More stories

  • in

    Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting The Colosseum

    img#mv-trellis-img-1::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-1{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-2::before{padding-top:125%; }img#mv-trellis-img-2{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-3::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-3{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-4::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-4{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-5::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-5{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-6::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-6{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-7::before{padding-top:69.686411149826%; }img#mv-trellis-img-7{display:block;} Roman Colosseum Travel Guide Rome, Italy No matter if you’re a serious history buff or a Gladiator fan – you can’t miss a visit to the Colosseum on a trip to Rome. I was super excited to see the Colosseum when we were in Rome for the […] More

  • in

    12 Best Things To Do In Annecy, France

    img#mv-trellis-img-1::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-1{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-2::before{padding-top:125%; }img#mv-trellis-img-2{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-3::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-3{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-4::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-4{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-5::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-5{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-6::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-6{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-7::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-7{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-8::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-8{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-9::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-9{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-10::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-10{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-11::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-11{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-12::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-12{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-13::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-13{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-14::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-14{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-15::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-15{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-16::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-16{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-17::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-17{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-18::before{padding-top:171.42857142857%; }img#mv-trellis-img-18{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-19::before{padding-top:171.42857142857%; }img#mv-trellis-img-19{display:block;} Best Things to Do in Annecy, France! Annecy, France Annecy is a beautiful lake town in the Haute-Savoie region of France surrounded by mountains on the edge of the Swiss border. The lake, Lac d’Annecy, […] More

  • in

    25 Best Things To Do In Tulum, Mexico

    img#mv-trellis-img-1::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-1{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-2::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-2{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-3::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-3{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-4::before{padding-top:125%; }img#mv-trellis-img-4{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-5::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-5{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-6::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-6{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-7::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-7{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-8::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-8{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-9::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-9{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-10::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-10{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-11::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-11{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-12::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-12{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-13::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-13{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-14::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-14{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-15::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-15{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-16::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-16{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-17::before{padding-top:66.815144766147%; }img#mv-trellis-img-17{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-18::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-18{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-19::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-19{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-20::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-20{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-21::before{padding-top:125%; }img#mv-trellis-img-21{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-22::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-22{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-23::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-23{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-24::before{padding-top:66.222222222222%; }img#mv-trellis-img-24{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-25::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-25{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-26::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-26{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-27::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-27{display:block;}
    Best Things To Do In Tulum, Mexico!
    Tulum, Mexico
    Once an idyllic sleepy village, Tulum has been transformed into a celebrity vacation playground. From cenotes to chilling on the beach — here are the best things to do in Tulum, Mexico!
    Home to an ancient Mayan city, Tulum was once called Zama or “City of Dawn”.
    Facing the sunrise, this tropical paradise destination along Mexico’s Riviera Maya has beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s also a scuba diver’s paradise with many cenotes and caves to explore. 
    Tulum is a place where the ancient and the modern world blend together. Today you’ll find a mix of ancient Mayan ruins, yoga retreats, shopping, restaurants, and plenty of famous people who flock here to refresh their mind, body, and soul.
    I’ve spent a lot of time in Tulum over the years while living on and off in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and wanted to put together a guide on what to do in Tulum for first-time visitors.
    My Tulum itinerary is completely free! I’ve worked hard putting it together for you. If you find it useful, please use my affiliate links when you book hotels, rental cars or activities. I’ll get paid a small commission, at no extra cost to you! Thanks.

    Table Of Contents

    Mexico Travel Restrictions 2021
    Mexico is open to most travelers again, including American tourists. However you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
    Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines.
    You can find the latest updates on traveling to Mexico here.

