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The Best Luxury Hotels in Dubai

Quite often at Hotels Fairy we get emails asking us to recommend hotels around the world. For example, a pet friendly hotel in London or some luxury hotels in New York or an eco-friendly hotel in Hong Kong or a beachfront hotel for a honeymoon in Marrakech. The list is endless.

Even though it is not possible to reply to every single email that we get, we do try to get inspiration from what our readers are asking.

So when we can we send our office fairies on working vacations to discover and experience the local hospitality around the world and report back to us with their findings and many, many photos and stories from their travel adventures.

Nick, just came back from Dubai, where he spent two weeks sampling the local hospitality. Bellow you can find a short list that he compiled for us with the best luxury hotels in Dubai.

Luxury Hotels in Dubai

One & Only The Palm Dubai

One and Only - Luxury Hotels Dubai

One & Only The Palm Dubai, offers luxurious beach-front accommodation on Palm Jumeirah’s peninsula. Here you can enjoy the panoramic views, a private beach and the very best cuisine of Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno.

The One & Only has really spacious rooms, suites and villas that are either situated within the hotel’s Manor House or in the private beach area.

The rooms and suites have direct access to a huge swimming and the palm-shaded terraces. The Beach Villas offer direct beach access for more secluded escapes.

Here you will have the choice of three exclusive restaurants and if you need more choice you can always get a water taxi to the One & Only Royal Mirage Dubai to have dinner at any of its seven restaurants!

IMG World of Adventures and Hub Zero Dubai are just a 35-minute drive from the hotel.

Raffles Dubai

Raffles Dubai in Dubai

The Raffles Dubai is one of the must stay luxury hotels in Dubai.

The architect of the hotel was inspired by the great pyramids of Egypt and his design reflects that inspiration. The Raffles Dubai is a stunning landmark in Dubai’s skyline. An award-winning hotel features an outdoor pool, and an extensive spa.

Many handcrafted ornaments and luxurious fabrics decorate the rooms at Raffles Dubai, each with a generously-sized private balcony with views of the Dubai skyline. Dubai International Airport is a 15-minute drive away.

Grosvenor House a Luxury Collection Hotel Dubai

Grosvenor House Luxury Hotel in Dubai

If you want to feel like a celebrity the world-class service of Grosvenor House Hotel and Apartments will not disappoint you.

The 5-star Grosvenor House hotel is located on the Dubai Marina promenade and offers panoramic views of the marina, as standard comes a personalized butler service, an outdoor pool and an impressive range of culinary experiences.

The modern rooms and suites have marble bathrooms and come with Byredo amenities, a soaking tub with rain shower.

Grosvenor House’s fine dining options include a weekly seafood buffet at Sloane’s. Also highly recommended is the lively Buddha Bar & Restaurant which serves far-east and Asia cuisine.

Make sure you check out the Bar 44 which offers fantastic cocktails.

The Address Dubai Marina

The Address Dubai Marina

From all the luxury hotels in Dubai, this is the one to book if you want to be in the center of the action on the Dubai Marina. The marina is the largest man-made marina in the world. It is housing upscale retail stores, Michelin restaurants and trendy late-night bars & lounges.

The Address Dubai Marina is directly linked to the Dubai Marina Mall, which has more than 160 boutiques with high-end designer brands and electronics.

This luxury hotel has an elevated infinity pool on level 4, perfect for spending the whole day in the sun with its outside dining, poolside bar and spectacular views of the Dubai Marina and beyond.

Palace Downtown Hotel

Luxury Hotels - Palace Downtown Hotel Dubai

If you stay in this luxury hotel, you will feel like a royalty, a true palace decorated in a contemporary Middle Eastern style offers luxury rooms with balconies.

The Palace Downtown Hotel overlooks the Dubai Fountain and the lake surrounding Burj Khalifa.

Four different restaurants will be at your disposal providing fine dining opportunities, ranging from Argentinian meat to Thai curries. You can also spoil yourself with branch served buffet of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.

