Vancouver – Everything you need to know before you go

Who I am
Elia Tabuenca García
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Find out when is the best time to visit the city, how to get a visa, what you can't miss there, recommendations for restaurants, hotels, and more from our team of expert columnists in the city.

Vancouver is a city that enchants for its natural beauty, abundance of fauna (such as a natural whale habitat half an hour from downtown) and flora (with one of the largest urban parks, impeccable and endless pine forests).

Also in the urban center, with a modern city, an example of sustainability, great quality of life, technology hub and the third largest production center and film sets in North America – behind Hollywood and NYC.

I confess that the Canada It was never at the top of my travel priority list, as I am a regular on beach and hot vacations. Fortunately, life took me there, to make my dog's migration process to Australia when I moved to Perth.

I also took the opportunity to visit my brother who has lived there for a few years. And what a nice surprise it was to get to know all the british columbia during the 45 days I stayed in the country. Now, I share it all with you in a complete guide to the city and surroundings.

In this post you will see:

  • Vancouver Weather
    • Vancouver Art Museum
    • Van Dussel Botanical Park
    • Grouse mountain
    • Deep Cove
    • Stanley Park
    • Vancouver Aquarium
    • Running waterfront between Yaletown and English Bay
  • Where to stay in Vancouver
    • Vancouver hotels
    • Vancouver vacation rentals
  • Where to eat in Vancouver
    • Best restaurants in Vancouver
  • Where to shop in Vancouver
  • weather in vancouver
  • What is the best time to go?
  • How many days to stay in Vancouver?
  • How to get to Vancouver
  • transport in vancouver
    • Vancouver car parks
  • Sustainability in Vancouver
  • Seen to or Canada
  • How to bring money to Vancouver?
  • Vancouver travel insurance
  • Internet chip not Canada
  • Flights to Vancouver
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Vancouver Weather

Capilano Bridge in Vancouver – one of my favorite attractions – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

The city has thousands of attractions for different types of travelers. Among my favorite attractions are seeing orcas, visiting the Capilano Bridge, biking through Stanley Park, visiting the Van Dussel Botanical Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park, as well as walking on Grouse Mountain and having lunch on Granville Island.

Below I talk a little more about some of the main attractions of the city, check it out:

Vancouver Art Museum

The main arts center in the city. It hosts several temporary exhibitions and always has interesting samples to see. When I went, there was a beautiful exhibit of Van Gogh's gardens.

Van Dussel Botanical Park

Van Dusel Botanical Gardens is located in the suburbs of Vancouver. – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

The biggest botanical park in the city is worth it. The gardens are beautiful, super well maintained and even have a very beautiful hedge maze! 

Grouse mountain

Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

Grouse Mountain is an outdoor activity hub close to the city. It is possible to go trekking up the mountain or take a tram that takes you to the top to practice skiing, snow or even zip lining (in the summer months).

Deep Cove

Deep Cove – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

Less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, Deep Cove is an essential stop for lovers of trekking and water activities. The protected bay is perfect for kayaking and stand up paddles, overlooking the region's mountains.

On land, a trail leads to the end of the bay for a panoramic view of this hidden oasis on the outskirts of Vancouver. In the small shopping center, cafes and restaurants with outdoor tables delight passersby, and local craft shops open their doors to visitors.

A good option is to arrive in the morning to do the outdoor activities and then rest and have lunch at the restaurants in the center. Making advance reservations for kayaks and stand up paddle is an excellent tip, as the place is popular mainly on weekends.

Stanley Park

Sunset at Third Beach, Stanley Park – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

One of the largest urban parks in the world and the most important in Vancouver, Stanley Park is one of the best places in the city for a bike ride, walking or enjoying the sunset in spring and summer. The sun sets over the ocean and a true spectacle of colors takes place in the late afternoon. A great tip is to take a picnic to enjoy this moment even more.

The views from Stanley Park are also lovely. At the tip of the downtown peninsula, it overlooks the four sides that encircle Vancouver. To the north, the view of Lyon's Gate Bridge, a landmark of the city. To the south are the beaches overlooking the canal. From east to west, 400 hectares of preserved forests, trails, sports fields, century-old trees and lakes make up the scenery.

