Hike of a lifetime in Kauai

The micro climates of Kauai have created some unique and breathtaking landscapes. Waimea Canyon is one of the most picturesque landscapes in Kauai. The orange and red dirt makes it feel like you are on mars. 

We headed out from the The Koloa Landing Resort and made our way towards the Waimea Canyon in Kōkeʻe State Park. Make sure to keep reading until the end, there is a bonus viewpoint.


How to get there?

  1. Take HI-50 W to head towards the town of Waimea.

  2. Make a right on the HI-550 N.

  3. Keep driving until you hit mile marker 13.

  4. Turn right on to Puu Hinahina viewpoint parking lot


We were not ready for this!

Once you park your car, take the steps up to the Puu Hinahina viewpoint to catch a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon. Walk back towards the end of the parking lot and you will find the canyon trail to your right.

The Canyon trail hike to the Waipo’o falls is about 3.6 mile hike round trip and takes approximately 2.5 hours. As soon as we parked our car, it started raining cats and dogs and then 2 minutes later it was gone. That is something you are going to have to get used to. After the rain stopped, we grabbed our bags and headed down the canyon trail. I was wearing my white converse and my 2 other friends were wearing their workout nike shoes. We had clearly underestimated this hike and the weather. More on how that turned out later down the page.


Walking through a rain forest

We were really excited for this hike, as this was the only adventure activity we had planned in Kauai. Ten minutes in to the hike, we started second guessing our situation at hand. We could keep going or we can go back. The trail was muddy, it was raining, and I had expensive camera equipment; but this was our only chance to hike in Kauai. As we approached the hike, we told ourselves “this is going be a hike of a lifetime”. After that we never looked back, we wanted that view point and that secret waterfall at the end. It was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Slipping, Falling, and more slipping

WEAR THE CORRECT SHOES, I can’t emphasize this enough wear your hiking shoes. Although there were some women who did the hike in sandals. There were 3 year old kids hiking along the way. I will admit I was the first one to fall on my butt with my camera in my hand. It is not worth it people, put those cameras in your bag and take them out once you get to the view point.

Walking over tree roots, climbing down trees, crossing a big puddle while holding on to a rope with one hand, strolling through lush green landscapes felt like I was in the amazon rain forest. I could not believe I was here..


About half way

About half way you will see a junction and a small parking lot. Pro tip: Only drive to that parking lot if you have a 4-wheel drive. You will see a sign for Canyon Trail and Waipo’o Falls. We didn’t take the Canyon Trail and continued to the falls. The trail starts to get more treacherous as you go further into the hike. There are switchbacks going up and down, watch where you step, and double check you have proper footing before taking the next. During the rainy season, which is almost all the time, it can get very slippery. There is one part in the hike where everyone slipped. My friend George kept on slipping “every step” he took, or at least that’s what he said.

Once you get closer you will start to get a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon on your right side. Go up a few rocks and you will arrive at an open mountain covered in red dirt. Be careful because there are no guard rails, the ridge seems to fall straight down the canyon.  

Don’t stop there, your reward awaits

As the clouds are rolling through, you can admire the sheer beauty of the Waimea Canyon. Keep going straight and the mountain starts to curve to the left, follow it down, make a left, duck under some trees, and squeeze through some big rocks and your reward waits at the end.

This is where the Waipo’o Falls begin. I wasted no time, I set up my camera and walked right in to the small pool. Be careful stepping on the rocks, the water can make them slippery. Although it is not the waterfall you see from the lookout point, it is better than the big one.

Hike of a lifetime?

If you ask me, this hike was worth every slip, every fall, every “oh s**t” moment. I knew that I was never going to experience this kind of thrill in my life anywhere. I am so glad I booked that last-minute flight to Kauai. This was an experience I will never ever forget.  

My advice: Don’t let a little fall on your butt stop you from experiencing one of the best moments of your life.

I will leave you with a quote from my friend George: “This is probably the best worst idea we have had”.


Bonus viewpoint:

I want to thank you if you have made it this far in to the blog. Once you have made it back to your car from the Waipo’o Falls hike. Keep on driving up to the main road until it ends, you will arrive at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout point. This look out point offers breathtaking views of the Kalalau valley. This valley has been featured in many blockbuster films, one of them being Jurassic Park.


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The most Luxurious resort in Kauai, Hawaii

When it comes to luxury the Koloa Landing Resort is the standard. The Koloa Landing Resort is located on the southern tip of Kauai, Hawaii. More specifically the resort is in the town of Koloa, at the edge of Poipu beach. The resort spans a massive 25 acres and is filled with lush green landscapes, infinity pools, and small wooden bridges. They even have a soccer field and a volleyball court for the athletic types.


At First Glance

When you arrive, you are welcomed with an open-air lobby and greeted with fresh lei necklaces right at the check in desk. After you check in, enjoy a glass or two of the fresh fruit flavored water or iced tea.


Car Rental

Chances are if you are flying to Kauai, you are not going to have a car. But don’t worry Koloa Landing Resort has an on site Enterprise location in the lobby. If you are looking to explore around Kauai I highly recommend you get a rental right after you check in, as they tend to go quickly. 


Ultimate Relaxation in Paradise

The Koloa Landing Resort has one of the best Spas on the island. Enjoy a glass of champagne while you relax in the only Japanese Ofura soaking tub in Kauai. If you are looking to get more pampered, dive right in to their world-class massages. Their masseuses are highly trained and knowledgeable in relaxation. The warm coconut oil and the Zen ambiance will make you feel like you are in paradise and make you forget about all your troubles. After your spa retreat, enjoy a swim in one of their many pools and indulge in sunbathing under the warm Kauai sun.