JA Palm Tree Court

JA Palm Tree Court Hotel Dubai

JA Palm Tree Court’s rooms provide 5-star accommodation with all the top luxury amenities that you can desire. It also features a 9-hole golf course, a Jacuzzi, a beauty centre and a sauna.

Those staying at JA Palm Tree Court can start their morning at Calm Spa & Salon, or enjoy the various fitness amenities, including outdoor tennis courts, a driving range and squash courts.

For a quick getaway, you can park your yacht or seaplane on the private marina next to the hotel!!!

The hotel boasts convenient dining options, including seafood dishes at Anchor Restaurant and Mediterranean food at Captains Restaurant & Bar. Divaz offers a fine dining experience, and serves seafood cuisine in an intimate and romantic setting.

If you wish to discover the great outdoors, JA Palm Tree Court is close to many popular fishing and scenic spots. The staff at the tour desk of the hotel are always keen to recommend and organize tours and activities in Dubai.

You can choose between Dubai Desert 4×4, Dune Bashing, Sandboarding, Camel Safari. These are only a few of the tours available at the tour desk.

I hope we have given you a brief idea of what is available among top end and luxury hotels in Dubai. So if you wish to spoil your loved one, Dubai is the place to do it. Enjoy!!!

Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala: Cheap Hotels & Delicious Food

guatemala suvenirs salesman

I spent a month traveling through Guatemala and learned a lot about what a visitor needs to know to get through the country safely and have a pretty good time. Due to the low cost of living it can be a very cheap vacation, you can find some very cheap hotels throughout country.

By saving money on accommodation you are left with more money to spend on the delicious traditional food, Mayan art and jewelry. It’s a really beautiful country, no matter where you end up. Here are some tips which can make choosing your Guatemalan destination much easier.

The Sophisticated Shopper – Antigua

Antigua is a gorgeous town with a very metropolitan feeling. During the day there is a long strip of boutiques where you can buy anything from chic Paris fashion to traditional Mayan clothing.

There are street performers and artists that attract crowds until the night when this strip leads to great restaurants and clubs that create a pulsing night life.

There’s also a great central park where you can find a place to sit and people-watch and on occasion hear live music. The city has hiking all around for every level of expertise and you can be sure you’ll find a view that will take your breath away.

Antigua can be more expensive than other destinations, but you can get by with either dollars or quetzales (the local currency). Here the hotels are a bit more expensive, but you can easily find cheap hotels online or by just asking around the local Cafes. Most hotels here will accept major credit cards.

Selina cheap hotels

We stayed at Selina Antigua, on 6ta ave.norte 43A, which is something between a hotel and a modern hostel. If you are into classical cars you will love their recently restored VW Beetle and the yellow School Bus at the back yard, which has been transformed into a spacious chill out room.

We really enjoyed our stay at Selina. The cost of the accommodation was a little less than $20 a night.

Initially we had found on a travel guide a few cheap hotels just around the corner from Santa Catalina Arch, but Ronaldo at the reception of Selina was great when we pop in to ask for directions, so we decided to stay there.

A bit of advice on Antigua, instead of the over-priced souvenirs save your money for a great dinner and maybe a guided hike around.

The Beach Bum – Monterrico

To experience the lovely Guatemalan coastline Monterrico is an ideal location. It’s an incredibly relaxed area that’s perfect for the traveler who just wants to lay on the beach and have a cold drink in their hand.

In Monterrico you can choose between luxury five-star hotels and the many local guest houses. You will find cheap hotels as well as some very expensive hotels like the “Dos Mundos Pacific Resort’, it all depends on the needs of the traveler.  

Dos Mundos Pacific Resort

At Monterrico, you will also find many cafes and restaurants with plenty of fresh seafood, fresh fruits, right on the beach. Guatemala has black sand beaches that look amazing in any light, but here in Monterrico the water can be too rough for swimming–perfect if you just want to get your feet wet and get back in your hammock.

You can also find souvenirs for excellent prices if you walk into the town, though you may need some basic Spanish to communicate with the locals.

