https://www.tiktok.com/@thenexttrip/video/6940290851696282886?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v3

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.

The Next Trip Greece Instagram Feed

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.

The Next Trip Mar Y Vino Reel Comment

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.

How to Go Viral on Instagram: 3 Proven Strategies To Grow Thousands in 1 Week 83

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).

Instagram Insights Most Active Times

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.

Banned Hashtag #beautyblogger

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.

Instagram Caption Ask to Tag Someone

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.

Taking an Iphone Photo of Interior Decor

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.

Instagram Insights of Post Reach

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!


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Ultimate Icefields Parkway and Jasper Itinerary for a Winter Weekend Getaway

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.

Jasper National Park Sunset

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.

Jasper Mountains Snow

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 Crimson Hotel Main Entrance Jasper

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.

Lobby at the Crimson Hotel in Jasper

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.

Hotel Room at the Crimson Hotel in 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.

Toyota Tacoma Icefields Parkway in Snow

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.

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls in Winter

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.

Sunwapta Falls

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.

Sunwapta Falls in Winter

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.

Columbia Icefield

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.

Athabasca Glacier Princess Dress

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

Ice Climbers at Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park

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.

Ultimate Icefields Parkway and Jasper Itinerary for a Winter Weekend Getaway 88

Tours are available starting at 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 6:00 PM, and take approximately 3 hours. For more in-depth information on the Maligne Canyon Icewalk, check out our blog post on the best things to do in Jasper in winter, or the Maligne Canyon Icewalk website for the most up to date information.

Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour Key Information

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.

Dining Room at Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen

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.

Outdoor firepit at Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen

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

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.

Moose in Jasper National Park

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!

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Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper

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.

Pyramid Island on Pyramid Lake in Jasper in Fall

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.

Elk in Jasper National Park

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: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 93

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.

Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 94

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.

Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 95
Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 96

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!

Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 97

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.

Location: Pyramid Lake Loop Trailhead

Winter at Pyramid Lake Resort

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.

Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 93

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.

Pyramid Island

Pyramid Lake Island Bridge

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.

Pyramid Lake in Jasper in Winter

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.

Pyramid Lake Resort: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to Jasper 99

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!


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Best Campervan Rental to Try Out Vanlife: Cabana Vans

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!

Best Campervan Rental to Try Out Vanlife

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!

Cabana Van Vanlife setup at sunset at Alabama Hills in California

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.

Cabana Van on the road in front of towering Alabama Hills in California

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).

We tested a Cabana van for 5 days from their Los Angeles location to check out their version of vanlife, and boy are we hooked! Of course, we already know what vanlife or camperlife is all about as we have lived on the road for months in the United States and Canada, exploring the waterfalls of Oregon and the loneliest road in Nevada, the best slot canyons in Utah, and more hidden places in Utah. But the Cabana vans are different from our pop-up camper and come with more comforts than we could have imagined.

Cabana Van Parked at Death Valley at Sunset

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.

Cabana Van Queen size Bed with Revelgear String Lights and Blankets

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.

Interior of Cabana Van showing kitchen, bed, and bathroom

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.

Interior of Cabana van showing the shower, bathroom, and kitchen

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.

Drinking Cabana Van coffee in a van looking at the mountain view at sunrise

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.

Cooking dinner outdoors with Cabana Van kitchenette

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.

View from the Cabana Van of Girls twirling in Nature

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.

Cabana Van parked outside Death Valley at Sunset

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.

Best Campervan Rental to Try Out Vanlife: Cabana Vans 104

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.

View from Cabana Van bed of Alabama Hills, California

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.