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About Vancouver

Vancouver is a busy seaport city on the island of British Columbia (BC) in Canada. It is densely populated and is home to many diverse cultures from around the world. Its most popular attractions include Granville Island, Vancouver Art Gallery and the Science Museum. Its beautiful scenery and eclectic architecture attract thousands of visitors all year round.

Cheap flights to Vancouver are now available for a limited time only, so book your flight today and experience the natural beauty and cultural diversity this lively city has to offer. Vancouver is home to Vancouver International Airport (YVR), a 20-minute drive from the city centre or 30 minutes by train. YVR serves a multitude of airlines, including Canada Airlines, KLM and Lufthansa. There are no direct flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town but KLM, Lufthansa and Air France are popular choices to Europe for connecting flights.

Why visit Vancouver

beautiful scenery

Beautiful Scenery

The city can be viewed from the top of the Vancouver Lookout or along the suspension bridges stretching through the lush fern forests. Both day and night offer spectacular views.

historical attractions

Historical Attractions

Landmarks, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Jimi Hendrix Shrine, Waterfront Station and Steam Clock are just some of the features to see in this fascinating city.

outdoor adventures

Outdoor Adventures

Water sports such as kayaking, snorkelling and white water rafting will excite your wild side, as well as nature trails and hikes through the beautiful parks and mountains.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Canada
Currency Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.10 C$
Language English / French
Hub Airport Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Airline Air Canada; Air Transat
Time Zone GMT - 08:00
Travel Adaptor Type A / B

Best time to visit Vancouver

Any time is great to visit this exciting city! Winter falls between January and March where many locals pull on their boots and head up the ski slopes. Spring sets in from April to June, when universities close and families take advantage of the outdoors. Summer sees many art and music festivals come alive and in the months leading up to Christmas, the city is abuzz with festive cheer.

Weather & Climate in Vancouver

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 1°C 2°C 3°C 5°C 8°C 11°C 13°C 13°C 11°C 7°C 3°C 1°C
High °C 6°C 8°C 10°C 13°C 17°C 19°C 22°C 22°C 19°C 14°C 9°C 6°C
Rainfall (mm) 154 123 114 84 68 55 40 40 54 113 181 176

Overview

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the island of British Columbia, famed for its impressive architecture and bustling art scene. Regardless of when you visit, you will never be short of things to see and do. This city is bursting with attractions, ranging from early attractions like the Marine Building to modern ones like Science World.

Set against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, the city’s skyline and breath-taking views will leave you feeling stimulated and rejuvenated. After a busy day of taking in sights like the Vancouver Art Gallery and the old Steam Clock, you may find yourself taking a leisurely stroll through the serene parks or enjoying the sunset at English Bay. The city is equally thrilling by night as the quirky cafés and art scene come to life. Whether you’re an adventure lover or looking to be inspired by its creative culture, Vancouver definitely has something for everyone!

Visa & Customs

South African Passport holders do require a visa to visit Vancouver, or anywhere else in Canada. You’ll also need to make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date, and that you have three blank pages available for entry stamps.

The South African Honorary Consulate to Canada is situated in Vancouver - Suite 1700, 1075 West Georgia Street, V6E 3C. Phone: (+1) 604 688 1301

Health & Safety

Vancouver is one of the safest cities to live in. It is a very accessible city and is easy to get around. Like all big cities, small-scale crimes do occur so be vigilant with your personal belongings and do not leave your items unattended.

If you decide to venture outside the central region, be careful of Downtown Eastside, just north of Chinatown. It is not a violent neighbourhood, however it is a hub for many homeless people, prostitutes and drug addicts. The area is under new development, but try to avoid walking around on your own.

Should you find yourself ill or in need of medication, you’ll have no trouble finding a health clinic or well-stocked pharmacy nearby. Should you require immediate medical attention you can call the UBC Hospital Care Centre at (+1) 604 822 7222.

Cost of Living

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Vancouver
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant R 90.00 R 100.00 R 146.26
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) R 22.00 R 20.00 R 58.50
Cappuccino (regular) R 19.00 R 20.00 R 39.47
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) R 10.00 R 12.00 R 18.04
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) R 35.00 R 35.00 R 117.00

Where to stay?

If you want to be in the middle of the action, with access to cool bars and interesting attractions, make your way Downtown and mingle with the locals.

Another popular area for tourists is Gastown/ Railtown for a more edgy vibe. Only 15 minutes away from lively Granville Street, this is a hotspot for youngsters where many trendy restaurants and clubs make for a fun night out! The gritty feel of this neighbourhood stems from its old brick buildings from the early 20th century with an old London town feel.

For something more upscale, Yaletown is great with many high-end restaurants and is conveniently located close to the Skytrain station.

North Vancouver is a quieter area, ideal for couples and families with Lower Lonsdale being pretty and vibrant, and a Seabus ferry gets you downtown in 15 minutes.

Getting Around

Getting around in Vancouver is easy as the public transport network is extensive. Ideally, you don’t want to stay too far from the Skytrain lines, and there are three to choose from depending on your location. The Canada Line is your best bet as it travels from the airport to the major tourist areas around the city.

The Seabus (public transit ferry) is a great option to get you between Downtown and North Vancouver, while the public buses are also reliable. Taxis can work out to be quite expensive (unless you’re a group) so try to stick to public transport as far as possible.

Fares are zone-based, but you can save some money by buying booklets of Faresaver tickets. There are also day passes available, which are good options if you plan on travelling extensively during the course of a day.

Main attractions in Vancouver

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

Science World

Science World

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