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 super natural 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 from 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, and more as well as grizzly bear & wildlife viewing opportunities.
Homalco Tours believes in the safety of our guests, our staff, and our community. 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, it is mandatory for guests and guides/skipper to wear face masks and in areas where social distancing is not possible
- 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 best practices are followed by and 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.
To search for more accommodations to suit your needs we highly recommend TripAdvisor for great reviews.
People, Water, Land: May 29 to August 14, 2021
Whales, Wildlife & Culture: June 4 to October 11, 2021
Great Bears of Bute: mid-August 15 to October 31, 2021
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 250.923.0602
“Whale Guarantee” for the Whales, Wildlife and Culture tour:
- Campbell River is most notably recognized for a high concentration of marine mammals in our area. 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 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 area 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 home.
- In the unlikely event that you do not see a bear on your Great Bears of Bute tour we will be happy to take you out again within 12-months at no additional cost if returning within the same pricing period. If you return at a higher priced season, you will just pay the difference between the seasons.
Full-day tours include lunch, snacks, and beverages. Lunch is tailored to your dietary needs and restrictions.
Half-day tours include snack and beverages
These also apply to private charter tours
The Discovery Harbour shopping centre has plenty of free parking. As you approach the Discovery Harbour shopping centre from the Island Highway you will notice a Superstore and Starbucks on the left – you will want to turn right. On the right side, you will notice a Marks clothing store, a Dollar store, and Jax’s Beer & Wine. You can park anywhere in the large parking area (marked with the red P on the attached map below) for the duration of the tour, free of charge.
Tours operate rain or shine. Safety is our priority; high winds and extreme weather would likely cause the tour to cease. 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 Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River.
You can contact Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River to discuss moorage and fees for your personal watercraft here.
People, Water, Land and Great Bears of Bute: age restriction is 10 years of age
Whales, Wildlife & Culture: age restriction is 4 years of age
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.
- 30 days before your scheduled Private Charter.
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 are the hotter 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
- In September, it is the busiest time for visitor volume
- From August to mid-fall, bears are hunting for salmon as the salmon make their way up the spawning channels
- In October, in spite of shorter days and change 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!