Get your heart pumping and your bodies moving with this eight-day adventure through some of British Columbia’s most sought-after landscapes. Venture by ferry to Vancouver Island and embark on hikes in East Sooke Provincial Park and the famed Juan de Fuca trail. Camp under the stars, hike up mountains in Squamish and Whistler featuring views of alpine lakes and glacier capped peaks, and see for yourself why the west coast is the best coast.
What's Included : Your Welcome Moment: Welcome Meeting - Meet Your CEO and Group. Ferry ride from Vancouver to Sooke. An afternoon of hiking in East Sooke Provincial Park. A trek along a portion of the Juan de Fuca trail. Canoe or kayak rental on Cowichan Lake. Ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. A hike up The Stawamus Chief train. A visit to Garibaldi Provincial Park and a hike to the Elfin Lakes. A ride up the Whistler Gondola to hike the High Note trail. All transportation between destinations.
Highlights : Hop on a ferry from Vancouver to Sooke, Enjoy hikes in the lush Pacific rainforest in Sooke and along the Juan de Fuca trail, Paddle around Lake Cowichan, Hike to see the impressive views on the Stawamus Chief trail, Take a dip into the cold waters of the Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Ride the Whistler gondola to hike the High Note trail from the peak, Spend free time exploring Whistler.
Dossier Disclaimer : The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary. VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Itinerary Disclaimer : While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Important Notes : 1. HIKES AND WALKS All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be a moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover Canada's beauty and landscape. 2. COMBO TRIP Please note that some trips could be a combination of multiple G Adventure tours. You should expect some group members to join or leave the tour between tour segments. book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities. 3. An essential part of your trip is participation - from putting up your tent (while camping) or packing it away in the morning, to helping with meal preparation and cleaning up - it is all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your CEO will do all the meal planning, but we do ask the clients to help with the preparation and washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun! All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. We supply dome tents and assembly/disassembly takes only 5 minutes. All tents have built-in insect nets. Comfortable, self-inflating mattresses are also provided, which are approximately 4cm thick. 4. Proper sleeping bags are necessary for this tour. Please ensure that your sleeping bag is rated to (-17°C for spring and fall trips and 0°C for trips June - Sept). Prices range from $60-$150USD. 5. Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don't plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind. While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
Group Leader Description : This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver - this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups. As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes : Max 11.
Meals Included : 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
Meals : All included meals will be prepared from goods bought en route from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes.
Transport : Private vehicle, ferry, and hiking.
About our Transportation : For this trip we use 15-passenger vans for up to 12 people plus the CEO/Driver. For groups of 8 and more travellers, we also use a trailer to carry luggage. These durable vehicles allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America. Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each with mandatory seat belts to keep us secure and safe. No standing is permitted in these vehicles. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. There is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days to keep everyone more comfortable. Despite some of the long days, most travellers feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture, and wildlife are all well worth the experience!
Solo Travellers : We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation : Participation camping (7 nts).
My Own Room : Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
About Accommodation : Participation camping in clean local campgrounds. All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied, including comfortable camp mattresses. We supply dome tents that take only 5 minutes to assemble/disassemble. They are good quality, durable, industry-standard, oversized 2-person tents, each with 2 separate and convenient zip-up doors, so that each person has his/her own entrance. We use 2 types of campgrounds in Canada: 1.) Private campgrounds: These are privately run sites, usually with all services such as fire pits, picnic tables, drinking water, toilets & shower buildings. Some have small outdoor swimming pools and laundry facilities. These campgrounds are typically located near national park entrances or towns. 2.) Public campgrounds: These are park-run sites, usually with basic facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and drinking water. 3.) All campgrounds provide showers and sanitary facilities within the campground. Please note that the shower facilities at the Sooke River Campround are coin-operated hot showers ($1.00 / 5min) with keypad entrance. 4.) Charging stations may or may not be available at every campground. Most provide them, but your CEO can alert you when there will be a time between charging access points.
Joining Hotel : For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Joining Instructions : An arrival transfer is not included on this tour. Please head to the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level, from here you have two transport options; Taxi or Public Transit. All transportation is located on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level at both International and Domestic Terminals. Taxi The airport is located 14 kilometres from downtown Vancouver. On the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level continue to the designated taxi zones located right outside the Arrivals Hall on level two. An attendant will be there to help. The approximate fare to downtown Vancouver is between $28 CAD and $32 CAD (depending on traffic) plus gratuity. Public Transit – Canada Line The Canada Line is Vancouver’s new rapid transit rail link connecting YVR to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes. It’s a fast and easy way to get to the city centres. You can conveniently access trains from both the International and Domestic Terminals. The Canada Line is accessible by elevator from both the arrivals and departures level. Cash Fare: $8.75 for an adult Includes 1 transfer 1. CANADA LINE TO WATERFRONT (approx 22 minutes/10 stops) Leaving from YVR-AIRPORT STATION EASTBOUND Arriving at YALETOWN-ROUNDHOUSE STATION 2. From here, it is less than a 10 minute walk to your hotel. WELCOME MEETING TIME: 0800 Please note that Day 1 is a travel day and you will depart the joining hotel around 9am for your next destination. Your CEO will organize a short meeting on the morning of Day 1 during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Should you arrive early, a welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, please call the emergency line as soon as possible to arrange onward transportation to catch up with the group.
