The Canadian wilderness is home to some of the world’s most incredible wildlife. In a day, you can witness grizzlies fishing for salmon, come face to face with a majestic moose and watch a breaching humpback whale off the coast. For wildlife photographers, the dramatic landscapes of Canada provide the ultimate setting whilst nature lovers are bound to be blown away by the diverse flora and fauna that awaits around every corner.
Canada’s landscapes are primed for a hiking adventure and its many thousands of trails are fit for any age and ability. Whether it be heli-hiking in the mountains, or a gentle stroll around one of its many alpine lakes, no matter your fitness or walking preferences, there is bound to be something that appeals to everyone.
Canada’s formidable scenery is primed for discovery on four wheels. Roads skirt majestic mountain passes, shimmering blue lakes and endless wilderness making for a journey you and your loved ones will never forget. Whether its that of a sparkling ocean, a lush pine forest, a thundering waterfall, a craggy peak or a gurgling stream, there is a postcard perfect view awaiting at every turn in the road.
The soaring mountains and thick forests of inland British Columbia are a thrilling wilderness where hikers roam through flower-filled meadows and grizzly bears fish for salmon, but venturing to the coast provides just as much fun and adventure. Our specialists have handpicked their favourite ways to spend their days in Coastal BC.
A pristine wilderness on a scale difficult to imagine, Canada’s glaciated Rocky Mountains are a true adventure playground with a huge range of activities on offer. From hiking to horse-riding and of course wildlife spotting, there is no end of things to do. Here’s our lowdown on the top ten ways to spend your days in this grand region, which spans the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia...
Whales and Bears in British Columbia
Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Great Bear Rainforest, Port Hardy, Vancouver
Best for: Imagine Favourites, Off the beaten track, Specialist
Experience British Columbia’s iconic wildlife on this magnificent trip which includes world-class whale viewing on Vancouver Island, thrilling floatplane adventures and a stay at the spectacular Great Bear Lodge.
Call us on (646) 757-1485 or Enquire now
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All this wilderness means you can have a lot of outdoor adventures. First and foremost, there’s the wildlife, and whether you’re into bears, whales or wolves, British Columbia’s national parks, protected wilderness regions and, frequently, any old where, offer fantastic opportunities to get close to the action, with Great Bear Rainforest, one the headline acts. If you want to get properly into BC’s extraordinary landscapes, nothing‘s better than using your feet – whether it’s striding along a mountain ridge, pushing pedals on a mountain bike track, or getting your feet wet whilst trying your hand at surfing – we know the very best places to go. On water, you can raft, kayak, float, surf or cast a line and join the local fishermen and catch the ingredients for a cook-out barbecue supper.
Days 1 - 3 : Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at L'Hermitage Vancouver for 2 nights
Begin with a couple of nights in cosmopolitan Vancouver to acclimatise and see off the jet lag while staying at the lovely boutique hotel L’Hermitage. Explore Granville Island with a lively artisan market, interesting boutiques and picturesque lanes to wander. Stanley Park, North America’s largest urban park, offers spectacular waterfront views. You can browse the fashion racks in Gastown or a culinary tour of Vancouver’s Chinatown will bring you face to face with steaming dim sum and Cantonese specialities. Afterwards, explore the sights of Chinatown and in summer try to catch the Friday Chinatown Night Market.
Days 3 - 6 : Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at Oswego Hotel for 3 nights
Your second stop will be the picturesque Victoria on Vancouver Island, travel by ferry and you may just get your first glimpse of a whale! Visit the botanical Butchart Gardens and go whale watching during your stay. We also recommend taking a bicycle tour of the city which takes you through Beacon Hill Park, the Inner Harbour, James Bay and Chinatown.
