Things to Do in Vancouver on a Rainy Day

When you’re visiting a city like Vancouver, so known for rain that its nickname is “Raincouver”, you need to be prepared for indoor activities on your trip. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Having been to Vancouver several times now, I can honestly say there was never a visit without at least a little bit of rain. It taught me a thing or two about things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day.

Whether you don’t mind the rain or want to stay dry inside, here’s a list of things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. But, before we get into that, let’s go over a few things you need to know to make your visit the most enjoyable.

What makes Vancouver special?

Its natural beauty and wide array of activities is what makes Vancouver such an ideal place to visit in Canada. In fact, Vancouver has been featured on many lists’ top cities to live again and again for its mix of nature and urban elements. With its beaches, mountains, forests history, food, culture and art, you won’t find anything that’s not to love about this city, maybe with the exception of its rain of course.

See also: Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

When is the best time to visit Vancouver?

The Summer brings Vancouver’s warmest and sunniest weather. It’s also most people’s favorite time to visit hence the crowds and price increases. If you want to avoid this, another great time to visit is during Vancouver’s “shoulder season” which is the period before or after Summer. But, be prepared for rain.

When does it rain the most in Vancouver?

Vancouver’s rainiest time of year is November, December and January. However, the rain season is typically from October to June.

How to get around Vancouver when it’s raining

When it’s not the weather for a bike or boat ride, you can catch a Taxi, Uber or Lyft which Vancouver just introduced into the city in 2020. There’s also the sea bus, bus or rapid transit. See here for public transit.

What to wear in Vancouver on a rainy day

Vancouver’s weather can be quite unpredictable. One day, you could walk out of your hotel on a sunny, warm day. The next, you might need a raincoat and umbrella. Dress knowing that it could rain at any moment. Rather than walking around in clunky rainboots, opt for vinyl boots with rubber soles or leather boots. Wear a waterproof coat or, pack a light, foldable poncho which you can throw in your bag.

Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day

Here are a few things to get you out the house/your hotel room during the rainy days in Vancouver. You’ll find both outdoor and indoor things to do in Vancouver in the rain.

Where to spend the afternoon outside in the rain in Vancouver

If you don’t mind the rain…

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park | North Vancouver

With its history, various restaurants, shops, breathtaking sights and adventures, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a destination which you could easily spend the entire day at. At the beginning of your visit, you’ll be given a map which acts as a passport.

It’s fun to see how many stamps you can collect at all the different stops. Walk the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge or Cliff Walk which is suspended over canyons. You can also learn about BC nation’s first people at Kia’palano or, have a treehouse adventure in the rainforest amidst 1,300 year old Douglas-firs. Then, grab a bite to eat or sip at one of the park’s coffeehouses, restaurant or bars.

Related tour: Vancouver & Capilano Suspension Bridge Sightseeing: Half-Day

Just make sure to wear waterproof shoes, a decent rain jacket and have a waterproof cover for any bags.

Capilano Suspension Park, "Cliff Walk" in Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Park, “Cliff Walk”

Grouse Mountain | North Vancouver

If you want to take “adventure” to new heights, spend the day at Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain and explore the scenary, animals and activities that await you. You’ll start off riding Grouse Grind, a gondola that takes you up the mountain.

Up there, you can do fun things like go on a beautiful hike, ziplining, a rope course, see grizzly bears, ride in the sky on Eye of the Wind, play disc golf, catch an indoor show, or outdoor shows like the lumberjack show or “Birds in Motion”. You can even take a chairlift or hike up the mountain which overlooks all of Vancouver and is beautiful at sunset.

Standing atop Grouse Mountain in Vancouver
Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Spend the afternoon in Stanley Park | Downtown

Back on sea level, take in the fresh air and beautiful views that Vancouver has to offer at Stanley Park, North America’s third largest park and Vancouver’s first and largest park. This gives you an opportunity to experience mountains, water and a rain forest all at once.

Enjoy the park’s sights with a relaxing bike ride or skate along the Seawall, a 5.5 mile waterfront path along English Bay and Vancouver Harbour. You’ll pass popular spots like Lion’s Gate Bridge, beaches, monuments like “Siwash Rock”, Lumbermen’s Arch, Prospect Point and the First Nations peoples’ totem poles, which are BC’s most visited tourist attraction. Check out Stanley Park’s maps to see where you want to start first.

Biking through Stanley Park in Vancouver on a rainy day
Stanley Park, Vancouver

Lunch at Teahouse Restaurant | Stanley Park at Ferguson Point

Located at Ferguson Point, this quaint restaurant with idyllic views is the perfect reprieve after a day of exploring in Stanley Park. Enjoy lovely views of English Bay from the dining room while enjoying West Coast cuisine.

Take a day trip from Vancouver to Seattle

Looking for another place to visit on your Vancouver trip? Check out Seattle, Washington, a city rich in history, delicious food, adventure, fun activities, and stunning scenery. It’s easy to get to with a relaxing train ride just over 3 hours!

Check out my guide to Seattle for foodie finds, places to see, things to do and where to stay!

Where to spend the afternoon inside on a rainy day in Vancouver

If you want to stay dry, here are a few indoor activities in Vancouver:

Vancouver Aquarium | Stanley Park, Downtown

While you’re in Stanley Park, take a break and head to the aquarium located inside. With over 60,000 animals like sea otters, penguins, bears, frogs, turtles and sharks as well as over 30 unique exhibits, you can experience environments and animals that range from the Arctic to the Tropics. The best part? You’ll be entertained for hours while staying dry.

Spa | Downtown

Give those tired feet a rest and book a treatment at JW Parq Vancouver. Then, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Aqua Lounge on the 17th floor.

Getting a spa treatment at JW Parq Vancouver Hotel on a rainy day in Vancouver
Spa, JW Parq Vancouver

Canada Place | Downtown

An iconic landmark on Vancouver’s waterfront, Canada Place stands out in the distance. Built to look like a sailing ship with sails reminiscent of Sydney’s Opera House, this building houses a Welcome Center, IMAX theater, convention center, hotel, numerous art exhibits, as well as Vancouver World Trade Center. It’s also a cruise ship terminal! I docked here for my Alaskan cruise.

At night, it’s unmistakable with its lit up and colorful sails. See it from Vancouver Lookout! Then, listen for the Heritage Horns that have been playing “O Canada” every day at noon for over 20 years.

Getting here: Come and go by riding the Skytrain via Waterfront Station or, take the the Seabus which is a ferry connecting North and Downtown Vancouver. They’re both located near Canada Place’s building.

