How to Visit the Great Bear Rainforest in BC: Where to Go and What to Do

Unique Indigenous Places to Stay in British Columbia

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Great Bear Rainforest | Getty Images

A stay at an Indigenous accommodation may deepen your understanding of art and cuisine or shed light on wildlife viewing and natural spaces, thanks to hosts keen to share their knowledge and insights of the places they call home.

Here are nine Indigenous accommodations that promise a deeper appreciation for the land and its inhabitants.

Spirit Bear Lodge | Cael Cook

Spirit Bear Lodge

How’s this for a unique stay? Head to the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation peoples and explore the natural habitat of the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Located in Klemtu, Spirit Bear Lodge offers four- to seven-day tour packages in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on BC’s wild coast.

At Spirit Bear Lodge, education becomes part of your vacation experience. See the rare Spirit bear and majestic grizzly and view petroglyphs and totem poles. Enjoy the hatchery and when the day is over, kick back and relax in the lodge, where each room comes with a king-size bed, private bathroom, and jaw-dropping views.

Tin Wis Resort | Indigenous Tourism BC

Tin Wis Resort

Located on preserved Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation land along the south side of Tofino, the Tin Wis Resort is in close proximity to everything Tofino and Ucluelet offer, including hiking, bear watching, local galleries, and relaxing over an memorable meal. This full-service hotel is owned by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and features guest rooms with gorgeous ocean views.

If you love the water, you won’t go wrong at Tin Wis Resort. Whale-watching tours, hot springs, deep-sea fishing, paddle boarding, and kayaking are just a handful of activities available nearby.

Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge | Indigenous Tourism BC

Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge

Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge, located in Sts’ailes, a 20-minute drive east of Chilliwack, features comfortable accommodations with warm and inviting hosts ready to share their lovely 35-hectare (87-acre) property, complete with peaceful trails and places to meditate.

This gem features a secluded waterfall that provides green energy to the property 10 months of the year. At the end of the day, settle down in one of nine guest rooms and wake to a complimentary breakfast.

Cluxewe Resort | Indigenous Tourism BC

Cluxewe Resort

Camp, fish, watch birds, or just gaze at the stars with friends and family at Cluxewe Resort, located in the land of the Kwakiutl people on the north end of Vancouver Island. Nearby activities include golfing, birding, wildlife viewing, kayaking, hiking, and grizzly tours.  Stay in one of the cottages and relax as you listen to the Pacific Ocean crash gently into the shoreline.

Feeling more adventurous? Get outside! A unique feature of Cluxewe Resort is the camping, with sites ranging from tent only to full- and partial-hook ups for campers and RVs.

Wya Point Resort | Indigenous Tourism BC

Wya Point Resort

Whether your interest is hiking, sitting back and enjoying the stars, or savouring a delicious meal, Wya Point Resort will appeal. Located in Ucluelet, Wya Point offers lodges, yurts, and camping options, with fishing charters, whale-watching tours, and the Ucluelet Aquarium all nearby. With secluded sandy coves, clear water, and hidden rock pools, the beaches at Wya Point provide plenty of recreational fun. Get acquainted with the Ucluelet First Nation (also known as the Yuu-tluth-aht First Nation) and immerse yourself in their living culture in a beautiful setting.

St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino | Don Weixl

St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino

Nestled in the spectacular Rocky Mountains near Cranbrook, St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino’s ownership consists of five Ktunaxa communities including the ʔAkisq̓nuk, ʔAq̓am, ʔAkink̓umǂasnuqǂiʔit (Tobacco Plains), Yaqan nukiy (Lower Kootenay) and the Shuswap Indian Band. The resort offers 125 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites as well as a casino, a spa, the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre, and Indigenous-inspired dining.

Kwa’lilas Hotel | Indigenous Tourism BC

Kwa’lilas Hotel

Meaning “place to sleep” in the language of the Gwa’sala Nakwaxda’xw people, Kwa’lilas Hotel welcomes you to enjoy exceptional service in the North Island’s only premier Indigenous-owned 4-star hotel. Enjoy a peaceful rest in modern, chic guest rooms featuring local Indigenous artistic expressions. Situated on the eastern tip of North Vancouver Island, Port Hardy is surrounded by mountain ranges and forests.

See marine mammals such as whales and sea lions on the Scenic Boat and Wildlife tour or learn about the Gwa’sala Nakwaxda’xw First Nations on the Nakwakto Rapids and Cultural Tour. When the sun goes down, enjoy Indigenous-inspired West Coast cuisine.

Haida House at Tlaal | Indigenous Tourism BC

Haida House at Tlaal

Nestled along the banks of the serene Tlell River, surrounded by ancient forest and open sky, Haida House at Tlaal offers everything you need to explore the many eco-adventures, natural attractions, and historical and cultural sites found on Haida Gwaii’s Graham and Moresby islands. At the end of the day enjoy a traditional Haida tapas-style meal with local seafood, meat, and fresh produce.

Hiellen Longhouse Village

Located in Tow Hill on Haida Gwaii, Hiellen Longhouse Village features traditional Haida-style cedar, hemlock, and spruce longhouses that provide comfortable accommodations that can easily sleep four. Owned and operated by the Old Massett Village Council’s Economic Development Team, this pet-friendly stop has a gas stove top, an outdoor barbecue, and a wood-burning fireplace. Visitors can hike to Tow Hill, discover Naikoon Provincial Park, or explore the rest of Haida Gwaii.


Originally published in June of 2018.

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