As holiday seekers flock to Dalmatia for the popular sailing trips on the Adriatic Sea, the Istria region in Croatia is often overlooked. It only took my 8TH TRIP back to Croatia to finally venture to this lesser-known peninsula, due to my intense (and some might say unhealthy) attachment to the mesmerising Dalmatian coast.
Rovinj is located on the coast of the Istria peninsula, in the Western part of Croatia. Istria is known for its impeccable wine, world class gastronomy, coveted (and expensive) truffles, and storybook hilltop towns. What’s not to love about Istria? Please tell me. I’ll wait…
Last September, my friend CareBear and I decided on a more slow-paced holiday and to spend an entire week in Rovinj, using it as a base to explore the Istrian peninsula. Let me start by saying Rovinj is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring this region, given its central position along the coast. Not only that, it’s f***ing gorgeous! That fact is undeniable.
I will say that I wasn’t expecting to love Rovinj as much as I did. The Dalmatian coast has set the bar super high for me and I must admit I am quite biased to that area. You could go as far to say that I’m passionately obsessed with it. But Rovinj absolutely blew me away and it quickly moved to the top as one of my favourite Croatian cities, if not my favourite.
The best way I can describe Rovnj is quaint, charming, clean, colorful, and rustic…all in one perfect package. It sounds cliche, but there are no other words I can use to describe the awesomeness that is Rovinj.
There is not much to see in Rovinj in terms of historical landmarks, monuments, or museums. However, it is one of those places where you can just relax and take in all the surroundings in a peaceful atmosphere. The people are extremely friendly and the service was excellent overall.
First Impressions of Rovinj
Rovinj has such a huge Italian influence, understandably given its close proximity. The city of Rovinj felt like a blend between Italy and Croatia, my 2 favorite countries in the entire world. The food, the rustic architecture, and the colours are like a spitting image of the Ligurian region in Italy (my favourite region in Italy!). At times, I forgot that I was actually in Croatia and felt as if i was in Cinque Terre. That’s how strong the Italian influence was.
What really surprised me about Rovinj is that Croatian didn’t seem to be the dominant language, although technically it is. We heard just as much Italian and German as we did Croatian. And when the locals spoke Croatian, it sounded like it was with an Italian accent. The dialect is completely different from further south along the coast, and it was distinctly apparent. I was extremely surprised to hear how much German was spoke there, until we were informed that these were Austrians speaking and it made sense as this region used to be ruled by Austria in historical times!
Why is Rovinj so Lovely? Let me Count the Ways…
The Picturesque Streets of Rovinj
Rovinj is the epitome of Picture Perfect. The streets of Rovinj are a photographer’s dream. In fact, Rovinj was one of the most picturesque towns I have ever seen. Period. My favourite part about Rovinj by far was the consistently stunning streets. Every day we found ourselves just getting lost in the maze-like alleys and having a blast. Around every corner, it was more and more beautiful.
There were numerous little cafes with funky/colourful furniture that were just so visually inviting it made you want to go in for a coffee every 5 minutes. One can only drink so much coffee in a day, but damnit they were just so stinkin’ cute!
The stores were so unique and the eclectic displays were very pleasing to the eye. The immaculate design of each little shop astounded me and silently lured me in. I could have shopped all day, even though I didn’t buy anything. We experienced boutique heaven in Rovinj.
What To Do in Rovinj
The Farmer’s Market
I could never leave a city without visiting the local farmer’s market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I visit when arriving to a new city in order to stock up on some healthy snacks. The Farmer’s Market in Rovinj does not disappoint. The fruit is super fresh, juicy, and robust. The vendors are also very friendly and inviting, often giving you loads of tasting samples.
Honey, olive oil, truffles, and figs, you name it and they had it there. What’s best about this specific one is that it’s basically open all day until about 10pm, unlike most farmer’s markets that are only open in the mornings.
We went there so often that everyone started knowing us by name, and eventually free fruit was thrown in here and there.
Let me start by saying Rovinj isn’t known for its beaches. The one I would recommend is called Monte Beach and is located just a hop skip and a jump from the center (did I really just say that?).
Monte Beach isn’t really technically a beach, it’s more like a rocky cove frequented by sunbathers brave enough to lay on the rigid rocks. It was super cute and not too crowded, and this became our little go-to spot every day. We even went here a few times to watch the sunset over the rocks and it was incredible. Check it out at least once if you’re in Rovinj. Oh, and bring some wine.
Church of St Ephemia Clock Tower
This is where you can find the best panoramic views over the city. You have to walk up some wobbly/narrow stairs to get to the top, but it’s worth it for the 360 degree views.
This was a great way to see more of just the centre of Rovinj. You can’t really ride the bikes inside the narrow streets. Instead, we went along the coast where some of the other more populated beaches were located. There were rental places all throughout the city, so no need to book in advance.
Go Boutique Shopping (or in our case, window shopping)
There was no shortage of specialty boutiques in the city, from eclectic jewellery shops selling one-of-a-kind pieces to musical shops selling cool vintage instruments. The displays in these stores were outstanding and you could really appreciate the attention to detail. All were so funky and different, it was nice to just browse through them one by one, entertaining our curiosities.
Find the Most Instagrammed Spot in Rovinj
As you’re walking through the city, you may stumble upon the cutest little street ever and your head will turn (as did mine). Can you see why it’s the most Instagrammable street in Rovinj?
This was by far our absolute favorite place in Rovinj and we came back every single day. The irresistible archway framing the steps leading into the sea is what initially drew us in. A cozy cafe by day and a coveted drinking spot during sunset, this is the place you will want to be.
Newly opened in May 2015 by a Rovinj native, Jasmin Huskic, Mediterraneo Bar serves coffee and speciality cocktails in a cozy seaside retreat. The staff is warm and inviting, always making sure you are enjoying your time.
The cafe/bar is nicely decorated with an eclectic and bohemian inspired flare. Plush colourful cushions placed on the rocks and mismatched furniture give it a vibrantatmosphere. During the day, you have the option of jumping from the rocks and swimming right in front of the cafe. How cool?
The best part about this bar is the “secrete escape” spot that is, well…a secret. Tucked away in a private corner on the rocks, there is a magical spot that offers privacy in a romantic setting with a small table, cushions, and soft blankets offered for the cold night breeze.
The secret escape has become so popular that reservations are now warranted for this coveted spot. It was truly a unique experience watching the sunset in our own private little nest.
Mediterraneo Bar is seriously one of my favorite cafes I have ever been to! Hands-down. And no, this isn’t sponsored in any way, it’s really that awesome! If you make it over there, tell Jasmin that Crazy Travelista and CareBear Abroad say hi!
