Grizzly bears and gorgeous autumn colours! It’s common knowledge that September is a great time for bear viewing in Bella Coola. Here is a little extra information to help you to make the most of your adventure. Please do contact the Big Journey Company with any other questions.
Passports and Visas
For US and UK travellers, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required, but if your passport has less than 6 months validity remaining when you arrive in Canada it may take longer to pass through immigration control.
Electronic Travel Authorisation.
From 15 March 2016 visitors travelling to Canada by air will be expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification.
For more information about the eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.
We will fly from Vancouver to Bella Coola and there is a luggage restriction of one checked bag 23kg/50lb with maximum linear dimensionsof 62 inches (158cm). Linear dimension is calculated by adding together the bags outside height, width and length, including wheels & handles when measuring. Some solutions to the luggage restriction are: Tweedsmuir Lodge offer complimentary, same-day laundry service! and you can also leave luggage securely at our hotel in Vancouver and collect it on your return to Vancouver.
Travel protection and medical insurance should be arranged before departure. Please make sure to write down important information such as the insurance company’s telephone number and your policy number.
September average temperatures are around 19C / 66F at Bella Coola airport. The lodge can be up to 10C warmer. The weather in Canada’s coastal mountains can change quickly and you will want to be ready for pretty much anything.
What to Wear
Mornings & evenings are mild; pants, a light sweater and a light jacket. During the day, a shirt and pants or shorts. This is a rough guide. We recommend being prepared for all weather.
What to pack
Please see our YouTube Channel HERE where Tasmin describes what she packed before her trip.
A good day pack should be big enough to hold your valuables, camera, and things you need while you are out and about.
• Valid Passport
• Camera with lots of memory
• Cash and cards
Activity Wear & Accessories
• Hat (sun cap and a warm hat) and sunglasses
• Outer jacket and pants
• Thin under layers / long underwear
• Medium inner layers
• Thick interlayer of fleece
• Gloves or mitts
• Good worn in hiking boots
• Warm socks (several pairs)
Lodge Wear & Accessories
• Comfortable clothes
• Flip Flops or sandals and shoes
• Toiletries and sunscreen, shaving Items
• Chap Stick with sunscreen in it
• Contact Lenses or eye glasses (bring extra set)
• Prescription medications
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour. You may wish to talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs. Bring along your regular prescriptions in their original container which should identify them as legally prescribed drugs. If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us before your departure date if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it’s wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
Important: Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor. Some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or small cruise ships. Also,
-Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
-Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
-Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
-Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
-Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
In most of the Bella Coola Valley, and at the lodge, there is no cell phone coverage. However, the Lodge has landlines. There is also free internet in the main lodge, in the chalets and throughout the property. It is a satellite connection, so not as fast as at home, but good enough to do emails, browse websites etc. It is not fast enough to stream videos.
Greenwich Mean Time =7 hours(GTM)
London 12 o’clock midnight Bella Coola 5pm the previous day Los Angeles same time
New York 12 o’clock midnight, Bella Coola 9pm previous day
There are no bank machines at the lodge to obtain cash but there are in the town of Hagensborg 35 minutes from the lodge. The lodge accepts cash (Canadian or US dollars) as well as MasterCard and Visa.
Feedback from previous tours with Diamond members has led us to suggest an overall tips package for your journey where we would take care of tipping throughout which would include tips at restaurants where the meal is included, your driver, your guide in Tweedsmuiras well as hotel, lodge and support staff. If you would prefer to manage your own tips please speak to your tour escort. A suggested tips package amount will be USD 195 per person.
The Tweedsmuir Lodge serves an international style cuisine, with a West Coast twist. All meals are served in the main dining room of the lodge. To complement your meal you may wish to purchase wine from the well-stocked wine cellar, which has a special focus on New World wines from British Columbia's best vineyards.
The chef will post the featured menu for that day in the morning. Due to the small and intimate size of our facility there is just the one set choice. However, care and attention are given to special dietary needs and preferences. Anybody with allergies or specific dietary requirements should let us know at the Big Journey Company so that we can inform the hotel.
Canada's electrical supply and electrical outlets (sockets, wall plugs) are the same as those found in the United States. The electrical supply is 110 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second).
UK travellers should be able to buy an adaptor at the airport if you do not have one already.
Safety and Security
Use common sense and take basic safety precautions as you would at home. Keep valuables locked away. Listen to and follow the advice of your tour guide at all times. You will be fully briefed about personal safety before adventuring out into the park.
All bear viewing guides are professional biologists and naturalists with certification
from the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia (CBVA). Bella
Coola Mountain Lodge work in cooperation with BC Parks and other tour operators in the region to implement a series of wildlife viewing protocols that provide animals the space they need for uninterrupted behaviour and reducing possibilities of humans negatively affecting animals in a tour environment. Guides are professional environmental biologists, having worked in wilderness areas completing fish and wildlife research and ecological projects throughout British Columbia, Canada, and have an intimate respect for wildlife and the ecology of the region. It is important to listen to and follow their advice.
If you have any further questions not covered here please feel free to get in contact with us.