Also, a bike ride is one of Vancouver's must-haves. There are several rental shops near the park entrance. Also within Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium, which holds more than 50 species of marine life and ocean conservation projects.

Vancouver Aquarium

I'm not a fan of aquariums and zoos, or any attraction that locks away or mistreats wild animals for human entertainment. However, the Vancouver Aquarium is completely out of this standard and puts on a show when it comes to the environment.

At the aquarium they rescue life-threatening marine animals and care for them to put them back into the sea. In addition, they give various workshops and lectures that raise awareness about nature.

Running waterfront between Yaletown and English Bay

Between Yaletown and English Bay is a beautiful waterfront and bike path that is worth visiting. Taking a walk there is a great request.

Read all our tips:

  • Vancouver Weather

Where to stay in Vancouver

Staying in Downtown is synonymous with doing everything on foot or public transport. It still has the best stores, malls and restaurants on the side and is just a few blocks from Stanley Park. However, accommodation in Downtown can be a little expensive for those who will stay there for a long time.

Don't stay in Chinatown, especially on Hastings St. This is a dangerous part of the city. North and West Vancouver are beautiful and very green neighborhoods. They are close to Capilano, Grouse Mountain and Lynn Valley parks. However, it is 30 minutes from Downtown by car. If you depend on public transport, it's not worth staying there, as you'll waste hours by bus to get to the center.

Close to Downtown, the Kitsilano, Mt Pleasant and East Side neighborhoods are a great option for those looking for cheaper accommodation and still a few kilometers from downtown. There are super charming accommodations and very residential neighborhoods, where most Canadians live.

Vancouver hotels

Click on the image and make your reservation at Blue Horizon Hotel

Below you can check out some indications of the best hotel options in Vancouver within the aforementioned neighborhoods. It is worth checking each one and comparing which is the best accommodation according to your travel style:

  • Blue Horizon Hotel – Daily rates from CAD 159 – Grade 8,9
  • Pinnacle Hotel – Daily rates from CAD 227 – Grade 8,7
  • Hyatt Regency Vancouver – Daily rates from CAD 249 – Grade 8,5
  • Holiday Inn North Vancouver – Daily rates from CAD 148 – Grade 8,4
  • Get to know the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel

See all hotel options in Vancouver.

Vancouver vacation rentals

Click on the image and make your reservation at Sonder at Revival

If you want a more secluded and independent option, a good idea is to opt for apartments and vacation rentals in Vancouver. They are super comfortable environments with good location and plenty of space. Check it out below:

  • Level Yaletown – Seymour – Daily rates from CAD 269 – Grade 8,7
  • Sonder at Revival – Daily rates from CAD 180 – Grade 8,7
  • La Grande Residence at the Sutton Place Hotel – Daily rates from CAD 300 – Grade 8,6
  • Rosellen Suites at Stanley Park – Daily rates from CAD 219 – Grade 8,5

See all Vancouver vacation rental options.

Where to eat in Vancouver

Gainsville Island, an essential stop for lunch in Vancouver.

If there's an unmissable place to eat in town, it's Granville Island. The island, which is under the Grandville Bridge, has several options of restaurants, markets and even craft shops and activities for adults and children.

Visiting the city is also synonymous with eating lots of Japanese food and seafood! Yes, Japanese food there is very cheap and delicious. That's because the salmon is fresh. It is worth trying the wild salmon, caught in the waters of the region.

Best restaurants in Vancouver

In Yellowtown are the most bohemian restaurants and bars in Downtown. It's worth strolling along Hamilton St and discovering one of the restaurants that you like. O Rodney's Oyster House It is a delight for anyone who loves seafood.

For meat lovers, The Keg Steakhouse It is one of the most famous in the city. For a funky happy hour, visit The Cactus Club in English Bay to watch the sunset and enjoy the drinks and delicious dishes and snacks at the restaurant. Happy hour is from 15pm to 18pm or after 21pm every day.

For dessert, be sure to stop by the factory Rocky Mountain Chocolate at Robinson St. The delicious smell of chocolate being made will already invite you to enter the store and try the delicious caramelized apple they serve.

