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Welcome to outdoorsy, nature loving Vancouver! Regarded as one of the world's most naturally beautiful cities, Vancouver is framed by dramatic vistas on all sides and is the kind of place where, given its close proximity to nature, you can ski in the morning and swim in the ocean by early afternoon. After settling in to your hotel you'll meet your Travel Director this afternoon, then you're free to head out and uncover the city's many delights. Take a stroll through Stanley Park, or alternatively explore Vancouver's diverse culinary scene which boasts some of the best Asian cuisine in all of North America.
This morning’s sightseeing tour of lovely Vancouver will visit the city's oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, which was designated a National Historic Site in 2009. You'll also visit buzzy Chinatown, and admire the famous collection of totem poles at Stanley Park, before jumping on the ferry bound for Vancouver Island, and drive into the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. After docking at Swartz Bay and making the short drive into the city, you’ll no doubt be struck by the distinctly English influence of Victoria. A sightseeing tour of the city will take you along the waterfront district and into the bustling downtown area, passing the Parliament Buildings, Government Street and through Beacon Hill Park so you can really get your bearings. This evening is yours to explore or dine out with new found friends.
Spend the morning amid the blossoms at the world famous Butchart Gardens. This expansive, over a century old estate offers sunken, rose, Japanese, Italian, and Mediterranean gardens for you to amble and find plenty of photo ops and moments of beauty. The rest of the day is yours to explore Victoria as you like. Learn about the surrounding waters on a whale watching cruise on the lookout for orcas, bald eagles, porpoises, and seals, or taste all Victoria has to offer in a guided food and history tour of Chinatown.
First up on today’s agenda is Chemainus, a seaside community and former industrial town that is best known for its series of giant outdoor murals depicting local history. Hopping on board a ferry across the Georgia Strait and arriving into Horseshoe Bay, you’ll then travel along the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the world’s most scenic drives. We challenge you not to keep your eyes to the horizon as you pass cascading waterfalls, jagged mountain peaks and the dreamy ocean vistas of Howe Sound, before stopping off at Shannon Falls Provincial Park, which boasts the third highest waterfall in all of British Columbia. Still in awe of the scenery offered by today’s drive, you’ll finish today in the alpine village of Whistler, which sits nestled in the shadows of the Blackcomb Mountains.
Enjoy your day in Whistler as you explore this stunning adventure playground. Go hiking or biking on one of the many trails or the labyrinth of lanes that make up Whistler Village. Or make the day your own with action-packed Optional Experiences, each one more exhilarating than the next! You could find yourself soaring into the skies aboard the famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola, go bear viewing with a local wildlife photographer or admire the turquoise waters of the mile high Garibaldi Lake from above in a sightseeing plane, soaring over glaciers and landing on a small, isolated and idyllic lake for a picnic ashore, whitewater rafting, zip lining at 60 mph (100 kph) amidst the stunning mountain wilderness, and many more options. When we said exhilarating, we weren't joking!
Fuel for another big day with an iconic breakfast at Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre where you’ll get to know more about First Nations culture through food and music, treated to authentic tastes including blueberry and cheese and onion bannock (a kind of quick skillet bread) and a performance by cultural ambassadors dressed in traditional regalia singing, dancing, and sharing stories from Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. You will then leave Whistler behind as you venture along scenic Duffey Lake Road, spotting the freshwater fjord of Seton Lake, and the ominous sounding Mt. Rohr along the way. Following the once treacherous Cariboo Wagon Trail, which formed part of the Gold Rush Route, your final port of call for today is Sun Peaks, one of British Columbia’s best loved ski resorts. Winter time here sees ski and snowboard enthusiasts from across the globe flocking to this pretty little town to enjoy just some of the 135 ski runs that pepper the horizon. In the warmer months, the ski lifts stay open to provide access to more than two dozen hiking and mountain bike trails, making Sun Peaks yet another outdoorsy gem.
Fall in love with the gorgeous prairie provinces of Canada this morning as you drive through the white fenced ranch lands that surround the Yellowhead Highway. Keeping a firm eye on the snowcapped peaks of the Columbia Mountains in the distance, it will be cheers all round as you catch a first glimpse of Mount Robson, the most prominent mountain in the North American Rockies and the highest point in the Canadian range. You'll finish up today in unpretentious, heartwarming Jasper, which sits smack bang in the heart of Jasper National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful protected wildernesses in the world. This evening is yours to relax or go all out savoring a three-course dinner at the award-winning Beckers Gourmet Restaurant on the beautiful Athabasca River followed by a twilight wildlife tour and interpretive “Horns and Antlers” talk.
Today promises to be action packed! Stepping outside and smelling the fresh mountain air, let the prospect of a day exploring stunning Jasper bring a smile to your face. As the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies your options are limitless, and as always we’ve also got a range of exciting Optionals on hand to help personalise your experience. Perhaps you’ll choose a gentle float trip down the Athabasca River^ (seasonal), which provides ample wildlife spotting opportunities, or maybe a guided walk on the “Path of the Glaciers” as you make your way to the emerald green “Lake of Forgiveness”. Have your heart set on exploring beautiful Maligne Lake? Then a boat cruise (seasonal) around the largest glacially fed lake in the Canadian Rockies has your name all over it.
First, you will be heading on to explore the magnificent Columbia Icefield. Here, you’ll ride the giant Ice Explorer across the Athabasca Glacier for a closer look at this ancient marvel of nature. Next, you will make your way down to the 'Jewel of the Rockies', the vibrant turquoise Lake Louise. You will make a stop before ending your day in Banff.
Waking up today we hope you’re full of energy, as the vast natural playground outside of your front door isn’t going to explore itself. Venture into the stunning wilderness of Banff National Park, or better still you could take advantage of our enticing range of optionals to truly unlock this region in real Costsaver style. We’ve got a variety of helicopter flights (weather dependent) to see you soaring over sights including the Three Sisters Peak, the Sundance Ranges and the Gloria and Assiniboine Glaciers, or perhaps you’d prefer to catch the gondola to the very top of Sulphur Mountain for a bird’s eye view of six mountain ranges within the Rockies, spotting glorious Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the distance. However you choose to explore today, one things for sure - Banff will be an experience you’ll never forget.
It will be another incredible drive today as you climb higher and higher to cross the Continental Divide at Kicking Horse Pass, stopping at the Spiral Tunnels on the way to marvel at one of the steepest railroad stretches in the world. You'll then travel through not one, not two, but three beautiful national parks, slowly descending from the mountains as the landscape changes from snowcapped peaks to sprawling wineries and fruit orchards, indicating that you've arrived in Canada's 'fruit basket', the Okanagan Valley. Surrounded by so many grapes the temptation for a tasting will be hard to resist, so you'll stop off at a local winery for a tour and tasting before heading on to Vernon, the unofficial capital of the Okanagan.
On your final drive of the trip make the most of the scenery this morning as you pass through the Cascade Mountains, named for the staggering number of waterfalls tumbling off the peaks, before venturing into the Fraser River Valley and finally coming to a stop back in Vancouver, the place where it all began.
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