 Photo by Koloa Landing Resort Photo by Koloa Landing Resort

 Photo by Koloa Landing Resort Photo by Koloa Landing Resort


Fine Dining

If you are looking to indulge yourself in luscious fresh seafood and tasteful cocktails, the Holoholo grill is the perfect place. It is located at the edge of the resort, towards the ocean wall.  Sam Choy, master chef and restaurateur, designed the dishes here. Whether you are enjoying the Banana Macadamia nut pancakes at breakfast with the cool breeze of the ocean or one of Sam Choy’s signature poke dishes while watching the sunset coloring the skies pink and orange, The Holoholo grill will leave an everlasting impression on your taste buds. Also, their Piña Coloda is the best I have ever had.


Shopping

The shops at Kukui`ula village are just a short walk or a bike ride away from the resort. The village is filled with small boutiques, art galleries, and a fresh food market. It is also home to more than a dozen restaurants – everything from casual to fine dining. Enjoy a delicious Mango Guava Passion fruit flavor shaved ice from Uncles Shaved Ice (the best in Kauai) as you wander around the shops. Make sure to stay for the live performance every Wednesday and Friday during the evening hours. Go check out some art galleries featuring local photographers and ask them about any spots they recommend that are a must see.


What about Adventure?

The concierge service at Koloa Landing Resort does a marvelous job at giving you information about the local hikes, adventures, and tours.  Grab your rental and head up to the Waimea Canyon about 45 minutes away. When you find yourself at the Waimea Canyon look out point in Koke’e State Park make sure to get a glimpse of the Waipoo falls in the distance. Don’t stop there keep driving up the mountain to one of the best look out points you will ever see, Pu’u O Kila lookout point. The lookout gives you a marvelous view of the Kalalau valley, looks like something out of Jurassic Park. There is also short hike you can do, make sure to bring good hiking shoes because it is one of the wettest spots on the planet and rain is very common.

Need more Adventure?

So you saw all the lookout points, did some hiking, now what? If you still have a few hours to spare before the day ends, head over to the other side of the Island in the town of Lihue to see the famous Wailua Falls. If it feels like you have seen the Wailua Falls before, it is probably true. They are very famous and have been featured in countless TV shows and films.

 Wailua Falls Wailua Falls

Sunsets

If you feel like you have experienced the best of Kauai, now there is only one thing left to see, a beautiful sunset. Head back to Koloa Landing Resort, grab a Piña Coloda or a Mai Tai from the Holoholo grill and head over to the Ocean wall with your friends or that special someone to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see. Sunsets anywhere are stunning but in Kauai, there is just something about them that makes them life changing. Take a walk on the volcanic rocks grab a spot and watch the skies transform colors to beautiful pinks and oranges.  


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This is the most Luxurious resort in Kauai, Hawaii

When it comes to luxury the Koloa Landing Resort is the standard. The Koloa Landing Resort is located on the southern tip of Kauai, Hawaii. More specifically the resort is in the town of Koloa, at the edge of Poipu beach. The resort spans a massive 25 acres and is filled with lush green landscapes, infinity pools, and small wooden bridges. They even have a soccer field and a volleyball court for the athletic types.


At First Glance

When you arrive, you are welcomed with an open-air lobby and greeted with fresh lei necklaces right at the check in desk. After you check in, enjoy a glass or two of the fresh fruit flavored water or iced tea.


Car Rental

Chances are if you are flying to Kauai, you are not going to have a car. But don’t worry Koloa Landing Resort has an on site Enterprise location in the lobby. If you are looking to explore around Kauai I highly recommend you get a rental right after you check in, as they tend to go quickly. 


Ultimate Relaxation in Paradise

The Koloa Landing Resort has one of the best Spas on the island. Enjoy a glass of champagne while you relax in the only Japanese Ofura soaking tub in Kauai. If you are looking to get more pampered, dive right in to their world-class massages. Their masseuses are highly trained and knowledgeable in relaxation. The warm coconut oil and the Zen ambiance will make you feel like you are in paradise and make you forget about all your troubles. After your spa retreat, enjoy a swim in one of their many pools and indulge in sunbathing under the warm Kauai sun.

 Photo by Koloa Landing Resort
Photo by Koloa Landing Resort
 Photo by Koloa Landing Resort
Photo by Koloa Landing Resort

Fine Dining

If you are looking to indulge yourself in luscious fresh seafood and tasteful cocktails, the Holoholo grill is the perfect place. It is located at the edge of the resort, towards the ocean wall.  Sam Choy, master chef and restaurateur, designed the dishes here. Whether you are enjoying the Banana Macadamia nut pancakes at breakfast with the cool breeze of the ocean or one of Sam Choy’s signature poke dishes while watching the sunset coloring the skies pink and orange, The Holoholo grill will leave an everlasting impression on your taste buds. Also, their Piña Coloda is the best I have ever had.


Shopping

The shops at Kukui`ula village are just a short walk or a bike ride away from the resort. The village is filled with small boutiques, art galleries, and a fresh food market. It is also home to more than a dozen restaurants – everything from casual to fine dining. Enjoy a delicious Mango Guava Passion fruit flavor shaved ice from Uncles Shaved Ice (the best in Kauai) as you wander around the shops. Make sure to stay for the live performance every Wednesday and Friday during the evening hours. Go check out some art galleries featuring local photographers and ask them about any spots they recommend that are a must see.


What about Adventure?

