Spirit Bear Lodge, Great Bear Rain­for­est, Bri­tish Columbia

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - CANADA -

Vi­tal sta­tis­tics

State cap­i­tal: Van­cou­ver Pop­u­la­tion: 4,648,055 Lan­guage: English, French and na­tive lan­guages, in­clud­ing those of the Ki­ta­soo/xai’xais peo­ples Time: GMT-7 Visas: UK cit­i­zens need an Elec­tronic Travel Au­tho­riza­tion (ETA; to en­ter Canada by air. It costs CA$7 (£4) per per­son. Money: Cana­dian dol­lar, cur­rently CA$1.71 to the UK£

When to go

June: Griz­zly bears with cubs emerge from their dens. Other wildlife, in­clud­ing hump­back whales, are ac­tive.

July: The best weather. Griz­zlies are still of­ten seen on the sedge grass. Black bears be­come more vis­i­ble by the end of the month. Mid-au­gust to mid-oc­to­ber: Salmon are in the rivers, which means you have the best chance of see­ing spirit and other bears, but sight­ings aren’t guar­an­teed.

Health & safety

There are no par­tic­u­lar health haz­ards, but do as your guide says in ar­eas where there may be bears.

The trip

The au­thor trav­elled with Dis­cover

the World (dis­; 01737 218 802). A sim­i­lar trip costs from £2,285pp (based on two shar­ing), in­clud­ing re­turn flights from Van­cou­ver to Bella Bella and four nights at Spirit Bear Lodge on a full-board ba­sis with ex­cur­sions, guides, lo­cal trans­fers and two nights in Van­cou­ver. Departures are from June to Septem­ber 2019, with early book­ing rec­om­mended. The longer Ul­ti­mate Pa­cific Coast

Ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­plor­ing the wild coastal land­scapes of Van­cou­ver Is­land and the Sun­shine Coast as well as Whistler, costs from £3,408pp. Dis­cover the World of­fers all air­line op­tions to Canada, with prices in June 2019 start­ing from around £389pp for a re­turn flight.

Get­ting there

Near­est air­port Bella Bella is served by Pa­cific Coastal Air­lines from Van­cou­ver South Ter­mi­nal. The lodge runs a boat trans­fer ser­vice. Many air­lines fly from the UK to Van­cou­ver.

Spirit Bear Lodge

The lodge is sit­u­ated in Klemtu on Swin­dle Is­land (www.spir­it­ It is owned by the Ki­ta­soo/xai’xais na­tion and over half the staff are from the com­mu­nity.

For good wildlife view­ing, it is ad­vis­able to spend at least three

nights at the lodge – four or five are even bet­ter. Ex­cur­sions last all day and are by boat, but shore land­ings and for­ays are made by RIB. Kayak­ing, hik­ing and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties are avail­able, too.

Fur­ther read­ing & in­for­ma­tion

https://great­bear­rain­for­ – the of­fi­cial site for the Great Bear Rain­for­est www.ex­ – Des­ti­na­tion Canada’s site www.smith­so­ – has a good 2015 ar­ti­cle about the threats to the Great Bear Rain­for­est

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