vancouver hop on hop off bus tour in front of the steamclock in gastown

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Tourist Bus Guide

Vancouver’s Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour is an efficient, affordable and convenient way for you to travel between the sites on your very own customized Vancouver itinerary.

In this article we will not only show you how to best take advantage of the hop on hop off tour service, but how to secure the best price possible!

Let’s get started.

  1. What are hop on hop off tours?
  2. Routes
  3. Schedule
  4. Prices
  5. Tickets
  6. Types of tour buses
  7. Tips
  8. FAQ
 

riders looking up at skyscrapers in downtown vancouver from the hop on hop off bus

Hop On Hop Off Tour Vancouver

We love this Vancouver bus tour that perfectly combines the social atmosphere of a guided tour with the flexibility of independent travel.

A ticket for these Vancouver sightseeing bus tours provides you with the freedom to create your own Vancouver itinerary using 13 available stops covering most of Vancouver’s top attractions including Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street, Canada Place and more.

You’ll see the city centre in as little as two hours though your ticket is valid all day – and can get on and off as many times as you want.

It’s the optimal choice for:

  • Time restricted travelers
  • First time visitors
  • Cruise ship passengers
  • Families
  • Travelers who want a tour in other major languages
  • Senior citizens and people with limited mobility

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Routes

Traditionally there has been two different local hop on hop off tours available:

  1. City Route – traveled throughout downtown Vancouver.
  2. Park Route – focused on the city’s natural wonders.

Due to the pandemic the two routes have been reduced to one dubbed the Classic Route.

Classic Route

Trip duration: 2 hours (without stopping).

Join the tour at the first stop at Canada Place or any one of the 13 stops throughout the city, and be whisked away on a breathtaking journey through major Vancouver attractions, viewpoints and parks.

Meander through the temperate rainforest of Stanley Park all the while soaking in the stunning views of downtown Vancouver and its skyscrapers, the North Shore Mountains, and the sparkling waters of English Bay Beach.

Cross the Burrard Bridge to Vandusen Gardens and QE Park after an afternoon spent browsing Granville Island’s colourful markets.

Afterwards, you can unwind with a drink in some of Vancouver’s best bars located in Gastown or Chinatown or try some of Vancouver’s best restaurants.

Stops

  • Canada Place (Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing kiosk)
  • Pinnacle Hotel/ Vancouver Harbour
  • Robson Street Shopping District
  • Stanley Park Pavilion/ Mini Railroad
  • Sutton Place/Robson Street/Art Gallery
  • Century Plaza/West End
  • Granville Island
  • Vandusen Botanical Gardens
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Library Square
  • Sports District/Sandman City Centre Hotel
  • Chinatown
  • Gastown/Maple Tree Square

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Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Schedule

*As a result of the pandemic the hop on hop off is currently not operating in 2021.  However, don’t fret, the fun returns in 2022. 

The Vancouver sightseeing bus tour runs from April 1st to October 31st. Yes, the service traditionally ran year round but will return in 2022 with a shorter season.

The buses start at 8:45am and run every 120 minutes (intervals are subject to change in 2022 depending on pandemic developments).

The complete Classic Route takes 2 hours without stopping.

Note that the last bus tour begins service at the start of the route 1.5-2 hours before ending time.

For a complete Hop-On, Hop-Off schedule visit the Westcoast Sightseeing website.

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Prices

Prices for the new Classic Route can be found below:

  • Adults – $59.00
  • Children – $27.00

*Infants under the age of 3 are free on all services.

Hop on Hop Off Tour Tickets

Tickets are bought directly from Westcoast Sightseeing in a variety of locations:

  • The Welcome Centre – the Westcoast Sightseeing welcome centre at 321 Water Street near the Gastown stop.
  • The Welcome Kiosk – located in downtown Vancouver in front of the Cruise Ship Terminal at Canada Place at 999 Canada PlaceThis is the most convenient location for cruise ship passengers.
  • On board – Tickets can be purchased directly from your driver when boarding the bus at any stop. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
  • Online – Using our hop on hop off tour tickets page. This is the quickest, most hassle-free way.

Discounted Vancouver Bus Tour Tickets

Again, online purchase is our recommended method to secure hop on hop off sightseeing bus tickets.

It provides the highest level of convenience, allows you to avoid lengthy queues and most importantly it allows you to secure the best rates!

To obtain discounted rates we recommend that you purchase your tickets online through our friends at Viator who offer a low priced guarantee.

This assures you that you won’t board the bus tour and find out your fellow passengers have gotten a better deal.

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What Type of Sightseeing Buses are There?

vancouver hop on hop off tour bus in front of the lions gate bridge

Clear Top Buses

It’s no secret that Vancouver doesn’t exactly have the driest weather.

These clear top convertible, hop on hop off buses make it easy with clear-roofs to provide passengers with stunning views even when it is raining.

However, you don’t need to worry! Once the sun comes out, the roofs come down!

Another cool tidbit: after launching their first fully electric sightseeing bus in 2017, the goal is to have all 80 of the fleet to be zero-emission, silent-running electric buses by 2023.

