6 top spots under a 5-hour flight from North America’s West Coast

written by Melissa Ariganello September 25, 2018
Beautiful Tulum coastline, Mexico

You may have heard it about North America before: the West Coast is the best coast.

But why? Well, there’s the stunning scenery and great quality of life, but we love it because you can easily travel to unique destinations without spending a huge chunk of time getting there.

Whether you live in the Pacific Northwest or on California’s sunny coast, or maybe you want to combine your trip around the States with a warmer getaway, you can get to completely different spots in under 5 hours. The best part? Less flight time also means more savings, so you can travel wild and free to your heart’s content.

1. Mexico

Four smiling girls in Tulum, Mexico

Whether you prefer to spend your days partying it up or soaking up local culture at monumental sights, Mexico has it all. For some beachy fun, featuring cheap cervezas and endless sunshine, head to Cancun or Cabo, where the good times don’t end ‘til bedtime. You can spend your days lazing on the beach, sipping on a fruity drinks (or tequila – we don’t judge) or go on a number of adventures including zip lining, whale watching or sailing.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can visit Mexico City for a good dose of culture. You’ll be entrenched in the city’s cosmopolitan art and culture at Palacio Nacional and the Museum of National Anthropology. And the tacos, mmm the tacos.

Flights: Flights from Vancouver to Cabo is a little over 5 hours and Los Angeles to Mexico City is less than 4 hours.
Itinerary: Get around Mexico on our Real Mexico trip, exclusively for 18-29 year old travellers.

2. Hawaii

Girls stands in Hawaiian national park

Photo by Wild & Away on Unsplash

Looking for paradise? Well, you found it – Hawaii is the spot for dream seekers. Visit Waikiki Beach in Honululu for the ultimate escape, or venture out to the many jungles, canyons, rivers and beaches, to see this land’s natural treasures. We love all the little islands that make up beautiful Hawaii, from Oahu to Maui to Kauai.

Experience Polynesian culture at the Cultural Center or get “lei’d” at a Luau right on the beach in Kuaui. You can also take a night swim with manta rays, if that floats your boat.

Flights: Flights from Seattle to Honolulu is roughly 5 hours.
Scoot around Hawaii’s islands on our 10-day Hawaii Discovery trip.

Feeling inspired?


3. Costa Rica

Group of happy travellers in Costa Rica

Does the thought of exploring rich forests and rocky volcanoes give you a little thrill? Book flights to Costa Rica immediately. This destination has plenty of extreme and wild adventures to keep you feeling far from bored. You’ll spend your days getting up close and personal with nature, either by hiking or cycling near Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna or zip-lining through a forest in the clouds at Monteverde.

Flights: Flights from California to Costa Rica take about five hours.
Itinerary: Explore the best bits of Costa Rica on our 32-day Epic Mexico to Costa Rica adventure, exclusively for 18-29 year old travellers.


4. California

Girl stands in Yosemite National Park

Admit it, we’re all California dreaming one way or another. If you’re on the west coast of Canada, you can get to the sunshine state in a few short hours. Whether you want to stay in the City of Stars (famously known as Los Angeles), or the Golden City of San Francisco, the state of California has plenty to offer.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take a drive to breathtaking national parks, like Yosemite and Death Valley. In between, much on deliciously fresh food, chat to friendly locals, and camp beneath some of the most epic skies on earth.

Flights: Flights from Vancouver to Los Angeles or San Francisco is less than 3 hours.
Itinerary: Spend a week in the California wilderness (with a little bit of Vegas thrown in) on this epic adventure, exclusive to 18-29 year old travellers.


5. Guatemala

Old buildings in Guatemala

Ever dreamed of trekking through a rainforest? Fly to Guatemala for a sweet adventure through the lush and historic land. Experience Guatemala’s historic past, visit the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, where you’ll come across iconic pyramid ruins right in the center of the rainforests. One particular structure will steal your breath away, the Tikal Temple, the monumental sight’s dominating structure. Whether you crave some art and history or want to be one with nature, Guatemala has enough to satisfy your curiosity.

Flights: Flights from Los Angeles to Guatemala is about 4 hours.
Itinerary: Check out Guatemala on our Real Central America adventure, for 18-29 year old travellers. Guat are you waiting for?!


6. El Salvador

Hikers trekking in El SalvadorIf you’re into catching some waves and chilling on the beach for most of your days, consider the smallest country in Central America, El Salvador. It may not come first to mind, but it should. This little country has the best surf sports in El Cuco and the coolest black-sand beaches in El Tunco.

As you take some time exploring and venturing away from the beaches, you’ll come across a few volcanoes (the good, sleepy kind), the Route of the Flowers (a 36-kilometre stretch of road covered in flowers) and some incredibly hospitable locals.

Flights: Flights from Los Angeles to El Salvador will be around 5 hours.
Itinerary: Explore El Sal (and a bunch of other awesome Central American spots) on this incredible 46-day adventure, just for 18-29 year old travellers.

Ready for an adventure with a bunch of people your own age? Check out our range of small group adventures for 18-29 year olds now.

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