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Visiting Vancouver for the First Time
Old 06-22-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
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Visiting Vancouver for the First Time

My wife and I are planning to visit Vancouver for the first time at the end of July/beginning of August. We assume that we will rent a car. Can anyone recommend what area of the city we would be best advised to stay. If you have specific hotels or B and Bs, that would be very helpful. Also, should Victoria be a day trip or an overnighter? Would we be best advised to take the car across on the ferry, or should we rent a car in Victoria as well?
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:47 AM   #2
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Victoria is a beautiful city and the surrounding area is attractive too. How long to stay is up to you, but you could spend several days on the island if it's within your time, interest and $ budget.

As to taking a rental car across: car costs about $50 each way. Do the math vs renting on each side.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:06 AM   #3
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If you feel like taking the ferry as a walk-on, there's a bus from Swartz Bay, (the ferry terminal), to downtown Victoria where most everything is walkable.....distance wise.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:29 AM   #4
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You can take a bus from Victoria to various locations on the mainland, including YVR (Vancouver International Airport). The bus drives on the ferry. At YVR, you can get on the Canada Line and travel into the city. So you could explore both cities without renting a car at all. Of course, with a car you will have more freedom to explore.

I have never stayed at a B&B in Vancouver but there are many charming ones. There are many hotels to choose from and the best choice depends on what you like to do and your budget. My personal favourite is the Westin Bayshore, which is on the shoreline at Coal Harbour, right next to Stanley Park. A different, more historic choice would be the Sylvia Hotel on English Bay. If I am catching an early morning flight, I like the Fairmont at the airport. Good areas to stay would be Coal Harbour, the West End, Kitsilano or downtown. Keep away from the Downtown East Side.

I hope kcowan will chime in as he lives in Vancouver half the time.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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Most of Victoria itself can be seen on foot. To go to some of the places outside of Victoria like Butchart Gardens, there seemed to be many tours/excursions available. I bet any hotel can arrange or suggest transport. Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with a car in Victoria - its a bit tight and lots of 1 way streets.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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I was in Vancouver two weeks ago for the first time. I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel since this was the location of our conference.

The hotel is nice and is located directly across from where the cruise ships dock.

Luxury Vancouver Hotels: Waterfront Vancouver Hotel at Fairmont

The mass transportation system is excptional so I wouldn't bother renting a car for the whole length of the trip. The train will take you directly from the airport to within a half a block of the hotel.

In hindsight I wish I would have rented a bicycle and rode on some of the bicycle paths.

Vancouver is a great city. I hope you have a nice time.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #7
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Thanks, everyone, for your wise counsel. We've just booked at the Delta Vancouver Suites (#16 on Trip Advisor) for $169 CAD per night plus tax and will plan to take the train in from the airport. If we need a car for a day, we'll rent one, but having one in Vancouver may not be necessary at all. Thanks, again.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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Delta Suites is convenient and you can walk to Gastown and Chinatown. Depending on your fitness, you might rent bikes because it is very bike friendly. There is also a bus that goes into Stanley Park. Like Meadbh says, you can easily get to Victoria if you are coming for more than a week. No need for a rental car. Rentals would be needed if you want to see Whsitler or other outlying places. When we drove our car to Mexico, we lived without a car for 2 months, then relented because we could afford it but it was not necessary.

That time of year is ideal. Good luck.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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Another way to get from Vancouver to Victoria is by float plane.

http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/floatplanes/
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:01 PM   #10
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Also by Helijet, although that is very noisy even when compared to the float plane. Bus and ferry is the best way if you have the time.

A friend and I took a helicopter and it took 15 minutes to get from Langley to Salt Spring. Of course, driving to Langley from West Vancouver took an hour!
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