The province of British Columbia in Canada is an outdoor paradise – there’s something for every adventurer, whether you’re interested in mountains, rainforests, wildlife, lakes, rivers, or the ocean. The terrain can be gentle, such as the rolling vineyards of the Okanagan, or it can be extreme, like the backcountry skiing near Whistler. And the great thing is there’s always a BC guide who’s more than willing to show you around. To tell us more about this amazing province, we enlisted the professional help of Carlo Alcos, the managing editor of online travel magazine Matador. This is what he writes:
Born and bred in BC, I know full well the breadth of beauty of this western-most Canadian province. As an outdoor enthusiast, there is plenty to keep me occupied, whether by myself, with friends, or, when necessary, with a guide. It’s what I love about this place. Here are the 10 quintessential BC experiences to add to your bucket list:
#1. Kayaking with Orcas in Johnstone Straight
#2. Watching Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest
Off the north-central coast, just touching Alaska, is around 32,000 square kilometers of protected wilderness, one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. It is home to the Kermode (“Spirit”) Bear, a Black Bear subspecies with a recessive gene that causes its fur to be white. Other wildlife to stalk with your cameras and binoculars include: spawning salmon (which you can snorkel with), cougars, wolves, brown and black bears. The area is best explored by hiking and from the water on a boat or kayak as there aren’t any “roads” to speak of.
#3. Hiking in the Kootenays
#4. Taking a helicopter tour in Revelstoke
Revy, as it is colloquially known, is home to one of Canada’s top ski resorts and the area has plenty of off-piste terrain as well. Drop into untouched powder on a heliskiing tour for a true BC experience. If the slopes aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty of exciting bird’s-eye views: mountain peaks, lush valleys, alpine lakes, and glaciers. It’s even possible to to go heli-fishing and heli-golfing!
#5. River Fishing in the Fraser Valley
As far as game fishing goes, the Fraser River white sturgeon is the biggest BC has to offer – they can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and grow to 12+ feet in length. This is an all-year event although the best times are between March and November. If it’s salmon you’re after, the world-renowned Fraser River salmon runs are where you want to be. Depending on your time of visit, you’ll have the chance to catch one or more of the five types of Pacific salmon: Chinook, Sockeye, Pink, Coho, and Chum.
#6. Skiing the Whistler backcountry
#7. Sailing in Vancouver
There are many options for getting onto the water in Vancouver, but a quintessential way to take in the beautiful city skyline and surrounding islands is to go on a single or multi-day trip, either on a public cruise or private charter. There are plenty of choices that depart from numerous ports in and around the city.
#8. Biking in Victoria
There are many beautiful biking routes in Victoria, Vancouver Island. You could strike out on your own, or look for a local bikinggroup or evena guide to take you on a scenic bike tour!
#9. Whitewater rafting…anywhere!
#10. Interpretive sightseeing around Vancouver
What’s your favourite thing to do in Beautiful British Columbia?