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Visitor Information

Tofino & Ucluelet Visitor Information

Provided is a list of the top 10 plus things to do while visiting the Pacific Rim. Whether your staying in Tofino or Ucluelet you will enjoy many activities and sites in both communities as each offers a unique visitor experience. Tofino and Ucluelet are approx 40 kilometers apart separated by the Pacific Rim National Park and share the all the long sandy beaches, rainforest & oceanside hikes. The list of things to do is not in a rated order they are a list of things to do for all types of travelers, do them in order that best suites you and your interests.

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Ucluelet means "safe harbour" or "safe landing place" in the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth language of those who first inhabited its shores.Nowadays, visitors and locals alike enjoy "Life on the Edge" on the Ucluth peninsula. With Ucluelet harbour to east, Barkley Sound to the southeast, the open Pacific to the west, and mountains to the north, Ucluelet is truly surrounded by breathtaking beauty.

A quaint village still by today's standards, its roughly 1,600 residents welcome visitors to share in the experience of life on the raw, rugged coast. Ucluelet is pronounced just as it sounds, U-clue-let, but locals often just refer to it as "Ukee." European explorers first visited this area in the 1770s, but settlement did not actually start until the late 1880s when a sawmill and general store were built. Gold was discovered at nearby Florencia Bay (also called Wreck Bay) around the turn of the 20thcentury, and the mining of various minerals continued to be vital to the local economy until the early 1960s. Fishing and logging were also prominent industry after World War I, and there is still some fishing and fish processing that goes on today.

A road connecting the West Coast to Port Alberni opened in 1959, but it didn't get paved until the mid 1970s. Tourism now figures most prominently in the economy of this coastal village, and it's no wonder with the activities and attractions that await visitors. Sports fishing, whale watching, beach combing, kayaking in the nearby Broken Group Islands, and surfing are just some of the possibilities. The Wild Pacific Trail is one of Ucluelet's greatest gems. A hiking trail that is planned to connect with Willowbrae Trail in Pacific Rim National Park, this treasure allows visitors to view the majesty of the Pacific Ocean from an up close vantage point.

Recently Ucluelet was named as one of the "top 31 places to see in the world", and it is quite easy to see why! The recently developed Wild Pacific Trail offers guests a portal to nature's most pristine elemental playground on earth. Boardwalks through spruce and ancient cedar fringed trails, wind through old-growth temperate rain forest and wind out high above the rugged coastline. The Wild Pacific Trail has viewing platforms scattered within Mother Nature's playground which offer guests not only a place to reflect and revitalize, but also offers an up close and fabulous view of the best storm-watching locations in the world. In the spring time the viewing platforms located up and down the coast allow visitors to view the plentiful species of marine wildlife such as Bald Eagles, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Heron's, Seals, numerous species of water foul, sprays from Gray Whales, and if your lucky enough you may even view an up close view of a passing Gray Whale or a humpback breaching in the distance!

Ucluelet is bringing back return guests year after year who come to witness the marvels of un-spoiled nature and wilderness. The community in recent years has developed significantly to enhance tourism in Ucluelet. From offering many tours, whale-watching, bear watching, kayak guided tours to many new restaurants offering local organic fresh West Coast cuisine, a world renowned spa, oceanfront dining, many shops and cafes, fabulous hiking trails and long sandy beaches. The infrastructure is based upon a strategy and long term goal to keep the community of Ucluelet free from developments that take away from the pristine un-touched landscape. Although the community has developed significantly in the last decade, all major developments have ensured a tasteful blend and structured planning to ensure the vast rugged landscape stays intact.

No matter what time of year you come to discover Ucluelet BC, you will find countless options, activities and places that will tantalize even the most dis concerning guest! Isn't it time you experienced "Life on the Edge"?

