A great way to experience BC’s natural beauty is through guided cultural tours – specifically ones that are Indigenous-led. Vancouver’s First Nation population alone is incredibly diverse, and in BC, there are over 200 distinct Indigenous communities. As such, authentic Indigenous tourism drives healthy connections between BC residents, tourists, and the land they occupy.
Significance of water
What’s more, water-based activities like kayaking and canoeing represent a way to form deeper connections to the land in many Indigenous communities.
“Water holds significant cultural importance for Indigenous communities and is considered a living, spiritual entity with life-giving forces,” a representative of Indigenous Tourism BC tells Curiocity. “As a sacred element, it is used in ceremonies, to grow medicines, and for cleansing.”
Fortunately for those keen on exploring, there are many water-based experiences available through Indigenous Tourism BC – from canoeing to hot springs, to water-powered resorts. And we’re here to share them all, so get ready to add a couple to your summer bucket list!
Without further ado, here are 4 Indigenous-led tours and water-based activities to take advantage of in BC.
Located on the remote shores of Homfray Channel, Klahoose Wilderness Resort harnesses the power of water to generate its own power, complete with its own Pelton wheel on the property. This allows the resort to triple its energy generation and store energy during peak travel times.
Klahoose offers three or four-night, all-inclusive stays in their Lodge rooms or private cabins, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in nature. The inclusive stays also offer wildlife and cultural tours (and transportation), including Grizzly Bear tours.
Optional tours include Heli-Paddle, Heli-Fishing, Heli-Hiking, and Heli Glacier Walk experiences.
When: Discover Klahoose Package offered from May to August, Grizzly Bears Package offered from August to October.
Where: Homfray Channel, Desolation Sound, Powell River A
Cost: $2,495 per person for 3 or 4-night stay
Ready for some magic by the ocean? A visit to the surfing capital of Canada is already well worth it, but a journey through the heart of Ahousaht haḥuułii’s traditional lands and waters is definitely a must. The 30-minute beginner-level walking trail leads hikers to the Hot Springs Cove, and a wooden boardwalk that weaves its way through ancient rainforest.
As part of the experience, guests can enjoy a 1.5-2 hour soak in the warm, healing mineral waters at the hot springs.
Other Ahousaht haḥuułii-led eco-tours include whale and bear-watching.
When: Available year-round
Where: Tofino, BC
Cost: $229 per person
Whey-ah-wichen (Cates Park) in North Vancouver is an ancestral village site, offering visitors the chance to explore these ancient places via a guided walking tour or through kayak rentals. Just a five-minute drive from Deep Cove, this spot offers Cultural Canoe Tours and Split Tours (canoeing and walking), so you can explore the beautiful Indian Arm and Burrard Inlet however you choose, all the while learning more about the Coast Salish Nation.
Tayaka Tours take guests in replica ocean-going canoes, similar to those historically used by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
When: Offered from April to October
Where: North Vancouver, BC
Cost: $90 for a two-hour canoe tour
Located on the northwest side of Vancouver Island in Kyuquot Sound, this fishing lodge offers guests an all-inclusive fishing experience for salmon, halibut and bottom fish.
Salmon fishing in Kyuquot is a unique way to connect with nature, allowing guests to experience bringing home their own wild Pacific salmon, caught in one of British Columbia’s most breathtaking settings.
When: August 25th to September 3rd
Where: 1250C Ironwood Street, Campbell River
Cost: $3,195+ per person
And that’s a wrap on some Indigenous-led tours to experience this summer.