Here are some of the top restaurant recommendations in Vancouver:

  • Granville Island
  • Rodney's Oyster House
  • The Keg Steakhouse
  • The Cactus Club
  • Rocky Mnt Chocolate

Where to shop in Vancouver

Outlet MacArthur Glen em Vancouver

Vancouver is perfect for shopping. The Canadian dollar makes everything more accessible, as it is cheaper than the US dollar. For those who want nice stores and great prices, it is worth visiting Outlet McArthurGlen Design.

For those who want to know the biggest mall in the region, drive to Burnaby and spend hours inside the Metropolis Metrotown.

On the famous Robson St., in Downtown, are the main luxury brands. It's worth stopping by the Tesla store to check out Elon Musk's amazing cars. There are also other affordable ones, such as Forever 21 and Victoria Secret.

weather in vancouver

Vancouver's oceanic climate makes it the second highest temperature city in the country – behind only Victoria. Winter is not as harsh as in other cities in Canada and summer has high temperatures.

What is the best time to go?

There are two predominant seasons that offer different tours and experiences that are worth knowing:

One of Vancouver's attractions, the Cleveland Dam. – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

May to August

This is definitely the best time.

The dry season of the year allows you to get to know the city with mild temperatures. You can still see some snow, if you go in May, and make the most of outdoor activities, such as trekking, waterfalls and mountains.

September to April

The city is known for having the best temperatures in Canada in winter. There, the lowest you will find is around 0º C. However, it rains practically every day in these six months of the year.

On the other hand, it is possible to ski in Whistler or see the Aurora Boreal nas Rocky Mountains and in other cities around this time of year.

How many days to stay in Vancouver?

A week in the city is enough to see the main attractions, but exchange in canada and staying longer is also a great idea.

How to get to Vancouver

Photo: Official Air Canada website

Vancouver has only one main airport, Vancouver International Airport. Departing from São Paulo, it takes about 16 hours to fly to the destination, with a stopover in Toronto, Canada, or our United States or Mexico.

The main companies that take to the city are Air Canada – the most suitable, Delta and United. You can check out our full experience on what it's like to fly on Air Canada, if you have never heard of this airline.

transport in vancouver

In Vancouver, the public transport system is great and efficient. However, the best way to see beyond the center is to rent a car to explore the protected areas and parks of British Columbia and Alberta. Thus, the vehicle allows more flexibility of time and a trip at the pace of each person.

Driving north, east or south of Vancouver is sure to come across scenic roads that look like they're straight out of a movie set. To the north, the BC-99 highway, dubbed the “Sea To Sky Highway Route”, takes Squamish and Whistler along the coastline in a surprising journey full of curves and snowy mountain landscapes. that join the ocean.

The road is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. To the southwest, a ferry takes visitors to Vancouver Island, home to cities like Victoria and Tofino. There, orcas often give shows in their natural habitats. To the east, the stunning Rocky Mountains enchant with their mesmerizing lakes and out-of-this-world crystal blue turquoise rivers.

Vancouver car parks

If you're staying downtown, it's good to know that parking is expensive. Downtown public transport is excellent and there are transfers from there to parks such as Capilano or Grouse Mountain. However, if your hotel provides free parking, then it is worth renting a car, even to explore the surroundings of the region!

As accommodations are very expensive in Downtown, I rented a car for 45 days and stayed in Kensington-Cedar. This gave me the freedom to get to know the city's surroundings even more and enjoy the natural beauties.

I always recommend renting a car, as it gives you a lot of freedom to get to know the destination as you want and save time.

Sustainability in Vancouver

Vancouver is proof that a city can grow prosperously and sustainably. The focus on green is not limited to protected parks and the role that nature plays in the city. It is in the economy, the government and the way of life of the population.

Public policies mandate the recycling of waste from all homes and an action plan is underway to make it the greenest city in the world.

In just eight years, British Columbia has doubled the province's protected areas to 13,8% of the territory, one of the highest percentages in North America. All this green movement does not happen by chance: the daily life of those who live in the city is a true symbiosis with nature. There are endless options for trips and tours to enjoy the nature of the westernmost region of the country.

