Whales, Bears, Cities, and First Nations Culture
Length Dates Route Price (CAD)
Length: 9 Nights / 10 Days Dates: May 15 to October 15 Route: Victoria - Tofino / Ucluelet - Quadra Island - Vancouver Price (CAD): From $1,765+ per person (based on double occupancy)
This itinerary features the lively urban centres of Victoria and Vancouver, remote wilderness destinations, the unrivalled beauty of Vancouver Island’s scenery and fascinating Aboriginal culture experiences.
In Victoria, embark on an exciting whale-watching journey. Travel to remote Tofino to discover the remote and untamed rainforests and coastal beauty seldom seen by people, home to grizzly bears and eagles; and paddle to Meares Island in a traditional dugout canoe.
A captivating stay on Quadra Island provides a perfect base for nature viewing excursions in search of whales and other marine life, black bears and grizzly bears.
Day 1 Arrival in Victoria
Upon arrival in Victoria, pick-up your rental car and drive to your hotel. Victoria offers visitors an ideal and enticing mix of Canada’s storied past and its modern and vibrant present.
Featuring everything from sunny beaches and sparkling lakes to championship golf courses, spas, shopping, gourmet restaurants and a happening nightlife, Victoria is also home to museums, art galleries and historical sites.
As the traditional territories of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations, Victoria is the perfect destination to discover Canada’s Aboriginal heritage.
Included: Magnolia Hotel or similar, Admission to the Royal BC Museum
Day 2 Exploring Victoria
A short drive brings you to the seaside village of Sidney, one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Embark on an exciting 3 ½-hour marine cruise by zodiac into the Salish Sea with Sidney Whale Watching.
You may see transient and resident orcas (killer whales), grey whales, humpback whales, minke whales, and other marine life. From Sidney drive to world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Stroll through the many themed gardens and delight in the dynamic palette of colours and fragrances.
Included: Magnolia Hotel or similar, Whale Watching Tour, Admission to Butchart Gardens
Day 3 Victoria to Tofino
Travel from Victoria to Tofino and enjoy a panorama of scenic beauty unfolding before you. In Duncan, be sure to visit the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre and hear the stories and legends of the Quw’utsun’ people. Further north is the town of Chemainus with its world-renowned giant outdoor wall murals.
A short drive further brings you to Port Alberni, in the traditional lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, majestically located on a deep-water ocean inlet. Here, visit the Ahtsik Native Art Gallery, which houses hand-crafted art from the Nuu-chah-nulth, Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Your drive will end at Pacific Rim National Park – a marvel of ecological and geographical diversity.
Included: Tin Wis Resort in Tofino or Wya Point Resort in Ucluelet
Day 4 Exploring Tofino
Enjoy an excursion in a traditional First Nations dugout canoe to Meares Island with T’ashii Paddle School. Join a Nuu-chah-nulth guide and learn about First Nations culture, history and the local environment.
In the evening you may wish to enjoy dinner at the Kwisitis Feast House which is locally owned and operated by the Ucluelet First Nation and located right on Kiwistis Beach. Enjoy delicious traditionally prepared foods and have breathtaking views of the beach.
While you are dining you may catch a glimpse of a whale or a seal playing in the waves and watch the eagles swoop over the surfers as they rip through waves.
Included: Tin Wis Resort in Tofino or Wya Point Resort in Ucluelet, Traditional Canoe Excursion
Day 5 Tofino to Quadra Island
This morning, your route will introduce you to many gems including the petroglyph at Sproat Lake or the picturesque falls at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.
Upon arrival in Campbell River, you will have a 10-minute ferry ride to Quadra Island, followed by a short drive to your beautiful oceanfront resort, the Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge.
This Aboriginal-owned and operated lodge features Pacific Coast Kwagiulth architecture as well as traditional and contemporary native art.
