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The view from Ventana


Ventana Big Sur isn’t your typical weekend getaway—and with so much to see and do in this iconic region, we often hear that two or three days just doesn’t feel like enough. So in honor of our third-night-free offer (details below), we’ve put together a fun itinerary to help you get the most out of your Big Sur experience.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic escape, taking a babymoon, or even preparing for the perfect proposal, there’s something for everyone on this four-day journey.

Days 1 and 2

Exploring at Ventana: After you arrive, take your time exploring all our resort has to offer. Relax for a bit in your spacious guestroom. Then, head to the Meadow Pool and infinity-edge hot tub, where you’ll have a front-row seat to spectacular views of the sea and forest. Now that you’re in Big Sur mode, why not try an activity in the Alila Experiences Program? Learn all about local wine with our resident expert in Sip Like A Sommelier, interact with at our birds of prey at the Falconry Experience, take one of our guided hikes, or choose another opportunity for enrichment. And for dinner, The Sur House Terrace awaits with its inventive coastal cuisine and unparalleled vistas.

Day 3

Pfeiffer Beach and Spa Alila: Begin your day with a treatment at Spa Alila, where our skilled therapists meld the healing powers of earth and sea to rejuvenate and regenerate. Choose a treatment just for you, or share the experience in one of our cabanas for couples. Once you’re sufficiently revitalized, you can fill the rest of your day with discovery—visit our Glass House Gallery, try another Alila activity, visit the SurStream in Redwood Canyon for a snack and hand-crafted cocktail. Cap the evening with a short jaunt to Pfeiffer Beach, one of the most picturesque and easily accessible beaches in the region. With sandy areas partly shielded from the ocean by rocks, and a cave through one of the largest rock formations, it’s the perfect place to catch a sunset.

Day 4

Gallery Tour and Smokehouse: On departure day, there’s still time to see the art of Big Sur and meet some of the artists as well at the Hawthorne Gallery, the Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe, and several more. We offer guided tours with a picnic lunch, or you are free to wander on your own among the redwoods and other natural riches. Big Sur Smokehouse, an authentic roadhouse experience where smoked meats pair with craft cocktails, beers, and wines, is a great lunch option, too. And if you haven’t yet visited the Bixby Bridge, be sure to get to this famous landmark before you leave town!

Bixby Bridge
Monterey County, California

It’s one of Big Sur’s most famous landmarks: You’ve seen it on the Ventana website, on countless postcards, and maybe even in the opening credits of HBO’s hit series, “Big Little Lies.”

It’s the Bixby Bridge, and it’s one of the most photographed bridges in California—which means it just might be one of the most photographed bridges in the world.

And it’s got an interesting history, too.

According to the Monterey County Historical Society, the bridge was built in 1931-1932 for about $200,000, or just over $3.3 million in today’s dollars. It was needed because Big Sur residents often found themselves isolated during winter, when the Old Coast Road was frequently blocked or impassable. Over 700 feet long and 260 feet high, it’s named for Charles Henry Bixby, one of Big Sur’s early settlers (and a cousin of U.S. President James K. Polk).

Today, while it’s as beautiful as ever, it’s also more crowded than ever—so please be mindful of the impact of your actions should you choose to visit.

Fun Facts About Falconry
Book an encounter to learn first-hand

Falcons and other birds of prey have long captured the imagination of humans—especially in Big Sur, which has been designated an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society.

And Ventana’s Falconry Experience, let by Master Falconer Antonio Balestreri, allows you to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures.

There’s truly no substitute for seeing a falcon for yourself, but you can still learn plenty about them without even going outside. Just be warned: After reading these four fun facts about falcons from the Smithsonian and other experts, you might find yourself a bit obsessed! (We sure did.)

  • Falcons can fly as fast as an Indianapolis 500 race car. The top diving speed of the peregrine falcon has been clocked at over 240 miles per hour—actually, that’s even faster than Indy 500 cars!
  • They can see you before you see them. Way before. The eyesight of falcons is estimated to be between four and eight times stronger than ours. So when you’re out bird-watching, just know that they might be watching you first.
  • Falconry has its origins in hunting. For thousands of years, falcons have been trained by humans to hunt small animals and even other birds. But don’t worry—when one swoops toward you with our Master Falconer supervising, they aren’t hunting. They’re just looking to land on your outstretched glove.
  • Falcons have one mate—forever. But they don’t hang out together all that much, because falcons generally only pair up to mate. Otherwise, they’re out on their own.

Want to learn more? Check out the Audubon website at Or, better yet, book your Ventana Falconry Experience today at!

Starting a Garden?
Try These Tips from Ventana’s Gardener

There’s something incredibly satisfying about growing food for yourself. Not only are you taking part in a time-honored tradition, you’re also giving yourself control over things like pesticide usage, genetic modifications, and other concerns we have with today’s ingredients.

If you’ve never tried gardening before, there’s no time like the present—and it’s probably easier than you think. Here are a few tips from one of our resident Ventana gardners to help you get started.

  • Go organic. It’s easy for the home gardener to go organic—you just need to not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. That doesn’t mean you can’t use fertilizers or pesticides at all, of course; just find ones that are derived from natural sources such as plants, animals, and minerals.
  • Check your soil. An ideal garden has well-draining soil, with half composed of pore space and the other half solid particles. That means it crumbles easily, so water, air, and roots can all penetrate. Don’t worry if the soil in your yard isn’t quite there—you can work compost into it to reach the right ratio. (It’s also a good idea to have your soil tested for pH and nutrient levels.)
  • Choose the right plants. How do you know what to grow? This USDA map is a good place to start—it shows the “hardiness zones” across the country. Once you know your zone, you can easily research which plants will grow best in it.
  • Watch when—and where—you water. It’s better to water your garden in the morning, when cooler air means it won’t evaporate as quickly. Watering in the evening can leave water on plants overnight, which can actually lead to disease. And be sure to try to hit the soil/roots, not the leafy parts!

When you do it right, you’ll find gardening to be fun and rewarding—much more so than wandering the produce aisle at the supermarket. Good luck!

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