Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours is 100% owned by the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation and the land you will visit is the traditional territory of Xwémalhkwu First Peoples. We offer half-day and full-day boat tours from Campbell River, B.C. For questions about our tours check the FAQ section below for more information or contact us.
We’re 100% Indigenous-owned and the only operator in the area that brings to life a truly unique First Nation experience from dock-to-dock.
We have been in operation spanning two decades, inviting guests to experience big iconic Canadian wildlife and supernatural landscapes through the eyes and stories of the Northern Coast Salish people while on the traditional lands of the Homalco First Nation along Bute Inlet.
Our tours are uniquely personal, emotionally compelling, and truly authentic. You’ll bear witness to the powerful stories of connection to the land and respect for all living things.
The cultural connection that was almost lost to Homalco people is continuing to experience revitalization and you can experience it by listening to the stories, legends, and cultural beliefs that span back through millennia.
While on our People, Water, Land tour you will have a chance to weave with cedar – the Tree of Life. You will hear the traditional Coast Salish language spoken by our guides as they welcome you to the Homalco territory in the culturally-based tour program.
Our Whales, Wildlife & Culture tour integrates big marine mammals and exploration of the Salish Sea while learning about traditional place names.
The Great Bears of Bute tour integrates with the Homalco Indigenous culture and you will hear stories, Indian legends as well as enjoying grizzly bears & wildlife viewing opportunities.
Homalco Tours believes that the safety of our guests, our staff, and our community is of utmost importance. Here are the guidelines and protocols in regard to the Covid-19 pandemic:
- In order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and its variants, you will be asked to complete a Covid-19 self-assessment screening questionnaire located on our front door of the Homalco Adventure Centre.
- If you answer “yes” to any of the Covid-19 self-assessment screening questions, please do not enter the Homalco Adventure Centre, please email or call to cancel (refer to the cancellation policy).
- While the vessel and coach are in transit and in areas where social distancing is not possible, it is mandatory for guests and guides/skipper to wear face masks.
- Where it is possible, we ask our guests to practice social distancing. Stay 2 meters (6ft) from each other.
- Avoid physical contact with others unless you are from the same household or bubble.
- We ask that you practice hand washing hygiene and etiquette. We have hand sanitizers and masks readily available.
- Our vessels, coaches, and all high contact points are sanitized after each use.
- Do not travel or visit if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or believe you have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19 or if you have been given an exposure warning.
- If you experiencing Covid-19 symptoms and you are unsure what to do, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Contact your local health care provider to get advice or call HealthLinkBC at *811 to speak to a nurse. The BCCDC also provides guidance on self-isolation.
Our practices are in accordance with Health Canada, WorksafeBC, Ministry of Transport, BC Centre of Disease Control, Province of British Columbia.
We do not provide accommodations but we are happy to make a few suggestions based on your needs and travel.
Painters Lodge offers packages that include our tours as well as a guest shuttle bus that will transport you and a guest to and from our tour meeting location. Dolphins Resort is local and located right here in Campbell River. Comfort Inn & Suites are within walking distance to our tour meeting location.
To search for more accommodations to suit your needs we highly recommend TripAdvisor for great reviews.
Whales, Wildlife & Culture: May to October
People, Water, Land: June – September
Great Bears of Bute: August 15 to October 31
If a tour is unavailable, please don’t feel discouraged. Contact us and we will do our best to make arrangements to accommodate your tour.
We also offer private charter tours, contact us for more information 1-250-923-0602
“Whale Guarantee” for the Whales, Wildlife and Culture tour:
- Campbell River is most notably recognized for its high concentration of marine mammals. However, they are wild animals, and we are unable to guarantee their location but will do our best to find some for you.
- In the unlikely event that you do not see a whale on your Whales Wildlife and Culture tour between July 1st and September 31st, we will be happy to take you out again within 12-months, at no charge.
“Grizzly Guarantee” for the Great Bears of Bute tour:
- Compared to other bear viewing options, Orford Bay in Bute Inlet has a high density of bears due to the geography of the narrow valley and short salmon spawning length along the river. We like our guests to keep in mind that grizzly bears are wild animals, and we are visitors in their homes.
- In the unlikely event that you do not see a bear on your Great Bears of Bute tour between August 27th and September 25th, we will be happy to take you out again within 12-months, at no charge.
The Great Bears of Bute and People Water Land tours include lunch, snacks, and beverages. Lunch is tailored to your dietary needs and restrictions.
Whales Wildlife & Culture tour include snacks and beverages.
These also apply to private charter tours as add-ons.
We recommend that you bring your own refillable water bottle to help us in our efforts in reducing single use plastics.
Please park in the Tyee Plaza Shopping Centre parking lot (free all day parking), but take care to not park in areas designated for the Coast Discovery Inn (customer parking only). By parking close to the Campbell River Visitor Centre, guests will have easy access to additional visitor services if needed.
Tours operate rain or shine but safety is our top priority so high winds and extreme weather would likely cause the tour to be cancelled. In an event where we cannot operate tours in unforeseen circumstances, we offer our guests a choice to choose another tour date of equal value or receive a full refund.
Orford Bay dock is at full capacity and unfortunately, we cannot welcome more boats into the area. If you would like to join our tour we depart from the Coast Marina in Campbell River.
People, Water, Land and Great Bears of Bute: must be 10+.
Whales, Wildlife & Culture: must be 4+.
Sorry! Our tours are not wheelchair accessible due to the nature of the environment we operate in. If you have any disability requirements and you are unsure of our safety practices, please contact us to discuss your inquiries before booking.
Homalco Tours requires that our guests are to be moderately fit enough to get on and off a vessel, coach, and dock ramp. The boat ride is 2 hours each way for the People, Water, Land & Great Bears of Bute tours. It is not recommended for people with back problems.
The People, Water, Land tour includes 2 to 3 km of interpretive walking on trails that may have uneven ground (appropriate footwear is recommended).
We have a no-risk, 100% full refund if cancelled 48 hours before your scheduled tour time: Great Bears of Bute, People Water Land, and Whales Wildlife & Culture and 30 days before your scheduled Private Charter.
If you are showing ANY symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, we will issue a refund until the time of departure. Customers will receive a full refund or credit in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. No-shows will be charged full price. Gift certificates have zero cash value.
On the Great Bears of Bute tour, the Orford River & Algard Creek channels are the salmon spawning grounds with different viewing locations that we can access depending on where the bears are.
- The month of August has the hottest days and the bears are moving into the area.
- From mid-August to early September, bears are feeding on sedges, grass, and berries as they make their way to the Orford River and Algard Creek.
- From August to mid-fall, bears are hunting for salmon as the salmon make their way up the spawning channels.
- September is the busiest time for visitor volume.
- In October, in spite of shorter days and changes of weather, we have intimate and quiet, yet spectacular, fall viewing.
Our experienced guides know the area very well and will help identify wildlife through various bear viewing towers from which you can view the bears comfortably.
Please keep in mind that these are wild animals and we cannot guarantee the number of bears to be seen.
You have an option to sign a waiver at the time of your booking, electronically.
If you missed it, no worries! You can contact us and request a waiver to be sent electronically or you can sign the waiver at the tour location on the day of your scheduled tour.
Please note: All waivers are required to be read and signed before the tour begins. No exceptions!