Included: Tsa-Kwa-Luten, The Resort at Cape Mudge
Day 6 Wildlife Viewing Excursion
Today you will enjoy a thrilling wildlife viewing excursion with Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife Viewing & Adventure Tours. The focus and duration of the excursion varies by season:
- May 15 – August 24: 6-hour marine wildlife viewing in Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait. Search for orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, eagles, seals and sea lions and black bears. On occasion, in the spring, you may see grizzly bears.
- August 25 – October 15: 8-hour grizzly bear viewing in Orford River in Bute Inlet (fjord). Travel by high-speed, covered vessel through pristine glacial river valleys, which are home to these magnificent animals. View bears on specially designed bear viewing platforms, which are situated along the river in strategic locations. Here you’ll have the opportunity to witness firsthand the autumn ritual of bears feasting on spawning salmon in Canada´s true wilderness.
Included: Tsa-Kwa-Luten, The Resort at Cape Mudge, 6 or 8-hour Wildlife Viewing Tour
Day 7 Quadra Island to Vancouver
Today you board the ferry for your return trip to Campbell River where you continue your drive south along the eastern shores of Vancouver Island.
As you drive through Comox, you are passing through the traditional lands of the K’ómoks First Nation where you can visit the I-Hos Gallery. The gallery sells authentic west coast First Nations art.
Arriving in Nanaimo, you board a BC Ferries vessel and sail across the Salish Sea to arrive in Vancouver. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Included: Loden Hotel or similar
Day 8 Vancouver Exploring
Late morning embark on a 5-hour small group sightseeing tour of Vancouver. You will see many highlights including Canada Place, Robson Street, Sports Venues, the Library, theatres, Chinatown and historic Gastown.
A short stop is made in Stanley Park before crossing over the iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge to Vancouver’s North Shore rainforest. Here you will walk across the 450-ft-long Capilano Suspension Bridge over a spectacular river canyon. The tour also visits Granville Island with its waterfront public market, artisan shops, eateries and art galleries.
Included: Loden Hotel or similar, 5-hour Vancouver Sightseeing Tour
Day 9 Vancouver First Nations Discovery
This morning you will join a local First Nations guide from Talaysay Tours for a leisurely 90-minute ‘Talking Trees’ walking tour through 1,000-acre Stanley Park. Your guide will share the many stories of this region, as well as the intimate cultural and scientific knowledge of the Northwest coast trees and plants. You will learn how still today, these plants are used for food, medicine, art and technology.
Afterwards you will have leisure time to explore the city on your own. Be sure to visit Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, a public gallery named after the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid.
You may wish to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner at Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro, which features a menu of wild local fish, organic and free range meats, bannock and other culinary delights inspired by a variety of First Nations traditions.
Included: Loden Hotel or similar, 1.5-hour ‘Talking Trees’ walk in Stanley Park
Day 10 Tour Ends
If you are leaving Vancouver via the Vancouver International airport you can visit the Musqueam Cultural Centre in South Vancouver before your flight. Here you can discover the ways of the Musqueam people whose traditional territory occupies what is now Vancouver and surrounding areas.
- Without rental car: From $1,765† (CAD) per person (based on double occupancy)
- With rental car: From $1,995† (CAD) per person (based on double occupancy)
Overview of Inclusions:
- Superior & deluxe accommodation for 9 nights
- Admission to Butchart Gardens, Royal British Columbia Museum
- Whale watching excursion in Sidney
- Guided Meares Island tour in a traditional First Nations dugout canoe
- 6 or 8-hour wildlife viewing excursion on Quadra Island
- 5-hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver
- 5-hour ‘Talking Trees’ walk in Stanley Park
- BC Ferries: Campbell River – Quadra Island – Campbell River; Nanaimo to Vancouver
- 9-day rental for intermediate size -AVIS Class C (only included in price with rental car)
† Price is in Canadian Dollars. Price is per person, based on two people sharing. The price is for orientation and reference purposes only. The final price of this package will be confirmed upon receiving your request.