At Home in Paradise: Hacienda Altagracia, an Auberge Resort

 

Hacienda Altagracia, an Auberge Resort, is a little slice of heaven in the mountains of Costa Rica's Perez Zeledon. This high end resort offers the perfect mix of luxury and adventure for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Your experience at the resort is catered to whatever you're looking to get out of it. If relaxation is what you want, then the world class spa and stunning pool overlooking the valley have you covered. If you're looking for something a little more adventurous, then you're free to partake in any of the countless activities that take place on the resort grounds and nearby. Of course, there's no reason you can't do both. For someone like me, Hacienda Altagracia really was the best of both worlds. I normally get stir-crazy at resorts because there's not enough to do, but the sheer amount and quality of activities kept me busy and entertained the whole time. And that made the moments of relaxation that much sweeter. When people think about Costa Rica, all they think about is surfing and beaches, but this resort is about so much more.

From the moment you arrive, you feel completely at home as you are greeted with a welcome drink and a warm smile. The hospitality at Hacienda Altagracia is unbeatable. The staff is always one step ahead of you, anticipating your wants and needs before you even realize them yourself. Everyone you interact with is amazingly personable and greets you by your first name. It's abundantly clear that all members of the staff love their jobs and in such a beautiful setting, how can you blame them?

The grounds of Hacienda Altagracia are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. This expansive property covers over 865 acres and the space is utilized incredibly well. The 50 standalone luxury estates, or casitas, are beautifully appointed and contain everything you need for a luxurious getaway in the mountains. The casitas are extremely spacious with oversized beds, comfortable living rooms, and extremely large bathrooms with rain shower heads. The highlight though is the terrace with lounge chairs and a table inviting you to spend as much time as possible soaking in the beautiful view of the valley below. It doesn't take long for your casita to feel like home and if you're like me, you definitely won't want to leave.

The variety of activities available at Hacienda Altagracia is staggering. And the best part is that all activities are completely private. From horseback riding to waterfall hunting and tropical fruit tasting, there's definitely something for all ages and abilities. Our horseback ride gave us a chance to explore a side of the property that we hadn't yet seen. Our ride took us to a secluded spot along the river where we enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican lunch of casados which is made up of chicken, rice, black beans, tortilla, and plantains. The next day we were able to explore the stunning triple tiered Namu Falls located nearby the resort. Our knowledgeable guide made the experience extremely educational and enjoyable. The hike back up to our starting point was challenging in the 90% humidity but the promise of fresh starfruit juice and lunch cooked on a woodfire stove was just the motivation we needed.

The crown jewel though has to be the Ultralight flight. These small aircraft have no windows and no doors -- effectively allowing you to literally touch the clouds. The flight is incredibly smooth and gives you a bird's eye view of the beautiful landscapes below. Rolling green hills give way to pineapple farms and coffee plantations in a stunning juxtaposition of the natural landscape and the industries that it supports. Next thing you know, you break through the clouds and are able to look down on the bed of pillowy clouds below. This flight is something that will stick with me forever.

After a full day of activities, there's no better way to decompress than a visit to Hacienda Altagracia's world class spa. The spa is the largest in Central America and the facilities are gorgeous. The spa offers a full lineup of services with a variety of massage types to choose from which are tailored to your preferences. Before our massage, we had the opportunity to participate in a scrub making class where we learned about the different ingredients and exfoliants that can be used to make a homemade scrub that will revitalize your skin. The best part of the spa facilities is the huge indoor pool area. Equipped with two hot tubs and plenty of lounge chairs, the spa pool is the perfect place to relax after your massage and swim a couple laps.

As if the property couldn't get any better, literally every meal I had there was perfect in every way. Whether you want to dine in one of the resort's amazing restaurants or have a private meal on the terrace of your casita, your meals can be as lively or as intimate as you choose. The majority of ingredients used by the resort are locally sourced and you can taste the quality. At the resort, you'll enjoy farm to table gourmet meals and on your excursions you'll have the opportunity to sample local Costa Rican fare cooked with traditional ingredients by local chefs such as the casado mentioned earlier. With a collection of traditional Costa Rican dishes and delicious takes on international cuisine, you can definitely a dish that will suit your tastes.

