Canadian Wildlife & Vancouver Island

15 days
from
$7,449
incl. taxes
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
PWV
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–13
Min age:
16

Enjoy the mountains, coastline and wildlife of Western Canada

The Canadian Rockies are incredible: rugged peaks, untouched fir forests and radiant glaciers interspersed with valleys rich with wildlife, from Black bears, to deer, moose and coyotes. Visit the unmissable sights of the Rockies and Lake Louise, as well as venturing far off the beaten track for a wilderness experience in Bella Coola and Tweedsmuir. Two dedicated Zodiac boat trips from Vancouver Island give us opportunities to spot bears and whales and get close to the wonderful nature this region is deservedly famous. A highlight is a ferry trip through the Inside Passage which reveals one of the richest marine habitats of the world.

Highlights

  • Zodiac tour to observe Orcas
  • Bear viewing Zodiac tour in Tofino
  • Unforgettable Inside Passage ferry journey spotting whales and birdlife
  • Relax in Miette Hot Springs
  • Visit remote Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and Bella Coola Valley
  • Explore Jasper and Banff national parks
  • Drive along the stunning Icefields Parkway, one of the 'best drives in the world'
  • See Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies
  • Endless wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Many walks and hikes amongst stunning scenery

Key information

  • Travel by minibus, ferry and zodiac
  • Some long drives
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 16yrs
  • Stay in a mix of hotels, lodges and cabins
  • This tour operates from Calgary to Vancouver
  • Countries visited: Canada

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Driver
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Flights
  • All meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Airport transfers
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Calgary
to
Vancouver
  • Day 1

    Start Calgary

    Welcome to Calgary, a cosmopolitan Alberta city with skyscrapers and a booming oil business industry. Calgary has historically been famous for its Wild West roots but in recent years it has become a dynamic and vibrant city. It’s oozing with the Western culture that earned it the nickname ‘Cowtown’, evident in the Calgary Stampede. Introduce yourself to the city by wandering around ahead of your welcome meeting at 18:00 hrs in the hotel lobby, where you’ll meet you tour leader and fellow travelling companions.

    Accommodation: Hotel Clique (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Banff National Park

    Banff National Park is one of the highlights of any visit to Western Canada, with its magnificent mountains, lakes and forests. Banff was Canada's first national park and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Banff town can easily be explored on foot and with plenty of optional activities there's more than enough to fill your time. Check out the iconic Banff Springs Hotel where tourism in the Canadian Rockies first began, visit some of the many souvenir shops in town or take a short trail to the tumbling Bow Falls. You could also walk along Tunnel Mountain trail for a view of Banff and the Bow Valley. Take the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain for rewarding panoramic views of the Rockies, or simply relax in the heated, natural pools of the Banff Hot Springs.

    Optional activities:

    • Aerial gondola/tramway CAD$49-64
    • Hot Springs CA$9

    Accommodation: Brewster Mountain Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 3

    Banff National Park; walk at Lake Louise

    It's time to see more of the magnificent mountains, lakes and forests that Banff is so famous for. Drive to Moraine Lake located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the highest of which is Deltaform Mountain (3,424m). Next take a walk on one of the many trails at nearby Lake Louise; a favourite with many visitors is the hike up to the Plain of Six Glaciers, offering incredible views of the valley. Both of these lakes are famous for their striking blue glacial colour, caused by rock flour carried into the lakes by meltwater from the surrounding glaciers. This is picture-perfect scenery at its very best!

    Accommodation: Brewster Mountain Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 4

    Drive along Icefields Parkway; to Jasper National Park

    Brace yourself, as this morning we travel on one of the most famous and beautiful drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway. This spectacular road traverses the Rockies, running parallel to the Continental Divide. Mountain passes, glaciers and high peaks are some of the many scenic highlights and there are opportunities to see elk, caribou, bears, Bighorn Sheep and goats, which often graze on the vegetation found at the roadside. We stop at all of the 'must see' sights, including Bow Summit and Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Crowfoot Glacier. There is the option to enjoy a guided glacier walk along the way. Our overnight location will be around forty minutes out of town.

    Optional activities:
    Guided glacier walk CA$100 (CA$60 for under 17s)

    Accommodation: Pocahontas Cabins (or similar)

  • Day 5

    Jasper National Park

    Jasper is much quieter and less developed than Banff, which means it is much easier to escape the crowds and spend the day getting to know the national park and its surroundings. There are several options for today. We recommend taking the SkyTram and walking to the summit, which provides fantastic views over the Canadian Rockies. Alternatively, there are various hikes at Mount Edith Cavell including a short hike in the alpine meadows with chances to see caribou, and from where you'll enjoy spectacular views of Angel Glacier, a beautiful hanging glacier in the shape of angel wings. A visit to Miette Hot Springs is included, to relax your muscles after a day of exploring and hiking.

