West Coast Explorer

This trip is a self-driving adventure that combines two nights each in Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria with three nights in Tofino. In each location, you’ll stay in exquisite hotels, and enjoy enough downtime to hit the spa or simply enjoy your surroundings. Guided tours in Victoria and Vancouver ensure you make the most of each city, while in Whistler and Tofino, you’ll discover wildlife on whale watching and bear viewing excursions, and explore pristine wilderness on Zodiac tours and guided hikes. Optional activities include river rafting, golfing, heli-hiking, fishing, ziplining, and sightseeing by floatplane or helicopter.

Scroll down for a detailed itinerary

 

The Itinerary

Day 1

Upon your arrival at Vancouver International Airport, you’ll pick up your full-sized rental car and enjoy a scenic two-hour drive to Whistler, along the Sea to Sky highway. Explore the pedestrian-only village, lined with boutiques and countless restaurant options (we’re happy to make recommendations or reservations for you). Accommodations are at the Fairmont Château Whistler in a Deluxe Slopeside Room.

Day 2

Today you’ll take the Peak 2 Peak gondola which travels between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Enjoy unobstructed views of mountain peaks, alpine meadows,
and Whistler Village below. At the peak, enjoy alpine hiking and spectacular dining from your choice of five different restaurants. In the afternoon, venture deep into old-growth forests on a guided bear-watching tour. Accommodations are at the Fairmont Château Whistler in a Deluxe Slopeside Room.

Day 3

Today you will drive and ferry approximately seven and a half hours from Whistler to Tofino, located on Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast. If there’s time before dinner, start exploring the Pacific Rim National Park. Hike along surf-swept beaches, centuries-old rainforest, or the new Wild Pacific Trail. Accommodations are at Wickaninnish Inn in a 2nd Floor Deluxe Room.

Day 4

Today you’ll set out on a full-day zodiac excursion in and around the Clayoquot Sound. A designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this temperate rain forest is home to a number of land and marine mammals, including but not limited to: wolves, black bears, cougars, gray whales, orcas, porpoises, seals, otters, bald eagles, and Roosevelt elk. Stop at a sea cave, a seabird-nesting island, and enjoy a dip at Hot Springs Cove, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Accommodations are at Wickaninnish Inn in a 2nd Floor Deluxe Room.

Day 5

Today enjoy a day at leisure in Tofino. Options are plentiful, and there’s something for everyone. Explore the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Rim on a guided interpretive hike, or strap on a wetsuit and brave the frigid temperatures with Surf Sisters for a surfing lesson. With waves breaking year-round, this region has become Canada’s undisputed surf capital! Accommodations are at Wickaninnish Inn in a 2nd Floor Deluxe Room.

Day 6

Drive approximately four and a half hours from Tofino to Victoria today, along the scenic Pacific Rim Highway. Once you’ve arrived in Victoria, start exploring one of the oldest cities in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. Admire the hand-carved totem poles in Beacon Hill Park, or stroll the inner harbour listening to street performers. Accommodations are at the Fairmont Empress in a Deluxe Harbourside Room.

Day 7

Today you’ll hop in an open-air zodiac and explore the nearby Juan de Fuca strait, in search of marine life. The Juan de Fuca Strait is home to three killer whale pods, and sightings are all but guaranteed. You may also spot humpback or gray whales, sea otters, or porpoises. The ride itself is exciting and sometimes quite adventurous—be prepared to get a little wet! In the afternoon, continue to explore historic Victoria. Visit nearby Chinatown and its narrow Fan Tan Alley, and don’t miss Market Square and the boutiques of trendy lower Johnson Street.

Day 8

Today you’ll drive and ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, taking approximately four hours. From your hotel downtown, explore the luxury boutiques of Alberni Street or head to nearby Granville Island for a true market experience, with plenty of craft and food stalls to choose from. Accommodations are at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver in a Deluxe Room.

Day 9

Today enjoy a private cultural tour of Vancouver, and examine the diversity that has shaped the city and its residents. Explore the Vancouver, from the bustling business district to the laid-back warehouse conversions of Yaletown. Experience sensory overload in fragrant Chinatown, where brightly colored spices mark the entrances of herbal pharmacies. Visit one thousand acre Stanley Park, and then head to the North Shore for a coastal rainforest walk and gourmet picnic lunch. Accommodations are at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver in a Deluxe Room.

Day 10

Schedule depending, you may want to revisit a favorite destination from yesterday’s tour today prior to leaving the city centre. Today you will drive out of downtown to the Vancouver International Airport and drop off your rental car in advance of your flight. Safe travels!

 

Download PDF Itinerary

The Route

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