VANCOUVER help

Aug 1st, 2006, 12:17 PM
  #1  
mariadelagracia
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VANCOUVER help

we are an adult couple planning a trip to vancouver for next june. does anyone have any suggestions for an inexpensive, centrally located hotel, B&B, condo or apartment? nothing fancy, just somewhere where we can have a clean, quiet night's sleep at the end of the day. we will probably be staying in vancouver for 4 nights. we plan to see:
** the anthropology museum
** lynn canyon suspension bridge
** stanley park
** granville street
** macmillan space center
** walk the sea wall
** do a little whale watching

is it reasonable to take a day trip to victoria or to whistler? we are not hikers, so we would just be meandering and "poking our heads" around. if we rented a car to drive to whistler, would we miss a lot of the scenery, instead of taking the train?
 
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:04 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello mariadelagracia,

If you want a reasonably priced but decent hotel, the Sylvia is reputed to be a legend. We had reservations there this past May (2006), but we had to postpone our trip till June. Then we had to postpone our trip again, and we finally were able to take it in July. Unfortunately we were not able to get into the Sylvia Hotel, which I'd been looking forward to trying, in June or Julyl. However, we did get into the Holiday Inn Vancouver Downtown, which we found very comfortable and centrally located.

Are you familiar with bidding for a hotel on Priceline? I've seen reports on the travel discussion forums in which people have stated that they have secured 4-star hotels in downtown Vancouver for as little as $90 and sometimes even $70!

Priceline probably would be able to save you a lot of money. The Sylvia Hotel, without Priceline, was in the C$145 range when I researched it. We got the Holiday Inn for C$185 on the Sunday night and C$145 on subsequent nights.

We did not use Priceline because we had so many family and work-related complications that we could not commit to the timing of our trip.

I think it's a good idea to spend your first day in Vancouver visiting the city's centrally located landmarks (Stanley Park and Granville Island Market and, if you have time, Yaletown and Robson Street).

I believe it would be nice to spend a second day visiting Whistler. The train tracks and the road follow similar, but not absolutely identical, routes. I have not taken the train to Whistler. Years ago I took a train called the "Royal Hudson" to Squamish, which is about half way between Vancouver and Whistler. However, I have not gone the remaining distance to Whistler by train.

I think it would be nice to go to Whistler by car, in that it would give you the flexibility to stop and look at Shannon Falls, just before Squamish, and Brandywyne Falls, just before Whistler. Both waterfalls are lovely. You do not see Shannon Falls from the train. The train tracks pass quite close to Brandywyne Falls, and I believe you do see those falls from the train. However, you see them only in passing. If you can get out of your car and walk to the falls, you can linger there for a few minutes, look at the lovely lake below the falls, etc.

Another benefit of having a car is that it gives you the flexibility to go on to the next town, Pemberton, if you wish. Just before you reach Pemberton, you can visit Nairn Falls, which is an even prettier waterfall than Shannon and Brandywyne, to my taste.

More in next post ..............

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:48 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Itís possible to do a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria. However, it does make for a very long day and it only allows you to visit Victoria superficially.

It takes at least 3.5 hours to get from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria by a combination of car and ferry or bus and ferry. So, if you go there and back on the same day, you consume at least 7 hours of that day in travel (albeit the voyage amongst the Southern Gulf Islands is pretty).

You can cut down on the time if you fly by the sea plane that goes from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. That takes only 30 Ė 40 minutes. However, it costs a lot more than surface travel.

From a scenic point of view, I think itís ideal to go by seaplane in one direction and by ferry in the other direction. That gives you an opportunity to see the scenery from every angle.

It is not really possible to do a "little whale watching" from Vancouver. The whale watching cruises depart from Steveston, to the south of Vancouver. From what Iíve read on the Internet, the Steveston-based whale watching cruises take up to 5 hours.

Whale watching cruises also are available from Victoria. The boats that depart from Steveston and those that depart from Victoria visit the same pods of whales. Because the whales tend to hang out a bit closer to Victoria, the cruises that depart from there take only 3 hours.

Between the fact that it takes quite a lot of time to get to and from Victoria and the fact that the Steveston-based whale watching cruises take you about half of the way to Victoria anyway, I think there is merit in going on an overnight trip to Victoria, seeing the place in a little more depth, and doing a whale watching cruise from there.

More in next post ...........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 07:52 PM
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I have never been to the MacMillan Space Centre, so I cannot say from personal experience how worthwhile it is.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a charming spot. What makes it so lovely is the extensive tract of temperate rainforest in which you can walk. Itís amazing that there is such a wonderful natural space just a stoneís throw from the suburban homes of North Vancouver. However, that same kind of temperate rainforest covers the mountains en route to Whistler and all around Whistler. If I ran out of time and I was forced to choose between Whistler and Lynn Canyon, I would choose Whistler.

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is one of my favourite Vancouver attractions. However, there also are excellent exhibits depicting First Nations culture and art at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. So, if you were visiting Victoria for a night or two and if you included the Royal BC Museum, you probably would not need to visit the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver as well.

In an ideal world it would be nice to visit all of these places, Whistler and Lynn Canyon, the Museum of Anthropology and the Royal BC Museum, and so on. However, Iím trying to work with the 4 nights you say you have. Even at that, Iím probably cramming in too much. I guess youíre going to have to make some choices.

Anyway, I hope the above thoughts have been of some assistance. You may be able to get further help from the COAST section of my website, especially the links Iíve provided to the great websites that Vancouverites have created about their city:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...kiesTravelTips
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 07:55 AM
  #5  
 
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mariadelagracia,

Grayline Tours (which I LOVE) does a tour to Whistler as a train/bus combo (which includes a stop at the falls)

I am planning on taking this tour when I am there next August (LOL! It seems like lots of us are planning trips to Vancouver for next summer. I thought I was the only one planning so far in advance! )

Rail/coach

http://www.etix.com/glwest/servlet/o...anchise_id=409

Coach/Rail

http://www.etix.com/glwest/servlet/o...anchise_id=409
Wallace_and_Gromit is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 06:30 PM
  #6  
mariadelagracia
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thank you for your suggestions. we are flexible with our days, so it's possible that we extend our stay for 5 or 6 nights. to tell the truth, i thought that the 4 nights would have been ample.

i think we will go to whistler instead of victoria. do you suggest we spend the night at whistler, or, if we started out (by car) around 8:00am, is it reasonable to plan on being back in vancouver in time to drop off the car?

 
Aug 2nd, 2006, 07:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Whistler is a 2-hour drive from Vancouver. Here is a description of a day trip that my husband and I did to Whistler just recently:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana.../whistler.msnw

By going only for a day trip, however, we were not able to do the Zip Trek Ecotour through the forest canopy, mountain biking, white water rafting and other activities for which the Whistler area is known.

We did visit three beautiful waterfalls, which involved going on short walks through enchanting temperate rainforests. They were not hikes. They fell into the category of "poking our heads" into the forest.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  

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