FlyOver Canada | Canada Place, Downtown

What better way to spend a rainy day than with a virtual flight ride flying over Canada? Inspired by Disney’s Soarin’ Over California, FlyOver Canada, (located in Canada Place) takes you 62’ (19 m) into the air as the air is sprayed with mist, scents and wind to make the make you feel like you’re really flying! Not for those scared of heights.f

You can book below:

Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant | Downtown

I took my boyfriend to Top of Vancouver for his birthday and he loved it. But, you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy this beautiful lookout point and fine dining experience 553 feet (167m) above Vancouver. Enjoy a nice meal during the day when the sun is still out to catch stunning views of the mountains, rugged coastline and ocean then, watch the city light up the night sky as you enjoy your cocktail and dessert. Make a reservation in advance, dress your best and get ready to be impressed.

Having dinner at Top of Vancouver -  things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day
Having dinner at Top of Vancouver

Granville Island Public Market | Granville Island

At Granville Public Market, you’ll find boutique shops, restaurants, food shops that sell organic baked goods, fresh seafood, spices, wine & spirits as well as patisseries, butchers and farmers markets with fresh, locally grown produce.

Vancouver Public Library | Downtown

Resembling the Roman Colosseum, Vancouver’s Public Library is a work of art and the perfect place to hideaway on a rainy day/ Relax with a book as you enjoy the natural light brought in from the floor to ceiling windows and the almost 360 degree views of the city. You’ll find reading and study areas that are accessible through skylit bridge walkways as well as a greenroof on the 9th floor.

Watch a Soccer game at BC Place | Downtown

Proud soccer fan? Watch Vancouver Whitecaps FC play at BC Place. Their season is from February to October.

Watching a soccer game at BC Place
BC Place, Whitecaps FC Soccer Game

Brunch at Honey Salt | Downtown

Head inside the beautiful and sweet smelling JW Parq Vancouver Hotel for some brunch, lunch or rose all day at Honey Salt. There you can have custom made crepes made right at your table.

Bill Reid Gallery | Downtown

Take some time out of your rainy day in Vancouver to experience the culture of the Pacific Northwest at Bill Reid Gallery which displays art at its museum and gallery beautifully. In fact, the Bill Reid Gallery is Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to contemporary art showcasing the Indigenous Northwest Coast and its people. The gallery’s goal is to bridge the gap between cultures including the indigenous and others who have settled here.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden | Chinatown

Head to Chinatown and visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Here, you’ll learn about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and the history of ancient Chinese culture. You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back into time and the era of the Ming Dynasty as you stroll the idyllic garden, which is the first authentic, full scale Chinese garden build outside of China. It’s become a way to honor the culture of the Chinese Canadian community.

Exploring Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Yaletown Brewing Company | Yaletown

This is Vancouver’s original brewpub and many argue, it’s best. To make a birthday celebration extra special, they’ll even shoot confetti at you. But, if it’s not your birthday, you can still enjoy brew bites like wings, pizza, fries, burgers and of course, beer.

Shop at CF Pacific Centre | Downtown

Take time for some retail therapy at Downtown Vancouver’s largest mall. With over 100 stores on 3 floors, you’re sure to walk out of CF Pacific Centre with something you like.

Catch a show at Orpheum Theatre | Downtown

A designated National Heritage site, Orpheum Theatre seats 2,688 guests and houses The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Bach Choir, and Vancouver Cantata Singers. If you’ve heard of “Orpheum Theatre” before it’s because their theaters can be found worldwide. In addition to choir and orchestra performances, you can also catch concerts from your favorite artists.

Stroll the Gastown District

Vancouver’s Gastown district has lots of charm and character but also, history. This is the city’s original settlement and the core of Vancouver. Try one of the many delicious foodie finds in the area, shop at one of the boutique stores, enjoy the architecture covering 12 city blocks and don’t forget to stop by and take a pic of the steam clock and other monuments you’re sure to pass by.

Exploring Gastown District of Vancouver
Gastown District

Where to enjoy nightlife in Vancouver in the rain

Casino | Downtown

Feelin’ lucky? Head to Parq Vancouver’s swanky casino and put your money where your mouth is. Play at one of their tables, slots or high limit salons.

Have a laugh at a comedy club

For something different than the typical night life scene, step inside one of Vancouver’s comedy clubs and have a laugh. Try The Comedy Mix, a club that’s been around for years and currently trying to find a new home in the city. It has hysterical stand up acts and reasonably priced apps and drinks.

Unwind at a Hookah Lounge

For a fun night out, try Kayan Shisha Café, a hookah lounge in Burnaby, B.C. You can also dine there or have a drink.

Vancouver views from Stanley Park
Vancouver views from Stanley Park

Don’t get the Vancouver rain hold you back

And there you have it… Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, whether you don’t mind the rain or would rather stay dry, inside. We hope you got some great ideas! Don’t let the weather stop you from having a great time in this wonderful city.


8 Day Sicily Itinerary – Travel Dudes

Sicily is of course a part of Italy and is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a host of attractions that make it famous. This stunning island is one of the twenty regions of Italy and is famous for such things as Mount Etna, The Roman Theatre of Taormina, as well as the bustling city of Palermo—which is an attraction in its own right and should definitely be included on your Sicily itinerary.

Sicily is an island that has the perfect combination of beautiful landscapes, fantastic beaches, incredible cuisine as well as one of Europe’s best climates, so it’s no wonder that this island is a favorite among travelers and holidaymakers.

So, let us show you what an 8 day Sicily itinerary could look like.

Exploring fishing villages on your Sicily itinerary
Traditional fishing village Aspra with colorful boats in Sicily. Depositphotos.com

Here’s how to plan an eight day Sicily itinerary

Let’s start off your Sicily trip in Palermo.

Day 1-3: Palermo

You will begin your dream trip to Sicily, by starting in the capital city of Palermo which is famous for its beautiful fountains and glorious piazzas. But mostly for its incredible food culture—which is one of the main reasons you’re in Italy right?

Sicilian cuisine is out of this world and attracts many people for this reason alone, and one of the major attractions you cannot overlook is the ancient La Vucciria food market. This market holds social significance within the city as well as playing a central role here. This iconic food market is where you can indulge in all kinds of delicious and local street food, experience locals enjoying the dolce vita as well as embrace the lively atmosphere, which makes this a standout spot.

To get here, make your way to Piazza Caracciolo, Palermo anytime between 7 am and 7 pm Monday – Saturday. Palermo is an ideal spot to try some famous street food such as arancini (Italian rice balls) and sfincione (Sicilian pizza), as well as take a cooking class to learn the secrets behind these mouthwatering recipes. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to try the famous beef spleen sandwich known as pani ca meusa.

With full bellies, you are ready to take on some of Palermo’s best attractions over these few days.

  • Cattedrale di Palermo: This impressive Roman Catholic church dates back to 1185, and is a fantastic building of great significance within the city. It’s open Mon-Sat from 7am-7pm and Sun from 8am-7pm.
  • Palazzo Dei Normanni: This is by far one of the best-preserved examples of Arabic-Norman-Byzantine architecture and can be visited Mon-Sat from 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Sun from 8:30 am-12:30 pm.
  • Teatro Massimo: The largest opera house in Italy and the third-largest in the world.

If you find yourself with time on your hands and are looking for more things to do, then make sure to add these optional attractions to your list.