    Mexico’s Riviera Maya
    Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
    1: Visit The Tulum Ruins (Archeological Site)
    Tulum’s Ancient Mayan Ruins
    The Tulum Archeological Site is an impressive 13th-century cliff-top Mayan city which is the highlight of any trip to Tulum. Set 12-meters high overlooking the shimmering Caribbean sea, the ruins are the perfect backdrop for photos.
    The 5-meter tall walls that surrounded the city, may have something to do with the name Tulum, which is the Maya word for fence. 
    Some important structures at the Tulum ruins are the Templo Dios del Viento or Temple of the God of the Wind, Pyramid El Castillo, Temple of the Descending God, and the Temple of the Frescoes. 
    Gates open at 8 AM, but the lines here are so long that you should get here 1 or 2 hours earlier to actually get in right as it opens. 
    ➜ Read My Guide To Visiting Tulum’s Ruins Here

    Tour Of Tulum & Coba
    Explore 2 archaeological sites in one day, as well as a Mayan village and swimming in a cenote.

    2: Explore Tulum Pueblo (El Centro)
    Tulum Pueblo
    Tulum is actually split up into 3 different areas, all commonly described as “Tulum”, which can make things a bit confusing for first time visitors.
    Tulum Town (aka Tulum Pueblo, or El Centro) is where locals in Tulum actually do business. Here you’ll find grocery stores, local restaurants, and other Mexican shops.
    Tulum Beach (aka Tulum Hotel Zone) is where all the beaches, resorts, and tourist shopping is. This is actually a 5-10 minute drive away from Tulum Town. Walking this distance would take about an hour (not recommended). A bike or taxi should be used instead.
    And finally there are the Tulum Ruins, which I described above. The ruins are located North of both the town and the beach.
    A few good places to stop in Tulum Town to get a feel for local Mexican life include La Chiapaneca for street tacos, Del Cielo for breakfast or brunch, and Huerto del Eden if you love fresh juice and coffee.

    3: Relax On Tulum’s Best Beaches
    Beautiful Playa Paraisao
    Tulum has so many lush beaches with soft sands and dazzling waters, it’s difficult to choose which beach to get some sun at. Here are our top choices amongst Tulum’s white sandy beaches. 
    Playa Paraisao – Powder white sands, clear shallow waters, beach bars and coconut palms. Playa Ruinas – The climb down the cliff face to this isolated beach is worth it. Pack some snacks because you won’t find any here. Ziggy’s Beach – A private beach that you pay $35 to enter, but includes use of a lounge chair. This family friendly beach is perfect for some quiet time with family.  Santa Fe Beach – This relaxing public beach north of Playa Paraisao, and just South of the ruins, is dotted with tiny shacks to grab a bite or drink.Sunrise Beach – if you’re looking for some real quiet, visit this beach. Especially at sunrise.

    One thing most people don’t know is that Tulum can sometimes get hit with a sargassum seaweed invasion, making the pristine white sand beaches — a little less pristine. The seaweed comes and goes each year, and if you’re unlucky, it may be around during your visit.
    Hotels and resorts try to clean it up from the beaches when they can, but sometimes it can overwhelm an area. The seaweed is harmless, but it can start to rot and smell bad if it isn’t removed right away.
    4: Sian Ka’an Biosphere
    Exploring Sian Ka’an Reserve
    Sian Ka’an means “gate to heaven” or “origin of the sky”. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is located just south of Tulum, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. 
    Sian Ka’an covers 5280 km² and is home to over 300 species of birds, 120 km of coastline, diverse flora and fauna, coral reefs, a lagoon and around 23 Mayan archaeological sites.
    A popular activity is to book a Sian Ka’an boat tour or kayaking tour to explore the jungle mangroves and saltwater lagoons. There are also snorkeling trips too. It’s possible to see dolphins, turtles, manatees, and all kinds of bird life on these trips.

