10 thoughts on Vancouver
Updated: May 26, 2020
The good, the bad and the ugly. What I took from 10 days spent in Vancouver.
May 2019. The Canadian adventure begins. First stop - Vancouver. My bags are neatly packed, my budget has been set, and the list of things I want to do in Vancouver is written neatly in my notebook. The journey between the airport and the hostel is smooth. Check-in is quick. I'm ready to go.
The ten days I'm in Vancouver are spent making the effort I put into packing, budgeting and planning almost completely irrelevant. Lockers make keeping things organised hard, new drinking buddies make sticking to budgets impossible, and the 'going with the flow' attitude I take up means my list of things to do changes quite a bit.
Still, here's what I took from my time in Vancouver:
Vancouver has a lot, and I mean a lot of bars and restaurants to choose from. From options so cheap they make MacDonald's look bad, to fine dining, you will have no issues finding somewhere that meets both your budget and taste. My personal favourite? The Dime Fries from Dime Bar on Granville Street. For $5.95 plus tax, they were easily the tastiest version of poutine I found in Canada.
There are plenty of adventurous activities to do, even though you're in an urban area. Jet skis, paddle-boarding, beach volleyball, hiking and more. Vancouver has a lot to offer when it comes to that kind of thing. If you fancy a challenge and a sweet view, you should check out the Grouse Grind. Hardest 2000 plus steps I have ever stepped.
Vancouver is a pretty diverse city, no matter who you are. From sports tournaments to drag bars, there's always something going on. I visited Davie St, which is essentially the gay village of Vancouver, a couple of times, and was welcomed with open arms both times.
The location of Vancouver is special, in that you have access to beaches, mountains and rainforest all within a few miles of each other. You could literally climb a mountain, hike through a forest and take a walk along the beach on the same day. Or on different days. The point is, you could enjoy different environments whilst being in the same place. Amazing.
Whilst Vancouver is a big city, getting around is easy. If you're staying downtown, you can get around on foot no problem. If you're travelling between downtown and the wider Vancouver area (Capilano, the airport, Jericho Beach, ferry terminals etc), the public transport is easy and efficient to use. With a combination of SkyTrains, buses, ferries and water-taxies, there are plenty of options to choose from. Just be mindful that Uber is not a thing in Vancouver.
This applies to the whole of Canada, really. Vancouver is a very clean city. There are trash cans everywhere, the sidewalks are kept uncluttered, and the beaches are spotless.
Vancouver is a very pretty city. From modern high-rises to picturesque forests, there are plenty of photo ops for you to take advantage of. Add that to the fact that the city attracts a lot of tourists, and you won't struggle to find someone to hold the camera for you if needed. Say cheese...
The cost of spending time in Vancouver can be very high. Whilst there are deals to be found, it is considered to be one of the most expensive places in Canada. Some activities are free but the majority aren't, meaning the costs quickly increase. If you're travelling as a couple or family, it can get very expensive very fast. Definitely look for deals or discounts to help reduce costs.
Vancouver has the nickname Rain City, and the name definitely seems to fit. One of the best things you can do is take a waterproof or umbrella with you when you go exploring, because it rains a lot in Vancouver. And if it's not raining, chances are it's going to be overcast. If you're looking for a sunny climate, this may not be the place for you. That being said, the photo up top was taken in Vancouver, so....
As one of the few sea ports in Canada, Vancouver has a problem with drugs being imported. As a result, there is a drug problem in the city. Walking through downtown, it's not uncommon to see people under the influence. It's best to avoid them where you can.
And that's all I have to say about that. Overall, Vancouver was definitely worth a visit and I wouldn't be opposed to going back in the future. As long as you have a good idea of your budget (you can get an idea of what the costs are here)and a general idea of some things you'd like to do, this can be a really fun city to explore. I definitely have more than a few good memories of this place.