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There are a few modes of transportation that can get visitors to the Whistler area from the Vancouver International Airport.
1. Rent a car and drive to Whistler. Vancouver has several rental car agencies, most of which have pick up locations at the sirport and downtown Vancouver. If you want to pick your car up downtown, you can take the Canada Line skytrain from the airport to downtown Vancouver in 26 minutes. The price is $10 per person one way.
Whistler hotels charge a fee for parking. Depending on the hotel, this can range from $15.00 to $35.00 night. Note that there are no free overnight parking lots in Whistler. There is overnight parking in in Day Lot 4 but only for overnight trekkers or for over height vehicles. Park overnight at your own risk.
2. Shuttle Bus to Whistler
Pacific Coach Lines provides a Skylink service to/from the Vancouver Airport. In the peak season from December to April the service runs almost every hour, less so in the spring, summer and fall. There is lots of room for luggage, ski, snowboard etc; in the summer mountain bikes are carried on the bus, but charged an extra fee. The Bikes need to be packed in a secure box. The trip takes about 3 hours. There are washrooms on board the bus and the seats are very comfortable. They also drop you off at your hotel in Whistler. A Whistler Express Service to/from downtown Vancouver to Whistler.is also offered.
Premier Pacific Coachlines offers shuttle service to/from Vancouver Airport and pick up and drop offs at various hotels in downtown Vancouver. They have a limited schedule so make sure you check the shuttle times before booking.
Greyhound Lines offers the most affordable option but is available from Vancouver's city centre. A quick taxi ride or Skytrain Ride from downtown. From the airport, you'd have to take the Canada Line to downtown Vancouver and transfer onto the Expo Line to Main Street/Science World Station. The bus does not drop off at any Whistler hotels, just at the Village Gate Bus Loop. From there it may be a short walk to your hotel or taxi ride depending on where you're staying.
The Whistler Shuttle offers very frequent shared departures from Vancouver and the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Whistler. Most people meet shuttle reps and are out of the airport inside of 30 minutes. There is a 1 hour maximum wait guarantee and if it takes longer you get a free ride. Note that the compagny can and will make you wait a 2 hour after your flight in less busy hour (after 20h), so they can fill their bus as much as possible to save the cost, even if you were there at the right departure time. The Whistler Shuttle is a Whistler owned and operated company so you can get the inside scoop on best ski runs and restaurants on your way up.
EpicRides.ca is a Vancouver based company that believes in keeping it simple and affordable. EpicRides picks up from various locations in Vancouver check their website for pick up options before you book.
3. Tour Bus
Bus tours are available from Vancouver to Whistler daily year round. Tours include hotel pick up at 8:00 AM and drop off at 6:30 PM. Luggage, golf clubs, snow boards and/or skis are allowed on the bus,
Stops along the way vary depending on the time of year but may include Shannon Falls, Britannia Beach, Brackendale eagles, Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and Brandywine Falls. Travelers requests are also considered.
Moose Travel Network offers a 2-Day Sea to Sky tour from Vancouver and picks up and drops off at various hostels in downtown Vancouver. Departures are 3 times a week from May to October, take in all the highlights and give free time in Whistler to explore. Price is $99 including tour, hostel accommodation and a dinner.
Luxury Transport offers meet & greet private transportation between Vancouver Airport and Whistler or Vancouver and Whistler. They have Sedans, SUVs, Sprinter Vans and Mini-buses for all group sizes and can customize Whistler transfers to include grocery shopping, sightseeing and and meals on route in Vancouver or along the Sea to Sky highway.
Rocky Mountaineer Whistler train offers summer service (mid May to late September) between Vancouver and Whistler, either one way or round trip. The trip departs from the North Vancouver at 8:00 AM. It arrives in Whistler's Creekside station at 11:30 AM. During this very scenic trip, breakfast is served on the train. (No train service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)
If you are staying in downtown Vancouver, shuttle service, included in the price, is avaialbe from a number of downtown hotels.
If you are not staying at one of these hotels, but you are downtown, then you're most likely within walking distance of a pick up location. Pick up hotels are Holiday Inn on Howe Street, Sheraton Wall Centre, Hampton Inn and Suites on Robson, Four Seasons, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront and Fairmont Pacific Rim.
The train journey is scenic from beginning to end. It travels along the Burrard Inlet, past Ambleside Park and the West Vancouver shoreline and along the coast all the way to Squamish. At Squamish it turns north, at travels through the Cheakamus Canyon only accessible by train. Besides the canyon, the train skirts lakes, crosses rivers, and offers views of local glaciers. It's like a mini vacation to the Canadian Rockies.
At the Whistler train station, buses take you to Whistler Village.
Some travelers prefer a round trip by train, but there are other interesting options:
a. Take the
train to Whistler and return by float plane in the evening.
Includes Whistler Village tranfer to Green Lake float plane dock, 35 minutes with downtown harbour landing
b. Take the train to Whistler and return by tour bus in the afternoon.
Includes hotel pick up, Whistler pick up & tour, tour to Vancouver with Shannon Falls stop & hotel drop off
5. Private Vehicle Transfers
Travel in style and in comfort. Limosine companies offer private driver and car, with airport pick ups and door to door service from any location. This gives you the best flexibility as you travel on your own time and not on a scheduled shuttle time. Cost of course can range from CAD $325.00 one way for a Sedan transfer to $375.00 one way for an SUV transfer.
Whistler Airport Transfers offers personal service with up to date luxury SUVs to and from Whistler, Vancouver airport and Vancouver.
Whistler Limousine provides a private ride from the airport to Whistler.
Vancouver All Terrrain has a fleet of Suburbans that can take you to/from Whistler in luxury. Drivers are knowledgeable and can provide a bit of information about the destination on your trip.
Aerocar is located right at Vancouver Airport, with vehicles always standing by.
Luxury Transport has a fleet of SUV's, Sprinter Vans and Shuttle Buses for any small to large group size for Vancouver to Whistler private transfers as well as meet & greet Vancouver Airport (YVR) private transfers to/from Whistler with sightseeing and grocery shopping options on route. The drivers are knowledgeable, friendly and very accommodating to every group's needs.
Have a larger group? Consider chartering a minicoach or larger. Companies such as:
Top Hat Charters have 21 passenger Minicoaches and up.
Moose Network Charters have 21 passenger Minicoaches and up.
Fly to Whistler by float plane and return by bus. Aerial views of the mountains and glacier fed lakes are really amazing. Flight time is approx. 35 minutes between Green Lake and Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver.
Flights depart Vancouver daily at 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Flights depart Whistler daily at 11:30 AM and 5:30 PM. $174 one way and $348 round trip - add 12% tax.