  • St John of the Hermits: A medieval Norman church with impressive Arab-Norman architecture. You can visit Mon-Sat from 9:30am-6:30am and Sun from 9:30am-1:30pm.
  • The Ballaro market: Another market to experience more delicious Sicilian food as well as clothing. You can find some mouthwatering fruit, cheeses, fresh fish, and local vegetables. Mon-Sat 7:30 am-8:30pm/Sun 7:30am-2pm.
Palermo, Sicily
View of Palermo with old houses and monuments. Depositphotos.com

Day 3-5: Taormina

Today, you will leave Palermo and follow the north coast towards Taormina, stopping off at Cefalu—a stunning hamlet by the sea—before continuing to the east coast of the island. Taormina is a fantastic resort town, which is definitely worth a visit. On your first evening, make sure to take a stroll down the bustling main street of Corso Umberto and pick a bar or restaurant to spend at for the evening.

After dinner, why not take in an open-air performance at the Greek Theatre which dates back to the 3rd Century—guaranteed to be a great experience, as well as provide insatiable views of the famous Mt Etna in the distance.

The next day, there are a host of activities you can enjoy in this beautiful coastal town, including:

  • Relaxing on one of the beaches such as Isola Bella.
  • Enjoying the panoramic view from Piazza IX Aprile, which has the best view of the city and Mt Etna and is, of course, open 24 hours a day to enjoy.
  • Chiesa Madonna Della Rocco for more incredible city and sea views, a peaceful haven to relax and the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of local wine. Mon-Sun 8:30am-7pm.
  • Alcantara Gorge, which is a 50-minute drive from Taormina and is a geological marvel, as well as the perfect place to visit to see glorious waterfalls and take a refreshing dip in the Alcantara River.

Spend your second evening in Palermo listening to live music and enjoying some delicious Italian cuisine in town.

Tip: The Godfather fans can visit a few of the movie’s film locations in the town of Savoca, just outside Taormina, which was used as the fictional town of Corleone.

Taormina, Sicily
Taormina, Sicily, Italy. Beautiful ancient theatre of Taormina. Ancient Greek theatre, ruins of significant landmark. Amazing view of Etna volcano from the auditorium. Fantastic cityscape of Taormina. Depositphotos.com

Day 5-6: Catania

After breakfast, you will leave Taormina and head to Catania. However, you will of course be stopping at one of the most famous attractions on the island along the way–Mount Etna. This active stratovolcano is the tallest volcano in Europe and attracts many visitors to marvel at the sheer sight of this natural attraction. You can either take on the Mt Etna trail, which is around a 1-hour return and is of medium grade, or you can simply spend some time enjoying the views and the endless photo opportunities before continuing to Catania.

Related read: The World’s Most Famous Volcanoes

Note: While Italy is generally not an unsafe place to visit, you should be aware of pickpockets and petty theft, especially in touristy areas, so be vigilant and take care of your valuables in places such as this.

Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and is a place that you just cannot overlook on your Sicily itinerary planning. When arriving, expect to be greeted by a fantastic view of Mount Etna, which forms the iconic backdrop of this stunning city. Here you will spend the evening absorbing the atmosphere of the city in all its glory, which is apparent at the Piazza Duomo.

The following day you will have the whole day to explore the city’s sights, including:

  • Palazzo Biscari: Visit this marvelous palace for its incredible Catanese Baroque architecture, complete with stunning frescos. Given that this historic location is now being used for concerts, check their website for upcoming unmissable events. Mon-Sun 10am-1pm.
  • The Cathedral of Catania: This beautiful and historic cathedral is centrally located, so there is no reason to miss out on seeing the wonderful baroque architecture which makes this so popular. Be on the lookout for the domed roof, the columned facade, and the numerous frescoes that can be admired for hours. Dedicated to the patron saint of Catania, St Agatha, whose festival is held from February 3rd – 5th. Mon-Sat 10:30am-12pm/4pm-5:30pm, closed Sundays.

During your time sightseeing in Catania, make sure to refresh yourself with a cold and fruity beverage from one of the historic Catania kiosks which date back to the 1800s and are found in many of the piazzas, especially Piazza Umberto. Enjoy another beautiful evening in Catania, with a delicious local dinner of Pasta Alla Norma (pasta and eggplant) and a stunning sunset over Mount Etna, as you take in all you have encountered today, as part of your 8 day Sicily itinerary.  

A kiosk in Catania, Sicily
A kiosk in Catania, Sicily. Depositphotos.com

Day 6-8: Siracusa

Today, after a fresh and tasty Italian breakfast, alongside some world-famous coffee, you will set yourself up for the day and make your way to Siracusa, which is an ideal spot to discover its attractions as well as being close to some major stop-off points too. On your way here, you can stop at the archeological site of Agrigento, which is one of the most significant historical sites on the whole island. After marveling at the various mesmerizing ruins, you will continue to Siracuse, where more adventure awaits.

On your first day in Siracusa, you will get the chance to discover many things, including:

  • The Fontana Diana at the Piazza Archimed: Dating back to 1907, this is a major feature in the city of Siracusa, which is dedicated to the Goddess, Diana.
  • Ortigia, which is accessed via a bridge and is famous for its incredible Baroque style Piazza del Duomo–one of the best in Italy.

On your second day in Siracusa, you will visit Modica, which is a haven for the sweet tooth, given that it is famous for the Modica chocolates—which you can taste and, of course, take home. This town is famed for its beautiful array of historic buildings, its chocolate museum, and its tiny narrow, picturesque streets.

You will spend the rest of the day as you please, wandering this beautiful hilly town, before making your way back to Catania for your last evening in Sicily, closing off your fantastic 8 day Sicily itinerary.

Siracusa, Sicily island
Siracusa, Sicily island, Italy: Night view of the fountain of Arethusa, Ortigia, Syracuse, a historic city on the island of Sicily, Italy. Depositphotos.com

Planning your trip to Sicily

If you’re a traveler that likes to give back to the community, make sure to book your trip with Baboo Travel. You can rest easy knowing that your well-earned money has gone towards community projects, combatting climate change as well as empowering the locals to thrive. And, at the same time, you’ll have a dedicated Destination Expert on hand from start to finish to make sure your Sicily itinerary is exactly as you hoped, with local experiences and knowledge thrown in.

Take the hassle and stress out of planning, save yourself hours of time and research, and make the eco-friendly choice to travel to Sicily with a tailor-made trip created by Baboo and the experts.


How to Explore the Best of Paris in a Day

Can a city as big and beautiful as Paris be explored in a day?

Sure! If you know where you’re going, that is.

If you’re short on time in the city of lights, we’ve got the perfect itinerary for you to explore the best of Paris in a day! From visiting the top Paris landmarks to squeezing in a few quintessential Parisian experiences into your day.

