Want the USA & Canada? Get the best of the west with some of the countries favourite spots. From the beaches to cities to mountains to lakes, this trip is an epic blend of adventure, culture & chilled out times
Duration: 22 Days
Guide (Language): english
Start City: San Francisco, United States
Guaranteed Departure: No
Physical Demand: Easy
Trip Rating: 0%
Trip ID: 160626
End City: Vancouver, United States
|Duration: 22 Days||Guaranteed Departure: Yes|
|For lovers of:||Physical rating: Easy|
|Accommodation standard: Budget%||Traveller Tour Rating: 0%|
|Your Guide: English speaking||Tour code: 160626|
|Starts: San Francisco, United States||Finishes: Vancouver, United States|
This morning meet up with your Contiki Team & explore one of America’s most colourful & chilled cities. The afternoon is yours to shop ‘til you drop, discover Chinatown or chill at a café in hip North Beach.
Head out of the city & into the mountains where outdoor adventure awaits in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Say goodbye to the Sierra Nevada Mountains & hello to the party in the desert.
With a free day, you’ve got time to get a real feel for this outrageous town, so keep an eye out for Elvis impersonators and fast-paced chapel weddings! Explore more of the Strip and check out over-the-top versions of international icons, like the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals and gondolas, a Roman temple or the pyramid, whose nightlight can be seen from the moon. Try your luck at one of the casinos, sit yourself down at a blackjack table and watch the high-rollers or go for a ride at one of the casino’s theme-parks. If you work up an appetite, tuck into an all you can eat buffet, and lunch American style. For something different, discover Las Vegas’ trademark art at the Neon Museum and for a look into this town’s atomic heyday in the 50s, visit the Atomic Testing Museum. Tonight, get some pointers on Las Vegas’ hot spots from your Trip Manager and make the most of this towns’ 24/7 action with some of your new friends.
A day here means time to take in the immensity and spine-tingling beauty of the scene-stealing Canyon – it has got a rep for a reason! This morning get up close to this UNESCO World Heritage site on an optional helicopter ride and get another angle on the Canyon as you fly over it. Hike along the South Rim for mind-blowing vistas of the dramatic scenery. See some of the oldest exposed rocks on earth, take in the deep abyss and soak up the wildness of the area. There are trails for all levels of hiking, so take it up a notch or cruise along at your own pace. Wrap up the day with a canyon sunset and take in the stunning changes of light while the sun goes down.
Leaving the desert of Nevada, we head into Arizona’s high country. With down time on the coach, plug in your iPod, catch up on some sleep or chat with your new friends. Following a section of the legendary Route 66, we stop in the town of Seligman. This historic town will give you a feel for the old style as you check out 1940s shop fronts and motels. This is a good place to pick up a souvenir for back home. We continue on to the mind-blowing landscape of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders and pride of Arizona.
Travel from the iconic Grand Canyon to the ‘Valley of the Sun’, stopping along the way in Sedona, a charming town in the heart of ‘Red Rock Country’.
Leave the desert behind & head to San Diego. Tap into the ‘California Dream’ on a tour through the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. Tonight, enjoy tasty Mexican cuisine & then party at a hip downtown club or chill out at a cool beach bar.
With a full day in San Diego, live a bit of the California lifestyle and get into some outdoor activities. With 42 miles of beaches, a Mediterranean climate and loads of parks, San Diego is all about kicking back in the pleasant surrounds. Otherwise, visit the San Diego Zoo, known for its conservation efforts and vast numbers of animals (over 4000!) If the weather is good, we’ll cruise out to the locals’ favorite spot, Mission Beach, for a few hours soaking up the sun or walking along the boardwalk for views of ocean. Don’t forget your towel and swimmers.
Today get an insider’s look at LA. Cruise down star-studded Hollywood Boulevard & the Sunset Strip. Shop ‘til you drop or just chill amongst the sunny beach community of Santa Monica & then get into the vibrant energy of Venice Beach’s boardwalk.
With beaches, forests and mountains, this town is all about location and fusing big-city living with an outdoor lifestyle. You’ll enjoy a first taste of it all with the group when your Trip Manager points out historic Gastown, Vancouver’s founding district, the city’s own Chinatown – home to the largest minority group in Vancouver and the landmark Lion’s Gate Bridge. In Stanley Park, see the colourful Totem Poles of Canada’s First Nations People and learn about traditional culture as your Trip Manager tells you the stories behind them. We’ll then wind our way along the spectacular cliff-top Sea to Sky highway and arrive in Whistler, one of the most popular ski resorts in North America and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
This morning, say farewell to the American Dream. Next up, we’re headed on a morning flight to Vancouver, Canada where 11 more days of endless adventure await.
