Category Archives: TRAVEL TIPS

10 Best New Orleans Festivals (2021 Update)

New Orleans is a city with many names, including the Crescent City, NOLA, and the Big Easy. Another nickname that deserves to be on the list is Festival Capital of the World.

With over 130 New Orleans festivals throughout the year, that’s about one every three days!

While New Orleans is most well-known for its raucous Mardi Gras celebration, there are tons of other awesome festivals to experience here. Whether you’re into music, food, literature, art, or booze, there’s a festival for you in the Big Easy.

I absolutely love festivals. In fact, I skipped my senior prom to go to my first music festival. Oh yeah, and I met my wife at one as well! Of all the cities I’ve traveled to for festivals, nobody does it quite like New Orleans. 

With so many excellent New Orleans events to choose from, there’s likely to be something cool going on in the city when you visit — even if it’s just for a weekend.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best New Orleans festivals to help you plan the perfect trip.  

1. Mardi Gras: New Orleans Carnival Celebration

Of course, we have to start with the granddaddy of them all — Mardi Gras! This is definitely the most famous of all the New Orleans festivals, bringing in over 10 million people to the city each year.

The name Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, which is the common name for the final day before the start of Lent.

On this day, many people eat rich and fatty foods before the fasting of Lent begins. Mardi Gras in New Orleans lasts for far longer than one day, though.

Once the 12 days of Christmas are finished, the Mardi Gras celebrations begin.

The first parades kick off on January 6th, which is also known as Three Kings’ Day. That means the party lasts for several weeks, so you have lots of options for including Mardi Gras on your list of things to do in New Orleans. 

Mardi Gras came to the region way back in 1699 when a French Canadian explorer landed about 60 miles downriver from New Orleans and named it “Ponte du Mardi Gras” (Fat Tuesday Point) when he realized it was the day of the holiday.

The parades started in the 1830s, and Mardi Gras has been an integral part of the culture here ever since.

mardi gras festival in new orleans

Mardi Gras season in New Orleans basically means a ton of parades, interesting costumes, colorful beads, and King Cakes.

There’s a lot of eating, drinking, dancing, and just general merriment. Be sure you wear the official colors of Mardi Gras – purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power). 

Make sure you plan ahead and book accommodation well in advance, as this is the most popular time to visit the Big Easy.

If you don’t want to deal with the crowds, consider traveling to New Orleans a few weeks before Mardi Gras. There’s still plenty going on, but it’s far less chaotic and you’ll get a better deal on accommodation.

2. French Quarter Festival

The French Quarter Festival started back in 1984 as a way to draw locals back to the area after the construction of the World’s Fair finished up.

It’s a celebration of New Orleans food, music, and culture that lasts for four days every April. If you’re looking for a good New Orleans music festival, this is a solid choice.

Best of all, the French Quarter Festival is totally free!

It’s actually the largest free music festival in the country, with an estimated 1,700 Louisiana musicians playing across 23 different stages. You’ll hear many different genres of music here, from funk to jazz to zydeco. 

french quarter new orleans music festivals

In addition to all the great local music, you can expect plenty of delicious cuisine being cooked, and typical New Orleans cocktails being mixed. There are over 60 booths set up around the French Quarter serving up classics like po’ boys and Hurricanes.

The event is highlighted by the world’s largest jazz brunch, which takes place in Jackson Square and the Riverfront Park. For more information, be sure to check their website.

3. New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

There’s no doubt that the Big Easy is one of the best cities in the US for eating and drinking. You could plan your entire trip here around what you want to eat and drink, and there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that!

When it comes to New Orleans festivals, the Wine and Food Experience is definitely one of the best. Foodies and winos will love this 5-day celebration of the finer things in life. With over 250 wineries and 100 restaurants taking part, you’ve got plenty of options.

During the festival, wineries and restaurants team up to offer special menus with wine pairings.

There are also grand tastings and seminars throughout the festival where you can learn more about the fantastic food and wine on offer. The highlight of the festival is the Royal Street Stroll, a parade led by the Krewe of Cork.

One of the best parts about supporting this festival is that it’s for a great cause.

The NOWFE donates all of its proceeds minus costs to benefit the arts, careers in wine and hospitality, and charitable organizations. They’ve contributed over $1 million so far, so you’re eating and drinking for a good cause here!

If you want to take part in the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, head on over to their website to learn more.

4. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

In a city known as the birthplace of jazz, it should come as no surprise that there’s a jazz festival in the Big Easy! The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (or Jazz Fest for short) recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and is a major part of the local culture.

This famous New Orleans music festival goes down at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Here you can catch over 100 artists across several stages playing every style of music associated with Louisiana, which is basically everything!

In addition to jazz, you can get down to blues, gospel, rap, country, bluegrass, and so much more. 

best new orleans festivals jazz fest

Jazz Fest wouldn’t be one of the best New Orleans festivals without plenty of local food to enjoy. Jazz Fest has a policy of “no carnival food” meaning you won’t get overpriced corn dogs and cotton candy here. Instead, you can munch on local classics like boiled crawfish or red beans & rice.

There are also plenty of booths around the festival selling local crafts.

While the music at the festival only goes until 7:00 PM, the party doesn’t stop then. One of the best parts about experiencing Jazz Fest is checking out some of the amazing late-night shows that go on across the city.

The hardest part about going to this fun New Orleans music festival is getting any sleep!

Jazz Fest is actually so big now that it takes place over two weekends. If you want to experience one of the best New Orleans festivals, plan to be in the city for the last weekend of April or first of May, or both if you want to go big. For more information on Jazz Fest, check out their website.

5. White Linen Night/Dirty Linen Night

Of all the unique New Orleans festivals, these two definitely stand out. At the very least, they certainly have the most interesting names – White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night. 

While you can zip around the Big Easy in a nice air-conditioned cab these days, this was not the case back in the day.

Since summers are so hot and muggy in New Orleans, people preferred to wear white linen when going out. Merchants in the city’s Warehouse District decided to have a little flashback party and started White Linen Night in 1994.

The idea for this event is simple. You just put on some fresh, white linen and come out to Julia Street to peruse the art galleries. Of course, there’s also live music and plenty of food & drink to keep the party going. White wine is the drink of choice at this fancy soirée! 

New Orleans festivals are all about having a good time. That’s why the party extends to the next weekend with Dirty Linen Night.

You’re encouraged to wear the same outfit that you did the previous weekend now that it’s nice and dirty. This party takes place in the French Quarter on Royal Street. Dirty Martinis are the drink of choice, and some shops even give away Dirty Rice.

Taking place over back-to-back weekends in the summer, these are art-centered block parties that are free to attend. White Linen Night takes place on the first Saturday in August, while Dirty Linen Night happens the following weekend.

6. Essence Festival

Known as the “party with a purpose,” the Essence Festival was originally planned as a one-off event back in 1995.

It has now been running for more than 25 years and is now known as the biggest event celebrating African-American culture in the entire United States.

Essence is basically two festivals rolled into one. During the day, there are panels and workshops in the Ernest Morial Convention Center. These are open to the public and are totally free, but registration is required.

The action moves to the Superdome in the evenings for an impressive lineup of hip-hop, funk, soul, R&B, and gospel music.

You can purchase tickets for concerts individually or go for a weekend pass. This is one New Orleans music festival you won’t want to miss.

In previous years, former First Lady Michelle Obama headlined the festivities in a special keynote conversation. The musical lineup was stacked as well, with Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, NAS, Pharrell Williams, and more.

Check their website for the latest information on this year’s events.

new orleans essence festival

7. Tales of the Cocktail

There are several classic New Orleans cocktails, and there’s even an entire festival dedicated to adult beverages.

Tales of the Cocktail dates back to 2002 when it started out as a walking tour of local bars. The next year, it turned into a small gathering of cocktail aficionados and professionals, and it has grown every year since.

Over the course of five days, the cocktail community descends upon New Orleans for seminars, workshops, competitions, tastings, and much more. There are even field trips out to local distilleries, which can be a lot of fun. 

For this festival, you can just purchase tickets to the events individually.

If you buy tickets up to a value of $150, you can get free access to all the tasting rooms. Here you’ll find great events like “Craft Your Own Perfect Bloody Mary” and “Hecho in Mexico: All Things Agave.” 

Whether you’re a part of the industry or just interested in mixology, this is definitely one of the coolest New Orleans events. You can find all the info you need over on their website.

new orleans cocktail festivals

8. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival

In a city famous for its music and food, one of the best New Orleans festivals to check out is Crescent City Blues & BBQ. Just as the weather starts to cool down a bit, this festival heats things right back up in downtown New Orleans.

This New Orleans music festival started after Hurricane Katrina as a way to bring tourists back to the city and create jobs for locals. It’s been a huge hit ever since and will be having its 14th edition this year.

The festival takes place in Lafayette Square Park in the city’s Central Business District. There are two different stages set up where you can enjoy some amazing blues music and another smaller stage where artists tell stories and host Q&A events.

As far as the food goes, you can expect plenty of mouth-watering Louisiana barbecue here. Take your pick between brisket, lamb chops, and of course a wide variety of sausages. They have vegetarian and vegan options available as well. 

Admission is free, but there are VIP packages available if you’re interested. You can read more about the festival on their website.

new orleans food festivals

9. Voodoo Music & Arts Experience

Voodoo has been an important part of the local culture in New Orleans for centuries. It came here with slaves from West Africa, who soon merged their rituals and beliefs with Catholicism. Not only is there a Voodoo Museum in New Orleans, but there’s even a festival.

Every October on the weekend around Halloween, the Voodoo Music & Arts Experience takes over City Park. With catchphrases like “join the ritual” and “worship the music,” this New Orleans music festival embraces the city’s history with voodoo. 

The first edition of Voodoo happened back in 1999 as a single-day event. It has grown considerably since then and is now a massive 3-day festival with an impressive lineup. Headliners include Guns N’ Roses, Post Malone, and Beck. 

In addition to all the music, there are some pretty mind-blowing art installations here. There’s even an interactive graveyard that makes for some spooky photo ops.

Add in thousands of costumed people and you’ve got a recipe for an awesome Halloween weekend. You can find out more about Voodoo and pick up tickets on their website.

new orleans festivals voodoo

10. LUNA Fete

One of the most unique New Orleans festivals is LUNA Fete, which stands for Light Up NOLA Arts. That’s precisely what this amazing festival of light, art, and technology does to the historic buildings of the Big Easy. 

This festival started in 2014 with a single installation at Gallier Hall featuring a stunning projection of light and video. Created by the Arts Council of New Orleans, the idea is to shine a light on the city and show how art can transform communities.

What you’ll see if you experience LUNA Fete is so much more than images being projected onto a building. It’s a very interactive display of motion graphics and sound using the latest in video mapping technology. It truly is an awe-inspiring sight.

LUNA Fete takes place over a few nights in early December to kick off the holiday season in New Orleans. There are nightly projections along with some other interesting art installations.

There’s also a large marketplace here with plenty of art and food vendors as well as live entertainment. It’s the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit and fun for the whole family. Click here to learn more.

Ready for New Orleans Festivals?

As you can see, the action really doesn’t stop when it comes to New Orleans events. Just a few days after ringing in the New Year with huge parties all over the city, the Mardi Gras parades start and last for several weeks. 

There’s barely enough time to clean up all the beads off of Bourbon Street before the city turns its focus towards its legendary spring festivals.

In addition to the French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest, there are also tons of New Orleans festivals in the spring just for crawfish! 

new orleans festivals fireworks

The tasty food festivals of the Big Easy continue on through the rest of the year.

There are festivals here dedicated to fried chicken, po’ boys, gumbo, beignets, and even one just for tomatoes. You’ll need something to wash all that down with, and New Orleans has you covered with wine, beer, and cocktail festivals. 

With so many festivals going on, New Orleans just might take the (King) Cake for the most fun city in the USA. When one party ends, another is just beginning in the Big Easy. That’s why the city’s motto is “Laissez Le Bons Temps Roulez” – Let the Good Times Roll!

Have you traveled to New Orleans for one of these festivals, or do you have another great recommendation? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Note: Some images in this article are courtesy of

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7 Best New Orleans Cocktails (+Where to Drink Them)

When it comes to the best cities for cocktails, it’s hard to top New Orleans. After all, the motto of the Big Easy is “Laissez les bon temps rouler” — “Let the good times roll.”

Those good times are fueled largely by booze, thanks to the abundance of excellent New Orleans cocktails.

I often complain about my home country’s uptight drinking laws, but thankfully those puritan rules go out the window in the Big Easy.

Here you can drink in public, bars can stay open 24/7, and there are even drive-thru places for frozen daiquiris.

Speaking of partying, I most recently visited the city during our year-long party celebration There are so many New Orleans festivals and events!

Rest assured that I did some quality research in order to present you with some of the best cocktails in New Orleans.

In this article, I’ll run the gamut from the classy to the debaucherous, which can usually be accomplished in half a city block here.

There are so many fun things to do in New Orleans (don’t miss the swamp tours), and if you fancy an adult beverage when you travel, you’re going to love visiting the Big Easy.

Read on for a look at some of the best New Orleans cocktails and recommendations on the best bars to get them.

Wondering where to stay in New Orleans? Don’t miss our epic guide to the best Bourbon Street hotels and information on staying in the French Quarter.

1. Sazerac: The Official Cocktail of New Orleans


  • Herbsaint
  • Bitters
  • Rye Whiskey
  • Sugar Cube
  • Lemon Wedge

Of course, we have to kick off our list of the best New Orleans drinks with the original.

Some actually claim this to be the oldest cocktail in the United States, as it dates all the way back to the 1830s. As with many things in New Orleans, there’s an interesting backstory behind this classic drink.

As the story goes, a Creole man named Antoine Peychaud came up with the recipe. He was the owner of an apothecary and a big fan of a brand of French brandy called Sazerac-de-Forge et fils.

After hours, he would serve up a mixture of the cognac with his own home-made bitters. He served the drinks in an egg cup known as a “coquetier.” Some believe to be the origin of the word “cocktail,” but apparently that’s a tall tale.

While historians may debate whether or not this was actually America’s first cocktail, one thing is for sure — the Sazerac was an immediate hit.

A saloon named Sazerac Coffee House started buying Peychaud’s Bitters and mixed them with the cognac and sugar. The new cocktail was the talk of the town and was immensely popular.

A few decades later, the main ingredient changed from cognac to American rye whiskey.

This was due to an epidemic in Europe that destroyed many of the vineyards in France. Without grapes, people turned to grain alcohol like whiskey. Another change to the recipe came shortly thereafter when bartenders added a dash of absinthe.

Things were going great for the Sazerac until absinthe was banned in 1912 because it was thought to cause hallucinations.

Bartenders replaced the banned booze with anise-flavored liqueurs. The most common was Herbsaint, which was made right in New Orleans. It’s still used to this day, alongside Peychaud’s Bitters and Sazerac Kentucky Rye Whiskey. Add in a sugar cube and a lemon wedge as a garnish and you’ve got an official Sazerac!

sazerac cocktail in new orleans

The Sazerac is so important that a Louisiana state senator even tried to have it declared the state’s official cocktail. While this wasn’t approved, his efforts were not in vain. It’s now the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans.

You can order up a Sazerac all over New Orleans, but the best place to have one is definitely the Sazerac Bar. After all, it’s right there in the name.

This bar is located in the Roosevelt Hotel (click here for directions). Other popular spots to try this classic New Orleans drink include Sylvain Tavern and Arnaud’s French 75.

If you’re interested in experiencing these bars with a fun and knowledgeable local, check out this walking and drinking tour. Four cocktails are included in four different bars, plus an informative guide.  

2. Hurricane: One of The Best New Orleans Cocktails for Rum Lovers


  • Rum
  • Passionfruit Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Simple Syrup
  • Grenadine
  • Garnish

What is the most popular cocktail in New Orleans? These days, one of the quintessential New Orleans cocktails is a Hurricane.

It’s probably the most popular cocktail in the city for visitors, who enjoy slurping one of these potent concoctions as they stumble along Bourbon Street.

The Hurricane drink dates back to the 1940s and the post-prohibition era. Local tavern owner Pat O’Brien invented the drink when he needed to get rid of a bunch of rum. You may be wondering why he had an excess supply of rum. Of course, there’s a story behind that as well!

You see, rum was one of the least popular liquors at the time. O’Brien’s distributors forced cases of rum on him before they would sell him more popular liquors like scotch. He decided to whip up a concoction of rum with passion fruit and lemon juice.

The drinks were served in hurricane lamp-shaped glasses, and thus the Hurricane was born.

The recipe is still basically the same after all these years, and Hurricanes now include a garnish of an orange slice and a cherry or two.

Pat O’Brien’s bar is still a mainstay in the city and is the top place to try the famous Hurricane drink (click here for directions). In addition to their signature Hurricanes, you can also enjoy dueling piano music as you sit by their flaming fountain.

hurricane drink in new orleans

Since you’re in New Orleans, you might as well take advantage of the fact that you can drink in public and order daiquiris from a drive-thru.

Go ahead and grab a Hurricane to-go for a wander up Bourbon Street. You can also try one of the frozen varieties from a drive-thru. When in Rome!

3. Brandy Milk Punch: Best Brunch Drink


  • Brandy
  • Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Nutmeg

Our tour of New Orleans cocktails moves on – or should I say “stumbles on”? – to Brandy Milk Punch. The Big Easy didn’t invent this classic cocktail, but the city definitely perfected it. Once again, there’s a lot of history behind the drink.

The story of Brandy Milk Punch in New Orleans goes back to the late 1940s. At the time, Dinner at Antoine’s was a popular murder mystery. The name came from a local restaurant, which was the setting of the story.

The owners of Antoine’s and several other restaurants and bars would often gather to play poker.

Owen Brennan owned a bar on Bourbon Street at the time, and the other guys made a bet with him that he couldn’t open a restaurant. A friend remarked to him “If there’s dinner at Antoine’s, why can’t there be breakfast at Brennan’s?” 

We have this interaction to thank for the beloved modern-day tradition of brunch. The idea of a late and lavish breakfast complete with cocktails started at Brennan’s in New Orleans.

