Santa Fe, New Mexico Weekend Getaway

Santa Fe, New Mexico Weekend Getaway

Santa Fe, New Mexico Weekend Getaway

Travel guide to New Mexico’s beauty, Santa Fe

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Santa Fe New Mexico is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway at any age. Known for its unique architecture & art scene, Santa Fe will keep your eyes & stomach full. The city combines modern healthy lifestyle with historic spanish charm, which makes it feel like something out of this world.

Included in this post:

  • Best time to visit Santa Fe
  • How to get around the city
  • Top Things to do in Santa Fe
  • Excursions outside of the city
  • The best places to eat & more!

Travel guide for a Weekend Getaway in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best Time to Go

Santa Fe is a perfect weekend destination year-round! Depending on what you want to do while visiting will help to decide when to go. In the winter months, Santa Fe is chilly and dry, with snow in the nearby mountains, so is a great time to visit for skiers. Where as in the summer, the days are hot and the nights are warm. Personally, I prefer fall & spring, as the weather will be warm without the heat.

 

 

Weather in Santa Fe

A great thing about Santa Fe is the 350+ days of sunshine each year. There is a monsoon season towards the end of summer but visitors will most likely only see rain for an hour or two in the afternoons. With temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 85 degrees in the summer, travelers are almost guaranteed to experience a wonderful mild weather setting no matter when they visit.

 

 

Transportation/Getting Around Santa Fe

Downtown Santa Fe is very walkable, however if you stay outside of town you will need a car or need to use a ride share service. Luckily there is plenty of parking in the downtown area. There is a bus system in place for public transportation but with most of the major sites being within walking distance you may not even need it.

Top things to do in Santa Fe:

There is no shortage of unique things to do in Santa Fe. Here is a list of places to see and things to do that I wouldn’t miss when visiting Santa Fe:

 

 

Stroll along The Plaza

The Plaza is the central historic district of Santa Fe. It’s the hub of the city, and on weekends there are often events in the streets. This 400 years old center is where you’ll spend most of your time, so go slow and soak it all up.

Purchase turquoise jewelry along the Palace of the Governors

The Palace of the Governors is the historic building where Spain ruled over the American Southwest in the early 17th century. While you can pay $12 to enter the building, I think it’s more fun to spend your time underneath the outdoor arches of the building. You’ll find beautiful turquoise jewelry pieces handmade by locals here. These outdoor vendors typically have better prices and you can barter with them.

 

 

Walk through the Loretto Chapel

While I can’t claim this to be the coolest church I’ve ever been into, the Loretto Chapel holds quite a bit of history for the Santa Fe area & is worth a visit.

Enjoy a tasting at Santa Fe Spirits

Known for their barrel aged whiskey’s this distillery creates delicious spirits that embrace the spirit of the Southwest region.

*Santa Fe Spirits is a short drive outside of the historic district & opens at 3pm daily

 

 

Mesmerize your senses at Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf is an immersive and interactive experience that embraces weirdness & challenges societal norms. For $30 you can spend an afternoon in this multi-sensory exhibit and be delighted for hours by the designs.

Sun-Thurs 10am-8pm

Fri & Sat 10am-10pm

Cost: $30 general admission

Noisy Water Winery; green Chile wine

New Mexico has a thing with green chiles. And by ‘thing’, I mean they’re obsessed with them. You’ll find green chiles (and red too) in almost every dish. Noisy Water Winery took it a step further by creating Green Chile Wine! Stop in to their tasting room in Santa Fe and enjoy a sample of this spicy wine, along with their other delicious options.

Kakawa Chocolate House

This specialty chocolate house just outside of The Plaza is a chocolate lovers dream come true. Kakawa Chocolate House makes chocolate elixirs dating back to Mayan & Aztec times. Stop in for a tasting and order yourself a cup of your favorite elixir. Don’t worry the staff here are extremely friendly and offer plenty of samples so you can find your favorite – mine was the Jeffersonian flavor made with nutmeg. There are more unique flavors like coconut hibiscus and french lavender. And if you like it purchase a bag to bring home with you or for your friends.

