Discover a slice of heaven, nestled on the West Coast of Canada

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Journey through Vancouver Island’s stunning landscapes and delve into the lives of those who call this island home

Tofino sits against a backdrop of majestic mountains and pristine coastlines, it’s a must-see destination for those seeking unique adventures in their own backyard.

To experience the West Coast through the lens of a local, Ahousaht Nation offers an exhilarating adventure within their territorial lands, waters, and culture, with their Tofino tours to Hot Springs Cove. Operated by Ahous Adventures, this journey ensures an unforgettable experience led by local guides, where you'll delve into indigenous culture and history firsthand.

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"When you visit Ahous Adventures, you'll be greeted by your guide, many of whom are from the Ahousaht Nation, boasting incredible knowledge of our territories. You're in for an incredible journey," says Tyson Atleo Co-owner of Ahous Adventures and Hereditary representative of the Ahousaht First Nation.

The trip to Hot Springs Cove is an adventure alone. A scenic boat ride takes you 26 nautical miles, with chances to spot whales and wildlife before reaching Maquinna Provincial Park. From there, a 2-kilometer wooden boardwalk maintained by Ahousaht guides you through an ancient old growth forest to the Cove.

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(The Weather Network's Jordyn Read at Hot Springs Cove)

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Travellers from across the globe are drawn to Hot Springs Cove for its captivating natural mineral hot springs.

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“Arriving at Hot Springs Cove you actually have a cascading waterfall of hot springs and the natural pools go from hotter to colder as you go down. And if you hit the tide just right… you can actually sit as well in the ocean,” explained Atleo.

At Hot Springs Cove, natural mineral hot springs cascade down into rocky pools. As the spring water flows from one tier to the next, it gradually cools. Feel the blend of hot and cold sensations, a dance orchestrated by the sea and the changing seasons. But It's not just about relaxation—it's also a spiritual experience rooted in indigenous tradition, connecting individuals with nature's spirits.

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(Ocean edge pool)

“And the point of the spiritual bathing in cold water is to create the space for that person to shed their ego and have a very meaningful relationship to the spirits of non-human beings.”

Through the sharing of Ahousaht knowledge, the goal is to strengthen connections between locals and visitors, encouraging people to honour the sacredness of the land and approach their visit with openness and to garner a connection to nature and its inhabitants.

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(Ocean edge pool)

“There are very few ecosystems like this left in the world that are relatively intact, they deserve our care and attention. And we hope that when you come and visit us, you will feel a true connection to place that you can take with you wherever you go,” explained Atleo.

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(Maquinna Provincial Park old growth forest)

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(Ahous Adventures boat ride)

For those seeking a closer encounter with the waves, Tofino's surfing scene beckons, with 35 kilometers of coastline. Dubbed the unofficial surf capital of Canada, Tofino offers enthusiasts the chance to ride the waves year-round, making it a haven for surfers of all levels.

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“I took my first surf lesson with Surf Sister when I was about nine years old and I absolutely fell in love,” said Ava Appleby, surf instructor with Surf Sister Surf School.

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The ocean has a unique way of awakening the senses. When you’re walking into the ocean, board in arm, you suddenly become aware of everything around you. As the waves crash around you, the distractions of daily life seem to fade away with it. But to conquer the board, every movement must sync with the rhythm of the waves. It's a delicate dance between staying focused and letting instinct take over - giving you a strong sense of connection to the ocean.

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“It really is a surreal feeling, it's very spiritual, it's very magical, It's exhilarating. You have to be watching the water conditions and you have to be very aware and very present. And that kind of puts you in this very meditative space,” said Appleby.

But it's not just about the killer waves—it's the vibrant community that makes Tofino special.

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“Almost every day out of the year, there's a place you can go to surf. We're all about getting people in the water and getting people into surfing. So the town is really supportive of those who are brave enough to give it a try. And I love living in Tofino because of this community. I have never felt more loved, supported and encouraged than by the people that I have around me here,” explained Appleby.

Whether soaking in the rejuvenating waters of Hot Springs Cove or riding the waves off Tofino's coast, Vancouver Island promises an adventure like no other. Now, it's your turn to embark on your own unforgettable journey of discovery, right here in Canada. And who knows, you may just make a dozen new friends along the way.

(Header image features Vancouver Island Marina)