Victoria and Vancouver

Jun 27th, 2006, 09:51 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Victoria and Vancouver

I am new to this site, but came highly recommended from a friend. We only have 6 days to travel from California and have never been to Canada. We are able to go in the end of July which is late notice and not much time to plan. Not sure where to go in Victoria and Vancouver and where to fly in and out. Not even sure how long to stay in each place. Is it worth it to fly into Seattle to take the Victoria Clipper over? Help! I need a rough itinerary with air and hotel suggestions. Thanks so much.
notjack is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 10:13 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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We stayed at a great Bed and Breakfast in Victoria called the Abbeymoore. It has both rooms and private suites with fridge etc. Lovely period house across from Government Mansion in a very private setting, great hosts, close to downtown but not in the busy part. You can find it on the internet.
There is an airport at Victoria, West Jet and Air Canada fly there, don't know about US flights.
There are lots of tourist attractions in Victoria and Vancouver Island during the summer especially. Whale watching, private beaches, wineries to vist, and very good dining. The Abbeymoore can give you referrals for places to eat.
Enjoy your visit!
doriswilson is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 11:04 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,087
Alaska Airlines from California is the best bet to Victoria. You fly to Seattle with a connecting flight on Horizon. There are several options for your itinerary. I assume you are not renting a car which is NOT a problem.
If you fly into Vancouver (Alaska Air) and see the sights there and then you can get the bus Pacific Coach Lines bus to Victoria http://www.pacificcoach.com/
and spend the last days there. As you will see on the website for Pacific Coach you can get a bus from the downtown terminal right to the Vancouver Airport.

As far as seeing the city the Vancouver transportation system is excellent but you can take city tours (Trolley and Gray Line). In Victoria you can do everything from the Inner Harbour (downtown Victoria) There are many attractions you can walk to (Royal BC Museum is world class, the Legislature buildings are beautiful etc etc lots to do) You can get a bus to Butchart Gardens so again a car is not needed. I would get a downtown hotel and you will be very happy.
Why don't you decide on your itinerary and book the flight and you can always book a hotel once that is done. I would split your 6 days 3 and 3.

If you need hotel advice just ask but Priceline is always the best bet and go for four star to be sure you get the area you want (Downtown)
traveller69 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 12:18 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,469
Pondering...

Never been to Canada, coming from California with six days for the trip.

Cost-wise and hassle-wise too it might be best to fly round-trip to Seattle and drive up to Vancouver, leaving Victoria out of the mix entirely.

I don't """"knoooooooow"""" this, but I have a strong feeling that you can get round-trip airfares to Seattle from California destinations for much less than the cost of round-trips into Vancouver. (do check to see if that is at all accurate)

Anybody who has "never been to Canada", and who has the opportunity to make Vancouver their first and main Canadian experience had better do exactly that.

Perhaps a better side trip would be a one-day (or even overnight) journey up to Whistler (a couple of hour drive), site of the NEXT winter olympics in 2010.

Vancouver is one of the most liveable cities in the world and has an awesome backdrop of water and mountains all around it.

If I were you, and I were flying from a large California airport direct to Seattle, I'd try to arrive by noon-ish, and then rent a car at the airport and drive off immediately to the north - 150 miles away to Vancouver. (as long as you get out of metropolitan Seattle by about 2:00pm you won't get totally bogged by rush hour traffic on weekdays)

If you were flying out on the 1st and back on the 7th, lets say, might go like this: (those dates are only for example, I know you're going "late july").

Arrive Seattle @ noonish on the 1st

drive to Vancouver arriving sometime in mid-evening. (fyi - when darkness falls by about 8pm in San Diego in late July, it is plenty light out at 9:30pm in Vancouver, which is much farther west, as well as north)

Have a downtown Vancouver hotel booked (gosh I'd use Priceline if you can "commit" to your itinerary ahead of time) for what should probably be your whole time in Canada.

Assuming you'd be flying home from Seattle on the 7th, you'd awaken on the 6th in Vancouver and would on that day drive back to Seattle, renting a room near the airport for your flight on the 7th.

SO, this means you'd need Canada accommodations for the nights of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

That is only 5 nights, and it just might not be worth splitting it up for a journey over to Victoria unless there is something compelling about Victoria that you've heard about.

(I have lived less than 100 miles from Victoria for decades and have only been there twice... last 20 years ago)

Vancouver, on the other hand, is a place I visit 10 to 25 times per year and I never tire of it.

If you want to get away from the actual city during parts of a day or two up there, the drive to Whistler is most suitable and scenic as well as something you can do comfortably in a day. (read up on "The sea to sky highway")

You don't mention how many are included in "we"... but Vancouver has plenty for people of all ages and you're very lucky that your intro to Canada is Vancouver rather than some of the other alternatives known to bordering states to the east.

Specifically, relating to hotels, I am just sure you should use PRICELINE.COM to get great rates for a FOUR-STAR hotel in downtown Vancouver.