Days 6 - 9 : Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at Long Beach Lodge for 3 nights
Next collect your hire car, and enjoy a spectacular drive across the island to Tofino, via towering Douglas firs and pretty ocean inlets. Stay a few days on Vancouver Island’s magnificent west coast, where you’ll have the chance to head out to sea in a rib boat in search of abundant marine wildlife with expert guides, as well as black bears exploring the coastal shores, all the while staying at one of Tofino’s best beachfront hotels.If you come during the month of May you can witness first-hand the incredible annual northern migration of approximately 20,000 grey whales. These whales feed in the food rich waters and protected bays of Clayoquot Sound on their way to the Bering Sea from the lagoons of Baja Mexico. From June to November, along with the resident grey whales, a whole host of other mammals visit the west coast of Vancouver Island, including orcas, humpback whales, a variety of porpoises, Steller and California sea lions and harbour seals. If you are fortunate you may even spy a sea otter.
Days 9 - 12 : Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at Great Bear Lodge for 3 nights
Next, it is a drive, and float plane journey to access the pristine wilderness of Great Bear Lodge, used by the BBC while filming for their series Secrets of Our Living Planet. Over the next few days, a small specialist team of expert biologist guides will take you out to explore the magnificently pristine ecosystem and seeing your first grizzly bear roaming free in its natural habitat is thrilling and humbling at the same time, and it’s not something you are likely to forget in a hurry. Viewing at close quarters is done either from a hide above the river or from a boat on the estuary depending on where the grizzly bears are. Bears are most visible from late August to October when the salmon run but can also be seen in spring and summer in fewer numbers. Other wildlife (wolves, otters, bald eagles, black bears, pine martens and mink) may also put in an appearance, and sometimes even a humpback whale can be seen breaching in the estuary. In between the morning and afternoon wildlife viewing, other activities are offered, including boat trips, sea kayaking and an interpretive rainforest walk to learn about the ecology of the forest. The guides and staff are always available and love sharing their passion for the wildlife of British Columbia, either informally or in one of their regular evening presentations.
Day 12 - 13 : Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada
From Great Bear Lodge, you’ll float plane back to Port Hardy, before overnighting here to allow for connections back to Vancouver. With only modest accommodation on offer, the Quarterdeck is one of a handful of hotels in the town offering pleasant views, a decent restaurant and a comfortable overnight stay.
Day 13 - 14 : Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at L'Hermitage Vancouver for 1 night
Spend one more night enjoying Vancouver City before flying home the next day.
When to go
British Columbia is blessed with long summers to enjoy the great outdoors. May signals the start of spring in BC but there is still a chill in the air and many lodges on Vancouver Island aren't open yet. June is considered the best month to visit for wildflowers, pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. July and August are the most popular months for travel, due to families. The summer months are fantastic for outdoor activities, including bear viewing, whale watching and ocean activities and temperatures generally range from low to mid-twenty degrees Celsius. For bear viewing at Great Bear Lodge, spring viewing starts early May to the end of June, it is mating time for the bears, so they can often be seen from the estuary, and it is a good time for birdlife. During the summer from July through to the end of August, bears are still in the vicinity but harder to see as they are looking for food away from the estuary. From the end of August through to mid-October you will see the largest number of bears as well as cubs due salmon run, making it the most popular time to visit if bear viewing is your focus. The salmon run also brings other wildlife into the area, including fishing bald eagles.
Call us on (646) 757-1485 or Enquire now
Things to do
Guided Salmon Fishing
Located in the self-proclaimed 'Salmon Capital of the World', Painter's Lodge offers some of the best fishing action available in the world. Climb aboard to experience the excitement of a large salmon fighting on the line.
Whale Watching in Victoria
You will be collected from your hotel this morning and taken to the harbour for your whale watching cruise with Orca Spirit. Vancouver Island is incredibly famous for its abundance of marine wildlife and the whale watching is brilliant.
Whale Watching in Tofino
This tour takes you through the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound to view beautiful scenery and wildlife. Depending on the time of year, you could encounter gray whales, humpback whales, sea lions, sea birds and resident bald eagles.
From $5828 per person
International economy class flights and airport taxes from the UK
All meals and activities at Great Bear Lodge; Room only as L'Hermitage, Long Beach Lodge and Oswego
Floatplane and ferry transfers throughout
Car rental on Vancouver Island
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.