A $200-weekend in Tofino

By doing the following, Chiara, Matteo, Andrea and I were able to spend two nights and two days in Tofino in just about $200 each:

  • Rent the smallest, cheapest car possible ($19.99/day at Duncan Enterprise, plus about 21 percent added, which put it a total of $24.19/day; got a vehicle similar to a Chevy Spark)
  • Make sure the driver is at least 25 years old
  • Pack food (preferably cooked!)
  • Refrain from eating out – buy food from the grocery stores when you can

Every morning at Damali I had gotten accustomed to walking out of the loft with a view of tall, skinny trees.

1 - talltrees

During my first week at Damali, Chiara and Matteo pitched the idea of visiting Tofino for the weekend. We were all on the same page about not spending an extravagant amount of money, so we figured we could stay at a hostel, rent a cheap car, and pack food.

Every single hostel we called in Tofino was fully booked for that weekend. We even searched for accommodations in Uclelet (30 minutes away), but encountered no luck there either. We were just about to give up and call the trip off, but then we stumbled across Dolphin Motel. It wasn’t as cheap as a hostel, but it was still reasonable.

Andrea had a day off the Friday after the harvest, so she baked some mini chocolate muffins and pasta for the car ride.

1 - muffins
Mini muffins by Andrea. She’s a pretty good cook.

The journey to Tofino took about four hours. The drive was scenic, so full of green trees and lakes. Going on a road trip with strangers was actually an item on my bucket list, although at that point I’m not quite sure I’d consider Chiara, Matteo and Andrea strangers. Still, they were all still relatively new people to me so their company was pretty fresh.

After a few hours in, we pulled over at a turnout to have dinner.

1 - dinner
Highlight of the road trip: eating dinner on the side of the road.

We parked the car, pulled out the tub of pasta, sat on the ground, and dug in with our forks. We didn’t bother bringing plates: it would have been an additional load to carry and it saved us the trouble of washing dishes, when we were able to easily eat out of the same container.

One of my favorite scenes throughout the drive was at Kennedy Lake:

1 - kennedylake

Upon arriving at Dolphin Motel, I burst out into laughter for a few minutes. The motel’s website provided such aesthetically pleasing photographs of the rooms, but we arrived to this:

1 - dolphinmotel

My uncontrollable laughing must have been contagious because Chiara started cracking up as well. It wasn’t what we expected, although we really were just there to see Tofino.

Fortunately, the interior of the room looked much better than the outside of the building.

2 - dolphinmotel

We spent the evening exploring downtown a bit (which is the tiniest downtown I’ve ever been to. The population of this community is only about 2,000).

Matteo seemed disappointed in what the area had to offer. There really wasn’t much happening at night, although we managed to find a nice little pub, Jack’s Waterfront Pub. We grabbed a few drinks there and then went back to get some rest.

The daytime in Tofino is much better. There’s so much scenery to indulge in. We spent the weekend hiking, walking around the beaches, climbing rocks, checking out a farmer’s market, and buying sandwich essentials (bread, cold cuts, and cheese).

Some Tofino photos

1 - bear
This isn’t a great photo, but we came across what we thought was the same bear about three times while driving to and from downtown. S/he always seemed to shy away once s/he knew we were parked on the side of the road and watching. At one point we actually caused a whole line of cars to stop behind us because they wanted to observe the bear as well. It was a pretty neat sight 🙂
2 - tofino
Steps on the way to the beach.
1 - downtowntofino
Downtown Tofino! (More specifically, the pharmacy downtown.)
1 - deer
We caught sight of this beautiful deer while hiking on a gloomy day.
1 - tofinobeach
This was drawn into the sand when we got to the beach. We didn’t write this, but we love Tofino, too 🙂
1 - uclelet
Amphitrite Lighthouse, Uclelet, BC
2 - uclelet
We climbed over rocks in Uclelet at the Amphitrite Lighthouse area on a ridiculously foggy (and chilly) day.
2 - tofinobeach
The sand was cold, and the water was cold. Walking barefoot here took some major willpower. There were lots of surfers here, too, that day (just not in this shot).
2 - deer
We came across another deer while on our way to a shop. It’s interesting how they mingle in residential and commercial areas.

On the way back to Damali, we stopped by Cathedral Grove, a site of what’s left of an old Douglas fir tree ecosystem. (More info on Cathedral Grove here).

1 - cathedralgrove
Cathedral Grove, BC
2 - cathedralgrove
An 800-year-old Douglas fir tree.

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