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

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Tourist Bus Guide

The Vancouver hop on hop off bus tour is an efficient, affordable, and convenient way for you to discover the city’s most stunning attractions.

In this article I’m going to show you what’s included with the bus tour tickets, and how to best take advantage of the hop on hop off tour service.

Let’s get started.

  1. Vancouver hop on hop off bus tours
  2. Routes
  3. Prices
  4. Tickets
  5. Is it worth it?
  6. Schedule
  7. Types of tour buses
  8. Tips
  9. FAQ
 

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

Hop On Hop Off Tour Vancouver

I love this Vancouver bus tour because it combines the social atmosphere of a guided tour with the flexibility of independent travel.

It’s easily one of the best Vancouver city tours around as it eliminates transit worries and makes you a city expert with its world class commentary.

On these Vancouver sightseeing bus tours you’ll see the city’s top sights in as little as two hours.

You can get on and off as many times as you want. You can even arrange for hotel pickup – I’ll explain how to do that below.

In all, it’s a fine choice for:

  • Time restricted travelers
  • First time visitors looking to get their bearings
  • Cruise ship passengers
  • Families with kids (they love being up top on the double decker bus)
  • Senior citizens and people with limited mobility

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Routes

After some COVID-related route restrictions over the past two years we’re finally back to normal!

In Vancouver in spring or summer 2022 your hop on hop off passes get you access to the two classic bus routes:

  1. City Route – Vancouver Art Gallery, Pacific Centre Mall, Canada Place Cruise Terminal, Century Plaza, Sutton Place, Yaletown, Granville Island, Parq Casino, Science World, Chinatown, and Maple Tree Square
  2. Park Route – Gastown, Canada Place Cruise Terminal, Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver, Robson Shopping District, Coal Harbour, Stanley Park Pavilion, Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park Totem Poles, Prospect Point, Ferguson Point, Second Beach, English Bay Beach, Granville Island, Granville Entertainment District, Library Square, Stadium District, Chinatown, and Maple Tree Square

What’s great about these two hop on hop off routes is that they give you the chance to customize your own Vancouver itinerary at your own pace.

You can draw up a shopping vacation, museum excursion, nature & wildlife pilgrimage, or an entertainment and sports outing all with one ticket – or mix them all for an all-inclusive feel.

Both of them also pass through the best restaurants and bars neighbourhoods in the city.

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Prices

  • Adults: $59.00
  • Children (3-12): $27.00
  • Children (0-3): Free

The tickets I’ll be listing below are valid for 24 hour periods, and not single calendar days like many other hop on hop off bus tours.

In other words, if you board at 4:00 pm you’ll get unlimited rides until 4:00 pm the next day.

These flexible tickets can let you do the City Route one afternoon (ending with a nice dinner in Gastown for example) and then do the Park Route the next morning without needing a second ticket.

You can check your dates using the tool below:

 

Where to Buy Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Tour Tickets

Hop on hop off tickets can be bought on site at the Canada Place Welcome Centre and it’ll be the same price as buying online.

That said, I suggest buying Vancouver hop on hop off tickets online in advance so that:

  • You won’t have to wait in line to buy tickets in a busy tourist area
  • You get instantly delivered smartphone tickets that allow you to walk right on
  • It gives you the possibly of arranging hotel pick up

The hotel pickup service is available for customers booking the bus tour with Tiqets, the world’s largest tourist ticketing platform. All you have to do is fill in your pickup location at check out.

Need more info? Check out the dual route, 24 hour access HoHo pass at Tiqets using the orange button below.

Let’s Board the Bus!

Update (07/19/22): if you book your HoHo tour with the link above, Tiqets is now including a free ferry ticket to get you across False Creek to the legendary Granville Island Market (a must see). This is valued up to $6.75.

Is the Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Tour Worth It?

Honestly, if you’ve already seen most of the sights, you love driving, or you just plan on walking around downtown Vancouver it might not be for you.

That said, since I know you’ve come to this page because you’re interested in the bus – let me add a bit of local knowledge to help understand the advantages of the hop on hop off tours:

  • Vancouver is hemmed in by mountains to the north, water to the west, and a river to the south.
  • As a result, it’s one of the densest cities in North America
  • Mass transit is limited mostly to the east (an area with zero major attractions)
  • Parking is expensive and there are tons of one way streets, bridges, and hills

In other words, covering all this ground by driving or transport can get stressful.

Sitting back and learning about the major Vancouver attractions is better than looking for a parking spot, or checking Google Maps to make sure Granville Island is near a Canada Line station (it isn’t).

Discounted Vancouver Bus Tour Tickets

Contrary to popular belief, there are no discount hop on hop off sightseeing bus tickets for Vancouver visitors.

I’m still waiting for the COVID smoke to clear to see if any of the Vancouver tourist discount passes come back – the Vancouver Attraction Passport was a good example, and it may yet come back. 

For now, I suggest purchasing your bus tour tickets online via Tiqets as it provides the highest level of convenience, allows you to avoid lengthy queues, gives the best rates, and allows for hotel pickup.

 

Hop On Hop Off Vancouver Schedule

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 hop on hop off 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.

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!

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 Vancouver bus tour 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.

Looking for Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Advice?

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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