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Ucluelet, British Columbia

Pronounce it "Yew-Kloo-Let." In the language of the Aboriginal Nuu-chah-nulth, it means "safe harbour."

The unpretentious, outgoing people who live here call it "Ukee" and visitors are invited to do the same. That's the sort of easygoing place Ukee is. Ukee folk like to chat to strangers, walk them to their destinations, show them where to eat and introduce local legends like Oyster Jim, prime mover in creating the Wild Pacific Trail.

They're also happy to help visitors choose their passions from Ukee's incredible selection of things to do. Hard to believe a small village can offer so many big experiences. Will that be whale watching, bear watching, bird watching, fishing, surfing, hiking, biking, ocean kayaking, zip lining or Ukee dining and a sunset cruise?

Ucluelet's Location

Ucluelet (population: 1,487) shares the scenic Ucluth Peninsula on the west coast of Vancouver Island with the internationally renowned resort of Tofino. For years, "Ukee" endured the reputation of Tofino's little sister. Not any more: its abundance of natural grandeur, outdoor adventure and refreshing affordability means that it's a unique wilderness haven in its own right.

Ucluelet -  Excursions

Immediately south of Ucluelet is Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands, a hundred small islands offering the wild coastal experience in relatively calm, sheltered waters. The comprehensive tour is Archipelago Cruises' full-day voyage encompassing scenic cruising and wildlife watching for whales, bears, sea lions, harbour seals, sea otters and bald eagles in the ultra-comfortable, 23-passenger Rainforest Maiden.

Ucluelet  - Activities

Ucluelet provides a perfect base for exploring the west coast of the West Coast. Pacific Rim National Park is one of the most stunning national parks in Canada, an otherworldly realm of misty rainforests, ancient cedars and 20km/12mi of postcard beaches. Immediately accessible in Ukee is the Wild Pacific Trail, a gentle walk that delivers 8.5km/5.3mi of eye-popping coastal panoramas to hikers. The West Coast Trail is strictly for the rugged wilderness trekkers – 75km/47mi of challenge that can take up to eight days to complete.

Be sure to drop in on Ukee's Mini Aquarium for a big experience in a small space. Surprise is the order of the day as outsiders go eye-to-eye and finger-to-finger with local marine life.

Ucluelet  - Eating Out

Ucluelet's wilderness experience comes balanced with a variety of foodie treats from crackling-good fish-and-chips from the Jigger's van to marvellous salmon pie at Ukee Dogs. Well-heeled gourmands may gravitate towards Norwood's or the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort's Fetch restaurant for local seafood with international accents.

Ucluelet  - Shopping

Ucluelet shopping is surprisingly sophisticated for a village. Shop for unique amber jewellery and Murano glass at the shockingly affordable Rubio at the Whisky Dock Landing complex. Also at the Landing, don't miss authentic First Nations jewellery and carvings at the Cedar House Gallery.

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