Mandalapa's Excursions

Travel experiences, itineraries, tips, rants and more!

Currently in: New York | Miles traveled: 450,000 miles | Countries Visited: 27

Tofino – The magical town

Last summer, I went to see one of my favorite friend in Canada and visited Vancouver. I had no expectations on what I was going to see and somehow this felt a little different than my usual trips. So I stayed with my friend in this really beautiful town called Robert’s creek and we woke up early in the morning to catch our ferry at 6:20 AM to go to Horseshoe bay and transfered to another ferry to Nanaimo in Vancouver Island. Boy, it was expensive. It was about 80$ for a single ride if you take the car for each ferry. The total trip was around 6 hours including the ferry and the drive to Tofino.

Map of Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino Photo Gallery
[slickr-flickr tag=”tofino” type=”galleria”]

Once we disembarked, we drove about 200 KM north west on the island. The whole drive was riddled with breathtaking scenery and gorgeous lakes. Superlatives are just not enough to describe such a beauty. The whole island was made from volcanic rock from the pacific ring of fire. Once we reached tofino, we set up our camp at a campground right by the ocean.

Sunset at chesterman beach, tofino, bc

Sunset at chesterman beach

We then proceeded to do some hikes along Ucluelet which is another smaller city south of Tofino. We did a lighthouse nature trail along the coast where you can see mountains protruding from the middle of the ocean ANNNNND, I am pretty freaking sure I saw a whale breach while walking on the trail which Rachel disagrees. Yeah Rach, I saw it :). The first day we went to the wickanannish beach and chesterman beach and apparently its a surfing paradise. The wickanannish beach has a sweet resort called Wickanannish inn where tourists go in the winter time to see the winter storms. I got some cool pictures of the sunset and people surfing the waves. We came back to our campsite and cooked salmon and rice on our old coleman. Later that evening, we drank some beers and I happened to look up at the sky and I was instantly blown away by the beauty of the heavens. This was the first time ever, I saw a crystal clear view of the  Milky Way galaxy in the sky it looked like the backbone of the sky holding all the stars together. There are very few moments in life that are implanted in my temporal lobes and this is one of them. I decided to snap a couple of pictures and captured a satellite passing by over the stars. Oh my, what a coincidence.

Milky way from tofino campsite, tofino, bc

Milky way from tofino campsite

The next day, it rained and it was dreary. So we decided to spend the day in the ocean by taking a whale watching trip. We wore an epic red fishing jump suit that made us look legit. We had one wish and only one with for that day. “Show me a fucking Orca whale!”. Rachel and I are obsessed with orcas and we badly wanted to see one. We sat on the zodiac boat and man, it was freezing when the boat was moving. We saw some sea lions, sea otters and california grey whales. We saw a couple of them breach and one of them jump up. Sadly, no orcas and we had to head back to land. We got more beer and headed to our campsite and enjoyed our meal.

A California grey whale showing its tail, tofino, bc

A California grey whale showing its tail

On the third day of our trip, it was probably one of the nicest day on our trip and we decided to hike up the lone cone mountain which is located 6 km north of Tofino. Only way to get to the hike was to take a boat there. We stocked our supplies and headed there. We heard from a lot of people that the view on top of the mountain was insane, so we hiked up the mountain. During the hike, we made friends with a lonely dog who guided us for part of the way, so we fed him and gave him some water. The views on top of the mountain was indeed breathtaking. In fact, you can even see the curvature of the earth. I have never seen such a landscape before, island mountains protruding from the ocean straight up, schools of dolphins swimming by, surfers trying to catch a big wave and if you are lucky, you can see a distant whale breach. Such was the view. After our lunch, we descended down and went back to the main island. We had coffee at this place called common loaf bake shop. Amazing pastries and great arabica coffee and has my recommendation seal!.

View from the top of lone cone mountain, tofino, bc

View from the top of lone cone mountain

Reality started setting in on the final day of my trip here. That heart sinking feeling when you are about to leave a place, yep, it did. The next morning, we started early, packed all our stuff and left the magical town of tofino!.

Ferry ride back to Horseshoe bay from nanaimo, tofino, bc

Ferry ride back to Horseshoe bay from nanaimo

All this would’t have been possible if not for Rachel. I was really upset that we were not going to see BANFF park as it was too far away from Vancouver and boy, was i glad to be wrong. Moral of the story is whatever happens, it happens for a very good reason!


  1. Jawsss

    I am from Seattle and I wanted to go to Tofino in the fall. I am thankful that i stumbled into your article. How expensive is this place? My friend and I want to spend 3 days there.

  2. Tofino App

    Hi Rakesh, nice article about Tofino BC!
    When you come back try the Native dugout Canoe tours or a kayak trip into Clayoquot Sound… I’m sure you’ll love it.

    Are You planning a trip to the West Coast of Vancouver Island ?
    please visit for Tourism Info, Tofino Accommodation Deals, Surf Report and much more…

    • Rakesh Mandalapa

      I am definitely planning on it! Not sure when, but I heard winter storms around that area are pretty intense and amazing. I will have to come back soon.

  3. Chureerat

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So, what do you think ?