From its mountain ranges to its expansive coastline, Vancouver Island is one of the best island vacation destinations in the world, according to Condé Nast Traveller.
The luxury travel magazine’s “16 Best Island Vacations in the World” list was released Friday and highlights its travel specialists’ destination picks, from the Caribbean to Scandinavia and French Polynesia.
For Sheri Doyle, owner of Pacific Northwest Journeys, Vancouver Island’s natural beauty, including nature and wildlife, makes it an ideal place to visit. Of all sixteen locations mentioned, it’s the only stop in Canada.
On the list, Doyle highlights Victoria, saying it’s “known in particular for its British influence and flower gardens,” adding, however, that many people don’t realize B.C.’s capital is actually on the southern tip of the island.
“There’s far more to Vancouver Island than Victoria,” the travel editor writes.
“One of my favourite places on the island is Tofino, a small town on the far west coast about halfway up the island that’s a great destination for outdoor adventures with fantastic food and lodging.”
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Tofino itself has received praise from travellers and publications alike, including Time Magazine. Last July, it embraced the Pacific Rim town in its “World’s Greatest Places of 2022” list that highlighted 50 places to explore.
“We’re incredibly grateful to be acknowledged,” Britt Chalmers, former Tofino councillor, told CHEK News when learning of the recognition. “Keeping it such a great place to live, as well as visit, has required a lot of vision, hard work, and tremendous community and regional effort.”
Pinpointing the best things to do on the Island, for Doyle that’s simple: watching for bears and orcas — the latter an especially popular, frequently talked about activity for people islandwide.
In September, for example, tour boat passengers off Metchosin were left awestruck when a sea lion leaped from the water on a nearby motorboat, almost capsizing it, to escape a group of killer whales. The incident was caught on camera.
“It was a wow factor. I was explaining what was going on, it was pretty crazy,” Mark Malleson, a whale-watching guide with Victoria-based Prince of Whales Adventures, said at the time.
“I’ve seen them try to get into boats before, usually when killer whales are hunting, but nothing that dramatic. It was really determined to get into that boat. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
It’s just one of many captivating marine-life encounters on the Island, like in December when a photographer’s video of a northern giant Pacific octopus clinging onto an ocean catch in the Alberni Inlet went viral on social media.
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Alongside Vancouver Island, islands like Con Dao, Vietnam; Lanai, Hawaii; and Mallorca, Spain were also recognized by Condé Nast. The complete list is here.