See also: Winter in Paris: A Unique Guide to Exploring the City of Lights

Paris in a day itinerary

When we say you can explore Paris in a day, we mean visiting the most popular landmarks in the city. Many of them are within easy commuting distance and can be visited within a few hours—you just need to know what order to visit them in!

First off, start your day early by going for a morning walk along the city streets and look for a quaint French café for breakfast. A typical French breakfast is light and fairly simple—and usually something sweet! To make the most of your day in Paris, opt for a coffee/tea and a delicious pastry of your choice.

Check out our guide on Paris for Beginners: Where and What to Eat, See or Do

After breakfast, it’s time to head out for a Paris in a day tour. Here are the top landmarks and tourist sites to check out on your day tour of Paris:

1.      Montmarte

Start your Paris in a day tour at Montmarte, a large hill in the 18th arrondissement (here’s our guide on the Paris arrondissements). This charming quarter (near Abbesses Metro station) is famous for being a square of artists and for the Sacré-Coeur Church.

You’ll find many open-air art galleries and museums with works from Renoir, Picasso, Dalí, and Toulouse Lautrec.

Montmarte Paris
Montmarte Paris

2.      See the Opéra Garnier and Place Vendôme

Opéra Garnier and the Place Vendôme are about a 10-minute walk from each other. Opéra Garnier is a 19th-century theater art architecture. You can visit the 1,979-seat opera house for a guided tour inside to witness the beautiful masterpiece.

Place Vendôme is one of the city’s most famous squares. It currently houses famous high-end stores, such as Dior, Chanel or Cartier.

See also: Wine, Dine and Shopping Tips for Opera in Paris

3.      The Louvre

The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world and one of the most popular and iconic landmarks in the city. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

If you have the time, you can join a tour of The Louvre, but waiting times are often long. So, if you’re only exploring Paris in a day, then you may only have time to walk about the outside and take a few classic photos.

The Louvre in Paris, France
The Louvre in Paris, France

4.      Notre-Dame Cathedral

While the Notre-Dame Cathedral is still under renovation after the 2019 fire, you can still see the iconic Cathedral from the outside.

5.      Les Invalides

Another popular landmark, Les Invalides was built in 1670 to 1676 as a place of retirement for French war veterans. Today, it contains museums and monuments relating to the military history of France.

6.      Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais

The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge over the Seine of Paris. It connects the Invalides with the Champs-Elysées and is one of the most ornate, extravagant bridges in the city.

The bridge leads to Grand Palais on the right bank. Grand Palais is a historic site, exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées.

Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III

7.      The Champs-Elysées Avenue

The Champs-Elysées Avenue is a 1.9-kilometre avenue running between the Place de la Concorde in the east and the Place Charles de Gaulle in the west, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. This famous street is known for its cafes and luxury shops. A stroll down the Champs-Elysées is a must for all first-time visitors to Paris.

Tour Paris in a day
Sam Driver in Paris Car Tour Paris with Flora Goldenberg Tour Guide and Sam Driver

8.      Eiffel Tower

What better way to end your day than visiting the Eiffel Tower? Whether you just see the bottom area to witness the grand tower up close or choose to go up to the top, you can’t leave the city without a classic selfie with the Eiffel Tower.

Don’t forget to eat

While doing your Paris in a day tour, lookout for a classic Parisian restaurant to stop at for lunch. Or, look for a quaint bakery to pick up a few goodies for a picnic if the weather is good. Check out our guide on food in Paris for some inspiration.

After your day of exploring, you’ll be hungry. Trendy restaurants in the city often require reservations weeks, if not months in advance. So, unless you planned to trip in advance, you may be better off strolling along the city streets looking for restaurants with an open table (hopefully a good one!)

Street cafe in France
Stop for lunch at a Paris café

Save the hassle of getting around on your own and book a car tour

Getting to grips with using the Paris metro is enough to delay your exploring, so why not book a car tour Paris and reduce the stress of getting around the city on your own.

Tour Guide Paris has partnered up with a driver called Sam to deliver high-end car tours in the city of lights. The four-hour tour is in a Mercedes car (Class V: 6 seats / Class E or Class S: 2 seats) and includes the driver and a tour guide to take you to all the above-listed landmarks and sightseeing spots.

Travelling around the city by car isn’t easy with the eco-friendly laws in the city, and many roads are closed off and only accessible to taxis and delivery vehicles. Luckily, Sam has a special Taxi + VTC license that allows you to navigate the streets of historic Paris and see the Louvre and other historical attractions.

Book your Paris car tour with Sam.

Car Tour Paris with Sam
Car Tour Paris with Sam


Recommended Day Trips from Darwin

Darwin is the gateway to the rest of the Northern Territory. There are many day trips from Darwin that are well worth exploring. The city provides a base for day trips to explore the ‘Top End’ of the Australia.

While there are many things to do in Darwin, there are also many nearby attractions to explore.

Keep on reading to find out more.

Take your pick of the below day trips from Darwin

Darwin is the perfect base for exploring North Australia, here are the top day trips from Darwin

Berry Springs Nature Park

Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular and picturesque area for picnics and is a great swimming spot. Use goggles to spot native fish and other aquatic life that live in the clear pools. The picnic area is a good base from which to take a walk through the monsoon forest and woodlands. Bring your binoculars if you’re keen on bird watching. This park is located around 50km south of Darwin. It has a kiosk. It can be closed for swimming during the wet season.

Litchfield National Park 

Litchfield National Park is 1,500 square kilometres situated an hour-and-a-half drive from Darwin. The Park includes a lot of the Tabletop Range, which is a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. Stay for the day or for the more adventurous stay for two or three days. The monsoon season lasts from October to May, the rest of the year is a good time to visit as the waterfalls flow more gently, making the waterholes perfect spots for a cool dip.

Main attractions include permanent spring fed waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi), cascades at Buley Rockhole, magnetic termite mounds, and a wildlife cruise along the majestic Reynolds River.

Join this full day tour to Litchfield National Park from Darwin.

Territory Wildlife Park

Territory Wildlife Park is a world acclaimed attraction, only 45 minutes drive from Darwin. Highlights include an impressive aquarium, a daily birds-of-prey display, nocturnal house and the bird walk. Learn fascinating facts about reptiles at the reptile display and explore a representation of Darwin’s river systems, from the escarpment to the mangroves on the coast. 

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is the largest national park in Australia. It contains one of the highest concentrated areas of aboriginal rock art sites in the world, the most famous being at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr. 

Join this day trip to Kakadu National Park from Darwin.

Kakadu National Park - day trips from Darwin, Australia
Kakadu National Park

Katherine 

Where the outback meets the tropics. Situated about 300km south of Darwin. The township is situated on the banks of the Katherine River, which flows down from the world-renowned Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park). There are incredibly diverse landscapes and unique ecosystems set the scene for outback adventure activities like fishing, canoeing, bushwalking, birdwatching, camping and four-wheel driving. 

Join this Katherine Gorge & Edith Falls full-day tour from Darwin.

