Canada is obviously a country that appeals to many traveller’s imagination. After visiting, we can state that the fuzz is all justified! Road tripping Canada will bring you a series of highlights. It’s impossible to write about every single highlight, as they can all be exhibited in the jaw dropping collection… But here’s an attempt to give you an idea. Just for the record, we drove from Vancouver Island to Calgary (at the foot of the Rocky Mountains), with a stopover in Toronto before heading home.
This little town at the south coast of Vancouver Island is located at the border of the amazing Pacific Rim National Park. The vibe in this town flower power minded! You’ll find cool backpackers hostels (check out Tofino travellers guesthouse – cool place with Harry Potter style hidden rooms), tons of organic food restaurants, yoga shops, … But the essence of this place is its location. The surroundings are pretty amazing, you’ll think you somehow wind up in a National Geographic documentary. The only thing that’s missing is David Attenborough’s voice.
There’s a lot of companies that organize boat trips in the area, searching for bears and whales.
We went on a bear watching trip with Browning Pass Charters. This is a small company that just provides bear watching tours. The trip was really amazing! We saw a whopping 11 black bears on the trip, not to mention all the bald eagles. The trip was pretty amazing!
Next to bears and eagles, there’s also a lot of whales (usually grey whales and humpbacks if you’re lucky) in the waters near Tofino. A company that will help you find those majestic creatures is Remote Passages. The manager, Kati, is a woman that is extremely passionate about what she does. She’ll provide you with all the information you need and she’s just a pleasure to listen to! We were lucky enough to see 3 grey whales (we even spot a mother and calf). Other than that you’ll also see other marine life like see lions (boy do they smell bad) and seals. Not only do Remote Passages provide whale watching trip, they will also take you bear watching, or you can rent a kayak and go on a guided kayak tour, or take you to hot springs on a day trip.
Another place on Vancouver Island that’s famous for whale watching is Campbell River. Whale watching there will give you an opportunity to spot killer whales. Other than that, there’s many humpacks in the water. Interested? Discovery Marine Safari’s is the way to go!
Very professional company that will make sure you have an unforgettable tour. We saw 5 humpbacks! Amazing creatures…
Campbell River is the self declared salmon capital of the world. We have to admit, it is delightful!
The city of Vancouver is a pretty cool to visit as well! Nice to wander around downtown and have a drink in one of the many trendy bars. Stanley park is great to get away from the crowds and just relax. The skyline is pretty incredible as well!
Most postcard images you’ll bump into are taken in Jasper or Banff national park. These national parks are nature’s eye candy. The sights are breathtaking and there’s an abundance of wildlife. You’ll find big horn sheep, elk, moose, black bears and grizzlies, eagles, … Just too much to mention! Just be careful and don’t approach or feed wildlife!
These national parks are also inhabited by wolves and cougars. It’s nearly impossible to spot them. A local girl told us that, the moment you see a cougar, it’s usually the last thing you see. So not sure if you’d want to see one on a hike.
In Jasper, a must see is spirit island in Maligne Lake. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever come across. The way to go there is with Brewster Travel Canada. You’ll get to go by boat and spend some time in the neighbourhood. It’s nearly impossible to hike there, so this is the next best thing. Don’t miss it!
The road from the town of Jasper to Maligne Lake is stunning. You’ll pass by Medicine lake, which is also extremely easy on the eyes!
Jasper is excellent for hiking enthousiasts. We mostly enjoyed the Old Fort Point hike and Maligne Canyon. Just remember to take bear spray if you want to go hiking. Better be safe than sorry.
Banff is perhaps the bigger brother of Jasper. There’s heaps to do and the amazing viewpoints come free of charge! That does translate in bigger crowds as well. If at some point you see a couple of care at the side of the road, you just know there’s some kind of animal to be seen.
The most famous lakes in Banff are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. At Lake Louise there’s a gigantic hotel at the shore of the lake. Rooms don’t come cheap. They start around € 600 for a night. The water of both these lakes is clear blue. That’s because it’s glacier fed.
An amazing hike in Banff is the hike from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes. There’s a little tea house at this lake, ran by a couple of local girls. Fun fact, they live there, so one of them has to hike down every day to take out the trash 🙂 The hike will bring you passed some amazing falls and if you hike a little bit more up, you’ll have a great view on lake Louise.
If you have the opportunity to go there, it’s a good idea to also pay Toronto a visit. Not only because the skyline is pretty amazing, but Niagara falls is really close. These falls are bucket list material and shouldn’t be missed.
Not convinced yet? Just take a look at some pictures and proceed with the purchase of your tickets 🙂
Written by Jelle Correwijn
http://www.adventurewhalewatching.com (whale watching)
http://www.remotepassages.com (whale whatching)
https://pursuitcollection.com/ (maligne lake tour)
http://www.browningpass.com/ (bear watching tour)