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Orcas and Grizzly Bear tour off the North Coast of Vancouver Island

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Enjoy the wildlife of the North Coast of Vancouver Island on this 5-day tour


Explore pristine coastal waters and visit wilderness areas to see the orcas ("killer whales") and grizzly bears right off the coast of Vancouver Island. This self-guided tour will provide you with the most authentic wildlife and cultural experiences while staying in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island with a view of Johnstone Straight. The area is home to sheltered waters and islands with rich marine life, including the biggest population of orcas in western North America. Knight Inlet is at the end of the Strait, home to a thriving population of grizzly bears.


  • Killer Whales / Orcas
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Alert Bay, Cormorant Island
  • Telegraph Cove
  • Broughton Archipelago
  • Knight Inlet
  • Boat Tours
  • Hiking and sightseeing
  • Return transportation from Vancouver


During the 5-day tour, you'll see how the coastal ecosystem works, observe the wildlife, learn about indigenous cultures, and meet local communities. On your stay on Cormorant Island, one of the three days will be spent watching whales, the other observing grizzly bears. On the third day, you'll have time to relax and explore the Alert Bay village. This place is a must-visit spot because it remains one of the few unique coastal communities on the west coast of British Columbia. Your trip's first and last days are reserved for getting to and from Alert Bay. 

You'll be staying at a four-room ocean-view inn known for its high-quality service. You'll also have enough time to walk through Alert Bay and see how rich and colorful the village is. 

The log lodge opens up a stunning view of mountains, breathtaking sunsets, and local marine wildlife, even overlooking Johnstone Strait. Those who wish to share their impressions of the day are welcome to the common room, where many guests like to meet, dine, and talk. 

The lodge is only two kilometers away from Alert Bay Village. You'll pass by the 'Namgis Original Burial Grounds on your way there. Once you reach the village, you'll also find the U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay Ecological Park, and Big Tree Trail.

Availability June - Sept
Duration 5 days
Departs From Vancouver, BC
Difficulty Easy Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Group maximum 6 people
Minimum age 9 years
Pick Up Yes
Meet on Location No


2 180
  • Small Group Experience
  • Expert Guides
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676
  • Fast & secure payment

Availability (2024):

  • June 15 – June 30
  • Price: $2995 CAD per person
  • July 1 – September 15
  • Price: $3195 CAD per person

Prices are based on double occupancy.
Single Supplement: Add $720 CAD

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What's Included


  • Accommodation for 4 nights in Alert Bay
  • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Flights from Vancouver International Airport to Port Hardy Airport and Return
  • Transfers between airports, ports, ferries, and lodges
  • Full day excursion to Telegraph Cove including 3.5-hour wildlife and orca/whale watching marine tour
  • 9-hour grizzly bear viewing marine tour
  • Admission ticket to U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay

What to bring

  • Clothing for a variety of coastal weather conditions
  • Warm jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Hat & Gloves
  • Hiking boots
  • Fleece or wool sweaters
  • Camera
  • Daypack with water bottle
  • A full packing list will be provided upon booking

Not Included

  • Meals unless otherwise stated in itinerary
  • Taxi to the U’mista Cultural Centre (about 2.5 kilometers from the lodge)
  • Activities or equipment rentals unless otherwise stated in itinerary
  • Return ferry passage to Alert Bay from Port McNeill
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Day 1: Trip from Vancouver to Alert Bay

The itinerary might change due to weather conditions and tour operator planning.

You’ll start your trip at Vancouver International Airport, heading to the South Terminal and checking in at Pacific Coastal Air. After 70 minutes, you’ll reach Port Hardy. Here a taxi will take you to Port McNeil, from which you’ll take a coastal ferry to get to Alert Bay – a village that is the home of the First Nations community. Once you arrive at the ferry terminal, the inn employees will accompany you to your lodge.

Only dinner will be served that day.

After breakfast, you'll have the opportunity to explore Alert Bay on foot. Your accommodation manager will provide you with a map of the area and tickets to the U'Mista Cultural Centre. By going on a Cormorant Island hike, you'll be welcomed with magnificent ocean views and cozy small-town vibes.

You'll reach the town by walking a mile (1.6 km) along the ocean road. On your way, you'll see the Chief's Burial Grounds, and you'll also find the tourist information center, native art galleries, and shops. In U'Mista Cultural Centre, full of historic and modern artwork, you'll also see and learn about the First Nations' history through their potlatch collection of ancient masks. If you still have time on your hands, don't miss an opportunity to participate in First Nations dances at the Big House – where the First Nation and the Vancouver Island community come to spend time together, celebrate, learn, and mourn. You can also spend your time by taking a walk in Alert Bay Ecological Park or Big Tree Trail – forests with a variety of old trees and easy walking trails.

Only breakfast will be served that day.

Your day will start at 6:45 a.m. when you depart from Alert Bay to go to Knight Inlet and watch grizzly bears in their natural environment. It will take you two hours on a boat to reach Johnstone Strait. Knight Inlet – a fjord surrounded by mountains and cliffs – is most known for its population of Grizzly bears. To be able to spot them, you’ll have to carefully motor and paddle around an estuary to find a spot from which you’ll be able to see grizzly bears. It’s known that the low tide causes more bears to go out, so you’ll see them looking for beach barnacles, crabs, and isopods. You’ll have to transfer to a flat-bottomed boat to reach the shallows. Also, don’t forget to take your binoculars and camera with you.

Both breakfast and lunch will be served that day.

Your day trip will start with a taxi ride to the Alert Bay ferry terminal, from where you’ll go to Port McNeill. Once there, your trip will continue with a 45-minute ride to Telegraph Cove. At Telegraph Cove, you’ll have time to check the village, go to the whale museum called “The Whale Interpretive Centre” and have lunch as the whale tour will start at 1 p.m. This is when you board a 62-foot express cruiser that accommodates 74 people will leave.

On tour, you’ll see 260 orcas, also called the “Northern Residents,” who love salmon, their primary food source. For this reason, they come back each spring because of the salmon runs. Different from the “Northern Residents” are ‘Transient” orcas. They are known to be mammal hunters and predators of dolphins, sea lions, seals, and other types of whales. They travel and hunt in small groups (2-6 transient orcas) and don’t mate with one another. 

You’ll also have an opportunity to see minke and humpback whales, Dahl and harbor porpoises, sea lions, and Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Only breakfast will be served that day.

After breakfast, you’ll go on the ferry to Port McNeill. From Port McNeill ferry terminal, the taxi will take you to Port Hardy Airport, from which you’ll have a flight back to Vancouver, BC. 

Only breakfast will be served that day.

Payment Details

Deposit & Taxes

  • Pricing does not include 5% GST.
  • A 20% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.



61 days or more prior to trip departure: full refund. 60-0 days prior to arrival: no refund.