Santa fe Railyard Arts District

The Santa Fe Railyard Arts District houses many of the art galleries that travelers come to explore in the area. It’s well worth a walk through, and houses a brewery and delicious coffee shop too. The last friday of each month the area hosts an Art Walk where artists display their work, musicians play and more.

Visit the Santa Fe Opera & Tailgate beforehand

There is a local known tradition of tailgating at the Santa Fe Opera before the performance begins. It’s like a combination of class with cowboys, so don’t feel as if you need to pack your gown or tuxedo, come dressed in what you’re comfortable wearing and enjoy the performance.

The parking lot opens about three hours before the start of the shows, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your dinner and sunset from your tailgate.

Where to eat in Santa Fe

Here are the places that we tried and where locals suggested we dine in Santa Fe:

Outside of Santa Fe

New Mexico is home to so many unique & hidden gem spots. Here are the places around the area that we took time to explore during our weekend trip to Santa Fe:

 

Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument:

An hour outside of Santa Fe lies this 1.5 mile (one-way) hike. It’s best known for its tent rocks, which are unique cone shaped rock formations. The landscape here reminds me of Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatoowein in Star Wars. My advice, go when it opens so you can enjoy the hike & views without the crowds. *Check if the trail is open as it often closes during the winter months due to weather and snow.

Taos, New Mexico:

If you’re visiting Santa Fe in the winter and are a fan of skiing and snowboarding, I would suggest scheduling time to visit Taos, New Mexico. Travelers take the high road to Taos from Santa Fe and will be greeted by a town with charm similar to Santa Fe’s but on a smaller scale. This area has access to great mountain sport slopes, and a quintessential plaza area. *Be warned, the restaurants in this area are lacking in existence and in healthy food fares, so plan accordingly.

*On your way to Taos you’ll pass the El Santuario de Chimayo. This is a Catholic pilgrimage site on road to Taos, and worth a quick stop to explore.

 

Classical Gas Museum:

Probably one of the bizarrest and yet coolest places to see, the Classical Gas Museum is a great stop on your way back to Santa Fe from Taos. This ‘museum’ is free to enter and features classic gas pumps, neon signs and so much more from times throughout American history.

Fun Facts about visiting Santa Fe, Nex Mexico:

-Sopapillas should come for FREE at the end of your meal. If you see otherwise the food may not be traditionally made New Mexican food.

-Northern New Mexico is known for blue corn, southern New Mexico for white corn. So be sure to try blue corn tortillas with your meals.

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Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Don’t miss this incredible island!

     

Considering a trip to Belize? Then you’re probably checking out San Pedro and wondering what are the top things to do on the island.

Beautifully clear blue waters, colorful small town and low key living …with a slight party habit, San Pedro, Belize is an ideal destination for anyone looking for an island getaway.  San Pedro is perfect for travelers of all types.

Below is a list of things to do in San Pedro for both adventurous and low-key relaxing travelers.

How do you get to San Pedro?

There are two ways you can get to San Pedro, Belize – by water taxi or by plane. You can read all about both here.

With so much to explore, here are the

Top 8 things you need to see & do in San Pedro, Belize

Snorkel Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley

One of my favorite days out of the entire trip was snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Preserve. Located a few miles off of the coast of San Pedro, this is a MUST do activity.  Hol Chan Marine Reserve had the most incredible sea creatures & clear water for snorkeling and diving. And fun fact, it’s the second largest barrier reef in the world!

Check out my blog post that details what we saw and how the company we chose had an environmental focus.

Sunset Cruise

Being on an island means lots of access to beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  TripAdvisor has plenty of options for cruising groups at sunsets. Some including drinks, dinner, etc.  Based off of a locals recommendation we chose to walk along the beach to find a boat for sunset (thinking it would be cheaper, which it was).

*Travel TIP : Book a sunset cruise PRIOR to arriving to San Pedro. Boats don’t go out every evening so booking in advance will guarantee you a stress free experience.  Luckily, we found a unique sail boat last minute, who provided us rum punch and light snacks.