The concierge service at Koloa Landing Resort does a marvelous job at giving you information about the local hikes, adventures, and tours.  Grab your rental and head up to the Waimea Canyon about 45 minutes away. When you find yourself at the Waimea Canyon look out point in Koke’e State Park make sure to get a glimpse of the Waipoo falls in the distance. Don’t stop there keep driving up the mountain to one of the best look out points you will ever see, Pu’u O Kila lookout point. The lookout gives you a marvelous view of the Kalalau valley, looks like something out of Jurassic Park. There is also short hike you can do, make sure to bring good hiking shoes because it is one of the wettest spots on the planet and rain is very common.

Need more Adventure?

So you saw all the lookout points, did some hiking, now what? If you still have a few hours to spare before the day ends, head over to the other side of the Island in the town of Lihue to see the famous Wailua Falls. If it feels like you have seen the Wailua Falls before, it is probably true. They are very famous and have been featured in countless TV shows and films.

 Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls

Sunsets

If you feel like you have experienced the best of Kauai, now there is only one thing left to see, a beautiful sunset. Head back to Koloa Landing Resort, grab a Piña Coloda or a Mai Tai from the Holoholo grill and head over to the Ocean wall with your friends or that special someone to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see. Sunsets anywhere are stunning but in Kauai, there is just something about them that makes them life changing. Take a walk on the volcanic rocks grab a spot and watch the skies transform colors to beautiful pinks and oranges.  


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10 Travel Hacks everyone should use

1.      Roll you clothes.

 If you are like me, when it comes to packing you want to make to the most of it. A recent hack I learned is rolling your clothes and I have been using it ever since.

Typical packing involves folding your clothes in squares or rectangles and stacking them on top of each other. Believe it or not that takes up more space – I know right! I couldn’t believe it either, until I tried it myself.

 

2.      Universal Travel Adapter

I can’t believe how convenient this little device is. Just to have that feeling of safety no matter where you are in the world, your important devices can be charged without worry.

Amazon carries a variety of universal adapters with prices ranging from $5-30. Since most devices require a USB cable of some sorts to charge. I prefer buying an adapter that has multiple USB slots.

 

3.      Reusable Water Bottle

This is probably the most important hack, when it comes to traveling. Everybody knows before going in to security check at the airport you must finish or throw away your plastic water bottles.

My favorite thing to do is bring my Hydro flask with me where ever I travel. Buying water bottles inside the airport can get expensive. With your Hydro Flask you can fill it up as much as you like and your water will stay cold for a long time. Also you are being environmentally friendly by not using plastic, So it’s a win-win situation.

 

4.      Taxis can get expensive

A taxi ride from point A to B might be cheap for a one way ride, but if you keep getting taxis multiple times through out the day, it starts to add up and can get expensive.

The best way to save money on transportation is to get a day pass for a train or a bus. Trains usually make frequent stops through out the city and buses have multiple routes all around the city. This way you will be able to save money and can take part in other activities.

5.      Flight search on “Private Browsing” or “Incognito Mode”

I can’t recommend how important this little hack is. Whenever you are browsing the Internet for cheap flights switch your browser to “incognito mode”. This stops websites from giving you higher prices. Flight websites track your cookies in your browser and  give you higher prices every time you visit them, this is because of impulse buying. Thinking you will book a flight before it goes up even further in price. So please, please, please use “incognito mode” or “private browsing”

 

6.      Mark Your Bag as Fragile

If you are packing delicate items that are made of glass or any electronics that are fragile. The Best thing to do is mark your bag as Fragile. Stickers can range up to 30 dollars for some, so the best way to do it just print an image from google images and tape it on your bag.

Also, this way the crew will put your bag up last on top of the pile and will receive it first in baggage claim carousel.

 

7.      Scan your Passport

This one is pretty simple. People lose stuff all the time, and I am not saying you will. But sometimes things go wrong and you have to be ready when they do. Before leaving on your trip, email yourself a copy of your Passport, Driver License, and even your plane ticket.

8.      Dryer Sheets and Plastic Bag

When you are on the move laundry is hard to come by. Those dirty clothes can make your bag smell over time. Put some scented dryer shot in your bag to keep it smelling fresh. Don’t forget to put some empty plastic bags to put your dirty clothes in.

Pro tip: Turn your clothes inside out to keep from wearing the same ones again.

 

9.      Google maps offline

Wi-Fi is hard to come by when traveling. This is where google maps becomes your best friend. Before you go anywhere download the map of the area and you could use that offline with no internet.

  1. Open Google Maps

  2. Search your destination

  3. Click Menu Button (see pic below)

  4. Click Offline Maps (see pic below)

  5. Choose “select your own map” (see pic below)

  6. Make sure you destination is in the box and click download (see pic below)

 

10.  Stay at Hostels instead

If you are on a budget and looking to save some money on accommodations, stay at a hostel instead. Hotels can charge a lot of money for a night; most destinations now have hostels for backpackers for about $10 – $30 a night. The other upside of staying at a hostel is you get to meet a lot of new people who are traveling through and most people are very friendly.


I hope these hacks make your travels easier and safer

Happy Travels! 🙂


The Ultimate Dubai Travel List

Dubai is one of the most prestigious cities in the United Arab Emirates(UAE). With its sleek designed buildings and deeply rooted heritage, it is a travelers dream. 

Dubai exceeded my expectations, and it will exceed yours. From the moment you land in Dubai, you will see how this desert oasis came to be one of the most richest cities in the world. They had left no expense behind, no stone unturned, to make Dubai into the marvel that it is today.


