Sightseeing:In Vancouver and Victoria; Stanley Park, Butchart Gardens, orientation tour of Prince Rupert, guided visit to the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village, and Columbia Icefield (Ice Explorer ride).
Scenic Highlights:Strait of Georgia, Gulf Islands, coastline of Vancouver Island, Campbell River, Skeena River, Pacific Coast rainforest, Jasper National Park, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park, Glacier National Park, Rogers Pass, and theCascade Mountains.
Services of a professional Tour Director; local host service in Whistler, where information is provided for independent exploration and dining.
Enjoy some time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Day 2Vancouver–Ferry Crossing–Victoria
Morning sightseeing focuses on Vancouver’s Chinatown, Gastown, the beautiful beaches and harbor, and lovely Stanley Park. Afterward, set sail across the Strait of Georgia through the spectacular Gulf Islands, an area known for its Mediterranean-like climate. Afternoon sightseeing in Victoria includes world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its unusual collection of totem poles.
Be sure to discover some of the attractions this splendid city has to offer, including the Royal British Columbia Museum, Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel, a whale-watching cruise on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and fine shopping along Government Street. This evening, join our optional excursion in Chinatown, complete with colorful lanterns and dinner at an authentic restaurant.
Day 4Victoria–Chemainus–Port Hardy
An early departure from Victoria follows the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island, stopping at Chemainus, the unique village with more than 30 murals depicting pioneer settlement of the area.Then, it’s through the port of Campbell River, the “Salmon Capital of the World.”
Day 5Port Hardy–Inside Passage Cruise–Prince Rupert
Early this morning, embark on BC Ferries for what is referred to as one of the world’s most beautiful ocean voyages. The scenery is spectacular, with towering mountains, roaring waterfalls, endless islands, and virgin rainforest. Animal and marine life abound, often with sightings of sea lions, eagles, and porpoises—you may even spot a killer whale! Late-evening arrival in Prince Rupert.NOTE:Cruising time through the Inside Passage is approximately 16 hours. Please come prepared with all medications, eyeglasses, and any other items you will need.
Day 6Prince Rupert
Depart for an orientation tour of Prince Rupert, then visit the NORTH PACIFIC HISTORIC FISHING VILLAGE for a guided tour of British Columbia’s oldest cannery village. Learn of the canning process and what life was like in the village during peak production earlier this century. With your free time this afternoon you may opt for an outing to learn the secrets of the totem. See a totem pole being carved and visit a longhouse to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day lifestyle of the First Nations culture.
Day 7Prince Rupert–VIA Rail Train–Prince George
This morning, board VIA Rail’s Jasper to Prince Rupert train for the trip of a lifetime. Sit back and enjoy as it winds its way through the majestic Coast Mountains, follows the mighty Skeena River—often referred to as the “River of Mists”—and concludes in the Pacific Coast rainforest. You’ll retrace ancient First Nations trading routes and follow the paths of the earliest fur traders. Soaring bald eagles, inquisitive black bears, browsing moose, and other wildlife may be spotted from the glassed-in observation dome that provides 360-degree views. (CB,L,D)
Day 8Prince George–Mount Robson–Jasper National Park
As we continue onward to Jasper National Park the peak elevations grow, culminating with Mount Robson, the highest of Canada’s Rockies at almost 13,000 feet. Overnight in Jasper.
Day 9Jasper National Park–Columbia Icefield–Banff National Park
Winding our way down the western fringe of Alberta, our journey takes us through some of the Canadian Rockies’ most breathtaking wilderness. Our first highlight on today’s agenda is a stop at the COLUMBIA ICEFIELD to experience the Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that travels on ice measuring 1,000 feet (305 meters) thick. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped mountain ranges, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens come into view as the motorcoach scales two mountain passeson the journey south to Banff National Park.
Day 10Banff National Park
Banff is one of Canada’s favorite year-round resorts, with summer activities including hiking, boating, horseback riding, and fishing. Cosmos has arranged for an optional helicopter ride high over the Canadian Rockies. This evening, join the optional excursion to Oh Canada Eh for a 5-course dinner and musical entertainment.
Day 11Banff National Park–Lake Louise–Yoho National Park–Glacier National Park–Kelowna
This morning’s visit takes us to Lake Louise. Its cold waters perfectly mirror the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Afterward, enter the spectacular beauty of YOHO NATIONAL PARK, one of Canada’s most popular recreational areas and the site of pre-Cambrian fossil finds. On to GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, where the motorcoach climbs 4,379-foot-high Rogers Pass, a perfect spot for photos of the impressive surrounding mountain cliffs and glaciers. Continue on to the resort city of Kelowna, attractively set on the shores of Okanagan Lake.
Day 12Kelowna–Cascade Mountains–Vancouver
Today, continue through the fertile Fraser Valley with grand vistas of vineyards and orchards. Next, travel over the towering Cascade Mountains into Vancouver.
Day 13Vancouver–Whistler Sea to Sky Climb Rail–Whistler
This morning, board the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train and enjoy the dramatic beauty of British Columbia. During your three-and-a-half-hour trip, journey along the oceanfront, wind through canyons, climb the steep grades of the BC Coast Mountains, and enjoy an endless array of breathtaking views.
A mountain paradise, Whistler is a four-season adventure destination. Explore many sites from the 2010 Winter Olympics or join one of the optional excursions, including flightseeing by floatplane over the lakes and glaciated peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park. You can also take in the pedestrian alpine village with shops, gourmet dining, and cafés.
The trip ends today with an early morning departure by motorcoach. Departure transfers are included to Vancouver International Airport. Please schedule flights after Noon.
Transportation:Ferry crossing from the mainland to Vancouver Island; full-day cruise through the Inside Passage; VIA Rail’s® Jasper–Prince Rupert train with seating in Touring class with dome car access and meals or Economy class on departure May 24 (no meals or dome car access). Travel aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky train in Whistler service; private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
On VIA Rail - 1 continental breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner (except on departures May 24 & June 7 when meals are available for purchase)