Bears, Whales & Vancouver on a Budget

# Tailor-Made Tour

Bears, Whales & Vancouver on a Budget

10 Days from £1877 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you
10 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Whale Watching

This two-centre wildlife holiday is aimed at showcasing some of the best of British Columbia’s wildlife while keeping the costs down. This leisurely pace holiday focuses on the iconic wildlife that British Columbia is famed for, its bears and orcas. By travelling between mid-August and mid-September, there will be excellent chances to observe the spectacle of grizzly bears hunting chum salmon in the Orford River, whilst also observing the orcas in both the Salish Sea and Johnstone Strait. Black bears, humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, Steller’s sea lions and bald eagles are all also likely to feature. There will also be time to enjoy exploring the vibrant city of Vancouver too, all whilst keeping the internal travel to a minimum.


Price from £1877 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Arrive Vancouver

Arrival in Vancouver. Met on arrival at the airport with a private transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Staying at Century Plaza Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 2 - Salish Sea

Enjoy the morning at leisure to recover from your flight. Around mid-day pick up from the hotel by shuttle bus for the transfer to Steventon.

Enjoy a shared guided whale watching trip into the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands to south of Vancouver in search of orcas and humpback whales.

Both Transient ‘mammal-eating’ orcas and southern resident 'fish-eating' orcas frequent these waters. The southern resident orcas are now sadly very endangered, but the transient orcas are more abundant.

Humpback whales are also now regular in this area particularly from June to September. Other wildlife likely to be seen includes huge Steller’s sea lions, Pacific harbour seals, many seabirds and bald eagles. Return to your hotel in the evening by shuttle bus.

Staying at Century Plaza Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 3 - Vancouver

Enjoy a day at leisure in Vancouver to relax or explore independently. Optional tours are also available.

Downtown Vancouver offers many attractions such as the fascinating Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Gastown Markets and the Vancouver Lookout Tower. While a little further out of town are the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain Cable Car for wonderful vistas.

Staying at Century Plaza Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 4 - Campbell River

Today pick up from the hotel and transfer to Vancouver Airport’s South Terminal. Take Pacific Coastal Airlines flight to Campbell River. Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel on the shores of Discovery Passage. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel or exploring the town of Campbell River with its attractions such as the Museum of First Nations history.

Staying at Painter's Lodge. Includes No Meals.

Day 5 - Bute Inlet

Today depart the hotel for an exciting excursion by powerboat across the Discovery Channel and up the remote Bute Inlet Fjord. Disembark at the mouth of the river where a local First Nations guide will lead you to purpose built viewing stands overlooking the Orford River.

From mid-August to mid-October grizzly bears gather along this wild river to hunt returning chum salmon that spawn in the river. You may see bears walking the length of the river or actively hunting and splashing after the salmon. Bald eagles and Bonaparte’s gulls also make the most of the feast and the backdrop of autumn forest colours makes for a beautiful setting for this natural spectacle.

Large pods, sometimes 100 strong of Pacific white-sided dolphins also frequent the Bute Inlet and black bears are sometimes spotted foraging along the shorelines. Return to the lodge in the evening.

Staying at Painter's Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 6 - Discovery Passage

Today enjoy a half day (5-6 hour) whale watching excursion into Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait in search of its summer population of northern resident 'fish eating' orcas. The best period to see these “wolves of the sea” as they are often known is from late July until mid-September.

Besides these impressive predators you are also likely to spot majestic humpback whales that spend the summer feeding in the area. The acrobatic Dall’s porpoise are also found here and haul outs of huge Steller’s sea lions and harbour seals all add to the wildlife highlights on this trip.

Staying at Painter's Lodge. Includes Breakfast.

Day 7 - Bute Inlet

This morning take another bear watching trip into the wilds of Bute Inlet for more magical sightings of the magnificent grizzly bears there. In the evening, perhaps take an optional water taxi across the channel to April Point Resort for dinner.

Staying at Painter's Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 8 - Campbell River

Today enjoy some time at leisure to explore Campbell River independently. Perhaps make a visit to the nearby QuinSam River Hatchery to learn more about the life cycle of the salmon that have made this region so famous. During the month of September this is a good location to spot black bears fishing for the salmon in the river. Perhaps also visit Elk Falls Provincial Park and Suspension Bridge.

Staying at Painter's Lodge. Includes Breakfast.

Day 9 - Vancouver

Enjoy a final morning at leisure. Later, transfer 30 minutes to the Campbell River airport to take a Pacific Coastal Airlines flight back to Vancouver. On arrival in Vancouver, take the hotel shuttle (runs every 20 minutes) to the Pacific Gateway Hotel.

Staying at Pacific Gateway Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 10 - Depart Vancouver

Morning at leisure. Take the hotel shuttle back to the airport for your onward flight.

Includes No Meals.

Travel Info

Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:
Direct flight options from the UK to Vancouver include British Airways, Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat.

Best Visited:
August to September

Area Specialist

Ian Loyd

Travel in the first few weeks of September for the very best bear and whale activity.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

Route Map

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Pacific Gateway Hotel: 49.190967, -123.140476
Painter\'s Lodge: 50.056432, -125.266015
Century Plaza Hotel: 49.280865, -123.127029