Day trips from Darwin - Katherine River
Katherine Gorge, Australia

Casuarina Coastal Reserve 

Just 20 minutes drive from the city, the Casuarina Coastal Reserve comprises sandy beaches fringed by Casuarina trees and sandstone cliffs. The Reserve protects areas of cultural significance, including Old Man Rock, a registered Aboriginal sacred site. The Reserve also features a large grassy area with barbeques and tables.

There are many day trips from Darwin to explore the many wonders for North Australia! While you’re in Darwin, make sure to visit Darwin’s Popular Roadkill Cafe.


A Week in Barcelona | 7 Day Itinerary

Barcelona is one of the best city destinations in Europe, that can offer something for every kind of traveller to enjoy. From breathtaking architecture to world-renowned restaurants and miles of sandy beaches, it has everything you could need for a fantastic holiday!

The only issue you face when coming to Barcelona is that there is just so much to choose from, it can be hard to fit it all in. That’s why it’s important to plan your trip wisely, so that you don’t miss out on the best bits. So, here’s our useful guide to spending a week in Barcelona.

Check out our Barcelona 7 day itinerary.

How to spend a week in Barcelona

Day 1: The Old Town

The Ciutat Vella, or Old Town, is one of the most popular parts of the city for visitors. A visit to this area, with its winding narrow roads and old buildings, feels like travelling back in time!

A week in Barcelona - Ciutat Vella
Ciutat Vella

There is a mix of gothic and neo-gothic architecture in the aptly named Gothic Quarter, we recommend visiting the Barcelona Cathedral and the Ancient Synagogue, believed to be one of the oldest in Europe. 

Head across from the Gothic Quarter to the El Born neighbourhood, to see the Santa Maria del Mar Basilica, and to visit one of the many artisan workshops and fashion boutiques selling local goods. 

The Old Town is also home to La Rambla, which is on many visitors to do lists in Barcelona. On this iconic street you can find the La Boqueria Food Market, perfect for a wander round to sample the delicious fresh fruit, tapas, or meats. 

See also The Best Viewpoints in Barcelona.

Day 2: Modernist Barcelona

Barcelona is famed for its Catalan Modernism style of art, championed by architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domenech i Muntaner

We recommend a stroll up the Passeig de Gràcia street, which is lined with designer shops such as Chanel and Prada, but also the breathtaking Casa Batlló and La Pedrera buildings. From here you’ll also stumble across the Quadrat d’or, a square mile brimming with eye-catching modernist mansions. 

See also Unique Things to do in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló (Unsplash)
Casa Batlló (Unsplash)

Day 3: Beach or Park Day

Barcelona has a glorious year-round climate; it would be rude not to get out and enjoy it! The city has nine beaches that stretch over five kilometres, so there’s a selection of sunbathing spots to choose from. Our favourite beach in Barcelona is Nova Icària, which is a peaceful beach with a great range of sports facilities, including volleyball and paddleboarding

If you’re not in the mood for swimming costumes and sand, the Ciutadella Park is where many locals come to relax at weekends. It is a beautiful, green oasis in the heart of the city, with a lake, fountain, palm trees, and much more. 

See also Water Sports in Barcelona.

Ciutadella park, Barcelona (pexels)
Ciutadella park, Barcelona (pexels)

Day 4: Hop on, Hop off Bus

Give your legs a rest and get to see all the sights of the city by hopping on one of Barcelona’s tour buses of the best landmarks. This allows you to discover places that could be harder to get to alone, such as the Olympic Stadium and Museum on Montjuïc, or the Poble Espanyol, which is a model village museum. 

The best stop off of all is the Sagrada Familia, one of the most famous churches in the world. It is famously uncompleted, but still such a breathtaking experience. Getting in during peak season is likely going to be busy and require queueing, but the exterior is free to see!

Book your ticket here.

The Sagrada Familia (pexels) in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia (pexels)

Day 5: Tapas and drinks

Barcelona is a foodie paradise. It has an enormous selection of tapas bars, fine dining restaurants, and fresh food markets, to whet the tastebuds of any visitor to the city! We recommend a visit to the El Born neighbourhood, which is jam packed with excellent bars and restaurants – try Bona Sort for tapas and Bar Sauvage for a late-night cocktail. 

See also Cheap Tapas Bars in Barcelona.

Tapas, Barcelona (unsplash)
Tapas, Barcelona (unsplash)

If you’re wanting to take some edible souvenirs back for your friends (or yourself!) take a visit to the Santa Caterina Market or the Mercat de la Llibertat in Gràcia. These are the best places to pick up some Spanish specialties, such as jamon serrano, locally made olive oil, or a bottle of vermouth. 

Day 6: Museum visits

For art-lovers, there are few better places than the Catalan capital. Aside from being a piece of living art itself through the city’s architecture, there are also several fascinating art museums to visit too. Take a trip to the Picasso Museum, which showcases some of the legendary artist’s most famous pieces. Another iconic artist hailing from Barcelona, Joan Miró, also has a museum dedicated to him of his works, the Miró Foundation

See also The Most Unusual Museums in Barcelona.

Picasso Museum, Barcelona
Picasso Museum, Barcelona

There are two contemporary art centres worth visiting in Barcelona: the MACBA (contemporary art museum of Barcelona) and the CCCB (centre for contemporary culture). These centres display artwork from modern and emerging artists from Spain and beyond. 

Day 7: Parc Güell and Tibidabo

End your week in Barcelona on a high – quite literally high above the city! To the north of the city, up on the mountains, you can find the fascinating Tibidabo. Visit the beautiful Sacred Heart Church, which can be seen from below all over the city and unleash your inner child at the Tibidabo Amusement Park just next to it. This is the oldest theme park in Spain, and one of the oldest in Europe, being built way back in 1901!

Head down the mountain and end your day at Gaudí’s iconic Park Güell. This whimsical park is jam packed with architecture and colours, and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over beautiful Barcelona. Book your ticket online.

See also Things to Do in Barcelona: Our Barcelona Activity Guide.

Park Güell, Barcelona
Park Güell, Barcelona

Check out more of our tips for spending a week in Barcelona


3 Day Self-Guided Michigan Brewery Road Trip

Craft brewing has never been bigger in the United States, and there are a few states which really stand out as masters of the microbrew.

Surrounded by Great Lakes and beautiful Midwest landscapes, Michigan boasts over 120 craft brewers, including several national and world beer competition winners.

Making it a great idea to do a Michigan brewery road trip!

Read on to get the perfect itinerary for exploring the many great breweries in Michigan.

Michigan brewery road trip
Michigan brewery road trip

How to plan a Michigan brewery road trip

For a road trip to remember, start out at Michigan’s southwest corner, and be prepared for frequent pit stops at the many micro and craft breweries along the way. Of course, you’ll need a designated driver – but be good sports and chip in for some bottles to go, so they can at least enjoy them later!

