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The Big West
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Base From July-2018

Once you're on the West Coast, why limit yourself to just one country? Jump on The Big West Contiki and you can see the USA and Canada in one hit! San Diego, Las Vegas, Whistler and Banff are just some of the highlights on this fast track to falling in love with the Americas.

North America
  • Duration: 22 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Easy
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: 100.192/210797
  • Starts: Los Angeles (CA), United States Of America
  • Finishes: Vancouver (BC), Canada
You will Visit
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Phoenix
  • Grand Canyon
  • Las Vegas
  • Bass Lake
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver
  • Whistler
  • Kamloops
  • Jasper
  • Banff
  • Vernon

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Arrive Los Angeles

Hello America! Welcome to the City of Angels. Here you’ll meet the crew and kick off your trip in true A-list Hollywood style with visits to places you’ll recognise from the silver screen. It’s a jam-packed day with so much to see and do - from Melrose to Muscle Beach you’ll be wowed at every stop and your phone will no doubt be full of Instagram worthy pics. Tonight exchange highlights of the day over a delicious American-Asian fusion feast in Little Tokyo.

02

Day 2-1: Los Angeles to San Diego

Next up, the O.C. – Orange County. You’ll join the crew and find yourselves cruising along the unmistakable Pacific coastline as it gloriously winds around to the super laid back locale of San Diego.
Recline into relaxation mode and take in the laid back nature of San Diego. We'll start embodying the easygoing vibes with a visit to the eclectic mix of vibrant neighbourhoods around this city, including Balbao's Park for some Mother Nature time. Consider yourself a thrill seeker? Why not drive your very own speedboat (yes you can take the wheel) with a guide around the San Diego Harbour.

03

Day 2: San Diego

Today you'll go about your ways like a true Cali native with a full day of outdoor excitement. Surf, sun and 42 miles of beachside bliss will have you hanging ten like Kelly Slater in no time. For those maybe feeling a little less adventurous who'd rather get up close and personal with 4000 animals, then the famous San Diego Zoo will be a must see for you. By nightfall you'll have worked up an appetite so get ready to dig into a Mexican Feast! Margarita anyone?

04

Day 3: San Diego to Phoenix

Now you've had a taste of living the San Diego dream, it's time to crank up the heat as we enter the desert. We say farewell to our California love and delve a little deeper inland to see what Arizona has to offer.
This impressive metropolis is situated right smack bang in the middle of the desert and is a sight you won’t forget anytime soon. Uninterrupted sunshine is expected for approximately 300 days a year, making this place a super steamy urban mirage perfect for shopping and sporting events.

05

Day 4: Phoenix to the Grand Canyon via Sedona

A hot air balloon ride over the "Valley of the Sun" – sounds like a bucket list kind of thing (because it is) and you have the chance to tick it off the list right here. There's a champagne breakfast provided in the deal too so try to keep breathing so you don't miss out.

The thrill of the desert continues and the next stop will make any nature lover weak at the knees. This location is one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders and the pride of Arizona. We'll settle in for the night at our comfy Lodge in the heart of the National Park before the great Grand Canyon reveals itself tomorrow. Take a step outside and take a peep at the endless starry skies, tomorrow will be a day to remember.

06

Day 5: Grand Canyon National Park

You deserve a full day out here to truly appreciate the wilderness taking in its dramatic scenery. This day will be like no other; beginning with a hike through the UNESCO World Heritage listed site, there's also the option of a bike ride, then the day will end with a spine-tingling sunset. Incredibly, there's also the option to view this wonder from the best and most thrill-seeking seat in the house – a helicopter.

07

Day 6: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas via Route 66

With the majestic Grand Canyon left behind for now, we stop off at several spots along the famous Route 66, but most notably, Seligman, a town steeped in history for some rustic old skool Americana vibes.

Get ready for a full-blown, non-stop assault on the senses, starting first up with the iconic Hoover Dam. This is Las Vegas - sometimes known as Sin City - a place of dreams & epic debauchery. This huge man-made entertainment precinct in the middle of the desert is all about total excess. You’ll be blinded by the bright lights and gob smacked at the thought of all that money running through more than 75 massive casinos. A nighttime tour of the famous ‘Strip’, including a stop for pics at the legendary Vegas sign will show you just what is on offer after dark in this absolutely outrageous city. Fremont Street is on tonight's agenda, where the main attraction is a super impressive light and laser show, before no doubt heading out and straight into what Vegas is all about.

08

Day 7: Las Vegas

You have today all to yourself but you’ll need to run to a tight schedule to fit in all of Vegas' weird and wonderful charms. Travel the world in a day, taking in the Eiffel Tower, a Venetian gondola and even an Egyptian pyramid, all whilst staying firmly within the city's realm. Feeling romantic? Stop by and see one of the many Elvis impersonators for a shotgun wedding ceremony, and maybe even get hitched yourself...(joking). Tonight live like a baller while you cruise along the 'Strip' in a party bus and don't stress, the bills on us. Later, you’ll witness the 24-hour party scene first hand when you head out for a night with the crew.