    Optional activities:

    • SkyTram cable car CA$50
    • Float trip on the Athabasca River CA$70

    Accommodation: Pocahontas Cabins (or similar)

  • Day 6

    Mount Robson and Wells Gray Provincial Park

    This morning we take in the majestic views of Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies. Our travels continue to Clearwater, the gateway to Wells Gray Provincial Park where we can discover the parks bewitching waterfalls.

    Accommodation: Clearwater Lodge (or similar)

  • Days 7-8

    Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

    We drive through the Canadian wilderness towards Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, an area that's off the beaten path. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park was named after the 15th Governor General of Canada, Baron Tweedsmuir, who travelled extensively throughout the area by float plane and horseback. The park has varied landscapes on offer, and you can expect to come face to face with rugged mountains, deep lush valleys and spectacular ocean fjords.

    Our overnight location for the next two nights is close to the shores of Anahim Lake, a popular lake for fly fishing that supports an eclectic mix of wildlife. There's an optional canoeing excursion on the lake which we recommend followed with a relaxing evening unwinding by the fireplace! This area has very basic facilities but is extremely beautiful and off the tourist trail.

    Please note: due to the remote nature of this property, some cabins will be more basic than others, often with shared bathroom facilities with a capacity of two to four people maximum. On rare occasions, you may have to use the bathrooms in the main lodge.

    Optional Activities:
    • Canoeing (Anahim Lake/Tweedsmuir) CAD$12 per hour

    Accommodation: Eagle Nest Resort Cabins (or similar) - multi share

  • Day 9

    Hiking in Tweedsmuir; to Bella Coola

    Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is completely off the radar for most tour groups, despite being named as British Columbia's most beautiful park. Spend time in the southern area of the park and enjoy a hiking trail through an area of thick forest. A healthy population of Grizzly and Black bear exists throughout the park, as well as elk, deer, moose and coyote; it is possible to see any of these whilst visiting Tweedsmuir. Wildlife aside, the colours of the mountains combined with the flora and the wilderness feel will ensure that Tweedsmuir is a park that you'll remember. After some time spent hiking, you'll drive over 'the Hill' with superb views all the way to Bella Coola.

    Accommodation: Bella Coola Mountain Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 10

    Bella Coola

    Bella Coola is located at the point where the Bella Coola River joins with the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean. Here, amongst the lush valley bottoms and snow-capped peaks, some of the largest Grizzly bear in the world reside and this little community is gaining a reputation as one of the best places to spot them in British Columbia. The best time of year to view Grizzly bear is from the middle of August to the end of September as this is when they descend from the mountains to catch salmon in the rivers and eat berries. In season, it's possible to join an optional excursion in search of Grizzly bear. Outside of bear season there's a selection of excellent hikes on offer and plenty of optional activities, such as fishing and wildlife viewing.

    Optional activities:
    • Grizzly bear watching (mid Aug - end of Sept) CAD$195
    • Wildlife Rafting tour CAD$100

    Accommodation: Bella Coola Mountain Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 11

    Ferry to Vancouver Island through the Inside Passage

    An absolute delight for wildlife lovers, the Inside Passage offers one of the most amazing ferry journeys in the whole of North America, with everything from frozen fjords to forest-covered hillsides flanking your route. The journey involves taking a 10-hour direct ferry and the scenery is simply spectacular: towering, forest-clad peaks surround the deep fjords and those with a keen eye can often spot Bald eagles and bears. The Inside Passage also supports one of the world's richest marine environments and it may be possible to see Grey whales, Orcas, Pacific White Sided and occasionally Humpback whales. The remoteness of the Inside Passage is its most stunning feature; this area is largely inaccessible by road and the tiny communities that spread along it rely on boats for transportation. We spend tonight in Vancouver Island's most northerly town, Port Hardy.

    Accommodation: North Shore Inn (or similar)

  • Day 12

    Scenic drive via Cathedral Grove; to Ucluelet near Tofino

    We drive from the northern side of Vancouver Island to the area of Tofino on the west coast, through some incredibly scenic areas. We'll make a stop at Cathedral Grove, where there are many trails which meander through the Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Grand Fir and Western Red Cedar trees. Enjoy the scenery and breathe in that fresh island air! Our overnight location will be Ucluelet which is our base for the next two nights.

