Taking a seaplane from Vancouver to Tofino takes just 60 minutes and offers majestic scenery the whole way across Vancouver Island.
Time-wise, it beats the heck out of the six-hour drive. And a flight from YVR to Tofino is a no-go. But does it work for casual travellers not looking to break the bank?
Let me help you break it down to see if the seaplane to Tofino is right for you.
Travelling from Vancouver to Tofino by Seaplane
If you’re here, you’re probably looking to skip the long drive, and having done it myself; I don’t blame you.
I’ll also assume you’re out for premium convenience – and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience to boot.
Let’s be honest then about the huge advantages of the Vancouver seaplane to Tofino:
- ‘Door to door’ service right from downtown Vancouver to Tofino Harbour (convenience)
- No 60-minute advanced check-in for ferries (time saved)
- The ability to skip over the treacherous single-lane highway between Nanaimo and Tofino
- Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the flight (flexibility)
- Stunning scenery from the low flight path (unique experiences)
- A maximum of 14 passengers (comfort)
Naturally, any traveller from Vancouver planning a Tofino itinerary should at least consider taking the seaplane.
I haven’t heard of anybody regretting it yet, especially after the fly-by of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, as well as the stunning coastal rainforest scenery of Pacific Rim National Park.
Piqued? Here’s a video preview of the seaplane flight between Vancouver and Tofino to give you a better idea:
Related: Seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria
How Long Does the Seaplane from Vancouver to Tofino Take?
The seaplane goes right from downtown Vancouver to Tofino in just 60 minutes – taking you to the heart of Tofino’s best tourist attractions.
The whole point here is spending more time there than getting there.
Before looking at prices, let’s take a look at the time involved:
- Tofino seaplane: 90 minutes (60-minute flight, 30-minute advance check-in time)
- Normal car + ferry trip: around 6 hours (30-minute drive to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, 60-minute advance check-in, 1-hour 45-minute ferry to Nanaimo, and 2-hour 45-minute drive to Tofino)
Heck, the seaplane check-in process is so informal that once everybody is there… they can take off!
It is not unheard of to get early starts here, as we see in these reviews:
Vancouver to Tofino Seaplane Price
A single seaplane trip from Vancouver to Tofino costs $296.00 CAD.
Return tickets cost $592.00 CAD per person.
Free cancellation tickets (up to 24 hours in advance) can be booked with no money down using the orange buttons above:
Is Vancouver to Tofino Sea Plane Service Worth it?
Driving is the most popular method of transportation between Vancouver and Tofino for locals and visitors alike. Alternatively, you can take the Nanaimo to Tofino Bus.
However, this commuter bus is a cumbersome journey that drops passengers at virtually every whistlestop. So for the sake of comparison, we’ll stick to driving.
If you’re already visiting Vancouver in summer, expect to pay around $120.00 one way ($240.00 return) for a car with a driver and one passenger on the ferry.
As I mentioned in my post on how to get to Tofino from Vancouver, you’ll need gas for the 240 km of driving (480 km return) – which in 2023 prices adds up to around $50.00 return.
Related: What to Do in Tofino
This makes it around $300.00 for two people to take the car/ferry trip.
With the seaplane, you’re essentially paying three times as much to travel about four times as fast.
Of course, if the ‘plane premium’ doesn’t have you feeling price sensitive, this is a very straightforward decision here.
Other reasons to take the float plane from Vancouver to Tofino:
- You’re on a tight schedule
- You want to splurge for an anniversary, birthday, or another special occasion
- You don’t have a car or don’t feel like the long drive
- You’re looking for an exciting aerial tour of BC’s coastal scenery
Related: Best Hotels in Tofino
Vancouver Tofino Seaplane Schedule
Vancouver to Tofino water plane departures are daily at 12:00 pm in low season, with an additional flight added at 12:30 pm during high season.
For the up-to-date flight schedule, click any of the links in this article to check your dates.
To ensure you get the right time, booking as soon as possible in advance is recommended, as there are only 14 passengers per flight, and they sell out months in advance.
Vancouver Seaplane to Tofino FAQ
Can you take a seaplane to Tofino from Vancouver?
Yes, there are direct flights between Vancouver and Tofino that take less than an hour from door to door. The flights leave from Harbour Flight Centre in downtown Vancouver and arrive at the Tofino Resort and Marina.
How much does a seaplane from Vancouver to Tofino cost?
One-way seaplane tickets from Vancouver to Tofino cost $296.00 CAD.
Are seaplane rides scary?
Anybody who is fine flying on jets should have no issues here. In fact, some fliers have said that they don’t even feel the water landings:
Where is the Tofino Seaplane Terminal?
Tofino’s Seaplane terminal is at the Adventure Centre at the Tofino Resort and Marina. This is right along the Pacific Rim Highway on the outskirts of the Tofino City Centre. It’s about a 10-minute walk to the heart of downtown, and you can grab short taxis to all the major resorts.
Where does the seaplane to Tofino leave from?
The Vancouver seaplane terminal is also known as the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre. You can find it just meters from Canada Place and the Vancouver Cruise Terminal. It’s in the downtown neighbourhood of Coal Harbour.
Related: Seaplane from Vancouver to Seattle
Ready for a Seaplane Trip from Vancouver to Tofino?
I hope that I’ve helped you come to a decision on this fantastic floatplane service.
My name is Ash, and I’m trying to put together the greatest Vancouver tourism (and Tofino) resource going, so if I missed something important up top, just write me in the comments!
It doesn’t have to be about the Vancouver to Tofino seaplane, anything Vancouver-related, just fire away.
Enjoy the flight✈️