Where to Stay in Rovinj
As I usually do, I highly recommend using Airbnb for accommodation. During my search, I came across a big variety of choices in the center of the city and at very reasonable prices. We chose to stay in the center and it was the absolute perfect location, everything within a few minutes walk.We picked a private apartment and we couldn’t have been happier. It happened to be on what became our favourite street in Rovinj, with a restaurant and coffee bar conveniently outside our door.
The one-bedroom apartment had a full kitchen, private bathroom and shower, wifi, a flat screen TV, and a pull out couch. The apartment could fit 3 people comfortably. We really enjoyed utilizing the kitchen to save money on eating out every meal. The total price for one week including all taxes and fees was $350 ($175 each split between us). It could have been even less if we had one more with us. We paid a little more this time for the prime location and it was well worth it.
You can check out our Airbnb rental here. (Update: the price has increased a bit since we stayed here, wahhh). And if you’re new to Airbnb, feel free to use my $40 off coupon! They really do have a great referral program! (PS: even if you already have a AirBnb account, you can sign up with a new email and still get the $40 OFF. YAY)
Where to Eat in Rovinj
As a Gluten-free eater, my restaurant recommendations are often limited as I can only sample a small selection of foods, unfortunately. I also tend to cook most my meals if I can, even when I’m traveling. Nevertheless, I did manage to find a few Gluten-friendly options that I really enjoyed.
Pano e Vino-I was so excited to find an Italian place that served Gluten-free pasta. I sampled the gluten-free bolognese and the seafood risotto which were both flavourful and rich. I loved the fact that they brought out gluten-free bruschetta as an appetizer on the house, as well as gluten-free bread with our meals. I highly recommend this place even if you are not gluten free. The staff was super friendly and even gave us a whole bottle of honey grappa on the house. If we hadn’t eaten here the last night, I would have definitely returned again.
Squid 2-this restaurant has a great view of the riva and offers a variety of fresh seafood. We opted for the fish platter for 2 and it was very good and filling. The bonus is that they take credit cards.
Scuba-this restaurant also offered a variety of gluten-free options at a reasonable price. I also sampled the seafood risotto here, which was delightful and a very big portion.
B52-this place had the best gelato we tried in Rovinj and with the biggest selection. This is also the ONLY place that would allow us to sample the flavors. The scoops were huge and well worth the price. I recommend the fig gelato, unusual, yet mouthwatering.
How to Get to Rovinj
Planes, trains, and automobiles…literally. The only airport located in the Istrian region is in Pula, about 40 minutes by bus to Rovinj (costs 43 kuna). There are many affordable flights to Pula within Croatia on Croatia Airlines. I flew from Zadar to Pula for around $75 and it took less than an hour.
There are also busses from Split and Dubrovnik by Bus Croatia, but they are less frequent, take 9-12 hours, and some cost almost as much as a flight. Busses from Zagreb take about 6 hours.
You could also rent a car and drive to Rovinj; however, parking in the city can be a pain in the butt. Also, you really would only need a car for a day or 2 at the most, so if you are staying for a week it’s kind of a waste of money in my opinion.
Your best bet is snagging a cheap flight from Dalmatia or Zagreb!
How to Get Around Rovinj
By foot! It’s a total walkable city given its small size. You can get anywhere in 15 minutes max. I do however, recommend renting a car for one day to explore the surrounding region.
Exploring Istria (day trip)
One thing you must do in this region is get out and explore the countryside by car. In fact, this is the only way to reach the nearby hilltop towns, as public transport doesn’t serve most of these areas.
Highly recommended on your Istrian road trip are the towns of Motovun, Hum, Groznjan, and Novigrad. You can do them all in one day as they are all less than an hour and fifteen minutes from Rovinj! Just make sure to get an early start. To get all the details, read my post Exploring Istria, Croatia by Car: the Perfect 1-Day Road Trip
Day Trip It to Pula
Pula lies on the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula and is a short 35-ish minute bus ride from Rovinj. The main attraction in Pula is the magnificent Pula Area, which was constructed back in the 1ST CENTURY! In fact, it’s older than the Colosseum in Rome! It’s also the 6th largest Roman arena in the world that still exists today!
There are also a few cute beaches to visit in Pula, as well as the nearby Kamenjak National Park, which I’m kicking myself for not getting to (I was short on time). If you make it over to Kamenjak, please let me know what I missed!
Moral of the Story?
GO TO ROVINJ! It’s an overlooked Croatian splendour that doesn’t get the hype it very well deserves. Rovinj is very relaxing and romantic, the perfect base for exploring the Istria countryside, is filled with hospitable people, has great food, and is undeniably drop-dead gorgeous! All the elements of THE perfect city if you ask me!
Do you have any other tips for what to do in Rovinj? Any secret finds I failed to mention? Please let me know in the comments below! I would love to check them out when I finally return!
2. Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens: this wide angle lens is the key to landscape shots. I use this lens more than the original and am super happy with it. It’s not cheap, but super worth it if you want to get those special nature shots. Honestly, I would purchase the Sony alpha 6000 camera body only and save up for this lens to go with it.
3. E Bags Packing Cubes: the biggest life changer to keep me packing light! This is my biggest travel gear obsession and I have NO idea how I traveled without them before.
4. Anker Portable Charger: this helps me recharge my iPhone several times a day when i travel. It also has dual ports so you can also charge your camera or other electronics simultaneously. I couldn’t travel with it.
5. GoPro Hero 11 Black: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! The Gopro cameras are the best for action and underwater shots, and of course for taking those selfies when you’re traveling solo. It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love 🙂
Article updated: 9/19/2018 with the addition of the new GoData monthly plan!
If you’ve never heard of the Skyroam portable hotspot device before, you’re about to hear everything there is to know about this powerful little device. After one use, I questioned how I ever travelled before without it. I love mine and am absolutely obsessed with it, it never leaves my side! So for me, it is 110% worth it. But is it worth it for YOU? That’s the question. I’ll get to that later after I tell you all about this incredibly handy little device!
Skyroam Portable Hotspot Device
In a Nutshell
The Skyroam is a portable hotspot device that allows you to stay connected to wifi all around the world.
It works in 100+ countries (and counting) and gives you unlimited and secure wifi for 24-hour periods.
The NEW Skyroam SOLIS
Skyroam recently launched the new faster SOLIS which features 4G LTE wifi, as well as a 6000 mAh built-in power bank so you can simultaneously charge your device while you’re on the go.
The new SOLIS along with me in Croatia
Yet the biggest upgrade I noticed was the 16+ hour battery life, a HUGE upgrade from the previous Skyroam model. I have recently used the new Solis in Greece, Cyprus, and Croatia. I was out and about all day and by the end of the day, I still had at least 50% battery. I never had to worry about charging it.
