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Currency and whales

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Weymouth, United...
Level Contributor
165 posts
307 reviews
Currency and whales

When I travelled to Thailand the overwhelming advice from Trip Advisor members was to take high denomination English cash and change it over there to get the best rate. Does the same hold true for Victoria?

Also, I was in Victoria a couple of years ago and twice failed to see killer whales. From memory I paid about $100 Canadian for the first trip and nothing for the second.

What are current average prices please? I arrive in Victoria at the end of August 2013.

Many thanks to all fellow members for their help..I hope!

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
19,437 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Currency and whales

Depending on what your UK Credit and Debt Cards charge for foreign transaction fees (surcharges vary wildly) you'll get a better exchange rate by using plastic instead of exchanging cash.

Have fun and good luck with the whales, they're predictably unpredictable.



Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6,858 posts
2. Re: Currency and whales

Given the thread title, I have to point out that the whales don't accept gratuities in any currency.

However, I agree with Martian: withdrawing Canadian cash from bank ATMs here using your UK bank card should give you an excellent exchange rate, so it's just a question of what your bank charges. (Often there's a per-transaction fee, so making fewer larger withdrawals works better.) And credit cards are widely accepted and also given excellent rates, depending on fees.

Currency exchange kiosks in Canada are hit-and-miss. The tourist trap ones have terrible rates but the best will give you the best exchange rate deal you can find anywhere. I don't know if the locals have a specific recommendation for a good one in Victoria.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
49,044 posts
57 reviews
3. Re: Currency and whales

:-) @Matt!

You might want to bring $150 in Canadian cash to get you started, for incidentals. But ATMs that are located in bank foyers are the way to go. Avoid the usurious "white" ATMs that are located in some convenience stores.

If you are including Vancouver in your travels, you can exchange money at an excellent rate at the Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange in downtown Vancouver. Weekdays, something like 9-5.


The standard procedure when you don't see whales is to offer you a second tour at no charge. Whale watching companies in Vic are all listed on the following website. I believe each one provides the company website where you can check the rates.


Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
17,613 posts
102 reviews
4. Re: Currency and whales

whale watching in about $100 or a little more. There are 'deals' from the visitors center kitty korner from the Empress hotel. The sell discounted tickets. I've been with several companies there and normally do see whales. I did not like Prince of Whales but liked 5 star quite a bit. When dealing with currency exhcange the US to Cdn rate is normally terrible so ATM is the best. Many Victoira tourist operators give a great exchange rate on USD but you didn't indicate you would be visiting the US so assume the ATM will be the best.

Go to


and check the rates before you leave so you know the real rate. I like th print their travelers cheatsheet.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
10,181 posts
57 reviews
5. Re: Currency and whales

Victoria and Thailand are kinda different... :-)

Leave the sterling at home...just use your UK bank card at an ATM. Or a credit card...

And as previously stated...the whales operate on their own schedule...

Weymouth, United...
Level Contributor
165 posts
307 reviews
6. Re: Currency and whales

Many thanks to everyone for all your welcome advice and to mattInTo for the humour! Perhaps I should tip any passing killer whale a fin!

More seriously, cards seem the way to go and I'm also grateful to Muftimix for the link to whale watching sites which I intend to explore now.

I'm sure I'll have a few more questions over the next nine months assuming they can't be answered by FaQ and other info sites. Thanks again for all your help.

Port McNeill
Level Contributor
444 posts
1 review
7. Re: Currency and whales

While it appears that you plan to whale watch in the Victoria area, you may also want to consider northern Vancouver Island if you have time to visit other parts of the island. Late August and early September is a great time to visit with usually plenty of orcas and humpback whales about plus a wide variety of other wildlife. For a list of tour operators that belong to the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association visit visit http://www.nimmsa.org/members.html

8. Re: Currency and whales

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