Magical moments happen when you stumble upon a place that allows you to feel carefree. Your senses become enlightened and your spirit connects to the natural beauty around you. That is exactly what happens when you travel two hours north of Vancouver to Whistler. Whistler’s panoramic peaks and lush valleys, will draw you in at first glance.
However, Whistler’s breaktaking views are not the only thing that will catch your attention. The warmth of Whistler’s hospitality will take you by surprise and welcome you with open arms. The people of Whistler go above and beyond to make sure their guests keep coming back. There’s no wonder why Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and remains one of British Colombia’s most traveled resorts.
Although this post is tailored for first time solo female travelers, Whistler is an ideal vacation spot for families, couples, and groups. Here are some Taste and See Life tips and tricks to help create your own Three Days in Whistler Adventure!
Planes + Trains + Shuttles
Estimate 2 days for travel: arrival and departure. Try to arrive Vancouver International (YVR) on an early flight. This will allow you to catch transportation to go directly to Whistler or spend an afternoon sightseeing in Vancouver.
There are several transportation options to get to Whistler: float planes, buses, shuttles and train.
Air: Float plane via Harbour Air is a great option for arial views of the Sea to Sky region. Prices start at $184 one-way.
Shuttle: Epic Rides is the cheapest option that leaves from the airport, $35 roundtrip and nonstop. The shuttle is great to transport bikes, luggage, and skis.
Train: Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s luxury train which travels along Canada’s stunning Sea to Sky region. It’s the pricier option, but the Rocky Mountaineer train is a lifetime experience that offers spectacular views only available by rail. Fares run about $189 one-way and $297 round trip. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are included in the ticket price. Check times and availability online. The Rocky Mountaineer train operates on specific days of the week and they collect guests from select hotels and times. The Taste & See Life suggested itinerary is based on this method of transportation.
Options are available to mix and match to take the train up to Whistler and fly back on a float plane. Make your vacation epic and plan an amazing adventure from start to finish.
Three Days in Whistler + Two Nights in Vancouver
Fly into Vancouver International (YVR) and take the Canada Line to Downtown Vancouver. The Canada Line station is directly across from YVR baggage claim and up the escalators. Purchase a ticket for Zone 2 and head to Downtown. (Hint: use Rome2Rio.com to find the best routes and maps for your point to point destinations.) Check-in at the Hampton Inn for Canadian Rocky Mountaineer pick up at 6:40am.
Walk a few blocks down from the hotel to Gastown, Vancouver’s seascape neighborhood with quaint restaurants and brick paved roads. Have lunch at Cork & Fin or Meat & Bread. After lunch, take a bus to Stanley Park and stroll through Vancouver’s version of Central Park. If time permits, take the free shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park or Grouse Mountain and visit the attractions to rekindle your inner child.
Enjoy the train ride from Vancouver to Whistler via the Rocky Mountaineer train. Arrive Whistler and take the Rocky Mountaineer shuttle to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Drop off your luggage with Fairmont’s baggage valet for evening pick up. Have lunch at the Mallard Lounge at Chateau Whistler on the patio to enjoy the beautiful scenery. After lunch walk around the upper and lower villages to explore your new surroundings. Locate a grocery store and buy fruit, cheese, crackers, water, yogurt, granola to make meals at your accommodations. Collect your luggage from Fairmont and check into your AirBnb room. Spend the evening outside on the balcony enjoying the fresh breezes of mountain air while watching the sun salute the day.
Eat breakfast at your condo and check weather. If the weather is clear, walk to the upper village to purchase a Peak to Peak lift ticket and pick up an Alpine Trail Map. Take the Peak Express lift to the Top of the World Summit to begin your day of hiking. Make sure to pack water and light snacks and wear hiking shoes. If you plan to use the lifts more than once, purchase the season pass. The Peak to Peak lifts offer free mountain tours at 11:15am and 1:15pm from the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain. Visit whistlerblackcomb.com for details.
Have breakfast on the balcony of your condo to enjoy the crisp mountain breezes and watch the sunrise. Plan for a day filled with activities! Rent bikes, hike, run or take a tour through Whistler Valley. Whistler has five lakes: Alta Lake, Green Lake, Lost Lake, Nita Lake and Alpha Lake. Each have a distinct view and require exploring. There is so much to do in Whistler, your options are endless. Go to Whistler.com for more details.
Take another ride on the Peak to Peak gondolas for a last chance to soak in Whistler’s beauty or spend the half day reflecting on Lost Lake and taking in one last hike. Take the 3:30pm train back to Vancouver. Spend the evening in your Vancouver hotel relaxing or catching a few last minute sights.
Journal your memories on a postcard and mail before your return flight home.
Tips & Tricks
- Stay at an AirBnB, bed and breakfast or hostel. Choose an accommodation that allows use of a kitchen for small meal preparation.
- Eat breakfast and dinner at your accommodations. The average cost per person, per meal at a restaurant in the village is about $20. That may seem like nothing but it adds up real quick.
- Research online to see if any deals are available for purchasing tour/lift tickets in advance or seasonal packages that include tours. I found an AirBnB that included a free ebike tour with the stay which was really nice. I was able to experience a 3.5 hour bike tour at no additional cost (retail value $99).
- Use your frequent flyer or hotel reward points, especially if you are traveling solo. This will help balance out the cost of traveling without a companion.
- Take the bus! But keep in mind bus fare is in exact change. This means if the fare is $2.50, you better have $2.50 or keep walking. There is a free shuttle line in Whistler that services the upper and lower villages and a few of the surrounding lodges.
- Whistler has limited taxi services. I was able to obtain a ride to my AirBnB from a Fairmont valet who drove me to my AirBnb which was a couple minutes from the hotel. I tipped him nicely for driving me and carrying my bags to the condo. Later that evening, a Four Season’s valet drove me to my condo when I got lost at night on my return home. So my advice to solo female travelers, go to the five-star hotels when you need help and make sure to have small bills for tips.
The Summer Pack List
- Small flashlight
- Rain gear
- Hiking shoes
- Running shoes
- Clothing for layering
- Smart wool socks
- Active wear for hiking and biking (padded bike short!)
- Swim gear
- Power Bars/Granola Bars
- Cords for electronic devices and backup batteries
Whistler thrives on cultivating magical moments with it’s breathtaking panoramic mountain views and luscious landscapes. Whether you venture to Whistler on a solo journey or on a family retreat, you will discover ways to unwind and refresh your soul.
Go taste and see for yourself!
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