Located on the south west of British Colombia, Vancouver is named after British Captain George Vancouver who explored the area in the 1790s. The city has a mild climate all year and on one side is protected by a mountain range and on the other side is warmed by Pacific currents. Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city that offers excellent shopping, bars, theatres and clubs. It is home to Stanley Park, Canada’s largest city park that covers hundreds of acres in the city centre and has forests and lakes.
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Top things to do in Vancouver
Food tasting at Granville Island public market
Granville Island public market houses a wide array of vendors including green grocers, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, sweet stands and casual eateries, as well as a wine shop. Canada's only artisan sake maker also sells here, along with a micro roaster of organic coffee using a 1913 roaster. Either wander the market at leisure, or join a guided tour with a local expert and enjoy tastings of regional foods and tips on food selection and preparation, as well as advice on local restaurants and cafes.
Vancouver 'hop-on hop-off' bus tour
The city of Vancouver has a useful hop-on hop-off bus service, operated by the The Vancouver Trolley Company, that offers an easy way to see the most popular spots at your own pace. All 23 stops are fully commentated. Stops include Downtown shopping district, Prospect Point in Stanley Park, historic Gastown and Granville Island, famous for its large food market.
Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Travel into the mountains north of the city to visit the original Vancouver tourist attraction, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge is 140 metres long and suspended 70 metres above the Capilano river. It has attracted visitors since it was built in 1889. Surrounding the bridge is the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, an area of temperate rainforest encompassing a treetop canopy walkway, a riverside cliffwalk, and a Story Centre that displays life-size photomurals, artefacts and antiques.
Visit Whistler & return by floatplane
Take a trip north of Vancouver up to the fashionanble mountain town of Whistler, travelling north along the Sea-to-Sky Highway. In Whistler, take the Peak-2-Peak gondola for stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, browse in the many shops and boutiques, or visit an art gallery. Return to Vancouver by floatplane, with aerial views of the mountains, lakes, glaciers and the Vancouver cityscape.
Cruise through the spectacular San Juan and Gulf islands in search of both the resident and transient pods of orcas that feed in the area. Also look out for porpoises, sea lions, seals and eagles, all commonly seen in the area. During the cruise, hydrophones are available so you can hear the whales communicating, should you spot any. There is also a professional naturalist on board to discuss the marine ecosystem and answer any questions you may have.
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine
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"The hotels were very well chosen, the levels of service excellent and our driver a delight to be with. Organising such trips is never easy and once again thank you for arranging a trip which we will never forget.
"Almost too many [inspirational moments] to choose from - Lake Titicaca and its islands, Colca Canyon, Pre-Inca terraces, Alto Plano, native craftwork, Machu Picchu, Native South American peoples and their history, customs, values and characters, being at Machu Picchu on my 67th birthday...
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George and Sue Langton"
"Bukhara: walking into the Kalyon mosque and seeing the huge tiled facades, the minaret and turquoise domes all set in the immense courtyard, in which we heard that Genghis Khan murdered the entire young male population of the city in the 13th century. Historic, tragic and beautiful all at once.
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Mr Peter Newman"
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