This took me forever to write but here’s some info that may be useful for someone who wants to experience Tofino off-season.
Through the “Woods” and the Sea
Last year in November, Mr. Leading Man and I had this idea to see Tofino. Tofino is a town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get to it by car is convenient but commuting there is also simple. The trip can be divided into three legs though one can think of it as only two legs- a bus trip with a ferry ride in between. Here’s how we did it:
From Vancouver, we took the 7:15 a.m. Tofino Island Express from Pacific Central Station. We got our tickets in advance online (ferry tickets are not included). A minibus shuttled us from the station to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The BC Ferries ticket from there to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island cost $17. This part takes two hours which we used to have a proper breakfast. An Island Express bus was already waiting at the Nanaimo arrival area for passengers. We handed the driver the bus tickets we’d kept and continued on. I personally like long bus rides and welcomed the next five hours staring outside as we weaved through trees and lakes.
The bus made a few stops along the way. The longest stop was in Port Alberni for a 20 minute break. Passengers have to decide whether they want to be inside or outside during this break because the bus will be locked. There is an old post office with red doors repurposed into a small grocery. The driver recommended their sandwiches. We decided to just get coffee in the café/bakery nearby.
Pacific Central Station – Vancouver, BC
Cabins by the Beach
Finally we arrived at around 3 p.m. at the bus depot in downtown Tofino. It was drizzling. Most surf and bicycle rental shops were closed. We rented our bicycles at a sweets store aptly named Candy Jar and cycled for a good twenty minutes along the highway to get to Ocean Village.
I found out about Ocean Village through a blogger who also found out from another blog. See! Those things work. Thanks to them because we loved the place. Our temporary home was in one of the well-equipped cabins facing Mackenzie Beach. Towels and toiletries were provided except toothpaste. The washroom was supplied with Sea Wench body wash, shampoo and conditioner – all locally made. We were happy to find an efficient kitchen complete with a big fridge, microwave, stove, cookware, dishes and wine glasses.
It looked better during sunrise.
BYOF or shop at the COOP
Hubby and I planned to cook some of our food. Due to our Pinoy gastronomic needs, we made sure to bring tocino and pre-marinated bangus (milk fish) for our breakfasts. For the rest of our meals, we bought the ingredients at the local Coop where the prices are understandably higher than in Vancouver.
Budget food but make it fashion. That weird bit is tocino just in case you’re wondering.
We ate out sparingly. We had coffee and pastries at the Common Loaf café/bakery. Our only full meal out was at a restaurant called Sobo. Hubby ordered their Thai Chicken and I ordered the Fish Taco. My hubby’s order was a generous serving of flavorful chicken thighs marinated in soy sauce on top of vegetable citrus slaw with a side of peanut sauce. He ended up sharing it with me.
Freezing Water and Dogs
My husband rented surf gear from Live to Surf, a surf shop located along the Pacific Rim Hwy in a nook where there’s a bunch of other food places like Chocolate Tofino and Tacofino (we did not get to try these anymore). He was crazy enough to surf in uber freezing water. As for me, I began my career as surf photographer and videographer on that day. Haha kidding. I simply begged off from learning it and offered to be THE IG wife. I was also happy to look out the ocean and watch the doggies playing on the shore.
Pet-friendly accommodations meant lots of doggies!
On our return, we decided to take a cab to the bus station. The $10 was worth paying for the ease. We made sure we got it early because it was the only taxi in Tofino. Yes, there’s only one cab in Tofino. The driver recommended Common Loaf so we went there again and sent some postcards before getting on the bus back to Vancouver.
I enjoyed our stay in Tofino despite the weather. We only had one sunny day out of the three nights and four days we were there but we made good use of all our days. We cycled, hiked, cooked and ate. It was a nice break from the routine of work and home. Tofino might be entirely different in the summer. Perhaps livelier but we had a fine time during off-season just the same.
And that is it! As Tigger says, TTFN.