Vancouver - Rulers of Land, Sea and Air: Bears, Orcas and Eagles

The Pacific shores of Canada boast a bounty of wildlife nurtured on land and sea by the abundance of water. This is most true for an island, which is defined by its relationship with water. On Vancouver Island watch as sea lions and porpoises dart to and fro beneath your swift boat. Search for killer whales and look up to the sky for the majestic Bald Eagle. Visit with venerable giants at Cathedral Grove. Explore the lush rainforest at the Pacific Rim National Park, and walk along a dramatic shoreline riddled with driftwood to the chatter of commiserating Yellowlegs. Watch as black bears forage along the shore, and as gray whales breach. Here, steps away from the refinement of your civilized accommodations, is a water world bursting with life, which can be accessed with the ease of an outstretched hand.

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

Being detached from the continent, allows the island to have a more temperate climate as the ocean air brings more humidity to the island, keeping it warmer, although a bit more rainy too. In the summer months, it is quite sunny and ideal for the activities outlined in our itinerary. The Fall is also wonderful for foliage viewing.

Day 1 VANCOUVER

Arrive Vancouver, British Columbia, the jumping off point of your Canadian wildlife adventure. Tonight enjoy the sophisticated comfort of your hotel. WEDGEWOOD HOTEL.

Day 2 VANCOUVER/VANCOUVER ISLAND: CAMPBELL RIVER

Spend the first part of your day touring the city of Vancouver which was incorporated in 1867. The area that was the pre incorporated Vancouver held several names all of which were anchored around the old Hastings Mill. See Stanley Park, the old Gastown, Chinatown, Robinson Street, Canada Place and Vancouver Harbor. Take in lunch then head to the ferry and navigate across the Strait of Georgia to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Drive along the eastern shore of this, the largest island in western North America, to Campbell River, where you will take a nature walk in Elk Falls Provincial Park noted for its many picturesque waterfalls. Settle in at the renowned Victorian styled fishing resort. PAINTERS LODGE. (B,D)

Day 3 CAMPBELL RIVER/QUADRA ISLAND/CAMPBELL RIVER

Leave your lodge and hop into a kayak for a sea based guided adventure to nearby Quadra Island. Wildlife guides will help you observe and identify the many species of animals that abound in these fertile waters. Many bird species can be found here including eagle, oystercatcher, heron, cormorant, gull, several species of duck, and geese. Within the water observe harbor seal, sea lion, porpoise, and sometimes whale. Return to Vancouver Island via ferry in the late afternoon. PAINTERS LODGE. (B,L)

Day 4 CAMPBELL RIVER/UCLUELET/PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK

Make your way to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s west coast, the portal into Pacific Rim National Park. Along the way stop off and savor a meal of Vancouver Island Dungeness crab. Visit the McMillan Provincial Park which protects an ancient stand of 800-year-old Douglas fir known as Cathedral Grove. This grove is all that remains of what was once a prodigious fir ecosystem which was decimated by fire and excessive logging. Continue on to your cozy home for the next three nights which occupies a private peninsula connected by a narrow causeway. Here, surrounded by water on all sides, you can take in the austere beauty of the area. WATER’S EDGE RESORT. (B,L)

Day 5 PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK/WHALE WATCHING

Today explore the many faces of Pacific Rim National Park. This dynamic reserve consists of three very distinct regions: Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail. The park encompasses an area of the Pacific coast known as the Graveyard of the Pacific for the number of ships lost to the difficulty in navigating the many islands and straits here. The West Coast Trail was created as a rescue route to aid those whose ships were dashed upon the rocky coastline. Spectacular vistas offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean to the west and long unbroken beaches offer quiet respite. Travel to Tofino after lunch where you will board a Zodiac for a whale watching excursion featuring humpback and gray whales in addition to an accompaniment of porpoises and waterfowl. Return to Ucluelet in the evening. WATER’S EDGE RESORT. (B,L)

Day 6 PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK/BLACK BEAR WATCHING

Visit the Tofino Botanical Gardens in the morning for a lesson on the unique flora that thrives in the cool moist climate of the rainforest. Many bird species can be observed here as well, particularly in the mud flats where one can find Trumpeter Swan, Mallard, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Surf Scoter, and Bufflehead in abundance. After some pictures, take in lunch on your own at a local affair, then return to the Zodiac for a bear watching adventure. At a safe distance from shore you will see black bears on the shore and Bald Eagles soaring overhead while cruising the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound. Note: This excursion is tide dependent, so it may occur early in the morning rather than after lunch. WATER’S EDGE RESORT. (B,D)

Day 7 CAMPBELL RIVER/VICTORIA

Journey back to Vancouver Island’s east coast and down to Victoria at its southern tip. Along the way stop in Duncan, a city that boasts some 80 totem poles (the designs of which are copyrighted) about its perimeter, earning it the moniker “The City of Totems”. The generous number of totems reflects the city’s status as a large First Nations community. Head on to Victoria where after lunch on your own you’ll be treated to a tour of the city, highlights of which may include the historic inner harbor area and the provincial houses of parliament. FAIRMONT EMPRESS HOTEL. (B,D)

Day 8 VICTORIA/ORCAS ZODIAC EXCURSION/VANCOUVER/DEPART

Last day to take to the water in a swift Zodiac. The subject of today’s observations will be the varied marine life found in the cool clear water of the Strait, and in particular orcas. With the use of a hydrophone you can overhear the songs of whales and your expert marine naturalist can point out other marine animals of interest. Return to shore for lunch on your own before departing for the airport and your return flight home. (B)

OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO THE SUNSHINE COAST

The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia features 110 miles of rainforests, seashores and mountains, along with a wide array of wildlife. Here you will experience a slower pace of life as you travel by boat to explore fjords, waterfalls and native pictographs, and also enjoy guided walks and hikes along the coast. Other activities (some at additional cost) include horseback riding, fishing, yoga, massage and spa and additional boat tours. This is the perfect ending of your visit to Vancouver Island. ROCK WATER SECRET RESORT. (B,L,D Daily)

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • All accommodations on this trip are chosen for their location, comfort and charm. These are mostly 4 star hotels. All rooms are en suite with private facilities.
  • American breakfast daily. All other meals as specified.
  • The tour is lead at all times by an experienced driver/guide. In addition, local guides will join the group as specified.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Transportation in 15-passenger maxi-van. A maximum of 9 travelers will be accommodated per van. For larger groups, a 24-passenger minibus is utilized.
  • All park and admission fees.
  • All applicable hotel gratuities and taxes.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.
Prices starting at $4,795. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.