This official tenth-anniversary trip starts in Calgary before taking you through the majestic Rocky Mountains with stops in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Then we head to the Okanagan wine region, where things get extra tasty. You’ll see moose, deer, and bears – oh my! We wrap up in Vancouver just as Pride gets underway. Boom!
DEPARTURES & PRICES:
• Explore the largest icefield in the Rockies on a monster bus
• Enjoy a grizzly bear safari on the Blue River
• Wine tasting in Western Canada’s premier vineyards
• Enjoy the famous Canadian hospitality and 3+ star hotels
• First Nations/Aboriginal walking tour of Vancouver’s Stanley Park
• Vancouver Pride celebrations!!!
Hey there, eh? Welcome to Canada – Out Adventures’ home and native land. “Cow-town”, as the city is known, is home to the Calgary Stampede, one of the world’s largest rodeos. Things don’t kick off until later in the day with an Orientation Meeting and Welcome Dinner. We’ll hit the town for optional drinks at a local gay bar.
After breakfast, we’ll sightsee the city, including a stop at Studio Bell – home of the National Music Centre. Then we’re off to Banff, with a stop in Canmore for a cave tour. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner hosted by a retired, but still uniformed Royal Canadian Mounted Police with a big personality.
Explore one of our most famous resorts and its surroundings, including stops at the gondola, glacier-fed lakes Minnewanka and Morraine; and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. In the early afternoon we complete a 2-hour hike around mesmerizing Lake Louise to the Agnes Tea House where we'll enjoy a boxed lunch. Tonight we'll have an optional dinner, or a free evening in Banff to explore on your own.
We venture to Columbia Icefield via the Icefields Parkway – one of the world’s most scenic drives. This includes a ride on the Ice Explorer, which resembles the lovechild of a school bus and monster truck. Stops en route include Peyto Lake, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls. After settling into Jasper, we have an optional dinner.
We hike into picturesque Maligne Canyon and visit Medicine Lake, which is actually a sinking river. Every fall the ‘lake’ drains into a sinkhole that connects to what could be the largest inaccessible cave system in the world. Tonight we’ll relish a lakeside dinner with a Wildlife Presentation by a local naturalist.
After breakfast we’re off to the Blue River for a distinctly Canadian 'grizzly bear safari'. Lunch will be served at a floating restaurant, then we’ll make our way to Sun Peaks Resort for the night. The evening is yours to explore the alpine resort.
It’s our last day on the road. We’ll enjoy lunch and a wine tasting in Kelowna, a city in Western Canada’s premier wine region – the Okanagan. We’ll arrive in Vancouver just in time for Pride weekend. You’re free to explore on your own, though we’ll also arrange an optional group dinner.
After breakfast, we're off to clamber over the Capilano Suspension Bridge, through historic Gastown, and on to English Bay. Enjoy a ‘Talking Trees’ Aboriginal tour in Stanley Park – named one of the best city parks in the world by Travel & Leisure Magazine - before our day of sightseeing wraps on Granville Island. Tonight’s Farewell Dinner happens in Davie Village – Vancouver’s gaybourhood – before we hit the bars. Expect the city to be lively with Pride in full swing!
It’s the last day of our tour, but it’s also Pride Sunday! Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then consider sticking around for the parade and other celebrations. Safe travels home!
• 3+ Star Hotel Accommodations
• Private mini-coach with driver/guide
• Taxes associated with the cost of your tour
• National park fees
• Meals indicated (8 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners)
• All activities outlined in itinerary, unless otherwise noted
• International airfare
• Arrival & Departure Transfers to/from the airport (see Starting Point in trip notes for more info)
• Gratuities for Guides, Drivers and Hotel Staff
• Items of a personal nature
• Travel insurance. Visit www.outadventures.com/insurance for more details.
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary
Out Adventures is all about good times with likeminded guys. Whatever's on the itinerary - from fireside camping to five-star decadence - our goal is to make the experience magical. We're also committed to supporting the communities we visit by hiring local guides, staying at locally-owned accommodations when possible, and celebrating local cuisine. It all adds up to a great way to immerse yourself in an array of cultures.
VISAS: A visa may or may not be required, and in many cases an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) is required for non Canadian/American travellers. For more information, visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/.
CULTURE SHOCK: The most shocking part of this adventure will be learning how cold the water is, how nice Canadians are, and how often we say ‘sorry' (sorry, but its true).
LOCAL LGBT SCENE: Canada is one of the best countries to be gay in the world. There's a small scene in Calgary, and a bigger scene in Vancouver. We won't find much nightlife in the Rockies, but you should find everybody warm and welcoming.
WEATHER: Summer is the best time to visit The Rockies and Vancouver. The weather is warm and dry with minimal chance of rain. Days can be hot, but nights can be cool, so bring some layers.
REQUIRED VACCINATIONS: Based on the entry requirements for Canada, there are no vaccinations needed for entry. To determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, consult your doctor or a travel medical clinic, as Out Adventures cannot provide vaccination recommendations.
ELECTRICITY: You may need an international travel plug/adapter for type A/B sockets. Visit http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/canada/ for more information.
CONNECTIVITY: All hotels will have Wi-Fi access, so feel free to tweet, pin, post and share your experience friends and family at home!
This trip includes 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners.
For everybody's peace of mind, medical travel insurance is required on all Out Adventures tours. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum medical coverage of US $50,000.
For more details, visit www.outadventures.com/insurance.