Antigua Guatemala -Cheap Hotels

The Student – Quetzaltenango (Xela)

Xela is an urban area that is full of students studying and learning Spanish. If you stay more than a week or two, you can enroll at a local school at a very low cost to take casual classes where they cover everything from grammar to salsa dancing.

Outside of school you may need more Spanish than in other locations because of the high indigenous population, though this really adds to the cultural experience here, where you can find the most authentic mixture of the new world and the old.

Mayan tradition is still obvious in the clothing, religion and superstitions in Xela and is an important part of understanding this area.

There are multiple active volcanoes in this area with guided climbs–during the day to see the lush valley and some at night to see the clear sky.

Xela has many great indoor and outdoor markets where you can find the freshest fruits and some of the best prices on jewelry, clothing and gifts for friends back home.

Tikal Guatemala

The Adventurer – Tikal

This historical site is truly amazing and is suited for the traveler who likes a little bit of exercise and a lot of great photo opportunities.

The ruins are magical and quite expansive–be ready for a day full of walking. It’s a chance to see the Guatemalan rain forest and if you’d like to see a coati mundi or hear the howler monkeys in the trees there’s no better place.

If you want to see the canopy of the rain forest from the sky, you can climb El Gran Jaguar, the tallest temple in Tikal and look down on the jungle below you. For nature lovers, animal lovers and history buffs Tikal is a wonder.

If you get a guide (which is really helpful) there are tours available in many languages. The souvenirs here are a little expensive because it is a tourist hot-spot, but some of the items here may only be available inside the park at Tikal.

About the Author

Nick, the author of the “Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala: Cheap Hotels & Delicious Food” is a full time Travel Consultant for Currently he is on a sabbatical leave, backpacking around Central and South America.

Tourico Vacation Reviews: Philadelphia Travel Guide Budget Style

Tourico Vacation Reviews: Philadelphia Summer Fun Travel Guide Budget Style

Planning on heading to the “City of Brotherly Love” this summer but your budget has been busted?

This is one city that won’t try to put a squeeze on your already tight wadded wallet. There are plenty to see in Philadelphia for travelers on a budget.

These are some tips & tricks that Tourico vacation has recommended to us

Things like using an Entertainment Book if you have one, or AAA membership card, or AARP card can all help travelers save money. If you have bought that AAA membership for road safety, it is good for so much more.

Tourico Vacation Reviews - The Borse

First make a bee-line for your local library or tourist office and grab a map of Philadelphia or a guide book on Philadelphia and browse through their hotel sections. They also have listings of things to do along with a listing of the prices. Take your cards with you. Be bold, be brazen with your cards. Lay all your cards on the table. Flash your AAA card, the AARP card, and Entertainment Book card if you have one.

You’d be surprised at how many places including retail stores will give you a discount just for flashing the cards. Entertainment Books are often half price after Christmas. They are available in most cities including Philly.

They can cut that restaurant tab in half if you are eating alone or provide other discounts off your meals and things to do in the area.

Travel Accommodations:

As I previously stated, AAA cards can be used to secure discounts on hotels. In the back, of the Entertainment Book you can find discounts hotels and rental cars and how to book them. If you are flying in you can often get a package deal on your flight and your accommodations when you book through a travel agent.

If you are flying into Philadelphia, many of the most of the inexpensive hotels are located around the airport. However, remember to figure in the added cost of transportation into your budget.

A Guide to Getting Around the City:

Philadelphia Summer Fun Travel Guide Budget Style by Tourico Vacation Reviews

You can easily rent a car when you fly into the city. However, I grew up on the outskirts of the city and I still found it hard to find my way around the city. I never went anywhere without my trusty Rand McNally Street Map of Philadelphia. Most Barnes and Nobles Stores and Amazon Books stores can order this precious lifesaver for you before you hit the road.

The city has a good transit system. The South East Transit Authority (SEPTA) is the name for the transit system in the city. Please call it SEPTA, if you call it ‘The South East Transit Authority”, most of the locals will look at you like you just landed from Mars.

