British Columbia wildlife holiday, whales and bears

“An 11 day leisurely small group holiday mainly on Vancouver Island, with some of the most beautiful and dramatic wildlife watching, from bears to whales, you could hope for.”


Vancouver | Nanaimo | Vancouver National Park | Pacific Rim National Park | Tofino Botanical Gardens | Campbell River 'Salmon Capital of the World' | Elk Falls Provincial Park | Orford River | Grizzly bears | Quadra island hiking or sea kayaking | Victoria, capital of British Colombia

Description of British Columbia wildlife holiday, whales and bears

An insular idyll if ever there was one, this British Columbia wildlife holiday takes you on a journey around this wonderfully wild Vancouver Island for a full week, with some time on the mainland in Vancouver city and also on the Orford River. It is hard for people to get their head around that Vancouver Island can be so remote and natural, given that it is close to the magnificent metropolis of Vancouver City. Or indeed that the province’s capital, Victoria is on it. But although only 1.5 hours from the mainland, visitors are transported into another world that includes the Pacific Rim National Park, mountain ranges, giant fir forests and empty coastlines.

We start this trip in Vancouver City with half a day’s guided tour before taking the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. No better way to start our exploration of the Island than by hiking and wildlife watching in Pacific Rim National Park, where gorgeous beaches and temperate forests make for perfect hiking. Followed by a Zodiac trip out into the Pacific waters to go in search of humpback, grey and even orca whales, depending on the season. Staying on the west coast, we also visit the pretty coastal town of Tofino, where the Tofino Botanical Gardens is a bevy of birdlife from woodpeckers and hummingbirds, right up to the great bald eagle. More wildlife watching happens from here, as we take another Zodiac boat trip but this time to see black bears feeding along the shores of Clayoquot Sound, when they come down to feed on crabs and clams.

More bear watching awaits on the north of the island along the Campbell River, which is also known as the salmon capital of the world. And where there are salmon, there are bears waiting to pounce, as well as seals, kingfishers and more eagles. A bit of island and mainland hopping is next on the wildlife itinerary, first over to Orford River on the mainland of British Columbia, to go in search of the tens of thousands of grizzly bears that frequent its shores during salmon spawning season and which you can witness safely from viewing platforms. You won’t be short of marine wildlife on the boat journey there, however, with prolific whales, dolphins and sea lions in this area. A great way to finish this wildlife trip before heading back to Vancouver City.

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05 Sep 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Accommodation and Meals:
We use a mixture of standard and comfortable hotels on this trip. All accommodations used on tour recycle and apply very strict waste management programs that are often derived from provincial and federal regulations. They all encourage the reusing of towels for multiple day stays and offer the option of having your sheets changed or not in an effort to preserve water. Reminders are also left to dissuade people from leaving lights running and wasting water during showers. Where meals are not provided, we either arrange a kitty to cover picnics and source these ingredients at local shops or markets, or we visit restaurants in the area.

As the majority of our activity is wildlife watching, taking photographs, walking through the forests and sea-kayaking, we leave a considerably smaller carbon footprint than some other holidays. Wildlife sightings are a highlight of this trip and we are careful to respect the species that we encounter. A specialist guide will accompany our whale observation excursion to educate us on their behaviour and we travel in small zodiacs which is a non-intrusive way to approach wildlife. When visiting National Parks we stick to marked trails to reduce our impact on the local environment and we pay entrance fees which go towards supporting conservation efforts in the area. Throughout the trip we employ a ‘leave no trace’ policy in regard to litter - everything taken into the parks is taken out to preserve the local environment. We recycle wherever possible and all leaders are trained in responsible tourism to enable them to follow best practice.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

The Impacts of this Trip

Our local tour operators contribute to the organisation ‘Sur la Pointe des Pieds’, whose goal is to help young people living with cancer regain confidence and well-being by going on a therapeutic adventure expedition. Extra supplies are never wasted by throwing items away. If there is uneaten food purchased by a group, this is donated to a local food bank at the end of the tour. Similarly, if there are unwanted sleeping bags left behind our operators donate them to homeless shelters or to the Salvation Army.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.


1 Reviews of British Columbia wildlife holiday, whales and bears

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Whale watching and Grizzly bears (every aspect of the nature in Canada
wild life & scenery)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get good camera, binoculars and plenty of money for food Canada is more expensive than UK- go to Gov site ONLY to get ETA.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes and no

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

7 out of 10.

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