Note: I noticed that using the charging bank to charge my phone really ate up the battery life of the Solis, so keep that in mind! It definitely will not last 16+ hours if you’re constantly charging your gear.
*Scroll to the bottom of this article for buying/rental options. And use “CRAZYTRAVELISTA” at checkout for 10% off!
What Countries Does the Skyroam Work in? I’m Glad You Asked!
Argentina, Aruba,Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saipan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Australia, Christmas Island, Fiji, Guam, New Zealand
Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia
Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan
Israel, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates
So How the Heck Does the Skyroam Work?
Does it really matter, it’s awesome. Just kidding, I’ll explain. The Skyroam connects to the best local wifi signal. It basically allows you to access local date, internationally!
Exploring the Bay of Islands in New Zealand with my Skyroam. I was able to provide live updates to Snapchat while on the go!
It’s SO simple. All you do is turn on the device and hit “start” and BAM, wifi works. Plus, it’s so compact and light you can just slip it in your pocket and take it with you wherever you go.
The bottom line: the Skyroam portable hotspot device is the most convenient way to access wifi when abroad. Period. There is no monthly contract. You pay for what you use, whenever you want to use it.
Some Other Awesome Features of the Skyroam:
Your phone doesn’t need to be unlocked to use it! For all those AT&T iPhone users, this is a Godsend.
You will no longer have to deal with SIM cards, contracts, or roaming/overage charges.
You can connect up to 5 devices: yep, you heard that right! You can hook up 5 devices to the Skyroam and enjoy unlimited international wifi. However, it’s important to note that once you hit the 500MB mark, the service slows down a little. So I wouldn’t connect more than 2-3 devices unless you want super slow service.
Use your Skyroam on road trips to access Google Maps! You have no idea how convenient it was to use this device during my New Zealand road trip. It was a life saver!
Always use a secure network! Skyroam uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe and secure while using wifi. (In case you didn’t ever think about it…when you use local wifi in cafes, hotels, restaurants, these networks are not secure and you may be exposed to hackers).
The Skyroam Portable Hotspot Device is especially useful and cost effective when traveling through many different countries in a short amount of time.When you cross borders, the pass does NOT reset and once it connects to the local service it’s good to go!
Using Google Maps through my Skyroam service saved my life during my New Zealand road trip!
I tested this traveling through the Baltics by bus. I thought maybe the day pass would reset and I would have to use another one once I crossed the border, but this was not the case at all! There was a short transition period of less than 20 minutes and then it picked up the local service of the new country after crossing the border. So easy!
Rent vs buy
Rent: you can rent the hotspot and pay $9.95 per day for shorter trips (or if you do not travel often).
Buy: you could buy the hotspot for $149.99 and then pay $9 for each day pass (which I highly recommend). On the days you don’t use it, you don’t pay!
Oh, and recently they have introduced Skyroam vending machines in San Francisco airport! How cool. You can also purchase the Skyroam in various airports throughout. Two popular airport stores selling the Skyroam include InMotion and Brookstone. To search for a resale stores near you, you can click here.
Daily passes: you pay for a daily pass and this gets you unlimited global data for a 24-hr period. So simple!
Monthly passes: you can now rent Skyroam monthly for $99 a month! It’s perfect for those longer trips, especially when going to multiple countries!
(NEW): GoData monthly plan, starting at $9 per month, including 1GB of global 4G LTE WIFI. When you need more, just add more for $9 per extra GB. No contract required! (tip: if you use a LOT of data, the $99 monthly pass may be a better option for you)
If you travel even occasionally I would highly recommend buying the device and taking it with you on all trips in case of emergencies. It will come in handy sooner or later and you will be happy to have a backup when necessary (more on that below).
Is the Skyroam Portable Hotspot Device worth it?
Ok, so let’s get down to it. Let me provide a few different scenarios, which will help you decide if it’s worth it for YOU.
Scenario 1: you’re going to Europe for one week and hitting up 3 different countries.
Is the Skyroam worth it? Hell yes.
Here’s why: getting a local SIM card for 3 different countries will not be very cost effective. It will also be a pain in the a** to waste time in each county finding a reliable SIM.
Example: I was just traveling through the Baltics and spend 2 days in 3 countries. I used the Skyroam with ease and even as I was crossing over the borders(as I just mentioned above).
Scenario 2-You’re going to Portugal for a month.
Is the Skyroam worth it? No
Here’s why: it would definitely be more cost effective to pick up a local SIM and use that for the duration of your trip. Unless your phone is not unlocked (see below).
Scenario 3: you’re going to Colombia for 5 days and your phone is NOT unlocked.
Is the Skyroam worth it? Yep
Here’s why: most carriers charge a sh*t ton for international data. Since you will only be there 5 days, use your Skyroam!
Scenario 4: You are traveling to Europe for one month, hitting up 4 different countries, and decide you will purchase a SIM card in each country.
Ok, that still sounds more cost efficient, so you don’t need a Skyroam, right?
Yes and no. My advice is to bring your Skyroam anyway, for emergencies.
Let me explain: let’s say for instance you land in a small airport in Croatia in the evening, all the kiosks are closed (or there is no place at the airport that sells SIM cards), there is no airport wifi, and you need to make it to your Airbnb. The easiest solution? Activate a day pass on your Skyroam to help navigate your way. Then the next day, go ahead and purchase that SIM. This scenario happened to me in New Zealand recently and it was a life saver to be able to cut on my Skyroam and use it to order an Uber. (The airport wifi wasn’t working..something that happens from time to time even if they have wifi!)
Scenario 5: you and a friend are traveling to Iceland for 4 days.
Is the Skyroam worth it? Yuppp.
Here’s why: remember that part above where you can connect up to 5 devices?Yep. So you and a friend could split the costs and both use the Skyroam! But, I honestly would not connect more than 2-3 devices on this because it tends to slow it down a lot. But using 2 phones is perfectly okay and would make it super convenient for your trip!
Scenario 6: You are traveling around Europe for 6 weeks and hitting up 10 countries.
Is the Skyroam worth it? Fo sho!
Now with the new monthly subscription, it makes it easier and way cheaper for those longer trips where you will be crossing through multiple countries. For $99 per month, you can have unlimited wifi in all countries without having to change a SIM card or anything. This is especially helpful when your phone in NOT unlocked.
→A quick note on Battery life: I read somewhere that the battery on the Skyroam lasts up to 9 hours, but it lasts me about 6 hours. I guess it depends on how much you use it (I use mine a lot). I always carry my awesome dual power bank by Jackery so it’s not a problem. I recharge several devices on this each day while travelling, and the power never runs out.