The daily pass which will provide you with a limited number of trips on the bus, subway, or trolley. The train is not included. Or you can purchase a weekly pass if you stay longer. Prices and number of trips are changing from time to time so I’m not going to quote anything here.

There are also bikes to be rented throughout the city. As with any large city, there are some areas that are safe and some areas…well, not so much… especially after dark.

So you may want to avoid public transit or stay in well lighted areas after dark. Don’t let the City of Brotherly Love become the city where you get a not so friendly brotherly mugging or someone really puts the squeeze on you.

Tourico Vacation Travel Guide on What to Do:

Beer Garden in Philadelphia by Tourico Vacation

Philly has what is known as the Philadelphia City Pass. If you want the most bang for your buck this is the way to go. If you are only going to one or two places available on the list, this will not save you money. If you are going to more than that this is pass is a steal of a deal.

Even though I grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia, it is my favorite way to be able to see various attractions in Philadelphia. The pass claims to provide over $350 worth of entrance fees for just $40.

My favorite haunt that you can take advantage of on the pass is Longwood Gardens. The Gardens feature ever changing displays and a great chance to enjoy nature, get exercise and see beauty all at the same time. Don’t miss out the main fountain garden, the Italian water garden and the open air theatre garden.

Talk about a steal of a deal. Recently the Gardens had a “make over” and they are even more breathtaking than they were before. The Orchid Room is a perennial favorite and if you get there for the July 4th celebration you’ll be in for a real treat.

If you like museums there is the Atwater Kent Museum, National Liberty Museum and the African American. For science buffs or budding nurses/doctors there is The Academy of Natural Sciences and The Franklin Institute Science Museum.

The pass offers many discounts and benefits with its purchase so be sure to check it out.

Morris Arboretum Philly

Close by to the city is Valley Forge Park. I have fond memories of commuting through the park to and from work. I would often take a picnic dinner with me and pull over for some time off prior to heading home. If you are in Philly, don’t miss this park or you may regret this historic landmark.

Philadelphia Travelers’ Guide to Eating out by Tourico Vacations

cheese-steak Philly

Philadelphia is known for its push-cart vendors. It is the home of the soft pretzel, with or without mustard. There are hot dog stands everywhere. And in Philly, they will look at you strange if you are over the age of five and attempt to put ketchup on your hot dog instead of mustard, so beware!

There are also vendors with Italian Water Ice to cool you on a hot summer day. You’ll even find industrious teenagers with red wagons and a blue igloo strapped to it with ice cold sodas.


As far as more traditional places to eat for my money I wouldn’t go any place else other than Barbuzzo.  Barbuzzo has been dishing out Mediterranean fare to the philly faithful for years now. This is ideal for day, night or any special occasion. Intimate and full of charm.

Termini Brothers bakery is also terrific and the Hard Rock Cafe has not failed me yet. Menu Pages can help you easily plan your lunches and dinners out in the city.

Luke’s Lobster Rittenhouse by Tourico Vacation Reviews

If you don’t allocate some money in your budget for a meal at Luke’s Lobster Rittenhouse you will be sorry and probably regret it for the rest of your life. This is where I fell in love with seafood as a teenager. I’ve been a seafood lover since then.

Well I think I have given you plenty to see and do in my old stomping grounds. I hope I was helpful to you and able to help guide you through your summer plans in planning a vacation to my beloved city.

Author’s Bio

Jeff Wilson, the author of the “Tourico Vacation Reviews: Philadelphia Summer Fun Travel Guide Budget Style” was born and bred in Philadelphia. He has been working in the tourism industry in the city for more than 10 years, he is currently with Tourico Vacations.

Why Tanzania should be on your travel bucket list

A travel bucket list is never ending. It seems that the more items tick off it, the more places there are to explore – not that that is a bad thing, of course!

If Tanzania is not already on your travel bucket list, it should be. In fact, by the end of this post, it probably will be! There is more to this area than meets the eye…!

One of Africa’s most popular regions for travellers, Tanzania still is often unfairly overlooked. So, here’s just a few reasons why, no matter what kind of traveller you are, Tanzania is a potentially perfect destination for you.

