Since when we started researching everything related to Canada, we discovered a destination well known to North Americans: the Canadian rockies.
The region is famous for its unbelievable scenery that combines giant mountains with lakes in varying shades of blue and green, in addition to contact with wild animals in their habitat. As soon as we saw the images of this region, this place immediately became one of our dream destinations.
So, as soon as we decided to plan this trip, we thought about increasing that dream by making another dream, that of traveling by motorhome.
After all, that scenario seemed perfect for us to live our dream of “Afternoon session”, right? haahahaha
When researching, we saw that the idea was super viable, since many people traveled by motorhome there and therefore the places had total structure. In addition, the costs seemed to be worth it (and they did).
To share the trip in detail, I wrote 6 posts describing the entire itinerary and the tours we took over the 7 days of travel and in this first post, I will detail the entire organization / planning of this trip, which was undoubtedly the most amazing that we did
CANADIAN ROCKIES ROADTRIP BY RV
When to go
We chose to go in the summer, because with the warmer temperatures it would be more pleasant to do the tours. However, to our surprise, the summer there is not very hot and several times we had to resort to blouses and trousers to go out, as the temperatures varied a lot throughout the day, being normally in the morning and late afternoon the most cold. I confess that we were cold there, as my suitcase only had warm clothes and a knitted blouse (just in case) and it was she who saved us.
Tip 1: Include more cold clothes in the suitcase than heat. Especially if you go in Spring, Fall and Winter.
Canadian rockies are full of National Parks that are open all year round, so the choice of when to go will also depend on the scenery you want to find there. For example, see the color of the leaves in autumn or see the snow in winter.
It is worth noting that in winter not all places are open for visitation and you may find the lakes frozen and / or partially covered with snow.
HOW MANY DAYS STAY
Our trip lasted 7 days and even with the unforeseen events that occurred, like the places that were overcrowded and / or closed and we had to return later, we still managed to do all the tours we had planned, except visiting Cascade Gardens .
With that, I think 7 days are ideal to enjoy the region well and visit the main points. However, if you go in winter, some places will be closed, so 4 days may be enough.
It is worth mentioning that we practically fill the 7 days with tours, and even the day of arrival and even the day of return that usually have partial free time, since the routine of the airport, collection and return of the car take part of the day, still so we took walks on those days.
With that, if you want to enjoy the place more calmly, including having free time to enjoy some afternoons at the camping, I recommend staying 9 days.
AIRPLANE TO BANFF
Banff’s nearest airport is in Calgary, Alberta province and the price of the ticket will vary from the time and the city of origin of the flight.
RENTING A RV
The Motorhome was the most difficult to close, as it is recommended to book the Motorhome at least 6 months in advance, however, we started researching in April, for a trip that would take place in July. To give you an idea, there were cases where I called in the morning to make quotes and when I called back in the afternoon to close, the car was no longer available.
With that, we were very lucky to still get a car for our trip in the nick of time, so to avoid stress, research well in advance.
The size of the Motorhome will vary according to the number of people you will be traveling and how many are adults and how many are children, ours for example, held 2 adults and 1 child.
It is worth mentioning that even babies (of any age) count as an occupant in the car, that is, for a couple who has 2 children, no matter how small they are, they can only rent a car that accommodates at least 4 people.
The company that closed the motorhome was Fraserway and we love it! The car looked very new, it was super clean and we had no problem with it.
– CONTACT WITH FRASERWAY: For those who live in Canada or in the USA, contact with Fraserway is made through the telephones informed on the website. For those who live in other countries, contact can be made by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian rockies are areas of environmental preservation and in order to protect the habitat and respect the animals that live there, there is a limit of visitors per day in the region.
With this, even though there is a lot of demand, companies cannot increase their fleets, in addition, Motorhome companies are obliged to respect the number and description of occupants of the car, so do not try to include an adult in the accommodation described to be occupied by a child and also do not consider that two children / babies will be able to share the accommodation that is described to be for a single child, because they will not allow it.
In addition, Campings are also another form of control, because when booking it is necessary to inform the number of visitors and if you get there you have a higher number than registered (even if you are a baby), you will also not be able to enter.
-Practicality to have everything handy. If the weather changed, we would just go in the car between a walk and another and change clothes.
-Having a stove and refrigerator inside the car allows us to eat fresh and/or warm meals.
-Almost all the places we visited had public bathrooms, but as is to be expected, the smell was not pleasant at all, with this, having our bathroom clean inside the car was great.
-The motorhome is obviously much larger than the ride car, so it gives a little fear of driving and requires more attention.
-Our bathroom was very small and was not comfortable to bathe, besides, the more water picnic, the more we would have to do the process of water exchange in the reservoirs. That’s why we chose to take a bath in the campsites.
-In the places of the visits, there were more vacancies in the car park for rides than for motorhome. But we had no problem with that, we always found vacancy (except in Lake Louise and the Raine Lake that was crowded and we had to change the time of the visit)
-Motorhome Rental: CAD $170,00/day -Convenience Kit: CAD $95,00/person-this item is not mandatory -Cleaning fee: they do not charge
For 7 days Rental + Convenience Kit for 2 people + pack with 1,500 km + 200km extras we exceed + fees, we pay in total CAD $2,001.52.
