Haida Gwaii was formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands, but its name was changed back to the Indigenous one out of respect for their long history in this place. Haida Gwaii is a series of islands and inlets on the most westerly part of British Columbia. They are the most remote archipelago in Canada. The Island’s name means “Island of the People.” It is the traditional home of the Haida First Nations, and their traditions are strong in the many small villages. The area is covered with ancient, untouched temperate rainforest: huge old growth trees and lush mossy groundcover make this area almost surreal. The area is often called the Galapagos of North America due to the variety of flora and fauna. Small villages with traditional Haida artisans dot the area, and you can witness ancient traditions such as canoe making and totem pole carving. Beaches are pristine and sandy, inviting people to relax away from busy city life. Haida Gwaii is idea for outdoor enthusiast and people seeking adventure or an active vacation. Camping, hiking, sports fishing and water activities are particularly excellent in this region. People who want big city amenities will not find this area to their liking.
Things to do in Haida Gwaii
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site
Fresh produce markets and vendor stalls are held regularly on the villages of Haida Gwaii. Here is the best place to purchase local produce and locally produced specialities. A visit to Haida Gwaii isn’t complete without sampling some of these ultra-fresh fruits and vegetables.
Traditional arts and crafts are flourishing in Haida Gwaii, and the galleries in the towns are the best places to see the works of local artisans. Each gallery features its own style and media. From cedar woven hats to metal engraving, the range and skill of local artisans is not be missed. This is the perfect place to buy souvenirs that are 100% authentic and locally made.
Fishing, canoeing, Kayaking and all types of water sports are excellent in the quiet inlets of Haida Gwaii. Tour operators take you on guided kayak tours of the area, ensuring the best spots and safest experience. The beaches are sandy and large, the fish are abundant and the water is tranquil and peaceful. If you prefer land, there are dozens of campsites and hiking trails through the local forests.
Haida Gwaii Discovery Tour
Haida Gwaii is the traditional home of the Haida people, and a trip to this Island of the People isn’t complete without taking time to learn about their traditions. The Haida Gwaii Discover Tour takes guests through the important customs and sites. Learn about totem poles, the Raven and Eagle totems and other important cultural aspects of these proud and friendly people.
Getting to and around
The area is isolated, but not cut off from the mainland services. Sea planes and ferries transport people to the villages of Prince Rupert. Municipal airlines operate regularly between Masset, the nearby municipal airport and Vancouver International Airport. The larger of the towns in Haida Gwaii do have taxi service, but to get around the area you’ll be best advised to drive. Two car rental agencies have locations in Haida Gwaii.
Pick the time right!
Tourists visit Haida Gwaii in late spring
The best weather is late spring to early fall. However, weather is temperate even in the off season. If you are coming for sport fishing or similar activities make sure you arrive during the right time of year. Some hunting and fishing licences are only valid at specific times.