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Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

La Ronge, Canada
posts: 2,265
reviews: 29
Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

My husband and I are flying into Vancouver on June 30th and renting a car at the airport. We plan to take the ferry across to Nanaimo and spend a week to 10 days just touring around the island. I'm wondering how long the ferry takes to cross so I can estimate what time we'll arrive in order to determine where to reserve our first nights stay.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,846
reviews: 54
1. Re: Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

It will take you about 40-45 minutes to get to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The ferry from there to Duke Point (Nanaimo) will take 2 hours. Then you would have about 15 min drive into Nanaimo.

June 30th is the end of school and a busy long weekend as you know. You might seriously consider making reservations on the ferries. www.bcferries.com. You need to arrive 60 - 30 min ahead of your sailing. 29 minutes or less will cause your ressies to disappear.

Nanaimo, Canada
Destination Expert
for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
posts: 4,521
reviews: 302
2. Re: Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

When we fly into YVR we almost always take the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay ferry. The reasoning behind that is:

-Departure Bay terminal is right in town

-Takes about 45 minutes to 1.25 hours to drive to HB terminal from YVR

-Sailing time is 1 hr 40 mins.

-Takes about the same amount of time in total BUT ...

-More frequent sailings

-If delayed, then Horseshoe Bay village is there and we can get a meal or drink

The other option would be to take a floatplane from YVR Seaplane Terminal to Nanaimo (about $60 each all in. So for two people about the same as taking the ferry with a car and a reservation and you get a free sightseeing flight!) and then rent a car in Nanaimo. Return it in Nanaimo and then either fly back or take public transit (awesome service from Horseshoe Bay ferry via express bus and Canada line to YVR).

Mufti...'s advice is solid, just a couple of other options.

Enjoy your visit to Vancouver Island!

La Ronge, Canada
posts: 2,265
reviews: 29
3. Re: Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

Thanks BuccaneerDave that is awesome advice!! I will definately look into that. Is there a website to book the Seaplane?

Also thank you MuftiMixandmatch for your advice... I guess June 30th will be really busy... If we go that route I will make a ferry reservation. Good tip, thank you!

posts: 4,398
reviews: 1
4. Re: Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

Dave, I want to know your secret for getting from YVR to Horseshoe Bay in 45 minutes!!! You must not take 99 and go through downtown (which can take 45 minutes on its own LOL)...do you go around and take Rt. 1?

5. Re: Ferry Crossing - How long does it take?

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