With a need for eye-opening cocktails, Brennan went with Brandy Milk Punch. As you may have guessed by now, the key ingredients are in fact brandy and milk!

Add powdered sugar (or simple syrup) and a dash of nutmeg on top, and you’ve got one of the best cocktails in New Orleans.

eating at brennan's in new orleans
Tourists outside of Brennan’s

Not surprisingly, Brennan’s remains the top place to try Brandy Milk Punch (click here for directions).

You might as well go ahead and do the whole brunch thing there during your weekend in New Orleans, as many say that if you haven’t had brunch at Brennan’s, you haven’t really been to the city.

For a different spin on this drink, head to Bourbon House to try their frozen Bourbon Milk Punch.

  • RELATED POST: Want to get your “brunch on” in other cities in the US? Here are some of the best places to eat in Chicago, including breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. 

4. Ramos Gin Fizz: A Cocktail for Gin Lovers


  • Gin
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Flower Water
  • Egg Whites
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk

The Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the most well-known New Orleans drinks. Its name comes from Henry C. Ramos, bar owner and inventor of the drink. He came up with the cocktail back in 1888, and it has been a staple of NoLa ever since.

Ramos invented the drink at his bar called the Imperial Cabinet Saloon by mixing gin, heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon & lime juices, an egg white, and orange flower water.

His recipe called for 12 minutes of vigorous shaking, which is quite a lot of work to make a single cocktail!

When he sold the bar and moved to a new place he called The Stag, he actually hired a whole team of shakers to help whip up his signature drink.

He basically set up an assembly line where each person would shake it for a minute and then pass it on. After sufficient shaking, they added a bit of soda water on top to give the drink its fizz. 

He originally called the drink a New Orleans Fizz. Years later, the Roosevelt Hotel bought the rights to the drink from Ramos’ son after Prohibition ended.

To honor the inventor, they named the drink after him. It was also at the Roosevelt Hotel that former Louisiana governor Huey Long fell in love with the drink.

Apparently, Long loved the Ramos Gin Fizz so much that be brought a bartender with him on a trip to New York just so he could teach people there how to make it.

This guaranteed that Long never had to be without his favorite cocktail on his frequent trips to Manhattan. What a legend!

The Roosevelt Hotel remains the best place to try one, so you might as well order one up after you try their Sazerac to make for an epic tour of New Orleans cocktails. Another good spot to try one is the Carousel Bar (click here for directions), where you can try several other famous New Orleans drinks.

where to drink a ramos gin fizz in new orleans at the carousel bar

5. Vieux Carré: For Those Who Want a Strong Drink


  • Cognac
  • Vermouth
  • Whiskey
  • Bitters
  • Garnish

Just as is the case with New Orleans food, there’s an obvious French influence with the city’s cocktails. Just take the classic Vieux Carré, which is French for “Old Square” and a nod to the French Quarter.

Much like the city itself, the Vieux Carré is both potent and smooth at the same time. This signature New Orleans drink dates back to the 1930s and the Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone.

The bar is still there and it’s definitely the best place to try one of the top cocktails in New Orleans. It’s actually centered around a vintage carousel that you spin around as you drink. How cool is that?!

vieux carre cocktail new orleans

It’s a melting pot of a drink, with French cognac, Italian vermouth, American whiskey, and Caribbean bitters. Drinking a Vieux Carré is kind of like drinking the history of New Orleans! It typically comes in an Old Fashioned glass along with a cherry or lemon wedge as a garnish.

6. Pimm’s Cup: Simple and Refreshing Cocktail


  • Pimm’s
  • Lemonade
  • 7-Up
  • Cucumber Garnish

As a city that gets very hot and enjoys day drinking, New Orleans needs a light, refreshing cocktail. Cue the Pimm’s Cup, which came to the Big Easy via London a century after its creation.

We have London barkeep James Pimm to thank for this delightful concoction with a recipe that remains secret to this day. Over the years, he actually came up with six different variations of the drink.

Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is the one that made its way across the pond when the owner of the Napoleon House gave it a New Orleans twist.

He took the popular tonic and added lemonade, 7-Up, and a cucumber garnish. This is definitely one of the most refreshing cocktails in New Orleans!

pimm's cup cocktail in new orleans

The Napoleon House is still the best place to try a Pimm’s Cup in the Big Easy (click here for directions).

Isn’t it awesome that the places where most of these famous New Orleans drinks originated are still going strong? Another great spot to enjoy a Pimm’s is Bar Tonique, where they’re just $5 on Mondays. I’ll drink to that!

7. Hand Grenade: A Dangerously Strong Cocktail


  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Melon Liquor
  • Simple Syrup
  • Water to Dilute the Alcohol
  • Fresh Cantaloupe or Honeydew Juice

(The ingredients are a “secret”, but this is pretty close.)

Our tour of New Orleans cocktails comes to a fitting conclusion with the Hand Grenade. As the name implies, this drink packs a serious punch. If you’re looking to crank it up and get crazy on Bourbon Street, this is your ticket!

Owners of the Tropical Isle bar, Pam Fortner and Earl Bernhardt, invented this dangerously strong cocktail. They describe it as “a wonderful melon flavor drink with lots of liqueurs and other secret ingredients.”

A Hand Grenade comes in a green plastic yard glass with a base that resembles, you guessed it, a hand grenade.

Much like a grenade, you’ll want to exercise extreme caution with one of these in your hands. The creators themselves warn that while #2 will give you a nice buzz, #4 might result in public nudity. They even say you’re on your own after the fifth one!

You can only find Hand Grenades at the various Tropical Isle locations along Bourbon Street (click here for directions to one of the best). You can also get them at the Funky Pirate bar, which is a great place to catch some live blues.

tourists drinking hand grenade cocktail in new orleans
Tourists drinking a hand grenade at Tropical Isle

If you can manage to put down an entire Hand Grenade, you’ve got a nice souvenir cup to bring home to remember your trip. Of course, if you had one too many Hand Grenades, remembering anything might be a bit difficult…

Ready for Some New Orleans Cocktails?

It’s really is fascinating to learn the stories behind some of these classic New Orleans cocktails. Read this post out loud as you sip on a few of these drinks and you’ll have your very own episode of Drunk History.

While many tourists to the Big Easy get stuck drinking overpriced, watered-down cocktails on Bourbon Street, there’s a lot more to discover when it comes to drinking in NOLA.

Get out there and start your day with a Brandy Milk Punch at Brennan’s, then move on to a Gin Fizz during the hottest part of the day. 

partying on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

After a nap and some tasty New Orleans food (probably a po’ boy or a bowl of jambalaya), you’ll be ready to hit the streets again in search of the best cocktails in New Orleans.

Go ahead and grab yourself a Hurricane or a Hand Grenade and join the revelry at least once.

If the crowds and the noise drive you crazy, there are plenty of chilled-out bars you can retreat to. Best of all, many of them never close. And they say New York is the city that never sleeps…

Have you been to New Orleans and have a great recommendation for a specific cocktail or bar? Drop a comment below and let us know about it!

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21 Best Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

Once upon a time, Cusco was the capital city of the Inca Empire. These days, it’s more like the travel capital of South America.

That’s thanks to the city’s proximity to Machu Picchu — one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a major bucket-list item for travellers across the globe. 

While you can just breeze through Cusco on your way to the ancient city of the Incas, this fascinating city is well worth a few days. For starters, you’ll need to acclimate to the high altitude before heading off on that epic trek. 

There are several amazing things to do in Cusco to keep you busy for several days. Before heading to Machu Picchu, you can visit some museums and other Inca ruins in the area to learn more about the ancient civilization. 

Cusco is also full of adventure activities, including mountain biking and whitewater rafting.

After a big day of exploring, you can return to the town to enjoy some mouthwatering Peruvian cuisine and some pretty rowdy nightlife. Sounds good? Read on for more of the top things to do in Cusco. 

1. Explore the Plaza de Armas

Your exploration of Cusco should begin in the Plaza de Armas.

As is the case in so many places in Latin America, this is the historic centre of town. In Cusco, the main square has a beautifully manicured garden, a central fountain, and a statue of the Incan ruler  Pachacuti. 

Speaking of the Incas, this was once the site of  Haukaypata — the Great Inca Square. While the Spanish conquistadors built over the original square long ago, you’ll still find traces of the Incas around every corner in Cusco.

Walk around the Plaza de Armas, and you’ll quickly notice the different layers of history that are present here. 

Around the Plaza de Armas, you’ll find some of the most important cultural and historical landmarks, such as the gorgeous Cusco Cathedral.

The plaza is also surrounded by stone arcades that the Spanish built, which are now mostly full of shops and agents catering to the massive amounts of tourists who visit Cusco. 

There are also plenty of cafes and bars in the area, many of which offer an excellent view of the plaza.

One of the best things to do in Cusco is simply grabbing a window seat in one of these places to enjoy a drink and watch the goings on below. I particularly enjoyed the Cappucino Cusco Cafe, which you can find on the map here. 

2. Take a Free Walking Tour

While it’s fun to explore the Plaza de Armas on your own, it’s much better with a knowledgeable local guide and a group of fellow travellers. That’s precisely what you get to do when you sign up for a free walking tour of Cusco.

Inkan Milky Way runs walking tours of the city every day at 10AM in both English and Spanish (groups are separated, not bilingual). If you miss the morning tour, you can just jump on the 1PM or 3:30 tour.

These free walking tours give you a great introduction to Cusco.

You’ll learn a lot about the city’s long history, from the great achievements of the Incas to their collapse and conquest at the hands of the Spanish. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of chances to ask your guide questions and get some recommendations for what to do after the tour. 

Tours meet in the Plaza Regocijo in front of the Chocolate Museum (check the map here). Just look for the guides wearing their bright yellow vests. Speaking of the guides, they rely on your generous tips for their income and to keep these tours running. 

3. Visit the Beautiful Churches

There are several beautiful churches in Cusco that are well worth a visit. The most notable is the Cusco Cathedral, which took nearly a century to build. It’s a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, and is an absolutely gorgeous building.

things to see in cusco cathedral

As is the case in much of Latin America, the Spanish built a cathedral over an indigenous temple. Before the conquest, this site was home to the palace of  Viracocha, one of the most important deities for the Incas. 

While the church is amazing from the outside, you’ll have to go in to really appreciate it.

Inside, you can admire the elaborate altars covered in gold leaf. The cathedral also holds a vast array of archaeological relics and colonial art.

The most famous piece is a replica of DaVinci’s “The Last Supper.” Look closely and you’ll see that a local specialty – guinea pig – appears on one of the plates. 

You can visit the Cusco Cathedral if you purchase the Religious Circuit ticket. These cost 30 soles ($10) and also allow you to visit the Church of San Blas, the Church of San Cristobal, and the Museum of Religious Art.

Alternatively, you can just buy a ticket for 25 soles ($8) to visit the cathedral on its own. As you can see, it’s a good deal to just get the combo ticket.

4. Begin Your Machu Picchu Trip

Cusco is a great city on its own, but the main reason most people come here is its proximity to Machu Picchu.

If you’re hoping to visit the ancient city of the Incas – and I’m sure you are – then you’ll end up passing through town before and after your trip there.

One of the best things to do in Cusco is setting out on your Machu Picchu adventure.

Every single travel agent and tour operator in Cusco can help you plan the trip of a lifetime to Machu Picchu. You have several different options for visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World, depending on your interests and budgets. 

Machu Picchu trip

After much deliberation, we decided to do the Machu Picchu jungle trek.

This adventure-filled trip includes downhill mountain biking, rafting (weather pending), ziplining, and even a bit of hiking on the Inca Trail. You can sign up for a 4D/3N trip for less than $300 per person. Considering all the activities that are covered in this trip, it’s an excellent deal.

If you’d prefer to do the classic Machu Picchu trek (4 nights, 5 days), you’ll want to book that well in advance. Learn more in this detailed post about trekking Machu Picchu. 

Only a certain number of people are allowed in every day, and that number is even less for being able to hike up one of the two mountains inside. Book early to avoid disappointment!

5. Hike to Cristo Blanco

Once you’ve gotten your Machu Picchu trip in order, it’s time to get back to exploring this awesome Peruvian city. One of the top things to do in Cusco is definitely hiking up to the Cristo Blanco statue. 

This large statue of Jesus sits atop Pukamuqu mountain at a height of 3,600 metres. Just look up from the Plaza de Armas, and you’re sure to see the bright white statue off in the distance. 

While you can get up to Cristo Blanco via tour bus or taxi, the best way to appreciate these panoramic views is by earning them the hard way! It’s about a 30-40 minute hike up from the centre of town. Just be sure to bring some sunscreen and plenty of water with you.

A visit to the Cristo Blanco statue can easily be combined with a trip to the next item on our list.

6. Check Out Inca Ruins

Before you head to Machu Picchu, it’s worth it to check out some of the other Inca ruins that surround Cusco. The closest option from town is Sacsayhuaman, which is located atop the hill near the Cristo Blanco statue.

what to do in cusco visit Sacsayhuaman

There are a few theories as to what function Sacsayhuaman had. Because of its location high on a hill and its well-fortified walls, it is believed to have been a fortress. The large plaza here also points to it once serving as a ceremonial centre. 

Whatever function it served, the ruins at Sacsayhuaman are quite impressive. It’s estimated that upwards of 20,000 men worked to extract the stones and then haul them up the hill. They also cut the boulders so meticulously that they were able to fit them together without mortar. 

Many locals jokingly refer to this Inca citadel as “sexy woman,” as it’s not that far off from the native pronunciation of the name. It sure is a good trick to help you remember the name! 

One problem with visiting  Sacsayhuaman is that you can’t just buy a ticket to visit this one site. You need to either buy the full tourist ticket for 130 soles ($47) that gives you entrance to 16 different sites, or the partial ticket (circuit one) for 70 soles ($25) that allows you to visit three other ruins.

If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Read more about the various options here.

The ruins are open every day from 7AM-6PM. You can find the ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Cristo Blanco both on the map here.

7. Sample the Local Cuisine

Without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Cusco is sampling the local cuisine. Of course, you can find Peruvian classics like ceviche and lomo saltado, but you’ll also want to try some dishes that are specialties of Cusco.

Peruvian cuisine

To start your day off, join the queue of locals at the market to order up a piping hot bowl of caldo de gallina, a delicious chicken soup. Another local favourite is chicharrón – fried pork that’s usually served alongside potatoes and corn. 

While walking around Cusco, you’re sure to spot plenty of alpacas. Not only are these animals kept for their wool, but they’re also on the menu. In restaurants around Cusco, you can try alpaca steak and even alpaca burgers. 

You may think of guinea pigs as cute pets, but here they’re a delicacy. Called cuy in Spanish, they have been an important food source in the region for centuries. It’s grilled up and served whole, with the head, teeth, legs, and all. 

8. Study Spanish

As a major tourist hub, Cusco is very used to gringos with terrible Spanish. While you can definitely get by with English and body language here, you’ll have a much better trip if you pick up a bit of español. 

There are many Spanish schools in Cusco that can help you get beyond simply “hola” and “gracias.” No matter your level, you can find a Spanish course that’s right for you in Cusco. 

Most schools offer private lessons, group lessons, and immersion programs where you live with a local family in a homestay. With so many awesome things to do in Cusco, this is a great place to hunker down for a while and improve your Spanish. 

I didn’t actually take Spanish class while we were in Cusco, but the folks at Peru Hop have put together this helpful guide to the various Spanish schools in town. 

9. Museum Hopping

If you enjoy visiting museums when you travel, then you’re in for a real treat in Cusco. The city is home to tons of excellent museums covering art, history, archaeology, and much more. There’s even a museum dedicated to the coca leaf here!

Which museums you choose to visit in Cusco depends on your interests and whether or not you want to buy the tourist ticket. That’s because some of the museums can only be visited with the ticket.

It’s kind of annoying, but that’s just the way it is in Cusco. Here are some you can visit without the complications of the tourist ticket:

The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art is the only one of its kind in Peru. Here you’ll find hundreds of artifacts that were sent to Cusco from the renowned Larco Museum in Lima. Entrance is 20 soles ($7) for foreigners and they’re open every day from 8AM to 10PM.  Get directions by checking the map here. 

If you want to learn more about the Incas, you’ll definitely want to check out the Museo Inka. It’s located in a grand colonial mansion and has gold, pottery, jewelry, and even mummies.

It’s open from 8AM-6PM from Monday to Friday and 9-4 on Saturday. Entrance for foreigners is 10 soles ($3).

10. Go Mountain Biking

For the adrenaline junkies out there, one of the top things to do in Cusco is heading out of the city on a mountain biking tour. With so many hills and such an abundance of beautiful scenery in the Sacred Valley, the options for mountain biking are practically limitless here.

Many tour operators in town run half or full-day tours that include a bit of mountain biking mixed in with visits to some of the surrounding Inca sites. Most of the half-day tours are pretty relaxed, while some of the full-day outings feature a bit of uphill biking. 

In addition, you can also sign up for multi-day mountain biking adventures that take you all the way to Machu Picchu. For advanced riders, there are some pretty amazing single track trails as well. 

Since Cusco is located at such a high altitude, it’s recommended that you take at least 2-3 days to acclimate before doing strenuous activities such as mountain biking.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you have good travel insurance before speeding down a mountain in rural Peru!

11. San Pedro Market

The best place in Cusco to eat and shop like a local is the San Pedro Market. Experiencing the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of San Pedro is definitely one of the best things to do in Cusco.

things to do in cusco visit the market

This bustling market is home to a wide array of vendors selling everything from fresh produce, to Peruvian comfort food, to herbal remedies, to souvenirs, and so much more. Be sure to come hungry and take your time here!

For just a few bucks, you can enjoy a fresh-squeezed juice and a cheap, tasty local lunch. If you’re looking to bring some souvenirs home from Cusco as well, this is a great place to get your shopping done. 

The San Pedro Market is open every day. From Monday to Friday, the hours are 6AM-8PM. On Saturdays, it closes at 7 and on Sundays it shuts down around 6. You can get directions to the market here. 

12. See the 12-Angled Stone

Coming in at #12 on our list of things to do in Cusco is the 12-Angled Stone. While looking at a rock may seem like a boring thing to have on this list, it’s an important part of the city’s history. 

