Complete Guide to explore Canada for the First Time Visitors!
Canada. The second largest country in the world that sits pretty surrounding nearly half of the arctic circle. Canada is distinct from the rest of the world. Her diverse culture is resultant of many ethnic explorers coming to find a new land, settling and struggling through bitter cold winter to make a living. Then came the laborers, the immigrants. The astounding human heritage of Canada can be easily traced through architecture, linguistic expressions and gastronomic delights.
But that is not all. Canada has verdant vistas along the steep rising slopes of the Rocky mountains, picturesque lakes, sprawling carpet of Tundra, ancient rainforests of Vancouver, the sandy beaches on the East coast, the massive Niagara falls. Add to that, your eyes will spot the very rare polar bear, black bears, bison, grizzly bears, lynx and whales every now and then.
Needless to say, Canada is one of the best countries in the world to explore for the adventure/nature/urban/culture lover. There is something for everyone!
How to get a visa for Canada
With the introduction of the new e-visa process, obtaining a visa to travel to Canada has been successfully digitized. Apply online for a Canada e-Visa which can be used to transit as well.
Things to know before visiting Canada
Canada is one of the best countries to go for a road trip. Highways are dotted with tourist friendly motels, takeaway counters, gas stations. Even shared rental cars are easy to find on Craigslist. They stretch beyond myriad landscapes and connect the west coast of Canada to the east, which is a vast expanse of the land!
Best time to visit Canada
The country is huge. Landscape in Canada changes at the advent of every season. While the domestic tourists leave the country in winters, it is also the best time to explore the skiing resorts and ice-igloo hotels at Tundra area. Slopes of British Columbia and Alberta come alive with adventure seekers even when the temperature drops to -40°F (-40°C).
In summer, Canada is beautiful with an array of outdoor activities lined up. There are plenty of nature trails, hiking routes to explore the wilderness of Canadian rockies. You can frolic in the sea, go kayak and fishing. However summer can be more expensive than other seasons with increased tourist footfall. Consider exploring Canada during shoulder season for less rush and great value. My personal favourite would be the fall foliage of autumn when it is still warm but the rush is dying down.
Money saving tips for Canada
Historically, Canadian Dollar has always fetched great exchange value. It is cheaper to explore Canada compared to the USA. Relaxed and welcoming locals and great roads add to that possibility.
Typically, you will be paying CAD 30 for a dorm room and CAD 60 for an Airbnb in Canada. For larger cities, price rises to CAD 80 and more. Camping with prior permission can be a cheaper alternative with prices starting from CAD 10.
If you are going to cook your own food, you are good with a budget of CAD 50 per week. Fast food chains and pubs are reasonably priced alternatives.
When it comes to safety, Canada tops the list of western destinations with a robust police network and amicable locals. Hitchhiking in Canada is a legal way to explore the rural hamlets. Plenty of public transport buses and trains are available across the major cities. Short term Tourist passes are sold for tourists to avail metro system and tour the museums at large cities.
Best places to visit in Canada
As an urban traveler, my pick would be to explore the 17th century old town of Quebec city. The French city lives up to the old glory with its handful of cafes, the North American fortress, and old school architecture that transports you to the heart of Europe instantly. Proceed to Montreal city for a romantic dinner date at one of the iconic jazz bars.
Do not miss a visit to the postcard pretty city of Vancouver. A thriving world class urban place can be so close to nature, I would not have believed before visiting Vancouver. Here, you can dance the night away at a disc and hike up to a mountain to welcome the morning sun!
If your heart seeks more of nature, and want to take a detour to the offbeat parts of Canada, head towards Nova Scotia, one of the friendliest places to visit in canada.
Since the e-visa to Canada gets approved within a day when provided with proper information, ensure you book your holiday prior to some of the astounding world events that take place in Canada. In July, the carnival named Calgary Stampede takes place where everyone decks up as a cowboy for the week. Celebration of Light, the festival of world’s largest fireworks takes place in Vancouver around the same time.