Ucluelet Versus Tofino?
Tofino and Ucluelet are both ocean-front villages located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island; 25 minutes apart by car and separated by Long Beach. That’s right folks – Long Beach is not IN Tofino. Whether you stay in Tofino or Ucluelet, driving distance to the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park is about the same – about 10 minutes. Both towns have lots of restaurants and gift shops, tour operators for whale watching, art galleries, fishing charters and surf shops. So why stay in Ucluelet, you ask?
Photographs of Ucluelet on Flickr www.flickr.com
Well for starters:
- Ucluelet is a little less touristy and more laid back (there are fewer gift shops and galleries);
- Ucluelet is a place where you can relax and get away from it all. No busy traffic, hoards of people or pollution. Just the sound of the ocean and mother nature, and perhaps the occasional fisherman’s cuss. Many people come to the west coast and want to see both communities so they book part of their stay in Ucluelet and part in Tofino. We reccommend you book in Ucluelet and make day trips to Tofino because packing up at one hotel and unpacking at another can almost waste a whole day of your holiday. We don’t want you wasting anytime on your trip because your supposed to be enjoying it! We would rather you stay here! The beaches are only 10 minutes away and Tofino is only a 25 minute drive.
- SURFING Everyone knows Tofino as the surf capital of the world, however we want to let you know that Ucluelet is also the surf capital! We have 2 surf shops and 3 surf schools year-round. Surfing beaches are a 10-15 min. drive from Ucluelet. An added bonus for our guests is they get a discount at one of our local surf shops while staying with us. Ask us while booking. If this interests you, we’ll pass along the discount!
- FISHING If catching a fish on the open ocean is one of your interests, then Ucluelet is your destination. Within Ucluelet’s harbour there are countless fishing guides waiting to take you on your next adventure. Some of the best fishing happens just off the coast of Ucluelet. Our Motel also sits just above Small Craft Harbour, so you’re just steps away from the dock. If you’re not interested in a guided tour there is plenty of room in the ocean for you to bring your own boat and enjoy your own fishing expedition with friends and family. You can moor your craft at Small Craft Harbour, after making arrangements with the Harbour Master. We have boat trailer storage available for our guests. Either way, if your dreams involve fishing, make sure you make them come true in Ucluelet.
- BROKEN GROUP ISLANDS – Pacific Rim National Park. Ucluelet is home to an incredibly beautiful archipelago of islands. Over 100 islands and islets make up the Broken Group. Visitors can find beautiful beaches, untouched wilderness, lagoons, sea caves, ancient forests and some of the clearest waters you can come across on the West Coast. The islands are home to wildlife including eagles, sea lions, otters, black bears, deer, marine life and grey/humpback whales(while they are migrating up the coastline of Vancouver Island). The whales are residents to Barkley Sound and come back annually as they pass by on their migration. Some whales stick around longer then others and are still being seen up until October. One tour operator has been able to recognize the same whale year after year by remembering certain markings on its tail. See the area by boat, yacht, sailboat, kayak or air depending on your preference. An inspiring area that will make you forget about all the stress in life and just live!
- HIKING Ucluelet is also home to the Wild Pacific Trail – a coastline walk around Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Lighthouse and our volcanic, black, rugged and dramatic coastline. This coastline is very different than Long Beach where the coastline is mainly sandy. A storm watchers delight, to be sure.
- WHALE WATCHING Permanent resident Gray Whales, Humpback whales are hear year-round. Orcas are transient and show up to hunt every 2 or 3 weeks. We celebrate the annual migration of transient Gray Whales from Baja, Mexico to Alaska in March during PACIFIC RIM WHALE FESTIVAL.
- Ucluelet is home to the Ucluelet Aquarium – not just any old aquarium. The harbour-front location, tide pools and ever-changing array of local sea creatures are definitely exciting and unique. Touch tanks and the resident octopus who loves crab-shakes are amazing sites for all ages. Coolest of all – all creatures are brought in by volunteers (local children, commercial fishermen and diver volunteers) – AND…. released at the end of the summer. Go Nemo go!
- The brand-new Ucluelet Community Centre near Big Beach (right near the Wild Pacific Trail) can host family reunions and weddings. Contact the District of Ucluelet. This facility also hosts family movie nights on many a Friday night. The Seaplane Base Recreation Hall hosts roller-skating for the kids.
- Ucluelet’s fishing village personality, coupled with the location on both the open ocean and the 5 mile protected harbour full of fishing boats, seaplanes and sea lions is just the perfect atmosphere for those down to earth folk looking for a laid back holiday in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
- The zipline through Kennedy Lake Canyon is located 20 minutes from town. A full 35 minutes closer than Tofino. www.wcwild.com
- Kennedy Lake is about 15-20 minutes away. This is a haven for both salt and freshwater enthusiasts.
- As for Tofino, a 25 minute car ride – there are activities there too. Tofino Botanical Gardens, the Eagle Aerie Gallery (the art of world famous artist, Roy Henry Vickers), and some boat trips (Ucluelet has some cool trips also) to Cougar Annie’s Garden and to Hot Springs Cove. The people of Tofino and Ucluelet do share a High School (located in Ucluelet) and a Hospital (located in Tofino) and people regularly travel back and forth; a shorter distance than most peoples’ commute to work.