This legendary stone was once part of an Inca palace and is said to hold up the entire structure. It’s actually categorized as a national heritage object in Peru. 

The 12-angled stone shows just how advanced the Incas were when it came to construction and stonework. Go see this important historical relic and see for yourself! It’s located right here near the Museum of Religious Art. 

13. Day Trip to the Salt Ponds

Even though there’s enough to see and do in Cusco to spend your entire trip in town, there are so many amazing places that are just a day trip away. One solid choice for a day trip is a visit to the incredible salt ponds of Maras. 

day trip maras salt flats cusco

Salt has been harvested from these beautiful, terraced ponds for thousands of years. There’s an intricate network of channels that feed the ponds with salty water. Once full, the water is cut off and the ponds are allowed to dry out. After they dry out, the salt can be harvested.

There are upwards of 5,000 salt ponds here, each one harvested by a local family. The bigger the family, the bigger the pond! To visit, you’ll need to pay a fee of 10 soles ($3) that goes to the local community. 

The best way to get to the salt ponds is by signing up for a full-day tour of the Sacred Valley. These tours usually make several stops, including Moray – an Inca agricultural laboratory. You can see the location of the salt ponds on the map here.

14. Shop in San Blas

If you need a break from the busy centre of Cusco, take a short walk uphill to the area known as San Blas. This is a laid-back area full of great cafes and artisan shops, set around a scenic plaza.

view of cusco from san blas

If you’ve purchased the religious tourist ticket, you can check out the San Blas Church while you’re here. Climb to the top of the clocktower to enjoy some pretty awesome views. 

One famous shop that’s worth visiting is Arte Mendivil. It features the work of Hilario Mendivil, a local artist famous for his religious sculptures depicting people with very long necks.

Any day of the week is good for perusing the many artisan shops here, but Saturday is when you’ll find a market going on right in the plaza. 

You can find the Plaza San Blas on the map here. It’s a short, but uphill, walk from the main square to get here. It’s also a great part of the city to stay in.

15. Learn How to Make Chocolate

One of the tastiest things to do in Cusco is learning how to make chocolate. That’s precisely what you can do at the very popular Choco Museum here. 

In their 2-hour workshop, you’ll learn how to go from bean to bar as you make chocolate right from the cacao bean. The workshops go on every day at  8:30, 11:00, 1:30, 4 and 6:30. It costs $20 for children and $25 for adults to join a workshop.

Even if you don’t sign up for a workshop, it’s worth visiting the Choco Museum just to try some free samples and pick up a few bars of your favourite variety. We grabbed several before our Machu Picchu trek and were very happy we did! 

The Choco Museum is open every day from 9AM-7PM and can be found on the map here.

16. Go Whitewater Rafting

If you need a bit of adventure on your trip to Cusco, you might want to sign up for a whitewater rafting excursion. Cusco is ideally situated near the Urubamba River, making it a great place for rafting.

Rafting conditions vary depending on the time of year and the rainfall. Generally speaking, you’ll find class II and III rapids most of the year. However, during the rainy season (December-March), these can reach class IV and even higher. 

As I mentioned earlier, whitewater rafting is usually included in the Machu Picchu jungle trek.

Just be aware that it is often cut from itineraries during the rainy season. We did our trek in March and the water levels were deemed unsafe at that time, so we ended up having to skip out on the rafting. 

17. Drink Chicha and Play Sapo

If you like shooting a game of pool and drinking a beer at your local watering hole back home, you’ll want to try the Cusco equivalent — playing a game of sapo while drinking some chicha

First of all, let me explain the game.

There’s a table with several holes on it and a bronze sapo (toad) attached. You stand a few metres away and chuck little coins at the table, getting points for making a shot in the holes depending on the difficulty.

Apparently, you get 5,000 points if you can get the coin in the sapo’s mouth! 

Next up, the drink. Chicha is a fermented corn beverage that has been consumed since the time of the Incas. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but it’s not too strong or overbearing. 

When you play sapo, you keep taking turns throwing your coins until they’re all gone. The scores are added up at the end, and the loser buys chicha for all.

The fun and games continue until everyone is nice and buzzed. Make sure you give a game of sapo and a few glasses of chicha a try when you visit Cusco!

18. Experience a Local Festival

One of the top things to do in Cusco is experiencing a local festival. There are several different festivals in Cusco throughout the year, so chances are high there will be one going on during your visit!

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a very important time in Cusco and Latin America at large.

There’s a very special procession in Cusco on the Monday before Easter dedicated to the Lord of the Earthquakes – an image of Jesus on the cross that is believed to have saved the city from complete destruction after a horrible earthquake. 

In June, you can take part in the festivities around  Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun). This ancient Inca festival is celebrated on the winter solstice here and honours Inti – the sun god and most revered deity for the Incas. 

For a more detailed look at the festivals in Cusco, be sure to check out this guide.

Football is so huge in Latin America that it’s basically a religion. If you have the chance, you should definitely catch a football game while in Cusco. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it’s a fun thing to experience.

Cusco is home to  Club Sportivo Cienciano, which was founded back in 1901 by students at the city’s National School of Science. The team received worldwide recognition after its stunning defeat of River Plate from Argentina in the 2003 finals of the Copa Sudamericana.

Cienciano plays their home games at  Estadio Garcilaso, which has a capacity of 42,000.

Some of their biggest rivals are actually other Cusco squads – Deportivo Garcilaso and  Real Garcilaso. All three teams share the same stadium, so there’s a good chance there will be a home game during your stay!

If you find yourself visiting Colombia, don’t miss a football match there as well — so much fun.

20. Get a Massage

All that walking on cobblestone streets and hiking around ancient ruins is sure to leave you a bit sore and exhausted. Cue the many massage parlours in Cusco, who are eagerly awaiting your business!

Just take a walk around the Plaza de Armas, and you’re sure to be offered a massage several times.

While these makeshift spas aren’t going to win any awards, they’re pretty good and are quite cheap. You can get an hour-long massage for as little as 20 soles ($7), so porque no?

Especially after you return from a long trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it’s hard to beat a nice full-body massage! One place that comes recommended is Cusco Therapeutic Massage. 

21. Enjoy the Nightlife

While most of the awesome things to do in Cusco take place during daytime hours, the nightlife here is nothing to scoff at. With so many backpackers constantly passing through town, it should come as no surprise that Cusco likes to party.

Walk around the Plaza de Armas at night, and you’ll find people passing out fliers for different bars and clubs.

There’s a new hot spot every night, and they often include free drinks to get you in the door. Many places stay open as late as 3AM here if you don’t have an early morning planned.

things to do in Cusco, Peru

Since we had to get up early every day we were in Cusco, we didn’t sample that much of the nightlife.

A few places I can personally recommend based on our low-key nights out include Nuevo Mundo (excellent craft beer selection) and Paddy’s Irish Pub. For you party animals out there who want to tear up the dance floor all night, you might want to check out the nearby El Muki. 

Now You Know What to Do in Cusco

As you can see, Cusco has a lot to offer travellers. This list could easily be way longer if I included all the museums, ruins, adventure tours, and incredible restaurants that are on tap here. 

If you’re planning that bucket-list trip to Machu Picchu, I highly recommend booking your visit there for several days to explore Cusco. It was one of my favourite destinations in South America, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too! 

Don’t miss our guide to the best things to do in Lima, our highlights article from Ecuador and Peru, and our guide to trekking Machu Picchu.

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Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Tbilisi, Georgia

In the past 18 months, Tbilisi has become one of the hottest digital nomad destinations in Europe. But what is it really like living in Tbilisi? Find out in this comprehensive guide.

The Republic of Georgia is a small country in the Transcaucasus region at the junction of Europe and Asia. Sandwiched between Russia to the north, Turkey to the west, and Armenia and Azerbaijan to the south, it has both high mountain ranges and a long stretch of Black Sea coastline.

Georgia is lauded for its pristine hiking and ancient wine-making traditions. The country’s capital, Tbilisi, is a diverse and vibrant city that wins hearts with its eclectic architecture and its incredible Georgian food and restaurant scene.

Tbilisi is a very picturesque city

Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and undergoing a number of reforms brought about by the Rose Revolution of 2003, Georgia’s tourism star has been rising at a seemingly unstoppable pace.

Though less established as a digital nomad destination compared to other cities in Europe, Tbilisi’s popularity is building. In 2020, the introduction of the ‘Remotely From Georgia’ permit only added to its appeal.

The mild climate, generous visa policy and affordable cost of living are all good reasons to move to Tbilisi. But it’s the incredibly rich culture, fascinating history, and legendary hospitality that convinced me to relocate to Georgia at the beginning of 2020.

Learn more about living in Tbilisi, Georgia as a digital nomad in this detailed guide.

Living in Tbilisi

Tbilisi is a relatively small city of just over one million people. It runs along a valley, with high hills on two sides and the emerald-tinted Kura river coursing through the center.

The heart of Tbilisi is the charming Old Town, which encompasses the hilltop Narikala Fortress (a 4th-century stone castle); Betlemi Quarter; the Old Meidan (a former hub for Silk Road traders); Abanotubani (the sulfur bath district); Avlabari; Chugureti (formerly a German settlement); and more.

living in tbilisi georgia Chugureti area

Satellite suburbs made up of large Soviet-style apartment blocks stretch out to the north.

One of the best things about Tbilisi is the way the traditional and the contemporary coexist side by side. One moment you can be in the yard of an Orthodox church listening to polyphonic-style chanting, the next sipping a latte in a specialty coffee shop.

Tbilisi’s location at the crossroads of east and west means it’s always been very multicultural.

There are features of the urban landscape and certain customs that might feel familiar – but at the same time, the particularities of Georgian culture, language and religion mean that Tbilisi really has no parallel.

If you’ve been living abroad for a long time, you’ll probably find that Tbilisi is a breath of fresh air.

Tbilisi for Digital Nomads

Tbilisi is an emerging digital nomad destination. Right now, it strikes an almost perfect balance between convenience and adventure.

It still has an off-the-beaten-track feel, especially to Western travelers, yet the infrastructure has come along in leaps and bounds, making it a very easy place to live.

The expat community is primarily made up of remote workers (rather than NGO staff or English teachers). It’s not as tight-knit as in some other places, but that is slowly changing as more coworking spaces and services dedicated to expats open up.

English is widely spoken, especially among younger generations, which makes it easy to meet locals. You’ll find your social network will instantly expand if you learn a bit of Georgian.

What is the Visa Situation?

Georgia has an extremely generous visa-free policy that allows more than 95 nationalities to enter the country without a visa and stay for up to one year. Under this scheme, you can work or study without having to obtain any special permit.

Tourists can open a local bank account, register a business, buy a car or even invest in property with relative ease. And because it’s a visa exemption, there is nothing to prevent you from reactivating your visa-free period by doing an old-fashioned border run.

One thing to keep in mind is that you automatically become a tax resident after 183 days in Georgia.

Many digital nomads who run their own business or freelance choose to register as an Individual Entrepreneur and take advantage of the 1% tax rate.

Georgia is striving to become a member of the EU so these regulations may change in the future. But for now, Tbilisi remains one of the most accessible cities for remote workers in the region.

tbilisi city georgia

Remotely From Georgia

In 2020, the Remotely From Georgia program was introduced as a way for digital nomads to bypass travel restrictions and enter the country.

To apply, you need to meet a monthly income threshold, hold a health insurance policy, and agree to undergo a short hotel quarantine.

Georgia has since re-opened its borders to most nationalities, but the permit is still a workaround for anyone who doesn’t meet Georgia’s tourist entry requirements (including Australians like me).

I applied for Remotely From Georgia to re-enter the country in June – it was a very straightforward process.

Weather in Tbilisi

Along with the visa policy, another thing that makes Tbilisi so appealing is the climate.

Winters are mild, with daytime temperatures hovering around 50ºF between December and February. Snow is rare but there might be a day or two of snowfall in March or April.

Summer can be oppressively hot, up to 104°F in July and August. The air quality is quite poor in Tbilisi during summer as well. Most locals leave the city and head to the countryside or the mountains to escape the heat.

Spring and fall are by far the most pleasant times of year in Tbilisi.

September and October are particularly nice, with temperatures of 68-80°F and scarce rainfall. Lots of festivals and outdoor events take place during this period, including Tbilisoba.

Activities & Things to Do

There is no shortage of activities to keep you occupied during your downtime, from soaking in the sulfur baths to brushing up on your Georgian history at one of the many museums and galleries, to cafe hopping in trendy Vera district.

If you enjoy photography and people-watching, one of the best things to do in Tbilisi is simply wander around the Old Town.

Beyond the city, Kakheti wine country, the Greater Caucasus mountains and several medieval cave monasteries are only a day trip away.

vineyards in tbiisi
Wine country is at your doorstep when living in Tbilisi

If you enjoy hiking and you want to meet other expats, Weekend Travelers Georgia is a Facebook community that organises regular excursions from the city.

Tbilisi’s location makes it the perfect base for international travel as well.

All of Georgia’s land borders are open, meaning you can easily travel to Armenia or Azerbaijan by train or to Turkey or Russia by road.

A number of budget carriers service Tbilisi Airport, making it easy to reach the UAE, Germany, Greece, Eastern Europe or Central Asia.

Is Tbilisi Safe?

Overall, Tbilisi is an extremely safe city with a very low crime rate. Burglaries and pickpocketing are rare, and foreigners are hardly ever a target for violent crime.

Having said that, you should exercise the same caution and common sense you would in any other big city. Be mindful of your belongings, especially when using the metro or bus. Avoid hiking alone or walking in unlit areas late at night.

Here are a few common concerns and tips for staying safe in Tbilisi.

Using Taxis

Because city taxis are unmetered, there is always the potential for a driver to overcharge you (especially when you don’t speak the language). You can avoid this by using an app. Bolt is the most popular.

Road Safety

I’ve lived in Vietnam and Cambodia and I still find the roads in Georgia much worse!

Aggressive drivers and a total lack of road rules combine to create chaos. Road safety should be your biggest concern and is something to keep in mind both in the city and when traveling around.

Take extra care as a pedestrian, and if you plan to rent a car, steer clear of the cities. When moving around Georgia, avoid doing very long journeys by marshrutka and never travel at night. is a terrific service for booking private transfers with professional drivers.

Protests & Demonstrations

Georgians are extremely passionate about social justice and political reform – thus protests are not uncommon. In Tbilisi, organized demonstrations usually take place outside Parliament on Rustaveli Avenue.

Protests are peaceful for the most part, but things can turn violent. It’s best to avoid these areas when demonstrations are planned – times are always announced a day or two in advance.

Best Areas to Live in Tbilisi

Since moving to Tbilisi in 2020, I’ve been jumping between apartments and have lived in just about every district.

Most digital nomads choose to live outside the Old Town center, which although atmospheric is quite touristic.

The buildings in this area (charming as they are) are often not in the best condition either and lack natural light and ventilation. If you want to live in the hubbub, Sololaki – the area west of Freedom Square – is a great choice.

cost of living in tbilisi sololaki neighbourhood
The Sololaki neighbourhood

Vera is a popular neighborhood that’s still quite central but with a more residential vibe. There are tons of cafes, boutiques, bakeries and wine bars in this area.

The streets run up the hillside so you can often find an apartment with a view. Vake, the area just beyond Vera, has lots of green space and is a popular choice among families.

Chugureti on the eastern bank of the river is my favourite neighborhood in Tbilisi. As well as being home to the famous Fabrika creative space, it’s known for its ‘Italian courtyards’ (common areas shared between neighbors) and restaurants.

Saburtalo is an alternative option north of the center. Popular among students (a lot of university campuses are located here), it’s a bit further out but easy to get to using the metro.

One downside is that peak-hour traffic is an issue. There are lots of Soviet-era apartment blocks in Saburtalo and no shortage of large, breezy apartments to rent.

living in tbilisi georgia saburtalo apartment
Apartment in Saburtalo

Prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, but you can expect to pay around $350-500 USD/month for an apartment in the center of Tbilisi. If you’re willing to live a bit further out, you can find a place for significantly less.

How to Find Apartments in Tbilisi

Flat sharing is quite rare in Tbilisi so most people choose to rent their own place. Apartments typically have one or two bedrooms and always come fully furnished.

Gas heating and AC are ubiquitous, but it can be more challenging to find a place with an oven. Older buildings often don’t have a working elevator – so that’s another thing to look out for.

There are a number of websites for apartment hunting. But for ease and to avoid any potential communication barriers, it’s much better to hire an agent or search in an English-language Facebook Group such as this one.

Most owners ask for a minimum of six months. If you don’t want to commit to a contract, Airbnb is a good alternative. Most hosts offer monthly discounts and are often willing to negotiate on longer stays.

WiFi Speed in Tbilisi

Access to fast, reliable WiFi is not an issue in Tbilisi.

At home, you’ll likely have a fiber internet connection. Speeds average 20-100 Mbps up/down depending on the provider. Speeds of 20 Mbps up/down are about the average for most cafes and coworking spaces as well.

Expect to pay around 50 GEL ($16.20 USD) per month for a 50mbit internet connection at home with Silknet or similar.

Power outages do happen on occasion (especially in older buildings) so if you work online, you’ll need a backup plan. Mobile data is very affordable so most people just tether from their mobile phone.

Magti is the most reliable mobile provider and offers an unlimited 4G plan for just 5 GEL ($1.60 USD) a week.

Co-working Spaces in Tbilisi

Nearly every cafe (and some bars!) in Tbilisi are laptop-friendly with free WiFi. Many digital nomads prefer to hotdesk at cafes such as Coffee LAB, Fabrika, Prospero’s and Mziuri.

coworking space living in tbilisi in prosperos
Coworking space at a cafe in Tbilisi

If you prefer an organised coworking space, here are three of the most popular.


Terminal has five branches in Tbilisi, with Terminal on Khorava in Vera being the most popular. The main area is spacious and well-ventilated, with plenty of desks and a small kitchen.

Terminal is open 24/7 and offers several levels of membership, including a weekend pass for 40 GEL and a monthly pass for 400 GEL.