What sets Hacienda Altagracia apart is the genuineness of everything you experience. The staff makes every moment a delight and the activities give you an amazing taste of Costa Rican culture that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the country and its people. I was blown away when I was told that during my time I had only explored two to three percent of everything that the resort has to offer. The level of comfort you're able to feel at the resort quickly makes it a home away from home. My time at Hacienda Altagracia went by in the blink of an eye and I'm already looking forward to returning in the future.

Top 7 Things to Do in Japan

I've never experienced anything quite like Japan. Ultramodern cityscapes are juxtaposed with traditional shrines and temples in a way that really shouldn't work -- but it just does. Without a doubt, Japan has the richest culture of any country I've ever visited. Every day held a complete and new sensory experience and I relished every second of it. From the food, nightlife, and activities to the rich culture, tradition, and history, Japan truly has it all. Most countries are lucky to check just a few of these boxes. Here are the top 7 things you have to do in Japan:

1. Chase the Cherry Blossoms

Seeing the yearly bloom of cherry blossoms in Japan has been on my bucket list for a long time. The trees weren't quite in full bloom when we first arrived. As luck would have it, we arrived in Kyoto just as the cherry blossoms were hitting peak bloom. Watching the cherry blossoms bloom and then begin to fall off the trees during the course of the trip was magical.

2. Kayak on Lake Kawaguchi

Canoeing out on Lake Kawaguchi with Country Lake Systems was the culmination of a lifelong dream. After paddling out, I just sat there in awe while watching clouds whisp around the peak of the mountain. It wouldn't have been possible to chase the light around the Kawaguchiko area without Toyota Rent a Car.

3. Experience the Robot Restaurant

Simultaneously one of the most exhilarating and confusing experiences in Japan has to be the now world-famous Robot Restaurant. The technological showcase is truly a sight to behold and is a must do for anyone who visits Japan. The experience starts from the moment you walk in the door and are completely surrounded by wall to wall neon fixtures and perfectly gaudy displays. This even extends to the bathroom. You are then ushered in to the main showroom and what unfolds in front of your eyes really has to be seen to be believed. This multi-act show is nonstop sensory overload and hilariously entertaining in a way that is quintessential Tokyo.
 

4. Go Kart around Tokyo with Maricar


Filling a nostalgia void that no one knew existed, the Maricar experience allows you to have a real life MarioKart experience zooming around the streets of Tokyo dressed as your favorite MarioKart characters as well as countless superheroes and other favorite characters. After you browse their enormous collection of costumes (and after a very necessary safety briefing), you hit the road and before you know it you're speeding through Tokyo. Along the way, you'll spot countless people taking photos and video of you and your crew because it really must be a hilarious sight watching Mario, Luigi, and Toad speed around the corner. Definitely an unforgettable experience.

5. Spend a night at the Sakura Aquarium

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Sakura season is a highlight of the year for residents of Japan and tourists alike. This excitement extends to Tokyo's premier aquarium, Aqua Park Shinagawa, which is rebranded for the season to the phenomenal Sakura Aquarium by Naked. The already impressive aquarium is given a seasonal punch thanks to the incredible projection mapping utilized by Naked in their seasonal revamp of the aquarium. The highlight of the experience is an amazing dolphin show that includes awe-inducing audio and visual components including Sakura-themed projections on a curtain of water right in the middle of the show.

6. See the lights at Nabana no Sato

Japan is famous for its winter illuminations, but none can compete with Nagoya's Nabana no Sato. Originally open only during the winter months every year, Nabana no Sato has now extended its run from October to May due to its immense popularity. With over 8 million lights creating this winter wonderland, this effect is quite a sight to behold. All around the park there are flowers illuminated as well as an audio visual light show showcasing different landscapes from around the world. The crown jewel of the park is without a doubt the illuminated tunnel. You can walk down the middle of the tunnel and have the lights envelope your entire field of vision and they extend as far as your eye can see. 

