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“Much more than bears”
Review of Spirit Bear Lodge

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Spirit Bear Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
arizona, british columbia
Level Contributor
80 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Much more than bears”
Reviewed 22 August 2014

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.

Room Tip: our first room was upstairs in the south end, newer i think when we added a day we stayed upstairs...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank elderlyones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 24 August 2014
elderlyones
Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback. We will be making some significant changes to our program in Shearwater in 2015 to strengthen that aspect to our program as a result of valuable feedback from guests.

And thank you for highlighting the community owned nature of our business. Spirit Bear Lodge is 100% owned and operated by the Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation. We are located on the reserve in Klemtu. We invest heavily in research and conservation in partnership with a number of partners including the Spirit Bear Research Foundation (SBRF). The SBRF is an independent, non profit society whose board membership includes members of the Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation.
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91 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Hants England
Level Contributor
133 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2014

The team were just excellent they all go the extra mile for you so you have every chance of seeing bears. There is nothing more I can say that others have not said. Just go there and have a great time. I am considering flying back to Canada to return in 2015 it was that good. I cannot fault this place.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Resovoir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 24 August 2014
Resovoir
thanks for your feedback..we look forward to a return visit!
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 July 2014

This Spring after a hectic winter I needed a break and my wife suggested I call Tim for a return trip to Spirit Bear Lodge. Not knowing what to expect in the spring, all I can say it exceeded my expectations.

The first day in Shearwater was excellent with a organized tour of the Bella Bella town site and great hike.Our first day at Spirit Bear lodge we were greeted with a great Grizzly sighting that lasted over an hour as the Bear was dining on a sedge grass salad. As the week progressed we spotted over twelve different grizzlies, with several close encounters under 10 feet while on land and most of our bear viewing lasted hours. In addition, we also got see minks up close, a close encounter with a transient Killer Whale, and Humpback Whales. The highlight of the trip for me was finding the Mom and three first year cubs, visiting with friends that I made on my last trip, getting invited to high school graduation (very cool), and listening to wolf pups call me home on the last day.

Once again the food was fantastic as the all-star combination of Chef Nolan and George are back again. Boat driver Moose was on the loose upping his game this Spring with lots or laughter and fun with Meddy guiding us home each evening. Phil is always a treat with his great insight into Bear behaviour and his lucky streak remained intake with great close-up sightings all week long. Colleen and Leanne are the greatest hostesses that one could ask for.

If the thought of tracking Grizzlies Bears through epic sedge grass that is five feet high in a unforgettable lush backdrop with a great group of fun loving people then a Spring trip is for you.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kyle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 24 August 2014
Kyle B
Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback. Our 2014 field season was the first time we began offering trips in June. Prior to that we had only begun operations August 1st. We opened 2 months earlier this year on the basis of feedback from the research crew at the Spirit Bear Research Foundation. They have been out in the estuaries in the spring for the last several years and have detected good activity by sub-adult bears and females with cubs.

So now with our first season of Spring viewing under our belt, we are very pleased with the quality of the experience that we can offer at this time of year. In 2015 we are moving to solidify our spring viewing as a permanent fixture to our program. The bears, while not as numerous, are quietly foraging in the tall sedge and, as you say, with the wildflowers and green sedge it can make for great photography. What we did realize is that guests coming in the spring should plan for at least the SBL4 - 5 day, 4 night package to give extra time to seek out the bears.
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San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2013

An amazing and unforgettable adventure. That is how I would sum up the four days and five nights three friends (USA) and myself (Spain) spent at the Spirit Bear lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Great Bear Rainforest is a treasure of an incalculable beauty. You have to be there to understand that this trip it is not only about finding a Spirit Bear. It is a magical place that will take your breath away. We barely got to see the sunshine while we were there but the rain, fog, clouds that changed the scenery in seconds, the reflections on the water made us feel we were in another world.

If you add to the moment you get to the Spirit Bear lodge the staff and community of Klemtu treat you as family and the guides are professionals and very nice people then you have all you need to experience and unforgettable time.

Bears are wild animals that don´t follow a schedule and the Spirit Bear in particular a rare and elusive animal that very few people in this world have had the chance to see. So when we began this trip we were aware that we might not get to see one.

We saw black bears, grizzlies and on September 17, 2013 fate was on our side. We had the privilege to see the magnificence of this creature, the Spirit Bear, during the half an hour it gifted us with while it was fishing and eating salmon.

But as I said at the beginning of this review, this trip is not only about finding bears and the Spirit Bear in particular. In the Great Bear Rainforest we also had the chance to see humpback whales, killer whales, sea lions, seals, bald eagles, seagulls....It is a paradise for those who love wildlife. We got to see all of this thanks to the guides that stopped the boats to make sure we could see and take pictures.

The food was great, the rooms nice and everybody was extremely friendly at the Spirit Bear lodge.

Would I recommend this trip? Absolutely. My friends and I will remember this adventure for years to come!

Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank Olatz_A_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Thank you very much for your review Olatz_A_M!
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Huntsville, Alabama
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2013

I have traveled many places to see black bears, brown bears ( grizzlies), and polar bears. But still on my "bucket list" was the elusive Spirit Bear! In September of this year, I had the opportunity to visit the Spirit Bear Lodge and see one of the rarest animals in the wild - the Spirit Bear!

This trip, which I shared with other friends from the US and Spain, was a once in a life experience. Tim McGrady, the manager of the Spirit Bear Lodge, was extremely helpful in the planning process and briefed us daily about our excursion of the day.

Klemtu, BC is a very scenic and majestic place! No words can describe the area, the wonderful First Nation people or the wildlife that abounds there. We saw black bears, grizzlies, whales, seals, eagles and the great white Spirit Bear. With this said, this is an adventure. Be prepared for boat rides to get to the rivers and areas where the bears are, know that hiking is a challenge but the scenery is spectacular along the way, and rain gear is not an option. The guides and staff will help you every step of the way.....

The rooms were fine, the meals were delicious - even the bag lunches hit the spot! We spent very little time at the lodge as our main purpose was to be outside and experience the Rainforest. We laughed a lot, learned much about the area, its people and the wildlife that abounds. Incredible photos were taken and memories made that will last a lifetime.

If you are looking for an adventure, I highly recommend the Spirit Bear lodge and British Columbia. It's definitely a "once in a lifetime experience" that I will never forget!

Room Tip: You're lucky enough if you get to stay anywhere at the Spirit Bear Lodge!
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank tcfortney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Thank you very much for your review tcfortney!
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Bellegarde, France
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2013

Everything is combined to make a stay at the Spirit Bear Lodge a wonderful experience. The lodge is extremely comfortable, spotless and the food delicious. The whole staff (skippers, guides, hotel staff) are welcoming, efficient and caring to make guests feel at home and part of the community.
As far as the bear watching tour is concerned we appreciated the professional and security minded skippers and guides most of them natives and happy to share their culture with us. Landscapes are gorgious and most important we saw lots of bears : grizzlies of all sizes, including a mother and adorable triplets, black bears and the very rare and shy legendary Spirit Bear not to mention whales, purpoises, seals and sea lions and eagles from the boat. Under the efficient and caring supervisions of Tim McGrady, everything participated to make our stay not only an outstanding bear and wildlife watching tour but also to give us the feeling that for a while we have been part of this gorgious place and of the warm and welcoming Kitasoo Xhaixhai people.
Not only we would highly recommend it but we are longing to go back to this extraordinary place and friendly people.
Thank you to everybody in Klemtu for this memorable experience.
Sophie Larrède

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Sowhat32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Thank you very much for your review!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ely, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 November 2013

When we began to discover the truth about black bears several years ago we learned about a “magical” land where the rare “white” black bear lived and very much wanted to visit this place. This year (2013) was our year to visit Klemtu, BC and the Spirit Bear Lodge. We went with the knowledge that we may not get to see this rare creature (we had several friends that had gone and not seen one). However, as we began to read more about the area we realized this trip could be so much more than just this one sighting and it truly was!

We saw black bears and a grizzly! My mind was locked on bear-viewing but we saw so much more! Lots of wonderful wildlife (whales, seals, eagles, sea lions, pine martins, to name a few) filled each day. I loved seeing the purple star fish and the large, varied colored sunflower sea stars (we live on the coast of NC but had never seen anything like these). Even the purple muscles that lined the shores were astonishing. The scenery was serene and limitless. We met and made friendships with people from all over the world (England, Germany, Spain, the States, Japan and Canada). We enjoyed the time with them on the daily adventures and at dinner, much of this time spent laughing and always learning (the nightly presentations were so informative). And we were blessed with a Spirit Bear sighting!

The staff, lodge and the food are five-star all the way! I am vegan and was completely accommodated. The lodge staff personalized the care for each guest. They were thoughtful and ever-ready to provide anything we needed. Our room was quiet, comfortable and immaculate. The guides and captains are knowledgeable, friendly and went way beyond to make sure our trip was all we wanted! Also, we felt incredibly safe while in their care.

However, for us, the most thrilling part was learning about the First Nation People and their culture. We had no idea what a wonderful part of our visit this would become prior to going. They are an amazingly close knit and deeply caring people. Their art work touched our hearts. The ancestral stories are mystical and woven with hidden meanings to interpret. It requires you to communicate with your soul and basic human values.

The Spirit Bear Lodge is so much more than a quest to see the Spirit Bear. It is about the people, the culture and the ecology of a diverse wildlife habitat that is veiled from the world. We highly recommend this adventure and hope to go back some day…not to see bears but to be with a proud, gentle people that live in a truly untouched piece of our world! rhonda and scotty

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank RhondaHennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
spiritbearlodge, General Manager at Spirit Bear Lodge, responded to this review, 20 November 2013
Thank you very much for your review RhondaHennis!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Spirit Bear Lodge

Property: Spirit Bear Lodge
Address: 540 Kitasoo Road | General Delivery, Klemtu, Kitimat-Stikine District, British Columbia V0T 1L0, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Kitimat-Stikine District > Klemtu
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Klemtu
Number of rooms: 12
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 

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