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Tofino, B.C. is literally located at the end of the road - and the terminus of the Trans Canada Highway - on the Esowista Peninsula. Surrounded by sandy beaches and open oceans to the west, mudflats, mountains and old growth forests in Clayoquot Sound to the east, and the Pacific Rim National Park to the south, trit'suly an amazing and breathtaking environment. And it's considered so ecologically significant that it was named a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural) Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Tofino has long been called "Tuff City," referring to the resiliency of residents who spend the whole year here, despite stormy winters.Early Spanish explorers named the area after a cartographer who accompanied the expedition, Don Vincente Tofino of Cadiz, Spain.

The Esowista Peninsula has been home for millennia to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Across the channel from Tofino is Opitsat, a Tla-o-qui-aht (Clayoquot is the anglicized version of the name) First Nations village. This site has been continuously occupied for some 5,000 years according to carbon-dated artifacts found there. Today, there are several First Nations reserves located in Clayoquot Sound that are only boat or float plane accessible.

Early European explorers came for the sea otter furs abundant in this area, but initial cordial relations with local First Nations quickly disintegrated into hostilities. The Village of Tofino was actually started on Clayoquot or Stubbs Island before it was moved to its current location near the turn of the 20th century.

Pioneers carving homesteads out of the rugged wilderness founded the town, which eventually came to rely on forestry and fishing as its main industries. Like Ucluelet to the south, tourism is now the main industry. These days, Tofino has a year-round population of around 1,750 but this number swells to roughly 20,000 on any given summer day. It's estimated over one million visitors come here each year to experience the coastal temperate rainforest, the kilometres of pristine beaches, and local hospitality.

Come and experience Tofino's unique "end of the road culture" and amazing surroundings for yourself!

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Both Ucluelet and Tofino have a grocery store and deli. There are also several convenience stores and gourmet deli's to pick up some freshly made sandwiches and soups. Seasonal local seafood is available in Ucluelet and Tofino during the Spring and Summer months.

Ucluelet Co-op grocery store is located at 1580 Peninsula Rd

Tofino Co-op grocery store is located at 140 First St.

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As visitors constantly attest, there is no shortage of great places to eat on the West Coast. After you've satisfied the nature lover in you, focus on your epicurean side and once again, you will not be disappointed. Fresh seafood is plentiful on local menus. West Coast seafood includes oysters, mussels, prawns, salmon, halibut, lingcod, and crab. Berries and different mushrooms are available seasonally in the area. Local restaurants cater to the tourist trade and do so very well. With everything from fine dining to coffee shops, there is truly something for every taste and time of day.

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Experience the raw power of the mighty Pacific Ocean in all its rugged majesty! Waves rolling in from Japan, crashing against rocky shore and sandy beaches and wind howling and gusting up to more than 100km/hr are common occurrences during the West Coast winter storm season. But once the storms have passed, you'll be rewarded with peaceful strolls along cool, deserted beaches - a great time for beachcombing for wash-up treasures. West Coast weather is nothing short of spectacular and another one of the many reasons people travel here. And it's nothing if not changeable. There's a saying around here, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!" Situated in the most temperate climate region in Canada, the Pacific Rim area also has the distinction of getting some of the highest rainfall levels in the country.

Temperatures normally range from 5°C (40°F) in January up to 18-20°C (64-68°F) in July. Breezes off the ocean keep temperatures from rising too high in the summer, and the ocean as regulator also means temperatures rarely dip below freezing. The West Coast hardly gets any snow, but it has been known to happen. It usually doesn't last long, just a day or two - not even long enough for the novelty to wear off.