Tip 2: Locating the Motohome well in advance will give you more chances to guarantee a better promotion and/or price. Tip 3: Even if it is not mandatory I recommend paying the kit that includes a set of pots, crockery, cups, cups, cutlery, pillows, blankets, salt, pepper and several other things that will save you from taking them to the trip.
The campsites are exclusive for motorhomes and people who go camping in tents.
As much as the Motorhome is a “motorized home” you can not stop anywhere to sleep and you must reserve a camping to park and sleep. In addition, the campgrounds offer a structure to pour dirty water from the car and replace clean water from the motorhome, which is very important. Check the availability and values of the campsites on the official website
Just like the motorhome, the campsites are very disputed, so I recommend closing the campsites in advance, so that you choose the best locations and don’t have to change your camping.
We reserved the last available and so we had to keep changing from one to the other, not that it was a problem, but it influences the script. Even so, we have nothing to complain about, they all had good infrastructure, which included water to fill the motorhome’s reservoir, sewage access to empty dirty water from the reservoirs, a socket to turn on the car’s power, toilets and even Kitchens. Of the 4 campsites we stayed at, only 1 did not have a shower, but as we had a shower in the motorhome it was not a problem.
– Whistlers Camping: CAD $ 32.30 / per night + CAD $ 11.00 booking fee
– Village 2 Camping: CAD $ 32.30 / per night (no booking fee charged)
– Trailer Court Camping: CAD $ 38.20 / per night (No booking fee charged)
– Wabasso Camping: CAD $ 32.30 / per night + CAD $ 11.00 booking fee
For 7 days of travel and 6 nights at the campsites, we pay CAD $ 222.70
For 7 days of travel being 6 nights in the campsites, we paid CAD $222.70
BANFF AND JASPER ENTRANCE
In this year of 2017, Canada completed 150 years and to celebrate, the entrance to all national parks in the country throughout this year, will be free.
With that, we do not pay anything to enter the parks we visit (Banff, Jasper and Yoho). However if you plan to visit the region from 2018, it is worth checking the prices on the official website. Just as a reference, I saw that last year the entrance to each park had a value of CAD $ 19.60 / per car and that value is per day.
The entrance entitles you to visit all points within the parks. The stay in campsites, chalets or hotels is not included in this price.
Banff , Jasper, Ohyo, and others, are located in a rocky region of Canada, in the middle of the forest, where bears, cougars, foxes, elk, reindeer, deer and others live.
We didn’t know what kind of approximation we would have with the animals in the region and I can say that it was more than I imagined.
In Banff, almost the entire road is surrounded by canvas, which prevents the animals from coming to the side of the road, but it does not prevent you from seeing them on a trail on the way to a destination, at the camping you are going to sleep in or even in the center from the city, where we saw a deer walking through Banff.
Already in Jasper, there are no such screens so you often see animals on the side of the road and I will not deny that on some tours that had fewer people I was tense for fear of appearing some animal – like bears-
BEWARE OF ANIMALS
In 2 of the 3 campsites we were in, we were alerted at the entrance to watch out for food outside the car, because in the morning people had seen bears walking inside the campsites. In one of them I could hear a wolf-like howl and then we saw signs that coyotes could be seen inside the campsite.
There was also a tense moment while driving on the road, where we saw a woman, who was riding a horse in the woods, and in front of her there was a horned beeeeem reindeer staring in her direction. The horse was agitated and she was in a panic trying to find a way to get out of there.
The truth is that we are not prepared for any contact with animals and in a way, I think we were very reckless, because today knowing that animals can appear anywhere, I recommend you read all the necessary precautions and what actions to take if you find one of those animals.
For example, I imagined that we should walk in the forest making as little noise as possible and if I found a bear running as much as I could, but when we got there we found that it is quite the opposite, we should walk making a lot of noise, because the bear can never be caught surprise and among the various actions to be taken, the only thing we cannot do is run. For this reason, I recommend reading these warnings on the parks website, which give some tips on how to act when meeting animals.
Along the way, we saw four black bears on the road, many reindeer, family of mountain goats, in addition to the coyote howling. But it is worth noting that animal attacks are not common in the region and due to the presence of visitors on the tours it is also not common for them to approach, but it is always good to prevent
ABOUT THE PARKS
The roads, besides being an attraction apart from being so beautiful, are great for driving and have very wide and well signposted lanes. There are always signs indicating the visitation points and also the places for those who want to hike.
In none of the tours you will find park staff accompanying tourists and each one is responsible for where they will walk.
The entire structure of the parks is designed to protect animals and try as little as possible to disturb their routine, leaving them free to walk wherever they want. There are also signs of which animals can be found on each stretch.
All tourist spots had free parking or setback on the shoulder to park and most of them also had restrooms.
– I suggest taking repellent, because at least at that time, we saw a lot of mosquitoes;
– The air there is very dry, so taking a good moisturizer can help prevent dry skin;
– There are no gas stations on the roads, so take advantage of trips to downtown Banff and Jasper to keep your tank full.
I hope these tips can help you in planning your trip to Canada’s national parks and be sure to follow the next posts, where I will detail our entire itinerary.
Check the complete itinerary about this roadtrip that I shared on the other posts. Links are below: