Browning Pass Charters
380 Main Street, Tofino, Canada
Browning Pass Charters Tofino Reviews
By far the best of the bear-watching boat companies in Tofino May 28, 2016
Browning Pass Charters is family run - mum, dad and their dainty daughter who mostly handles the reservations and accounting. They aren't very well known so don't even dream of booking them through your hotel or hostel when you visit Tofino. The supposedly preferred companies are Remote Passages and Whale Centre. We were fortunate to hear of Browning Pass Charters through a google search, and boy, were we glad we did!
We used Browning for a 4 hour bear watching cruise and whilst there, we saw the boats from other companies as well, and spoke to fellow hostelmates who used the others...so we have a good idea of where Browning has the edge:
1. They're the only major operator that have a temperature controlled sheltered deck. Given that weather is inclement in Tofino and could get sunny, windy or rainy at any given moment, this really helps. It was raining and chilly the day we went, and whilst some of us stayed warm indoors, we saw other boat operators with their clientele in raincoats and seated in the open.
2. An extra hour: others promise around 2.5 hours but this is a solid 4 hours
3. The type of boat: it's bigger - there's place to sit, stand, an upper viewing deck, a closed warm lower deck, you can move around unlike other operators where folks were seated like they would be on a roller coaster.
4. Free tea, coffee and hot chocolate - Who cares, I hear you say? Well, you should care. I often don't consider these perques as a deal maker when choosing an operator or service, but when touring cold remote islands with a sandwich or a protein bar in your bag, it's comforting knowing you can have something warm when you want to. And four hours is a long time!
5. A toilet! Yes, one can't really hold it in for 4 hours! However other tour operators' boats we saw didn't have that option.
6. The guide - as this is family run, he knows his stuff and they take extra good care of you.
The only downside I'll say is that it's CAN$20 more than the other operators, but well worth given both the comfort and the extra hour. Also, please research before hand where this is, as a lot of folks working at Information and hotel desks in the city don't know about this company!
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