7. Visit an Owl Cafe

It may sound silly, but one of the things I was looking forward to most during my visit to Japan was my first ever visit to an Owl Cafe. It's exactly what it sounds like. While in Tokyo, we visited the Mohumohu Owl Cafe Shinjuku. Once inside, you get to play with a variety of different owls and get to know all their quirks and silly personalities. Unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of owl selfies and our feathered friends were more than happy to sit on the visitors' hand, shoulder, or head. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little freaked out at first but it was a priceless experience!

Best Places to Stay in Japan

There's no shortage of accommodations in Japan. Whether you want to stay in a Western-style hotel room or a traditional Japanese ryokan, there are options for every taste and budget. The right accommodations make a world of difference for any vacation and Japan is no exception to that rule. Here are my favorite places I stayed while in Japan.

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon by HULIC - Tokyo, Japan

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In a city like Tokyo, there's no shortage of hotels but it's easier said than done to find a hotel as great as The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon by HULIC. Located less than a two minute walk away from the bustling Asakusa Market and a five minute walk from the amazing Sensoji Temple, the location of The Gate Hotel couldn't be better. It's also super convenient if you want to catch the subway to check out the rest of the city. With an awesome view of the city and the nearby Tokyo Tower, the view from the lobby can't be beat. The room was stylish and the bathroom was super spacious. What wowed me the most though had to be the amazing breakfast offered by the hotel's restaurant. The curry benedict was one of the best breakfasts I had while in Japan!

Fuji Premium Resort - Kawaguchiko, Japan

One of the highlights of my time in Japan were the several days I spent in Kawaguchiko at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The mountain towers above the surrounding landscape and has a command of the area unlike anything I've ever experienced. Whenever the fog and clouds decided to clear, the enormous mountain was simply stunning and so beautifully symmetrical. It was so nice to go back to Fuji Premium Resort and just relax after a long day of photography and canoeing. The resort was perfectly situated just minutes from Lake Kawaguchi and the accommodations in the Resort's Forest Village were perfect. The Forest Village is a collection of large condos tucked away in a secluded forest area. The setting could not have been more serene and peaceful. The condo was perfect for relaxing and the large jacuzzi tub in the bathroom was a huge plus! The resort also offered an amazing buffet dinner with a huge variety of dishes to choose from.

The St. Regis Osaka - Osaka, Japan

If you're looking for luxury, look no further than The St. Regis Osaka. Within walking distance of the world-famous Dotonbori district, the St. Regis is the perfect jumping off point for adventuring around Osaka. The staff was incredible welcoming and friendly and made me feel at home within minutes of arriving at the hotel. The room was simply enormous and had an awesome view of the city of Osaka and the streets far below. The king size bed was without a doubt one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept on. The bathroom was absolutely ridiculous. You have your pick between the oversized bathtub and the shower which features a whopping five shower heads. Thankfully, the TV in the bathroom can be viewed from either the shower or the bathtub. With a room control panel integrated into the nightstand and 24 hour butler service, the only danger is you might never want to leave the room.

Your Guide to Fiji's Main Island, Viti Levu

 

Fiji is a country incredibly rich in culture with diverse offerings in relaxation, adventure, sightseeing, and exploration. With over 300 islands, there is something for everyone in Fiji. Viti Levu is Fiji's largest island and is home to the adventure capital of Fiji, the coastal community of Pacific Harbour. In Pacific Harbour, you'll find activities such as world renowned soft coral scuba diving, incredible river expeditions, shark encounters, jet ski adventures, zip-lining, an eclectic arts village, world class spa treatments, and much more. Pacific Harbour is also where the wonderful Uprising Beach Resort is located. Uprising offers a wide range of accommodations from stunning traditional thatched Beachfront Villas to more affordable dormitory style housing. With 2km of sandy beachfront, a full service restaurant and beach bar, waterfront massages, and plenty of opportunities for poolside lounging, there's almost no reason to leave the idyllic confines of the Uprising Beach Resort. However, the resort was only the jumping off point for an adventure filled trip in Fiji!

