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    Tour map

Natures Best Canada’s West – 9 Days / 8 Nights

 

Rail service has returned from Whistler to Jasper! The name of this tour says it all:  Natures Best Canada’s West with captivating scenery that can only be appreciated from the comfort of rail travel and then spending 5 nights amidst some of the most spectacular unspoiled scenery in the world makes this trip a must! From Vancouver to Whistler you begin your journey aboard the Sea to Sky train, taking you along the Sea to Sky Highway with incredible views of canyons, mountains, seas, and waterfalls. One night in Whistler and then you are on your way for a two day rail trip through British Columbia and Alberta on Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush route, from Whistler to Jasper. Scenery so dramatic that you have to see it to believe it, all within the comfort of the train. After your two day rail journey, encounter three very distinctive places in the Rockies: Jasper, a wilderness resort town, Lake Louise with emerald lake waters and Victoria Glacier in the background, and Banff, an alpine village with its delightful charm.

 

Day 1 – Arrive Vancouver
Welcome to Vancouver! We have provided you with a transfer from the Vancouver Airport to your hotel. Your hotel puts you right in the heart of Vancouver. Some of the nearby attractions you might not want to miss are: Stanley Park, Gastown, and Granville Island.
Overnight – Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

Day 2 – Vancouver to Whistler
Transportation from Vancouver to the North Vancouver Station is included. Pickups are at 7:30am and the train departs at 8:30am. The Sea to Sky train is a three-hour, premier train trip from North Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia. It delivers the unique blend of contrasts the Sea to Sky highway corridor is famous for: cities and old-growth forests, bustling action and natural serenity, deep valleys and snow-capped peaks, seascapes and mountain views, all delivered with world-class Western Canadian hospitality. Arrival into Whistler is scheduled at 11:30am and you will be transferred from the station to the village. Your afternoon is free to explore the quaint village of Whistler filled with boutique shopping and excellent restaurants.
Overnight – Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa

Day 3 – Whistler to Quesnel
You will need to take a taxi to the train station this morning. Boarding the train starts at 7:00am for your two day journey through some of the most dramatic scenery you will ever encounter. Day one has you departing the four-season mountain resort of Whistler to the charming rural town of Quesnel, the gateway to the North Cariboo. Enjoy breathtaking and varied scenery, from the river canyons and lush farmland of the Pemberton Valley, to the desert-like conditions of the Fraser Canyon, and the Cariboo Plateau with its rolling hills and vast ranchlands. Highlights of day one are: Shorelines of Anderson Lake and glacial fed Seton Lake, sweeping views of the Fraser Canyon and Deep Creed Bridge, one of the highest railway bridges in the world. Breakfast and lunch are served, as well as a variety of soft drinks and snacks. As day one concludes you follow the banks of the Fraser River into Quesnel for your overnight stay. Arrival is scheduled for 6:30pm. You will be transferred from the station to your hotel.
Overnight – Quesnel

Day 4 – Quesnel to Jasper
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and be transferred to the station for day 2 of your journey. Boarding the train in Quesnel is at 7:10am, breakfast and lunch along with soft drinks and snacks will be served on board for your journey to Jasper. From Quesnel the train follows the Fraser River out of town north to the town of Prince George and then travels east through the forests of Northern British Columbia, home to plentiful wildlife including a large population of moose. Entering the Rocky Mountain Trench you are surrounded to the north by the steeply rising Rocky Mountains and the south by the Cariboo Mountains. The train continues to climb past Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 feet, and then through Yellowhead Pass into the province of Alberta. You rail journey ends today as you arrive the resort town of Jasper, scheduled at 8:30pm. Upon arrival into Jasper transportation to your hotel has been arranged.
Overnight – Sawridge Inn

Day 5 – Jasper – Explore Jasper Tour
Jasper, fascinating in beauty and history, is set amid some of the most rugged peaks in the Rockies. This 4-hour excursion encompasses the area’s outstanding features, Medicine Lake as well as Maligne Canyon with its narrow gorge and limestone walls falling 50 meters to the floor below. From June 4 – September 26 we highly recommend you add the Maligne Lake Cruise.
Overnight – Sawridge Inn

Day 6 – Jasper to Lake Louise
Your transfer to Lake Louise leaves at 1PM. The drive is beautiful. Your arrival at the Chateau gives you time to view the lake and enjoy the grounds before dinner. The beauty of Lake Louise and the Chateau is unique. Only when you see the view from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise can you understand why people say it must be seen to be believed.
Overnight – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Day 7 – Lake Louise to Banff
Enjoy a leisurely morning at Lake Louise and plan an afternoon transfer to Banff. After the beauty of Lake Louise, you will be surprised to find that Banff offers a different perspective. This active alpine village is just about the best place to be in summer. Towering mountains and the sweeping Bow Valley offer stunning contrasts. Elk roam about, totally unconcerned with the flow of visitors passing them by. You are never at a loss for things to do in Banff. The village is filled with delightful shops and boutiques. Be sure to spend some time at the Fairmont Banff Springs as it is a village in and of itself. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you can golf, bike or hike.
Overnight – Rimrock Resort

Day 8 – Banff – Explore Banff Tour with Sulphur Mt. Gondola
Bring your camera, as your Explore Banff tour takes you along Tunnel Mountain Drive for a great view of Banff. Visit the Cave and Basin National Historical Site, stroll along Lake Minnewanka and take a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
Overnight – Rimrock Resort

Day 9 – Banff/Calgary/Home
Bid farewell to beautiful Western Canada, with a promise to return very soon.