Crazy Travelista’s Overall Impressions:
I have personally used it on 5 continents and 27 countries so far including: Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Croatia, Norway,Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, England, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Thailand, Colombia, USA, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
How did I live without you before?
I have been extremely impressed with the quality of service, speed, and convenience of always having the option to have wifi wherever I go. I have no idea how on earth I ever traveled without it before. It’s light, compact, reliable and the most convenient way to access wifi abroad!
So is it worth it? In some instances it is not, as I highlighted above. But overall, the Skyroam is definitely worth it and something every traveler should own! I have a feeling this is going to revolutionize the way we travel and always being able to share our travels is really awesome. Kudos, Skyroam. Kudos.
To rent/buy, you can check out the Skyroam websitehere.
*FOR 10% OFF YOUR PURCHASE, YOU CAN USE THE CODE “CRAZYTRAVELISTA” AT CHECKOUT! ♥
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I am a brand ambassador for Skyroam and absolutely love it! I wouldn’t recommend something I didn’t truly love!
Visiting the Galapagos is a dream for most and I honestly didn’t think I would ever make it there as it is known to be extremely expensive. Due to it’s remote and isolated nature of the Galapagos, as well as its endemic animal species which aren’t found anywhere else in the world, it’s clear why this is such a sought after destination.
Visiting the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and one that people usually plan for years in advance. But I decided to go on a whim and got my plane tickets less than 3 weeks before. Because that’s how I roll.
In all honesty, I wanted to see if I could challenge myself to do this destination for under $1000, without a cruise, just on my own. And when I found out I could use miles to fly there, I was sold.
The entire trip ended up costing me $994 total, true story (I even surprised myself). But I was determined to prove that it CAN be affordable.
So here’s how I did it…
Galapagos On a Budget
I used airline miles for this trip and I thought it was a great deal for the amount of miles it required. It required 40,000 miles roundtrip (using Mileage Plus/Star Alliance) from Washington Dulles, to Baltra Island, Galapagos. The regular ticket price is around $750 and up. I picked multi destination and flew into Baltra island and out of San Cristobal island. This worked out well since I didn’t have to waste time(and money) backtracking back to Baltra.
Total cost: 40k miles + $88.16 in taxes
Visas/National Park Fees
The Galapagos is one of the most protected areas on earth. 97% of the islands are protected to be exact. In order to enter, you must pay a few mandatory National Park fees and for a tourist card. There is no way around these fees so make sure to bring enough cash to cover them.
One of only 1,200 penguins on the Galapagos
Fees I paid to enter the Galapagos:
$20 for a tourist card (upon departure in Guayaquil or Quito)-they don’t tell you this and I got all the way to the gate without it. I had to run back to the check in area to get one real quick and go all the way through security. The only reason I didn’t miss my flight is because it ended up being delayed. Make sure you get your visa card BEFORE boarding your flight to the Galapagos.
$100 National Park fees upon entrance to the Galapagos
$10 to enter Isabela island ($5 for locals)
Galapagos on a Budget | Accommodation
I always thought accommodation on the Galapagos would cost a fortune. But it’s the complete opposite. You can do it super cheap if you want. I saw hostels for $15/night. They also have some super fancy eco resorts that are very pricy as well. But overall, it was very affordable to stay on the islands.
I went on the cheap (ish) side and paid an average of $30 a night, including a mixture of hotels, a private room in a hostel, and an Airbnb. The standards are not as high as one might be used to, but overall it wasn’t a problem. The only problem I had was the presence of little tiny bugs (smaller than ants) that were in almost every place I stayed. I think they just have a problem with bugs being a tropical climate.
Oh and the wifi….the wifi. Wifi on the Galapagos was officially the worst wifi I had ever experienced. It hardly every worked in my room (although the hotels claimed wifi in all rooms) expect for Iguana Hotel on Isabela island. And when it did work, it was so slow you couldn’t even open anything if more than a few people were on the network. I couldn’t open any videos at all while I was there. It was kinda nice to disconnect, but at some points I really needed wifi to look stuff up so it was an annoyance for sure.
Where To stay in the Galapagos:
Puerto Villamil, Isabela island
This was the cleanest and best place I stayed in the Galapagos. It was also the only place I didn’t see many bugs and the wifi actually worked (slowly) in my room. It was the most expensive accommodation on my trip, but well worth it. Check rates for Hotel Iguana on booking.com here.
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
Hostal Vista al Mar($30/night)
I got a private room here right near the port and good dining options. However, it wasn’t as clean as I would have liked, it had NO air conditioner (only a fan), the wifi was the worst I had experienced, and there were many bugs. I wouldn’t recommend this place honestly.
A cute little hotel with a chill lobby filled with hammocks. When I alerted them of the many bugs in my room, they sprayed it while I was out and it got rid of the problem. The staff was super nice and helpful! Check rates on booking.com here. And if you’re new to booking.com, use my $20 off coupon here.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal
Airbnb San Cristobal($18/night)
I rented a room in a huge house and was very large and spacious. It had 3 double beds and could have slept 6. It was an 8 minute walk from the main port in a quiet neighoborhood. The host gave me snorkel gear to wear to the beach, which was nice. Oh, and it was a 5 minute walk to the airpot! The only problem was the huge black beetle bugs I found the first night. When I arrived, all the windows were open so I’m sure thats where they came from. I kept all the windows closed and only saw one more the next day. You can view the listing here.
Galapagos on a Budget | Tours
Tours in the Galapagos are highly regulated and not every tour company will operate every day. The reason is they limit the amount of people that can visit each island to a small number per day. This prevents damage to the environment from mass tourism. I wish more places would adopt this method because you can really see how clean and well preserved the environment is over there.
Tours in the Galapagos are not cheap and this is where you will spend a majority of your budget. BUT, the key is to book LAST MINUTE on arrival. DO NOT book tours online, as they are up to 3 times as much! I was quotes as much as $325 for a tour that I eventually went on for $160, by booking last minute.
It can be a little nerve wrecking getting there without any booked tours, especially ones you really want to do. But you will save a shit ton doing it this way. Don’t forget to bargain down about 20% of the asking price as well. They are more negotiable last minute.
Note: they were fully booked for my tour to Bartoleme when I inquired the day before. Apparently tho is one of the most popular tours and not every company will operate daily. I really wanted to do this tour, so I had to move my schedule around and change 2 hotel dates (which both hotels surprisingly let me do free of charge!).
Recommended Tours To Do in The Galapagos:
Bartoleme Island (day trip from Santa Cruz Island)
→(10-hour tour including pickup from hotel, breakfast, and lunch)
This tour takes you to the infamous Pinnacle Rock lookout and to snorkel on a nearby beach on Santiago island called Sullivan Bay. It requires light hiking up to the summit for the viewpoint, but it isn’t hard at all.
