Vancouver-Victoria -Seattle -QUESTIONS!

Old Apr 26th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Vancouver-Victoria -Seattle -QUESTIONS!

We have revised our itenerary and have questions for you experts out there.....here it goes:

1. We fly to Vancouver June 19th and find transportation to Whitsler. This is the first question. What is best? The limo round trip is $700...is that right?

2. We spend 5 nights in Whistler and drive back to Vancouver. We need no car and I need to research actvities (we have 2 kids, 12 and 10)

3. We spend 2 nights in Vancouver.

Will this be enough time to enjoy the down town and go to Victoria?
Should we try to do whale watching? Where?

4. We need transportation to Seattle and this brings several questions.
We would like to see the islands (San Juan or Orcas)....and have 3 nights left. Should we spend one night in one of the islands and then continue to Seattle?
Should we try to see whales in the islands instead of Victoria?
What is the best way to go from Vancouver to the islands and then Seatlle....bus or train to the feery and then rent a car?

As you can see I AM LOST.....

THANKS

albaelena is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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1. It really depends what is best. If you're really wanting to splurge $700 on taking a limo to Whistler for the 2 hour drive, go for it. However, if price is at all a concern, I'd opt for one of the many Whistler-Vancouver shuttle services. I can't think of any names off the top of my head, but a quick search on Google.ca with the words "Whistler Vancouver shuttle" will give you plenty of cheaper, yet still comfortable, alternatives. I took a shuttle (a modern van which can carry 8 passengers at once), which drove my directly from the Vancouver airport to the condo I was staying at in Whistler. This was 4 years ago mind you, but I know that the price was well under $200.

2. A car isn't necessary in either Whistler and Vancouver. Whistler will give your family many outdoor recreational activities, whether that means taking a gondola up the top, hiking along the paths, renting mountain bikes, renting canoes on the lake, etc. If you have sons and they enjoy skateboarding, there's even a skatepark at Whistler that they can use.

3. I've lived my whole life in Vancouver and would recommend 3 days if you really want to see the basics of Vancouver while slipping in a day trip to Victoria.

However, with only 2 days, I'd just stick with Vancouver and forget Victoria. If you're taking a ferry (and not flying), it takes 3 hours to get between Vancouver and Victoria one way. Whale watching can easily eat up half a day, depending on where the whales are located. Vancouver is quite a large city, and those 2 days will just allow you to skim the surface. If you decide to visit Victoria, that would only give you one day in both cities, which, while it often is enough for the basics of Victoria, is definitely not enough time to do Vancouver justice.

You'l find that with 2 kids aged 10 and 12, you'll find that Vancouver will give your family more than enough to do in 2 days. For example, Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Granville Island can easily eat up most of one day.

4. Amtrak has a train which favours people returning to Seattle later in the evening. They only have one train that leaves Vancouver each day, so if that doesn't work with your schedule, you can also take the bus. I've taken the Quick Shuttle bus between Vancouver and Seattle and found it clean, comfortable, and full of other tourists/travellers doing the exact same thing. It also has various departures throughout the day, from morning to night.

As for seeing orcas, all whale watching companies, whether they depart from Victoria, the San Juan Islands, or even the few that depart from Vancouver all go to see the same whales. There are 3 pods of orcas that live in the Strait of Georgia, and each day they end up somewhere else. If you're going to go with a whale watch company in Vancouver, the expeditions usually take 3-5 hours because they have to go out further to see the whales. Expeditions in the San Juans and Victoria tend to have shorter times because they're often travel shorter distances to see the whales. But as I said already, they're all going to see the same whales, so it doesn't really matter where you depart from.

What matters most is the company you choose to go whale watching with. Some offer tours in open zodiaks. They're incredibly stable, but they're fast, exciting, and you have to wear a big bulky life suit. I did this trip once and found it totally exhilarating because we were so close to the water and could maneuver around the San Juan and Gulf Islands to see other wild life as well. It was almost like a ride. However, some people don't want excitement.

I've also taken a whale watch tour in a covered zodiak. These were less fast, but you were covered from the wind and the spray. We had to remain seated until the boat stopped. However, when we finally got to the whales, I could see all the other whale watching boats around... some were converted fishing vessels, while others looked like converted yachts, allowing their passengers to walk around while they were in motion. Some tours, I'd imagine, only focused on the whales, while other tours combined it with an eco-tour of the region, so you would also see other wildlife as well.

Before I get carried away, I just wanted to emphasize that the kind of experience you want should determine the kind of whale watch company you go with.
Carmanah is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2005, 10:02 PM
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I agree with the above poster, that it depends on your priorities regarding where to spend your time.

If you are really into hiking and fabulous scenery, etc. you will enjoy Whistler but you might consider 3 or 4 nights there if you can, and use the extra time for Vancouver/Victoria. Just a thought.

Perimeter Bus Lines will take you directly from the airport to most major hotels in Whistler. Cost is $65/adult and $45 children under 12 one way. Plan for a 3 hour ride. Here is the link: http://www.perimeterbus.com/

Another link for you is the BC Ferries schedule: http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/m...w-current.html

Sailing time from Vancouver to Victoria is 1 1/2 hours but it will take time to get from your hotel to the ferry (add 3/4 hour depending on traffic). You might also check out the Washington State Ferries website for information on ferries from Victoria (Schwartz Bay) to Washington.

Another idea is to book a bus tour to Victoria from Vancouver, and from Victoria to Seattle. Visit a Tourist Information Centre in Vancouver/Victoria and they will help with your plans.

I also agree that 2 nights isn't much time to see Vancouver, but if you come from a large city you may not care to see a lot of the attractions. Again, it is your choice.

You can go whale watching in Victoria but as mentioned, plan 1/2 day for the excursion. You will see the islands from the ferries (Gulf Islands and San Juans) but the main ferry doesn't stop there. Remember a lot of time can be spent waiting in line for ferries to/from these little islands.

What are your main interests on this trip? Maybe this will help us give you more advice.

sohara is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Also forgot to mention that Whistler has a sports complex called Meadow Park Arena, which has an ice rink and 2 pools with hot tub, sauna and steam room.
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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THANKS for the suggestions! They are all great and I will look into these things.

We do live in Dallas and might skip thigs like the aquarium....we are more into enjoying the downtown and probable Stanley Park.

I am thinking that if we really want to do the islands we will have to go to Seattle and rent a car....the take a passenger ferry and rent another acr in the islands....for the day?

I want to keep cost under control and will start looking at all the options!!!!

I am open to more suggestions....your knowledge is invaluable
THANKS

Alba
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 08:04 PM
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Alba, you are welcome, glad to help.

You can rent a car in Vancouver, take it on the ferry to Vancouver Island and/or most of the Gulf Islands or San Juan Islands, and if you wish you can take it on the ferry to Washington and drive to Seattle. However, this option would involve a one-way car rental which is always more expensive. Might be best to rent the car in Vancouver, take it to the Islands, then back to Vancouver and travel to Seattle via rail, bus, plane?

It is less expensive to walk on the ferries, however, there is the hassle of finding transportation everywhere.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:15 AM
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we will have a car in vancouver and seattle. is it best to ferry to san juan islands from seattle area or vancouver. where is it best to ferry from to see the whales. we will be there week of june 1 -9. thanks
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Old May 26th, 2005, 10:16 AM
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Personally I would take the ferry from Vancouver as there are many regular sailings to Vancouver Island, then you can decide where you want to go on the San Juans. I have never gone on the whale watching tours, but from what I've read you can pretty much see them on any tour. If you are going to Vancouver Island, check the tours from Victoria.
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