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Getting Around Vancouver

The best ways to get around Vancouver are on foot, by bike and via public transportation. Many major attractions and popular neighborhoods are located within walking distance of one another in this condensed city. However, if you feel your feet growing weary, the Translink system — which includes the SkyTrain, the SeaBus ferry and numerous bus routes — is both manageable and affordable. Getting into town from the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is also easy: you can use the Canada Line rail system or you can hop in a cab. Taxis fares from the airport to downtown Vancouver cost roughly $34-36 CAD (about $31-33 USD). The airport is located about 6 miles southwest of the city center. If you've chosen to fly into the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA), you'll find plenty of car rental companies there, too. You can also take a shuttle from Sea-Tac to several locations in Vancouver: Round-trip tickets are $90 each.

On Foot or Bike

Because it is so condensed and the streets are aligned on a grid, central Vancouver is very easy to navigate on foot. You could also take a bike to the paths that weave throughout the city. There are plenty of bike rental shops downtown, and prices average between $30 and $40 CAD per day. Just be aware that helmets are mandatory and biking on the sidewalk is illegal. Popular bike rental companies include Spokes Bicycle Rentals, English Bay Bike Rentals and Vancouver Bike Rental.

Public Transport

Vancouver's public transportation is both efficient and convenient. The Translink system includes buses, the SeaBus ferry and the SkyTrain (light rail), all of which are ecologically friendly, reliable and inexpensive. Regular service runs from about 5 a.m. to around 1 a.m. every day. One-way adult fares cost $2.75 CAD (the Canadian dollar is roughly equivalent to the U.S. dollar); children's one-way fares cost $1.75. These fare prices are for traveling within the zone 1 limits of the city's public transit system. (Most of Vancouver's top attractions reside within zone 1; prices increase when traveling outside the city center to spots like Richmond or North Vancouver, for instance.) Day passes cost $9.75 CAD for adults and $7.50 CAD for children ages 5 to 13 and seniors, and include unlimited rides on all buses, SeaBus ferries and the SkyTrain. You can buy tickets and passes from any authorized FareDealer location, like 7-Eleven, Safeway or London Drugs. Keep in mind that you will need exact change in order to purchase a one-way ticket. For more information about schedules and routes, visit the Translink website.

Car

Vancouver is easier to navigate by car than most major cities, but heavy traffic tends to slow things down. Keep your eyes peeled for downtown's one-way streets, as they can cause confusion. If you do decide to bring a car, keep in mind that gas is sold by the liter rather than the gallon and tends to be more expensive than in the U.S. The average city speed limit is also a little slower; 50 kmph (or roughly 30 mph). You might also want to stock up on Canadian change, as parking meters in the downtown area do not accept American money. Several rental car companies are located at Vancouver International Airport and throughout the city.

Taxi

When you need to get somewhere fast, taxis are a good option. However, you might want to call ahead of time since it can be difficult to hail a cab from the street if you're not in the downtown area. The meter starts at $3.20 CAD, with each additional kilometer (about 0.6 miles) costing around $1.85 CAD. Popular taxi companies include Vancouver Taxi, MacLure's Cabs and Blacktop & Checker Cabs.

Entry & Exit Requirements

A passport is required for citizens of the United States to travel to Vancouver, and to re-enter the country. If you are planning to drive, you must produce a passport, passport card or NEXUS card that allows expedited border crossings for both private and commercial travelers through Canadian and U.S. border controls. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department website.

Next Steps: Vancouver

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