First up was the world famous Shark Dive with Beqa Adventure Divers. Beqa Lagoon is an incredibly unique spot in that it features some of the most amazing soft coral diving the world has to offer as well as Fiji's own Shark Reef Marine Reserve. The establishment of the Reserve allows for a shark diving experience like nowhere else in the world. We were able to witness eight different species of sharks including Tigers, Sicklefin Lemons, Sivertips, Grey Reefs, Whitetip Reefs, Blacktip Reefs, Tawny Nurses, but the main attractions were undoubtedly the enormous Bull Sharks. It was truly an unforgettable experience watching those hulking beasts of the sea feed mere feet from us.

Just when we thought that no experience would be able to live up to the shark dive of the previous day, Rivers Fiji was more than up to the challenge. The Upper Navua Whitewater Rafting trip is an incomparable glimpse into the history, culture, and natural flora and fauna of Fiji. With lush slot canyons and countless waterfalls around every corner, the scenery was jaw-dropping. Over the course of the full day, 17 mile trip down the river, our guide Moses regaled us with stories of his life on the island and his experiences guiding trips down the river for the last twenty years. At the end of the day, we hardly wanted the trip to end but our arms and shoulders were begging for a break after a day of navigating the rapids of the Navua River.

Before we knew it, our time in Fiji was over and we had to face the harsh reality of returning home. This trip was an amazing glimpse into what Fiji has to offer and I can't wait until I have the opportunity to return. Huge thanks to the Uprising Beach Resort for their hospitality and for arranging an action-packed stay at their beautiful resort.

Belize Getaway with Southwest Airlines

 
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For the new Southwest Passport initiative, Southwest Airlines sent 12 people to the 12 different international destinations to which Southwest offers service. I was lucky enough to go to Belize for the first time where I spent two nights at the amazing Las Terrazas resort in the Ambergris Caye region of Belize. Ambergris Caye is Belize's largest island and is known for its Caribbean beaches and its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. 

The highlight of the trip was our visit to the world famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve which is home to an abundance of diverse sea life and some of the clearest waters I've ever seen. After exploring the ecosystem of the reserve, we continued on to Shark Ray Alley which had no trouble living up to its name. The area was bursting with nurse sharks and sting rays which would greet every new boat that arrived in hopes of getting a snack. The experience of watching the sharks and rays circle around us was exhilarating and unforgettable. From catching a fiery sunrise on my first morning there to relaxing by the pool, I was definitely able to maximize my stay in Belize but I cannot wait to return and see even more of what this incredible country has to offer. 

I really want to thank each and every one of you who entered for a chance to win a Belize getaway courtesy of Southwest. The winners will be announced soon! As a token of my appreciation, I wanted to share some of my must do travel tips that I've picked up throughout my travels:

One of the most important things while traveling is to have all of your essentials ready at a moments notice. 

Make sure you have the best seat on the plane. For me, that's always the window seat. 

Be sure to check what activities your hotel offers. Many will have kayaks, paddleboards, and more to use at your leisure for free. 

Planning out your meals for the day is just as important as planning out your activities. 

And last but not least, have fun and don't forget to find time to relax and pamper yourself before making the trip back home!

 

 

Help Protect the Arctic Refuge

With its vast landscapes and abundance of wildlife, Alaska has long been at the top of my list of places to explore. Untouched wilderness in particular is something that there can never be enough of. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in the country and is one of the US's last intact landscapes. It is home to polar and brown bears, wolves, muskoxen, and many species of fish and migratory birds.

The Arctic Refuge serves an essential purpose in the ecosystem of the area. The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd which has sustained the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada for hundreds of generations. This coastal plain has been a target of Big Oil forces for many decades now due to the fact that it is not currently a protected wilderness.
Plans to exploit the Arctic and its resources will likely drive the caribou from their calving grounds. This in turn will directly effect the Gwich'in people.

By working together, we can protect the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling and industrial development. I'm working with Care2 in order to spread this message as far and wide as possible. Join me in doing everything we can to protect this priceless wilderness by watching the video below and signing the petition.