All Out Adventures are led by a gay (or gay-welcoming) guide. On this tour, you'll be personally hosted by both a Local Guide who doubles as a driver. This trip will also have a Host from Out Adventures' head office.
Out adventures are a great way to meet people from around the world and all walks of life. Bear in mind that everybody's there for a good time, so mutual respect will go a long way. Please be on time for any meet ups, empathetic to the needs of others, and ready to roll with whatever the adventure brings.
Although we can't tell you about your fellow travellers for privacy reasons, we can tell you many great friendships began with an Out Adventure. And just because we're a gay tour operator doesn't mean we're exclusive: friends and family are always welcome to join the fun.
If you've never travelled on your own, it's an amazing way to get to know yourself while making new friends along the way. We can arrange for you to share a room with people in your age range at no charge, or you can pay a supplement for your own room. If there's an odd number of solos, we'll rotate a single room on a random basis.
The itinerary is correct at time of publishing. If anything, it will only get better based on feedback from prior travellers and our own research. It's best to reference your final trip documents, rather than our website, in case there have been any changes that affect your departure.
Every Out Adventure offers optional excursions that are not included in price of this trip. Please check your daily itinerary in your final pre-trip packet to see what's available.
International Hotel Calgary
220 4 Ave SW
Standard check-in time is between 2PM and 3PM. We are unable to arrange early check ins, however you are able to store your luggage and explore the central area near the hotel while you wait. If you would like a guaranteed early check-in, you will need to reserve a pre-tour night of accommodation.
Please Note: Typically our tours include an arrival and departure transfer, however private transfers in Canada are extremely costly and do not provide you with value for your money. Under normal driving conditions, the approximate fare for taxis to/from the airports in Calgary and Vancouver are around $50 CAD (plus tip). For this reason, we recommend taking a taxis, not a private transfer. If you do wish to have a private transfer added to your booking, the cost will be approximately $150 USD per transfer.
1300 Robson St
Please Note: Typically our tours include a departure transfer, however transfers in Vancouver are costly, and do not provide value. Under normal driving conditions, the approximate fare from our hotel to the Vancouver International Airport is around $40 to $50 (plus tip) vs $100 to arrange in advance.
If you're pleased with the service throughout your trip, a tip is recommended. Details will be provided in your final trip documentation, but we recommend budgeting about $150-$200 USD.
The local currency is the colourful Canadian Dollar (Americans say it looks like Monopoly money). We recommend carrying a few bills for small purchases, but credit and debit cards are widely accepted. We also recommend carrying about $400 USD in case of an emergency, or if your credit/ATM cards are placed on hold.
Most Out Adventures entail carrying your own luggage on occasion. And while you'll never schlep far, things can quickly get costlier than a celebrity breakup if you don't keep your baggage under 20kg/44lb thanks to costly surcharges on domestic flights. You should also bring something smaller for day trips to carry water, your camera, and any souvenirs you find along the way.
The following packing list is a guideline, not gospel. Our Out Adventure Specialists are happy to answer any specific questions about how much or little to bring.
- Passport/Visas/Flight Itineraries/Travel Insurance
- Pre-trip packet
- Credit/ATM card
General Personal Items:
- Eye mask/ear plugs
- Smartphone/camera/tablet/charging cords/International travel plug.
- Luggage lock
- Personal Wipes
- Guidebook/Phrase book/Reading material
- Protection for your devices from water
- Travel-size towel
- Walking shoes
- 'Nice' shoes for dinners
- 'Nice' pants for dinners
- Short-sleeved shirts
- Long-sleeved shirts
- 'Nice' shirts for dinners
- Fleece sweater/jacket
- Waterproof jacket/poncho
- Warm hat and gloves
- Small Umbrella
- Refillable water bottle(s)
- Small First aid kit including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, zinc oxide tape and small scissors, blister pads, diarrhea tablets, dioralyte rehydration packs
- Personal Medication
- High protection sunscreen/lip balm + sun barrier cream for nose/ears
- Insect repellent/bite cream/antihistamine
- Antibacterial gel/wipes
- Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
All Out Adventures guests must have a good level of health. All tours, regardless of activity level, involve uneven steps, stairs, walking tours, and you will be required to carry your own luggage from time to time. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate individuals with limited mobility unless they are willing to absorb the cost of a private guide/assistant which varies by country and is only possible on a case by case basis. It is also your responsibility to advise Out Adventures of any pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of you requiring medical attention, or that may affect the normal conduct of the tour and the enjoyment of the tour by other participants.
Below is a breakdown of our Physical Rating guide.
1 - Relaxing
- Very little or no hiking
- Light activities such as walking, bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
- Low altitude
- Suitable for all fitness levels
2 - Light
- Light walking and hiking (2 hours or less per day and at low altitude)
- Light activities such as bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
- Suitable for most fitness levels
3 - Average
- Light walking and hiking (3 hours or less per day, rarely at high altitude)
- Some activities such as biking, paddling or swimming. Active days are mixed with relaxed days
- Suitable for an average fitness level
4 - Demanding
- Walking, hiking is a component of the tour (can range from 2 hours to 6 hours per day, at various altitudes)
- Activities such as biking, paddling or swimming may be mixed in
- Suitable for a good fitness level
5 - Challenging
- Walking, hiking, biking, paddling or kayaking are the vast majority of the trip (can range from 2 hours to 8 hours per day, generally at high altitude)
- Activities will likely happen day after day with limited rest days
- Suitable for above average fitness level