Where the Mountains Meet the Pacific

Vancouver Island

  • Vancouver
  • Victoria
  • Galiano Island

Dates

August 15 – 24, 2022

Highlights

  • City touring in Vancouver
  • Lovely maritime charm on Vancouver Island
  • The famed Butchart Gardens, which blossomed out of a former limestone quarry in the early 20th century, thanks to the vision of Jennie Butchart. Explore this impressive botanical site's 26 greenhouses and over 900 plant varieties.
  • Whale-watching tour - Vancouver Island's waters are home to orcas, humpback whales, and a variety of other marine life, making it some of the best viewing in the world

Trip Description

Come with us as we explore the stunning mountains, sparkling sea, and coastal rainforests that frame Vancouver and Vancouver Island. We will spend 3 nights in the heart of Vancouver, discovering fascinating history, delicious cuisine, and the city’s vibrant culture. We will then ferry across the picturesque Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island, where we’ll spend three nights. Enjoy a whale watching tour, wineries, and old growth forests that accentuate Vancouver Island’s mystique. Of course, we will visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens, and delve into the charms of Victoria, the lovely capital of British Columbia. We will then ferry to Galiano Island, where we’ll spend two nights in a wonderful boutique inn. Galiano is part of the Canada’s Gulf Islands – hundreds of islands and islets that are a part of a larger archipelago that includes the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. Our final night will be spent near the airport back in Vancouver to make for an easy flight home. Who’s up for this delightful West Coast adventure?

Vancouver

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Galiano Island

Galiano Island, BC, Canada

Itinerary

Day 1 – 3

Arrive in Vancouver, and meet the rest of our travel group.

The next morning, explore the streets of downtown Vancouver with a guided walking tour to orient us to this eclectic, outdoors-oriented Pacific city.  Later, we’ll head to nearby Granville Island for lunch – once an industrial center for the city in early 1900s, today it’s a foodie paradise and cultural hub!   In the afternoon, those who wish can visit the fantastic Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, which is acclaimed for its collection of First Nations art and artifacts, both historic and contemporary.

We’ll also visit Stanley Park, a sprawling woodland setting just outside downtown that offers waterfront views, walking paths, and towering totem poles, which honor the traditions of local Indigenous people. Then, immerse yourself in the coastal rainforest at Capilano Bridge Park, where we can walk through the cedar forests, cross the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge, and discover local history, ecology, and First Nations culture through interpretive centers and demonstrations – from traditional weaving and beadwork, to ranger-led programs that highlight the raptors that hunt in these forests. Back in downtown Vancouver, rest and relax, or explore the trendy neighborhood of Yaletown. Once a warehouse district, it now features chic boutiques, restaurants, and breweries.

Day 4

Depart Vancouver today, as we take the ferry to Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island is the exposed top of an ancient mountain range, submerged in the Pacific Ocean. It stretches over 280 miles in length, and as the largest island off the West Coast of North America, it offers an amazingly diverse geography, from rugged wilderness, to maritime cities. Our exploration while here will include lush coastal rainforests, charming seaside villages, the sophisticated capital of Victoria, and finally, the Gulf Islands. After arriving in the coastal city of Nanaimo, we’ll travel south along the eastern coast, then make our way into the island’s peaceful interior. Soak in the rustic lakeside ambiance, and relax!

Day 5

We’ll continue to take the scenic route across the island, and discover this less-visited side of Vancouver Island. We’ll pass towering old growth forest, remnants of old logging towns, and finally, we’ll come to the mighty Pacific Ocean. After lunch in the quiet seaside village of Port Renfrew, it’s time for a whale-watching excursion with a local naturalist, as we look for orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, otters, eagles, and more! Later, we’ll arrive in Victoria – British Columbia’s beautiful capital, and our home for the next two nights. Our lodging will be in an elegant and cozy historic bed and breakfast, ideally situated for exploring the city. Overnight, Victoria.

Day 6

Explore Victoria today – the crown jewel of British Columbia, named for the queen herself! Enjoy a walking tour this morning with a local guide as a proper introduction to this vibrant and historic city. Then, you’re free to meander through its charming streets, parks, and museums on your own, or with your Explore Up Close guides – from the green oasis of Beacon Hill Park, where we’ll find ocean views and the world’s largest free-standing totem pole, to elaborate Victorian architecture like Craigdarroch Castle, built by a Scottish industrial baron. Overnight, Victoria.

Day 7

Visit the famed Butchart Gardens today, which blossomed out of a former limestone quarry in the early 20th century, thanks to the vision of Jennie Butchart. With 26 greenhouses and over 900 plant varieties, this impressive and iconic botanical site is the perfect place to soak in the sunshine, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Later today, we’ll take the ferry to Galiano Island – one of the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, and sister islands to the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Our island home for two nights will be the lovely Woodstone Manor, a boutique country inn ensconced by nine acres of woodlands. Enjoy gourmet meals on site, conversation with our welcoming hosts, and relax with your evening cocktail on the stone patio. Overnight, Galiano Island.

Day 8

Galiano Island is a place of exceptional beauty, and we’ll find ourselves in awe of its quiet coastline and tranquil lifestyle as we explore it fully today. Optional activities include guided sea kayaking in the pristine inlets, hiking with views over the Gulf Islands, browsing the markets and art galleries that pepper the island, and relaxing at our lovely inn. Overnight, Galiano Island.

Day 9 – 10

Today, we’ll travel by ferry back to the mainland, and explore the historic fishing village of Stevenson, located south of Vancouver, at the mouth of Canada’s mighty Fraser River. This evening, enjoy one last group dinner together this evening. We’ll spend the night near the Vancouver airport, before our flight home tomorrow.

What's Included

  • Comfortable ground and water transportation
  • Accommodation with breakfast for nine nights
  • 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All activities / admissions per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge service throughout the trip

Trip Price

$5,500 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $1,200)

What's Not Included

Price does not include airfare, alcohol (except for a group wine tasting), other meals, or trip insurance.

..well-planned, from interesting and fun excursions planned each day, to comfortable lodging and transportation. Our trip leaders, Chumley and Khal, were impressive with their knowledge of each area we explored and gracious in their planning of every aspect of our trips.
My husband and I love the attention to detail. We always have a wonderful experience: visiting new and interesting places, eating lots of good food, making new friends, and exploring new places!
Couldn't have asked for more in terms of weather, accommodations and scenery. Can't wait to go on another adventure with Explore Up Close!

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Trip insurance is required for our international trips, in the event that you must cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance or airline tickets. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at www.insuremytrip.com, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing airline tickets.

Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip. Our travel agent is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Again, please confirm with Explore Up Close before purchasing your airline tickets or making additional travel arrangements!

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