Explore San Pedro town

San Pedro town is colorful, with welcoming locals.  Meander through the streets, and the shops located beachside. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how people live on the island.

 

Belize Chocolate Company

This adorably decorated business right on the shoreline provided amazingly delicious baked goods and homemade chocolates.  They focus their efforts on recycling and sustainability for the island so is a great business to support.

Rent a Golf Cart

There are almost no cars on San Pedro island, so you can either rent bicycles or golf carts. I would suggest golf carts because (1) it’s fun and (2) the roads are fairly bumpy so riding a bicycle on them is like asking for your bum to be sore. Renting a golf cart is an easy & efficient way to explore parts of the island that you can’t access by foot near San Pedro town.

Enjoy local nightlife

There are a lot of options for bars in San Pedro’s town.  As any other place you travel to, not all bars are created equal in providing a comfortable experience.  So, go where you feel you can have the most fun with no concerns. Monday night is the islands most mellow night.

Here are a list of bars that were suggested to us:

  • Crocs
  • Playa Bar
  • Blue Water Grill
  • Lola’s
  • Wet Willys
  • Big Daddys
  • Barefoot Iguana
  • Jaguar Temple

On the weekends at the central square, there are various tented areas where you can purchase grilled street food (Plant based people, these street food vendors may not be for you as I did not find any vegetarian options).

Blue Hole National Park

Another MUST do experience, however since we weren’t able to scuba dive we chose to not visit (at least for this trip).  Here is the information I was able to gather while we considered going:

  • It is a two and a half hour boat ride to get there, so it is an all day excursion
  • There are three tour groups that take you there, for scuba divers and snorkelers

Amigos Del Mar

Ambergis Dive

Ramons

  • When you first arrive to San Pedro book this excursion if you want to do it.  The tours do not go out daily so if you aren’t on the island for too long you may not get the chance to go
  • For snorkelers, you will snorkel around the Blue Hole (1.15 miles), then Half Moon Caye, have lunch and do a short hike, then snorkel at The Aquarium

*see the TIPS section of this post for more about the Blue Hole National Park Experience

Spend a day at Secret Beach

I had heard whisperings of Secret Beach on San Pedro.  You’ll find an off the beaten path, slice of heaven.  Visiting here will leave you more than surprised that a paradise like this still exists.

If you want to find specifics on how to get there (as there is no cell service, nor map leading you there) and how to pack for it check out this blog post.

Water Activities

Your hotel will have plenty of options for companies offering jet skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking, catamarans… pretty much any water activity you could want to do.  There aren’t major waves off of San Pedro so if you’re hesitant don’t let your fear of a strong current deter you. It’s a very approachable water area.

Spend an evening at Truck Stop

A food truck hub complete with an ice cream shop, pool and epic sunsets! Truck stop has nightly events that you can find out about through their facebook page.

Where to stay in San Pedro, Belize

When choosing where to stay in San Pedro, I would suggest staying near San Pedro town. You’ll be conviently close to the docks where you arrive and depart (unless you fly into their small airport), and you’ll be near the majroity of restaurants, excursion docks and more

Check out current hotel deals for San Pedro below

Booking.com

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Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Top TIPS for visiting San Pedro, Belize:

  • San Pedro has small beaches, and depending on the weather (storms) there may be seaweed washed up on the shore.  If you’re staying near the main town understand that while convenient, it is not meant to be a lay on the beach and wade into the water type of place.  Those perfect beaches are there but further on a less trodden path (see my post about getting to Secret Beach). Or rent a boat to swim in the ocean further from the shoreline.
  • Humidity is real in Central America and can be intense.  Stay hydrated.
  • Unless you are scuba diving or an avid snorkeler, I would not suggest snorkeling the Blue Hole National Park.  According to local advice, you will see much more wildlife at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and the excitement behind the Blue Hole is that scuba divers have a rare opportunity to dive so deep into unobscured waters.
  • Rent a golf cart to get around. Since the island of San Pedro is longer than it is wide, it’s not convenient for cars to drive around. Most hotels will be able to connect you with a golf cart company.  Prices are all very similar so going through your lodging is great because they will bring it right to you.