    Accommodation: Canadian Princess Resort (or similar)

  • Day 13

    Morning boat excursion to observe Black bears; afternoon free for optional activities

    The west coast of Vancouver Island is well-known for its whale and bear sightings. This morning we undertake a boat trip for a unique chance to observe Black bears searching for crabs and clams on the rocky beaches near Tofino. Experienced on-board guides know the area in depth, and we may even be lucky enough to spot whales on this tour. The afternoon is free to enjoy as you wish with kayaking, hiking or the option to join a whale watching boat trip.

    Optional activities:

    • Zodiac Whale watching adventure CAD $130 per half day
    • Sea Kayaking CAD $130 per half day

    Accommodation: Canadian Princess Resort (or similar)

  • Day 14

    To Victoria

    We travel to Victoria, Vancouver Island's main city and the capital of British Columbia. It's a remarkable mix of English Edwardian, First Nations and Chinese architecture, and was home to the first Chinatown in Canada. Victoria is well-known for being the ultimate place to spot Orcas so we have included a zodiac tour to search for these magnificent mammals in their natural environment. In the late afternoon we'll also enjoy a brief tour of the city's highlights with free time for you to explore afterwards.

    Accommodation: Victoria Strathconia (or similar)

  • Day 15

    Ferry to Vancouver; discover the city; end Vancouver

    In the morning we board a ferry across the Salish Sea, admiring the small islands and breathtaking panorama of the city of Vancouver as it comes into view. This cosmopolitan and diverse metropolis is a real contrast to the rest of British Columbia, but always proves to be a highlight. Enjoy a scenic drive through Stanley Park, a 400-hectare green wonderland with authentic totem poles erected in the 1920s; and stop by Prospect Point, a scenic lookout where you can gaze out at spectacular views of Lions Gate Bridge, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.

    This holiday ends at our gateway hotel in Vancouver at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on flights departing from most UK airports.

If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.

Visas

Canada

The Government of Canada has an entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for some international travellers flying into Canada. Citizens from countries other than the US who do not require a visa to enter Canada are required to obtain an eTA before entering the country. Eligible travellers will need to go online to apply for their eTA.

To apply for your eTA you will need your passport, credit or debit card and an email address. At the time of publication there was a CAD$7 fee to process your eTA. Your eTA will be valid for a period of five years, or until your passport expires. We recommend you carry a print out of your eTA approval when you travel. Please visit www.canada.ca/eTA to apply.

If you have not applied for and received authorisation via an eTA prior to travel you may be denied boarding, experience a delayed processing or be denied admission at the Canadian point of entry. However, neither possession of a visa nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visafree on the eTA, guarantees admission to Canada. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the point of entry.

Vaccinations

Canada

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

No meals included.

On this tour no meals are included and instead you will usually eat out in local restaurants.

To help you budget for your meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from CAD$6-$12, lunches from CAD$8-$15 and dinners from CAD$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately CAD$5 per glass and beer CAD$4 per bottle. 

Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in Canadian restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour guide may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty; this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Tour guides will explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run. 

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of Canada certain food types can be limited.

Weather

Temperatures in the coastal region around Vancouver average 22ºC in summer, but can reach as high as 30ºC in the low lying interior. June and September are usually a bit cooler, and the coast can get rain at any time of year. The mountains have typically unpredictable weather; sun, cloud, rain and even snow can all be experienced in a day!

Is this trip for you?

This tour has been graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

Tour guides will organise the optional activities available and you can pay locally in cash for these. You’ll find the main optional activities listed above under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. Please note that it may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, lodges and cabins

5 hotel nights, 5 lodge nights and 4 cabin nights.

Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable hotels or lodges with en-suite bathroom facilities, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. We also use cabins on this tour which are more simple but due to the remote locations these are the best options available. 

At our accommodation in Tweedsmuir, some cabins will be more basic than others, often with shared bathroom facilities with a capacity of two to four people maximum. On rare occasions, you may have to use the bathrooms in the main lodge. Due to the nature of this accommodation, single supplements cannot be guaranteed for these two nights of the tour. 