Enjoy a Dhow Cruise in the Dubai Marina

If you are looking to relax after your long flight, the Dhow Cruise is the perfect relaxation you need. Make sure to enjoy a BBQ buffet dinner on the calm waters of the Dubai Marina. Also, grab a table at the the top with an open view or enjoy the air conditioning in the bottom suite.

The Dhow Cruise Dinner has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

There is more to the two hour cruise than just eating. The cruise showcases the traditional Tanura dance. It is truly something remarkable. Also, don’t forget to look out the window once in a while to get a glimpse the infamous Dubai skyline, and see if you can spot the Burj Kahlifa. 

 


Burj Khalifa – The tallest man made structure.

Dubai’s most prestigious land mark is the Burj Khalifa, standing tall at a staggering 2,722 feet to the top. After completing construction in 2010, tourist numbers have been growing ever since. The wrap around observation deck at the 124th floor offers a 360 view of Dubai with the ocean on one side and the city on the other. 

The nighttime visits are the most popular due to the 360 views of the Dubai skyline. The best way to get your tickets is booking them in advanced and then all you have to do is pick up your tickets at the counter. Just follow the sign for “At the top-Burj Khalifa” in the Dubai Mall. The only way to get to the Burj Khalifa is through the Dubai Mall. 

The evening lines open at 7 pm, so try to get there as early as you can. We got there at around 7:30 pm and took us about an hour to get to the top. The elevators are super fast and take you up to the 124 floor in matter of seconds.  The view up top is breathtaking. 

After you have enjoyed the view, go down to the fountain show. They do a show every thirty  minutes, so there is no need to rush yourself to get down. The fountain show is one the largest in the world, just like everything else in Dubai. Being able to get the best seat is difficult, therefore, I suggest watching it up front or far away as possible. 


The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is the city’s biggest mall, it is home to the the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium. The mall has over 1,400 stores ranging  from clothing, home decor, to restaurants; you can find almost anything. Make sure you know where your family or friends are, the mall is pretty big to lose yourself – I know I did!

When it comes to the food, the Dubai Mall offers the widest array of selection. My advice is stay away from the local food chains that can be found anywhere in the world, you know which one’s I am talking about. If you are in Dubai, you might as well try their local food, like Kabob’s or Falafel’s. In the mood for some sweets, Dubai is home to the best sugar tasties in the world.

The first thing we did was head to the Dubai Aquarium, located inside the mall. Although, I am personally against seeing marine life in captivity, my family and friends wanted to experience it; so I had no choice but to tag along. The lines tend be long for this attraction, so make sure to arrive there early. Book your tickets online to avoid waiting in long lines. The tickets are around AED 120 for the basic experience. If you don’t want to pay for the ticket, you can easily watch the fishes from the outside.

The also offer different tours: The most popular being the cage snorkeling and shark diving activities – Yes shark diving!


Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach is the best beach in all of Dubai, and millions of tourist flock to this beach every year. The beach is kept neat year around and is full stocked with modern facilities. The beach is filled with long loungers and water sport activities like jet skiing, paragliding and surfing, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

The water has such clarity, it is such a serene and clean view because of the government’s rules of now allowing trash to go in the ocean-not a single piece. 

The Jumeirah Beach is also home to the only seven star hotel in the world Burj Al-Arab. The hotel offers it’s own private access to beach. It also has world class cafe’s that are open to the public, so what you can’t afford a night in the Burj Al Arab, at least you can enjoy a nice cup of tea.


Miracle Garden

Dubai’s Miracle Garden is worlds largest natural garden. The garden contains over 109 million flowers planted and it also has one of the largest butterfly gardens in the world.

Getting around in taxis in Dubai can be affordable, but the Miracle Garden is not in the city and it could get a little pricey. The public transportation in Dubai is excellent, you can take a bus to the garden for less than half the price of the taxi fare. 

The Garden is open from October through April and remains closed from May through September due to the hot temperatures. The tickets are fairly affordable with 40 AED for adults and 30 for children.

One of my favorite parts of the garden was the Emirates Airbus A380. An actual plane covered in flowers from front to back.


 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Although not in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must visit for everyone. It is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE, and a hour drive from Dubai.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was built by the first president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed. It accommodates over 40,000 guests in the prayer halls. The mosque is recognized purely by its white colored marble and gold intricate art work. With over a 1000 pillars each hand painted with unique floral work and 82 domes with various sizes, the biggest one being in the center of the mosque.

Visiting hours are from Saturday-Thursday 9am to 10pm and 4:30 pm to 10 pm on friday.

What to wear?

Mosques all over the world hold a religious and sacred position for Muslims. Visitors must adhere to the rules of the mosque and wear proper clothing attire. Women are required to be covered from head to toe, the head must be covered with a scarf, no transparent clothing, no tight clothing. They do however provide women with an Abaya free of charge. Men are required to wear short sleeve shirts and pants at the minimum. 

The are several chandeliers hung up in the main prayer hall. Some being the largest in the world and the largest in any mosque in the world. The largest one weighs 12 tons and holds about 40 kilogram of 24 karat gold.

They recently built a new coffee house on the northern side of the mosque. It also includes a gallery for artwork and souvenirs. The mosque is completely free to enter unlike other tourist attractions. 


Ride the Palm Jumeirah Monorail

The Palm Jumeirah is Dubai’s first artificial island. The monorail runs straight down the middle for 3 miles starting at the Gateway station and finishing at The Atlantis Resort.

The tickets can be purchase at the gateway station, a one way ticket costs 20 AED and a return is 30 AED. We bought a one way ticket and our tour bus picked us up at the Atlantis Resort.

 The monorail is the best way to experience the beauty of the island. Once you are on it, you can really admire how big the island is and see rows of real estate. It gets you to wondering how they achieved something so spectacular. 


