bald eagles, Bomber Trail hike, Cafe Vincente, Caravan, cream cheese brownie, Hi International Whaler's Point, Hitch hiking, Hot Springs, jewelry, karoke, pecan pie, Pina Colardo Candle, praline and pecan cake, Rubio, sea otters, sushi inn, Tofino, Tpfino Bus, whales, Wolf in the Fog
Tofino. You can’t help but fall in love with Tofino, even when the skies are grey! A town filled with beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, easy to challenging hikes and some of the friendliest people, it is definitely worth a visit.
Tofino wasn’t actually on my radar of places to travel to in Canada until my friend Maia mentioned it to me and told me how beautiful it was supposed to be. Therefore with my friend Maz coming over for a visit and with managing to book 3 days off work, we thought it could make a nice adventure to head over to Tofino for a couple of days.
Considering how late I left it to book accomodation and travel, we did pretty well in the end! If you don’t have a car, such as in my case, I found that the easiest way to get there is by Tofino Bus. It can pick you up near Main street station and pretty much takes you the whole way. Tickets range from $55 to $70 one way plus you need to pay $15 when you reach horseshoe bay for the ferry. The bus journey takes just under 7 hours, however in our case the bus broke down when we were 45 minutes away from our destination so the whole trip took about 9 hours! It was an early start but because the trip is broken down with breaks and changing over transport, it didn’t seem too long.
For accommodation we chose the Hi international Hostel, Whaler’s Point which was really fantastic! Located on the water front, Whalers point is in perfect location. It is a beautiful building with a big kitchen, communal eating area and has events going on throughout the week too. I also discovered that if you buy a Hi International card for $26 from one of the hostels you can get discounts on all hi international hostels as well as on the greyhound and certain buses. This actually came in very handy and saved us a bit of money on our accommodation and travel.
The first evening was spent exploring some of the art galleries and beautiful shops that are in Tofino. We popped into one called Caravan that smelled amazing (turned out to be a pina colardo candle) and had such beautiful jewelry. We then went to the Sushi Inn for dinner where I had the best sushi I have had so far in Canada. Maz went for the tsnumi roll which consisted of Tuna, cucumber, avocado inside, tempura prawn, smoked tuna, tobiko & spicy mayo on top and I chose the Tofino roll which was freshly cracked Dungeness crab, salmon, prawn, cucumber, avocado, tamago & tobiko. We shared them both. We decided we would have a chilled night as had been up so early but in the nature of hostels, due to the fact we were in different rooms for the night we both eneded up meeting people and it turned out quite a few people were going to Jacques for karoke night, the ‘biggest night out in Tofino’. Well we couldn’t miss out on this so decided to join in, have some amaretto and head down to Jacques for some entertainment.
The bar was absolutely packed and I felt like I had stepped back to being at University. It was good fun though especially when everyone went a bit crazy dancing to I love it!
Here’s a list of the top things we did in Tofino:
The bomber trail hike
Difficult to find but absolutely worth it if you do. The bomber trail is an unsanctioned trail so make sure you know where you’re going as the visitor centre can not give you any information on how to get there. In our case we asked the guy who worked at the hostel who gave us the wrong information. He told us it was really easy to find and a 45 minute hike in total. Well it turns out it’s actually quite a good distance from the last bus station and the opening to the trail is tricky to find also. We walked for about 15 minutes from the last bus stop looking for the entrance and then a guy stopped for us and asked if we wanted a lift. I wasn’t too sure as the guys in the hostel said it was close by and not only did the driver lock the doors when we got in but he told us it was a good 10 minute ride in the car so I was just thinking, ah he’s going to kidnap us! He drove us a fair bit down the road and we thought we were going in the wrong direction so we got out. Turns out he was actually being honest and I was just freaking out a bit! From where he dropped us we still had a good distance to walk and at this point were contemplating turning around as we had to get back for 6p.m. However I didn’t want to come all this way and not see it so we kept going. We finally found the entrance and it was brilliant.
The trail takes about 45 minutes until you get to the plane. Once on the trail it is easy enough to find by following the ribbons. When you reach it, it is incredibly eerie but also fascinating and makes you feel as though you have just stepped into an episode of Lost. We spent about half an hour looking at the plane and the shrapnel surrounding it before bumping into one of the girls from the hostel and headed back out together. We were fortunate to hitch a ride with a lovely French family who took us all the way back into town. Another reason to love Tofino. People are actually really nice and it seems a safe place to hitch hike, as long as you don’t have false information to begin with before jumping into a car!
This was such an incredible experience I think it deserves a whole post to itself but unbelievable food, amazing atmosphere and simply one of the best places I have ever dined. If you go to Tofino and do not go to The Wolf in the fog, you have missed out! Just make sure to book in advance!
The Hot Springs
The hot springs is advertised pretty much everywhere in Tofino and there are several companies who you can do the tour with. We heard mixed feedback but the majority had heard great things about the tour. The tour cost $115 which might seem a little pricy however it takes up 6 hours of the day including an hour and a half boat ride to the hot springs and back as well as 3 hours at the hot springs. The boat ride is completely worth it as you get to see whales, sea otters, bald eagles, deers and other amazing sealife.
The springs themselves are quite small so it’s recommended you get there early. We took the 9a.m boat and didn’t have any trouble with overcrowding. There were only about 10 other people there at the time so plenty of room to all have a dip in. The springs are very warm, with the first ones you step in being super hot (you wouldn’t sit in them for too long!) It’s a beautiful cove that feels like a secret place considering where it is. The best part is when you reach the end of the hot springs and there is a section where you can sit down and feel the warm water on your back but then the tide comes in from the front and splashes you with cold water. Super refreshing! There’s a little cafe on a boat back where you get picked up and a beautiful husky dog there to greet you. As it’s in the middle of nowhere they do get away with putting their prices up, $4 for water – eek! However they did do a very tasty coconut oatmeal cookie.
This jewelry store is dangerous. We ended up going after we had already spent 20 minutes in another gorgeous jewelry store where the owner was wearing a gorgeous ring that she said she bought from rubio for 20 dollars. Well as soon as she said that Maz and I pretty much headed straight there and were in the store for probably half an hour or more. They have a beautiful range of jewelry but the stand out for us were the amber rings and earrings – so beautiful! Maz bought a gorgeous pair of green earrings and I picked up a ring. Went from having none to two and just to top it off we actually came back again later in the day and I bought another ring – so not needed but it was just beautiful (it actually is pretty similar to the other one I bought but ah well!) I couldn’t leave the shop without it. Maz picked one up too. Thursday was definitely a jewelry splurge!
Tucked away on the corner, this cafe offers a wide variety of teas, coffees, matcha and chai and the most incredible sweet treats! I honestly couldn’t decide for ages. They have cocoa balls, pecan pie, a praline and pecan cake (this was almost chosen) however I went for the cream cheese brownie (amazing) and Maz went for the Tofino equivalent to Nanaimo bar which was good but very rich.
Tofino is the perfect spot to go to for amazing food, beautiful beaches, surfing and picking up presents, whether for others or yourself! If thinking of checking out Vancouver Island make sure to include Tofino in your list.