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Vancouver Island makes list of world's best island getaways

Beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Tofino and Ucluelet, B.C.  (iStock) Beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Tofino and Ucluelet, B.C. (iStock)
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Vancouver Island is the only Canadian destination to make this year's list of top island vacations in the world, according to travel website Conde Nast Traveler.

Vancouver Island was chosen as a top vacation spot alongside other islands in Vietnam, Hawaii, Spain, Ecuador and beyond, according to Conde Nast's list of "16 Best Island Vacations in the World, According to Our Travel Specialists."

The travel website is quick to point out that the island has a range of activities to offer beyond spending time in B.C.'s capital city.

"Many people don’t realize, however, that Victoria is at the southern tip of the island and that the island is nearly 300 miles long," writes travel editor Sheri Doyle, who contributed to the list and owns travel website Pacific Northwest Journeys.

"One of my favorite places on the island is Tofino, a small town on the far west coast about halfway up the island that’s a great destination for outdoor adventures with fantastic food and lodging," she wrote.

Other classic island activities include visiting Butchart Gardens and watching whales off Victoria or Tofino, as well as black bear watching in some of the more remote areas of the island, according to Doyle.

While not mentioned on Conde Nast's list, another Vancouver Island community has been growing into an up-and-coming whale-watching spot.

Residents of Port Alice on northern Vancouver Island have been watching a family of humpback whales visit the village year after year.

The whales spend much of their time in the village's sheltered inlet and can be seen from the shoreline.

"The whole community gets excited," said Port Alice resident Jacqueline Mackenzie in late January.

"You see people coming down to the marina, coming down along the sea walk and just checking it out – it's great," she said.

The frequent visits have even brought tourists to the small village, with visitors coming from as far afield as Europe, according to resident Marnie Chase.

"We just have to figure out some accommodations for them other than the B&Bs, they fill up quick," he said. 

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