Regular tour price in-person: $180-$200 (and up to $325 online in advance!)
Price I received last-minute: $160 (I found one company that offered me as low as $150, but the day didn’t work out)
Los Tuneles (day trip from Isabela Island)
→(5-6 hour tour including lunch. Usually leaves twice a day at 7:30am and 11:30am)
This tour takes you to some great snorkelling spots where we saw sharks, turtles, and sea horses. It also takes you to the otherworldly Los Tuneles, underwater tunnels formed from volcanic lava. It’s like no other landscape you will ever see! We also saw blue-footed boobies here as this is a popular nesting site for this species.
Regular tour price in-person: $120
Price I received last-minute: $100
I went with the Pahoe Hoe tour company and I was really impressed! Our guide Juan Carlos was super friendly and showed us all the cool animals, including a sea horse! I would have never seen it on my own. He even went down into the caves to find sharks for us to see! Lunch was yummy chicken and yellow rice in an individual tupperware jar.
Kicker Rock (day trip from San Cristobal Island)
→(6 hours and leaves at 9am)
This tour takes you to the iconic Kicker Rock, a popular spot for viewing sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks, manta rays, and sea lions. We saw ALL these and it was incredible! From the second I jumped into the water and looked down, I saw 2 white tip sharks! If you only do one tour in the Galapagos, do the Kicker Rock. It was hands-down my favorite tour and a day I will never forget.
Regular tour price in-person: $100-$120
Price I received last-minute: $90
I went with Scuba Eden company and I highly recommended them! They have awesome/upbeat tour guides and very small group sizes. We only had 6 people in our group! They also take GoPro footage of you and give you the footage for free if you want it!
Total spent on tours: $350
Galapagos on a Budget | Rentals
For the days I didn’t do an organized tour, I rented a bike one day on Isabela island and snorkel gear on Santa Cruz.
Snorkel rental: $8/day in Puerto Ayora
Bike rental: $15/day Isabela island
Galapagos on a Budget | Transport
Ground transport on the islands is very cheap (although you can walk to lots of places as well). There are taxis readily available and I paid $1-$2 for each ride.
On Isabela and Santa Cruz, the boats can’t dock and you will need to take a water taxi to the boats. Each ride costs $.50-$1.
A word about ferries…
The so-called ferries are actually little speed boats they pile a bunch of people into. It wasn’t the most comfortable situation, especially when the boats are full. The sea can get choppy so make sure to take some Dramamine and sit at the back of the boat to avoid sea sickness.
Ferries between the islands cost $30 one-way. You can only travel to Santa Cruz, Isabela, and San Cristobal by ferry (the only 3 inhabited islands on the Galapagos). All other island require a day trip or cruise to get to.
Note: there is no ferry between Isabela and San Cristobal. If you want to travel between these islands, you must go back to Santa Cruz first and then buy another ticket. So essentially, it would cost $60 to go from Isabela to San Cristobal and vice versa.
Buy tickets as soon as you can because they can fill up, especially in the peak season.
What I spent on transportation in the Galapagos:
Water taxis: $4
Galapagos on a Budget | Food
How much I spent on food:
Grocery store snacks/lunch/bottled waters: $37
How I did it so cheap:
I brought 2 boxes of protein/granola bars from home which I ate for my breakfasts. I went to the local markets for lunch foods (I never sat down for lunch once, mostly due to no time…but I usually don’t eat a big lunch anyways because it makes me tired and lethargic).
I also inadvertently cut back on 2 of my usual (expensive) habits: coffee and wine. It was so hot and humid that I couldn’t drink much coffee and I was too dehydrated and hot to drink any alcohol. Being hot saved me a lot of money!
There was also one day when my awesome tour guide bought me dinner right after the tour at a local stand that only costed $2 for a fried plantain stuffed with salsa and tuna (sounds like an odd combo, but it was actually really good!)
Through my research, most online sources said that food will be your biggest expense in the Galapagos. Well, that might be true if you go to the super touristy places on the waterfront. I walked past menus where the average prices were $18-25 per dish. Oh hell no, that’s absurd!
Out of all my expenses, I spent the LEAST on food. And honestly, it’s one of the cheapest places I’ve ever eaten dinner.
The key to eating cheap in the Galapagos is to eat where the locals go. The 2 words you’re going to want to learn are ALMUERZOS and MERIENDAS.
Almuerzos (what it’s called at lunch time)
Meriendas-(what it’s called at dinner time)
This is a pre-set type of menu that the locals indulge in. It usually consists of soup, fresh juice, rice and main dish of seafood, beef, etc. One place even served dessert with it! And the greatest part is that you can have dinner or lunch for $4-$7. True story.
Where to Eat in The Galapagos:
Kiosco Voluntad de Dios (Santa Cruz): cheap eats from $4.50. I decided to order something off the more “expensive menu” and tried an awesome shrimp with coconut sauce dish (it was $9.50 and well worth it). It’s also a cool spot where you eat at big community tables.
I met some really cool Austrian traveler’s this way. They offered me a bite of fresh fish they had ordered, and it was one of the best fresh fish I ever tried! It was so meaty and huge so definitely try the fish here if you want to splurge on a great meal.
Encanto de la Pepa (Isabela island): it’s on the main strip but super cheap and had a cute little vibe. They offered a $7 set menu consisting of soup, papaya juice, choice of one main (fish, beef, calamari,etc) and one side (rice, salad, fries), plus banana cake. I ordered the calamari in coconut sauce and it was delicious.
Lucky’s (San Cristobal): the cheapest dinner I had in the Galapagos for $4. Included is juice, chicken and veggie soup, chicken or beef and rice, and salad. I couldn’t believe I had all that for dinner for only $4! Ecuador for the win!
I never travel without travel insurance anymore, it’s just silly. Shit happens when you least expect it. You especially want to be covered when you’re visiting more report places like small islands. If something happens and you need to be air-lifted to the nearest hospital on the mainland, this would cost a fortune!
My go to travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims and have been reimbursed without any hassle. I highly recommend them.
Other Things to Note About The Galapagos
Ecuador uses the dollar
Ecuador uses the same outlets and voltage as the U.S., meaning no need for a convertor/adaptor
They charge an absurd amount of interest in credit card purchases so try to pay cash
There are ATMs on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal but none on Isabela island (try to bring cash because sometimes the machines are empty)
Wifi is virtually non-existent so expect to be “disconnected” during your time there. Some hotels have wifi but in my experience it never worked in the room and only in the lobby. If more than a few people were on at the same time or didn’t work. When it did work it was slower than dial up internet and I couldn’t watch any video of any type, couldn’t view Snapchat, etc. It was ok for sending WhatsApp messages
It’s hot AF (the islands are located right around the equator after all) so re-apply sunscreen every few hours. I got burnt bad and I re-applied about 5 times a day
Bring bug spray or repellent bracelets (I got eaten alive)
Don’t feed or touch the animals…just don’t (please practice responsible tourism)
They charge 22% credit card fees to book tours! Wtf
Liked it? PIN it for later♥
Have you been to the Galapagos? Were you able to do it on a reasonable budget? If you can add any budget tips, please do!
