Destination Report – Tofino, BC

The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, BC

A small district on Vancouver Island, off Canada’s west coast, Tofino (or Tuff-City as it’s fondly known to locals) sprawls across the renowned beauty of Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. An area characterised by towering trees, stunning natural scenery and wildlife – this exhilarating destination, with a year-round population of just 2000, feels like it could be the edge of the world.

Every year, thousands of birds, whales, salmon and sea lions pass through the area heading north in the spring and south during summer and autumn. Fishing, whale watching, bear-watching, bird watching and storm-watching are the way of life here. Sandy beaches with year-round surfing facilities have earned Tofino the reputation of best surf town in North America and visitors may also pass the time bathing in hot springs and absorbing local First Nations culture.

Orca surfacing the water
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash


Something for everyone – while Tofino remains the rough-and-tumble frontier town it has always been; easygoing, unpretentious and resolutely friendly, it’s salt bathed streets also boast swanky beachfront resorts and vacation rentals as well as excellent (award-winning) restaurants and a dynamic arts scene rooted in nature and First Nations culture.


How to get there:

Accessible by car or bus and by scheduled flights from Vancouver.

When to go:

August delivers the sunniest weather for beach days and less need for waterproofs.

From October to February, storm watchers keep cosily in waterfront lodges as massive winter waves pound the coastline.

In March, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival celebrates cetaceans with events in, on, and near the water.

In November, the Oyster Festival showcases Clayoquot Sound’s oysters, 8,000 to 9,000 of which are slurped down during the three-day event.

How to get around:

Take a trip on the water taxi to Big Tree Trail on Meares Island or to Hot Springs Cove for a soak in the natural hot springs splashed by cool ocean waves. Floatplanes take you from the harbor to some of the more remote areas of Clayoquot Sound. Floatplane trips available through Atleo River Air

Where to stay:

If you book early enough, you’ll be spoilt for choice. We love the rustic elegance of Wickaninnish Inn – surrounded by the ocean on three sides, with an old growth forest as a backdrop. Here you can really experience Vancouver Island nature at its wildest while enjoying the comfort of this world-class Tofino hotel.


What to do:

Wildlife cruises, Fishing and Whale watching – Ocean Outfitters’ fun and educational programs offer exciting opportunities to spot Gray whales, Humpbacks, Orca, seals, sealions, sea otters, bald eagles and many species of birds. They guarantee sightings from March to October with Zodiac and Family vessels departing daily.

Surfing – Pacific Surf School is you’re Tofino Surfing Headquarters. Their fun and safe surf & SUP lessons are offered year round, and they’re customized for all levels of ability. They also offer all season surfboard, stand up paddle board, and wet suit rentals.


A culinary community – A little-known foodie heaven – the only difficulty is deciding where to eat first! Our favourite, award winning Wolf In The Fog is anchored to the ocean, sea views from the patio to the menu abundant with locally caught fresh seafood. Food and drink is inspired and influenced by the place, the people and the produce. And if you’re looking for the ultimate catch and cook experience – look no further. We can see why Air Canada voted them Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2014!


Your Buy Time PA 

Feeling inspired? A Buy Time PA can work with you to create the perfect holiday itinerary for you and your family. Whether you already have a destination in mind or need some help with suggestions to suit – there’s no need to stay on the beaten track. We can create a personalised holiday itinerary to ensure you enjoy an unforgettable vacation and can take care of all the little details and bookings for you. Get in touch on 0203 292 0566 or


Share this