    5: Swim (Or Scuba Dive) In Cenotes
    Cenote Taak Bi Ha
    You can’t visit Tulum, Mexico and not visit a cenote. The Tulum cenotes are natural sinkholes that over time filled with water developed marine life. Some of the cenotes also include underwater archaeological sites and relics. 
    With the Riviera Maya being home to the largest underground cave system in the world, connecting at least 226 different cenotes, there are many beautiful underground caverns and caves to explore. Some of my favorite cenotes near Tulum include:
    Gran Cenote – The most popular cenote in Tulum with waters that are considered sacred, it’s the entrance of the Sistema Sac Actun.Casa Cenote – Surrounded by mangroves with a tunnel that heads right out to the sea.Dos Ojos Cenote – Called Two Eyes Cenote, this one has great snorkeling and cave diving (if you’re a licensed scuba diver).Calavera – Looks like a skull from below, and holds pottery relics.Cenote Aktun Ha – Nicknamed Carwash Cenote, it was once used for washing cars. It’s perfect for swimming or diving in its underground cavern. Cenote Zacil-Ha – A family friendly cenote with restaurants and cabanas nearby.

    6: Take A Yoga Class
    Yoga Classes at Sunrise
    Tulum is a bit of a hippie and new-age destination, and as such, you’ll find plenty of yoga retreats, music therapy sessions, and other kinds of health and wellness activities.
    If you’re looking to unwind and immerse yourself in some yoga sessions during your visit, check out Naga Tulum.

    7: Climb The Mayan Ruins Of Coba
    The Mayan Ruins of Coba
    About 45 minutes away from Tulum you’ll find Coba. Tall pyramids look out over the surrounding jungle. Once inhabited by almost 50,000 souls, these ruins date back to the Middle and Late Classic periods (500 to 900 AD) of the Mayan civilization. However, Coba has been inhabited as far back as 50 BC.
    The most visited sites at Coba include the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Sacbe, Coba Group, Coba Stelae, Macanxoc Group and Conjunto de Pinturas. One of the unique features of this Mayan site is the ability to actually climb the main pyramid — something you can’t do at other ruins.   
    8: Visit Yal-Ku Lagoon
    Yal Ku Lagoon & Cenote
    About 33 minutes drive from Tulum, the Yal Ku Cenote is popular for snorkeling and bathing. 
    What’s different about Yal Ku? 
    It’s a cenote that flows in a lagoon that is also an inlet for the sea. Because of the mix of sea water and fresh water, the lagoon is the perfect snorkeling spot. The shallow waters near the cenote teem with small fish, while the deeper waters near the sea are filled with turtles, rays, and bigger fish. 
    There are stores near the ends that offer snacks and snorkeling and diving gear on rent.  