Here is the link to the petition: http://www.care2.com/arctic

Patagonia film 'The Refuge': 

Southwest Passport

This post was written by me through an activation with HireInfluence on behalf of Southwest Airlines. Although I received compensation for participating in the campaign, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Traveling hasn't always been a part of my life, but once I started, it didn't take long for it to become an essential aspect of who I am. It's been a passion of mine for the past two years and my love for it only continues to grow as I travel more. I love the excitement of visiting a new city or country for the first time. It's such an amazing experience getting acquainted with the sights, culture, and customs of a new place. Every place I travel to holds a special place in my heart, but some of my favorite destinations I visited this past year include Iceland, New Zealand, and Thailand.

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This winter I'm excited to announce that I'll be partnering with Southwest Airlines for an international getaway! The most exciting part is that I won't know the destination until December 2nd. Tune in to https://www.facebook.com/tiffpenguin/ where I'll be doing a live video to reveal the destination. You can also follow along with the #SouthwestPassport tag on all of my social channels. Check out more details below!

Twelve Southwest Travelers will be assigned a Southwest Airlines International Destination to/from which he/she will travel between December 4, 2016 and December 14, 2016. Each Southwest Traveler will document his/her trip online by posting images. Each Southwest Traveler will include a Giveaway Prop as part of a posting included in his/her Traveler Content. Each Traveler will only post one Giveaway Prop as part of his/her Traveler Content posted between December 4, 2016 and December 14, 2016.

Prize: 12 winners possible
Each winner will receive one (1) $500 Southwest ® gift card

To enter: (1) follow the Southwest Travelers and watch for the Giveaway Prop as part of the Traveler Content;
(2) when you see that a Southwest Traveler posted Traveler Content that includes a Giveaway Prop, Tweet/Post on Entrant’s Twitter/Instagram account that image/video tagged with the corresponding Southwest Traveler’s Corresponding Location Entry Hashtag and #SouthwestPassport; and
(3) include why you want to visit the destination to which the Southwest Traveler is traveling. Postings on Facebook or any other platforms or services do not qualify for a possible entry.

Location Entry Hashtags:

#PuertoVallartaGiveaway

#CaboGiveaway

#MexicoCityGiveaway

#CancunGiveaway

#ArubaGiveaway

#JamaicaGiveaway

#PuertoRicoGiveaway

#NassauGiveaway

#PuntaCanaGiveaway

#LiberiaCostaRicaGiveaway

#SanJoseCostaRicaGiveaway

#BelizeGiveaway

On the Road in Oregon with Zappos & Blundstone

The lush landscapes of Oregon along with its incredible variety of sights make it the perfect destination for a fall adventure. I've teamed up with Zappos and Blundstone to show you how I spent the week exploring one of my favorite states in the US. Thanks to Zappos' awesome customer service and fast free shipping I was able to get my Blundstone boots the day after I ordered them and was ready for adventure. 

The Blundstone BL584 boots have the perfect mix of ruggedness for the outdoors and style for the city.

The Blundstone BL584 boots have the perfect mix of ruggedness for the outdoors and style for the city.

Boots that provide both comfort and quality are hard to come by, but Blundstone has me covered. I ask a lot of all my gear, especially my boots, and I was amazed at how the Blundstone boots performed during the trip. It was a week of classic PNW weather with nonstop rain and muddy trails. The Blundstones didn't miss a beat and kept me adventure-ready with sure footing and dry feet.

Backpacks.com Ambassadorship

Before every trip I go on, I make a list of travel essentials and a good backpack is always near the top of the list no matter what type of trip it is. I ask a lot of my backpack so it’s important that it’s able to fulfill all of my diverse needs whether I’m out hiking on trails, traveling by airplane, or exploring the city. On any given day, my backpack will be holding my camera and lenses, plenty of snacks, water, and any hiking and camping supplies I need for the day’s adventures. A lot of backpacks only excel in some of these arenas so it’s always amazing when I’m able to find a pack that can serve all of my needs. For my recent trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, I decided to turn to the new Backpacks.com in order to find the best possible pack for this particular trip. While searching for the perfect pack, I came across packs of all shapes and sizes suited for all sorts of different adventures in nature and the city. I ended up deciding on the awesome Topo Designs Rover Pack. It was perfect to fit all of my camera gear, my waterproof jacket, food, snacks, and of course, bear spray, while also being comfortable enough to wear on extended hikes on some of Glacier National Park’s most beautiful trails. With this pack, I was confident that all of my gear was protected from Montana’s ever-changing weather. Here are a few of my favorite images with the new backpack!

