After so many requests for us to check out Vancouver Island we decided to end our time here in Vancouver with a weekend getaway to Tofino.
We teamed up with Discover Canada Tours and on an early Saturday morning we jumped on a bus with 28 other travellers from around the world to spend the weekend whale watching and surfing in Vancouver Islands west coast.
Located on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is found in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Covered in ancient rainforests and home to incredible white sandy beaches, this is the place to be during the summer.
Getting to Tofino
Our 2 day Tofino tour started at 7am in Vancouver were we met with our group of travellers from all across the globe. Our bus pulled up and we were met with our tour guide, Brendan. He was so welcoming with his easy-going, quirky personality – the perfect guide for a quick summer getaway.
To get from Vancouver City to Vancouver Island we drove 25km north to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal and from there we took a 1.5 hour ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
As we headed to the ferry terminal the sing-along music was blasting as we got to know where others were from and what made them visit Vancouver. We really had a great group of companions on this trip.
After seeing some amazing views of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains from the ferry we arrived in Nanaimo and headed to our first stop – Coombs market. It had such a rustic, country vibe with cute candy shops, ice cream stalls and little artisan markets – with goats living on the roof!
After lunch we jumped back on the road, stopping at Ellis River for some cliff jumping, Cathedral Grove where we explored ancient giant cedar trees at over 800 years old and a quick stop at Long Beach (where we would be surfing the next day) before reaching the town of Tofino.
After an hour of exploring the town we headed to Jamie’s to go whale watching. This was an additional activity not included in the tour, but something we highly recommend you do. We had never been whale watching before and zooming along the ocean in a big jet boat in the search for whales was an incredible experience.
After speeding through the ocean and literally flying over waves we found a large grey whale. We spent about 30 minutes watching it as it came up for a few breaths before diving back down into the ocean to feed. This was our first time seeing whales in the wild and as you could guess we were pretty excited!
Campfires & smores
We checked in at Jaime’s Tofino Rainforest Inn and grabbed some dinner before meeting up with the group for a night of s’mores around the campfire. We stayed up late sharing stories, jokes and campfire songs from our home countries. This night ended up being one of our most memorable times spent here in Canada.
Rated one of the top surf spots in North America, Tofino is a world-class surfing destination. Before coming here we never knew people actually surfed in Canada, but in Tofino the surf culture is evident at the beach and in town, with surfers scattered across the beaches and surf shops lining the streets.
On Sunday morning we headed to Long Beach for a 2 hour surf lesson with Surf Sisters Surf School. We spent the first 40 minutes learning how to catch a wave on the sand before heading into the water. Luckily we were given long thick wetsuits and could barely feel the icy cold waters as we practiced surfing the waves for the next hour.
The rest of the day was mainly spent travelling back to Vancouver. Speaking to others on the tour we all agreed that a 2 day tour to Tofino was far too short. As we felt a lot of the tour was spent getting to Tofino rather than experiencing Tofino we would love to see an extra day added for travellers to get a fuller experience of such an amazing part of B.C.
As always, we filmed our entire weekend if you want to see what we got up to.
Have you been to Vancouver Island? What did you get up to?
Thanks to Discover Canada Tours for inviting Flying The Nest to experience a weekend in Tofino. As always, all opinions are our own.