Our trip was really worth the money, even though we saw only several black bears fishing, no grizzlies or spirit bears. But we immersed ourselves in the coastal rainforest environment with its quiet, mossy old growth forests, copious salmon runs, seals and special birds. The pristine fjord-like inlets and lush green streams provided stunning photo-ops. The bears we saw were more exciting because we had stalked them and waited for them to appear.
The days were well-organized and busy and we ate and slept very well. The rooms are spacious and tasteful, with good water views, though we were seldom in our room except to sleep. Evening programs were worthwhile. The lodge staff is very kind and warm; one feels like a valued guest.
The lodge has only 12 double rooms, so groups were small, nearly always 5 or 6 people with one or two guides and boat captain. There is a bit of scrambling from zodiacs and through forest and mud, but any minimally fit person can easily manage.
We spent a night in Shearwater and 4 nights at the lodge. We took the ferry from Bella Coola to Shearwater. I would definitely try to arrange to stay somewhere other than the Shearwater. The room was tiny but clean, and the place was devoid of any charm or coziness. There was nowhere to spend the afternoon hours except their restaurant, and its food was no more than adequate. I would try to book elsewhere - Personal communication and Tripadvisor say Whiskey Cove B&B is good. Lodging in Shearwater may all be booked up, so plan ahead.
This is not a lodge that sends profits to large corporate interests elsewhere; it is owned by the First Nations people of Klemtu and part of its mission is to protect the environment that has been their home for thousands of years. When you spend money for a visit you are helping to protect the Great Bear Rainforest and the Spirit Bears who live there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Spirit Bear Lodge Wildlife, Bear Watching Tours and Native Culture in BC's Great Bear Rainforest Visit the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Explore the natural habitat of the Spirit Bear and home of the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Unique tours in the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. ... more less