Want to explore exotic islands?
Instead of the Galapagos, visit Haida Gwaii.
Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, this archipelago off the northernmost tip of the British Columbia coastline is world-renowned for its mystical beauty and rich, indigenous culture. Home to the Haida people for more than 13,000 years, and protected by designated Haida Watchmen who live there, the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site features a number of breathtaking village sites. Here you’ll find ancient totems, densely wooded forests shrouded in mist, and orcas swimming offshore. Although it’s possible to see the sights in a day, most day-trippers end up wishing they’d arranged a several-night stay with one of the local outfitters who will ferry you deep into the protected area in an inflatable outboard motor boat.
Photo: Rocky Mountaineer
Want to travel in the lap of luxury?
Instead of taking a European river cruise, treat yourself to a Rocky Mountaineer journey.
Cruise by train! World-class service kicks off even before Rocky Mountaineer’s elegantly appointed coaches pull out of station in Seattle or Banff. While mountains and valleys may be the most prominent feature of these luxury trips, guests will enjoy plenty of remarkable waterways on their journeys, too. On the “Coastal Passage” route from Seattle to Vancouver (or vice versa), the train skirts the shore. Guests are treated to expansive views of Puget Sound, then roll across Chuckanut Bay—the only place where the Cascade Mountains meet the sea—before getting up close with the beaches and famous stone at White Rock, which is said to have been hurled there by a god of the sea, demonstrating his strength. Connect in Vancouver with the “First Passage to the West” route, where the rails trace river valleys, dancing through canyons along the Fraser River to Hell’s Gate, through semi-arid landscapes along the South Thompson River, to Kinbasket Lake, whose blue-green waters are fed by the Columbia River. You’ll also travel next to the rushing Kicking Horse River and other waterways that are best seen by train.
Want that authentic alpine experience?
Instead of touring the Swiss Alps, soar up Grouse Mountain on the Skyride.
Towering more than 1,200 metres above downtown Vancouver—the western start or terminus of Rocky Mountaineer and a world-class city in every sense of the term—this all-seasons attraction offers alpine ski slopes in the winter and stunning scenery in the summer. Ride to the summit aboard an aerial tramway known as the Skyride, then take your pick of peak adventures, whether it’s a scenic helicopter ride, a visit with Grinder and Coola, two rescued Grizzlies, or a leisurely stroll along the mountain’s impressive overlooks.