Floatplanes have long flourished on the sheltered waters of the Inside Passage and the mountain lakes of the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver’s major carrier, Harbour Air, docks right beside Canada Place and the Convention Centre. Swoon over a sightseeing jaunt (starting at $95), or soar to places like Victoria, Whistler, and Salt Spring Island on de Havilland Otter and Beaver planes. Note: For an extra $10, eager photographers can reserve a window seat. Harbour Air also offers charters and deals that bundle flights with ground tours like the Fly ’n Dine excursion to Bowen Island, which includes a BC Ferries ride back to the mainland and a limo transfer to downtown Vancouver for $275.

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Must Experience: Riding in a Seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria

I had never been in a seaplane before and it was quite the experience! As opposed to the ferry (which is a three hour ride not including the hour to get to and from each terminal to the downtown core), the seaplane connects you to each city in about an hour. The seaplane airport for its major carrier, Harbour Air, is quite convenient because it’s located downtown right beside Canada Place and the Convention Centre. It docks in the heart of downtown Victoria right beside the Visitor’s centre. No fuss, no muss. There’s newspapers, coffee (unfortunately, not Tim Horton’s), baked goods and free wi-fi. Up to 14 passengers can fit in the seaplane and the windows have panoramic views. It’s not cheap, but for a first time experience to the province, it was worth it. The route from Vancouver to Victoria felt like a tour but Harbour Air offers official tours of both cities as well as whale watching tours. A note: Harbour Air is the official seaplane provider. There are no competitors that I could find when researching my flights.

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