Tour Highlights:

  • Arrival transfer – Vancouver Airport to hotel
  • 1 night – Sheraton Wall Centre
  • 1 night – Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa
  • 1 night – Quesnel
  • 2 nights – Sawridge Inn
  • 1 night – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
  • 2 nights – Rimrock Resort
  • Transfer – Vancouver hotel to Vancouver rail station
  • Station transfers in Vancouver, Quesnel, and Jasper
  • Explore Jasper tour
  • Explore Banff tour
  • Sulphur Mountain Gondola
  • Coast Classic service aboard the Sea to Sky train
  • 2 day scenic rail travel on the “Rainforest to Gold Rush” route in SilverLeaf service from Whistler to Jasper
  • Transfer from Jasper to Lake Louise, Lake Louise to Banff and Banff to the Calgary Airport

Dates & Rates – 9 days / 8 nights

  • Package begins on Saturdays
  • Rates are in US Dollars, per person, double occupancy
Season Land Only
May 19, 2018 on request
May 26 – June 9, 2018 on request
June 16 – August 18, 2018 on request
August 25 – September 15, 2018 on request

COMING SOON:  This section will include detailed information about the hotels in this tour, along with a PDF of the hotel brochure.

CUSTOMS/IMMIGRATION – PLEASE NOTE: ALL U.S. CITIZENS MUST HAVE A VALID U.S. PASSPORT FOR TRAVEL TO OR FROM CANADA AS OF JANUARY 08, 2007.
You clear Canadian Customs and immigration at your first point of entry into Canada. Customs and Immigration clearance is generally a quick and simple process. Please note that Non-citizens should carry a valid passport and check with their local Canadian Council for visa requirements.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS
If transfers are included in your tour package, vouchers have been provided. Present your vouchers to the bus driver.

GENERAL DRESS
Be casual and comfortable. Comfortable shoes are a must. We suggest flat shoes with rubber soles on the train, as this makes getting around easier and safer.

BEDDING REQUESTS
We are pleased to pass your requests to our hotels, but we cannot guarantee that the hotels will be able to accommodate these requests. Please keep in mind, that often hotels are filled to capacity.

VOLTAGE
Electricity is on the same current in Canada as in the states – 110 volts. If you are traveling on VIA Rail, bedrooms have a small sink and outlet for small appliance use like razors.

HOTEL CHECK-IN TIMES
When planning your daily activities, please keep in mind that your hotels are generally not available for check in until mid afternoon. If you arrive and cannot check in, we suggest you leave your bags with the hotel bell desk and go off to explore the city!

UNUSED SERVICES
Based on your tour service selections, Cartan has reserved and paid for these tour services. Services, which you elect not to use, are not refundable. In the event a service cannot be used for reasons beyond your control, a refund will be issued provided the service supplier has agreed that they will refund or credit Cartan Tours. Based on the service suppliers’ refund to Cartan Tours, requests for qualifying refunds must be made in writing and will be processed less a $35.00 handling fee.

INCIDENTALS
Incidental charges such as valet, telephone calls, beverages, and room service must be cleared before leaving the hotel. If you have made calls with a credit card or called collect, you may still have charges to clear. The hotels will appreciate your clearing them before you leave.

CHANGING MONEY
Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Canada. To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, we suggest you use your credit cards. Change the amount of money you feel you will need for general day-to-day activities. We find you get the best rate of exchange when you exchange money at a bank. Most people find it convenient to change money at the airport bank when they arrive.

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Cartan Tours pays GST on all taxable inclusions; however, we are not required to pay GST on hotel stays for non-Canadian visitors. Thus, there is no GST rebate due on hotel rooms reserved and paid by Cartan Tours.

TIPPING
Tipping percentages and policies are as in the States. A very acceptable tip for a meal is 15%. When dining, always check to ensure the service charge has not been added to your bill. You will see a tax charge that averages 12 – 17%. Service, if charged, should also be listed. Although menus frequently specify their policy on tipping, if unsure, feel free to ask.

It is customary in Canada to leave a small tip for the chambermaid. We suggest $1.00 per room per night. Baggage handling we suggest $1.00 – $2.00 per bag.