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48 Hours in Zurich

48 Hours in Zurich

48 Hours in Zurich

Last Updated November 12th, 2019

How to spend two days in Zurich, Switzerland, with the top sights to see

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Zurich, the city known as the banking epicenter of Europe -maybe the world-  is by far one of the most efficient cities with an equally high standard of living. It’s a destination that has up to date convenience mixed with extravagance and an old-world charm… all of which you’ll notice on your wallet (Zurich ain’t cheap, but it sure is worth the visit).

But don’t let those things deter you from visiting Zurich. It is a great city to book a 48-hour stopover in to see it’s stunning architecture and the pristinely blue river Limmat which separates the old town from the shopping and banking.

Plus, while the crowds of overtourism flood London’s Buckingham Palace or Paris’s Eiffel Tower, you’ll feel as if you have Zurich to yourself.

Upon exiting the train station you’ll see that this European city has the best of both worlds – winding cobblestone streets mixed with flourishing businesses and modern design.  Even if you only have 48 hours to spend in Zurich, you should visit this beautiful city.

Whether you decide to take the efficient train from the airport and walk to your lodging or hire a car to do so, you’ll witness the city transform from a hustling business center to the easily accessible, albeit booty working, walkable European town.

Getting to Zurich from the airport

Since Zurich airport is considered a hub airport, flights should be significantly cheaper flying into the city. And with Switzerland being internationally known for extravagance, their airport is part shopping mall, part airport and quite large inside.

Fret not though, it’s quite easy to navigate your way from your gate through customs and to a quick train ride to the city center of Zurich. There are a few ways you can travel from the Zurich Airport to its city center, the fastest of which is by train.

With only a ten-minute train ride, travelers can jump onto a train that departs every 5-10 minutes. Purchase your ticket from an SBB ticket booth in the center of the Arrivals hall in the airport for only 6.80 CHF.

As the train is the quickest way to travel from the airport to the city, if you only have 48 hours in Zurich to enjoy the sites, I would suggest the train as the best way to get to the Zurich city center.

You can read about the other ways to travel to/from the Zurich airport here.

With so much to explore, here are the

Top 10 things you need to see & do in 48 hours in Zurich, Switzerland

Wander the Aldstadt (Old Town)

Old Town is the most charming neighborhood in Zurich.  It has that wonderful historical European charm that is expected from a Western European destination with many quaint and unique shops and restaurants (and bars!) all tucked away just waiting to be discovered. 

Grossmunster Church 

One of four major churches in Zurich, Grossmunster Church stands out with its neo-Gothic towers.  It was the center for the Swiss-German Reformation during the 16th-century.
This church is free to enter and has a simplistic interior.  You can pay to climb the tower for 5 CHF  to see beautiful panoramic views of Zurich from above.

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Fraumunster Church 

With its iconic teal-blue spire and clock tower, Fraumunster Church is by far the most stand out church in Zurich.  Mostly known for its Chagall stained glass windows, this site was originally home to an abbess. Go in the early morning to witness the morning light shine through the windows.  However, keep in mind that there is a small 5 CHF fee to enter. (*there was a wedding the day of our visit so we weren’t able to get inside.

Lindenhof  Hill

If you’re a fan of stunning vistas than take the trek up to Lindenhof Hill.  With a bit of a steep climb, Lindenhof offers a great viewpoint of Zurich for breathtaking views of Aldstadt Zurich.  Be sure to head there early in the day for early morning pictures or to claim your sunset spot as this viewpoint attracts many visitors. Luckily, we could see Lindenhoff from our Airbnb and noticed there were large crowds even at the end of the day.

Bahnhofstrasse 

When you walk down Bahnofstrasse you’re walking down one of the world’s most exclusive & expensive shopping streets.  Best of luck not spending a paycheck’s worth on goodies here… if that’s not in your budget you can act as I did and long after an item or two while you window shop.