A Day Off the Slopes in Whistler

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Located just 2 hours north of Vancouver, the town of Whistler, B.C. is a treasure trove of winter activities of all types. Understandably, most of the attention normally goes to the incredible Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. Boasting 200 trails across a sprawling 8,171 acres of skiable terrain on two mountains, Whistler Blackcomb draws people from all over the world to experience this world class ski resort for themselves. What most people don't realize is that there is plenty to do in Whistler even if you're not planning on hitting the slopes. Planned in collaboration with Tourism Whistler, we took part in an action-packed day of activities off the mountain. We also made sure to take some breaks to refuel at a couple of the must-eat spots in Whistler!

There's no shortage of awesome spots to eat in Whistler so it was definitely tough to pick a spot for breakfast, but The Gone Eatery's delicious food, chill vibe, and super convenient location makes it a winner in my book. The breakfast sandwich is perfect fuel for a day of adventure in the mountains.

Next up was a snowshoeing adventure on the Medicine Trail in the Callaghan Valley. It was an amazing experience being surrounded by the snow-covered trees, walking across frozen lakes, and drinking healing tea. Perfect way to unplug from city life and take in the vast expanse of nature here in Whistler.

There's no better way to explore the Whistler backcountry than by snowmobiling through the many trails of Cougar Mountain! The snow was really falling by this point and it was amazing to see the landscape completely blanketed in snow as we explored high and low. With so many amazing activities offered here in Whistler, there's really something for everyone.

It's one thing to zipline in the daylight, but it's impossible to describe the feeling of twilight ziplining 650ft above the canyon floor in near white out conditions. In the dark with the snow rushing past your face, the sense of speed is just unreal. Everyone has to experience this at least once in their life. 

After a long day of adventuring, it was time for some dinner and drinks at Garibaldi Lift Co. You can either sit by the fireplace and thaw out or grab a table by the window and watch the snow fall on Blackcomb Mountain. Definitely try one of the Caesars! Thanks for following along with me on my action packed day in Whistler. Hope you guys get out there soon!

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Havasupai To Your Bucket List

In search of paradise? Look no further than this oasis nestled deep in the Arizona desert. After embarking on an 8 mile hike that descends into the deep canyon of Havasupai, you arrive at the town of Supai where the members of the tribe live. From this point, only 2 miles remain until you reach the campground and the first of several incredible waterfalls. With blue green water rushing down stunning red orange rocks, it's easy to see why Havasupai was considered a sacred place upon its discovery. The tribe very graciously opens up their land to adventurers so that others can experience the unreal place that they call home. Planning a trip here isn't the easiest since reservations must be made well in advance, but the effort is well worth it. There are endless things that make this place so amazing, but here are 5 that should be more than enough reason for you to add it to your bucket list ASAP!

1. Take in the iconic Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls is a sight for sore eyes after the 10 mile trek into the canyon. Take some time to rest your legs and admire the incredible contrast of the brilliant blue water and the stunning sandstone landscape.

Havasu Falls is a sight for sore eyes after the 10 mile trek into the canyon. Take some time to rest your legs and admire the incredible contrast of the brilliant blue water and the stunning sandstone landscape.

2. Size up Mooney Falls

At 196 feet, Mooney Falls stands as Havasupai's tallest waterfall. Even taller than Niagara Falls, it's easy to feel small at this grand waterfall.

At 196 feet, Mooney Falls stands as Havasupai's tallest waterfall. Even taller than Niagara Falls, it's easy to feel small at this grand waterfall.

3. Experience some nightlife

Whether it's a full moon or the Milky Way is out, you don't want to miss out on experiencing Havasupai after dark. Some of the best memories are made after the sun goes down!

Whether it's a full moon or the Milky Way is out, you don't want to miss out on experiencing Havasupai after dark. Some of the best memories are made after the sun goes down!

