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view from the seaplane ride between vancouver and tofino

Vancouver to Tofino Seaplane Flights: Prices & Reviews

Flying via seaplane from Vancouver to Tofino only requires 60 minutes, providing breathtaking views throughout the journey over Vancouver Island.

In terms of time, it easily surpasses the six-hour drive, and a flight from YVR to Tofino is not a viable option. This makes the floatplane my go-to for a quick Vancouver Island summer adventure.

But is the Tofino seaplane from Vancouver suitable for you? Let’s find out together.

seaplanes docked at the tofino seaplane terminal

Travelling from Vancouver to Tofino by Seaplane

If you’re here, you’re probably looking to skip the long drive to Tofino. I don’t blame you; having done it myself. But what should you look for in an alternative?

Firstly, you’ll want to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Next, I assume you’re out for the ultimate in convenience – and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience to boot.

Let’s be honest then about the huge advantages of the Vancouver to Tofino Seaplane:

  • ‘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 your Vancouver to Tofino flight (flexibility)
  • Stunning scenery from the low flight path (unique experiences)
  • A maximum of 14 passengers (comfort)
capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

Naturally, any traveller from Vancouver planning a Tofino itinerary should at least consider taking the seaplane. From personal experience, I can assure you it’s preferable to 6 hours on the road. Not to mention, you’ll avoid the crowds and potential delays at the ferry terminal.

I haven’t heard of anybody regretting it yet, especially after the fly-by of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, and the stunning coastal rainforest scenery of Pacific Rim National Park.

Piqued? Here’s a video preview of the seaplane Vancouver to Tofino to give you a better idea:

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 of Vancouver to Tofino flights is to spend more time there than getting there.

For me, Tofino is typically a weekend destination. So, I definitely don’t want to spend 12 hours going back and forth.

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:

reviews of the vancouver to tofino seaplane

We also love this Tofino seaplane review about how quick it was compared to driving:

review of the vancouver to tofino seaplane

Wanna read more Vancouver to Tofino seaplane reviews? Check them out on GetYourGuide.

Vancouver to Tofino Seaplane Price

A single seaplane trip from Vancouver to Tofino costs $285.00 CAD for adults (12+). If you’re travelling with a child (2-11) tickets cost just $161.59 CAD, while infants are free.

Free cancellation tickets (up to 24 hours in advance) can be booked with no money down using the orange buttons above.

How to Book Vancouver to Tofino Flights

Warning: Vancouver to Tofino flights cap out at 14 passengers and tend to sell out way in advance. Ensure you book your Tofino flight tickets as soon as you have your dates.

Booking tickets for the Vancovuer to Tofino seaplane is as easy as a purchase on Amazon – in fact, it’s even faster.

Let me show you how to lock in your Tofino flights with no money down and free cancellation!

That way, you can book in a couple of clicks and lock in your seat. Change of plans? You’re free to cancel up to 24 hours before departure! Trust me, this can be a life saver.

1. Open the Vancouver Seaplane to Tofino Link

  • Head to the Vancouver to Tofino seaplane portal on GetYourGuide.
  • Here, you’re booking with the world’s leading travel booking platform
  • Booking with them gets you book now pay later tickets to help with budgeting
  • You’re also free to cancel up to 24 hours before the flight for the utmost convenience

2. Select Your Tofino Flight Time

  • Click the blue ‘Check Availability’ button on the product page
  • Select a date on the calendar (flights start March 15th)
  • Choose the number of people and click ‘Apply’
  • Select your time and click ‘Book Now’

FYI: If you choose ‘Reserve Now & Pay Later’ you’ll have the option to pay for the tickets at any point up to 72 hours before the flight.

Change your mind? Again, you can cancel your tickets free of charge up to 24 hours before.

Boom! You can lock in your Vancouver to Tofino flight in less than 2 minutes.

vancouver whale tour banner

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. There is also a seasonal bus that operates between Nanaimo and Tofino which is an option for foot passengers.

However, this commuter bus is a cumbersome journey that drops passengers at virtually every whistlestop in between. Not to mention, service has been reduced (or even non-existent) since the pandemic.

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 2024 prices adds up to around $60.00 for one-way journey.

map showing the distance for a drive between vancouver and tofino

This makes a flight to Tofino around $300.00 for two people to take the car/ferry trip.

With the seaplane, you’re essentially paying about double the price to travel about four times as fast.

Of course, if the ‘seaplane premium’ doesn’t have you feeling price sensitive, this is a very straightforward decision here.

Other reasons to take the float plane to Tofino:

  • You’re on a tight schedule
  • You’d like 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 flights depart daily at 12:00 pm in low season, with an additional flight added at 1:30 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.

Outside of Flights to Tofino: Getting Around

Exploring things to do in Tofino offers various transportation options other than the flights from Vancouver to Tofino.

Here are the diverse ways to navigate this coastal paradise after your Tofino air seaplane trip.

Ridesharing  – Whistle! is a local company offering great rides in Tofino and nearby areas. For a dependable, affordable taxi alternative, choose Whistle!

Taxi – You can contact 250-725-3333 for Tofino Taxi.

Car Rental Otus Rental provides a diverse range of rental services designed to meet specific needs.

Shuttle – The Tofino Free Shuttle is a complimentary summer hop-on-hop-off service operating between Tofino’s Village Centre and the Tofino Visitor Centre, running from late June to early September.

Vancouver Seaplane to Tofino FAQ

Yes, you can take a seaplane to Tofino from Vancouver, offering a unique and scenic mode of transportation that allows you to enjoy the breathtaking coastal views during your journey.

To get to Tofino from Vancouver directly without a car, you’ll need to take the seaplane service from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour.

The cost of the seaplane from Vancouver to Tofino is $285.00 CAD. Children (2-11) can fly for $161.59 CAD, while infants are free.

Keep in mind, prices can fluctuate, so it’s recommended to verify the current rates before making any travel arrangements.

Tofino’s Seaplane Terminal is at the Adventure Centre at the Tofino Resort & 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.

The seaplane to Tofino leaves from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. It lands at Tofino Resort + Marina upon arrival.

You have to check in at least 25 minutes in advance for your flight from Vancouver to Tofino.

Ready for Your Vancouver to Tofino Flight?

I trust that my assistance has aided you in deciding whether to embark on this excellent floatplane service.

My name is Ash, and I am working on creating the best Vancouver tourism guide on the web. If I overlooked a crucial detail, feel free to comment and let me know!

It doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to the Vancouver to Tofino seaplane; feel free to share anything related to Vancouver.

Enjoy your flight to Tofino from Vancouver ✈️

Photo credits: Harbour Air

Ash

I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

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