Vancouver Island Tour

Vancouver Island

Rising from the rich Pacific Ocean, the legendary Vancouver Island offers so much raw wilderness and wildlife, yet most is inaccessible by road. Our Vancouver Island trips take you off the beaten track, to discover our diversity — from the oceanic northwest coast, to the quieter channels and archipelagos of the inside passage, from the rainforest in the north to the balmy mediterranean islands in the south. Wildlife includes whales, bears, birds and many other marine mammals. All of this is punctuated by the region’s rich culture: from the elders at Kyuquot who teach us traditional skills, to the boardwalk communities of the Broughton Archipelago, to the culinary artisans of the south.

Explore the Area

Highlights

  • Choose from several itineraries, each showcasing a unique part of Vancouver Island: * from the Wild Side (northwest); * to the Inside Passage & Desolation Sound (eastern coast); * to the Broughton Archipelago (northeast); * to the Salish Sea & Gulf Islands (south).
  • Explore the rich marine world, and the rich rainforest and island natural areas.
  • Visit eclectic island communities, and the deep cultural history of the area with indigenous guides.
  • View the region’s wildlife, with naturalists and expert guides, from marine mammals to bears and seabirds.
  • Explore beautiful beaches, where you can beachcomb with no other visitors around.
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Activities

  • Moderate walking
  • Small boat rides
  • Marine mammal viewing (whales, sea lions) and bird viewing
  • Natural history through hands-on experience and talks with your naturalist and any scientists encountered on your trip
  • Sailing (on sailing ship trips)
  • Village visits, cultural history
  • Hot-springs
  • Exploring beaches
  • Kayaking and fishing (optional)
  • Tasting the regional cuisine (and even helping gather some wild food for the chef to prepare for you)

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Nature & Landscape

From south to north along Vancouver Island, there is so much stunning variation.

* On the Gulf Islands & Salish Sea trips, island hop among warm, dry Garry Oak meadows ecosystems, arbutus lined shorelines, and Douglas fir forests.

* On the Desolation Sound trips, explore the stunning drop of the Coast Mountains from thousands of feet straight to the sea, and explore the fjords and islands at their foot.

* On the Broughton Archipelago (Whales & Totems) trips, explore the rich marine life among 200+ islands and the southern Great Bear Rainforest’s fjords.

* On the Wild Side trips, explore the beautiful and rugged northwest coast, including glacial refugium Brooks Peninsula and the sea-otter homeland of Kyuquot Sound.

* On the Vancouver Island Inside Passage trips, like our other Supervoyages, explore the diversity and changes as you move from the Salish Sea through the Desolation Sound region to the steep rainforest of the Broughton Archipelago.

 

Vancouver Island cruise

Vancouver Island rainforest

 

Featured Wildlife

  • Humpback whale
  • Killer whale / orca
  • Dall’s porpoise
  • Pacific white-sided dolphin
  • Sea lions
  • Harbour Porpoise
  • Marine Birds
  • Bald eagle
  • Pacific salmon (in autumn)
  • Black Bear

 

Orcas, Vancouver Island's inside passage

Black bear, Vancouver Island BC

 

Cultural History

Vancouver Island encompasses many indigenous people’s traditional territories, and we work with indigenous guides all along it.

Along the east side of Vancouver Island, we travel in the south through Coast Salish territory, where we work with guides from the Penelakut and/or Tsawout territory; in the northeast we travel in Kwakwaka’wakw territory, where we visit with guides in Alert Bay. On the northwest coast, we’re in the territory of the  Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth, where we visit with guides in Kyuquot.

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Cedar bark weaving lesson Kyuquot

 

Comfortable Ships & Expert Guides

Find both adventure and comfort aboard our little expedition ships as you explore the shores of Vancouver Island. Our all-local crew love to give you the best experience of the region they love. As local coastal ships, they are known and welcomed by people we may meed along the way, and you travel as an insider — the guest of the locals — while you explore. These well-cared-for little ships are nimble and able to anchor in beautiful areas larger ships cannot enter.

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What Makes it Unique

  • Stunning shorelines with variations of forests from dry arbutus shores to cedar and hemlock rainforests
  • Healthy populations of marine bird life and marine mammals
  • Human cultures that have evolved in this landscape for millennia.

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Trip Itineraries

Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island's Inside Passage

An amazing journey through the wild island archipelagos on Vancouver Island's east coast, for an incredible value price. Highlights of Gulf Is National Park, Desolation Sound, Discovery Islands including wildflowers, beaches, waterfalls, seabirds, marine...

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Vancouver Island's Wild Side (northwest)

Explore Vancouver Island's rugged and beautiful north coast. Brooks Peninsula (an un-roaded glacial refugium), Solander Island (home to puffins), Kyuquot Sound (including sea otters and the village of Kyuquot), lush inlets, rivers and sandy beaches. Wildlife...