Desert Safari

Outside of the glamour lights, wide highways, and staggering sky scrappers there is also another side of Dubai; The Desert. So many people come to Dubai and get lost in the lights but they forget about the Arabian Desert.  If you are looking for some blood pumping & adrenaline filled adventures, the Desert Safari is perfect for you. Even if you are not in to the rush, I still recommend you take part.

Leave everything up to the driver

We had booked the evening desert safari from 4 – 10 pm. The driver will pick you up from your hotel and drive you out to the desert. It took us around forty-five minutes to get to the desert. On the way, we made a stop, so they can take out some air from the tires, there is also a shop nearby where people buy traditional clothing and head gear. We tried buying some lemonade, but they were charging us 20 AED for a tiny bottle. We didn’t obviously buy it, but just be careful of getting scammed. 

Dune Bashing

Rolling around in the sand with a big SUV was by far the most intense part of the whole adventure. At the beginning, its just a flat desert, but the real fun begins when you start to make your way deeper in to the desert. Your butt is going to be lifting off the seat, quite high and often. I was sitting in the front and had the best experience by far, going down a hill you feel like the car is going to flip over. Don’t worry the drivers are well experienced and know what they are doing, our driver had been doing this for eight years. It’s not something you can learn overnight, it requires proper training. But how awesome would it be, right?

Shortly the driver will stop in some random part of the desert with other cars. You can get out and walk around on the sand and take some pictures and truly enjoy the Arabian Desert.

Dinner and a Show

Once you are done jumping around in your seat, your driver will take you to your Desert Camp, somewhere in the different part of the desert. Once you get there, make sure to get the best seat with a view of the center stage. The Bedouin style camp offers comfy couch cushions with dinner tables. Before the show starts grab, your dinner plate with Pasta, salad, pita bread, hummus, rice, BBQ and much more. It is all you can eat, so don’t be shy of going for a second round. There is a also a bar on the other end that offers alcoholic beverages, beer and free soft drinks. The camp also offers sisha for a small price.

Enjoy a traditional belly dancing show and watch a man play with fire. After the show is over, make your way towards the cars parked outside to find your driver and he will drop you off to your hotel safe and sound.


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I hope this list has helped you plan your trip to Dubai and I hope you have an amazing time. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns in the comment box below, or even if you want to just say Hi!. 

Happy Travels!! 🙂

A perfect Canadian road trip: From the Vancouver Sea through the Canadian Rockies.

The country of Canada is so beautiful, and so are its people. There is a saying in the world, “People in Canada are so nice” well I agree with that sentence 100 percent. My friends and I do an annual road trip in the states, but this time we decided to do something out of the country. Canada was always on the list. So, why not?


Here is our 1 week itinerary!

Check out the google maps directions below.


Day 1: Arriving in Vancouver

The first thing you want to do is get yourself a car. My American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card made it easy to book a rental from the airport.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

After getting a quick bite to eat, we wasted no time and headed straight to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge located in Northern Vancouver, about an hour from the airport.

In order to get to the park you have to go through a neighborhood, if you feel like you are lost, don’t worry we had had the same feeling, just keep driving and you will see the forest. After parking the car, it is a 10-minute walk to the bridge. The Bridge spans over a roaring river and a waterfall, you might catch people jumping over the waterfall into the river down below. On the other side of the bridge, there is a hike along a small river. If you want the bridge to yourself, I recommend getting there early in the morning, perhaps 7 or 8 am.

Stanley Park

Before heading back to our hostel, we made a quick stop at Stanley Park. Stanley Park has an 8 km sea wall that wraps around downtown Vancouver. It is definitely a beautiful place to visit.

There are many activities like running, biking, or walking along the sea wall. Make sure to catch a glimpse of wild life along the beach side and at the right time of the year, you might see some Orcas passing through the bay. When we started walking through the park, we found an open field where we played with the Frisbee. Later on, we sat on the sea wall by the beach and watched the planes landing in the water.

Finally around 4 pm, we decided to check into our hostel Samesun Vancouver. Samesun Vancouver is a budget friendly place with exceptional accommodations and services. It is in the heart of downtown Vancouver and surrounded by bars and restaurants. Also, most importantly hold on to that free drink voucher you get while checking in.

We got settled in to our room and headed straight to the bar downstairs to use the free drink voucher. We took a stroll around the district to check out the local bar scene. Doolin’s is an Irish pub right around the corner that offers great drinks and bites for happy hour. The Granville Street is filled with local eateries that offer something for all palates.


Day 2: From the ground to the skies

I Woke up at 8 am on my bunk bed, showered, cleaned up and headed straight for the complimentary breakfast downstairs.

We started our day heading north on Route 99, Sea to sky highway is one of the most scenic highways. There is plenty to do on the 120 km trip to Whistler. Pull over when you see Alice lake about 75 km into the drive or just pull over whenever you see a body of water, you are guaranteed to be amazed.

Brandywine Falls

Make sure to stop at the Brandywine Falls Provincial park, and take a short stroll through the woods, cross a railroad and shortly after that you are greeted by the Brandywine Falls.

Whistler

Whistler is one of the best ski towns in the world and it was also home to the 2012 Winter Olympics. It is hard not to like this place let alone all of Canada.

Bungee Jumping

We had planned all of the adventurous activities for one day. We started our action-packed day by Bungee Jumping or as my dear friend Nigam Patel would say “Jumping off a perfectly normal bridge”. Whistler Bungee is located just 15-minute south of Whistler village; it is the most exhilarating thing to do in Whistler.

