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Coastal Cultural Explorer
(Tour Code: SD117P) Departs from Vancouver: Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
All pricing is in USD$
30 May - 09 Jun, 2020
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Experience marine wildlife viewings, relax in natural hot springs, see spectacular coastal scenery and learn about local Indigenous culture on this 8-day self drive through BC.
The journey takes you on a loop from Vancouver through Quadra Island, Telegraph Cove, Tofino and Ucluelet with plenty of photo-worthy moments along the way.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1 Arrive Vancouver
Upon arrival in Vancouver transfer to your downtown hotel (not included). The remainder of your day is at leisure to explore the city on your own. Restaurants, shopping, nightlife, a mild climate and a cosmopolitan atmosphere make Vancouver a favourite tourist destination.
Day 2 Vancouver to Quadra Island (177 km/105 mi + Ferry)
To begin this scenic coastal journey, follow Highway 99 north from Vancouver to picturesque Horseshoe Bay. Board the Departure Bay Ferry to Nanaimo for a 1 hr 35 min ride across the Georgia Strait. Upon departing BC Ferries head north through Vancouver Island's second largest city, Nanaimo, known as the Harbour City, and Parksville, the beginning of Beach Country and home of the annual International Sandcastle Competition. From Campbell River, catch a 10 minute ferry to Quadra Island.
Day 3 Quadra Island Exploring
Today is a free day to enjoy the sights and activities in Quadra Island, Campbell River, and the surrounding area.
Day 4 Quadra Island to Telegraph Cove (201km/125mi + Ferry)
Make your way to the ticket booth upon arrival at the Quadra Island BC Ferries Terminal. No voucher is required for this route. The highway north of Campbell River climbs through ruggest and deserted country particular after Sayward, the Valley of a Thousand Faces (1400 famous faces painted onto cedar logs). Stop at Telegraph Cove where you will spend the night. Telegraph Cove is tucked away on the eastern coast of Northern Vancouver Island in one of the last virtually untouched areas of the North American continent.
Day 5 Whales & Culture Tour
Departing from Telegraph Cove, combine cultural discoveries with world-class wildlife watching on an adventure into the heart of traditional First Nations' territory of the Kwakwaka'wakw: Vancouver Island North.Experience the elements on a fast-paced three to four-hour zodiac tour that puts you at one with nature and offers a personal perspective of the Kwakwaka'wakw culture. The adventure begins in Alert Bay at the U'mista Cultural Centre - a museum dedicated to telling the story of the people of the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation. Your tour guides, members of one of the 19 tribes of Kwakwaka'wakw, will interpret the exhibitions to delve deeper into the history of the artifacts. See the ancestral masks that were confiscated during the Potlatch Ban between 1884 and 1951, which outlawed traditional ceremonial feasts and potlatches and had a huge impact on indigenous people.
With a greater understanding of the cultural and spiritual importance of wildlife to the Kwakwaka'wakw, you will take an exhilarating zodiac expedition to discover the home of orca, humpback, grey and minke whales. Watch them feed, spout and breach while waiting at a respectful distance from the whales and keeping an eye out for other wildlife; from eagles that soar across our bow to seals, sea lions and porpoises swimming in the waters surrounding you.
Day 6 Telegraph Cove to Tofino/Ucluelet (441 km/274 mi)
Leaving Telegraph Cove today travel south to Campbell River, historically renowned as the "Salmon Capital of the World," lying at the heart of neighboring Strathcona Park, Desolation Sound, Mount Washington and Robson Bight.
Continue south through Comox, Courtenay and Qualicum Beach to Port Alberni. The small community of Coombs, the Bakery and the Old Country Market with famous "Goats on the Roof" make a perfect rest stop to buy picnic supplies before you enter Cathedral Grove (Macmillan Provincial Park).
Day 7 Tofino (Hot Springs Explorer)
This tour combines a hot springs and whale watching tour (weather conditions permitting). From Ucluelet you will travel 32 km/19 mi to the north end of Clayoquot Sound; some stops may include a sea cave, black bear viewing, an eagle's nest and a seabird nesting island depending on the time of season. You will then travel to a series of thermal rock pools. While on shore, a 2 km hike through the rainforest boardwalk trail from dock to springs where the natural sulphur hot springs are located (about 50C/110 F). Afterwards, head out to sea in search of whales and other marine life before returning to the dock.
Day 8 Tofino to Vancouver (221 km/138 mi + Ferry)
Today make your way back towards Port Alberni and spend time investigating the Alberni Valley Museum, Maritime Discovery Centre & McLean Mill. Continue back to the east coast of Vancouver Island to connect with BC Ferries in Nanaimo traveling to Horseshoe Bay and onto Vancouver.
- BC Ferries fares for passengers and a vehicle between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay
- BC Ferries fares for passengers and a vehicle between Campbell River and Quadra Island
- Whales & Culture Tour (4.5 hrs)
- Hot Springs Explorer (7 hrs)
- Rental Car
- BC Parks Fee (Must be paid locally)
- Activities, other than specified
Hotel Information: Moderate Category
- Vancouver, BC – Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel, One Bedroom Deluxe
- Quadra Island , BC – Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge, Main Lodge Accommodation
- Telegraph Cove, BC – Telegraph Cove Resort, Cabin
- Ucluelet, BC – Water's Edge Shoreside Suites, One Bedroom Suite