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Vancouver Island Featuring Black Bears, Grizzlies and Whales

Ranked as one of the world’s best islands to visit by most travel publications, the natural beauty of Vancouver Island must be seen to be believed!  

From Victoria - BC’s historic capital, to the rugged wilderness around Tofino on the west coast, “The Island” as it’s known locally has one of the world's most diverse ecosystems: rainforests, marshes, meadows, beaches, mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes. This diversity provides habitats for a huge variety of wildlife species, and so visitors to the island are assured of a wide range of opportunities to experience spectacular natural beauty and wildlife viewing. The beauty and tranquility of the island has also long been a draw for artists and artisans - there are countless art galleries, studios and shops selling unique, locally produced arts and crafts throughout the island.

A highlight of our July and August tours will be our Marine Wildlife and Whale Watching Safari in the waters around Campbell River and the Discovery Island Region - an opportunity to potentially see humpback whales, orcas and other marine wildlife amidst spectacular scenery. 

The highlight of our September tour will be our Grizzly Bear Watching Tour in a region known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Viewing these amazing animals up close in their natural habitat is an experience that you will never forget. In addition, there will also be the potential sighting of orcas and other marine wildlife.

Vancouver Island is also home to many resilient First Nations communities. We will learn about the natural and cultural traditions that have been passed down through the generations.
A Naturalist will travel with us throughout the tour, and local guides will join us as well in order to provide more detailed insight.

* This tour is suitable only for the fit and active traveller.

Itinerary / Excursions

We fly to Victoria, and upon arrival transfer to our hotel. There will be an afternoon Program Orientation discussion, before this evening’s Welcome Dinner.
This morning we enjoy an informative talk about the wildlife and ecosystems found along BC’s southern coast, before embarking on a nature walk to Beacon Hill Park with a naturalist guide. After our included lunch we board a vessel for an exciting marine wildlife viewing adventure along the southern coast of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Keep your eyes peeled for possible sightings of seals, sea lions, eagles and other marine birds, porpoises and even orcas!
We begin the day with a scenic drive up the coast to the quaint fishing village of Cowichan Bay, where we learn about the lifecycle of salmon and marine habitat preservation. We then stop in the charming town of Chemainus, once home to the largest enclosed sawmill in North America. The town is now known for its beautiful murals, which we will see on our tour. We continue to Courtenay for a 3-night stay. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant.
We visit the Deep Bay Marine Field Station where we learn more about marine biology and ecosystems. After lunch at a local restaurant we proceed to the town of Comox, home to a thriving First Nations community, and visit the traditional big house where feasts and potlatches are hosted. Our guide will discuss her culture and how her people have maintained a highly sophisticated society that has survived here for thousands of years without a written language. View the art displayed in totem poles, crest carvings, paintings and regalia. This is a unique and genuinely moving experience. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
July and August tours- We proceed to Campbell River for our marine wildlife and whale watching safari aboard a comfortable marine vessel

The nutrient rich waters surrounding Campbell River and the Discovery Island region makes this one of the most popular marine wildlife viewing destinations in the world, offering a great opportunity to sight humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, as well as bald eagles, with a backdrop of spectacular scenery.

September tour- Today we set off in a comfortable marine vessel to see Grizzly Bears along the Orford River – home to one of BC’s largest concentration of Grizzlies

Our journey will take us through the exciting Seymour Narrows and the Hole in the Wall, past many scenic islands, with icefield capped mountains in the background. Wildlife viewings en route could include Orca, dolphins, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, otter and mink. Once we reach the Orford River we are welcomed by our hosts, the Homalco First Nations, for whom these are historical lands. They will shuttle us by minibus to a series of viewing areas strategically placed throughout the salmon spawning grounds, where the Grizzlies are fishing and feeding. The bears can come within 10 feet of our platforms, providing once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities.
We continue to Errington and visit the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. This non-profit, volunteer facility provides care and medical attention to injured wildlife from all over Vancouver Island. After our visit we proceed to Coombs – a farmers market where goats live on the roof of the moss covered store. Then it’s on to the fabled town of Tofino on the wild west coast of the island. With its ancient rainforest, vast stretches of white sand and massive waves pounding in from the Pacific Ocean, Tofino boasts one of Canada’s most breathtaking locations.
We travel to Ucluelet to join a local naturalist who will lead us on a walk along the Wild Pacific Trail, where we’ll learn about the region’s unique flora and fauna. Whales are often spotted from this location as well. Later we’ll stop at the Kwistis Visitor Centre, which focuses on the natural and cultural heritage of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Abundant to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, the Black Bear makes its presence known when the tides are low. They roam the shores in search of their favourite delicacy, the Rock Crab. Cruising through these scenic passageways allows for many opportunities to view other wildlife like herons, eagles, harbour seals and porpoises in their natural habitat. All the while the crew will entertain you with interesting facts about wildlife and the surrounding area. After our cruise we’ll enjoy free time in Tofino before continuing to Cathedral Grove – an old growth forest of Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Broadleaf Maple and Balsam Fir. Some trees are estimated to be 800 years old. We then travel to the east coast of Vancouver Island and the city of Nanaimo for our overnight stay.
We head south and stop in Duncan, famous for its Totems. Then we arrive back in Victoria, and enjoy a city tour before checking into our hotel. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home from Victoria.
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