As you arrive, you will cross the bridge to check in. However, there is an age limit for this activity. If you are over the age of 19, you can partake in this activity, but if you are under the age of 19, you need a parental consent form.

Luckily, I was not the first one to go, but my heart was pumping faster each time one of my friends took a leap. and when it was my turn, it was game over. Adrenaline hit me as soon as I realized it was my turn to go down. Heart pumping, hands sweating, stepping on the ledge of a 160 ft. high bridge with the glacier fed Cheakamus River flowing below you.

When its time to jump don’t forget to smile for the one site photographer, the photos can be purchased. Depending on the time of the year the height of the Cheakamus River is higher, so when you jump off you might dip your head or half your body in the river, probably the best way to take a shower if you ask me. Whistler Bungee has been open since 2002 and they haven’t had a single accident, their people have been in the bungee jumping industry for over 20 years, so trust that you are in good hands.

After having our bodies tossed from a bridge and having our stomachs turned upside down, it was time to fill them up. We headed back to Whistler Village to grab some lunch. We opened up yelp and found the best pizza place in Whistler Village, Pizzeria Antico.

They have a variety of choices, ranging from pizza, pasta, calzones and salads. I ordered the Napoletana, one of their best pizzas. Pizzeria Antico also offers a great list of beer and wine, some coming from local breweries and vineyards. If you love Pizza, this place is a must visit. It was the best pizza I have ever had.

Zipline

It was time to resume our action-packed day. We had booked a zipline adventure with Super Fly Ziplines, Whistlers only backcountry zipline experience. We had booked the 3-hour twilight ziplining tour for $129/person and $99/child. After parking and checking in, we were given our gear. Then we took a short dune buggy ride up the mountain. Our awesome guides gave us a quick lesson on the gear and safety.

We got to the first platform and there it was, Canada’s longest and highest zip line. They start you off with a line ranging 1 km than can reach speeds up to 100 km/hr – I know, right? There are 2 ziplines side by side, one for you and your friend.

I highly recommend this experience, it was so relaxing, gliding across the mountains over a beautiful forest with breath taking views. There are short walks from one platform to the next. At the last platform, the lines are closer to each other, so you can hold hands with your friend while you go down. It takes you right back to the base, where you parked your car.

After returning the gear, we hopped in the car and continued our journey to the town of Lillooet. The sun was beginning to set behind us as we drove through farm country with mountains in the background. We decided to eat dinner at a Thai restaurant in the middle of nowhere, let’s just say that the view was good, but the food wasn’t.


Day 3: Lillooet to Clearwater

We spent the night at the Canadas Best Value Inn Mile-0-Motel in the town of Lillooet.Since that Thai food wasn’t satisfying last night, we were pretty hungry in the morning. We grabbed breakfast at the local A&W joint and headed towards Clearwater

Clearwater is about 295 km, making it a 3.5-hour journey from Lillooet. Today’s agenda was whitewater rafting with Interior Whitewater Expeditions(IWE). We picked the “Ready-Set-Go” package for the seven of us, a 4-hour tour with $92 per person.

What to wear?

You are going to get wet, so just be ready for it. A bathing suit or board shorts is the best choice. You will be given a wet suit and a helmet when you get there. Leave all your belongings in the bus.

Once you arrive at the river, you and your group will have to carry your raft to the river – its actually heavier than it looks! Even if you are not an extreme adrenaline junkie – they offer different levels for rafting, everything from rookie to expert.

Off we go, once you are settled in the raft your instructor will give you a short lesson and tips on how to paddle, when to paddle and when to sit down. You will have to practice jumping in the water and pulling people out of the river – the water was cold!

It is a 4-hour tour, so there will be times where you will get rest. About half way, we pulled over to side of the river and had some fresh fruit, snacks and water provided by IWE.

Depending on the time of the year and the flow of the river, there are different class rapids ranging from 1-5, the higher the number the more FUN!! Our awesome instructor was from Argentina, and he has been doing rafting tours for about 15 years. He was very passionate about his job, so we trusted him and were in good hands.

My advice is once you are in the raft, just enjoy the ride, have fun, and be present in the moment. As IWE likes to say “Its Mother Nature’s Roller Coaster”.

As the tour came to an end, we carried the raft back to the bus, put it on tow rack and headed back to our cars. I cannot emphasize enough how well organized this adventure was, IWE does an amazing job at keeping their customers satisfied, I already want to go back and do it again.

Before getting back on the highway, about 5 minutes away from IWE, there is a Dutch Lake. We decided to stop there and take a quick dip; the water was so perfect in the summer time – still brings memories! Some of us decided to jump in the water and swam to the dock in the middle of the lake and just spend some time there.

It was time to call it a day and head to our hotel in Blue River, Glacier Mountain Lodge.


Day 4: Blue River to Jasper

We grabbed our complimentary breakfast at Glacier Mountain Lodge and headed out for Jasper. Jasper is 211 km from Blue River, giving us plenty of time mingle, chat, and laugh. If there is one thing we did on this trip over and over again was laugh just absurd amounts of it.

Today’s plan was to mountain bike down the mountains around jasper, but there was so much smoke and haze in the air due to the fire at the time we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea. We instead decided to just explore and do some sightseeing around Jasper National Park.

But before leaving, we grabbed some lunch at the Jasper Curry Place. During lunch they offer an all-you-can-eat buffet with about 15 different types of tasteful dishes and the best part is their unlimited Garlic Naan.

Maligne Lake

About an hour southwest from the town of Jasper is Maligne Lake. We wasted no time and headed straight for the lake. Got there and spend some time on the dock, taking in the views and the fresh air.

