This past October, I visited the Pacific Northwest for the very first time. As you hopefully read about in my first post about this trip, I hopped over the U.S.-Canada border into Vancouver, B.C. after hitting up Seattle. Canada’s been on my list of places to visit probably since I was in the womb. (Okay, not really. But you know I just LIVE for hyperboles. Seriously, I live my life in a constant state of hyperbole.)
But I digress. My visit to Seattle ended with a four-hour Amtrak ride from King Street Station in Seattle to Pacific Central Station in Vancouver. Our Amtrak tickets cost $42 and there are also other price options that range from $32 to $75, all including a reserved coach seat and your 25 lbs. carry-on baggage (plus checked baggage, if necessary!).
Arriving in Pacific Central Station and walking out into the street was a little bit nerve racking for me because, well, it’s a different country, different currency, and we had to figure out which bus to take to our Airbnb. There were no ride-share programs, such as Uber or Lyft, in Vancouver at the time. Can ya say first-world problems?! So Jas and I were at the mercy of a fucky combination of my uncanny sense of direction, Google Maps and public transportation — I mean, we were in pretty good hands regardless 😉
Public transportation in Vancouver is pretty affordable and reliable. You also have a lot of options, including buses, sea buses/ferries and rapid transit services. Buses take you all over the city, as do the three integrated Skytrain lines. The Skytrain Canada line most importantly takes you from the airport to Downtown Vancouver, and vice versa. The adult single fare for one zone is $2.85 CAD (about $2.23 USD). And the bonus is that the centre of Vancouver is very easily walkable!
Now let give you words about the way Vancouver smells. Bear with me and if you happen to be Canadian, please don’t be too offended. But, Vancouver is a little stinky. Granted, it’s not stinky EVERYWHERE, but there were multiple times where we’d walking around the Robson Street area and all of a sudden, the most-foul, gross pizza + trash smell would just finagle its way into my unsuspecting nostrils. The smell was so insulting and nothing like I expected.
And listen, I’ve been to New York multiple times and I know that city’s smell as if it came from my own body (Note: I’m aware that this ain’t a good analogy. I’m clean and I smell good, y’all.). Point is, I KNOW big cities get funky. I guess I’m just mystified by how peculiar and particular each smell is in each different city.
Besides the trash-pizza-smell moments, Vancouver was a ton of fun. I looooved Grandville Island and the Granville Island Public Market and all the restaurants and little shops they have. There were so many food options in the market — from gourmet/hipster-AF flavored pickles and succulent pastries to bomb.com Chinese food and sushi.
To get to Granville Island, we took a three-minute ferry ride with False Creek Ferries. Their ferries sail every five minutes from various points in Vancouver and they have single rides for $3.50 CAD ($2.75 USD), round trips for $5.50 CAD ($4.30 USD) and day passes for $16 CAD ($12.52 USD).
As for the most memorable part of the trip, girl, let me te digo … Whale watching is some other shit! I normally don’t get sea sick and I don’t have a weak stomach. But I have never experienced such nauseating movement like the one I braved through on the 35-person open boat. The vessel, specifically built for wild-life watching, was literally and savagely riding each wave we encountered. Every time we hit a wave, I would fly up about what had to be at least a foot out of my seat and then plopped back down hard on it. And I swear that I have never tightened my butt cheeks to brace for the impact the way I did every single time I flew off that damn seat.
It’s all very peachy once you get used to the wave wrangling, but once the motors are off, it’s another story. As the boat swayed and moved whichever ways the waves desired, I kept telling myself to not barf my entire life on a boat-full of innocent people. Guys, that shit was rough. So much so that at some point, I gave up on capturing the whales on video and I would just press the record button on my camera, put my arm up, and point the camera in the general direction of where the whales would maaaybe appear, while focusing almost-religiously on the horizon. I am super lucky that I actually captured whales on video, ’cause them waves and the good lord were testing a bitch.
Who knows if I’ll ever go whale watching again, but if I do, I’ll go with Wild Whales Vancouver again because their service was actually really lovely. Our guide was very informative and nice, and they definitely made our six-hour boat trip worth every penny. Plus, I saw some humpback whales, y’all. That alone is crazy to me!
If you’re ever in Vancouver, I 10 out of 10 recommend going to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The park is an outdoors lover’s dream. The enormously tall trees (some are more than 400 years old!) and the 140 meters long suspension bridge that crosses the Capilano River are only two of the mesmerizing things that you can find here. Tickets are $43 CAD ($34 USD) and I’d recommend going right when the park opens because there’s not as many people and you get a lot of the bridges and tree-top adventures to yourself.
My first time in Canadian soil was pretty decent, if I do say so myself. I’m dying to explore more of Canada some time in the future. I don’t know that I’ll go back to Vancouver soon, considering there are so many more places in Canada that I want to see.
But you should check out this little video I made of our three days in Vancouver, ’cause why the fuck not?!
For now, that is all! I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Leave me a comment below and let me know what part of Canada you’d like to visit!
5 thoughts on “Vancouver, B.C.: I Saw Whales & Almost Barfed!”
Washington native here – if you ever do the Seattle – Vancouver run again, an even cheaper option than Amtrak (though not as scenic) is the Bolt bus – they have WiFi, comfy seats, and fares usually range from $1-$15.
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Oh, wow! Well that’s a great budget option I had no idea about. Thanks for the tip! How long does the trip take? 🙂
I figure I’ve done the scenic route once, I can definitely handle a bus ride with with comfy seats hehe 😀
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Not much longer than the train, actually! They tend to leave at “off” hours as to not sit in traffic.
Okay, cool. Good tip! I appreciate it! 🙂