Tanzania should definitely be on your travel bucket list


travel bucket list - wild life


Of course, if you are heading to Tanzania, you have to spend time on a wildlife safari. Every year, around 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra migrate through the parks. Add to that the lions, Nile crocodiles and wild birds that can be found and you will see some incredible sites.

The Serengeti is home to the Big Five, including rhinos, lions, leopards, Cape buffalo and African elephant. The best way to make the most of seeing all these animals up close and personal (but most of all, safely!) is to hire a tour guide and get your camera ready!

 Tribes in Tanzania


One of the most exciting parts of visiting any new place, is learning about the cultures, religious, rituals and customs that are different to our own. There are many different tribes in Tanzania (over 120!) and each live their lives slightly differently.

If you get an opportunity to meet them, it will be a real eye-opening experience for you, as you gain new insights and perspectives on life that you will take away and keep with you long after your trip.

Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania


Mount Kilimanjaro is not quite Everest but it is the highest point in Africa and the world’s highest freestanding mountain! For those who like a challenge, it is well worth climbing to the snowy peak, but this is not something to be taken lightly.

To experience the breathtaking views, you must plan carefully and get your doctor’s permission beforehand.

However, if you are someone who likes to take things to another level, and are an experienced climber, you cannot live Tanzania without conquering this mountain!

Why Tanzania should be on travel bucket list? Beautiful beaches

Beautiful Beaches

If you are looking for a beach holiday, you might not think of Tanzania right away, but it is actually one of the most beautiful coastal locations in the world.

White beaches, crystal-clear waters and stunning tropical fish makes Kendwa Beach in Zanzibar an absolute must-visit when you are in Tanzania.

For an adrenaline rush, enjoy one of the many water sports activities that are available, or perhaps just take a gentle boat ride, and go snorkelling for a more relaxed vibe.

Hot air balloon ride in Tanzania - It should definately be on your bucket list

The view from up high

The best way to see the Serengeti at sunrise is on a hot air balloon ride. It’s a view that not many other people get to experiences and it is something that will stay with you forever – especially if you manage to see some animals from up high too.

Finish the morning with a champagne breakfast and this will be the best start to any day that you have ever had.

Market in Tanzania

Soak up the colour

Everything about Tanzania is colourful and vibrant. The landscape consists of emerald greens and burnt yellows, and there are bright murals painted on the front of art galleries and stores.

Even the people are full of colour, with women in the streets, wearing khangas covered in bold prints, and Maasai tribes on the farmlands are adorned in the traditional blue/red shukas and bright beaded jewelry. You’ll wish you had packed more colourful clothes!

There are not many places in the world where you could be seeing chimpanzees swinging through the trees above your head one day, and spend the next laying on the most beautiful white-sand beach.

Tanzania really is an incredible place that deserves a spot at the top of your travel bucket list!

Let us know below if you have ever been and what you would recommend, or if it is on your travel bucket list, what you are most looking forward to enjoying!

The Maldives Travel Guide: 4 Things You Should Know

Maldives Travel Guide

The Maldives is one of the dream destinations of most travelers around the world. Who would not want to see this picture of paradise? It offers luxury bungalows that extend over turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and pure luxury.

Those who went to this lovely place claim that it looks exactly like those images floating on your screen – transparent blue lagoons, low waters with baby rays and reef sharks, bright sun, white sand beaches, and house reefs teeming with different kinds of fish. But aside from this, there are several things that you may not know about this place.

Before booking your room at one of the best resorts in Maldives, you need to know these facts! A short Maldives travel guide follows bellow.

Maldives Travel

1. The Maldives is Made up of Over a Thousand Small Islands

The Maldives is made up of more than 1,190 coral islands in its 26 prime atolls. These islands are peppered across the Indian Ocean. Some are too small that you need to zoom in on them on Google map before you can see them.

