Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, let’s learn how to dance in the rain. The world is full of hidden treasures, I actually received one during this trip, quite a diamond! Then I also discovered natural treasures that I share with you here : the top 5 activities we did while in Vancouver and Tofino.
1 – Cherry blossoms
It is a cherry blossom festival every spring in Vancouver! It is the best city in Canada to see them. We are amazed to see trees and streets blooming in pink or white. You don’t know what to do for the next Easter long weekend? Visit Vancouver in early April, now is the best time to see all these beautiful buds taking over the city. There is truly a festival every year in April where the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website lists all the places to see these trees, you can follow the map on the site to get lost around the city and capture some beautiful pictures!
2 – Bike tour
In Montreal we have the Bixi, in Paris we have the Velib, in Vancouver we have the Mobi! Vancouver is great to cycle all year-round, as the temperatures allow it! You just have to register on mobibikes.ca, a code will be given to you to unlock any Mobi bike available at various points in the city. We took the 24 hour plan with the first 30 minutes included at $ 12, if you exceed the 30 minutes of use $ 6 cost will be applied for each additional 30 minutes.
Stanley Park is very popular for jogging, walking, relaxing at the beach, sport activities and biking. We felt disconnected from the city and recharged our batteries in nature, by the water. This is Vancouver’s must-see, you can’t miss it if you go. We started our bike ride from the Coal Harbor area, which is actually Vancouver Harbor, all the boats and yachts are moored there. The view is magnificent with the Rocky Mountains in the back. When you return from your ride, take the time to have a drink in one of the restaurants and bars on the edge of the port. The Cardero’s is excellent! If there is too much of a wait to reserve a seat, take a bike ride and they will text you when your table is ready!
3 – Discover a district of Vancouver
Yaletown was a great discovery! We accidentally ventured into this charming neighborhood; it is very trendy with very good upscale restaurants that have the most patios in the city. A lot of young people live there, you can feel a very nice atmosphere as if we were residents of Vancouver (Is that premonitory? 😊).
Our favorite was David Lam Park, the view is amazing, a bit of town, nature, surrounded by water, with tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. A district that is both hippie and chic at the same time. It is also very popular for its Yaletown Farmers Market, from May to October part of the neighborhood is closed to make way for a large market of local artists, farmers and all craftsmen who sell their products to the public. Tourists and locals can find cool stuff there.
Along the Beach Crescent alley where cyclists, walkers, joggers, skateboarders meet, we have a sublime view of the boats of False Creek with the island of Granville on the other side. Also on this same alley is Sunset Beach, from David Lam Park it is about 1.2 km or 15 minutes walk. Add another kilometer, or 10 minutes and you will arrive at English Bay Beach. But we stopped at a beautiful patio restaurant with water views, surrounded by cherry blossom trees, enchanting scenery and an exquisite culinary journey, the Ancora Waterfront of False Creek. A Peruvian and Japanese inspired seafood restaurant with a touch of the West Coast! In short, sip a white wine from the BC (British Colombia) region and taste a seafood dish, it is worth the detour!
4 – Seaplane flight
A very pleasant experience that I had never done before, a flight in a seaplane. From the city of Vancouver, you can reach Vancouver Island in a 30-minute seaplane. On the island, you can find beautiful cities like Victoria (which I also wrote an article here), Nanaimo and Tofino. Most of the time, locals travel by ferry and can bring their car with them, the trip is between 2h30 and 3h at lower costs. However, for the memorable and exciting experience, we chose the seaplane!
Depending on the season and the weight of your suitcases, prices vary. We went to Nanaimo with Harbour Air from the Vancouver Harbor. GoFlex prices are a little less expensive than GoGold prices, as a refundable cancellation is possible 4 hours before departure with 25 pounds or 11 kilos of luggage allowed. With the GoGold you are entitled to 50 pounds or 22 kilos of luggage and a refundable cancellation 15 minutes before departure. In April, for example, round-trip prices were around $ 200 CAD. If you are traveling with an airline employee, you will receive a special price. Flying over the water and seeing the landscapes so close from an airplane was a first for me, compared to an airline plane I would say it is a little noisier but not unpleasant, we did not have too much turbulence and if it there were, it wasn’t that scary. An unusual experience that takes you on a journey between sea and mountains.
5 – Visit Vancouver Island, from Nanaimo to Tofino
Arrived by seaplane in Nanaimo, we rented a car from there for two reasons. It seems that in Tofino no rental company has cars available, we have heard that it is rarer to find them in Tofino than in Nanaimo. The second reason was the pleasure of doing a little road trip between these two cities, it would only take 2.5 to 3 hours driving on the Pacific Rim Highway. Several points where you can stop between forests and mountains and admire the scenery, such as Cathedral Grove, a network of trails around an ancient forest of trees over 800 years old. Or the spectacular Lake Sproat to take a breath of fresh air and admire the view. Still on the same road, you’ll find Wally Creek, with a roadside padlock fence and a postcard-like image on the background, mountains in the back and the river streaming beneath us. It’s worth the stop!
Finally, it was in Ucluelet that my heart melted because it was here that my fiancé proposed. It was while hiking the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop overlooking the Pacific Ocean surrounded with a beautiful and generous nature that I said yes. A wonderful hike of about 3 kilometers, very pleasant to do with breathtaking viewpoints. The trees are gigantic, you feel completely enveloped and protected by all this natural beauty. A humble and perfect decor for a marriage proposal!
Then comes the town of Tofino or rather the village with its 1,900 inhabitants, a somewhat bohemian town completely in the west of Canada, here we are disconnected from the world, we appreciate the weather, we observe the fishermen coming back with all kinds of fish, but it is also a paradise for surfers and lovers of outdoor activities. Tofino is known to be Canada’s Surf Capital! Whether in Long Beach, Chesterman Beach or Cox Bay Beach you will see all of them with their boards surfing the wave!
Among the many restaurants, we have been at the Shelter, excellent food and service guaranteed! The ingredients are fresh and coming from local farms, a culinary immersion. Then end the day with a sunset over the Pacific Ocean, there is nothing more beautiful! We observed it from our room at Middle Beach Lodge, as the room had a private balcony with ocean view. Open a bottle of wine and enjoy this moment with friends or lovers and thank Mother Nature for this memorable experience for life.
And that’s how our long weekend ends, a little getaway is always good for our mind because we get out of our routine which can seem repetitive these days, then we come back with a ring 😊
Feel free to share your beautiful getaways too!
See you soon!