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vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

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posts: 26
reviews: 10
vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

I am planning a trip to BC in August, and we will be spending 10 days. Planning on staying in Vancouver mostly, then spending one day in Victoria and then driving up to Tofino for one day.

Just wondering if anyone knows how long it takes to drive from Victoria to Tofino? Mapquest says 4 hours I think...just wondering if that is accurate. Also says about 6 hours to Vancouver, is that accurate as well?

What is a good, affordable place to stay? (we're doing a posh, swanky hotel in Vancouver, want to stay cheap in Tofino). Also, my boyfriend is dead set that he will learn to surf there. Does anyone know where we can rent boards or wetsuits (I hear the Pacific is freezing even in summer).

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!!!

Calgary, Canada
posts: 3,465
reviews: 22
1. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

I'd do a google search for the surfing info, I'm sure a few local businesses that give lessons will pop up.

A guide book I was reading on the weekend said 6 hours from Victoria to Tofino, but 4 seems more realistic given the actual distance. Going back you can get the ferry at Nanaimo, which will take at least an hour off the trip versus going back down to Victoria. Exactly how long the return trip takes depends on how long you have to wait for the ferry. On busy days, you may have to wait for a couple to actually get on.

Tofino is not a cheap place to stay. We couldn't find anything for less than $150/night, so we're staying in Port Alberni, about an hour away. We've booked the Somass Motel for $80/night.

Comox, Canada
posts: 560
reviews: 74
2. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

When I read the first sentence about how long it takes to get from Victoria to Tofino I automatically thought it was about 5 hours - so Mapquest probably is not far off with the 4 hours. There is often road work going on between Port Alberni and Tofino and it is a very windy road so this is the part that might add time to your schedule.

I agree with the previous post about the trip back to Vancouver - take the ferry from Nanaimo so you don't have to back track the entire way. You have a choice between getting the ferry that will take you to the Departure Bay - Horseshoe Bay which goes into North Vancouver or you can take the Duke Point-Tswassen ferry which will get you into the southern end of Vancouver, starting with Richmond. The six hours that MapQuest talks about probably includes the ferry ride which takes 1.5 hours to Horseshoe bay or 2 hours to Tsawassen.

Vancouver Island...
posts: 28
reviews: 37
3. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

Having lived most of my life in Victoria, I'd agree on 5 hours from Victoria to Tofino. The other poster is correct also that Nanaimo return ferry will be the best bet. To avoid a long wait, you can make reservations for $17.50 at www.bcferries.com.

As for cheap places to stay in Tofino, they generally aren't any in the summer. Port Alberni will be your cheapest bet. I'd say it's 45 - 60 mins to Tofino. You can also consider Ucluelet, which is 20 minutes from Tofino. It's a little less touristy than tofino, and might offer something a little less pricey.

posts: 3
4. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

Well honestly....I think that you may regret staying so long in Vancouver and only leaving 2 days for the island....think about it. It is absolutely beautiful here and so much to do. There is a hostel in Tofino and you can book your own room....dont have to share with anyone and i think it is VERY reasonable....www.tofinohostel.com....otherwise you will be spending at least the $150 the last poster said...I have known people to stay here and have said it is great and clean. You wont be in your room anyways. There are places that rent equipment in downtown Tofino and you can find lessons too...I think you have to bok those in advance though.

Have a good time

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,424
reviews: 14
5. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

I agree with Lindsay_bird in the way that you're not leaving enough time to Vancouver Island.

Vancouver needs 3 days as a minimum in my opinion, to just scratch the surface, and more is certainly wonderful, but if you're spending 8 days in Vancouver, 1 day in Tofino and 1 day in Victoria, I'd take 2 days off Vancouver and add it to Tofino.

Tofino, in my opinion, is definitely not a day trip or a one night only destination. I would spend a minimum of 3 days there to really get anything out of the trip. The reason for this is because Tofino's attractions are the beaches and parks which are spread all along the peninsula. It's not a place you can quickly see and experience. The time it takes to get there alone is about 5 hours from Vancouver or Victoria each way.

posts: 77
6. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

I, too, have to say that you need to add a couple of days onto Tofino, especially if you want to surf. (www.surfsister.com - these people are fantastic, know the whole surfer community, and their place is in the midst of a group of some of the funnest shops in Tofino AND the very best little boutigue grocery I've ever encountered!)

There is nothing better for a quick westcoast experience. There are tons of things to see there. Check out the town on the web, make sure you check out people like Jamie's Whaling Station for their water tours, and look up the Meares Island day trips to some of the oldest forests around.

I love Vancouver. I live here. But I escape to Tofino whenever I can and we're always sad to leave it.

posts: 1
reviews: 3
7. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

I just returned from a one week honeymoon in Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler. I agree with what everyone else says. A couple of days in Vancouver is all you need. It's a beautiful city, but not that disimilar from other big cities. The real beauty of British Columbia is in the countryside. I would consider adding Whistler to your journey. The sea to sky highway is spectacular! There are some real bargains in Whistler right now. The Four Season has a buy one night get one night free and they usually upgrade the type of room!!!

posts: 1
8. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

Just a little info on learning to surf...

We just returned from a couple of days in Tofino (stayed at the hostel by the way and VERY nice - has everything you need for cheap!)

We took surf lessons with Pacific Surf Co. and it was amazing. They offer three hour lessons as opposed to 2 hours with the other schools and they also have a photgrapher with them so you can view a slide show yourselves after the lesson! The instructors were really excellent and knowledgeable, nevermind enthusiastic - they really were some of the best of ever encountered. As a sport coach myself I know what it takes to be good instructor.

Hope this helps.

posts: 26
reviews: 10
9. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

Thanks for all the info everyone.

We have changed out itinerary and are now going to spend two days in out on the island (scraping the Victoria day trip). We booked into a hostel in Ucluelet for $55 a night (can't go wrong with that price!).

Unfortunately the purpose of the trip is for a family wedding so need to spend the majority of out time in Vancouver.

Now we are just hoping for some nice weather!! Anything like what we are having in Ontario now would be ideal...hot, hot, HOT! (no rain please)

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,424
reviews: 14
10. Re: vancouver-victoria-tofino and back

Trust me, 123me, we'd really appreciate it if you were to bring that hot weather to Vancouver! We've had a really unseasonally cold and wet summer. July's almost always dry and hot, so, even though Vancouver's known for its rain, it's definitely not a normal thing to experience such long periods of grey in July!

However, as I write this, the sun's breaking through the clouds, and it's supposed to be like that through the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!