LOKAL Tbilisi

Both a co-working and a co-living space, LOKAL is a great option for anyone who likes to mix socializing and networking with work.

Indoor and outdoor spaces are available, and there is a weekly event program of meet-ups, board game nights, trivia and the like that runs throughout the year.

A hotdesk costs $7/day.

Space Z

Located in Saburtalo, Space Z has a large sunlit common area where you can either rent a fixed desk or find a spot you like. Swinging chairs, hammocks and a small library give it a more laid-back feel.

Monthly membership starts from 120 GEL.

What is the Cost of Living in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi is an extremely affordable city by digital nomad standards. A single person can realistically get by on $500-600 USD/month, while the average cost of living for a couple is around $900-1200 USD/month.

Rent ranges from $350-500 USD/month on average for an apartment. Utilities are extremely cheap, usually costing under $50 USD/month for two people (a tad more in winter if you’re running gas heaters).

Eating out is also very affordable, especially if you stick to local restaurants.

food in tbilisi georgia
Dining out in Tbilisi won’t blow your budget

A generous meal for two with wine might cost 50-60 GEL ($16-20 USD), while prices at international restaurants are around 10-20% more. Note that VAT (18%) and a 10% service charge might be added to the bill.

Fresh produce is easy to come by and grocery stores such as Carrefour and Europroduct carry everything a home cook could possibly need. Budget $40-70 USD/week for groceries for two people.

A gym membership costs between 100-150 GEL ($32-50 USD), movie tickets 10 GEL ($3.20 USD), and a night at the opera will set you back 25-35 GEL ($8-12 USD).

It’s easy to get around Tbilisi using the bus network and metro system. Fares cost a flat 50 tetri (around $0.15 US cents), while you can go anywhere in the city with a taxi booked through Bolt for between 4-12 GEL ($1.30-4 USD).

Keep in mind the reason the cost of living is so inexpensive is because local wages are so low (almost 20% of people in Georgia live below the absolute poverty line).

Support local businesses, tip staff when you receive good service, and if you can, consider donating time or money to an organisation such as Total Courage.

Pros and Cons of Living in Tbilisi as an Expat

Tbilisi has its pluses and minuses just like any other city.

Best Things About Living in Tbilisi as a Digital Nomad

  • The ease of entering Georgia and working legally without the need for a visa or permit is a huge plus.
  • Healthcare and dental care is affordable and of a high standard (if you know where to go).
  • Georgian food and wine is incredible. And with so many seasonal dishes and regional variety, it’s not a cuisine that you tire of easily.
  • Tbilisi is Georgia’s cultural capital, with easy access to performing arts, museums and nightlife (bars, clubs and live music).
  • Georgia’s diversity of landscapes means endless travel opportunities right on your doorstep. Hiking, skiing, urbexing, vineyards, camping, offroading and paragliding are all available.

Downsides of Living in Tbilisi as a Digital Nomad

  • You have to forgo some conveniences. It’s difficult to find some specialty products, and simple things like shopping online through Amazon are more complicated (and with import taxes, more expensive).
  • Air quality and noise pollution from traffic are becoming a real issue. You can manage this to some extent by being selective about which area of the city you choose to live in.
  • The standard of customer service in Tbilisi is quite poor. Though not a deal-breaker, this can get you down when it’s something you experience every day. Try to be patient and don’t take it personally.


I hope this guide has provided some insights into life in Tbilisi as a digital nomad. 

One final piece of advice: Don’t move to Tbilisi for the low cost of living or the tax breaks – move here because you love it. Tbilisi is a very easy city to live in, but it does present some particular challenges, so you need to be flexible and open-minded.


Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

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12 Best Online English Teaching Companies (2021)


The internet is a wonderful thing. It has opened the door for people to earn a full-time income or side income from anywhere in the world. Teach English online, learn how to start a travel blog, become famous on social media, or be a brand ambassador for large companies. It’s all possible.

If you’re looking to teach English online, you’ve come to the right place.

Update August, 2021: Teaching English online looks a little bit different these days. China has changed its rules regarding foreign English teachers. This means that unfortunately, many of the online platforms listed in this article aren’t hiring at the moment. We will update this post as we hear more.  

Having said that, DON’T WORRY! There are still many companies that aren’t China-based that you can apply to, such as: Preply, Cambly, iTalki, Outschool, Teachable, and Profy. 

In this post, I’m going to list the best online teaching English jobs, how you can find a job with them, and how much money you can expect to earn from teaching English online. Ready to get straight into it? Click here to jump to the 12 best online English teaching websites.

If you’ve been on this blog before, you’ll know that we volunteered to teach English in Myanmar and Laos, and we moved to China for a year while teaching English as a profession. All of those experiences were incredible. 

These days, we’re all about helping travellers find ways to earn money online so that they can turn travel into a lifestyle — without actually having to move abroad as we did.

Teaching English is a rewarding and enriching experience – both in-person and online

We’ve been travelling since 2008 and thanks to the internet, we’ve been able to earn more money online than we ever did in our well-paying jobs in Canada.

We want to help you do the same thing.

I’m happy to share these top 12 companies to teach English online so that you too can make money from anywhere in the world.

Can I Teach English Online?

You can teach English Online if you meet these requirements — almost all of the companies will require the following:

  • Native English speaker, or near-native English speaker
  • Solid internet connection, microphone, webcam, and quiet space for lessons
  • You have a Bachelor’s degree or you are currently enrolled (in some cases this isn’t obligatory)
  • A TEFL Certificate (in some cases this isn’t obligatory) — click here for a list of the top 7 companies.
  • You’re from Canada, the UK, or the United States (in some cases all first language English countries)
  • You are enthusiastic, passionate, and positive

These are the basic requirements to teach English online, and I will list a few more specific requirements for each company below.

It makes sense that you must be able to speak English at a native level and that you have a solid internet connection (if you don’t, why would students sign up with you?), but I really don’t think having a university degree in any subject should be a requirement to teach English online, or in-country.

But hey, those are the rules.

Nicola Teaching English online
Teaching English online is a great job

Do I Need a TEFL Certificate to Teach English Online?

Yes, you do need a TEFL certificate to teach English online with the higher-paying companies. We suggest MyTEFL as they are one of the cheapest, legitimate certificates. Use promo code GOATS35 to receive 35% off. Click here for details.

However, there are some great companies to consider if you don’t have your TEFL: PrePly, Cambly, and Skimatalk don’t require a TEFL certificate. EF Education First only requires a 40 hour TEFL which you can easily (and affordably) obtain here.

In most cases, no previous experience is required, but it helps if you have worked with younger children in the past and have taken a TEFL course — which will give you a proper understanding of lesson plans and how to run a class.

Plus, if you have a TEFL certificate, are a native English speaker, have a good internet connection, and are enthusiastic, your odds of getting accepted for the job will be much higher.

Some of the companies below don’t require a university degree or a TEFL certificate.

There are 7 TEFL companies that we recommend. With a certificate from one of these companies, you’ll be able to teach English online in no time. Click here to learn about the top, most reputable companies. 

Not only is teaching English online a great job for digital nomads and remote workers, but it’s also an excellent gig for stay-at-home parents and retirees who want to keep busy now that their careers are finished.

Update 2021: See our latest posts about the things you’ll need to know before teaching English online, our list of 15 pros and cons of becoming an online English teacher, and the essential equipment you’ll need in order to teach online.

How Much Does It Pay to Teach English Online? 

In general, teaching English online pays between $10 – $26 / hour. Magic Ears pays the most at up to $26/hour.

While you might not become a millionaire when you teach English online, you will earn enough for a life of travel, or it could be a nice addition to your current income.

This is especially true if you’re basing yourself in a country with a low cost of living.

For most teachers, this job is coupled with another form of income (such as blogging), or at least supplemented with free accommodation through house sitting or some other sort of exchange.

While you’re teaching online, you could be taking care of a dog and living in a pool villa in the Caribbean! If you haven’t heard of house sitting & pet sitting, click here to learn how to receive free accommodation around the world while earning income from your online teaching jobs.

teach english online from anywhere in the world
Teach English online from the Caribbean – while receiving free accommodation!

Magic Ears is based in China and is high paying at up to $26 USD per hour and you can work from anywhere in the world.

This is the best teaching English online job available for citizens of Canada, the USA, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

What makes Magic Ears stand out is that you don’t need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in order to apply — but, you must be actively pursuing a degree.

VIPKID is another excellent company based in China and is high paying at up to $22/hour. You can work from anywhere in the world making it a top English teaching job online (available for Canadians and Americans).

GoGoKid is based in China and is high paying at $25/hour. but, you must live in Canada or the USA.

EF Education First offers $20 USD / hour, is based in the USA, and is available for Americans and UK citizens. You must be living in the USA or the UK.

Some of the companies pay per minute, while others pay hourly.

In some cases, you must commit to a certain amount of hours each week, while in others, you set the teaching schedule.

There’s also the opportunity to earn bonuses and referral pay. Plus, if a student cancels on you, you will receive compensation. Some companies pay via PayPal or Payoneer, while others do a direct deposit to your bank account.

12 Best Companies to Teach English Online

Wondering what is the best company to teach English online? It depends on your qualifications, but for citizens of Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa there’s no question that working for Magic Ears is your best option because you can work remotely and the pay is high (up to $26/hour). 

Other standouts are VIPKID, EF Education First, Skimatalk, Preply, and GoGoKid.

There are lots of online teaching jobs out there, but if you want to teach English online, you need to make sure you’re going with a reputable company.

Unfortunately for those of you who aren’t from Canada, the United States, the UK, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, you won’t be able to work with the companies that pay the most. 

Don’t worry though, there are more options listed below.

Update April 2021: Magic Ears is currently looking to hire as many online English teachers as possible. VIPKID is also looking to hire many online ESL teachers, making it a great time to apply. 

My best piece of advice when applying to teach English online is to submit your application to more than one company on this list. The more places you apply, the greater your odds are of getting hired. 

1. Magic Ears – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

Magic Ears is currently the top choice for ESL teachers from the USA and Canada. Founded in 2017, this company is a great option for English teachers.

The platform connects teachers with Chinese students aged 4 – 12. Lesson planning, marking homework, and speaking with the students’ parents are all dealt with by Magic Ears — you’re simply there to teach!

Classes are 25 minutes long, and you can earn up to $26 per hour. Have a look at this honest Magic Ears review for more details. 

Pros to Teach English Online With Magic Ears:

  • It’s a high-paying position at up to $26 per hour
  • Offers positions to applicants from USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia
  • You can work remotely from anywhere in the world
  • Magic Ears offers a TEFL for just $20 (may not transfer to other online English teaching jobs)
  • Set your own schedule 
  • Don’t have to commit to a certain amount of teaching hours
  • Classes are 4-on-1 which is easier to manage than a larger group
  • Magic Ears creates the lesson plans for you
  • Application and interview procedure is easy 
  • Use their teaching platform — no need to download any apps or programs
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Salaries are paid via PayPal 
  • There’s an engaging community on Facebook and assistance is available

Cons to Teaching English Online With Magic Ears:

  • Time change issues if you aren’t living in Asia
  • Bachelor’s Degree or active enrollment in a Bachelor’s Degree program is required
  • Classes can change up to 24 hours before

apply to magic ears

2. GoGoKid – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

GoGoKid is a great option for teachers from Canada and the United States. This relatively new company has been around since 2018 but has been quickly making a name for itself.

The platform connects English teachers with Chinese children aged 3-12. You won’t have to worry about creating lesson plans, marking homework, or speaking with the parents, GoGoKid takes care of that and you get to focus on teaching ESL.

Classes are 25 minutes long each, and you can earn up to $7-10 dollars per class. However, there are incentives for an additional $2.50 per class bringing the potential total to $12.50 per class, or $25 USD per hour.

Pros to Teach English Online With GoGoKid:

  • It’s high-paying at up to $12.50 per class ($25 per hour)
  • Work remotely from anywhere in the world
  • Set your own schedule (but open at least 30 “peak hour” slots within your first 30 days)
  • Classes are 1-on-1 which is easier to manage than a larger group
  • GoGoKid creates the lesson plans for you
  • Application and interview procedure is easy 
  • Use their teaching platform — no need to download any apps or programs
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Salaries are paid via PayPal or wire transfer
  • There’s an engaging community on Facebook and assistance is available
  • GoGoKid offers online academy training and live workshops

Cons to Teaching English Online With GoGoKid:

  • Only Canadians and Americans can apply
  • You must hold a Bachelor’s Degree (in any subject)
  • You need to have a TEFL Certificate (which isn’t a con really, as it will help you be a better teacher)
  • Time change issues if you aren’t living in Asia
  • The interview process is a bit confusing
  • The payment and bonus system is also confusing


3. VIPKID – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

VIPKID is an excellent option for North Americans who want to teach English online to children in China. This company came onto the scene in 2013 and has been exploding ever since.

The platform connects Chinese students with teachers and they deal with the lesson planning, marking of tests, and speaking with the parents of the children you teach. When I taught English in China, those were things I had to do on my own, which was definitely a downside!

Classes are 25-30 minutes each, with a potential earning of $22 / hour. Learn more about working with this company in our honest review of VIPKID.

Update April, 2021: As mentioned above, VIPKID is now looking to hire a lot of teachers. If you want to teach English online and are from the USA or Canada, now is a good time to apply — plus, you can work from anywhere in the world.

Pros To Teach English Online With VIPKID:

  • Work remotely from anywhere in the world
  • VIPKID creates the lesson plans for you 
  • VIPKID is a recognized and professional company
  • Set your own schedule to work as many or as few hours as you like
  • It’s high-paying (up to $22 / hour)
  • The students are adorable and well-behaved
  • All classes are 1-on-1
  • Helpful community of teachers and staff of VIPKID
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Holiday and seasonal incentive (ie: paid extra for working Christmas)
  • $50-$60 referral bonus

Cons To Teach English Online With VIPKID:

  • It’s only for North American teachers
  • You must have a University degree (in any subject)
  • Only teaching children in China (as opposed to different ages, in different countries)
  • Time change issues if you aren’t in Asia
  • If your internet cuts out for more than 3 minutes, you will be charged with cancellation of a class

APPLY TO vipkid

4. Qkids – Teach English Online to Chinese Students

This program is actually very similar to VIPKID, but there are a few differences.

Pros To Teach English Online With Qkids:

  • You don’t need to have a degree, BUT you must be currently enrolled in University
  • High-paying – up to $20 / hour
  • All materials and lessons are provided
  • Training is included
  • Flexible schedule
  • You don’t need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese
  • Very engaged community

Cons To Teach English Online With Qkids:

  • You must actually be living in Canada or the United States
  • No holiday or seasonal pay incentive (ie: no extra pay if you work during Christmas)
  • It’s only for North American teachers
  • You’ll only teach Chinese children (rather than students from around the world, and of all ages)
  • Time change issues since you aren’t living in Asia
  • You must commit to a minimum of 6 hours per week
  • 4 students maximum per class (could be either a pro or a con depending on what you prefer)

Both VIPKID and Qkids are great companies and they both pay their teachers well, but each has its own style. Maybe apply for both of them (or all of them in this article), so that you have a better chance at being hired, and making more money!


5. Cambly – Tutoring Online to Worldwide Students

Cambly is a much more informal teaching setting than Magic Ears, VIPKID, Qkids and GoGoKid, and there are many differences.

The people who you’ll be talking with already speak English at some level and for the most part, they are just wanting to practice their conversational skills.

teach english online with cambly become a tutor
Speak with people from all around the world to help them practice their English

This is a platform where students sign up and pay a fee, and log-in via an app to chat with tutors who are online. Teachers (tutors) can log-in at random, or you can book a shift.

Although there are students from all around the world, most of them hail from Saudi Arabia. As of recently, however, there has been a boom in South Korean and Turkish students. Here are the pros & cons of online tutoring with Cambly.

Pros To Teach English Online With Cambly:

  • Work online from anywhere in the world
  • No experience necessary
  • No university degree or TEFL certificate required
  • Set your own hours
  • Meet people of all ages from all over the world
  • Can have repeat students who you really get to know
  • Informal setting where you just chat with students about casual topics
  • Lessons and materials are available with Cambly if needed
  • Easy sign-up
  • No contract needed
  • Safety protocols in place (ie: ban student immediately for inappropriate behavior)

Cons To Teach English Online With Cambly:

  • The pay isn’t very high ($0.17/minute, which is $10.20 / hour)
  • No guaranteed hours
  • It can be tedious to “chit-chat” all of the time
  • There’s a free trial available for new students meaning you may have to deal with a few who aren’t serious about practicing their English
  • There’s the potential for inappropriate students, especially if you are a female tutor (hit that “ban” button!)
  • You will need to be sensitive to the cultures of many countries, and be aware of what is acceptable to talk about / not talk about

*Note: It was suggested by a female Cambly teacher to not use your real identity when signing up as a tutor. I thought this was a great idea because you’ll avoid having people potentially stalking your personal social media profiles. One downside of the internet!

Click here to read our review of Cambly and click here to apply.


6. Italki – Teach English Online (or any other language)

Italki is completely different from the 3 companies and programs I listed above. With Italki, you set the pay rate that you will be charging your students.

If there’s a language that you are fluent in (English, Japanese, German, Russian, etc.), then you can apply to become a teacher of that language. You will be in charge of the lesson and the platform it is taught on (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts).

The rates you should charge are based on your previous experience, your credentials, your student feedback, and what others are charging to teach online.

From what I can see, the professional teachers are charging around $25 / hour, while the community tutors are charging around $12 / hour. Basically, if you price yourself out of the market, you won’t have any students.

You must be a native speaker in the language you are choosing to teach.

Pros To Teach English Online With Italki:

  • You are in charge and set your own fee and your own schedule
  • You decide what you teach
  • Classes are 1-on-1
  • Teach English Online and Work from anywhere in the world
  • There are 2 types of profiles – professional teacher or community tutor. You must show certifications to be considered a professional
  • The platform deals with payments and assists with student issues

Cons To Teach English Online With Italki:

  • They take a 15% commission on your completed lessons
  • You need to come up with the lesson plans yourself (check out our guide to online English lesson planning)


7. EnglishHunt – Teach English Online (or by phone) to Korean Students

Update March, 2021: This company isn’t currently hiring, but they will be again in a few months. Please check back soon.