    Shopping in Tulum
    Tulum is a popular shopping destination. Boutique shops sell souvenirs, traditional Mayan clothing, and even some eclectic Western designs.
    Some popular stores to visit are Wanderlust, Pura Vida Tulum, Arte Sano, and La Troupe. You’ll also find great buys at the street-lined stalls. Be prepared to pay Western prices though!
    10: Eat At Local Restaurants
    Fresh Fish Anyone?
    You don’t have to visit the best restaurants in Tulum, Mexico to get a taste of local food. Grab someamazing bites some of the local shacks instead. Here are our favorites. 
    Matcha Mama – Serving plant based smoothies, kombuchas and acai bowls, they’re very popular on Instagram. Burrito Amor – The best burritos in Mexico!Raw Love – A vegan cafe with a hippie vibe that’s popular for raw chocolate and vegan delicacies.  The Dining Experience – If you’re above 18, you can eat at their communal table where you’ll enjoy a 7-course dinner and free-flowing alcohol while the hosts explain the food to you.Origami – Go here for the best gelato!Hartwood – Topping the list of the best restaurants in Tulum, you’ll enjoy wood-fire cooked meals made with local ingredients. Flor de Michoacan – They make fresh fruit popsicles that look and taste amazing!
    11: Check Out The Nightlife!
    Mexican Mezcal
    The nightlife is Tulum is happening, and beach bars are full almost every evening with weekends getting quite crowded. Here are some of the best bars in Tulum. 
    Gitano – Grab drinks at this open air jungle bar while snacking on appetizers!Papaya Playa Project – Popular for the full moon and weekend parties. Todos Santos – Good vibes and spectacular cocktails!Batey – Mojito & Guarapo Bar – Popular for the blue-colored beetle parked outside, this bar is famous for its local cocktails using fruits like the prickly pear! 
    And don’t forget to drink Mezcal at any of the local bars. It’s an agave liquor that you’ll find in many Mexican cocktails. 
    12: Visit A Mexican Adventure Park
    Rio Secreto Adventure Park
    Throughout the Riviera Maya you’ll find a series of outdoor adventure theme parks that were built to take advantage of the natural landscape in the Yucatan Peninsula.
    Some of the most popular ones are Xcaret, Xel Ha, Xplor and Rio Secreto. They’re like organized adventures that will take you zip-lining through the trees, swimming in caves, driving ATVs, or snorkeling with colorful fish.
    A great way for families to spend a day in Mexico, but adults will have a good time at these theme parks too. I think my favorite was Rio Secreto, because it feels a little more authentic and less touristy.
    13: Water Sports Activities
    Kiteboarding in Tulum
    The crystal clear waters of Tulum are perfect for water sports. Paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, and boating are popular. So are river tubing, and snorkeling and diving in the cenotes. But the most touristy thing to do is kite boarding or kite surfing. 
    On land, there are also jungle tours, zip lining and rappelling adventures in nearby ranches. 
    14: Find Tulum’s Famous Instagram Spots
    Ven a La luz Sculpture
    Some of the architecture in the Hotel Zone is not to be missed. Hotel Azulik looks like something from a movie. Ahau Tulum has a giant wooden sculpture that invites you into its bosom. The Macondo restaurant in Nomade looks like a Moroccan Dream. 
    And then there are the murals by local artists that can be found all around Tulum Town. It’s an Instagram addict’s dream come true!
    Ven a La luz sculpture (Ahau Resort)The Tulum SignCrooked Palm Tree (Playa Paraiso Beach Club)Beach Swings (Coco Tulum)Matcha MamaFollow That Dream Sign
    15: Join A Temazcal Ceremony
    Get Your Sweat On!
    One very unique thing to do in Tulum while getting a taste of Mayan culture is take part in a Temazcal ceremony. This traditional Mayan ceremony of purification takes place in a tiny hut made of stone or wood. You strip down to your underwear (or swimsuit), and enter the sweat lodge which is heated with hot rocks & water, turning it into a steamy sauna.
    The ceremony is led by a local shaman, who conducts the ritual and takes care of participants. The temazcal ceremony takes place in complete darkness, as the shaman pours water over the hot rocks, chanting and using different herbs to summon spirits.
    Temazcal was performed since ancient times, and seen as a purification ceremony that cleans the body, mind, and soul. As your body is sweating in the tiny hut, you enter a deep state of meditation, enhanced by the shamanic chanting.
    16: Laguna De Kaan Luum
    Laguna Kaan Luum
    Looking like the blue hole in Belize, the Laguna Kaam Luum is one of the best kept Tulum secrets. The waters of the lagoon supposedly have magical properties and you’re allowed to take a swim for 100 pesos. For an extra 300 pesos you can also fly a drone here. 
    Kaan Luum is also perfect for diving with the deeper area cordoned off to prevent entry to swimmers. 
    17: Drive To Chichen Itza
    The Famous Ruins of Chichen Itza
    One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also the most visted Mayan ruins in Mexico.
    The massive city complex built by the Mayans thrived from 525 AD to 1200 AD. Entrance costs about 80 + 417 pesos.
    One of the most popular places to visit while staying in Tulum, Yucatan, it’s a two hour drive from Tulum Town in a rental car, but there are also many organized tours that will take you there. 

    Chichen Itza Tour
    Skip the line at Mexico’s most famous archaeological site, visit a colonial town, and swim in a cenote.