Out of these small islands, only about 200 are inhabited. These include those with permanent populations living in fishing villages and farming towns. The uninhabited islands are used as picnic islands or for farmland. Indeed, a picnic in one of these islands is as remarkable and unique as having a picnic in the desert with your loved ones.

But did you know that some of these islands are man-made? Huhulmale, for instance, is an island created by dumping loads of concrete and sand in 2004. And this is the closest island to the main airport. It looks like a developed town with shops, coastline, housing, and paved roads.

While other islands are being created by man, other islands are disappearing. In fact, more than 100 islands have disappeared already because of the natural erosion from the rising water levels. Up to now, beach erosion is a huge problem for the remaining islands. Thus, you can see sea walls built around some islands to help pump sand back onto land.

Maldives - Manta Rays

2. Expect to See Large Marine Life

The Maldives offers some of the best marine life viewing experiences, both below and above the water. You have a big chance to see pods of dolphin around the South Ari Atoll. In the North Male Atoll, you can see plenty of manta rays. In fact, you can see them from the air as your seaplane moves slowly past the Manta Point.

If you want to see Hammerhead sharks, the Rasdhoo Atoll is the only place in the world where you get to see them up close.

3. Fun Things to Do

There is no end to the fun and marvelous things you can do in the Maldives. Here are some of them:

Diving and snorkeling in the Maldives

●       Diving and Snorkeling

There is no doubt that the Maldives is one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations because of its crystal clear blue waters that offer incredible visibility. If you are not a certified diver, there are several dive centers where you can take a discovery dive. A close encounter with whale sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and other fishes will certainly be one of your unforgettable experiences here.

If diving is not your thing, a great option for you is snorkeling. By spending about two hours in the water, you can see more than just sea turtles.

Sunset surfing in the Maldives

●       Surfing

The Maldives is also a first-class surfing destination. The country attracts surfers around the worlds to also try windsurfing, which is a water sport that combines the elements of sailing and surfing. If you are not a pro, don’t worry because you can take surfing lessons here.

Paddleboarding in the Maldives - Maldives Travel Guide

●       Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a good alternative to surfing. The Maldives is the best place to do this type of water sport because most islands are surrounded by calm waters. While paddling, you will also see fish swimming just below your boards.

●       Underwater Dining

The Maldives is also known for its underwater restaurants that serve exquisite seafood dishes. It is also the home of the world’s first underwater wine cellar.

Other things you can do on this island include canoeing, mono-skiing, knee boarding, jet skiing, water skiing, wakeboarding, speed boat charter and banana boat rides, and tubing.

A visit to the Maldives means more than just relaxing under the sun, sipping cocktails, and watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Once you arrive at the islands, you’ll discover that there are plenty of things you can do. But to ensure a remarkable adventure, be aware of these facts and make sure to follow the country’s laws.


Thomas Grundner the author of the “Maldives Travel Guide” is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”

Best Hikes and Trails at Zion National Park

Zion National Park rocks

Red, orange, yellow, gray striated layers of windswept sandstone spike and drop dramatically through Utah’s Zion National Park. Less famous than its near neighbour the Grand Canyon, but no less spectacular in its raw desert beauty, Zion National Park is a mere 2 ½ hour’s drive from the center of Las Vegas, Nevada.

This national park features hikes and walks for all ability levels and holds two of the most spectacular (potentially dangerous) hikes in all of the National Park system.

Zion National Park

How to get Zion National Park

Located in the south of Utah, Zion is within driving distance of the majority of the Southwest. Only 7 hour’s drive from Los Angeles and 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas. The drive to the park features several tourist stops, including roadside natural history museums, the Valley of Fire state park, dinosaur tracks and the Native American Moapa Reservation.

Classic to the iconic American Road trip, these unexpected detours present limitless opportunities for exploration. Getting around the Park itself depends on the time of year of your visit. In the busy summer months, the park runs two free shuttle services.

One runs from the bottom of the town of Springdale to the park entrance with several stops at local hotels, campgrounds and restaurants, allowing visitors to park and ride to the main gate of Zion.