Day 1: Three Floyds

If you can, start your journey a bit west of Michigan (less than 1 hour) in Munster, Indiana – home of the esteemed Three Floyds Brewpub, one of the country’s most talented brewers.

As their 96% “world class” rating on Beer Advocate indicates, Three Floyds is famous for their hoppy brews, but they can seemingly do no wrong with whatever style they take on. Be sure to try some fan favorites like Dreadnaught, Gumballhead, and Zombie Dust, and fill up on some great bar food too, including top drawer burgers and deliciously crazy scotch eggs.

Day 1: Greenbush Brewing & The Livery

Continue your quest north into Michigan, stopping by Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer, MI) and The Livery (Benton Harbor, MI) for some samples on your way to one of the best breweries on the route – New Holland Brewing (Holland, MI).

Day 1: New Holland Brewing

New Holland has a well-established, big and well-lit brewpub (a contrast from dimly lit 3 Floyds) with a wide variety of craft brews on draft. Fortunately, you’ll be able to try nearly all of them by creating your own flights – a sampling of (usually 4 to 6) smaller sized beers.

Holland is a nice small town on the coast, great for walking, and with beautiful sandy beaches, so it makes a good place to stay for the night. If you’re travelling in group, opt for a Two Bedroom Suite at the Residence Inn in Holland, complete with indoor pool, barbecue grills, and complimentary breakfast.

Day 2: Founders Brewing Company

The next day, head east to Grand Rapids, MI and make your first stop at Founders Brewing Company.

Grab a full pint of one of their phenomenal breakfast stouts and sample a few others. Even the designated driver can have a taste, because you’ll be walking to the next must-visit brewery…

Day 2: HopCat

HopCat, the #3 brewpub in the world according to BeerAdvocate magazine. Hopefully you arrive around lunch time, because in addition to some awesome beer, HopCat has some great food (don’t miss the crack fries).

Day 2: Jolly Pumpkin Artisanal Ales

There are three more important breweries to visit before the trek is complete. Continue east a couple hours to lovely Ann Arbor, Michigan, which has become even lovelier now that Jolly Pumpkin Artisanal Ales has a brewpub here.

Jolly Pumpkin specializes in interesting, complex beer styles that many brewers don’t even attempt. Their Oro de Calabaza ale has won several awards and has been lauded as the best non-Belgian Belgian beer you can find. Enjoy a night of food and drink, and shack up in Ann Arbor for the night.

Day 3: Dark Horse Brewing Company & Bell’s Brewery

Finally, on the last day of the Michigan brewery road trip, head back west, stopping by two very prestigious midwest craft brewers – Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, MI) and Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI).

Both of these breweries have a wide range of beers to sample – Bell’s has succeeded to perfect many of the standard American styles, while Dark Horse tends to be more experimental, often incorporating fruit into their process.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a dedicated driver, you can always book a Michigan brewery tour. Here’s a few options.

Looking for more things to do in Michigan? Check out this post:


Costa Rica 7 Day Itinerary: Visit the Nicoya Peninsula

Looking to book your next adventure? Or simply want to escape reality?

Look no further than the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – a standout Central American country.

It thrives on passion for life; perhaps its most appealing attribute, and boasts a vibrant display of jungle and coastline which is home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife.

And the best part is that you can see it all in one week. 

Limited to seven days ourselves, and on a very tight budget, my sister and I flew into San Jose where we stayed for one night before catching the bus and ferry across to the west coast to Montezuma (on the east side of the peninsula).

This was our first stop on our Costa Rica itinerary.

Costa Rica itinerary

Montezuma

Our week in Costa Rica itinerary started off spending four days in Montezuma.

Where to stay in Montezuma 

Luz en el Cielo-Eco B&B/Hostel. This place is unreal. It costs between $16 – $20USD per night for a shared room, with cooked breakfast included. Not a bad price to pay for a clean hostel in a spectacular location-nestled in the colourful jungle and an arms throw from the beach and town. They also have private dorm rooms and cabanas.

The staff are great- extremely friendly and helpful, the showers are warm, and the hammocks are perfect for monkey and bird spotting.

Book your stay here.

What to see in Montezuma

Montezuma is the epitome of hippie. Just stroll 50 meters down to the main street from your hostel and you’ll see for yourself. It draws a multi-ethnic crowd of an artistic and beach-loving nature. Stalls decorated with hand-made crafts and jewelry line the street, sarongs and artwork are on display, and alfresco-beach style cafes bars and restaurants provide the perfect setting for you to partake in the continuous mellow party.

Costa Rica itinerary, Montezuma
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Montezuma itinerary

Day One: Hiking to waterfalls

You can’t visit Montezuma without hiking through the overgrown jungle to an opening where waterfalls tumble into large natural pools of cool, emerald water. There are two large waterfalls – the highest standing at around 14 meters tall, often seen with Tico’s diving from it head first into the water below.

For the sane and safe, though not lacking an adventurous side – a rope swing and smaller jumping rock provide an afternoon’s worth of fun. The easiest way to reach the waterfall is by following the dirt road bypassing town heading south. I do however suggest you take the other path off the beaten track and use the vines to hoist yourself up the steep parts of the jungle. It’s beautiful seeing it this way and the views are spectacular.

Leave yourself a full day for this as you may find yourself wanting to explore beyond the falls. 

Day Two: Day trip to Tortuga Island

Every day a trip to Tortuga Island leaves from Montezuma in the morning, taking you on a 40 minute boat ride across pristine waters to your destination. The boat stops at two large rocks just off the beach.

Here you will discover an incredible underwater world as you snorkel in the warm water before heading onto the main island for a feast of fresh fish, a game or two of volleyball and perhaps a jet-ski or banana boat ride. 

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica
Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Day Three: Secluded beach day

You may need a helping hand to find this one but its worth seeing if you can. A 15 minute walk north along the rocky beach will take you away from the populated main beach to a stunning, secluded spot enclosed by jungle and rocks.

You can spend the day soaking up the sun, rolling on the sleepy waves in the sea, and trekking a short way up the fresh water stream to a small opening for natural mud-masks and a massage under a waterfall.

This is the perfect spot to unwind, relax, read your book or just zone out and forget about your worries.

Day Four: Zip-lining through the treetops 

Spend your last day in Montezuma zip-lining through treetops of jungles alongside incredible wildlife on a canopy tour. This is awesome. Zip lining is like going on a flying fox, but you go faster, longer and you’re harnessed up. A perfect way to finish up your Montezuma experience.

Montezuma in Costa Rica
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa

Our next stop on our Costa Rica itinerary was Santa Teresa which sits on the west side of the peninsula. 

Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a long stretch of coastline, lined with restaurants, bars, small stores and jungle. It’s a surf-lover’s, yoga fanatic’s, photography guru’s utopia. There are so many hostels to choose from, though we chose to stay up the Northern end away from the main part of town which was perfect for us as we wanted our last couple of days to be peaceful.

Search for accommodation in Santa Teresa here.