Shortly after we started walking alongside the lake through water and dirt until we felt liked stopping. Finally came to a stop, and what do I see? My friend hanging in his hammock and sipping on a cold one, I just had to go and experience it myself – it was awesome!

We made our way back to downtown Jasper. We were hungry and thirsty; Jasper Brewing Company was the perfect the perfect solution. They have a great selection of food, beer and cocktails. I tried their Jasper the Bear Ale, mainly because of the name but It was actually pretty good. If you are not sure what to order, get a flight of beers to start with. Order the fried chicken sandwich and you are in good hands – don’t forget to add the bacon!

The weirdest thing happened, we walked out of the brewery at about 10 pm and it was still day light out, I was so surprised!

During July the average day is 16 hours long, making it the perfect time to visit. We headed to our reservation for the night at Tara Vista Inn.


Day 5: Ice fields Parkway

There are ten provinces in Canada, I think Alberta is the most beautiful among all of them, but that’s just me. We hoped on the Ice Fields Parkway highway and headed south.

Athabasca Falls

Our first stop was at the Athabasca Falls, a short 30-minute drive from Jasper. When you get there, it’s a 5-minute walk from the parking lot to the view point. We got lucky because during July the falls are roaring at full capacity due to all the snow melting.

Spent some time admiring natures perfect creation and headed down the stairs behind us to the river. The bank of the river was filled with rocks, visitors had built their own “Rock Balancing” statues so we decided to add to the collection. If you go there I highly recommend trying to build one (send me a pic!)

Another 20 minutes on the highway and you will see the Sunwapta Falls. We didn’t get a chance to stop, but now that I think about it we should have.

Columbia Ice fields

We headed straight towards the Columbia Ice fields, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca Glacier is one of the “toes” of the ice fields.

From far the glacier seem tiny, but up close it is a whole different thing. According to research, these ice fields started forming about 240,000 and ice has been piling up ever since. They cover an area 125 square miles and 1200 feet deep, just to put things in perspective that is higher than the Empire State Building. The glacier shown above covers an area of 6 square km and can be up to 900 feet thick in some places.

Where to Park?

Park at the Columbia Ice fields Discovery Centre. Enjoy gourmet dining at the Altitude Restaurant with breathtaking views, take a stroll through the Chalet shop they offer various teas, coffees, and snacks, grab a souvenir to add to that collection at home.

There are 2 ways to experience the Ice fields, either you walk to the toe of the ice fields or you can take a tour. We walked to the toe, when I got there I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean how can a river of ice be so mesmerizing. The glacier use to stretch all the way to the discovery centre, but human foot print has receded it back almost a 1.5 km in 125 years.

If you have a higher budget, I recommend doing the Columbia Ice field glacier adventure. Buy your tickets at the discovery centre for $90/adult and $45/child. A bus will pick you up and drive to the glacier. From there you will get in a different bus specifically designed for glacier travel. The tour takes you up much higher into the Athabasca Glacier, and you get a chance to step off the bus and walk on the glaciers. You can see how big the glacier is in comparison to the red bus.

Entering Banff

We hoped back on to the Icefields Parkway Highway and headed towards Banff. At the edge of Banff and just off the highway lies something truly spectacular, Peyto Lake. Take the Bow summit exit, and you are almost there.

There are two ways to get to the main view point, there is a drop off zone for passengers at the top or if you are feeling a little adventurous like us, park your car at the main parking lot and do a short 10-minute hike up to the view point. Either way you are guaranteed to be blown away by what you are about to experience.

This is one of the most scenic places in all of Canada and the most visited, it is very busy during the summer.

Make sure to grab some awesome pictures, to show your family and friends back home. A guaranteed question they will ask you, “Is that the real color?” or “That’s photoshopped, there is no way the water is THAT blue”.

When I got to the top, I was speechless. I couldn’t comprehend in my mind; how beautiful this place was. We spent some time sitting on the rocks, taking some pictures, and enjoyed the serenity of the lake. It is places like this that make me really appreciative how beautiful our world truly is and we should cherish it.

10 minutes down the road, is another blue body of water; Mistaya Lake. There is no viewpoint like Peyto Lake, but it is definitely worth checking it out. There are also campsites available along side the lake. We parked our car in the parking lot and walked to the edge of the lake, depending on the time of the year the lake can be closer or farther from you.

Driving on the Icefields Parkway Highway is the best it gets, huge mountains, lush greenery and epic bodies of water are guaranteed to melt your heart. After Mistaya Lake we headed towards our hotel in Golden. On the way we pulled over at a rest stop and started playing hacky sack, one of the best memories of my life. Just my friends, I, and the Canadian Rockies surrounding us; at that moment life was at its best, at that moment.


Day 6: Glacier National Park, and more lakes…

We had a lot to cover today, so we had to get up early this time. There is only 2 days left (don’t want go home). We checked out of our room at the Ponderosa Motor Inn in Golden and headed to Glacier National Park. It is only a 30 minute drive on the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1.

Glacier National Park is a year-around paradise. From the snow covered rockies in the winter to the glacial fed rivers in the summer, you are never to be disappointed. 2017 was Canada’s 150th birthday, so all the parks had free entry. Check out this link to find prices for all the parks in Canada.

We parked and headed for the trails, there is one main trail that takes you in to the park from the parking lot. Just keep following the trail and you will enter the forest, shortly after you will arrive at the river, look for a wooden bridge and two red chairs. The river was flowing at full speed and the air was very fresh. We spent some time relaxing at the bridge and shortly after headed back to the car.