09

Day 8: Las Vegas to Bass Lake via Barstow and Mojave Desert

From the ridiculously flashy Vegas ‘Strip’ to the outdoor capital of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this change of scenery will bring you and the crew back to nature again.
Hungry for In n Out Burger? Dumb question. Get your fast food fix on this West Coast takeaway fave, then sit back and relax as we head to our next destination.
We'll make a quick pitstop as we blaze through the Mojave Desert and its iconic Joshua trees on the way to blissful Bass Lake.
This afternoon you’ll become enamored with the tranquility of Bass Lake. Wind down in your chalet after a long day of travel, taking in your picturesque surroundings. Later on, kick back and enjoy the view from the chalet deck - it is nothing short of spectacular. Take a dip in the pool, warm up in the jacuzzi and breathe in the fresh mountain air while getting some much needed R & R after fast and furious Vegas.

10

Day 9: Bass Lake and Yosemite National Park

This beautiful mountain paradise is perfect for relaxation and recuperation but it certainly isn’t a one trick pony. Bass Lake offers plenty of watersports and adventurous options, seasonal weather permitting.

Back at our Bass Lake base, there'll no doubt be a need for that jacuzzi and a night of staring up at the starry skies. This is what we call living.

11

Day 10: Bass Lake to San Francisco

Today we bid farewell to this achingly picturesque spot full of nature and tranquility and look forward to a very different experience as a crew of city slickers once more.
Colourful characters, freethinkers, and artists have all descended upon San Francisco to make this place what it is. Via Oakland and the San Joaquin Valley, we will descend upon the treasure of beatnik culture, cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge. Tonight really does give #NOREGRETS its meaning, as we take you on an optional cruise of the city's Bay and under the famous bridge. Sipping a drink and toasting your group to the good times had and yet to come as the sun sets, is a truly unforgettable moment.

12

Day 11: San Francisco to Vancouver

This morning, say farewell to the Golden Gate Bridge & American dream. Next up, we're headed on an afternoon flight to Vancouver, Canada, a place well known for its majestic natural beauty & it is frequently ranked as one of the "best cities to live in". There are 11 more days of endless adventure awaiting, enjoy every moment & make the most of this beautiful country 'Eh' (as the Canadians would say).

13

Day 12: Vancouver to Whistler

Welcome to the Pacific Coast! Not many cities can claim fusing big-city living with the great outdoors, but with its skyscrapers, beaches, forest and mountains, Vancouver has somehow nailed that perfect mix. You’ll be treated to a whirlwind tour of the historic sites before we cruise along the glorious clifftop Sea to Sky highway in search of Whistler.
How’s that fresh mountain air? The rugged, handsome landscapes of Whistler are gorgeous all year long, from the ancient mountain peaks to the alpine hiking trails. First up though, stretch out those legs for an optional zipline on the 'superfly'. One of the world's best, do it alone, or jump in a tandem with a buddy - after all 102km an hour is not for the faint hearted. Dinner’s on us tonight – make sure you rest up, because adventure is on the cards all day tomorrow.

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Day 13: Whistler

Come winter, Whistler may be a haven for snowbunnies, but when the weather is warm, it’s activity central. Test your Popeye strength by canoeing along the River of Golden Dreams, zipline over churning rivers or take a hike through scenery that puts most postcards to shame. If you’re feeling lazy, take a gondola or a chairlift to the mountain tops, but don’t forget to explore the village itself – you’ll melt at its cuteness.

15

Day 14: Whistler to Kamloops

Today it's out of the mountains and into Canada's Wild west interior. After a photo stop at idyllicSeton Lake, we’ll stop in at the former gold-rush town of Lillooet just a few-hundred years too late to make our fortunes.
Traders used to stop at Kamloops to swap tall tales about the one that got away (we mean the days' catch) and tonight, we’ll be doing exactly that - the tales at least. Relax, go for a wander, or see if you can spot some local cowboys. Tomorrow there is much more in store when we leave the province of BC and into Alberta and the mighty Rockies.

16

Day 15: Kamloops to Jasper via Mt. Robson

Well rested, we'll take in some incredible scenes on our drive this morning, and you might even see the highest point in the Rockies if weather permits.
Eating outdoors is essential in these parts, so we'll load you up with a picnic lunch against a backdrop that will insight some serious FOMO from friends back home. Full and happy, the great outdoors is then yours to explore. Want to take the adrenaline levels up a notch? Get involved with our optional white-water rafting excursion on the Frasier River. There's nothing like a rafting adventure to confirm that there is no 'I' in team.
Jasper will be your home for the next two nights – convenient really, considering it’s the perfect base to explore the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies.

17

Day 16: Jasper

Rise 'n' shine - it's time to get out there with an easy hike though Maligne Canyon. Towering limestone walls will watch over us as we take in the scene, making our way across bridges to the thrilling soundtrack of rushing water. Nature goals achieved, we'll jump on the coach and head to Maligne Lake, famous for the azure colour of its water, and today we’ll show you why. Drink in the beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains from the shore, or take an optional cruise out to iconic Spirit Island, the most photographed image in the Rockies - we'll bet you know the one. Later, we'll leave you to your own devices to explore the cute town of Jasper.