PS: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you book using my link, at NO extra cost to you. It’s what helps this site remain add free (ads annoy the crap out of me!). Thanks ♥
I used to be the world’s worst packer, basically trying to fit my whole life into my suitcase for a one week trip. Oh how the times have changed. I have learned to simplify to the max and now ONLY travel with a carry-on, even on 1-2 month trips. It’s not easy (and it’s not for everyone, I get it), but I seem to have worked out a method using some key travel gear to help me to travel light.
The last thing I want to do is struggle with huge bags dragging over cobblestone streets in Europe or dirt roads in Africa. Oh, and those hefty checked bag fees for budget airlines? #Fuggedaboutit #aintnobodygottimeforthat
Below are the only bags I take with me on my travels: a small backpack and a spinner carry-on. (Oh, and my pillow). That’s it! There’s a lot of shit in there, trust me…♥
Light Packer Essential Travel Gear
(P.S. Click on the product photos for more info)
Sony Alpha 6000 Mirrorless Camera: I made the switch from my huge DSLR and I wouldn’t go back. It’s light, compact, and takes amazing photos!
Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens: this wide angle lens is the key to landscape shots. It basically takes a panoramic photo. I use this lens more than the original factory lens and am super happy with it. It’s not cheap, but super worth it if you want to get those special outdoor nature shots. Honestly, I would purchase the Sony alpha 6000 camera body only and save up for this lens to go with it.
Both shot with my wide-angle lens. Look how much of the landscape fits in the frame!
E Bags Packing Cubes: the biggest life changer to keep me packing light! This is my biggest travel gear obsession and I have NO idea how I traveled without them before.
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes: These are my new editions to my packing gear and I’m obsessed. Once you pack them full, you can zip then down further to compress the cubes. You have no idea how much stuff you can fit in these cubes, it’s amazing!
Skyroam Mobile Hotspot Device: How did I travel without this before? This mini hotspot is portable and gives you access to wifi wherever you are, and works in 100+ countries. Skyroam saved my life during my recent road trip through New Zealand, allowing me access to my Google maps for navigation. The way it works: you can either rent or buy the hotspot device, and then you buy 24 hour day passes. This gives you unlimited wifi for 24 hours, no need to worry about using all your data. ♥
♥You can get 10% OFF by using the code: CRAZYTRAVELISTA♥
The many times my Skyroam came in handy in New Zealand!
DJI Mavic Pro Drone: I mean, who doesn’t want a drone? It’s the hottest new tech gadget for 2017! It’s not cheap, but it’s totally worth it. If you’re going to get a drone, this one is the best for transporting as its SUPER compact (the size of a water bottle basically) and pretty light. This fits in my backpack which I have outline below, along with ALL my other gadgets including the drone remote, camera, extra lenses, GoPro’s, tripod, and more!
Anker Portable Charger: this helps me recharge my iPhone several times a day when I travel. It also has dual ports so you can also charge your camera or other electronics simultaneously. I couldn’t travel with it.
GoPro Hero 11 Black: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! The Gopro cameras are the best for action and underwater shots, and of course for taking those selfies when you’re traveling solo. It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂
These were both shot with my GoPro. Notice how GoPro’s signature fish-eye lens gets everything in?
The first shot is a completely unedited underwater shot I took recently in the Galapagos. Look how clear it is!
Joby GorillaPod Tripod: This little bendable tripod is awesome. You can bend and mold it to fit around small things/objects wherever you may be. I mostly use it with my GoPro to wrap around the branch of a tree or a railing (as I did in the pic below). This allows me to go hands-free and get photos of myself when I’m traveling alone. It’s super lightweight and small so it easily fits in my little travel backpack with all my other gear.
Laptop/Accessory Backpack: This is the best travel backpack ever! I literally fit ALL my tech & camera gear in here, including my MacBook Air, camera, extra wide angle lens, GoPro, all GoPro accessories, selfie stick, travel tripod, all my cords, chargers, converters, extra SD cards, and even my new Mavic Pro drone with remote and charger! Not only does it fit all my cool gadgets, it’s super thin and when it’s on my back, even budget airlines skip weighing it because it looks so small. Little do they know that it weighs more than my actual suitcase. Oh, and the best part? It has a pouch on the back that slides onto your suitcase handle so you don’t even have to carry it. #score
External Hard Drive: This super lightweight external hard drive is perfect for backing up all my thousands of photos I take each trip. I’ve had mine for about 6 years now and it’s nowhere near full. The 2TB of memory will last you quite a long time!
Hanging Toiletry Bag: I can’t tell you how helpful this little toiletry bag is, especially when staying at an Airbnb and I have to share a bathroom. I throw all my face creams, face wash, soap, etc in here and hang it up on a hook and have everything easily accessible.
Moldable silicon earplugs: I am the world’s lightest sleeper so ear plugs are a MUST, especially with those thin walls in Europe and Africa. These are the best ones I’ve found and they block out a lot of noise. The key is to only use them for 2-3 days and then get some fresh ones so they suction to your ears.
GoToob Non-leak Silicone 3oz. Travel Tubes: these are by far the BEST travel size bottles out there, period. I’ve tried so many, believe me. I used to buy the 3-pack of travel size tubes at Target on every trip, but they would leak every damn time. Not to mention the bottles would warp and I would have to buy a new set for each trip. I’ve had these GoToob bottles for 3 years and they have never once leaked or broken. They are SO worth it!
X-Shot Selfie Stick (I use w/ my GoPro): I’ve used this selfie stick for the past 2 years and I love it! It’s not bulky like most other selfie sticks and it’s super lightweight and folds up small. And it’s NOT flimsy. I use it daily on my travels.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love 🙂
Cape Town is one of the greatest cities in the entire world. Bold statement, but absolutely true. I have never met someone who didn’t like it and the hype it gets it truly deserves.
My expectations were high, and surprisingly I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, Cape Town blew me out of the water and the bar has been set very high. My only disappointment was that we only stayed there 5 days. I could have stayed for weeks!
Cape Town has everything your imagined ideal city would have: natural beauty of the mountains and beaches, vibrant city life, some of the best wines in the world, reasonable prices, and endless high quality food.
Cape Town quickly became one of my top 3 favorite cities in the world, along with Rome and Istanbul.
