Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to Tofino
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Tofino.
I am Martina, a traveller and photographer originally from Czech Republic. After five years of almost constant travelling, I ended up in Canada for more than a year. One day I’ve been told by a fellow traveller there exists a magical place on
Vancouver Island called Tofino. A place of surfers, artists and nature lovers. A place of rainforests, rocky beaches, orcas and eagles. So when I went to see the place, I immediately fell in love with it and ended up living there and exploring the area for almost five months.
What makes Tofino a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Tofino is a charming coastal town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s called “the end of the road” because it’s as far west as you can drive in Canada. No Starbucks, no golden arches, no Wal-Mart. It’s truly authentic and unique in world terms. Along pristine beaches there are many luxurious lodges and resorts built in harmony with the nature, some of them awarded as the best in the world. The culinary community is famous not only across Canada and while you may know it as Canada’s surfing paradise, Tofino offers far more than just great waves.
What 5 star hotel is the best in Tofino?
If you’ve never heard about The Wickaninnish Inn, now it’s the time. This beautiful resort is built on rocks where the strongest waves crash, where eagles fly and nest around. It’s built in harmony with nature, a lot of driftwood was used to carve unique furniture and decorations. Nothing will sing you to sleep more sweetly than the roar of the Pacific just outside your window.
What about boutique hotels in Tofino, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
There are many other unique affordable places to choose from and thanks to the geography they all are facing the Pacific ocean. Like Cox Bay Beach Resort with wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows. Sleeping with your sliding doors open is highly recommended. (From $156 per night.). You will love cute cabins of Middle Beach Lodge or Ocean Village Beach Resort.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler in Tofino?
If you are an adventurous soul, Tofino is a mecca for many different kinds of activities. Take a trip to Hot Springs Cove. There, geothermal pools are naturally heated up to 50°C (that’s hot!) and sit between rocky crevasses in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. It’s a trip to get there (about an hour and a half boat ride alongside seals, otters and — if you’re lucky — whales and black bears, followed by a 1.2-kilometre stroll through the rainforest atop a floating boardwalk). Take the float plane back to soak it all in from above; it takes Tofino’s magical ruggedness to a whole other level.
Walk some of beautiful and easy trails leading through lush rainforest to secret coves or hike a challenging steep trail up to Lone Cone to witness unforgettable view of snow covered mountains and small foresty islands. If you want to get wet, try surf or SUP lessons or go scuba-dive to see amazing marine life of this archipelago.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Tofino and what are their best dishes?
The culinary community has always been good out there. There’s a lot of great restaurants. Place everybody buzzing about, multi-awarded Wolf in the Fog in the heart of Tofino tempts guests to gather around a 14-foot communal table made of fir for more locally-inspired eats. Try seaweed salad or the Humboldt squid, caught 300 metres deep off the coast and charred and sliced like a flank steak. Or why not to try smoked oysters wrapped in potato and fried till crispy?
Another place to mention is The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn. It is truly a place for romantic fine dining. With amazing ocean view and cozy fireplace in the middle of the restaurant, people from all around the world are getting engaged there and also coming back years after to celebrate their anniversary. The menu is changing frequently and offers fresh local ingredients from the ocean and woods.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Be sure not to miss Chocolate Tofino, an exquisite chocolate shop and gelateria that uses local ingredients such as foraged blackberries and Vancouver Island honey. Ask owners Kim and Cam Shaw about the secret menu, featuring special flavours such as salted caramel and what Cam describes as a “pretty un-kid friendly” rum raisin.
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers in Tofino?
The art in Tofino is just as beautiful, and meaningful, as the nature. Spend any time in a local restaurant, coffee shop or resort and you will see the art. The paintings, carvings, sculptures, statues, jewelry and prints represent the spectacular, diverse land, people and region in vibrant colour, beautiful woods and coarse, often raw materials and glass. Many galleries represent (and sell) native, contemporary, abstract art and everything in between. If you would have to visit just one gallery, go to Mark Hobson Gallery, where you can see Mark’s incredible paintings showing the nature of the area.
What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Tofino?
The Ancient Cedars Spa by the Wickaninnish Inn is balm to your soul. Already arriving to beautiful setting between wild Pacific Ocean and old-growth forest. Their nature inspired treatments, like the 90 minute hot stone massage in the beach cabin will send you to heaven. You can enjoy various treatments together with yoga lessons, eucalyptus steam cave or just chilling out on beach patio right in the spa.
Time for a great sunset view in Tofino… where would you go?
Tofino is the right place for romantic souls. Once the sun goes down head to some of beaches on the west side of Tofino peninsula. North Chesterman Beach with an island far in the background and dreamatic rock formations is unbelievable place to watch colourful sunsets (and surfers). If you are lucky you can even spot whales, orcas and eagles! In the town head down to Tonquin Beach and while waiting for sunset, explore this beautiful cove and its mysterious caves.
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
Do you like live music? Lots of many Canadian as well as international musician coming to Tofino to perform. There are amazing live concerts in Jamie’s Inn every week or twice, so why not to sip your drinks while guitars gently weep?
Martina Gebarovska is an adventurous traveller and photographer originally from Czech Republic and creator of travel blog Dreaming and Wandering. In 2011 she left her job in film industry to travel the world and live the life she has always dreamed about. When she’s not exploring deserted islands of South Pacific or diving with whale sharks in the Philippines, you might could find building igloos in the Arctic, prospecting for gold in New Zealand, surfing waves in Morocco or hiking peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Connect with me on: Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+
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I was in Tofino several years ago, but will be back in the area this fall. I will have to revisit this then! I can’t wait to see more and eat everything in my path.
Oh cool! I actually hadn’t even heard of it before the guest post :O
Vancouver Island is a wealth of amazing beauty and sights. From Victoria to Tofino to Campbell River, it is Canada’s equivalent of Tasmania.