Today, you’ve got time to get into some alpine activities and experience Whistlers’ high-energy action. Choose to have a go with the paddle and get out on the water in a canoe excursion along the River of Golden Dreams. With lots of trails to choose from, Whistler is a hiker’s heaven. For those wanting vistas of the spectacular surrounds but not wanting to work up a sweat, choose a gondola or chairlift ride to the top for amazing views. Otherwise, kick back and take in the natural surroundings back at the hotel or walk around the quaint village of Whistler.
Leaving the mountains behind, we make our way to the desert and to Canada’s impressive interior. Passing the picture-perfect Seton Lake, we’ll make a stop in Lillooet, a former gold rush town. We travel on to our next night stop, Kamloops, sitting at the confluence of 2 rivers. Once a former meeting point for traders, it continues to serve as a stop over point for travelers and still has touches of the Wild West.
Sticking to the famous Yellowhead Highway, we stop off at the highest peak of the Rockies, Mt Robson. Get your blood pumping in a thrilling white-water rafting optional on the Fraser River. Then pull into small-town Jasper and kick back in the Rockies’ largest national park – our home for the next two nights.
We drive through the wild beauty of Jasper National Park to Maligne Lake, known for its stunning scenery and vivid colors. There’s a chance to take in the snow capped mountains from the water and visit iconic Spirit Island on an optional cruise. Later, your Trip Manager will take you for an easy-going hike through the Maligne Canyon, an impressive limestone gorge – the result of years of raging waters. Use your free time to make the most of lesser-known Jasper Park. With 1000kms of trails, from hour loops to day hikes, it’s easy to get off the beaten track and into nature.
With loads of activities available in Banff, you can choose your own adventure. There’s the option to get above the Rockies in an unforgettably spectacular helicopter ride or to head up Sulphur mountain by gondola for a slice of remote high country and the chance to see some summit wildlife. Other ideas for your day include checking out Banff’s landmark Banff Springs Hotel. With over 800 rooms, this massive Gothic structure is fun to explore. Otherwise, head downtown for some shopping, where you can pick up cowboy hats, well-known brands and outdoor sporting equipment. Tonight, give our horseback ride optional a go, where you’ll ride into the back country and enjoy a traditional cook-out dinner under the open sky.
Get ready for some sublime scenery as we stick to the Columbia Icefield Parkway, a route that fur traders and native peoples once used during the 19th century. With waterfalls, lakes, meadows, glaciers, towering mountains, and the largest ice-field south of Alaska, this is one fantastic drive. Jump on board the Ice Explorer, a snow coach on tracks, and roll onto the Athabasca Glacier, where you can get out and explore the icy slopes. Drink straight from the glacier and taste some of the purest water on earth. We continue on to famous Lake Louise. Its striking turquoise color and incredible mountain back drop create a breathtaking scene. Back on the coach, we roll on to legendary Banff, the unofficial capital of the Rockies.
Cut across three national parks today and experience what each one has to offer in an incredible drive. Things get wilder and a whole lot more rugged in Yoho National Park, where the ice blue Kicking Horse River winds through a valley of waterfalls and meadows. Be impressed by Glacier National Park, home to over 400 glaciers and stop off at Rogers Pass – a place of awesome surroundings. We’ll also see Mt. Revelstoke National Park’s towering peaks and surging river. Then it’s a complete change of scene as we travel into British Columbia’s wine country, Okanagan Valley, with its vines and terraced hills, to Vernon for our overnight stop.
Feel the young vibe of this city while exploring its hip shops & cafes. Later, enjoy a dinner cruise around the harbor & head out for a night on the town!
Journey through the stunning Okanagan Valley, Canada’s wine country, before returning to laid-back Vancouver, with its friendly locals, sandy beaches and Pacific rim position. You'll enjoy a taste of it all with the group when your Trip Manager points out historic Gastown, Vancouver’s founding district, the city’s own Chinatown – home to the largest minority group in Vancouver and the landmark Lion’s Gate Bridge. In Stanley Park, see the colourful Totem Poles of Canada’s First Nations People and learn about traditional culture as your Trip Manager tells you the stories behind them. For a bit of urban culture, head down town and grab a coffee at one of the many cafes. Continue on to the Gastown area for a bit of shopping, where you can find souvenirs to take back home, including Native American crafts and jewelery. Tonight, head out on the town with your friends and experience more of Vancouver’s nightlife. Hit the back streets of Gastown or the alleys of Yale Town for some live music. Otherwise, if you know what you’re after, ask your Trip Manager for tips.
Your Canadian adventure ends this morning and it’s time to say farewell to your new friends. For those who are keen for some more action, there’s the option of a trip to Grouse Mountain or Butchart Gardens.
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Trip Name: The Big West
Duration: 22 Days
From Price: 5172
Trip Code: 160626
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