The online teaching jobs available with this company vary, but right now they are looking for native English speakers who are from the USA to teach Korean business students.

You’ll be speaking by phone, but via softphone technology downloaded to your computer. Another option is to actually move and find a job teaching English in South Korea.

Pros To Teach English Online With EnglishHunt:

  • It pays $2 per 10 minutes
  • You will be teaching adults
  • The curriculum is provided
  • 2 shifts to choose from: Mon-Fri 6am to 9am, or 6pm to midnight Korean time (you don’t need to be available for the entire shift)
  • You can teach English online or by phone and work from anywhere in the world

Cons To Teach English Online With EnglishHunt:

  • For United States residents only (but can be living abroad)
  • Must have an American bank account for salary deposits
  • Their software isn’t compatible with Apple products
  • You must have 48 hours of college credits or a TEFL/ESL certificate


8. EF Education First – Teach ESL Online to Chinese Children 

This is a highly recognized English school with classrooms around the world. But, they also offer English teaching jobs online for both citizens of the UK and the USA.

EF Education first is the longest-running online English teaching company (50 years!) and is highly reputable as well.

If you’re living in the USA or the UK, EF Education First Online is your top choice when it comes to online ESL jobs. To read our review of EF Teach Online, click here. 

Pros Of Online English Teaching Jobs With EF Education First:

  • Easy to sign up
  • You get to work from home
  • Create your own flexible schedule
  • Earn up to $19 / £12.50 an hour (UPDATE 2021: Teachers for EF can now be paid up to $20 / hour)
  • $30 payment for the introduction/training of EF classes (for US teachers)
  • Salaries are deposited into your bank account
  • Teach the same students each class
  • 1 on 1 classes
  • Lesson materials are available for you
  • Work on EF’s user-friendly platform 
  • No props or toys are needed
  • 24/7 troubleshooting support
  • You don’t need to be able to speak Mandarin or Cantonese to teach English online with EF
  • Make a difference in a child’s life

Cons Of Online English Teaching Jobs With EF Education First:

  • You must be from the UK or the USA
  • You must be actually living in the UK or the USA
  • You must hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in any subject
  • You must have a 40-hour minimum TEFL certificate
  • The time change can be a bit difficult if you’re not a morning person, or if you prefer to not work at night


9. PalFish – Teach English Online to Chinese Students (a great choice for teachers without a University degree, and non-native speakers)

This is a relatively new company with many teach English online jobs available.

Founded in 2015, this is another company connecting English teachers with Chinese students. 

And actually, Palfish says that even if you’re a non-native English speaker, but you have a very neutral accent, you are welcome to apply as well. 

Another bonus of teaching English online with Palfish? You don’t need a university degree to teach. But, you do need a TEFL Certificate which you can easily get here.

You can sign up to be an “official” teacher, or as a “free talk” teacher.

Pros of Teaching English Online With PalFish

  • You can work from anywhere in the world
  • Choose your own hours
  • Earn upwards of $30/hour (depending on which type of teacher you choose to become)
  • Receive teaching bonuses
  • Can be a non-native English speaker
  • Don’t need a University degree (but you do need a TEFL Certificate)

Cons of Teaching English Online With PalFish

  • You must have a Payoneer account or a bank account in China
  • You need to do your own marketing to attract students
  • The time change is difficult for teachers
  • You must have a TEFL Certificate
  • You aren’t paid for lesson planning, checking homework and evaluating students
  • The app can be glitchy
  • Not much assistance from the company

Read our review article, here.


Other Online English Teaching Platforms

Here are 3 more great companies that you can use to teach English online and earn an income. If you’re looking to get a job teaching English online to adults, then these might be the perfect online English teaching companies for you.

10. Learnlight

Learnlight is a great platform for teaching English online to business professionals from over 100 different countries in a wide variety of sectors.

They offer teachers an extensive library of materials to ensure you’re offering the best classes possible to your students. There are programs for Virtual Groups, One-to-One sessions, Specialized Skills Courses and Level Assessments.

You’ll need a TEFL certificate, 2 years experience, proficiency in the English language, 10Mbps internet connection, a laptop or desktop computer, a headset, and a webcam for this position. 

The great thing about Learnlight is that you can get jobs teaching English online, as well as Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.


11. Skimatalk

This platform specifically focuses on teaching English online and doesn’t offer any other language classes. They connect eager learners with teachers from all around the world.

You’ll only have to teach English online for a maximum of 25-minute classes with Skimatalk and you can choose to teach as many or as few classes as you wish.

For this platform, no previous teaching experience or a Tefl Certificate is required, making it one of the best platforms for new online English teachers to get their foot in the door.

You must be a native speaker from able to speak American, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and/or Irish English fluently.

All classes are done over Skype. One downside to this platform is that you’ll have to complete three 25-minute classes at first for free, and then your fee will automatically be set to $8 / 25-minute session.

After you have some classes under your belt, you can choose your own rates, making this a great platform for earning more money.

Click here to read our review of Skimatalk.


12. PrePly (teach English and other topics online)

PrePly is an online English teaching platform that helps students to prepare for the professional world by teaching them how to speak confidently in public and understand the written word. 

The platform helps students connect with tutors and online English teachers who can help them achieve their learning goals. Students come from all over the world and the age ranges from young learners to seniors.

With PrePly, you won’t need a TEFL certificate or previous experience, though if you have both it will help you to attract more students.

If the student likes you, they can choose to hire you as their online English teacher to teach English online to them for 5, 10, 15, or 20 hours (purchased in packages from the website or app).

Your earnings will depend on the hourly rate you set in your profile. PrePly takes 100% fee for your first lesson, and then around 18%-33% after that. The more you teach English online with PrePly, the lower their commission rate will be.

Preply helps students prepare to speak confidently with professional tutors from around the world. Language learners can easily find a tutor who matches their learning goals and begin taking lessons within minutes.

Students are from every corner of the world and the age of students will vary from young to old. You can also teach other topics such as school and university subjects, arts, hobbies, and other languages. 

Read our review of Preply here.


How Much Money Can You Make Teaching English Online?

Typically, you can make between $10 – $26 USD per hour as an online English teacher.

From the companies listed in this post, Magic Ears is the highest paying job teaching English online at $26 / hour, while VIPKID is a close second at $22/hour and GoGoKid at $25. 

So, Is Teaching English Online Worth It?

Yes! Teaching English online is worth it. 

You can make good money, and in many cases, you can teach English online from anywhere in the world.

On top of earning a good wage, as a teacher, you’ll be able to make connections with your students. It’s rewarding to know that you’re making a difference in their lives.  

I hope that this article inspired you to teach English online, either as a full-time job or as a side hustle.

Becoming an English teacher is an enriching profession. The year I spent teaching English in China is still one of my fondest memories, I had such a wonderful experience with my students.

But, these days you don’t actually have to travel to China (or abroad) to teach, it can all be done virtually! Check out the teaching English online jobs above and get started today.

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Visiting Coba, Mexico: A Guide To The Mayan Ruins

Exploring the Mayan ruins of Coba is a different experience than visiting its more famous neighbors Chichen Itza or Tulum.

You can climb Coba’s tallest pyramid for incredible panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest. 

Indeed, nature is half the attraction at Coba. The enormous site is deep in the jungle, where you’ll see huge ceiba trees covered in vines, sunbathing iguanas, and countless tropical birds. You may even get lucky and spot a spider monkey or an ocelot.

Several different clusters of pyramids and temples are linked by long paths through dense foliage. With the opportunity to rent a bicycle and see the site on two wheels, a day at the Coba ruins involves a lot more than mere sightseeing.

Coba was one of the first Mayan archeological sites I visited on my first trip to the Yucatan more than a decade ago. Many years and pyramids later, it’s still one of my favorites — especially for the chance to ride a bicycle through an ancient city overgrown by jungle.

There are many incredible places to see and ruins to visit in Mexico. Learn all you need to know about Coba in this article. 

History of the Coba Mayan Ruins

Coba was first settled between 100 and 300 CE, and from 300 to 600 CE gained prominence in the area as an important political and economic center.

Its peak of development was from 800 to 1100 CE, during which time Coba may have had the largest population in the ancient Mayan world.

Sometime then, Coba began a long power struggle with Chichen Itza to the north, eventually losing importance as Chichen Itza grew to dominate the region and cities on the coast like Tulum flourished.

By the time the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Yucatan in the early 16th century, Coba was already abandoned, lost, and overgrown by vegetation.

One of the most significant features of the Coba archeological site is its elevated stone roads called sacbeob, singular sacabe, which means “white road.” They connected the central part of the city with the surrounding areas where the regular citizens lived.

There are more than 50 sacbeob near Coba, and several cross the site in nearly straight lines. The longest continues for more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) all the way to the ruins of Yaxuna near Chichen Itza.

The ruins at Coba also have many steles, which are sculpted stone monuments depicting important events in the lives of the ruling class. They can be seen throughout the Coba archeological site, often at the bases of pyramids and temples.

Like other archeological sites in the Yucatan, Coba’s biggest draw is its tall pyramids, including Nohoch Mul, one of the highest in the Mayan world.

A little lumpy and uneven, they lack the straight lines and perfect angles of other ruins like Tikal or Chichen Itza, somewhat resembling irregular stone staircases to the sky.

Other interesting structures include an astronomical observatory, two ball courts, and various temples.

Must-Visit Coba Pyramids and Temples

The Coba archeological site comprises several distinct areas, including the Coba Group, the Pinturas (paintings) Group, the D group, the Nohoch Mul Group, and the Macanxoc Group.

The Coba Group

The Coba Group has the most structures and is closest to the entrance. It’s built next to Macanxoc Lake, one of the five lakes in the area that provided water to the ancient city.

The Coba Group contains a ball court, several steles, and the Iglesia (church), one of the tallest Coba pyramids.

visiting the Coba temples and pyramids

Pinturas Group and D Group

The Pinturas Group and the D Group, which contains the other ball court, are located roughly between the three other groups.

The most recent constructions in the city were made in the Pinturas Group, among them the Pinturas Temple, which contains 13 small altars.

Nohoch Mul Group

The Nohoch Mul Group is named after the largest Coba pyramid, which at 42 meters (137 feet) tall is also one of the tallest on the Yucatan Peninsula.

At the top of the pyramid is a temple with carvings of the Descending God, an important Mayan deity.

Also in the Nohoch Mul Group is Xaibé, a semicircular astronomical observatory with four levels representing the seasons and 20 stairs representing the days of the month of the Mayan calendar.

Macanxoc Group

The Macanxoc Group contains eight steles and several ceremonial altars, suggesting that it was an important spiritual center for the city.

Things to Do at the Coba Ruins

You have three options for exploring the ruins at Coba: walking, renting a bicycle, or hiring a guide who will pedal you around on a big tricycle.

It’s a large place, covering more than 70 square kilometers (about 40 square miles), so riding a bicycle is a fun and practical option.

The longest path goes for two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the entrance to the most distant excavated structures in Coba.

things to do at the Coba ruins

Because it’s so large, it takes at least two hours to visit the Coba ruins, even by bicycle.

If you prefer not to exert yourself in the heat, then check out the prices for the tricycle. It’s the same vehicle as the ones used by tamal sellers and other street vendors in Mexico.

The driver pedals in the back, and there’s a seat for two up front where the steaming tamales would normally be.

At the moment, bicycle rentals cost 50 pesos ($2.5 USD), and the tricycle costs between 125 and 200 pesos (from $6 to $10 USD) or possibly more, depending on how far into the archeological site you want to go.

Outside the archeological site, you can check out the restaurants and souvenir shops in the little town next to Coba Lake. The lake has a viewing platform where you can look for its resident crocodiles.

If you’re craving a rush of adrenaline, head to the zipline tower, also in town.

There are several cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) near Coba, such as Cenote Choo Ha only 10 minutes by car from the entrance and Cenote Tankach Ha a little beyond.

Tankach Ha means “deep waters,” and with depths up to 35 meters, it’s one of the deepest cenotes in the area.

Another nearby is Cenote Multun Ha, which is noteworthy for a pile of rocks under the water that resembles a Mayan pyramid.

Where Are the Coba Ruins Located?

The Coba Mayan ruins are located about 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) to the northwest of Tulum. You can get there in about 45 minutes by car or an hour on a public bus.

Buses leave from the Tulum ADO bus station in the middle of town. You can check the ADO website for schedules and to purchase tickets online (often for a discount), or stop in a day or so before your trip to buy tickets in advance.

If you’d prefer, this affordable tour offers round trip transportation from your hotel in Tulum, visiting Coba Ruins and two cenotes. You’ll have lots of free time as well. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Coba?

The weather is beautiful and sunny year-round on the Yucatan Peninsula. The rainy season begins in late spring and lasts until the fall, and it’s a lot hotter in the summer, especially because of Coba’s inland location.

Something to keep in mind is that the ruins may get extremely crowded during peak travel season and Mexican holidays.

Peak travel season in Mexico goes from late December to early January (with the busiest time between Christmas and the New Year), and from late July to early August.

best time to visit in Coba

Another time you should absolutely avoid is Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week before Easter, when many Mexicans travel.

Also, because the Coba archeological site is free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents of Mexico to enter on Sundays, it can get crowded then as well.

Try to get to the ruins right when they open in the morning.

Not only can you have a few hours of exploring (and pedaling a bicycle) before the hottest part of the day in the early afternoon, but you’ll also have a head start on the large tour groups that begin arriving around 11 AM.

Best Coba Ruins Tours

The Coba ruins are a little out of the way for frequent public transportation, particularly from anywhere other than Tulum, such as Playa del Carmen or Cancun. Because of this, joining a tour can be a good idea.

Many tours include a stop at another archeological site or a cenote, one of the freshwater sinkholes found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula that’s great for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

From Tulum: Coba Ruins and Cenotes

This is the best tour of the Coba ruins from Tulum. It includes round trip transportation from your hotel, Coba Ruins visit, two cenotes, and the Tulum Ruins as well. It’s affordable and you’ll have free time as well. Learn more here.

Day Trip to Tulum and Coba Ruins Including Cenote Swim and Lunch from Cancun

On this tour, you’ll visit Coba after seeing the Mayan ruins of Tulum and swimming in a cenote. It leaves from Cancun and includes a buffet lunch of Yucatan specialties.

Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum Private Tour with Lunch

You’ll visit the three of the most popular archeological sites in the Mayan Riviera on this tour, which is practical if you’re staying in Cancun and have limited time. It also includes the bicycle rental in Coba, lunch, and a swim in the Ik-Kil cenote.

Coba Ruins Sunset Tour by Bike with Cultural or Extreme Activity and Dinner Show

On this eight-hour tour, after exploring the site by bicycle, you’ll either make pottery and learn cooking techniques in a Mayan village or swim in a cenote and ride a zipline. The tour leaves from Playa del Carmen and includes dinner.

Coba Ruins Entrance Fee

Entrance to the Coba ruins costs 80 pesos ($4 USD). Make sure you bring pesos, not dollars or another currency.

On Sundays, entrance for Mexican citizens and foreign residents in Mexico is free.

Coba Mayan Ruins Hours

The current hours for the Coba Ruins are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the last access at 3:00 PM.

These hours may change as COVID-19 restrictions are removed. Check the official website of the Coba ruins for updates.

Parking at the Coba Ruins

There are several parking lots near the entrance, which are run by the local community. Depending on the time of year, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 pesos ($2.5 to $5 USD) to park.

Can You Climb the Coba Ruins?

Yes, these ruins are famous for allowing visitors to climb many of the Coba pyramids, including Nohoch Mul, the tallest at the site and one of the tallest in the Mayan world.

The view from the top is incredible: a vast flat expanse of the vivid green forest canopy, with a few white pyramids poking out above the trees.

Currently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, climbing isn’t possible. However, it’s been said that climbing will resume in 2022. Either way, visiting the Coba Ruins is a must. 

Guides to Other Ancient Ruins in Mexico:

5 Tips for Visiting the Coba Archeological Site

1. Make sure to bring mosquito repellant, sunscreen, snacks, and lots of water. There are several shops in town where you can pick up whatever you forgot.

2. Bring Mexican pesos, not U.S. dollars or another currency, for bicycle rentals, hiring a guide, and anything else you may need.

Sure, guides will gladly accept U.S. dollars, but they’ll flagrantly overcharge you. If you’re worried about being overcharged or don’t want to haggle, look for signs near the bike rentals that show the prices.

tips for visiting the Coba

3. Get there early. If you wait too long, the crowds will form and the sun will get high in the sky, making the place really hot.

4. Stop by a cenote on the way back. It’s a great way to cool off after a day in the heat, and there are several convenient ones nearby. A good one closer to Tulum is Gran Cenote, one of the largest in the area.

5. If you plan on swimming in a cenote, don’t wear sunscreen — it’s bad for the water. This means you should cover up even more than usual for your visit to Coba, with a hat and long sleeves.


If you love nature and hate crowds, you may end up enjoying Coba more than its better-known counterparts Chichen Itza and Tulum.

Add to this the chance to ride a bike through the massive site, and a trip to Coba becomes even more appealing. It’s definitely one of the best things to do on a trip to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

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7 Best Digital Nomad Cities in Mexico

Planning to check out the digital nomad Mexico scene? With a generous six-month tourist visa, relatively low cost of living, warm weather, and of course, tacos, there are many great reasons to consider Mexico’s digital nomad cities.

Mexico has everything from great digital nomad beach towns, like Tulum and Puerto Vallarta, to bustling big cities, like Guadalajara and Mexico City.

With six months in the country, some digital nomads move from city to city, to experience as much as possible while working remotely from Mexico.

As someone who’s been living the digital nomad life in Mexico since 2018, I know first-hand you’ll never run out of places to explore.

Thus far, I’ve traveled to half the states in Mexico, lived in three, visited each place on this list, and still have so much more I want to see and do!

While you won’t always find fiber optic internet in Mexico, each place on this list has an established digital nomad community and is sufficient for most to do their online work. Mexico truly offers some of the best cities for digital nomads in the world.