So what to do in Cape Town? I could write a book about it, but here are my top pics:
What to do in Cape Town
1. Take a Hike
Cape Town is for fitness and nature lovers. Hike both Table Mountain or Lion’s Head in a matter of hours with a spectacular view along every step of the way
We hiked Lion’s Head during golden hour and it was spectacular. You could see the entire city, Table Mountain, and Camp’s Bay in the distance.
View of Table Mountain on the hike up to Lion’s Head
We didn’t have time to do the Table Mountain hike unfortunately, so we took the cable car instead. The panoramic views over the coastline and city are spectacular.
2. Grab a Bite to Eat
Hold crap! I wasn’t expecting Cape Town to have such great food! I can honestly say in terms of quality, Cape Town had the most consistently good food out of any country I had ever been!
There are 2 open air markets that you can’t miss on your trip to Cape Town: Hout Bay and Old Biscuit Mill.
The Hout Bay Market (officially called Bay Harbor Market) runs Friday through Sunday and is the place to be on the weekends for good food and live music. Food and specialty shops line the cozy inside market and one could spend hours there. Make sure to go on an empty stomach because there is so much to try!! (There were also many gluten free options for those with allergies like me).
Tip: try the Springbok meat, it’s just like beef but a little sweeter. The springbok is the national bird of South Africa so a nice way to taste the local flavors.
Another favorite is the Old Biscuit Mill that’s only on Saturday mornings. This is another open air market with endless vendors offering a variety of foods. This was probably my favorite food experience in Cape Town, most likely because I found a number of gluten free tables offering delicate treats to satiate my cravings. It’s also another cool hangout spot!
Gluten free pastry..aka heaven in my mouth 🙂
Bombay Bicycle-order the Choco chili steak (signature dish that’s not on the menu). This was seriously one of the best meals of my life, if not the best. It sounds like a weird combo, but the flavors perfectly complemented the melt-in-your-mouth juicy steak. It was the most tender steak I’d ever tasted and I could have died a happy girl after my last bite. It’s that good. The restaurant also had a great ambiance and intimate setting.
Tip: you must make a reservation in advance as it’s a very popular place!
Bacini’s for pizza-right across from Bombay bicycle is Bacini’s. It’s nothing fancy inside, this is more of a local spot. The pizza was outstanding and they even had gluten free crusts! Avocado on pizza is a thing in Cape Town and it was friggin’ amazing! I’m hooked and now I’m always going to expect avo on my pizza wherever I go.
→An added bonus: we ran into Davos from Game of Thrones here! For extreme fanatics of the show, this made our whole trip!
Tiger’s Milk-another great restaurant downtown with that had the best gluten free leg of lamb pizza with a dallop of hummus and feta. Omg was it good.
V&A Market on the Wharf –this was the 3rd market we went to in Cape Town and it didn’t disappoint! It wasgreat for fruit juices, shakes, pastries, and also lactose free froyo!
3. Take a Road Trip Down the Coast
The plunging coastlines around Cape Town are nothing short of spectacular. You can’t leave without getting to explore the area on a road trip! Drive down the Cape Peninsula all the way down to Penguin Beach. If you have time, stop in MuizenbergBeach to photograph the row of colorful beach shacks.
Penguin heaven 😉
If you have even more time, make sure to head down to Hermanus, a quint little seaside town a 2-hr drive from Cape Town, known for whale watching and shark tank diving in its neighbor city Gansbaii.
How pretty is Hermanus??
On the way back to Cape Town, drive along False bay, which I thought was prettier than the actual Cape Peninsula honestly.
Tip: on your drive back from Hermanus, stop at Betty’s Bay, the less-touristy version of Penguin Beach. There was hardly anyone there when we went and we got up close and personal with the little guys! The cost is 10 rand for a parking permit but no one was there to enforce it.
4. View Cape Town from Above
One of my favorite things to do in a new city is get an epic aerial view. No view can get more epic than from a helicopter! We had 360 degrees of unobstructed views of the beautiful city, coast lines, beaches, peaks, and mountains. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Unedited GoPro pic from the helicoptor
We decided to go with NAC Helicopters for our flight over Cape Town, mainly due their almost perfect reviews as well as their impeccable safety record (100% accident-fee). The perfect safety record alone is a deciding factor when it comes to putting my life into someone else’s hands in the air.
NAC Helicopters also offers tailored destination flights, so if you really want to ball out and show up somewhere in style, this would be a fun thing to splurge on!
The staff was super professional and kind, and I felt safe from the minute I walked into the door greeted by their warm smiles.
Tip: make sure to schedule the helicopter tour early in the trip in case of cancellations due to weather. We actually had our first flight cancelled so ended up re-scheduling it on our last day luckily.
5. Hop On Hop off Bus (seriously)
I never in a million years thought I would recommend a “touristy” Hop on Hop off Bus, but this is definitely an exception! The public transportation in Cape Town and vicinity is not that great so this is actually a great way to see all that Cape Town has to offer! You can buy a one-day pass for around $12 and a 2-day pass for around $20.
Spellbound in the enchanted forest inside Kirstenbosch gardens
The Hop on Hop Off bus has 3 different color-coded routes and I recommend all 3 if you have time! It’s no surprise my favorite was the purple route since this was the wine route!
Camp’s Bay-what I called the Malibu of Cape Town
If you’re short on time like we were, we only had a day to do the bus tour. Our favorite can’t miss stops included:
Purple wine route (the entire thing)
6. Drink World Class Wine
South Africa is known for its Pinotage red blend, distinctive to this area of the globe. Make sure you try a glass (or 5) of this delicious red wine, as this blend is not grown anywhere else in the world!
There are SO many vineyards within an hour or so drive from Cape Town and I recommend spending an entire day in Stellenbosch, and if you have time Franchoek as well.
The wine tasting crew! Carebear Abroad and I, along with our friend Nick, who lives in Cape Town. We met Nick on our 12-day Turkey trip 2 years before. #travelfriends
Our favorite winery was Vergelegen Estate. The property grounds were impeccably gorgeous and the staff was extremely interactive and fun. Oh, and apparently you can have a picnic in the camphor forest, which sounds amazing! Unfortunately it was closed when we went, but if you end up going, please let me know how it is!
If you’re planning what to do in Cape Town, hopefully these 6 recommendations are at the top of your list! There is so much more to discover in this unique city and we only just cracked the tip of the iceberg.
I cannot wait to get back to Cape Town and stay longer next time to enjoy more of the local life. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming about it. ♥
PIN for later 🙂
Disclaimer: I was a guest of NAC Helicopters. However, my opinions are my own and I am in no way obligated to leave positive feedback. I thought the helicopter tour was awesome and the best way to see the city!