Have lunch at Hiltl 

Let me do my celebratory dance for Hiltl because it is a veggie lovers dream come true!  I’m quickly learning that Europe is transitioning to please a vegetarian & vegan palate and my fellow veggies could not be happier!  While Hiltl is amazing for vegetarians, it’s also amazing even if you do eat meat.
Hiltl is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world!  It did not disappoint in terms of quality or quantity of food. We chose to eat from the buffet.  But, be warned that the buffet price is based on the weight of your plate.  Regardless, there were so many options and everything was delicious.  The atmosphere was great as well as the staff.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to try a variety of foods you may have never heard of.
TIP: Going there for lunch instead of dinner will make your visit a bit cheaper.

Walk the Renweg & Augustinergasse Streets

Both Renweg and Augustinergasse streets are pedestrian-only streets in the Niederdorfstrasse area of Zurich. They are the picturesque type of cobblestone streets that you fantasize about walking through on any European vacation. And best yet, Renweg is the second-best shopping street after the famed Bahnhofstrasse.

Be sure to stop into the Schwarzenbach Kolonialwaren, the famed colonial good store that’s been family operated since the 1860’s. Shoppers can find great ideas for souvenier or presents to bring home like coffees, teas and Swiss chocoloates.

Enjoy Fondue at La Dezalay

One of THE most recognizable dishes for Switzerland, fondue has become a delicious staple for anyone visiting Zurich to try. La Dezalay is a Swiss restaurant known for its fondue… trust me, it’s worth it.  Located in the Aldstadt neighborhood of Zurich and you can see the Grossmunster church from outside.

Fun fact: fondue is considered to be part of your meal, however, we chose to eat it as our meal.  Sometimes living your best life means devouring a bowlful of bread dunked in warm cheese. (I would have placed a picture of our fondue here… but to be honest I was trying to live THE moment of cheese heaven and forgot to take one.  Oh well, worth it!)

Lake Zurich

The city of Zurich is serenely draped around Lake Zurich, which the River Limmat feeds from.
Travelers can take a relaxing & scenic boat tour around the lake.  There are multiple options for length of time, where the boats dock, etc.  We chose to do the medium length trip which took about 4 hours; choose your tour based on your time available of course.
These boat tours are a stunning excursion that can make a hectic day of walking around end with a serene afternoon.

*TIP- buy drinks/snacks at a grocery or liquor store (Migros stores do NOT sell alcohol) to bring on the boat.  Drinks on the boat are expensive… as is most everything in Switzerland.

 Enjoy a night out on Langstrasse 

Zurich is surging with gastro-pubs and nightclubs. And Langstrasse is a great place to experience more popular bars while visiting Zurich for only 48 hours.  We went to Fat Tony’s based on a friend of a friend’s recommendation (with the assumption it would be a dive bar based on its name) and really enjoyed it. If you walk along this street you’ll be sure to find many places offering a variety of experimental cocktails to early morning electro-raves.

As a great hub location for Switzerland, you can embrace all that Zurich has to offer within a short period of time without feeling rushed.  This city is one where a slow pace as a visitor will provide an exceptional day (or two!).  Because short and sweet can leave you feeling ready to explore other places this stunning (and efficient) country have to offer.

If you visit Zurich and use this list of places let me know!  And comment with any additions you feel were just as great.  More importantly if you found that eating fondue multiple times made you happier than the free range cattle in Switzerland let me know so we can virtually high five each other.

 Where to stay in Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its pricier lifestyle than many are accustomed to, but no matter your budget you can find great accommodations in Zurich. If I’m using Airbnb, then I almost exclusively use Booking.com to find the best hotel deals.

Booking.com

 TIPS for visiting Zurich, Switzerland

  • As like most other European cities, not much will be open on Sunday, so plan accordingly
  • Switzerland is an expensive country, if you are on budget I would pack your own snacks/protein bars so you don’t need to stop at a restaurant for every meal (or hit up a grocery store)
  • Swiss people speak many different languages (german, italian, english), depending on the location and the person so you won’t insult anyone if you say ‘hello’ in german, and ‘thank you’ in italian
Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

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