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Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Jerusalem, Israel
9 posts
Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Hi everyone,

I am planning to arrive to the Islands for a 5-7 days stay around late July - early august.

I can't speak of any specific dates yet since it is only a part of a 2.5 months trip around Canada.

I will be coming from the Vancouver Island and also want to visit Prince Rupert.

I mainly want to experience the unique local nature and culture. Unfortunately, I am on a budget and don't want to spend over 100 $ a day on average. Is it even possible to visit on this budget? Is it possible to avoid car rentals and still see the sights? Are there campsites and hostels that would be a good option?

I would highly appreciate it if someone could help me plan a general itinerary that would allow this type of travel for a young backpacker.

Also, how critical is pre-booking? How much time in advance is necessary? It might be a problem for me since I'll only know my specific arrival time about a week in advance.

Thanks in advance!

11 replies to this topic
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
17,057 posts
42 reviews
1. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

I haven't been there for years, but I do no that you can't really see anything without a car. There are campsites though.


I like this website. And it shows what is going on during the year as well.

When I visited, we flew from Prince Rupert on a sea plane. You mentioned being on Vancouver Island. Are you planning on using B. C. ferries to get to Prince Rupert? It departs from Port Hardy, at the north end of Vancouver Island.

Make sure you read through the other threads on the Haida Gwaii page too. Lots of good information there from other travelers for you.

Edited: 11:38 am, May 24, 2013
Jerusalem, Israel
9 posts
2. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Thanks for the reply!

Yes I'm planning on a BC ferry from port hardy :)

If a car is a must can you recommend a rental company that won't be crazy expensive for a 23 year old driver?

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
17,057 posts
42 reviews
3. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Your age is against you.... most companies will charge extra for under 25. My daughter was fortunate to have that fee waived this month for a day, but that was a company in Ottawa. I think they took pity on a poor university student!

I don't believe there will be that many choices for rental cars on Haida Gwaii. I'd be sending off an e-mail to any companies to get a quote from them. Don't forget the insurance cost as well.

We had rented a van for the 7 of us that traveled there. The van was nowhere to be seen when we arrived, and they gave us a car... three across the front, and four of us squished in the back. Seatbelts??? Forget it! It was quite the weekend. Of course, this was all way before you were even born ;o)

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
14,799 posts
99 reviews
4. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

If you are on a tight budget, the cost of the ferries for a car will be a no-go (check www.bcferries.com ), and there will be a HUGE one-way fee to drop the car somewhere else besides where you picked it up.

Edited: 2:45 pm, May 24, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9,570 posts
56 reviews
5. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

You absolutely will need a car. And bringing one from Vancouver Island will cost the moon. So you will have to find a rental company when you get there. There is only about 100kms of paved road, so you will need to be an experienced driver.

As you are only 23 (and we have no knowledge of your driving skills in some potentially nasty terrain), I think that you going to be fighting an uphill battle to secure a rental car.

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
Level Contributor
8,613 posts
108 reviews
6. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

here's a thought for you.. either rent a bike in the Queen Charlottes or pick up a cheap used bike on the island and take it on the ferry with you. Found this link on the Haida Gwaii website


Destination Expert
for British Columbia
Level Contributor
6,790 posts
7. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Been there many times you can hitchhike everywhere and meet lots of different people that way.

Jerusalem, Israel
9 posts
8. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Hey guys thanks for the info!

About car rental - how about car rental options on the Island or in Prince Rupert? Would that cut costs in any way? Can anyone say what rental companies work in those places so I could ask for quotes? By the way, is there a habit of ride-sharing in the Islands?

Also, I really liked the biking idea! what kind of distances are we talking about to get from Queen Charlotte city to the main attractions?

Port McNeill
Level Contributor
426 posts
1 review
9. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

Here is list of car rental companies on Haida Gwaii gohaidagwaii.ca/getting-here-around/auto-ren… I rented from Rustic Rentals my last time there when Budget had no cars available and it turned out they had good service, reasonbale vehicles, and lower prices, plus they even suggested I did not need extra insurance as my credit card covered me (everywhere else seems to try to upsell you). I would rent from them again.

Most of the rental companies will let you drive on the gravel road out to Tow Hill and North Beach but not on other unpaved roads, Best to ask them directly where they will not allow their cars.

Renting a car in Prince Rupert will cost you an extra $310 return on the ferry.

1 post
1 review
10. Re: Haida Gwaii on a budget?

my partner and I are here now sleeping in the back of our car at campgrounds, etc kagan bay campgrounds at queen charlotte seems free. : ) others have cost us $16 for pit toilets and water being the only facilities.

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