The second shuttle service runs through the center of the park with stops at the most popular trailheads. In the summer, vehicles are no longer allowed inside of this part of the park, so the shuttle is the best option of transport to the trailheads.

The shuttle operators offer guided tours on the ride up the valley, providing the passengers the history of the park as well as information on hikes, trail conditions and locations of restaurants, restrooms and water fill stations.

Zion National Park Brew Pub

Accommodations and Dining at Zion National Park

As with most National Parks, there are a variety of options when it comes to accommodations. Hotels, motels and cabins abound in the neighbouring towns with Zion Lodge being the only hotel located inside of the park.

Zion has two campgrounds of its own, which offer car-style camping but no showers. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but permits must be obtained from the park rangers at the information station.

For those who wish to bring their pets, be warned that Zion National Park only allows dogs on one of its trails, and they are forbidden from the rest of the park. Because of this, many accommodations also do not allow pets. Make sure to check the current policies before you pack up your furry friend.

Located directly outside of the gate of Zion is an RV and tent camping site which offers free showers and is central to an in-town shuttle stop.

I highly recommend this location. My husband and I tent camped, and our site was private, near the river, came equipped with a picnic table, grill and fire pit and was conveniently located across the street from several fabulous restaurants (most notably the Spotted Dog) for the nights we decided to skip dinner over the fire.

For the nights we did decide to cook, the general store located at the entrance of the park contained easy grill food, a surprisingly abundant choice of gourmet cheeses and even replacement camping gear as our camp stove failed to make it into the car and our tent was missing a pole. We appreciated its convenient location and reasonable prices.

The most popular hikes at Zion National Park

While there are many great hikes off the beaten track at Zion, my husband and I focused on the most popular hikes of the park for our first visit. The following four hikes can be accessed via trailheads which are all stops along the free in-park shuttle.

Zion National Park Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing

Consisting of a 5 mile round trip up 21 switchbacks, through a narrow canyon and topped with a .5 mile hand-over-hand boulder and chain crawl along a ridge which is at times 3 feet wide and 1,200 feet to the canyon floor, Angel’s Landing is Zion’s most popular hike as well as its most thrilling.

Not for the faint of heart or for those with a fear of heights, but for all others in search of a challenge and iconic view down the canyon, make it part of your must do list. It is listed as strenuous, and in the heat of summer, temperatures can reach to over 100 degrees, so remember to bring water. Rangers advise at least 2 liters per person per hike to combat the desert heat.

The Narrows

Zion National Park - The NarrowsDebated as one of the best trails in all of the National Park System, the Narrows offers an unusual hike for nature enthusiasts. The term trail is misleading, as it is actually a walk up and down a canyon, in the river.

Depending on the time of year, hikers will spend 60-70% of the hike ankle, knee, waist or shoulder deep in water.

The canyon soars hundreds of feet above you and is at times 30 feet from wall to wall. There is a danger of flash floods and sections of the trail with no high ground, so it is best to be prepared and check with the rangers regarding weather conditions for the day.

There are two ways to hike the Narrows, either as an up and back day hike or a through hike. Up and back hikers can travel 6 miles up and back without obtaining a backcountry permit.

For those wishing to hike the entire 16 miles of the trail, obtain a permit from the information center, and consider making it a two day camping adventure.

The Zion Adventure Company offers rental equipment for this hike, including canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, walking sticks, dry bags and dry suits for cooler weather. They also offer maps and tips for the hike.

Emerald Pools

Located near the middle of the park, the Emerald Pools is actually made up of three trails, the lower pool, middle pool and upper pool, with the lower pool being the easiest and the upper pool being the most challenging.

All three trails are connected and it is easy to incorporate them all into one long hike if you wish, the entirety which should only take a couple of hours. Those hikers interested in only the challenging trails should not skip the lower pools however, as they offer a walk behind a 100 foot waterfall.

Zion National Park - Emerald Pools

Watchman’s Trail

Not advertised on the shuttle service (as its trailhead is located behind the visitor’s center) this little jewel was recommended to me by a regular Zion hiker. Barely used, this trail is a contrast to the highly popular Angel’s Landing, Narrows and Emerald Pools, and walkers get to feel that they are discovering Zion as its first visitors.