Outdoor activities are among the favorites of the population, rain or shine. Kayaks, sailboats and stand up paddles leave the marinas daily and dot the calm waters of the Pacific that surround the center.

In the mountains, just a few minutes away, in North Vancouver, many adventurers head out for days of trails, adventure races and mountain bike rides.

Seen to or Canada

Capilano Dam, on the way to Grouse Mountain and Capilano in Vancouver – Photo: Virginia Falanghe

Since 2017, the Canadian government has facilitated the entry of Brazilians into the country. If you have a valid visa for the United States, you can quickly complete the process online. Just get the visa through the etc.

If you do not have a visa for the United States, you must apply for a visa through the Canada Visa Application Center website at official website.

How to bring money to Vancouver?

It is possible to purchase prepaid cards (which pay a more expensive conversion fee, most of the time), use your bank's credit card (which charges IOF) or carry cash.

I took money in banknotes, as I didn't want to suffer with the fluctuation of the exchange rate, nor pay higher rates on prepaid. Just remembering, never walk with all your money on the street. Always keep a larger amount hidden somewhere safe in your room.

Vancouver travel insurance

Taking out travel insurance for Vancouver is an excellent way to ensure a smooth trip and avoid worries. Having the assistance of insurance gives you the peace you need to enjoy your destination and know that you have support if you need it. Also enjoy our Insurance Promo discount coupon. - SEE PRICES

Internet chip not Canada

How about spending your entire stay in Canada 100% connected to the internet? With international travel chips this is possible, and for super fair prices, which don't weigh on your pocket.

Check out the offers from America Chip and guarantee internet right now to use freely in Vancouver. Enjoy and check out our America Chip discount coupon. - SEE PRICES

Flights to Vancouver

Do you want to guarantee a ticket to Vancouver at super attractive prices? we use the platform Promo Tickets to find the cheapest flights on the market. Check out the promotions of the day and keep an eye out to save on the purchase of your airline tickets. – SEE PRICES

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Vancouver?

Among some of Vancouver's favorite attractions are seeing orcas, visiting Capilano Bridge, biking through Stanley Park, visiting Van Dussel Botanical Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park, walking on Grouse Mountain, and so on. Know more about what to do in vancouver.

What are the top tours in Vancouver?

Some of the top tours in Vancouver are:
Vancouver Art Museum;
Van Dussel Botanical Park;
Vancouver Aquarium;
Grouse Mountain;
Deep Cove;
Stanley Park… Check out other tour options at Vancouver.

Where to stay in Vancouver?

The best area to stay in Vancouver is Downtown, where the best stores, malls and restaurants are located, just a few blocks from Stanley Park. However, accommodation in Downtown can be a little expensive for those who are going to stay there for a long time. Find out more about where to stay at Vancouver.

What are the best hotels in Vancouver?

Some of the best hotels in Vancouver are the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotelthe Blue Horizon Hotel and the Pinnacle Hotel. Find out more about hotels in Vancouver.

How many days to stay in Vancouver?

A week in the city is enough to see the main attractions, but exchange in canada and staying longer is also a great idea.

How to get to Vancouver?

Vancouver it has only one main airport, Vancouver International Airport. Departing from São Paulo, it takes about 16 hours to fly to the destination, with a stopover in Toronto, Canada, or our United States or Mexico.

When to go to Vancouver?

who wants to meet Vancouver in winter you should prioritize the months from September to April, when the minimum temperature reaches 0º C. The months from May to August are perfect for those who want a milder climate to enjoy outdoor activities.

Best time to go to Vancouver?

The best time to go to Vancouver is between May and August. The dry season allows mild temperatures to make the most of outdoor activities, such as trekking, waterfalls and mountains. See more about when to go to Vancouver.

Where is Vancouver?

Vancouver is located in the province of British Columbia, in the Canada.

How to get around in Vancouver?

The best option is to take the train that leaves from inside the airport and takes you to Downtown. However, it is also possible to hire a taxi or order an uber. In addition, car rental companies also operate within the airport of Vancouver.

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