What to see in Santa Teresa

It’s impossible to describe Santa Teresa in one word. It truly is an absolute paradise. Spend your morning and evenings walking 40 minutes to and from the other end of ‘town’ either along the beach or dirt road and you will stumble across some hidden treasures.

The beauty of Santa Teresa is that although it is defined by a long stretch of coastline, it is broken up into separate beaches by rocks and vibrant green trees, perfect if you want to steer clear of the main crowds.

Costa Rica Itinerary, Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa itinerary

Day Five: Walk through the town & beach

I would highly recommend you walk along the stretch of dirt road to town ducking into the many small stores they have full of sarongs, swimwear, jewelry, crafts and surf gear.

Stop for lunch at one of the many “soda’s” along the way which will set you back around $4USD depending on your café of choice.

There’s not much to see in the main part of town, so you may not want to spend your time looking around there. Instead I suggest you walk back along the beach and pick a beach front bar to settle on a hammock in and sip the afternoon away with a mojito in hand as you watch the sun set over the surfers.

Day Six: Hit the waves

Grab a surfboard from your closest hire shop and take to the waves. Though if you haven’t surfed before or if you are a beginner, make sure you don’t go alone as the currents are strong and rips are common in parts.

If you are experienced, this is an absolute haven for you as Santa Teresa is home to world-class waves, and many who have simply visited on a surfing holiday in the past have ended up staying. 

Book a surfing lesson in Santa Teresa here.

Day Seven: Relax on the beach

Spend your last day in paradise letting it unwind you, relax you and mellow out somewhere on the beach. Don’t forget your camera as the setting is perfect to get the perfect photo.

Pick a restaurant at night (Rocamar restaurant has a laidback vibe with beanbags and hammocks to laze about on), and let the music transform you into a state of bliss.

Exploring more of Costa Rica? Here’s a few tips:


Cost Rica 7 Day Itinerary: Visit the Nicoya Peninsula

Looking to book your next adventure? Or simply want to escape reality?

Look no further than the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – a standout Central American country.

It thrives on passion for life; perhaps its most appealing attribute, and boasts a vibrant display of jungle and coastline which is home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife.

And the best part is that you can see it all in one week. 

Limited to seven days ourselves, and on a very tight budget, my sister and I flew into San Jose where we stayed for one night before catching the bus and ferry across to the west coast to Montezuma (on the east side of the peninsula).

This was our first stop on our Costa Rica itinerary.

Costa Rica itinerary

Montezuma

Our week in Costa Rica itinerary started off spending four days in Montezuma.

Where to stay in Montezuma 

Luz en el Cielo-Eco B&B/Hostel. This place is unreal. It costs between $16 – $20USD per night for a shared room, with cooked breakfast included. Not a bad price to pay for a clean hostel in a spectacular location-nestled in the colourful jungle and an arms throw from the beach and town. They also have private dorm rooms and cabanas.

The staff are great- extremely friendly and helpful, the showers are warm, and the hammocks are perfect for monkey and bird spotting.

Book your stay here.

What to see in Montezuma

Montezuma is the epitome of hippie. Just stroll 50 meters down to the main street from your hostel and you’ll see for yourself. It draws a multi-ethnic crowd of an artistic and beach-loving nature. Stalls decorated with hand-made crafts and jewelry line the street, sarongs and artwork are on display, and alfresco-beach style cafes bars and restaurants provide the perfect setting for you to partake in the continuous mellow party.

Costa Rica itinerary, Montezuma
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Montezuma itinerary

Day One: Hiking to waterfalls

You can’t visit Montezuma without hiking through the overgrown jungle to an opening where waterfalls tumble into large natural pools of cool, emerald water. There are two large waterfalls – the highest standing at around 14 meters tall, often seen with Tico’s diving from it head first into the water below.

For the sane and safe, though not lacking an adventurous side – a rope swing and smaller jumping rock provide an afternoon’s worth of fun. The easiest way to reach the waterfall is by following the dirt road bypassing town heading south. I do however suggest you take the other path off the beaten track and use the vines to hoist yourself up the steep parts of the jungle. It’s beautiful seeing it this way and the views are spectacular.

Leave yourself a full day for this as you may find yourself wanting to explore beyond the falls. 

Day Two: Day trip to Tortuga Island

Every day a trip to Tortuga Island leaves from Montezuma in the morning, taking you on a 40 minute boat ride across pristine waters to your destination. The boat stops at two large rocks just off the beach.

Here you will discover an incredible underwater world as you snorkel in the warm water before heading onto the main island for a feast of fresh fish, a game or two of volleyball and perhaps a jet-ski or banana boat ride. 

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica
Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Day Three: Secluded beach day

You may need a helping hand to find this one but its worth seeing if you can. A 15 minute walk north along the rocky beach will take you away from the populated main beach to a stunning, secluded spot enclosed by jungle and rocks.

You can spend the day soaking up the sun, rolling on the sleepy waves in the sea, and trekking a short way up the fresh water stream to a small opening for natural mud-masks and a massage under a waterfall.

This is the perfect spot to unwind, relax, read your book or just zone out and forget about your worries.

Day Four: Zip-lining through the treetops 

Spend your last day in Montezuma zip-lining through treetops of jungles alongside incredible wildlife on a canopy tour. This is awesome. Zip lining is like going on a flying fox, but you go faster, longer and you’re harnessed up. A perfect way to finish up your Montezuma experience.

Montezuma in Costa Rica
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa

Our next stop on our Costa Rica itinerary was Santa Teresa which sits on the west side of the peninsula. 

Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a long stretch of coastline, lined with restaurants, bars, small stores and jungle. It’s a surf-lover’s, yoga fanatic’s, photography guru’s utopia. There are so many hostels to choose from, though we chose to stay up the Northern end away from the main part of town which was perfect for us as we wanted our last couple of days to be peaceful.

Search for accommodation in Santa Teresa here.

What to see in Santa Teresa

It’s impossible to describe Santa Teresa in one word. It truly is an absolute paradise. Spend your morning and evenings walking 40 minutes to and from the other end of ‘town’ either along the beach or dirt road and you will stumble across some hidden treasures.

The beauty of Santa Teresa is that although it is defined by a long stretch of coastline, it is broken up into separate beaches by rocks and vibrant green trees, perfect if you want to steer clear of the main crowds.

Costa Rica Itinerary, Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa itinerary

Day Five: Walk through the town & beach

I would highly recommend you walk along the stretch of dirt road to town ducking into the many small stores they have full of sarongs, swimwear, jewelry, crafts and surf gear.

Stop for lunch at one of the many “soda’s” along the way which will set you back around $4USD depending on your café of choice.

There’s not much to see in the main part of town, so you may not want to spend your time looking around there. Instead I suggest you walk back along the beach and pick a beach front bar to settle on a hammock in and sip the afternoon away with a mojito in hand as you watch the sun set over the surfers.