18

Day 17: Jasper to Banff

On our way to Banff today, you’ll be glued to the windows as we pass the waterfalls, lakes, meadows, glaciers and towering mountains that make up the Columbia Icefield Parkway. Take a walk to the Athabasca Falls, wheel across the Athabasca Glacier on the Ice Explorer, and cure that cotton-mouth with a drink of pure H2O – just be careful not to stick your tongue to the ice... Peyto Lake and Lake Louise (you're sure to have seen these on Instagram) are the perfect place to snap your next profile pic, and make sure those eyes stay peeled for wildlife.
We’ll roll into Banff – the unofficial capital of the Canadian Rockies. You’re in cowboy country now, and who are we to buck tradition? Saddle up for a round of drinks before dinner and check into your chalet.

19

Day 18: Banff

There’s loads on the menu today in Banff: hop on a gondola up Sulphur Mountain, take a heli-tour of the high country. At night, toast the moon with a horseback ride through the back-country complete with a fire-cooked meal to round off the day.

20

Day 19: Banff to Vernon

Marvel at the change of scenery today as we cut through three national parks on our way to Vernon. First up is Yoho National Park with its valley of waterfalls and meadows, and home to the amazing engineering feat - the Spiral Train Tunnel. Next up is Glacier National Park, which boasts over 400 (wait for it) glaciers (surprise) and Rogers Pass. Lastly, we’ll see Mt. Revelstoke National Park’s towering peaks and raging waters.
Dinner in Vernon tonight is our shout – after cramming three national parks into one day, really, you deserve it. You’ll probably also be hankering for a beverage after such a long day, and fortunately, the city’s array of traditional pubs are happy to help you out on that front.

21

Day 20: Vernon to Vancouver

We’re sure you’ll agree that meandering through Canada's wine country – the famed Okanagan Valley - is a great way to kill time on the drive back to Vancouver. It's time to see everything of this magical metropolis that you missed the first time around, we'll treat you to a whirlwind tour of the historic sites.
It’s time to see everything of this magical metropolis you missed the first time round. Vancouver’s downtown is world class, and its locals’ take immense pride in its multiculturalism. Stop for pics at the city's nine Totem Poles - these colourful carved sculptures stand tall in Stanley Park and are a must-see sight that were gifted to Vancouver City. Get out there and get local, do some boutique shopping or even rent a bike and explore the city on wheels. Tonight, give your ears a treat with some live music in the alleys of Yale Town.

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Day 21: Vancouver

A hidden grassroots art scene, eating adventures in abundance, and a pretty seaport setting - your free day in Vancouver will not be short of magic. If the galleries and cute cafes get old, roam one of the cities many parks or gardens or find a spot to take in the surrounding mountain vistas. Top off the day with a dinner cruise and your Vancouver experience is whole and complete.

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Day 22: Depart Vancouver

All good things must come to an end and so does our alpine adventure this morning. We wish you all a fond farewell and bon voyage. We hope we'll be seeing you again soon

Inclusions:
      Accommodation
    • Hotels, lodges and chalets are the name of the game. Think warm, comfy beds and lively communal areas for you and your new travel buddies to socialise
      Food
    • We'll get 21 of your meals and you get the rest. You can refuel over breakfast and grab some authentic North American dinners from us but you'll also get an opportunity to sample some of the best gourmet fare, both in Canada and the US
      Staff
    • Don't worry, your Trip Manager and Driver will show you the ropes, not to mention all your new travel mates. Whether providing local knowledge or lols, our team members are people you can trust
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Tour Highlights:
  • Los Angeles: See the famous Hollywood sign, Mann's Chinese Theatre & Hollywood's Walk of Fame,Drive along famous Sunset Strip,Visit Santa Monica and its famous pier,Dinner in Little Tokyo
  • San Diego: Visit Mission Beach (weather permitting),Go loco as you feast on traditional Mexican cuisine
  • San Diego to Phoenix: See the Sonoran Desert
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Capture some incredible photos with a visit to a panoramic viewpoint,Hike along the Canyon's South Rim
  • Las Vegas: Go wild in Vegas with a Party Bus
  • Whistler: See Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains,Visit the local shops,Hike the numerous trails
  • Kamloops to Jasper: View Mt. Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies (weather permitting)
  • Jasper: Visit Maligne Canyon, the deepest & longest limestone canyon in the Rockies,Visit Maligne Lake, the largest in the Canadian Rockies (seasonal) M Maligne Lake Cruise
  • Jasper to Banff: Discover the Athabasca Glacier on the 'Ice Explorer',See the Saskatchewan River Valley & Weeping Wall,See the vivid blue colour of Peyto Lake (seasonal),Visit Lake Louise & the enchanting Lake Louise Chateau
  • Banff: See the majestic Banff Springs Hotel,Visit Banff National Park
  • Banff to Vernon: See the incredible Spiral Train Tunnels,Drive through Yoho, Glacier & Mt. Revelstoke National Parks,See Kicking Horse Valley
  • Vernon to Vancouver: See Lake Okanagan & its large floating bridge,Drive through Kelowna, the largest city in the Interior of B.C