Canoeing on the Blue waters of Lake Louise!

Lake Louise is in the heart of Banff National Park and it is the most visited location. You will find tourist’s there every day of the year. My best advice is getting there super early, I am talking about like 6 or 7 am. If you want the lake to yourself and enjoy the sunrise, before the storm of tourist start to get there. We got there around 10 am and the lake was crawling with tourist, everyone trying to get that perfect picture for their Instagram. Just a piece of advice you are never going to get that perfect picture. Everyone is trying to get the same picture from the same spot, walk along the side of the lake and grab a few shots from there, you will be much satisfied.

This is one of those things you must do, we didn’t plan on Canoeing but when we got there and saw the view and the color of the water everyone wanted to get in on the action.

During Summer it is very busy, so the lines can be very long and the wait can be more than an hour sometime. Get there when they open at 11 am or during evening hours around 5 or 6 pm to skip the line.

The prices are $105 per hour or $95 for half hour, you might as well get the whole hour. Each canoe can fit 3 people, one in the front, middle and back.

We wasted no time, got in our canoe and headed straight for the other end of the lake. After barely making it half way, we realized this lake is huge. Instead of going to the other side, we decided to just park our canoe’s in the middle of the lake and just enjoy the view. I can still see the exact color of the water when I close my eyes. – Let me know how your experience is in the comments.

Moraine Lake

Our next stop was Moraine Lake, trust me when I say; this place is Nature’s Mona Lisa. The natural beauty here is breathtaking and so surreal. Moraine Lake is a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise. There is one main parking lot right by the lake and there are 2 ways up to the main viewpoint.

Take a short walk up to the viewpoint or if you are feeling adventurous like us, walk across wooden logs on the water and climb the rocks up to the viewpoint.

I suggest you take the adventurous route, plus you might get to see one of your friends slip and fall in the water – Miraj Patel.

Moraine Lake is surrounded by the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake is glacier fed which gives it the vibrant turquoise blue color.

You can also rent a canoe or do some short hikes around the lake. The Lake is just half the size of Lake Louise but twice as more scenic.

The best time of the year to visit and see the true color of the lake is between late June to August. By summer the glaciers have melted, and the lake is full to the top. During the months of winter, the lake is fully frozen and can be just as beautiful. But some of the roads might be closed, check the local government website before you decide to make your way out there.

Banff

It was around 4 pm, we got to our room at the Banff Park Lodge, the Lodge Suite was perfect with 2 queen beds, a pull out double bed, and 2 bathrooms. The Lodge is surrounded by shops and restaurants within walking distance.

There was still some day light left, so we decided to go walk around and explore the small resort town of Banff. This place is surrounded by tall and beautiful mountains. Banff Ave. is filled with local shops that sell authentic souvenirs, gifts, and various art and photo galleries.

After walking around for a while, we started to get hungry so we decided to get some pizza. I don’t know what it is with Canada and Pizza, but they seem to know what they are doing. I know I said I had the best pizza in my life earlier in whistler, but this place is a close second. Bear Street Tavern offers great pizza and beer with such friendly staff.

Get a pie for yourself or split it with a friend, either way it will leave a lasting taste.

We slowly made our way back to the room to relax for a bit before we head out to celebrate our last night of the road trip.

Its about 9 pm and everybody had cleaned up and dressed for a fun night out. We started by a celebratory drink at the hotel bar and headed towards the town.

Our first stop was at the Elk & Oarsman kitchen & Bar; this place is like a cabin in the woods. Built with big timber logs and an open patio on the second floor, this place has a very home like feeling. They offer a wide selection of beers and spirits, it was also rated the Top 12 pubs in all of Canada.

As the night started to progress and our minds started to wander, me made our way to the Dancing Sasquatch. If you are looking to get you groove on and show off your dance moves this place is perfect. They do have an entry fee of around $10 depending on the day of the week.

The drinks started to pile up, going from bar to bar so some of us called it a night and some still wanted to party.

Its about 2 am, and the bars are closing. So we did what everyone does when they are drunk, grab some Pizza- I know right, again! But its just so good we couldn’t get enough of it. It was time to call it a night.


Day 7: Final day of the trip- 😦

Today was our official last day of the trip. I was feeling like vacation is over and now it’s time to go back to school. But I told my self that, I should be grateful for what I was able to experience and the memories that would last a life time.

We checked out of our room, grabbed some breakfast at the local Tim Hortons. It is a must visit if you are in any part of Canada, their breakfast and donuts are exceptionally yummy. We grabbed some beer from a local shop and drove to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Start by walking around the discovery center, learn about the history of the Canada Parks and how they came to be, and then make your way to Canada’s most protected asset. An underground cave filled with a natural pool of water, be warned this place has a distinct smell from all the sulfur and minerals in the cave; just don’t breath through your mouth.

Don’t forget to check out the local musical performance.

Shortly after we made our way to a nearby lake. Just to relax and enjoy some cold beers while enjoying the views again (something you can never get enough of). About 30 minutes later, we were serenaded with a beautiful trumpet solo. To this day, I am not sure if it was a government employee or just random person, either way it was perfect.

Goodbyes are never easy!

Eventually all good things must come to an end. If you are anything like me, you are going to miss this beautiful country very much and you will remember it for years to come.

This place is still etched in my brain as if it was today.

We made our to way Calgary, an hour from Banff. We explored downtown for a few hours, and shortly after headed to the airport. Don’t forget to return your rental car.

I hope this itinerary helps you plan your perfect Canadian road trip. I want to hear all about your experience. If you have any questions, please comment below or email me.

Happy Travels!! 🙂


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