4. Catch some rays at Beaver Falls

What could be better than soaking up some sun after a hike to Beaver Falls? If you're lucky, you might have this place all to yourself.

What could be better than soaking up some sun after a hike to Beaver Falls? If you're lucky, you might have this place all to yourself.

5. Take in the beauty of New Navajo Falls

This place is the definition of a desert oasis. With countless angles to photograph, don't forget to save some time to take a dip!

This place is the definition of a desert oasis. With countless angles to photograph, don't forget to save some time to take a dip!

Top 8 Can’t Miss Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

Picking your next travel destination is never an easy task when there's an infinite amount of places that are worth checking off your list. However, this time around, the choice was clear. Having seen hundreds of photos and hearing dozens upon dozens of stories from adventurers like myself, The Canadian Rockies was at the top of my travel bucket list. These world-class mountains have just about everything a photographer or traveler could be looking for. Not only are some of the most beautiful attractions easily accessible, but it also offers some equally incredible lesser-known views that you have to work for. 

It's always been a dream of mine to road trip through Alberta to experience the Canadian Rockies for myself. What drew me to the Rockies were the incredibly varied mountain peaks and ranges, glacier fed lakes with colors more brilliant than any I had ever seen, countless overflowing waterfalls, and picturesque views around every corner. Many places struggle to live up to the idyllic scenes captured by skilled photographers, but this place left me with my jaw on the floor around every corner with the unmatchable beauty of its landscapes that absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. Here are my top 8 adventures in the Canadian Rockies you don't want to miss! 

1. Cave dwelling at Johnston Canyon: Sometimes going off trail will take you to some of the most incredible places. Step foot into this cave and onto another planet as you take in the otherworldly view.

1. Cave dwelling at Johnston Canyon: Sometimes going off trail will take you to some of the most incredible places. Step foot into this cave and onto another planet as you take in the otherworldly view.

2. Skating the Icefields Parkway: The Icefields Parkway is hands down one of the most scenic roads in the world. Skating it was even more epic!

2. Skating the Icefields Parkway: The Icefields Parkway is hands down one of the most scenic roads in the world. Skating it was even more epic!

3. Kayaking Moraine Lake: Kayaking on Moraine Lake really allows you to appreciate how grand this lake really is as you get closer to the trademark peaks that tower high above. You’ll want to head here early to have it all to yourself.

3. Kayaking Moraine Lake: Kayaking on Moraine Lake really allows you to appreciate how grand this lake really is as you get closer to the trademark peaks that tower high above. You’ll want to head here early to have it all to yourself.

4. Catching a sunrise at Two Jack Lake: You can never go wrong with a sunrise session at Two Jack Lake. This spot offers tons of top-notch angles to photograph.

4. Catching a sunrise at Two Jack Lake: You can never go wrong with a sunrise session at Two Jack Lake. This spot offers tons of top-notch angles to photograph.

5. Exploring Sunwapta Falls: Mother Nature can leave you speechless sometimes and this is definitely one of those spots. Watching the water rush around the perfectly placed island and crash down the falls just downstream is an experience I'll never forget.

5. Exploring Sunwapta Falls: Mother Nature can leave you speechless sometimes and this is definitely one of those spots. Watching the water rush around the perfectly placed island and crash down the falls just downstream is an experience I'll never forget.

6. Take in the epic views of Lake O’Hara: Lake O’Hara is one of those untouched places that is just bursting with natural beauty. Epic views for days with no crowds makes this place one of my favorites.

6. Take in the epic views of Lake O’Hara: Lake O’Hara is one of those untouched places that is just bursting with natural beauty. Epic views for days with no crowds makes this place one of my favorites.

7. Find the perfect spot to hang out overlooking Peyto Lake: Could there be a more perfect spot to hammock? I don’t think so.

7. Find the perfect spot to hang out overlooking Peyto Lake: Could there be a more perfect spot to hammock? I don’t think so.

8. Living life on the edge at Crescent Falls: Perched over the edge of these falls, the sheer power is enough to take your breath away. If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. 

8. Living life on the edge at Crescent Falls: Perched over the edge of these falls, the sheer power is enough to take your breath away. If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.