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“Mountains. Poutine. Adventure…”: Trip of the week: Canada and the Rockies

Canoeing in Whistler

When we say blood-pumping adventures, you say Canada! When we say chilled and charming cities, you say Canada! When we say gorgeous and unforgettable landscapes that’ll keep you dreaming of them for years to come, you say Canada! That’s right, a trip to Canada will have all that packed into it and so much more. 

So just imagine all that you can see and accomplish in 11 days on our super special Canada and the Rockies road trip that’ll take you driving over and under, through and around the lushest of mountains and clearest of lakes with cultural stops along the way. But it’s not all about the sight-seeing, we’ve got some meaningful encounters with indigenous people on the agenda, and exciting active and adventurous inclusions and Free Time Add-Ons. 

We talked to our Trip Manager Ellie who gave us the most enticing details, and boy we wish we were chilling in Banff National Park right now…

Hey Ellie, can you give me 3 reasons why I’ll love this trip:

Gorgeous views. Unique experiences. The people.

“I mean, Canada is just a marvel, really. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places in the world, and sure I’m a little biassed, but that doesn’t make it a lie! The trip is basically filled with stops to various mountains and lakes and National Parks every day, so if you’re a nature lover, this one will be just perfect for you!

“My personal favourite part of this trip is just that it’s jam-packed with so much variety. There’s a lot of active experiences like white water rafting and hikes and that kind of thing, but we also have some really touching experiences like our stop in Jasper. It’s a trip that’ll really push you out of your comfort zone.

“Lastly, it’s the people. Those who are on the Contiki with you and their sense of adventure and family, as well as all the people we’ll meet along the way! I think overall it’s just an incredibly well-rounded trip and there’s something for everyone!”

This trip is for me if…

“You love nature and have a sense of adventure. We stop in some great towns and cities along the way, but the best part of this trip is the great outdoors.”


Image source:Contiki

What’s the most spellbinding view?

Maligne Lake and Mount Assiniboine. 

“Which one isn’t? All the corners of Canada are stunning! But if I can only pick one I’ll have to say Maligne Lake, and specifically the look out to Spirit Island. The water is such a vibrant colour blue, it’s almost turquoise. Rain or shine this spot transports you to another world.

“But, can I cheat and give a second answer? The helicopter ride over Mt. Assiniboine is really special as well, you know, because it’s just a totally different view point.”

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What’s the tastiest food experience?

The evening dinner cruise.

“On the last night we have a Cruise dinner near Vancouver and it always goes down so well. It’s a real opportunity for all our travellers to make the most of the last hours they have together, and we all get to reminisce on the trip and share some more laughs and good memories. It’s a buffet of home cooked food and it’s a real treat. By that time the group gets quite close, you know? So, that’s the best and most special one.”

Sweetest stay?

The chalets at Tunnel Mountain Resort in Banff. 

“Our Contiki family gets to act like a real family on this night. With fully equipped kitchens, working wood fires and a social BBQ space, the Banff chalet is a home away from home and it’s like having a big massive sleepover altogether. The stay here comes after quite a busy day so it’s nice to have such a charming place to settle for the night.”

How about the best spot for culture vultures?

The Totem poles.

“On day 9 of the trip we visit Stanley Park, which is Vancouver’s largest urban park, and we get to see an installation of Totem Poles. Totem Poles are a big part of indigenous culture in Canada and certain Northern American states as well – they were used to commemorate their ancestors. 

“So, it’s a place that holds a lot of sentimental and cultural meaning and I think it’s really cool to be able to bring our travellers and have them experience that. And that’s kind of what travel is for, right?”

What’s the most jaw-dropping included experience?

The fireside talk with Warrior Women.

“I’d have to say the fireside chat with the Warrior Women in Jasper. It’s jaw-dropping not because of the views (though they are stunning) or because it’s a particularly exhilarating experience, but because of their stories. It’s really amazing to sit down with these women around a campfire, they’re so welcoming into their space and their lives, it’s just so touching. 

“Hearing them tell their stories and their history is so inspiring and so fascinating, and I think the group feels the same way. There’s always this kind of silence of awe, and then when the talking is done they ask so many questions. This experience is one of Contiki’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences and it’s great to see our travellers engage with that kind of unique visit and nice to know that they, like us, are wanting to give back to communities.

“I just think it’s a really beautiful moment of unity and I adore bringing my groups there each time.”

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Which Free Time Add-On will give my friends the most FOMO:

The helicopter ride above Mt. Assiniboine.

“Not many people can say they’ve flown over a glacier and one of the highest mountain peaks in the Canadian Rockies. The ride lasts for 35 minutes and your pilot not only gets you safely there and back but also provides commentary on everything you see. The pictures you’ll be able to take are out of this world.”

What will surprise me about the trip?

The friendships.

“Every single day is full of amazing activities and sites and you get to enjoy it all with your Contiki Family. Everyone is on the trip for the same reason and open to making new friends so bonds start forming from day one. Plus the trip is so busy that you always have things to talk about.”


Image source:Contiki

If this trip was a song it’d be:

“On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons.”

If this trip was a drink it would be:

A shaft.

“It’s a popular Canadian drink that is basically an espresso martini with baileys in it. Not for everyone but if you love it, you really love it. It’s also known as a ‘pick me up’ which is needed after all the Canadian adventures.”

Describe the trip in 3 words:

“Stunning. Poutine. Adventure.”

What’s the funniest story you’ve heard/seen happen on this trip?

“On the first full day in Whistler you have the opportunity to get to know each other better on a leisurely canoe or kayak ride down the Golden River of Dreams. On one trip the river was higher and faster than usual. We ended up having 6 people capsize their kayaks, the entire group got gridlocked on the river and a river guide on his first day of the job ended up having to lead the group with no knowledge of where the trip ends on the river. It was a great way to break the ice.”

Which part of this trip makes you love your job?

“The day we drive from Jasper to Banff is an epic day. We hit up two waterfalls, a glacier and three lakes. It’s a long day but for many people it’s the best day of the trip because of the amazing scenery you see. It makes me love my job because not only do I get to see all these beautiful spots, but I get to share them with people and see their awe every trip.”

Here’s what our travellers say:

“The trip was great value for money, and a great way to see many parts of Canada and the National Parks in a fun and social way. Great bunch of people, and our Trip Manager was very helpful and worked really hard to make the trip enjoyable for everybody.”

“It was the best 12 days I could ever ask for: seeing the world, ticking off bucket list items. I made lots of new friends and just generally didn’t want to come back home.”

“Everything about this trip was 5 stars. I couldn’t have been happier with the people I’ve met, the places we visited, and the tonnes of activities that were packed in. Canada is stunning,  the photos you see don’t do it justice at all. Undoubtedly the best thing I’ve done with my life so far and I feel extremely grateful for it!”

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