June 12, 2023

Tofino Bear Watching Tours: What to Expect

A 2.5 hour Bear Watching Tour with West Coast Aquatic Safaris is a popular activity for both locals and visitors to the area. Black bears are a common sight in Tofino, BC, and the surrounding areas. Vancouver Island is home to one of the densest populations of bears anywhere in the world. It is estimated there’s up to 12,000 bears on Vancouver Island and the small islands that surround it.

West Coast Aquatic Safaris Bear Tours:
Frequently Asked Questions

When Is The Best Time To See Bears In Tofino?

Bear watching in Tofino does not require sunny or dry weather. You can enjoy this once in a lifetime experience, rain or shine. The bear watching tour season in Tofino lasts a surprisingly long time so time is on your side. Book your bear tours from April through October.

Whale watching boat at sunset

What Types Of Bears Will I See On My Tour?

During your bear watching tours you will exclusively see Black Bears | Ursus Americanus (Vancouveri) the bears that inhabit the forests and shorelines near Tofino. 

Fun Fact: There are 16 subspecies of Black Bears found in North America and half of these are found in British Columbia with Vancouver Island and surrounding islands having its own subspecies - Vancouver Island Black Bear. 

When should I book a bear watching tour?

You can book your bear watching tour between the beginning of April and the end of October. This is the peak season for bear watching in Tofino. During this time, bears come out of hibernation and start foraging for food along the shorelines, making it easier to spot them. 

Bear foraging by side of river

Are Tofino Bears Dangerous?

It’s important to remember that black bears are wild animals and should be respected from a safe distance. A West Coast Aquatic Safaris’ boat tour is the perfect way to observe bears from a safe (for you and the bears) and respectful distance. We ensure that you have a memorable and enjoyable experience while minimizing any risks to both you and the bears. 

What should I wear on a bear tour?

Dress warmly for your tour. It is recommended to wear a long sleeve shirt, fleece, sweater or light jacket, long pants and closed shoes. Our tours run rain or shine, and they don’t call it the ‘Wet Coast’ for nothing! Our boats are the most comfortable in Tofino and have indoor seating in a heated cabin, multiple viewing decks and outside seating. We also provide complementary rain jackets to borrow while on tour.

Mum and baby bear by side of river

What might I see on a WCAS Bear tour?

On your bear watching tour you’ll also get the chance to see: harbour seals, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, Vancouver Island black bears, and every so often killer whales.

Is the bear viewing boat child friendly and wheelchair accessible?

Yes. We have people of all ages and levels of ability tour with us. We/ve had four generations aboard many times. Our boats are accessible for people using various mobility devices including wheelchairs. 

West Coast Aquatic Safaris is a CanaDream Club partner.  Book your bear tour now!

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