Read about bidding strategies at www.biddingfortravel.com.

I just scanned winning bids for downtown Vancouver 4-star hotels for late July and I think you're looking at roughly $100 per night as a base price. You could do better than that, but for guesstimating costs that makes most sense.

For 5 nights you'd be talking about a total bill of eventually $650 once you factor in the priceline fee of perhaps $50-60 AND the HUGE PARKING CHARGES of perhaps $20 per NIGHT at downtown hotels in Vancouver.

Still, that puts you at the equivalent of $130 per night for mid-town accommodations and it isn't bad. If you bid patiently you may do much better... like perhaps in the base range of $75-80 per night... but that IS peak tourist season.

If you reply, maybe you'll be more clear as to whether you feel you must visit Victoria too. I would check into ferry sailing schedules from the mainland to the island and see how long they take, and whether you want that added chunk of time both ways on your trip itinerary.

Hope this helps.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 12:23 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Qantas is having a special from SFO to Vancouver but they do not make this flight every day. They will serve you a free meal with drinks. Check into it. Qantas is the best.
wally34949 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 03:25 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 62
I have to agree with traveller 69. If you haven't been to Canada before I would do Vancouver and Victoria. You don't say what city you are flying out of. A quick check of Alaska for the last week of July you can get flights from LAX to Vancouver for around $410. The same days to Seattle the price was around $320. (depending on dates and time of day etc they all vary) For the difference in price it saves the hassle and expense of renting a car and you don't lose a day in BC that way. Whistler is lovely and all but most tourists I have spoken to (I was in the tourist industry in Victoria) all wished they had more time and wanted to definitely come back. I wouldn't miss seeing it.

Wally - that is interesting about Qantas. I didn't know you could fly into YVR from SFO with them. I agree I love Qantas. I will have to do more research on that and use them next time.
wrldtrvlr05 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 11:57 AM
  #7  
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You have all been quite helpful and I appreciate all your time. For some reason, I really do want to see Victoria as well as Vancouver. How long does it take to go from one to the other? Would I be best to fly into Vancouver and out of Victoria or vice versa? That seems to be a more expensive way to go, but does it make sense? Also, I have never used priceline and I am nervous to do it, but I will take your advice and give it a try.

Thanks again for your help.
notjack is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 01:19 PM
  #8  
 
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Least hassle and least time spent moving about would be to fly into Vancouver and out of Victoria. This is the ideal situation. You would have to check to see how much more this would cost than flying round trip to Seattle, the cost of flights is inconsistant, and for your dates, who knows what the difference might be.

If you choose the Seattle option, add the cost of a car rental and gas, and factor in your driving time. You won't need a car just for Vancouver and Victoria.
saltymuffin is offline  
Jul 4th, 2006, 12:06 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 13
Notjack,

I am a former Californian living in Victoria and fly back and forth quite often. I find Alaska Air is usually best. I agree with the other poster that said that you might be best to fly into Vanc. and out of Victoria or vice versa. You can fly between Van/Vict and you might be able to get a decent price on this by booking it along with your main tickets. I wouldn't recommend the Clipper because it takes quite a while and most people get sea sick. Do not skip your trip to Victoria, it is a wonderful city with loads of Chatacter. Vancouver also has much to do and see. If you need advice on what to see and do in Victoria post a question with the types of activities you like and I will try and help you out.

Elaine
ephilcox is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 04:23 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 36
One option other than flying into one city and out of the other is to take BC Ferries between Vancouver and Victoria. You can take Pacific Coach Lines which will take you downtown to downtown. www.pacificcoach.com for details. When my wife lived in Victoria and I in Vancouver, I used to do this all the time - very convenient, cheaper than flying, and you get great views of the Gulf Islands. I'd recommend taking the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria in the morning on one day and then return late afternoon the next - this will give you more than enough time to see the sights in Victoria (there aren't many: walk around the harbour, check out the Royal BC Museum, take Gray Line from the Empress Hotel to Butchart Gardens).

fyi, if you are in Vancouver July 26 or 29 there are fireworks nights (international competition with the fireworks synchonized to music) - worth checking out if you can stand HUGE crowds of people. 10:00 PM start times - go to any of the beaches around English Bay.
tudorterrace222 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:38 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 27
We just got back on saturday from this trip. Fly into Vancouver; ship/ avoid seattle, its a bummer, the traffic is horrible, total gridlock ( I'm from LA, okay) and there is nothing really to see except the waterfront.

you dont need a car in vancouver or in victoria. vancouver hotels are pretty pricey but dont scrimp , stay in the main downtown area. its a beautiful and amzing city and it doenst get dark until 10:30 pm every night. take the ferry to victoria (vancouver island) buy a through ticket on the pacific charter lines bus company or you may get stuck in the ferry station on the vancouver side. the ferry station is way outside of the city itself. only small planes and helicopter fly from vancouver to victoria. stay in a well known hotel chin in victoria only. go to butchart gardens in incredible, have fun. we did
tecolote is offline  
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