The bulk of rain falls during the winter, between November and April. While reports vary, the average amount of yearly rainfall is around 2,000mm (2 metres, 80 inches, 6.5 feet). However, it's been known to be a lot more than that - in 1995, for example, 6,460mm (6.5 metres, 254 inches, 21 feet) of rain fell. That must have been a wet one! All this rainfall is what allows the temperate rainforest in the area to thrive. British Columbia's coastal rainforest - including Clayoquot Sound - represents one quarter of the remaining coastal temperate rainforest left in the world. It is truly something to be celebrated. The West Coast has become famous for its winter storms, which have spurred a whole new breed of tourists - storm watchers! But locals have always known the joys of tramping around in gumboots and rain gear on local beaches for years. And standing on the beach in high winds, which can reach up to 130 km/hr (80 miles per hour), is a breathtaking experience but hold onto your hats! While hiking beaches in extreme weather, watch out for rocky promontory areas - rogue waves can appear at any moment, so don't get too close to the ocean and never turn your back on it. Winter storm watching is a great activity to engage while indoors as well. Many local lodges and hotels are situated right on the ocean - it's the safest and warmest storm watching of all and very enjoyable when done with a warm drink and good food. Summer on the West Coast is a peaceful, beautiful time. While the water temperatures at this time still mean you won't last long in the ocean without a wetsuit, many inland lake areas are easily accessible for swimming, such as Swim Beach at Kennedy Lake (roughly 20 minutes from Ucluelet). If you're brave enough, the ocean is probably hovering between 10-14°C (50-58°F). When temperatures rise, often fog will arrive with the afternoon, this is why August has been renamed "Fogust" by many. August gives way to early fall, a time when the sun still shines brightly and the beaches become deserted once again. At any time of year weather on the West Coast is as unique and spectacular as the area itself. ​

Stormwatchers link:Track Storms

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( Tofino/Ucluelet area 23/24 please be sure to check the sub areas also )

​When visiting the Pacific Rim a local tide table report will give you the best times to beach comb and to be able to access tidal pools full of life. If you plan to harvest any shellfish be sure to check in with DFO to ensure that the area you are in doesn't have a Red Tide warning or is a contaminated area such as around marinas or draining ditches. Shellfish contamination depending on the species and time of year can be quite common. When on the shorelines of the west coast be aware that of out of the ordinary waves can crash far up the beach line unexpectedly, Make sure to keep a safe distance between yourself and the sea especially when in rocky areas.

Mile upon mile of beautiful sandy beach meet the untamed Pacific Ocean to create Canada's own surfing paradise: Tofino.Within 30 minutes of town there are six top quality surfing beaches. Each beach faces a slightly different direction so no matter which way the swells are coming in there's always somewhere to ride.Before you hit the water, be sure to check out the latest surf conditions!

Surf Etiquette

We all have to share the water, so the safer we surf and the more we learn, the better our sessions will be. Kayakers: that goes for you as well!

  • Do not paddle out to a break that is beyond your ability. (Learning to surf at Jordan River in the winter is a bad idea).
  • When paddling out and confronted with a wave hovering overhead doesn't ditch your board! Hold onto it and learn how to duck dive.
  • When you have paddled out and made it to the line up, taking the 1st wave you see is poor etiquette. Remember there is a line up of sorts.
  • Smile, ask questions, take some time to look around and see where the take off spots are and where the best places to paddle are at.
  • Respect the locals: they have a lot of knowledge of the waves and the beaches in that particular area.
  • Don't paddle around someone who is in position to catch a wave by paddling further out or further inside. They are in position set up for the next wave.
  • The most important thing that we can all bring with us to a surf session is our common sense. Without the understanding of some simple guidelines it will only be a matter of time before someone in your surf session gets seriously hurt!
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The easiest way to get to Tofino and Ucluelet by air is to land on Vancouver Island as that will save you time and dollars not having to use the ferry service from Vancouver. Vancouver Island airports most used are Victoria Airport and Comox Airport, from there you can rent a car and drive the remaining way to the west coast. Other smaller airports used are Nanaimo Airport and Long Beach Airport which is here on the Pacific Rim. Large airliners do not currently land at Long Beach Aiport how ever there are smaller commercial flights that use this airport. If you land at Comox airport your drive from ther to Tofino or Ucluelet will approximately be 2.5hrs. If you land in Victoria Airport the drive time is approximately 4hrs to the Pacific Rim.

About Natural Elements Vacation Rentals Inc

Natural Elements Vacation Rentals Inc is a year round local hands on vacation rental company that's provided 10 plus years of first class service to our clients and guests

Contact Us

Box 1063, Ucluelet BC, V0R 3A0 Canada

Office: 1-866-985-9378

info@naturalelementsrentals.com

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