    18: Rent A Bicycle
    Exploring Tulum by Bicycle
    Hire a bike and wander around Tulum on your own. A bike’s also handy to visit most beaches and restaurants that are about 30 minutes bike ride from Tulum Centro. 
    Or take a bike tour to explore local culture or old ruins while traveling along the Mayan back roads and hidden paths. 
    19: Visit Pablo Escobar’s Beach House
    Casa Malca Resort
    Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord who founded the Medellin Cartel and was shot dead in 1993. His mansion in the Tulum jungle was bought by art collector Lio Malca in 2012 and turned into an art hotel called Casa Malca.
    Stop by to see contemporary pieces of art from Leo Malca’s collection as well as vintage furniture. But remember, if you’re not actually a hotel guest and would like to visit — you’re required to spend at least 1000 pesos (about $50 USD) on drinks, food, etc. 

    20: Check Out The Muyil Ruins
    Muyil Pyramid
    Located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, the Muyil Ruins displaying Peten architecture date as far back as 350 BC. Set along an old trade route to Coba, the ruins also known as Chunyaxché are very close to the Sian Ka’an Lagoon.
    Apart from the main ruins such as the 17-meter tall Castillo, you can also climb to an observation deck to see the surrounding countryside. 

    Seasonal Seaweed on Tulum’s Beaches
    Best Time To Visit Tulum
    January – April
    Excellent weather, with lots of sun and mild temperatures in the 80’s F. However this is also the high season, so there are many more tourists. Lots of Canadians and Americans come down for the winter.
    May – October
    These are the hottest and rainiest months of the year. The heat and humidity can be too much for some people. September and October is also hurricane season for the area. Far fewer tourists though.
    November – December
    This is my favorite time to visit Tulum, because the weather isn’t super hot, hurricane season is over, but the high season for tourists hasn’t started yet.
    Frequent Traffic Jams in Tulum
    Getting To Tulum
    Most people get to Tulum after flying into Cancun International Airport. Search for the cheapest flights to Cancun on From the airport, you can book a private shuttle or take the public ADO bus (much cheaper). Buses leave every 30 minutes and cost about 300 pesos ($15 USD).
    NOTE: Traffic is terrible along Tulum’s beach road. A crowded mix of taxis, supply trucks, and tourists on bicycles makes it a mess. Be VERY careful on the road here, and don’t expect to get anywhere fast in a car during the high-season.
    Rental Car
    The best site to book your car is with Discover Cars. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car and drive in Mexico.
    Renting a car offers the best flexibility to explore more remote and less touristy spots on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s my favorite way to get around!
    Tulum Taxis
    There are no Ubers in Mexico, but there are taxis. Taking a taxi is what most tourists do, but beware that the Yucatan has a “taxi mafia” that charges high prices whenever they think they can get away with it. Always settle on the price before getting in.
    Cycling is a popular way to get around locally. For about USD 10 (Mex$200) you can rent a bike for the entire day. Your hotel should have bikes on hand. If not, pick bikes from Ola Bike Tulum or IBike Tulum. 
    There are a bunch of airport shuttle services offering rides from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, and they’ll be sure to harass you at the airport exit. The most popular one is probably Cancun Airport Transportation. 
    ADO Buses
    Buses in the Yucatan Peninsula are run by the ADO bus company. You can use these buses to get from Tulum Town or Tulum Centro to the Tulum Ruins or Tulum Zona Arqueológica, or literally anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula. You can buy tickets in advance if you want to, but most times you’ll be fine buying a ticket just before entering the bus. 
    Other local buses include the Mayab that goes to the Coba ruins where ADO doesn’t reach.
    Colectivos are local minivans that transport a group of people to and fro. This is the cheapest way to get around Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula. These are what the locals use to get around the city, but routes can be confusing if you don’t speak Spanish.
    Best Hotels in Tulum
    Where To Stay In Tulum
    Accommodation in Tulum can range from backpacker friendly to luxurious. The best areas to stay are Col Huracanes for the pubs and nightlife, Tulum Playa for the beaches, or Tulum Pueblo for something budget friendly.