Arrival Complications : We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Emergency Contact : Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call the G Adventures Local Representative. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS G Adventures Local Representative From outside the USA: 1-514-948-4145 From within the USA: 514-948-4145 If you are unable for any reason to contact our local representative, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here. Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take : You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet. We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable. NOTE: Mountains in the Canadian Rockies can have unpredictable weather with snow and heavy rain even in Summer time. Spring time could be snowy (until end of June) and fall season could start as soon as mid-August. Make sure you have equipment and clothing for all conditions!
Packing List : Camping: • Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes • Sleeping bag and liner, 4 season • Socks • Thermal base layer • Travel pillow • Windproof rain gear Cold Weather: • Long-sleeved shirts or sweater • Scarf • Warm gloves • Warm hat • Warm layers Documents: • Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border) • Insurance info (required) (With photocopies) • Passport (required) (With photocopies) • Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies) • Vouchers and pre-departure information (required) Essentials: • Binoculars (optional) • Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries) • Cash, credit and debit cards • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights) • Ear plugs • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) • Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal) • Fleece top/sweater • Footwear • Hat • Locks for bags • Long pants/jeans • Moneybelt • Outlet adapter • Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.) • Reusable water bottle • Shirts/t-shirts • Sleepwear • Small travel towel • Sunglasses • Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable) • Watch and alarm clock • Waterproof backpack cover • Windproof rain jacket Health & Safety: • Face masks (required) • Hand sanitizer (required) • Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.) • Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test Warm Weather: • Sandals/flip-flops • Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended) • Sun hat/bandana • Swimwear
Laundry : Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour. Some private campgrounds and most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
Visas and Entry Requirements : All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements. Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here
Spending Money : Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Money Exchange : The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Canada and can be used to purchase most items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in Canada, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases. Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Canadian Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5s, 10s and 20s) and credit cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Emergency Fund : Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping : It is customary in North America to tip service providers such as waiters, bartenders and taxi drivers, at approximately 18-20%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip any local guides used. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $2-8 USD per activity depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used as a guide. If your CEO(s) exceeded your expectations, feel free to tip more.
Optional Activities : Sooke - Sea Kayaking Victoria - Bike Rental Sooke & Victoria - Zodiac Whale Watching Cruise (146CAD per person)
Safety and Security : Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions. Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s). Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
A Couple of Rules : Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they utilize the services of paid sex workers, in any capacity.
Travel Insurance : Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures : Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally. G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need. G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation. Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment. Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
Feedback : After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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Minimum Age : You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
International Flights : Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Group Leader : CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.
Enjoy a morning welcome meeting with your CEO in Vancouver before catching the ferry to Sooke on Vancouver Island. Eat a picnic lunch upon arrival before setting off into East Sooke Regional Park for some hiking. There’s a wide range of trails that have different levels of difficulty, but all of them will offer great views of the dramatic, rocky coastline, and lush Pacific rainforest filled with moss and green ferns. In the evening set up camp, get settled, and have dinner around a fire with the group.
After fuelling up with a camp breakfast the group will travel to the Juan de Fuca Strait from Sooke to embark on a hike along a section of the impressive trail. You’ll traverse miles of dense coastal forest and walk over beautiful pebble beaches, past gurgling waterfalls, slippery suspension bridges (watch your step) and the occasional pit of mud, but the dramatic views along this hike are well worth the effort. Transfer back to Sooke in the evening to rest up at camp and have dinner as a group.
Today after breakfast at camp the day is yours to do as you wish. If you need a break from hiking consider one of the many optional activities available like, sea kayaking, whale watching, bicycle rentals, or a visit to the quaint town of Victoria for some people watching and cafe hopping.
In the morning after breakfast the group will transfer to Cowichan Valley where you'll go out on canoes and kayaks on Cowichan Lake. In the afternoon the group will travel to Parksville and walk in Rathtrevor Park along the beach. Feel the sand beneath your feet, hear the waves crashing, see old growth forests along the shoreline, and look for wildlife in the tide pools. In the evening set up camp and relax in the outdoors.
Leave Parksville behind and head to the ferry port in Nanaimo to hop on a ferry to Horseshoe Bay. Once across the water, the group will drive to Squamish and hike The Stawamus Chief trail. This trail is one of the region’s best hikes and will take you up a steep incline to one of its three peaks. The views of the area surrounding Squamish, with the Howe Sound and the Garibaldi Park to the north are incredible. Enjoy a picnic lunch during your hike and in the evening relax at camp and have dinner as a group, refuelling after the day’s adventure.
Another great day of hiking to discover captivating views and new heights (literally). Set out to trek the Elfin Lake trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Offering amazing views you’ll hike 11km to get to the lakes, but it’s certainly worth it. Go for a dip in the icy water, fill up your bottles in another pond reserved only for drinking water and have lunch as you admire those insane views. After hiking the 11km downhill you’ll be able to have dinner wherever you choose in Squamish before heading back to camp for the night.
In the morning the group will travel from Squamish to Whistler to take the Whistler Gondola up to the peak and hike the High Note trail. This trail offers hikers with the most scenic views of Cheakamus Lake with its vibrant aquamarine waters. The hike begins at the top of Whistler Mountain and takes you around the backside with views of the surrounding mountains and a descent through an alpine area. After the hike you’ll have free time to enjoy Whistler. Consider checking out the Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre, the Cloudraker Skybridge, or find a cozy coffee shop in town. In the evening at camp you’ll have your final dinner as a group around the campfire.
Travel from Whistler to Vancouver. Tours ends on arrival in Vancouver.
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