Day Six: Hit the waves

Grab a surfboard from your closest hire shop and take to the waves. Though if you haven’t surfed before or if you are a beginner, make sure you don’t go alone as the currents are strong and rips are common in parts.

If you are experienced, this is an absolute haven for you as Santa Teresa is home to world-class waves, and many who have simply visited on a surfing holiday in the past have ended up staying. 

Book a surfing lesson in Santa Teresa here.

Day Seven: Relax on the beach

Spend your last day in paradise letting it unwind you, relax you and mellow out somewhere on the beach. Don’t forget your camera as the setting is perfect to get the perfect photo.

Pick a restaurant at night (Rocamar restaurant has a laidback vibe with beanbags and hammocks to laze about on), and let the music transform you into a state of bliss.

Exploring more of Costa Rica? Here’s a few tips:


Milford Sound Day Trip: The Queenstown Conundrum

“Milford Sound day trip… if you’re debating it at all, you just gotta do it.”

This is the advice that we received from friends and family countless times before our recent trip to New Zealand.

At first, the phrasing of the statement didn’t make sense to me.  I had known for years that Milford Sound was regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and that several organizations and individuals, including Rudyard Kipling, had even proclaimed it to be the unofficial Eighth Wonder of the World.

Why would we be debating it? I thought.

Then, after getting to New Zealand and looking into ways to visit Milford Sound for myself, the question became a little more understandable.

Milford Sound day trip, New Zealand
Milford Sound cruise

How to get to Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fjord – a steep, narrow inlet that has been carved into the earth through glacial activity – situated in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. Though it is only 44 miles to the north west of New Zealand’s most popular tourist hub, Queenstown (as the crow flies), the steep canyon walls cause it to be accessible by only one road, the Milford Sound Highway, which runs 73 miles due North from the small town of Te Anau.

To access Milford Sound from Queenstown, it is a 178 mile drive, each way. Given the winding and undulating terrain, it is a drive that requires a full 5 hours to complete.

Some visitors to New Zealand are fortunate to have enough time that they can take a few extra days to stay in the small towns in and around Fjordland National Park, to enjoy Milford Sound and the surrounding area at a much more leisurely pace.

I have found that many more visitors are like me, however, having only enough time in their itinerary for them to get to Queenstown. It is in this situation that the debate surrounding a visit to Milford Sound comes to life.

Is a Milford Sound day trip worth it?

Is Milford Sound worth experiencing as a day trip, requiring a 5-hour drive in each direction, allowing only a couple short hours to spend on the Sound?

In my experience and opinion, it is.

When facing the question for myself, I chose to heed the advice of everyone I knew who had experienced a Milford Sound tour before me, and I made a commitment to visiting it, one way or another.  Since we were traveling around New Zealand via mass transit, with Magic Bus, we did not have our own car available to make the trip, so I had to look into options for day-trip Milford Sound tours.

How to tour Milford Sound

After doing some research, I chose to make the trip with Kiwi Discovery.  It would be 5-hour bus ride in each direction, with a 90-minute boat cruise through and around Milford Sound when we arrived.

Here’s a few other options to book a Milford Sound tour:

The drive out to the Sound was spectacularly beautiful, and the bus ride itself really could not have been more comfortable.  It was a relatively new bus that had a glass ceiling, so all the passengers could look up and better appreciate the towering cliffs that line Milford Sound Highway.

We stopped at several viewpoints along the way, to take in the sights of various rivers, waterfalls and canyons.  We arrived at Milford Sound right around 2:00pm, and immediately boarded a large vessel for our Milford Sound cruise.

Our cruise around Milford Sound was 90 minutes in total. We starting at the inward most part of the Sound and proceeded all the way out to the Tasman Sea, pulling into bays and glancing up against waterfalls as we went.

Because the scenery in the Sound was so spectacular, the 90 minutes that we spent on the boat really went by fast.  Still, it was such a unique and magnificent experience that I felt it was very worth the 10+ hours of travel it required to make it possible, and…

I’d suggest to the same to anyone else who may be debating it.


How to Take a Day Trip to Yosemite Valley

After a family trip to Lake Tahoe, I had an open weekend and managed to convince my family that we needed to take a day trip to Yosemite Valley.

I knew I wanted to have a full day in Yosemite and not just plan to drive through.  This was smart.  You really do need to plan to spend a full day to take advantage of what is there.  

Imagine Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon… it’s one of those type of places. You’re essentially 3-4 hours from civilization in any direction. The good news is, there are options. 

We stayed at the West Entrance to the park at Yosemite Riverside Inn. It met our needs, and even included breakfast.  We were most happy with the distance to the park and being able to wake up and begin our journey into the park. The first sight of Yosemite valley was incredible. 

Day Trip to Yosemite Valley
Day Trip to Yosemite Valley

A day trip to Yosemite Valley 

We started off with seeing Half Dome Yosemite Valley in the distance… My first view of it. Inspiring! 

Personally it only took this one view, to know that I had found what I was looking for. Yosemite was a natural wonder. This was an ancient canyon with God’s fingerprints on it. This place has serious earth history and a magical valley that would attract earths inhabitants all over it.

This special valley would awe and inspire and enchant anyone who sets their eyes on it. In many ways simply traveling through this valley can bring one closer to God, because it makes man feel small. In so many ways the pride of man can be stilled by standing on one of these rocks. 

El Capitan – What a Serious Megalith.  

While I didn’t really take the opportunity to climb these mega stones carved out of the valley, I did spend hours driving around them and went on a couple of easy hikes up to the falls, and one to a lake (read about more hikes in Yosemite National Park). I spent most of the day in the valley with a bunch of other people I was trying to ignore.

Ignore the crowds, it’s still worth it. There are times of the day when you can get there ahead of the crowds, but still you have to do it anyway… It’s amazing and it does bring one closer to ones creator. 

El Capitan in Yosemite Valley National Park, USA
El Capitan in Yosemite Valley National Park

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is 2,425 ft.  

The highest waterfall in North America and in the top 10 in the world.

Had I known how amazing this was and how many of the top waterfalls in the world are in this park I would have given it more priority.  When I think of falls in the US, I think of Niagara Falls, but that’s a volume thing. Here you can plan to go when the run off is at it’s highest in the spring and get a real show.

Remember this park reminds man, that he is insignificant. Some people get hurt or worse, trying to prove they can conquer these things.  With over a dozen falls, and hikes to nearly all of them, there are tons of things that people will do.

Things to do on a day trip to Yosemite Valley

While I got a couple of hikes in, I would have liked to have tubed the river, or rode horses… lots of great activities in the park.

  • Horseback riding
  • Rafting
  • Hiking (Falls, Trails, Loops)
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Tours
  • Loops Drive
  • Walking 

Check out the organised hikes in Yosemite valley below:

If anything Yosemite reminds us that there are things bigger than us in life. Anytime you want to feel small. Visit the Yosemite Valley and it’s 1000 square miles of National park. While you may feel like you weren’t alone while you were there. You won’t regret it.