A trolley bus sits at Brockton Point, Stanley Park
Instagram: @westcoastsights

Trolley Buses

Alternatively, WCSS also offers tour buses that aim to channel the spirit of the Bay Area with their San Francisco style cable-car option. Only here in Vancouver they run on wheels and gasoline.

This is the Vancouver tourist bus most preferred by children.

Tour Guides

Passengers aboard the trolley buses can enjoy live commentary in English that provides a brief description about the attractions located at each stop.

The clear-top convertible buses are also equipped with theatrical, GPS triggered commentary in a variety of languages, including:

  • English
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Spanish
  • German

Consequently, we recommend these Vancouver city sightseeing bus tours for travelers who prefer commentary in a language other than English.

Simply grab one of the complementary audio guides, put on your headphones, and you have your own custom tour guide!

How to Find Your Hop on Hop Off Bus

You can find out where the next bus is located by using a live map that is updated with real-time GPS data from each bus.

Head over to the Westcoast Sightseeing website to check out the live map, which can be viewed from any mobile device.

Tips For Taking the Vancouver Tourist Bus

As a HoHo bus veteran who’s taken a fair amount of friends around, I’ve come up with a few key tips to help you maximize the value of your pass.

1) Purchase your tickets online

Buying your tickets in advance is convenient, allows you to avoid queues and most importantly can  save you money!

2) Go for the dual pass

Springing for the dual pass grants you with increased flexibility when selecting your itinerary.

Plus, the combination of the Park and City routes allows you to explore Vancouver quickly and efficiently.

*Not available during the Winter Season (Jan1-Mar 31).

3) Take the bus tour on your first day in Vancouver

Taking the trip on the first day you arrive allows you to get oriented with the city’s layout early on in your trip.

You’ll be thankful afterwards!

4) Be prepared for any weather

Bringing a hat, sunscreen and water will protect you from the sun, particularly in the Summer.

Conversely, you should also be prepared for the worst. Bring a jacket and umbrella just in case. Vancouver isn’t called Rain City for nothing!

5) Don’t forget your headphones

If you wish to take advantage of the free audio guides bring your own headphones. They are likely to be more comfortable and of better quality than those provided.

6) Start early to avoid crowds and maximize your time

The bus tours can get very busy during peak season. Consequently, we’d recommend beginning earlier in the day before most people get started.

This will have the added benefit of maximizing the amount of sites you can see on your journey.

7) Board lesser known stops

If you can, avoid jumping on the bus at the main stops (Gastown, Canada Place, Granville Island etc.) during peak season. 

This will also serve to minimize the crowds.

Vancouver Hop on Hop Off FAQ

What is the Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Bus?

The Vancouver hop on hop off sightseeing bus is a guided tour bus that allows you to create your own customized itinerary using 29 stops covering all of the city’s main attractions.

Where should I start my hop on hop off tour?

Most travellers board the sightseeing tour at its starting point at Canada Place. That said, this is typically the most crowded spot to do it.

Other popular starting spots include Granville Island and Stanley Park.

Do my hop on hop off bus tour tickets include entrance to attractions?

No, tickets to any attractions along the route must be purchased separately.

What is the bus frequency at each stop?

At peak times in the summer expect the tourist bus to run approximately every 20 minutes, while in the winter season they’re schedule for every 60 minutes.

For up to date schedule information you can call 604-451-1600.

Who operates the Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Bus?

The Vancouver hop on hop off bus is operated by Westcoast Sightseeing, a well known local tour operator.

How many routes are there on the Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Bus?

Westcoast Sightseeing offers three routes on their Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Tour. The City Route, the Park Route and the Dual Pass, which covers both.

Can I take luggage onboard the sightseeing bus?

Passengers are allowed to take standard sized handbags and backpacks but luggage typically taken on flights or long bus rides are not permitted.

Luckily, there’s a all day baggage storage spot at Canada Place (a typical bus tour starting point). Simply head to 999 Canada Place Way between 8:00am until 5:00pm to drop off or pick up.

Is my ticket valid by day or by 24 hour period?

Unlike similar tours in other cities, the tickets for the Vancouver hop on hop off bus tour do not simply expire at the end of every day.

You’re granted 24 hours from the time you first board. In other words, if you get on at 3:00 pm on a Friday you’ll have until 3:00 on Saturday to explore Vancouver.

How much are the Vancouver Hop On Hop Off Buses?

The rates from Westcoast Sightseeing are $39.00 for adults and $20.00 for children for the City Route, $49.00 for adults and $25.00 for the Park Route or $54.00 for adults and $27.00 for the Dual Pass.

Will the bus tour audio guide be in my language?

Each sightseeing bus is equipped with English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean audio guides.

On the Sand Francisco-style trolley buses you’ll also find live, interactive commentary in English from a professional guide.

Hop On Our Expertise

Hop on hop off Vancouver is in the books! But maybe I missed something that you’re just dying to know? Or maybe you’ve got something to say to help improve the blog.

Make sure you get in touch for questions about Vancouver tours or anything else related to your Vancouver vacation planning in the comment section below!

Cheers 🙂

Julian

I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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