Canada small group holiday

“A 16 day, small group tour of the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver Island, via Calgary, Whistler and Vancouver, optional wildlife and adventure activites. ”

Highlights

Calgary | Banff National Park | Lake Louise | Icefields Parkway | Jasper National Park | Clearwater | Helmcken Falls | Whistler | Vancouver Island | Pacific Rim National Park | Victoria | Vancouver

Description of Canada small group holiday

Starting in Calgary and ending in Vancouver, this two week, small group holiday takes us on a sensational journey across the Canadian Rockies, national parks, mountain towns and the rugged rainforests of Vancouver Island.

The view out over the Rockies from Sulphur Mountain, in Banff National Park, are unbeatable, and the perfect introduction to our tour. From the glassy turquoise waters of Lake Louise to deep forest valleys, Canada’s oldest national park is a picture of perfection. Once we’ve relaxed in the warming waters of the geothermal springs, we’ll hit the highway and drive along the famous Icefields Parkway, a scenic road trip that runs between hundreds of glaciers and icy waterfalls.

Keep your eyes peeled for moose and bears as we explore the vast wilderness of Jasper National Park, where alpine meadows and salmon-filled rivers rub shoulders with snow-capped mountain peaks. Adventurous travellers can take a thrilling ride down the river in a raft or kayak, or see the trails on two wheels.

From Clearwater and views of Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, we’ll head to the impressive cascade of Helmcken Falls, almost three times higher than Niagara. The mountain resort town of Whistler is famous for its skiing, but in the warmer months its slopes and cable cars offer access to beautiful hiking trails. We’ll leave mainland Canada with a ferry to Vancouver Island, and the hugely contrasting temperate rainforest, before returning across whale inhabited waters to the bustling metropolis of Vancouver. 

Travel Team

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Date
Price
Basis
16 May 2020
£3690
including UK flights
Available
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23 May 2020
£3650
including UK flights
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30 May 2020
£3699
including UK flights
Available
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06 Jun 2020
£3660
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 06 Jun 2020 departure
01 Aug 2020
£4260
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Aug 2020 departure
29 Aug 2020
£4099
including UK flights
5 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 29 Aug 2020 departure
12 Sep 2020
£4225
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Canada small group holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

We aim to minimise our impact on the environment through our tour operation and this is key on a trip such as this where we have come to enjoy the natural wonders of Canada. We and our suppliers work to the strict environmental guidelines laid out in our Responsible Tourism policy, governing how we observe wildlife, deal with waste and operate walks to minimise our impacts in the fragile national parks we are visiting. All leaders are trained in responsible tourism matters too and brief our groups on how they can mimimise their own impacts, avoid disturbing wildlife and foster a respect for the culture of indigenous communities.

We spend a significant amount of time at various National Parks on this tour, the included entrance fees help to preserve the status and upkeep of the park on a continued and sustainable basis. Interaction with National Park Rangers helps to preserve this role as an employment opportunity for local people and future generations. Our Tour Leaders educate travellers on how best to interact with the wildlife in the parks, for example advising people not to feed the animals to stop them becoming dependent on hand-outs from humans. They will also advise all groups to keep to the path to avoid upsetting the balance of nature.

As tap water is safe to drink in these areas, we urge you to take a water bottle to fill up, rather than generating plastic bottle waste.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

Whenever possible, we use small local accommodation, such as the Helmcken Falls Lodge at the entrance to the Wells Gray Provincial Park, and locally owned activity providers. We shop at local stores for picnic items, and our Tour Leaders will encourage us to eat in family-run restaurants and visit local shops whenever possible. This all brings economic benefit to the local communities that we visit. Our Tour Leader is Canadian, and will guide us through the National Parks that they know so well.

We travel in small groups of 12-13 people to minimise the effects that large groups have when visiting remote areas and small villages. This allows us to stay in smaller properties and eat in more local establishments, while larger coachloads of 40-50 would need to eat in more touristy places.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

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