    Tulum Travel Tips & Advice
    Tulum regularly has a seaweed problem, where stinky green stuff washes up and covers the beautiful white sand beaches. Resorts try to clean it up, but aren’t always successful.Pay in pesos instead of dollars so you don’t get ripped off. Skip January to March as it’s super crowded and June to October is rainy. To avoid the crowds, best visit during November and December. Be prepared not to have internet access in Tulum since WiFi is really slow in most places.If you’re staying at the luxury hotels, take advantage of the free spas and complimentary wine. There are only a few free public beaches in Tulum. The best beaches will require you to pay for entrance at a beach club.

    I hope you enjoyed my guide on what to do in Tulum, Mexico! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Have any questions about things to do in Tulum, Mexico? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!



    PIN More

  • in

    Mysteries Of Matera: Italy’s Stone-Age City Of Caves

    Exploring the Cave City of Matera Matera, Italy The town of Matera, Italy has a long and fascinating history. And I mean . It is one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world, estimated to be settled in the 10th millennium BC (that’s about 10,000 years ago!). And sporadically settled for … So […] More

  • in

    15 Things To See & Do In NYC On A Budget (Plus Money-Saving Tips!)

    Best Things to do In New York New York is an amazing city to visit as a tourist. I’ve been a handful of times now, and always look forward to it. There’s so much to do! But it’s also expensive. Today, my friend & travel author Matt Kepnes shares tips for things to do in New York City on a budget after living there for many years. Tips are his, photos are mine. Here’s Matt: New York is one of my favorite cities. In fact, I love it so much I lived there for close to five years. I can never get enough of it! To me, NYC is the center of the world, with people, foods, and cultures from everywhere. It has a wild nightlife scene, and there’s a never-ending list of things to see, do, and experience. You can never be bored in NYC.  But, as awesome as it is, it can easily break the most hardened of budgets without proper planning. Tourists often decry New York’s cost, but this is also place of starving artists and underpaid interns. To be a local is to know where the deals are.  Despite what most people think, it’s actually possible to have a fun, budget-friendly trip to the Big Apple without breaking the bank — if you know where to look. So, if you want to take it in without spending a fortune, here are the bestthings to do in New York on a budget: Table Of Contents 1: Take A Free Walking Tour Anna & I Walking Around New York The first thing I do in a new destination is take a walking tour. They’re the best way to orient yourself, see the main sights, and interact with an expert local guide who can answer all your questions.  If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend Free Tours by Foot. Just make sure to tip your guide at the end! For paid tours, go with Take Walks, which has specific ones that focus on art, food, and history; they are pretty affordable too (starting at $60 USD). 2: Wander Central Park Exploring Central Park with Poofy The heart of New York City, Central Park spans over 150 square blocks (840 acres). You can easily spend all day relaxing and wandering around. During the summer, there are often free concerts and theater productions (arrive early for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park). From the late spring to the early fall, there also are free guided walks organized by the parks service on Saturdays. Central Park is the best place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Bring a book, pack a lunch, and come lounge the day away.  3: Walk The High Line Check Out High Line Park This is one of my favorite things to do in New York. Made from a converted elevated train track, the High Line is an urban walking park on the west side of town. The path stretches over twenty blocks (1.45 miles) and is extremely popular in the summer. Lined with overlooks, gardens, public art, and food stalls, this linear park is one of the best things to do on a nice day. Just avoid the weekends, when it gets extra busy! 4: See The Statue Of Liberty Meet Lady Liberty! Visiting the Statue of Liberty up close will cost over $20 USD and involve waiting in a long line. If that doesn’t sound appealing, simply hop on the free Staten Island Ferry. It crosses the harbor and provides a decent view of both the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The ride takes about 25 minutes. 