If you’re ready to check out the best Mexico digital nomad spots, this guide will help you pick the right one for you.

Mexico City

Consider Mexico’s capital city — it has a little something for everyone. 

Why Mexico City is a top city for Digital Nomads

As an international destination, Mexico City attracts expats and digital nomads from all over the world. 

Mexico City is a very friendly place, so you’ll have no trouble meeting interesting people, especially others in one of the numerous co-working spaces. 

Since it’s such a large city, there are endless things to eat, see, do and experience in Mexico City. Plus, numerous tours, day trips, nearby ruins, and destinations to explore.

roma neighbourhood in mexico city
Mexico City’s Roma neighbourhood is a great place for digital nomads

Mexico City Coworking spaces

Mexico City has everything from 20-story We Work mega-offices, to boutique spaces like HomeWork and Coffice, a coffee shop with dedicated digital nomad workspaces.

Prices vary, but plan for about $200USD for a hot desk, and $350 per month for a private office.

How to Find Apartments in Mexico City

Many expats opt for the safe and trendy neighborhoods of Roma, La Condesa, Reforma and Polanco.

Located near each other in the central part of Mexico City, non-Spanish speakers flock to these English-friendly areas that also have great parks, cafes, and nightlife.

Something I suggest with every digital nomad city in Mexico is starting off with an Airbnb for a month.

One month is a good amount of time because most hosts give a nice 20-50% discount for month-long stays, and it’s also enough time to get a feel for the place before booking longer.

Cost of Living in Mexico City

For a nice one-bedroom Airbnb in a good part of town, you’ll pay about $1,000USD.

As a walkable city with nice weather nearly all year long, you can always walk, but there are also buses, the metro and the EcoBici bike-sharing program — so you can keep transportation costs to just $50USD per month.

For food, you can do it on the super cheap by only eating street tacos and shopping in local mercados, rather than chain supermarkets.

For a mix of eating street tacos, occasionally in restaurants, and buying mercado groceries, you can get by on as little as $400USD per month.

Pros and Cons of living in Mexico City

If Mexico City sounds like it must be among the best places in Mexico for digital nomads, it is; though it’s far from perfect.

The main reasons you might want to skip it are the poor air quality, higher crime rates than other places in Mexico, and because it’s very crowded with almost nine million inhabitants.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

This once sleepy fishing village now attracts tourists, expats, retirees, and digital nomads.

Why Playa del Carmen is a top city for Digital Nomads

While not all parts of Mexico have good enough internet to meet the needs of remote workers, especially beach towns, Playa del Carmen does.

This is precisely why so many end up here, as well as the abundance of co-working spaces, the large community of digital nomads, the fun things to do, and of course, the beaches.

playa del carmen best city in mexico for digital nomads
The sunsets and beaches in Playa are part of what makes it a great city in Mexico for digital nomads

Playa del Carmen Coworking spaces

Among the best co-working spaces in Playa del Carmen, there’s The Nest and Bunker.

Some will opt to live and work in Selina, a hostel and workspace that’s among the best options for working remotely in Mexico — with a location in Playa del Carmen, and other cities throughout Mexico and the world.

How to Find Apartments in Playa del Carmen

Those who are working remotely in Mexico typically want to be near restaurants, coworking spaces, and the beach.

In Playa, these are the popular neighbourhoods for digital nomads: Gonzalo Guerro, Zazil-Ha, Tohoku, and south Luis Donaldo Colosio.

Start the search on Airbnb, where the monthly discount will really make a big dent. Keep in mind many hosts charge extra for electricity, which can add up if you use the AC all day.

There are numerous Facebook groups for digital nomads. Have a look at Expats in Playa del Carmen and Expats and Locals in Playa del Carmen and post your request for accommodation.

Once in town, you could also walk through the neighborhoods you like and look for “Se Renata” (For Rent) signs to call the owners directly.

Cost of Living in Playa del Carmen

Depending on your lifestyle, you can expect to spend $1,000-2,000USD per month.

A modest one-bedroom near the beach can run a little as $800-900USD per month with rent and bills (if you’re cautious with electricity and the AC).

However, for a nice building with a pool, doorman, gym, etc., plan for $1,200+. The best place to search is Airbnb and Facebook groups.

Your transportation and food in Playa del Carmen should not exceed $500 per month, especially if you stick to local places away from touristy 5th Avenue.

Playa del Carmen is walkable, though also very hot, so you may take in-town taxis a lot (rides average $2-5). Note: There’s no Uber in Playa.

Pros and Cons of living in Playa del Carmen

The obvious pro is you’re living on the beach! However, the obvious con is that if you don’t like tropical weather, Playa del Carmen is probably not for you.

It is hot for most of the year, and rains almost daily in the summer, with hurricanes a possibility. Winters are gorgeous with sunny days and cool temperatures.

However, there are also Mayan ruins to explore, cenotes to swim in, miles and miles of beaches, lively nightlife, and a large digital nomad community. If the hot summer weather won’t bother you, Playa del Carmen has a lot to offer.

☞ SEE ALSO: Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Playa del Carmen

Oaxaca City, Mexico

Located in the southern state with the same name and filled with culture and authenticity, Oaxaca is a great choice for digital nomads.

Why Oaxaca is a top city for Digital Nomads

Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ka) is among the most culturally rich states in Mexico. There are numerous activities in Oaxaca to keep you busy.

Its capital, Oaxaca City, has attracted artists and chefs for years — it’s considered the Foodie Capital of Mexico. Nowadays, digital nomads are headed to Oaxaca City for a slower pace of life that’s also teeming with culture.

colourful neighbourhood in oaxaca mexico
Live in a colourful neighbourhood in Oaxaca

Oaxaca City Coworking spaces

For those who render huge video files or need to be on Zoom all day with a flawless connection, Oaxaca’s overall WiFi can be hit or miss.

For regular online work, there’s Pan:Am, which is a cafe so you’ll have to buy food and drinks, and Convivio Coworking, known to have the strongest WiFi in town.

How to Find Apartments in Oaxaca

The two trendy neighbourhoods that are popular with remote workers right now are Jatalaco, and Xochimilco. Both of these neighbourhoods are located just outside of the historic centre.  

The Facebook group Oaxaca Housing Rent/Buy/Sell/Trade is quite active for apartment seekers.

You can also start with a stay in Selina Hostel, which would cover your housing and co-working space. Located in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), Selina is a great option for digital nomads.

Cost of Living in Oaxaca

Oaxaca used to be very inexpensive, but that’s changing as more expats and digital nomads come ready to spend in dollars and euros.

To live in one of the two best neighborhoods in town, Centro and Jalatlaco (pronounced ha-lat-lack-oh), you can find Airbnbs for about $650-800USD per month.

Oaxaca has a desert climate, so hot days, cool nights, and little rain — meaning it’s walkable.

There are some public transportation options and taxis, but you likely won’t spend much on either. Food in local mercados is also amazing and inexpensive, so plan for $450USD per month.

Pros and Cons of Living in Oaxaca

Oaxaca has an amazing culture, fun annual festivals, great food, a slower pace of life, and beautiful nature.

However, it’s a bit off the beaten path, so while there’s an airport (Oaxaca International Airport), you’ll usually have to connect through Mexico City. This smaller-sized pueblo can also sometimes lack the creature comforts of larger cities.

☞ SEE ALSO: Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Oaxaca

Tulum, Mexico

Mayan ruins at its doorstep, gorgeous beaches, and an international crowd, Tulum has become one of the top cities in Mexico for Digital Nomads over the years. There are lots of things to do in Tulum, with partying being at the forefront. 

Why Tulum is a top city for Digital Nomads

This is the absolute perfect place for two kinds of digital nomads in Mexico — those who seek a spiritual community and those who want to party.

Besides beautiful beaches, there’s a large community of digital nomads and it’s a small town, so you’ll network and make friends quickly. 

digital nomad mexico cities tulum
These Ruins are at your doorstep when living in Tulum

Tulum Coworking spaces & Tulum WiFi

Tulum used to have the worst speeds in Mexico, though that’s changing, and some newer construction Airbnbs even advertise fiber internet.

With more and more digital nomads headed there, Tulum now has several co-working spaces, like Digital Jungle and CoWorking Tulum.

How to Find Apartments in Tulum

Tulum is a small town, so it’s very easy to network in person once you’re there.

For the first month, you may want to rent an Airbnb Downtown and then just start getting to know people and seeing what you can find. Rentals in Tulum on Facebook is another option.

Cost of Living in Tulum

You can get a nice one-bedroom in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown) for about $800-900USD on Airbnb. This will include bills, but some hosts charge extra for electricity, which can add up fast in a tropical town like Tulum.

Food might run you a bit more than in some other Mexico digital nomad hotspots because there is a focus on eating organic — so plan for $500USD per month.

Most people who move to Tulum end up buying a bike to get around, which is both economical and eco-friendly.

Pros and Cons of living in Tulum

Tulum is a fun town, but it’s very much a party town that ages out at about 30. If that’s not your scene, consider somewhere else.

If you happen to be a digital nomad and also a scuba diver, Tulum has some of the best diving in Mexico, both in the Caribbean Sea and the Tulum cenote caves.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

UNESCO-listed San Miguel is quite the opposite of Tulum. This colonial city has a quieter vibe, with more of a focus on arts and culture. Still, there are numerous things to do in San Miguel de Allende for digital nomads.

Why San Miguel de Allende is a top city for Digital Nomads

With its beautiful architecture, colonial charm, and perfect weather, San Miguel is a coveted place to live. As you’ll soon see, it’s one of the most expensive cities on the list — but worth checking out for at least a month, if not longer.

cities for digital nomads in mexico san miguel de allende
San Miguel de Allende is one of the prettiest cities in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende Coworking spaces

This is a small town with a good amount of retirees, so there aren’t too many co-working spaces.

For this reason, you’ll want to rent an apartment with strong WiFi (ask the Airbnb host to send you a screenshot of a speed test), or you can check out Smartspace Hub and San Marcos Coworking. 

How to Find Apartments in San Miguel de Allende

If you want to live in Downtown (centro) San Miguel, start with an Airbnb for a month. After that time, you’ll likely have some good contacts in town and can network in person.

As many people in San Miguel speak English, you can look for “Se Renta” (For Rent) signs and contact the owners directly. 

Cost of Living in San Miguel de Allende

If you want to live in the most beautiful parts of Downtown, in one of the quintessential San Miguel de Allende homes, expect to pay about $1,200-2,000USD per month for an Airbnb.

If you don’t mind being 10-15 minutes outside of town by car, costs can drop by half.

As the main part of town attracts wealthier tourists and expats, eating out in restaurants is also much more expensive than in other parts of the country.

If you’re cooking at home and not eating out too much, you can plan to spend $400USD per month on food.

Pros and Cons of living in San Miguel de Allende

This is definitely a small town, where everyone knows everyone. Depending on your personality, that can be charming or stifling.

The age range definitely skews older here, with a lot of retirees calling San Miguel home. While it’s a beautiful city, it is also expensive, Americanized, and “polished”.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This Pacific Coast city has always been popular with tourists, expats, and retirees. These days, digital nomads are also choosing Puerto Vallarta. 

Why Puerto Vallarta is a top city for Digital Nomads

Puerto Vallarta is unique among Mexico beach towns in that it’s definitely a tourist hot stop, but it still feels like it has a lot of authentic Mexican culture.

It is, however, very much a city — with an international airport, big hospitals and shopping malls, and solid infrastructure. It’s a great Mexico digital nomad option because you get a lot in one city, and at relatively affordable prices.

There are lots of things to see and do in Puerto Vallarta, whether you’re interested in beaches, mountains, food, culture, or sports, you’ll find it here.

digital nomad cities in mexico puerto vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a charming city on Mexico’s Pacific coast

How to Find Apartments in Puerto Vallarta

For each city on this list, you’ll notice it says to start with an Airbnb for a month. Puerto Vallarta is no different — but you can search in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood instead of the main Downtown areas.

A bit outside of the main tourist area, 5 de Diciembre is more local and often has the best deals. The Romantic Zone is the heart of the nightlife, and Centro offers the main square and shopping.

Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

For a beach town, you’ll actually find great deals here. You can easily find a nice one-bedroom Airbnb by the beach in the Downtown areas of Viejo Vallarta or the Zona Romantica for $700-800USD per month.

Things are a bit more spread out in Puerto Vallarta, it’s quite hilly, and it’s often very hot, so you’ll likely Uber more than in other places.

For that reason, you might need to factor in about $100USD per month for Ubers. As with most everywhere else, food is inexpensive at about $450 per month, if you eat in local places and shop at mercados

Puerto Vallarta Coworking spaces

For those who do plan to live in Downtown, you’ll be within walking distance of the best co-working space in town, Vallarta CoWork. There’s also Natureza Cowork, a cafe/co-working space located closer to the suburban part of town.

Pros and Cons of living in Puerto Vallarta

Honestly, there aren’t many cons!

You have access to some of the best beaches in Mexico and the mountains, amazing food, it’s safe, it has an Old World charm, and an airport (Puerto Vallarta International Airport). If there’s a con, it would be the hot weather in the summer.

Merida, Mexico

This Yucatan city is a great place to base yourself. Merida offers big city living, with small-town charm and access to all amenities. 

Why Merida is a top city for Digital Nomads

Merida is perfect for low-key digital nomads and culture seekers, as Merida is considered the Culture Capital of Yucatan.

The age range skews older here, closer to 30s-40s versus 20s-30s in most places — so it’s more about immersing in Mexican culture than partying. But, there are still lots of fun things to see and do in Merida to keep you busy.

merida mexico best cities for digital nomads
The colourful, Spanish colonial buildings in Merida – a beautiful city in Mexico for digital nomads

Merida Coworking spaces

The main Merida co-work is Conexion 60, located on the prettiest street in town, Paseo de Montejo.

Besides this, there are a few smaller ones, like Hex CoWork and Clustar, located in the north part of the city outside the historic zone. Some cafes welcome workers for the day who buy food and drinks, like Marago Café.

How to Find Apartments in Merida

You can start out in a Merida Airbnb for a month. When picking one, concentrate on the areas of Paseo de Montejo, Centro Historico and Itzimna.

Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups, like Merida Casitas for Rent, are also two great resources for your apartment search.

Cost of Living in Merida

Merida is still relatively inexpensive compared to other big cities in Mexico. You can find nice one-bedroom Airbnbs in great parts of town with a splash pool for $850USD per month.

The city is very walkable, though you’ll often have to Uber to escape the heat and rain. Luckily, the main parts of town are all pretty close to one another, so 20 minute Uber rides only cost about $3-5USD.

Pros and Cons of living in Merida

For those who want a more “authentic” Mexico life, but also access to an airport (Merida International Airport), great hospitals, big shopping malls, vegan restaurants, and other city-style amenities, Merida is a great option.

The one big con is the weather. Merida has a tropical climate, so it’s hot and humid for much of the year.

Unlike the cities located right on the beach — Merida is 35 minutes from the nearest beach — you won’t get those delightful sea breezes. If you hate hot weather, skip Merida.

Final Thoughts: Mexico Digital Nomad Cities

While this was a pretty complete list of the best cities in Mexico for digital nomads, there are a few more up-and-coming places gaining in popularity. These include Queretaro, San Cristobal de las Casas, Guadalajara and Puebla.

Regardless of where you choose to start your digital nomad in Mexico journey, with the free six-month visa you’ll get upon arrival, you can stay there — or keep exploring.

As an amazing country in its own right, and a great digital nomad country, you won’t regret checking out Mexico.


Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

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Visiting Palenque, Mexico: A Guide to The Ruins

Imagine a city buried under a thousand years of jungle growth. Less than 10% of it has been excavated, only the central part, composed of steep pyramids and blocky temples of white limestone.

All around is dense rainforest crisscrossed by gurgling streams and shimmering waterfalls. The heavy air is filled with the buzzing of insects, the singing of tropical birds, and the booming grunts of howler monkeys.

The Palenque ruins have all this and more. You can even climb the pyramids and explore the inner chambers of the city’s massive stone palace.

I visited the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, where Palenque is located, about once a year during the 10 years I lived in Mexico.

I’ve lost count of how many times I visited Palenque. It’s not only my favorite ancient Mayan ruins, but one of my favorite places to visit in all of Mexico.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to visit the Palenque ruins in Chiapas.

Palenque Ruins Facts and History

Palenque was one of the most important Mayan cities during the Classical period (250-900 CE). Its peak was from about 500 to 700 CE, and it was abandoned by the 9th century.

Palenque was ruled by a succession of powerful kings who oversaw the construction of its buildings.

In 711, Palenque was taken over by the nearby Mayan city-state of Tonina. No new construction occurred in the central area of Palenque after 800 CE, and its rapid and mysterious decline began around then.

Palenque Temples and Pyramids to Visit

There are dozens of impressive structures to see in the Palenque ruins, with thousands more in the surrounding jungle.

Temple of the Red Queen and Temple of the Inscriptions

The two biggest pyramids, which you’ll see immediately upon entering the site from the second entrance, are the Temple of the Red Queen and the Temple of the Inscriptions, both built in the 7th century CE.

The Temple of the Inscriptions contained the tomb of the Mayan king Pacal the Great, which was discovered in 1952. His jade burial mask and other adornments are now displayed in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

The Palace

Across a grassy clearing from the two pyramids is the centerpiece of the Palenque ruins, the enormous Palace, which you can explore inside and out.

It’s the largest building in Palenque and contains sculptures, courtyards, and a tall observation tower.

Temple of the Cross

The Temple of the Cross group is a cluster of step pyramids located on the high slopes beyond the Palace. They have elaborate bas-relief carvings inside and offer panoramic views from outside.

The Temple of the Cross is the highest pyramid in all of Palenque.

Temple of the Count

Across the Palace from this group, the Temple of the Count has a wide staircase that leads to the top for another incredible view of the ancient city.

Hidden Palenque Ruins

After exploring these structures in the main area, take the trails beyond the Palace into Palenque’s hidden corners in the jungle, which eventually lead downhill past the Queen’s Bath and Sombrillas waterfalls to the park’s first entrance.