Have you Been To Cape Town? What were Your Highlights? Did I miss Anything? Do tell! ♥
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It’s also rated as the biggest waterfall in the world (based on combined width of 5,604 ft and height of 354 ft.).
Victoria Falls goes by the nickname “the Smoke that Thunders”. After my first glimpse of the falls, no explanation was needed as to how it got that nickname. The power of the falls is overwhelming.
But who knew Victoria Falls was so big on adventure activities? I sure as hell didn’t. I thought it was just a big epic waterfall honestly. But no, there is so much more! It’s like a mini adventure capital of the world! Adrenaline junkies, take note!
So, what to do in Victoria Falls? A crap load!!! Here is a quick video recap taken from my YouTube channel. (In case you don’t want to read and just want to watch a video).
From the numerous high wire activities on the Zimbabwe side such as gorge swinging, zip-lining, bungee jumping, the flying fox, to the microlight and Devil’s pool activities on the Zambia side, you most certainly will not be bored with the endless amount of adventure activities in Victoria Falls.
With only 2.5 days there, we decided to pack as much in as we could. Here are the top 4 adventure activities in Victoria Falls that you must do!
What to Do in Victoria Falls
1. Microlight Flight (best activity of my life, no joke.)
So what exactly is a microlight flight? A microlight flight is basically like a hang-glider but with a motorized engine. That’s the best way I can describe it. It fits one person at a time and it’s just you and the pilot.
Livingstone’s Adventure is the company we went with, who subcontracts out to Batoka Sky. Batoka Sky prides itself on its 100% safety record since opening in 1993. Meaning, no one had ever died during their flights!!!
The pilots also have the most flying hours out of anyone in the world. After learning that, my fears gradually subsided. Flights start at $155, which isn’t cheap. But where else in the world can you fly over the biggest waterfalls in the world in a tiny little motorized hang-glider thingy? The answer is nowhere!
Their signature flight is called “Flight of the Angels”, and rightfully so! If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be HEAVENLY.
While I was up in the air and the pilot was asking me how I felt, I had an unexpected moment. I burst into tears, I couldn’t even answer him. And I don’t mean just tears filling my eyes, I mean uncontrollable balling. For those that know me, I hate crying, I won’t ever show it and I like to remain calm and collected. But this time, it was out of my control and I just let myself feel it. Sometimes we just need to let ourselves FEEL! ♥
I wasn’t expecting to be that overwhelmed by emotions, but the power and beauty of mother nature overcame me. As I was soaring over the falls, there was a stillness, a silence. Despite the loud engine and wind blowing in my ears, I didn’t hear anything. It was as if someone picked up a controller and put the world on mute. The power of the falls showed themselves and I felt so small in the world.
On the way back, we saw elephants grazing in the water and a heard of buffalo traversing the land. It’s EXACTLY what I envisioned Africa to be. A land that is wild and free, and more radiating than anything I had ever seen.
If you do ONE activity in Victoria Falls, please make it the MicroLight Flight!!
2. Flying fox
(I like to call it Superman) since you’re strapped in face down and your arms and legs are free to soar through the air. When I got to the platform, the guide said nonchalantly, “just run and jump off”. WHAT?! Had I known about this before I might have chickened out. But once you’re up there it’s too late and you’re too deep in it to back down.
He counted down from 5 and away I went! I catapulted into the air and over the canyon gorge. For someone afraid of heights, my heart was racing but the adrenaline kicked in and I relaxed slightly for the ride. Once you’re done, they let you sit there for a minute and you have time to take in exactly where you are. Dangling over a 100 meter drop, no worries, right? It was quick, but incredible! (TWSS?) 🙂
3. Gorge Swing
The gorge swing is similar to a bungee jump but there is no buoyancy in the rope so you basically swing back and forth. I don’t ever like to recommend something I didn’t experience personally, but I was with my travel partner Carebear Abroad who did it simultaneously as I was doing the Flying fox and she highly recommends it! I remember seeing her face when she came back and she could barely speak she was so hyped on adrenaline. She even told me it might even be scarier than bungee jumping! I think her face in the photo below explains everything, haha.
The Devil’s pool is a little pool directly on top of the falls where you can swim and sit on the ledge of the actual falls. Think infinity pool…with a 355 foot drop. No big deal!
There is nowhere else in the world like it and it’s something you don’t want to miss. In fact, this was our main reason for visiting Victoria Falls! It was I-N-S-A-N-E! I have no idea how we didn’t fall off the ledge, it was unbelievable!
The Devil’s Pool must be reserved days in advance. We had no idea and were told it was fully booked the 2 days we were there. We were super bummed until we were told there were spots at 7:30am with Tongabezi Tours on the day of our departure. Our flight was not until 1pm so we jumped on the opportunity. Plunging into that frigid water that early in the morning definitely woke us up! It was a kick of energy we definitely needed as exhaustion was kicking in at this point. Who needs coffee after that?
We arrived to the airport with wet hair and probably didn’t smell the best after being in that water. But what we took with us are memories that will last a lifetime. Worth it 100%!!!
The staff is awesome and were doing backflips into the little pool on top of the falls. A little crazy if you ask me, but they seemed to have a lot of experience with it! They were also great with taking lots of pictures for us with our phones and keeping them nice and dry. They gave us a mini photo shoot up there and we were eating it up!
An added bonus was the luxurious breakfast we were served. I wasn’t expecting that given that we were on a tiny island with nothing around. On the menu was eggs benedict, coffee, biscuits, and scones.
The tour is pricy at $90 but don’t let that deter you. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could! Yes, it’s completely worth the $90 if you’re wondering.
Note: only do this activity if you can swim against a moderate current. To get to the pool, you must walk across slippery rocks and swim through deep parts of the falls against a moderate current. Water shoes with traction would have been helpful as well. Do people still wear those?
So…Should You Visit Victoria Falls?
If you’re even thinking about going to Victoria Falls and wondering if it’s worth it, let me tell you that it completely blew me away and quite frankly I think it’s underrated AF. My only regret is not spending an extra day there.
I recently spent some time in Queenstown, New Zealand, the “adventure capital of the world”, and honestly Victoria Falls gives it a run for the money when it comes to unique adventure activities on offer.
If Victoria Falls wasn’t on your radar before, hopefully I have convinced you to check it out! Stay tuned for another post soon detailing all you need to know about traveling to Victoria Falls.
Have you been to Victoria Falls? What was your Favorite Activity? Do Tell!
Note: Carey and I were guests of Livingstone’s Adventure/Bakota Sky for our MicroLight Flight. My opinions, however, remain my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and was completely life-changing. I would highly recommend this company! All other activities mentioned were paid for in full on our own. ♥
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