This post has everything you need to know about getting from Ucluelet to Tofino! Whether it is the drive time, the bus schedules or what to expect along the way. Tofino and Ucluelet are known for their unspoilt coastlines, whether it is rugged rocks or sandy beaches. In summer, visitors flock to the beaches to surf, walk, bike and enjoy the coast. In the winter, storm watchers can enjoy the might of the Pacific Ocean as it crashes ashore on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Whether your visit brings you to Ucluelet or Tofino, you are in for a real treat!
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Ucluelet to Tofino Drive
The drive time from Ucluelet to Tofino is between 35-40 minutes. It is a single-lane (each way), paved road with no traffic lights. Peninsula Road in Ucluelet turns into the Pacific Rim Highway (BC-4 Hwy). Along the way, you will pass Long Beach (Part of Pacific Rim National Park), and then closer to Tofino Chesterman Beach and Cox Beach. At the end of Hwy 4, you will end up in the small (but bustling) town of Tofino.
If you are planning on visiting Ucluelet and Tofino and want information on renting a car, they are a popular choice to get around. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. You can easily get a rental car before you arrive.
Bus from Ucluelet to Tofino
Ucluelet and Tofino are serviced by the Vancouver Island Connector. This coach-style bus can accommodate luggage (1 large piece up to 50 lbs and one carry-on) and wheelchairs (72 hours notice required) but does not allow any pets (except service dogs).
Prices vary based on the ticket type purchased. There are flexible and non-cancellable fares.
The issue with these busses is that they only run once per day. The bus leaves Ucluelet at 3:35 PM and takes 45 minutes. You can book the bus online in advance here
If you want to take a bus from Tofino to Ucluelet, the bus is at 8:45 and and arrives into Ucluelet 45 minutes later. You can book it here
There is not currently a bus that can take you on a daytrip from Ucluelet to Tofino.
THESE RATES AND SCHEDULES ARE CURRENT TO JUNE 2023. Check with the bus company for current rates and schedules as they are subject to change season by season.
Ucluelet to Tofino Taxi
Ucluelet has local taxi’s that can take you to Tofino.
Ucluelet to Tofino RideShare
Tofino and Ucluelet have their own ridesharing app called Whistle. While there is no on-demand service in Ucluelet, you can book in advance to get a ride! They offer rides to the Tofino airport as well as to Tofino.
Ucluelet to Tofino by Bike
There is a new trail connecting Tofino and Ucluelet and it is perfect for cyclists. The trail is a mulituse trail and avoids having cyclists travel on the road. It goes through Pacific Rim National Pack and connects Ucluelet and Tofino! The trail is mostly flat.
Ucluelet to Tofino FAQ
It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Ucluelet to Tofino or Tofino to Ucluelet
The drive from Nanaimo to Tofino is not dangerous, but drivers should be mindful of speed, weather and road conditions. The same can be said for those driving from Ucluelet to Tofino. All roads in BC are maintained, but there is a huge construction project going on on the drive to Ucluelet and Tofino which is widening a cliff edge part of the road. This section has been a bad spot for accidents in the past.
The distance from Uclulet to Tofino is 40.3 kilometers.
The bike trail is officially known as the Tofino Multi-Use Path or “MUP” to locals. It runs 8 kilometres between the start of the town centre by Tofino Resort + Marina (pictured) and passes Mackenzie, Chesterman, and Cox Bay Beach. The Path (known to locals as the “MUP” path extends past the Tofino Visitor centre and connects with the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (ups-cheek ta-shee) Pathway through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to Ucluelet.
Where to Stay in Ucluelet and Tofino
Tofino has fabulous resorts and small boutique hotels.
Duffin Cove Resort Duffin Cove is newly renovated and is right in Tofino. They have a few A frame cabins right on the water that you can book as well. The nice thing about staying here is that you can leave your car and walk into town. Parking can be busy in town in high season.
Hotel Zed Tofino Hotel Zed is right off the highway and less than 500m from Chesterman Beach. It is 1.1 km from Mackenzie Beach. Your stay includes free parking and there is a restaurant on site. Hotel Zed is known for its eclectic styled accommodations. You cannot miss it! Pets are welcome at Hotel Zed.
Shoreline Tofino Shoreline Tofino offers a rustic feel with A Frame loft style cabins. it is close to the downtown core of Tofino and on the harbour side.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort Pacific Sands is the epitome of luxury. Featuring townhouse style accommodations and jetted tubs with a view, few other properties can walk right out to Cox Bay beach! Depending on your accommodation type, you can have a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms. If storm watching or walking the sandy beaches are your thing, choose Pacific Sands! It is perfect for families and getaways with friends!
Long Beach Lodge Resort Long Beach lodge features oceanfront rooms as well as cabins with hot tubs. There are surfing rentals and lessons right on site. It is situated on Cox Bay beach
If you are in the planning stages, you should also read When is the best time for whale watching in BC?
Where to Eat In Tofino
Tacofino is a popular choice, and for good reason.
Wolf in the Fog is always busy. It is probably the most well-known place in Tofino
Chocolate Tofino Do not miss this gem for ice cream and locally made chocolate. Try the lavender ice cream and chocolates for a unique and satisfying flavor.
Popular Things to do in Tofino
Surfing – If it is your first time on a surfboard, I highly suggest taking a lesson! It can make all the difference in your day!
Fishing – Want to experience salmon or halibut fishing? Consider a fishing daytrip in Tofino!
Boat Tours – If you are not a serious fisherman, how about a day on the water with some fishing, crabbing and sightseeing? choose a Tofino boat tour!
More BC Travel Resources
5 Things to Bring with You to Vancouver Island
Even in the summer months, Ucluelet and Tofino can be wet. Read this Tofino packing list to make sure you are prepared for any season.
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, even in the summer. The fog bank can roll onshore any time of year. It is a ranforest and always pretty wet in Tofino and Ucluelet.
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices is always a good idea. After a day of videoing, GPS, and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day. If you are flying to Vancouver, make sure you keep any power banks in your hand luggage, as security will often remove them from checked bags (I have found that out the hard way before).
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for International Visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
A good guidebook is something I always get when I am researching a new location. Lonely Planet is the usual go-to, but also check out these.
Reusable shopping bags are available to buy everywhere, but if you want to get a compact one before you arrive, it is a good idea.
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. You can buy bottled water anywhere that you can get drinks, but Canada does pride itself on recycling as much as possible, and why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over British Columbia.
Travel Insurance for Canada
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to international travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday. Canada is a very expensive country for medical care and a doctors visit in an Emergency Room is over $800 to just see the doctor.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!