Best Palenque Ruins Tours

Visiting Palenque ruins on a tour means you’ll have an English-speaking guide explaining the history and architectural significance. Many include lunch and stops at other attractions.

1. Palenque Ruins, Agua Azul and Misol-Ha from Palenque (private tour)

Leaving from the town of Palenque, this private tour combines a trip to the ruins with visits to the waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol Ha.

The tour includes entrance tickets, transportation and a guide. Learn more here.

2. Palenque Ruins Only (from Palenque town)

If you’d rather not visit Agua Azul and Misol-Ha and would prefer to just spend the day at the incredible ruins, this tour is for you. 

The private tour includes a guide, transportation, admission ticket and around 3 hours to explore the Mayan ruins. Learn more here.

3. From San Cristóbal: Agua Azul and Palenque Day Trip

The Palenque ruins are a little too far away for a practical day trip on your own from San Cristobal de las Casas. It can be done with this tour, however, which lasts 17 hours and leaves at 3:30 AM. After exploring the archeological site, the tour makes a stop at Agua Azul.

4. Bonampak and Yaxchilán from Palenque

Two other famous Mayan ruins near Palenque are Bonampak and Yaxchilán. They’re quite remote and much less visited than Palenque.

Note: This tour doesn’t go to the Palenque ruins, but only to Bonampak and Yaxchilán. The three sites are too large to all be visited in one day. Choose this tour if you’ve already been to the Palenque ruins.

Top Tips for Visiting the Mayan Ruins of Palenque

Here are my top tips for a great trip to the Palenque Ruins.

1. Don’t Rush Through

Plan on spending the whole day visiting Palenque ruins. Sure, you could rush through the main section in about two hours, but the place is large and interesting enough to deserve four or five hours.

There’s nothing quite like sitting on a quiet temple top and taking it all in.

2. Bring a Backpack

Bring a backpack with what you’ll need for a long day in the tropical heat: lots of water, snacks, and a raincoat. It’s very humid at the ruins of Palenque!

Bring a swimming suit if you plan on going to the Motiepa waterfall. Although you can’t actually submerge yourself in the water, you can lay down in it and get wet enough to cool off.

visiting Palenque ruins in Mexico

3. Stay in Palenque Town

If you have the time, stay at least three days in Palenque town. As mentioned, besides the Palenque ruins, there are waterfalls, good food options and other Mayan sites to visit.

4. Sort Out Your Transportation

If you’re visiting Palenque as part of a longer trip through southern Mexico, check out the transportation options in Palenque carefully before you commit to anything.

First-class buses leave from the ADO station just outside of downtown, and much cheaper discount options leave from private terminals. Check out travel agencies for transportation into Guatemala.

Things to Do at the Palenque Mayan Ruins

It’s basically all about visiting the ruins and doing some hiking, but here are some of the must-dos at Palenque ruins and around.

1. Hiking

Wear sturdy shoes, because besides taking photographs, visiting the Palenque ruins is all about hiking on rocky trails and climbing the steep staircases of limestone temples.

You can hike on the Motiepa trail, which begins at one of the twists in the road between the two entrances.

You can also find one of its branches next to the Temple of the Red Queen. It leads to the Motiepa waterfall, which you can dunk your head under to cool off.

visiting the Palenque ruins

The Moteipa trail goes for a long loop through what may seem like a deep, scary jungle, although the waterfall is actually quite close to the parking lot.

It’s fairly easy to follow, but if you want to ensure you don’t get lost, hire one of the local guides hanging around near the trailhead.

For around 200-400 pesos ($10-20 USD), they’ll take you on the trail, show you some hidden structures, and teach you a little about the jungle.

For instance, they’ll point out a chicle tree, from which the world’s first chewing gum was made. You’ll see spider and howler monkeys on this trail.

2. Visit the Museum

After exploring the archeological site, check out the park’s museum, the Museo de Sitio de Palenque Alberto Ruz L’Huillier.

There’s no extra charge to enter, and it contains many artifacts from Palenque, at least the ones that didn’t get taken to the huge National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

3. Visit the Town of Palenque

About 10 kilometers away, Palenque town is a decent base for visiting the ruins and other attractions in the area. It has good tacos (especially Tropi Tacos on the main street downtown), an authentic public market, and lots of travel agencies offering a variety of services.

A better option for where to stay, however, is at a cluster of jungle bungalows called El Panchan.

They’re located in front of the main gate to the Palenque ruins and offer a wide range of accommodation, from mosquito-ridden dorm rooms to private bungalows. A few restaurants and bars are scattered between.

If you find the jungle fascinating in the daylight, then you’ll love it at night, when it seems twice as loud. You may get lucky and hear a jaguar roar, or perhaps only imagine it.

4. Explore the Waterfalls

Near Palenque are some beautiful waterfalls where you can swim and hike.

Agua Azul is a series of falls and rapids on a long stretch of river, and Misol-Ha is a tall vertical waterfall emptying into a wide pool. Both are accessible on public transportation, although it’s more convenient to use a tour. 

Also, you can rappel down the waterfall if you want!

5. Day Trips to Ruins

Many travel agencies also arrange trips to the Mayan ruins of Bonampak and Yaxchilán near the Guatemalan border. They’re close to each other, making it easy to see both on one trip, and they’re even more overgrown than Palenque.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about the Palenque ruins.

Where Are the Palenque Ruins?

The Palenque ruins are next to the small town of the same name in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

The closest city is Villahermosa, about two hours away by car. San Cristobal de las Casas is about five hours away by car. The Guatemalan border is also about five hours from Palenque.

How Do You Get to the Palenque Ruins?

Regular colectivos (white passenger vans used for public transportation in Mexico) regularly make the 15-minute trip from Palenque town to the Palenque ruins.

In Palenque town, colectivos depart from Tercera Pte. Sur where it intersects Av. Benito Juárez, the main street in town.

Colectivos usually make a stop at El Panchan (at the main gate) before arriving at the first entrance. Get off at the first entrance to walk uphill among bubbling streams, waterfalls, and barely-excavated ruins.

Stay in the colectivo until it arrives at the second entrance farther up the road if you want to see the big pyramids first. There’s a large parking lot and some small restaurants outside this second entrance. 

You can also take a taxi from Palenque town, which should cost between 50 and 100 pesos ($2.50 to $5 USD). Negotiate the fare beforehand.

More than five hours away, the Palenque ruins are too far for a day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas, the gorgeous colonial town in the mountains that’s another top destination in Chiapas.

To travel on public transportation between these two places, you have two options: taking colectivos or a bus.

Colectivos are usually faster because the bus might take the long way through Tuxtla Gutierrez. From San Cristobal de las Casas, first take a colectivo to the town of Ocosingo and change there to a colectivo for Palenque.

Ocosingo is an interesting Mayan community and a good place to get lunch and look around. Check out its busy public market, and if you have the time and are ready for some adventure, you can take a local colectivo to the ruins of Tonina nearby.

What Are the Palenque Ruins Opening Hours?

The Palenque Mayan ruins are open from 8:30 to 5 PM every day, with the last entrance at 4 PM.

Check the official website of Palenque National Park for possible changes to this schedule and other information.

Can I Climb the Palenque Mayan Ruins?

Yes, and not only can you climb most of the ruins, but you can enter some of them, including the large palace, which has narrow passageways and broad platforms.

When Is the Best Time to Visit?

Regarding the weather, any time of year is fine to visit the Palenque ruins. It’s in the jungle, so it’s hot year-round. There’s more rain from June to October, but it usually comes in quick bursts, followed by the usual hot sun that dries everything off.

visiting the Palenque ruins in Mexico

As with other tourist destinations in Mexico, it’s best to avoid visiting the Palenque ruins during the high travel season.

Peak travel season is late July to early August and late December to early January, with the busiest time between Christmas and the New Year.

Another time to avoid is Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week before Easter, when many Mexicans travel. The Palenque ruins are more crowded than usual then.

Also, because entrance to the Palenque ruins is free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents on Sundays, it can get busy then as well.

What Is the Entrance Fee for the Palenque Ruins?

Palenque National Park costs 80 pesos ($4 USD) to enter. On Sundays, it’s free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents of Mexico.


Many people, myself included, consider Palenque the best archeological site in Mexico. You can climb most of the pyramids, the architecture is fascinating, and exploring the jungle with its resident monkeys is half the fun.

Visiting the ruins of Mexico is one of the many reasons to visit this incredible country. Enjoy your trip to Palenque.

Planning on visiting other ruins in Mexico? See our articles:


Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

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Onboarding Clients: A Guide For Freelancers

Onboarding clients as a freelancer is essential to having a successful business. A client is more likely to give you a glowing testimonial and refer you to other potential clients if you offer them a luxury onboarding process.

I’ve been freelancing full-time for almost a year now and have been onboarding new clients almost every month.

Over time, my process has become a lot more refined — I like to ask clients at the end of our time working together what could be improved.

When onboarding a new client, you need to pay lots of attention to detail and have a process that suits your business and your offerings.

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to finally have the streamlined process for onboarding clients that you’ve dreamed about.

Here’s everything you’ll want to know about onboarding clients as a freelancer.

What Does Onboarding Mean?

Essentially, onboarding clients refers to the process that you have in place once a potential client reaches out to you. Do they book a consultation call? What happens after that? These are all part of the onboarding process.

Everyone’s onboarding process is going to look different, and that’s a good thing.

You don’t want your onboarding process to look like everyone else’s, but it probably will be relatively similar to those businesses that offer the same services as you.

While many people think that the onboarding process starts after you’ve signed a client, it actually begins the second a potential client reaches out to you. Contacting you is the first step to working with you, right?

Just like all corporate jobs have onboarding processes for new employees, it’s important for freelancers and agency owners to have a new client onboarding process. It helps both you and the client in more ways than you could imagine.

10 Reasons To Have An Onboarding Process

Whether you’re a new freelancer or you’ve run your business for a while now, you need to be onboarding clients in a streamlined way.

Below, learn more about the importance of onboarding and why you should make sure it’s implemented in your business.

1. It will allow you to see if a client is a good fit

One of the most complex parts of being a freelancer is screening potential clients and seeing if they will be a good fit for your business. Luckily, the onboarding allows you to see if a client is someone you will be able to work with.

For instance, if a client refuses to tell you their budget before a discovery call or they are slow at answering your emails from the very beginning, then it could be a red flag. That’s what is so great about onboarding clients.

Throughout onboarding, you’ll be able to tell how easy a client is to work with. You want a client who will answer your emails in a timely manner (for you to follow a timeline) and someone willing to provide you with all the info you need during the onboarding process.

Onboarding a new client begins with you having a discovery call, or if you have a business model like mine, filling out an application form. Often, you can quickly tell whether you want to work with someone or not from one of these two things.

Make sure to always ask a client for their website information or social media handles so you can get a feel for their brand before you even meet them.

If you have a brand that’s all about helping remote workers and focusing on the digital nomad lifestyle, it might not be best for you to help a brand that is all about the corporate workforce.

One thing to keep in mind, too, is that you should not feel bad about letting a client know you’re not a good fit. I’ve had to do it a few times. Sometimes a client is aggravated by my choice, which only makes me feel like I made the right decision.

2. Your clients will know exactly what to expect working with you

When onboarding new clients, you’ll be able to let your clients know the expectations of working with you. This can save you significant headaches because you’ll be able to see if the client is up for the hard work.

Often, clients don’t realize that collaboration is needed for a successful project.

One of the top expectations that you’ll want to let clients know about is feedback. If you’re providing services like social media management or something design-based, feedback is critical to help your client have the best success possible. 

So, be sure to let your client know the expectations for getting feedback to you. Do they have a week, or do you need feedback in 48 hours? These are things your client needs to know so that they can also plan ahead.

best practices for onboarding new client

Another vital expectation is payment. You need to be upfront during the new client onboarding process about when payments are due and how much each payment is.

Is payment due upfront? Is there a payment plan? Figure all of this out to let your client know.

If you charge a late payment fee, you’ll also want to let clients know about that. Of course, all of this should also be outlined in your contract or agreement that you both sign.

My favourite way to share expectations when onboarding clients is to create a welcome packet.

I have one pre-made that I use as a template, and I just fill out the information depending on the client I’m working with. This way, the client has everything they need to know all in one place.

3. Clients will become engaged more with the project process

Through onboarding a new client, you’ll be able to get a client more involved in the process. Like mentioned earlier, most clients don’t realize that projects are collaborative and require just as much insight from them as it does work from you.

By letting clients know about your expectations, processes, and more, your client will feel like they are part of your business. 

One of my favourite ways to get a client involved during the new client onboarding process is to assign client homework for my design projects.

This isn’t something that takes tons of their time; in fact, it’s mostly to help me get a feel for what they like design-wise and understand their aesthetic.

As an example, for my website design and branding projects, I have my clients create a Pinterest board of elements they love from other websites and brands. This way, I know what they like and can incorporate it with their own brand’s spin.

I also like to ask lots of questions through a Trello board that they have to fill out by the time our design week starts. I ask them questions about their business goals are, what words they would use to describe their business, and who their target clients are.

4. You will be able to gather important information from your clients

The most crucial part of onboarding new clients is gathering all of the information you need from them to have a successful project. Of course, this is going to vary depending on the services that you offer.

Usually, the type of information you might be gathering would include more about their business, clients, their goals, and more. It’s best to sit and think about all of the information you will need to gather and create a checklist of sorts — this will save a lot of back and forth.

Other information you might consider getting from your client includes usernames and passwords for accounts (especially if you’re a website designer or social media manager) or brand guidelines if you need them for a graphic design project.

Ensure you grab every possible login possible, even if you are not 100% sure you will need it.

If you’re a web designer, you might want to consider getting access to your client’s email marketing platform, too, in case you have to re-integrate it into the website during your design process.

Creating a checklist for this part of the onboarding process is very helpful. You’ll learn more about checklists for onboarding later on in this post!

5. Onboarding allows you to stand out from your competition

Even though you might not realize it, your onboarding process is the perfect time to show your clients that you have your stuff together. You want everything to be as streamlined and painless as possible.

This is the perfect time to give your clients a luxury experience, even if you aren’t charging high prices.

The experience that your client has from you right from the beginning is going to dictate how the rest of your time working together goes, so you want to start on the right foot.

best practices for onboarding new clients

The best way to do this is to streamline your processes as much as possible. You want to think about every step of the onboarding process and whether it’s necessary to include it for your services.

Another thing to consider is that if you offer multiple services as I do, your onboarding process will not look the same for each one.

For instance, you aren’t going to need the login information for your client’s social media accounts if you’re just creating their branding, but you will if you are a social media manager.

If you treat your client well and stand out from the competition, it’s likely that they will leave you a glowing testimonial. This could also lead to referrals and even more excellent clients down the line.

6. You’ll save yourself time

If you don’t have an onboarding process, you’re going to spend so much time going back and forth with your client while you’re working together.

You’ll probably be messaging them all the time, asking them for more information, and they might even be confused about your processes which can make it harder to work with them.

Sometimes, you might have issues with a client because of your lack of processes in the onboarding phases, which is why having one that’s solid is so essential.

By getting all of the information from your clients the second you start working together, you’ll be able to have everything stored in one place too.

Forms are a great way to do a lot of onboarding because you can quickly put answers into an Excel sheet of some sort for organization.

So, save yourself (and your client) major headaches and time by asking the questions now. Be sure to also account for onboarding in your timeline with your client.

7. It allows you to figure out the perfect project timeline

Figuring out a project timeline is best done while onboarding clients. During the process, you’ll want to provide an in-depth timeline to the best of your ability and let your client know that extreme cases might slightly change the timeline.

I often like to send the project timeline directly inside my project proposals so that the client knows what to expect before they even sign the contract.

If they need the project even sooner, then you know to charge an extra rush fee of your choosing because you’ll most likely have to work nights and weekends to get it done on time.

The best way to supply a timeline to a client is to be as informative as possible.

I like to break it down by the week and the day and send it in a calendar format because I’m visual. This also allows the client to see how the project is going to fit into their own schedules.

During this time, you can also collaborate a bit with your client to find out when their hard deadline is for the project.

8. Your clients will feel welcomed if you have an onboarding process

By having a complete process for onboarding a new client, you’ll make your client feel welcomed by you and your business. 

While having an onboarding process shows that you have your stuff together, it also shows your client that you are eager and ready to start working with them.

Often, onboarding processes can start immediately after a client signs the contract and makes their first payment.

client onboarding process steps

If you’ve ever worked an in-person job in an office, then you surely had an onboarding day.

During that day, you felt welcomed by everyone in the company and started to learn the ropes. Even though you were working for that company and your client is paying for your services, it’s the same sort of idea.

Consider creating a PDF with all of the information and maybe even put together a short video to send to your client as they get acclimated with your company. This could help them feel even more welcomed.

Another possibility when welcoming a client is to consider purchasing a welcome gift.

I wouldn’t do this for small-ticket clients, but if you have a client that’s paying for a project over $1,500, then consider sending them a Starbucks gift card or another small gift to show your appreciation for their business.

9. You will better be able to understand your client’s needs

The new client onboarding process allows you to quickly understand the project’s scope and what exactly it is that the client needs. This is true from the initial application or consultation call to making a Pinterest board.

The onboarding process is great because it allows you and the client to understand each other better.

It’s almost like a first date of sorts because you begin to ask each other questions and figure out what is needed to do a successful project.

Meeting with your client via video call or having them complete client homework mentioned earlier in this list is the best way for you to learn more about what the client needs.

Sometimes, what they need might not fully fit into what your packages are, and that’s okay. You’ll have to decide if you still want to work with them or refer them to someone else.

After you figure out more about what the clients’ needs are, think about the deliverables. Be sure to include everything fully listed out in the initial proposal and the contract to avoid confusion later down the line.

10. Clients will learn more about your company

Last but not least, onboarding clients allows them to learn more about your business. This is the time for you to let them know all about your brand and values and make sure that they align with them during your screening process.

They will also get a feel for the type of business you are based on how streamlined your processes are and how well they are designed.

If you are a design business, then you’ll want everything to be 100% branded to your business, or else they might question your ability to help them.