5: Visit Trinity Church Built in 1698, Trinity was originally a small parish chapel constructed by the Church of England. When the British seized New York after George Washington’s retreat during the Revolutionary War, it was used as a British base of operations. In 1776, a massive fire swept through New York and consumed the original church (as well as 25% of the entire city). The new building was consecrated in 1790 and was regularly attended by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.  The graveyard has many a famous American buried in it, such as Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth, Francis Lewis (a signatory of the Declaration of Independence), John Alsop (a Continental Congress delegate), Horatio Gates (a Continental Army general), and Lord Stirling (also a Continental Army general). 6: See The 9/11 Memorial 911 Memorial & One World Trade Center This memorial was built to commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. There are two massive reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood, along with the names of all the victims. There is a museum as well, with all kinds of multimedia exhibits about the attacks, including survivor stories and artifacts. While the memorial is free, admission to the museum is $26 USD.  7: Attend A Broadway Show For Cheap Check Out a Play on Broadway You can’t go to Manhattan and not see a Broadway show, of which there is a wide variety, from modern musicals to Shakespeare to quirky, offbeat plays. There’s nothing better than live theater, as it’s such an integral part of life in New York. If you’re on a budget, don’t settle for full-priced tickets. Instead, visit the TKTS booth in Times Square to get half-price tickets. You’ll need to wait in line, but you’ll save a ton! 8: Wander Times Square Hang Out in Times Square As touristy as it is, no visit to NYC is complete without a stop at Times Square. No matter when you go, it will be packed with people (usually other tourists). If you aren’t shopping or eating or seeing a show, there isn’t much to do in the area (and no locals hang out there), but it’s still a neat place to people-watch and get a feel for just how vast and bustling the Big Apple is.  9: Visit The Museum Of Modern Art New York’s Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art is home to some beautiful (and weird) modern art. Personally, I dislike that style (call me old-fashioned, but I just don’t get it), but the MoMA also has Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as well as other impressionist and post-impressionist art. So, even if you’re not a modern-art fan, it’s still worth a visit. And if you do love contemporary and modern art, this is (apparently) one of the best places in the world to experience it. To keep your budget afloat, on Fridays after 4pm, the museum is free! More Free Museums In NYC New York City is full of some of the best museums in the world. In addition to MoMA, many offer pay-what-you-wish entry on certain days of the week. Whitney Museum of American Art (Thursdays)The Guggenheim (Saturday Afternoons)Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design (Saturday Nights) 10: Relax In Battery Park Explore Battery Park Battery Park is where the Dutch built Fort Amsterdam in 1625 to defend their settlement. Located on the southern tip of Manhattan, the fort’s cannon battery (hence the name) wasn’t used until 1776, when American forces seized it after declaring independence. The fort was destroyed during the Revolutionary War; however, the battery was expanded afterward. Today, there are over 20 monuments and plaques in the park, covering everything from the War of 1812 to the War of Independence to immigration and much more. 11: Visit The Bronx Zoo Visit the Zoo! Admission to the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays at one of the oldest and biggest zoos in the United States. Opened in 1899 and now welcoming over 2 million visitors each year, it encompasses almost 300 acres and is home to over 650 different species, including gorillas, birds of prey, tigers, elephants, anacondas, bison, and much more! It’s a great place to visit, especially with kids. 12: Attend A TV Show Taping Be a TV Audience Member If you’re planning your trip in advance, try getting tickets to a TV taping. Shows like Saturday Night Live, The View, Late Night with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon all offer free tickets. But they need to be reserved in advance, as there is a limited number, so be sure to submit requests for multiple shows to increase your chances of securing one or more. See each show’s website for details and to make reservations. 