Vancouver was the first place I stayed in Canada and was an extremely interesting first place as it was completely different from the rest of my time in Canada. If you're a trip around the national parks of the west coast of Canada then Vancouver will probably be the city which you fly into which is a good starting place but is completely different to the rest of Canada which I saw. As Vancouver is a bustling city which reminded me of New York with the way the roads are blocked and even just the high rise buildings, furthermore I believe this might have been enhanced by the Pacific Ocean being so close as New York is on the Atlantic.
The hustle and bustle of the city were not what I expected, although I was not sure what I expected it was not what I expected. Getting from the airport to the city centre was extremely easy as you could get the Skytrain from the airport to the city which cost a few dollars and was a quick way to get into the heart to of the city. When you first walk out into Vancouver I was greeted by high rise buildings and grey skies but also a lot of homeless, which shocked me as I didn't think I would see so many, but as Canada has such cold Winters if you become homeless in Canada apparently your life expectancy goes to within six months and this why they come to Vancouver as the Winters get less cold. This is all information which I was told by someone else so am not 100% sure how true it is. In Vancouver I stayed in the Cambie hostel on Cambie street, this hostel has since been shut down as it was closing down when I stayed and wasn't the best hostel I wouldn't recommend staying there, as the room wasn't the nicest as was off West Hasting which isn't the nicest areas of Vancouver. Furthermore, it was a party hostel which didn't bother me but there was a party happening in the common room which meant that I didn't get much sleep luckily I was jet lagged so passed out for a while. And on top of all this, the window in my room did not shut which was a worry as it was tipping it down with rain so rats or anything could come in or even the room could get broken into.
When I returned to Vancouver the first place I stayed was the GEC Granville Suites Hotel which was a brilliant hotel but the price of the room was included in my tour and would normally be way out of my price range as on my final in Vancouver I stayed in the Samesun Hostel on Granville which was nice, the dorm rooms were comfy enough but also due to the fact it was on Granville as close to the Roxy Bar it was extremely loud. As for things to do in Vancouver I would highly recommend exploring Granville Island as it felt very much like Shoreditch in London which was extremely interesting, we got the water taxi to Granville which only took about 5 minutes. Whilst on Granville we had a 'Sunset dinner cruise' which was a free time add on with my Contiki trip which was a highlight of my trip as they call it a Sunset Dinner Cruise which it was just a fancy name of a booze cruise but obviously extremely different to the booze cruises which you do in South East Asia. This cruise was a wonderful way to see Vancouver and it was a brilliant last night in Canada as after this we headed up to the rooftop of our Hotel for drinks before heading on a night out with the crew from the cruise at the Roxy which was a brilliant night which was filled with drinks, good friends new and old as the boat crew went all out and good music.
I would also recommend heading to Stanely park, which is bigger than Central Park and has everything you could want to see including the totem poles from the first nations which were extremely interesting to see as although it isn't my history but I am still extremely interested in. Furthermore, the aquarium which is filled with injured wildlife which cannot be realised into the wild is also at Stanely Park, I did not get the chance to visit it but some of my friends who did spoke highly of it.
There was also Sloss Mountain which you can hike up but have to get the Gondola back down, I am not good with Gondolas so decided against this as I didn't know if it would end with me in tears but there is also a bear sanctuary at the top which allowed some of the people who hadn't got to see a bear, see one which they were super happy about, and if I hadn't seen a bear in Whistler I probably would have risked having a breakdown just to see the bears. One thing which I wish I had done in Vancouver is gone whale watching, as you can book day trips and half-day trips but due to the fact I only had one full day in Vancouver, I wanted to spend more time exploring the city. Overall I enjoyed Vancouver but I wouldn't rush back, I would if it meant exploring Vancouver Island or going Whale watching but I don't have a strong desire to go back but I would rate Vancouver 7.5/10 as it is a good city but it is also a massive city which I'm just not a fan of. Ashleigh xx Want up to £100 off next Contiki trip? Use the link below
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