Clients will also learn about your business hours, the types of businesses you like helping, and the outcomes that you desire to get for your clients. Plus, they’ll begin to feel even more of your personality, making them want to work with you even more.

At the end of the day, your brands should mesh well together and fit with your overarching brand mission, which the client onboarding process can help with.

New Client Onboarding Checklist

While every business will have a different onboarding process, here’s a checklist of some important steps to get you started.

1. Have a discovery call

The perfect first step for onboarding clients is to have a discovery call.

Some business owners will refer to this as a consultation call or even a needs analysis. It’s just for you and the client to get to know each other to see if you’d be a good fit.

A great way to do this is to use a site like Calendly that a client can use to immediately book a time to meet with you that works in their schedule.

If you’d prefer to not immediately hop on a call, another option is to create an application form you embed on your website. Within it, you ask some basic questions before you even get on a call with someone so that it won’t be a waste of time.

2. Send a proposal

After meeting with a client, send a proposal to them within 24 hours.

The proposal can be set up in a few ways. I personally send proposals via HoneyBook, but you can also use Dubsado, which is popular among some people in the online business space.

effective client onboarding process

Another option is to create a PDF proposal using Canva or even Microsoft Powerpoint that’s only a few pages long, just going over the service you think would best help your client.

Within the proposal, I specifically like to include the following:

  • Scope of work (Will it be a website design with 6 pages? 4 pages? List it out!)
  • Pricing and payment plan options
  • Contact information in case they have questions
  • Proposed timeline

3. Sign the contract and collect payment for the first invoice

If you’re lucky, the client will have looked over your proposal and decided that they want to work with you. This is exciting, so do a little happy dance!

As soon as the client says yes to you, send the contract and first invoice over immediately.

Doing this ASAP is incredibly important because it doesn’t give the client time to change their mind and allows you to start thinking about timelines and other information that will be pertinent to the project.

4. Send a welcome packet to the client

Once that contract is signed, send over the welcome packet. There’s a way to automate your systems to automatically send once a client signs a contract, which can save you a lot of time.

Within the welcome packet, try to include basic information about your business like the following:

  • Your business’s office hours
  • Feedback and revision timelines
  • Late fee information
  • Contact information
  • How you will communicate with the client
  • Anything else that’s pertinent to the project

If you have the resources and it’s a larger project, you could also consider sending a fun little gift to your client during this stage.

5. Collect all assets you need from the client

Next, sit down and think about everything you’re going to need from the client and create a form of some sort to collect the details from your client.

If you need passwords, consider using LastPass, which is a lot more secure than submitting login information via an online form.

Don’t forget about things like branding guidelines either, which are essential with most service offerings. You might consider even having a questionnaire at this point in the onboarding process.

After these five steps, you’re ready to start executing the project.

My Client Onboarding Process (Example)

Onboarding clients and coming up with the perfect process for your business can be difficult.

This is my business’s onboarding process for my social media management services so you can get a feel of how the checklist above could be put into action.

1. Book a discovery/consultation call

The first step in my onboarding process is booking a discovery call. The client uses the “book now” call to action on my website to book through Calendly, and we both automatically get sent a link for the call ahead of time via integrations.

2. Send project proposal

Within an hour after the call, I send a project proposal outlining timelines, project scope, and pricing for the project.

I’m available for questions for the rest of the day and tell the client to let me know as soon as possible if they’d like to work with me because I tend to get booked fast.

3. Create and send a contract and first invoice along with the payment schedule

Next, I send over a client contract along with an invoice. Luckily, I use HoneyBook for my payments and invoicing, which automatically shows the clients when payments are due each month, and the client can set up auto-pay.

4. Send welcome kit

The welcome kit is sent over, which is just a 2-page PDF introducing the client to my business information. I like to be very clear about when I’m available for work because many clients tend to contact me super late at night. 

5. Put together a client onboarding questionnaire and send it to the client

My final onboarding step is sending over an elaborate client questionnaire. I won’t lie, it’s about 30 questions, but it helps me create the perfect social media strategy for them.

Because I’ve onboarded quite a few social media management clients, I already have a templated form that I just duplicate and add to my client’s project. Streamlined processes are everything.

Here is a sample of some of the questions I ask:

  • What are the goals for your business?
  • What CTA would you like most posts to include?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • How do you like to be contacted?

The questionnaire also instructs the client to use LastPass to send me the information for their social media accounts and prompts them to answer a required “Yes, I’ve sent you the information” before submitting. It also goes over how to add me as an admin to Facebook.


Now you know the importance of onboarding clients and also how to do it successfully.

Keep in mind that your onboarding process can be fluid; it’s going to change over time as your business grows and you become more experienced.

Do you have any questions about onboarding? Leave them in the comments below!

Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

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Where To Stay in New Orleans (Neighborhood Guide)

With so much going on here, it’s important to figure out where to stay in New Orleans. Early birds and light sleepers will want to avoid the madness of Bourbon Street, while party animals will feel right at home there. 

I fell in love with New Orleans immediately on my first visit. The energy of the city is just amazing— it really sucks you in. After a 2nd trip there, I’m already planning a third. There’s just no shortage of fun things to do in New Orleans!

The good news is that there are plenty of excellent choices when it comes to places to stay in New Orleans.

In this post, I’ll provide a detailed look at the best areas in the city for tourists, along with a few hotel recommendations for each.

The French Quarter

The French Quarter is where to stay in New Orleans if it’s your first time in the city — the location to everything is perfect.

Here you’ll find:

  • Historic Buildings
  • Boutique Hotels
  • Mississippi River Views
  • Famous Restaurants
  • Vibrant Nightlife

If it’s your first visit and you’re wondering where to stay in New Orleans, you can’t go wrong with the French Quarter. It’s also known as Vieux Carré, which actually translates to “Old Square.” 

If you’re planning a short trip to the city, then you’ll most likely want to stay in the French Quarter. This is the historic heart of the city and is even known as the “Crown Jewel of New Orleans.”

Although it’s called the French Quarter, much of the architecture you see is actually Spanish. That’s because the area was ravaged by fire and was later rebuilt during the brief period of Spanish rule.

The French Quarter is also the center of tourism in NOLA. It’s home to a vast array of hotels, restaurants, shops, and bars, making it a convenient base to explore the city. You’ll never be hungry or bored in this part of the city!

Located right on the Mississippi River, the French Quarter is a very scenic place to stay.

There are a few riverside parks that make for a nice stroll. The area is also home to the historic Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. If you enjoy discovering a city on foot, then the French Quarter is one of the best places to stay in New Orleans.

Best Hotels in the French Quarter

Here are a few of the best New Orleans hotels located in the French Quarter:

1. Omni Royal

This place consistently comes up when you search for where to stay in New Orleans, and for good reason. It’s a historic hotel that dates all the way back to 1838.

Fun fact: gumbo, one of the most famous dishes from New Orleans, was invented here! You can try this and other classic New Orleans cuisine in their award-winning Rib Room. 

This excellent hotel also boasts a heated rooftop pool and a nice fitness center for when you need to work off those extra calories! Click here to see the latest price from

2. W New Orleans French Quarter

The courtyard-style architecture of this hotel makes it one of the coolest places to stay in New Orleans. It’s located right in the heart of the French Quarter, just a short walk from both Jackson Square and Bourbon Street.

After a big day of exploring Crescent City, it’s great to return here to lounge by the pool in the courtyard. Some rooms even come equipped with their own private hot tub and patio for extra relaxation!

If you’re in town on a weekend, this is a great place to stay. Their “Legs and Eggs” Sunday brunch at the on-site SoBu features a burlesque show and is tons of fun. Click here to see the latest price from

3. Hotel Monteleone

This charming hotel is located close enough to Bourbon Street to be near the action but far away enough to not deal with the noise. It’s a great choice if you want to party there but also want to get some decent sleep afterward.

One of the best things about staying here is the Carousel Bar. It’s not just a clever name as the bar is centered around an actual carousel.

It’s definitely one of the best bars in New Orleans to grab a drink at! Click here to see the latest price from

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is the best place to stay if you’re looking to party and be right in the action.

Here you’ll find:

  • Raucous Nightlife
  • Mardi Gras Celebrations
  • LGBT-Friendly Bars
  • Center of Tourism

While it’s technically a part of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street deserves its own section in this guide on where to stay in New Orleans.

Famous for its raucous nightlife, epic Mardi Gras celebrations and other fun festivals, this is a pretty wild place to stay.

Many of the hotels on Bourbon Street are literally right on top of the party, so this isn’t the place to stay if you want some peace and quiet on your trip. It’s better to stick with one of the French Quarter hotels mentioned above.

where to stay in new orleans bourbon street

Click here for an in-depth look at staying on Bourbon Street. This post goes into detail about the layout and history of the street. There are recommendations for 10 different hotels to choose from as well.

Best Places to Stay By Bourbon Street

Here are a few of the top hotels on Bourbon Street.

1. Royal Sonesta

This is definitely one of the top places to stay in New Orleans. It’s actually more like a resort than a hotel, with several on-site restaurants and bars. 

Many rooms feature wrought-iron balconies overlooking Bourbon Street — the perfect spot for some people watching. If you can snag one of these for Mardi Gras you’ll be right in the thick of all the action.

It’s hard to imagine all the chaos of Bourbon Street is just outside when you’re sitting in the tranquil courtyard here. It’s an oasis in the middle of the huge party that’s raging just beyond the hotel walls. Click here to see the latest price from

2. Lafitte’s Guest House

Whereas the Royal Sonesta is a massive hotel with some 500 rooms, this place feels more like staying in someone’s home. After all, this boutique hotel is actually set in a restored house. With only 14 rooms, it certainly has a homey vibe.

If you’re not a fan of the typical Bourbon Street bars with their offensively loud music, you’ll enjoy staying here.

It’s right next door to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar & Shop, which is the oldest, and one of the best bars in New Orleans. It’s still candle-lit to this day. Click here to see the latest price from

3. Hotel Mazarin

Ok, so this hotel isn’t technically on Bourbon Street, but it’s just right around the corner. You’re still within stumbling distance from the party if you stay here! 

Before you hit the party on Bourbon, make sure you grab a drink in their 21st Amendment Bar. This Prohibition Era-inspired speakeasy is the perfect spot to kick off a night out in NOLA with a cocktail or two.

As far as the rooms here, they’re definitely pretty fancy. We’re talking crystal chandeliers and gold leaf accents! Click here to see the latest price from

Garden District

The Garden District is where to stay in New Orleans if you’re looking for a peaceful, laidback experience in NOLA. This is also one of the most beautiful areas of New Orleans. 

Here you’ll find:

  • Antebellum Mansions
  • Oak-Lined Streets
  • Fine Dining
  • Boutique Shops

If the over-the-top party vibe of Bourbon Street is too much for you, then the Garden District is a solid choice. This is one of the most scenic and peaceful places to stay in New Orleans.

When it was first developed, there were only a few homes per block here. The extra space allowed for large gardens, hence the name given to the area.

garden district new orleans

Thanks to development, there aren’t that many actual gardens here anymore. These days there are some pretty incredible mansions here, many of which are owned by celebrities. 

Staying in the Garden District is a good choice for those who are looking for a more laidback experience in New Orleans. There are still plenty of choices for accommodation, dining, and shopping here, but it’s not overly touristy. 

Best Places to Stay in the Garden District

Here are a few top hotel choices.

1. Hotel Indigo

Rooms at this Garden District hotel are well-appointed with chic decor. They have several options ranging from standard rooms to huge suites. 

Those looking to squeeze a workout in will be happy to hear that there’s a nice fitness center here. There’s also a business center if you actually need to get some work done on your trip.

Getting to and from the French Quarter is easy as this hotel is located right across from a streetcar stop. Click here to see the latest price from

2. Parisian Courtyard Inn

This is a proper B&B and a beautiful place to stay. As the name would suggest, a delicious breakfast is included when you stay at the Parisian Courtyard Inn.

Guests who have stayed here rave about the amazing staff. If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in New Orleans where you’ll have a more personalized experience, this is a great choice.

There are only 10 rooms here, all featuring hardwood floors and antique furniture. Click here to see the latest price from

3. Garden District Bed and Breakfast

There’s no doubt that this is one of the most gorgeous places to stay in New Orleans. This beautifully restored 1860’s Victorian home is locally owned and operated. 

Even the decorations in the rooms just scream New Orleans here, with beautiful antique decor and balconies.

Rooms here include a private bathroom, 12-foot ceilings, air-conditioning/heat, queen bed, wifi, and more. There’s also free street parking if you’re driving. Click here to see the latest price from

Faubourg Marigny/Bywater

This neighbourhood is where to stay in NOLA for a more local experience in the city. 

Here you’ll find:

  • Bohemian Atmosphere
  • Live Music
  • Affordable Restaurants
  • Artsy Vibe

Just east of the French Quarter along the river is the small neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny. Known by locals simply as “The Marigny,” this is one of the oldest ‘hoods in the Big Easy.

When the city of New Orleans began to grow, some plantation owners decided to break up their land to develop residential property.

Bernard Marigny was one of the first to do this in the early 1800s and the neighborhood still has his name. 

Faubourg Marigny Bywater new orleans

The Marigny has gone through lots of changes over the years. One significant development occurred on Frenchmen Street, which grew to become the premier location for live music in the city.

There are tons of music clubs as well as roaming marching bands, making this one of the best places to stay in New Orleans for music lovers.

The adjacent Bywater has become somewhat of a hipster haven in recent years. This began in the 1980s when real estate speculation and profiteering led many residents to move downriver to the Marigny and Bywater areas.

The artistic community once found in the French Quarter is now largely based here. In the Bywater, you’ll find the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts — a school that’s training the next generation of Crescent City artists and creatives.

Staying in either the Marigny or Bywater is a great choice if you want a more local perspective on your trip to New Orleans.

The Best Places To Stay in Marigny and Bywater

Here are a few great hotel options in the area.

1. Royal Frenchmen Hotel & Bar

Set in a 19th-century Creole home, this boutique hotel is the perfect place to stay for bar-hopping on Frenchmen Street. Rooms here feature elegant furnishings and neighborhood views, some from private balconies overlooking the famous street.

Before hitting the town, hang out in their scenic courtyard or at the Royal Bar. Even if you’re not staying here, it’s worth it to drop by for the $3 martinis during their Happy Hour from 4-8 PM. Click here to see the latest price from

2. Hotel Peter and Paul

There’s a lot of history in this Marigny hotel. The former church, schoolhouse, convent, and rectory dates all the way back to 1860. A 4-year restoration process turned it into the upmarket hotel you see today.

The result is an absolutely stunning hotel. A lot of attention to detail went into the design of the rooms, and no two are alike. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places to stay in New Orleans.

In addition to the gorgeous guest rooms, this hotel boasts a few parlors for relaxing and socializing, a sunroom, cafe, bar, and even an ice cream shop. Click here to see the latest price from

3. The Mansion on Royal Street

This excellent B&B is set in a 1850s Greek Revival mansion. It features eleven well-appointed suites, each with a unique design.

The Mansion on Royal is just a few blocks from Frenchmen Street as well as the riverside Crescent Park, making for a great home base to explore the area.

There’s a lot to discover beyond your room here. You can relax in a rocking chair on their front porch or take a dip in the hot tub in the backyard. How cool is that?

You can even rent out the entire B&B for a wedding or other special event. Click here to see the latest price from

Central Business District (CBD)

This is the best place to stay in New Orleans if you’re in the city for events.

Here you’ll find:

  • Proximity to Arena and Stadium
  • Sporting Events and Concerts
  • Local Restaurants and Bars

If you’re headed to the Big Easy for a conference, sporting event, or a big concert/festival, you may want to choose an area closer to the action. 

The city’s Central Business District is a great place to stay if you’re going to an event at the Superdome or the Smoothie King Center. 

central business district new orleans

Home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the Superdome also hosts events like the NCAA Final Four and the Essence Music Festival. I went to WrestleMania there a few years ago and had an absolute blast!

Over at the arena, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans play ball. The season lasts from the fall through the end of spring, and there are home games very often during this time. They also have big concerts here quite often. 

Staying in the CBD puts you super close to the stadium and arena and it’s really not that far to get to the French Quarter. The streetcar makes a quick and affordable trip between the two. 

Best Places To Stay in the Central Business District

Here are a few of the best choices for accommodation in the Big Easy’s Central Business District:

1. Hyatt Regency

It’s hard to beat this location if you’re headed to a sporting event in New Orleans. This 4-star hotel is just a stone’s throw from both the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center. 

They have a wide variety of rooms here to suit all budgets, all the way up to some super fancy executive suites.

There are quite a few restaurants and bars on-site, as well as a well-stocked fitness center if you need to work off all those calories! Click here to see the latest price from

2. Drury Plaza

There’s a lot to love about this hotel, starting with the location.

You’re close to landmarks like Lafayette Square and the World War II Museum and right up the street from the scenic Riverwalk. It’s also just a few steps from the streetcar that’ll bring you to the Quarter.

The Drury Plaza has a nice outdoor pool with a jacuzzi and 24-hour fitness and business centers. You also get breakfast as well as free snacks and drinks in the evening when you stay here.

This place has thousands of positive reviews! Click here to see the latest price from

3. Ace Hotel

This hip boutique hotel is an excellent choice if you prefer something a bit more exciting than average chain hotels. Suites here come with living rooms featuring things like turntables and guitars, a nod to the importance of music in NOLA.

Speaking of music, there’s a venue right on-site here. Three Keys is open late and has live music most nights as well as a full bar and snacks. 

During the day, you can recover up at the rooftop pool. There’s also a bar up there for when you want to get the party going again! Click here to see the latest price from

Now You Know Where To Stay in New Orleans!

As you can see, you have plenty of awesome choices when it comes to places to stay in New Orleans. Wherever you decide to stay, I’m sure you’ll have a blast in the Big Easy. 

One word of advice about booking a place during big events like Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest -—do it early! Rooms go fast and the prices keep on rising during these types of events in New Orleans.

Have you been to New Orleans and have a great recommendation for where to stay, eat, or drink? Drop a comment below and let us hear about it.

Looking for more New Orleans articles? Check out these posts:

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