Victoria Hippo Tours are a new attraction to Victoria and I hope they do well. Except for a brief blurb in our local paper they haven't been heavily promoted. By far their best PR comes from the odd-looking vehicles themselves as they drive around town.
My wife and I are locals and earlier this year we hosted my wife's aunts from Alberta. We decided to take a Hippo tour and we enjoyed it immensely.
The bus starts from a downtown location. If you're a tourist that's not an issue. If you're a local, you might be challenged to find nearby parking although I easily found a free two-hour zone a block away.
The bus drives around the downtown core, zipping through Chinatown and past other landmarks. You'll get lots of curious looks from people in the streets gawking at the colourful, strange-looking bus.
The bus then drives into the ocean -- with a dramatic splash -- via a boat launch near the cruise ship terminal. You spend another 45 minutes on the water as you make your way into Victoria's inner harbour for a unique view of Victoria from the water.
Our guide -- forgot her name :( -- was cheerful and animated. As locals we heard her make a few mistakes in her commentary. There were more than a few other locals on the bus judging from how many other people were quick to correct her. She took it all in good stride. She was a new arrival to Victoria herself and was probably still getting her facts down. And it didn't lesson our enjoyment of the experience one bit.
For about $85 a couple you get a comprehensive tour of downtown Victoria via land and sea. When you consider that a pedi-cab tour would cost $90 for the same amount of time and that you could only see a few square blocks of Victoria from the street you realize that it's excellent value for the money.
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