13: See Federal Hall Federal Hall is one of the most overlooked museums in town. Originally built in 1700, it is where George Washington took his oath of office (you can see the Bible he was sworn in on). It was also the site of the US Customs House in the late 1700s and was the first capitol building of the United States. The original building was demolished in 1812; the current one dates to 1842. I especially love the old vaults. Best of all, admission is free! 14: Walk The Brooklyn Bridge Walking along the Brooklyn Bridge The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world’s most iconic sights. It offers an easy 25-minute stroll into (or out of) Brooklyn, though expect to spend closer to 40 minutes if you stop to snap photos. You’ll get a wonderful panorama of Manhattan as you make your way across — especially if you go at night when the skyline is all lit up. (There are fewer crowds then too.) 15: Explore Grand Central Terminal Grand Central Station in NYC Aside from being a transit hub, Grand Central is also a landmark and an attraction unto itself. The main concourse is 88,000 square feet, which on sunny days is bathed in sunlight from its giant arching windows. The terminal’s 12-story-high ceiling is painted with stars and gilded zodiac constellations. This station also has incredible food and drink options, including its famous oyster bar and The Campbell Bar (a cocktail bar).  Extra Money-Saving Tips For NYC Saving Money in New York City To help you save a few extra bucks during your visit to New York City, here are some money-saving tips to keep your budget under control: Get a MetroCard -You’ll be taking the subway a lot in New York, and fares can add up. Get an unlimited MetroCard and save yourself a bundle. A week’s pass pays for itself after 11 trips, which you can easily make, even if you are only visiting for a few days.Hit happy hours -NYC is awash in $1-2 oyster happy hours, $4 drink specials, bottomless brunches, and much, much more. Some of my favorite spots include: The Mermaid Inn, Jeffery’s Grocery, Carroll Place, Ofrenda, and The Frying Pan.Eat cheap – Between the food carts, dollar-a-slice pizza shops (literally $1 for a cheese slice), kebab joints, and ethnic eateries, you can eat really affordably in New York. Some of my favorites are The Dead Rabbit (cheap oyster happy hours), Percy’s Pizza ($1 slices), Noodle Q (Chinese food in big portions), and Gray’s Papaya (cheap hotdogs).Get a discount pass -If you’re planning on seeing a lot of the main attractions, get a discount pass. The CityPASS, the Explorer Pass, and the New York Pass all offer discounts to the main sights, such as the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock (the observatory at Rockefeller Center), the 9/11 Museum, the Met, and more. Passes start around $100 USD, so you’ll need to make sure you’re going to see a lot to get your money’s worth. Embrace the sharing economy -NYC has a huge Couchsurfing community. As long as you send your request well in advance, you shouldn’t have a problem finding someone to host you for a couple of days. This will drastically cut down on your accommodation costs. If staying with a stranger isn’t your cup of tea, there are also plenty of fun, cheap hostels too. While it’s an expensive destination, there are tons of free and cheap things to do in New York that won’t blow your budget. Follow the list of above, fill your days (and nights) with fun, and leave with memories…and not an empty wallet. ★ Travel Planning Resources For New YorkPacking GuideCheck out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip.Book Your FlightReady to fly? Here’s how I find the cheapest airline flights.Rent A CarDiscover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find a deal.Cheap AccommodationLearn how I save money booking hotels & vacation apartments.Protect Your TripDon’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read why you should always carry travel insurance. READ MORE UNITED STATES TRAVEL TIPS I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best things to do in New York City! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next: Awesome New York City Helicopter FlightThe Best Of Key West, FloridaCanoeing Minnesota’s Boundary WatersMy Asheville North Carolina Travel GuideExploring Hawaii’s Grand Canyon Have any questions about things to do in New York City? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below! SHARE TWEET PIN More

  • in

    30 Best Things To Do In Venice (Italy’s Floating City)

    Best Things to Do In Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice feels like it shouldn’t exist. Beautiful floating palaces of stone surrounded by a network of canals. Here are some of the best things to do in Venice for your first visit! Venice is one of the most popular Italian cities for tourists, even with all […] More