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2018
    Thomas Piner

    Canadian Rockies

    The trip was very enjoyable and our tour leader Simon was very pleasant and organized. He was very positive and enthusiastic about all aspects of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Canadian Rockies are incredible. It needs to be seen to be believed

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Simon was very pleasant and organized. He was very positive and enthusiastic about all aspects of the trip. He made time to chat to all members of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mosquitos repellent is a must in summer

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tweedsmuir Provincial Park; Anahim Lake; The accommodation was at Eagles Nest. They seem to have different levels of accommodation for different group members. Standard minus - no electricity and no heating. This was the accommodation assigned to me. Standard - with electricity and fridge. Assigned to some members of the group. I asked for an upgrade to a room with electricity as other group members had. But was told that I needed to pay $47 for the upgrade. I did pay the surcharge and got a better room. My view is that all group members should be given the same type of accommodation.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Victoria Hemming

    Stunning Scenery

    I enjoyed the trip and the scenery of the areas visited is stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the glacier and the ferry trip up the Inside Passage (long but well worth it) were the highlights for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was excellent and worked hard to ensure that all members of the group had options for activities suitable for them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is an active holiday with opportunities to go hiking - I'm not sure this was clear to some of the people booking through different companies onto the holiday so adjustments had to be made for them by to group leader.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary followed was not exactly as described in the trip notes - a visit to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine were done on the day the notes said we would go to Banff and the visit to Banff took place prior to driving to Calgary. It was good to see the lakes and have to opportunity to do some walking but this needs to be changed on the trip notes. It would be good to have some more time in Banff to explore the town.
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous

    CANADIAN ROCKIES & VANCOUVER ISLAND

    An amazing and diverse active trip with fabulous scenery and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lake Moraine was my trip highlight, I have never seen colours like that anywhere in my life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She is probably the best tour leader I have ever had.  This was my first exodus trip but I have used many other operators and she by far surpassed my expectations.  She was fun but serious when she needed to be, direct and as helpful as she could be, not to mention strong (a very handy requirement given the weight of my case!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for extreme temperatures at both ends of the spectrum.  When the sun is shining on you it is very hot but otherwise very cold.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just that I couldn't recommend this trip enough.  I have been eager to go to Canada for years now and this trip absolutely met all of my expectations.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CANADIAN ROCKIES & VANCOUVER ISLAND

    This was a trip through beautiful scenery with a good mix of sights and activities

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the humpback whales near Tofino.The drive down the Icefields parkway.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joanne was very knowledgable about the area, and was good fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too much luggage - travel light!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you're thinking of doing this trip - then just go for it!
  • Reviewed September 2011
    Anonymous

    CANADIAN ROCKIES & VANCOUVER ISLAND

    Mountains, glaciers, amazing blue lakes and lots of trees were on offer in abundance. Keep a sharp look-out and you might see bears and elk but you couldn't fail to see the cheeky chipmunks and the ground squirrels. This is just the trip for the outdoor type of person.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The amazing blue Peyto lake and the glacier and mini icebergs (and big fat snowflakes) at Mount Edith Cavell were some of the highlights of the trip. Pre-dawn over the bay with the tide out at Parksville gave us a magical moment. This was an unexpected hotel stop caused by the extra day spent on the ferry from Bella Coola to Port Hardy - sleeping on the floor of the ferry for the night had it's compensations!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michel was efficient and friendly - he seemed to enjoy the trip as much as we did. He worked hard to pace the days according to the capabilities of the group and was always around for queries and questions. If he didn't know the answers to the questions, then he'd find out or lend us a book with the facts (obscure botanical questions were not his forte).When the ferry captain of the boat between Bella Coola and Port Hardy was delayed at anchor by 20 hours he and the local company worked hard to re-arrange the accommodation. This had to be done several times as the captain changed his mind about the situation and the timing of our arrival in Port Hardy. Michel consulted with the whole group and a joint decision was made to drop the night in Victoria, keeping two nights near Tofino.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    ATMs - make sure you know which banks use Visa and which use MasterCard. The banks in Canada use one or the other and you can waste some time finding a bank which will accept your card. Shops and restaurants will accept either.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There was not much cultural content - we learnt more about the first nations and the early history from our own museum visit in Calgary than we did on the trip.
  • Reviewed September 2011
    Anonymous

    CANADIAN ROCKIES & VANCOUVER ISLAND

    Good holiday but quite a lot of travel. The minibus was a little cramped.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mount Robson without clouds on its peak!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - we had to spend 31 hours on the boat fromBella Coola to Port Hardy instead of the expected 11. Michel sorted out our hotels etc very quickly cancelling our hotel in Port Hardy and booking us into another hotel in Parkville. He made a point of consulting us as to what the group wished to do - either spend two nights in Tofino or one night in Tofino and one night in Victoris.
  • Reviewed September 2011
    Anonymous

    CANADIAN ROCKIES & VANCOUVER ISLAND

    There was a great mix of activity on this holiday. It was a wonderful experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears and the whales in their natural habitat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good. Very knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have taken suitable precautions for any injuries you may be carrying. Spraining my ankle again meant I couldn't take part in all the activities I wanted to. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A really fabulous trip.

Dates & Prices

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on flights departing from most UK airports. If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting.

We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.

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