This hike is moderately difficult in its climb (450 foot gain), and can be hot, so remember to bring water. Because of its light usage, we encountered much more wildlife on this trail, and were often tripping victims of scurrying lizards.

The top of the trail opens up on a plateau with a circular hike allowing views of different parts of the valley with every turn a photographic opportunity.

Other Activities

Hiking is not for everyone, and Zion National Park offers trails which are wheelchair accessible and lookout points which are only a hundred feet from the shuttle stops. The park also offers trail rides from their stables located at the trailhead for the Emerald Pools, and an air conditioned IMAX theater.

The Zion Adventure Company rents tubes and coordinates rides for the adventurer who would rather float than climb.

Happy traveling!

How to visit Montana on a budget

Visit Montana US

The US state of Montana is well known for its beautiful landscape and especially for it’s Yellowstone Park that covers 3,500 square miles full of canyons, alpine rivers and provides a home for many wild animals like bears, wolves, bison, elks and antelopes.

When to visit Montana

You can visit Montana all year round but do check the weather forecast for the region before you set off as the weather tends to be very unpredictable from very hot to snow storms and blizzards.

Visit Montana’s cities and towns (ranked by population)

Billings Yellowstone 106,954
Missoula Missoula 66,789
Great Falls Cascade 58,505
Bozeman Gallatin 37,280
Butte Silver Bow 34,525
Helena Lewis and Clark 28,190
Kalispell Flathead 19,927
Havre Hill 9,310
Anaconda Deer Lodge 9,298
Miles City Custer 8,123
Belgrade Gallatin 7,389

Wild Horses

Famous for the numerous horse ranches in the region, Montana could be called the horse rider paradise. To experience Montana without taking the time to explore any one of the horse riding ranches open to the public could almost be considered a crime.

As well as tackling a horseback mountain trek is a must when in horse riding country such as Montana.

Montana Lake

The outdoor terrains offers a lot to the travellers who choose to experience what can only be described as getting back to nature. With the mountains at your feet and the vast landscape before you, camping out under the stars would not be out of the ordinary in Montana.

Visit Montana for the BluebirdsIt is actually a very popular weekend activity among the local youth in Montana.

While camping in the forests keep an eye for the mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), which are one of the most vibrantly-colored birds that you can see on their breeding grounds here in Montana.

The Bluebirds arrive in Montana late-March to early-April to start raising their young of the year. The vivid UV-blue ornamental plumage makes this bird easy to spot in the green-less landscape during the early spring.

Where to stay in Montana

With a diverse choice of camp sites, to luxury and affordable hotels on offer you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing what accommodation suits your needs best.

When travelling to Montana on a budget keep in mind that there some bargains to be found like the Wingate by Wyndham in Helena Montana, the facilities are more than adequate and the rates are affordable.

This hotel is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and positioned in Montana’s Capitol City.

If camping out under the stars is what you had in mind then the Bear Dance and Cabin can provide valuable information on camp sites that could be simply perfect for your holiday outdoors adventure. Providing all modern and convenient amenities, your stay will be more than you have bargained for.

Sunset in the US mountains

Where to dine in Montana

Bogart’s restaurant in Montana Dining out in Montana does not need to break the bank, with restaurants like Bogarts serving up state loved favourites. The Bogarts restaurant is located on 11 South Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

You will also find at Bogart’s Bogie’s photos and memorabilia which are on display upon the walls. Notably the best place to go for a great meal in Montana.

The restaurant serves up the best in Mexican food, margaritas, burgers, and speciality pizzas with a hearty taste and generous portions.

The nightlife in Montana varies depending on the city location or town so check local listings for specific events and dates when planning your trip to Montana in advance.

Some events may require advance booking so it is always better to get in touch with the venues before you set off for your trip.

Olivia Cree the author of the “How to visit Montana on a budget” works as a freelance tour guide in Montana, she is also a part time mountain rescue volunteer.