About 30,000 people hold tickets to Burning Man — but if that number seems like a lot, consider the number who would have loved to be there if they could. Consider, too, the vast number of souls who hold some of the core values — not to mention the Instagram aesthetic — of the festival attendees... but would way rather hit the road in search of an alternative destination without that whole Burning Man mess.
If either of those groups sounds like you, spend the money you saved on costumes and consider a visit to one of these hippie-minded towns around the world. From Ayahuasca retreats and "emotional liberation" treatments in Guatemala to Insta-worthy beaches and sand dunes in Brazil... you just might find the thrill of the Playa somewhere else instead.
1. San Marcos, Guatemala
One of 11 towns and villages around Lake Atitlan, San Marcos is a hotbed for hippies, many of whom come for a day and end up staying indefinitely. While small in size compared to the backpacker-favorite island of San Pedro, there’s no shortage of healing treatments here, from so-called "emotional liberation" sessions and past-life transgression therapy to acupuncture, massages and even week-long Ayahuasca retreats.
2. Eugene, Oregon
While hipsters are flocking to Portland at an alarming rate, many hippie-types much prefer Eugene. People go there for all sorts of reasons, whether on the hunt for herbal remedies or curious about new age philosophy. The artsy community and its environs offer plenty of inspiration, especially the beauty of the natural landscape. Just like at Burning Man, you’ll need a bike to get around, and some colorful garb to toss on (points if it's tie-dye).
3. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Marrakesh may be calling your name, but don’t leave Morocco without spending a few days in the hippie hangout of Chefchaouen. For one, the pale blue-washed buildings and cobbled streets in the old town look like something out of a dream. Besides the aesthetic beauty of Chefchaouen, it’s very affordable to live there. Costs are low, the locals are laid-back and the city’s open-air markets sell just about anything your hippie heart desires.
4. Jericoacoara, Brazil
Burning Man's sweeping landscape may be known as the Playa... but Jericoacoara actually has one. Between the white sand beach, silky sand dunes, and lagoons, there’s no shortage of Insta-worthy photo ops in this small Brazilian village. Despite the boutique hotels and trendy restaurants that have popped up in recent years, it’s still as hippie-esque as it was in the '60s. Even the streets are paved with sand rather than gravel, so definitely leave your heels at home.
5. Negril, Jamaica
If you’re looking for a Burning Man-inspired experience but not quite ready to leave the comforts of home behind, Negril is a safe bet. With resorts and hotels for every price point, in Negril, travelers can experience the hippie lifestyle characteristic of Jamaica: beach bum life by day, dive bars all night. Since Jamaica is fairly easy to get around, consider booking a tour to a nearby Rastafarian village for some afternoon drum playing.
6. Dahab, Egypt
A whirlwind trip through Egypt won’t take you to Dahab, and that’s perfectly fine with the locals and expats who call this coastal town home. A week here can easily feel like Burning Man; visitors are seen sleeping under the stars in Bedouin tents, smoking as much shisha (hookah) as they please and upping their scuba game (it’s a major dive destination). Overall though, it’s a place to do nothing, per se... and not feel guilty about it.
7. Ibiza, Spain
For seasoned Burners, Ibiza might feel like a second home. The island does have a reputation for attracting drunken teenager-types but Ibiza is just as much a day destination as it is a party hotspot. With natural hiking trails and colorful architecture, the island has attracted a hippie community since the 1960s. Spiritual travelers will like Es Vedra island, which has long since been rumored to possess mystical powers and is linked to Carthaginian mythology.
8. Venice Beach, California
Southern California's eclectic Venice Beach community annually hosts an art-themed block party on Rose Avenue between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Even if you can’t make it to the party, Venice is a burner’s paradise any time of year, with street performers, eccentric personalities, gorgeous vistas, and oddities around every corner.
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