Frequently Asked Questions
► I am travelling from the US. What identification documents are required by Customs and Immigration to cross the US/Canadian Border?
If you are travelling by air, land (car or bus) or water (ferry), you will need a valid passport. Check with your airline or click on the links below for more information.
When travelling between Canada and the United States, it will be necessary to pass through Customs at the border. They'll ask to see your ID, ask about your citizenship and ask you to produce proof of citizenship.
Identification is necessary for Customs and Immigration. Due to heightened security at the United States/Canadian border crossing, it is recommended that all travellers travel with a passport, Nexus Card or
enhanced drivers license approved by the US Customs and Immigration. This link to the Canadian/US Government Travel Documents Website
provides the best up to date information for travellers both to and from the US and other countries. Remember, it is the traveller's responsibility to prove his/her citizenship. If you are not a United States or Canadian born citizen, you will be required to have a passport and possibly a Visa.
"Children And Infants Require More Proof"
Parents travelling with children and infants are required to provide identification and proof of citizenship for each child. If both parents are not present, the travelling parent must provide a signed statement from the other parent allowing the child to travel out of the country. Failure to provide such evidence may make you unable to cross the border with your children.
"If You've Ever Had A Felony...."
Persons with a felony may be denied entrance into Canada. If you have been convicted of a crime in the United States it may be considered a felony in Canada. A Driving While Intoxicated conviction (D.W.I.) is considered a felony in Canada.
Do You Need More Information? For further information on crossing the US/Canadian Border, please visit the US Customs and Immigration website where you'll find information on crossing the border and duties you may have to pay on goods you bring back to the US. You can also check out the Canada Border Services Agency
website for more Canadian border-crossing information.
► How do I get to the Island from the Mainland (i.e. Vancouver, Washington State)?
(1) Coming from Vancouver, you'll be taking B.C. Ferries
to Swartz Bay. We strongly recommend making reservations, especially when travelling on weekends and in the summer. Typically, this ferry runs every hour in the summer months.
(2) From Washington there are three options
a) Black Ball Ferry Line
from Port Angeles to downtown Victoria and carries cars.
For schedules call (360) 457-4491 in the U.S. or (250) 386-2202 in B.C.
b) Washington State Ferries
from Anacortes to Sidney (north of Victoria) and carries cars as well. 1-888-808-7977.
c) Clipper Vacations
from Seattle to downtown Victoria (no cars on board). It's usually cheaper to rent cars in B.C. depending on the exchange rate. 1-800-888-2583
► How do I get to Port Renfrew from Victoria?
Head North on Douglas Street (Hwy 1) towards Nanaimo and look for the turn off to Sooke & Port Renfrew (approximately 15-20 min from downtown); the turn off will be to your right. Once on Hwy 14, continue north towards Sooke and then Port Renfrew. As there is only one main road on this side of the Island, it is difficult to get lost. The drive is approximately 2 hours. Allow more time if travelling during rush hour.
► How do I get from the Swartz Bay Ferry in Sidney to Port Renfrew?
Head South towards Victoria until you see a turn off (approximately 15 min.) to your right for Sooke. This is the Mackenzie Rd link between Hwy 1 and Hwy 14. Stay in the right hand lane and turn right at Hwy Exit14/Sooke, drive towards Sooke and eventually Port Renfrew. This takes about 2.5 hours.
► Once in Port Renfrew, how do I get to your lodge?
There is one main road coming into Port Renfrew (Hwy.14); stay on this road. You will pass a general store. About 2 minutes past this store, you will see our sign on the left hand side of the road. The road is called Powder Main Rd. It becomes a gravel road about 100 meters in, and it is 2 km up to the lodge. We are about 200 meters (600 ft) above sea level here, so there is some elevation to climb up. Take your time; everyone makes it up and are glad they did.
► I'd like to have dinner at the lodge, how do I book?
You can book dinner by responding to your confirmation email, which will have additional information regarding dinner. Please be sure to include any food allergies or sensitivities in your reply
. Dinner reservations must be made by 10 am on the day that you are to arrive. We do advise making reservations in advance, as we only have 16 seats for dinner. All meals are served at 6:30 pm, so please ensure you can arrive prior to this time to check-in and get settled before dinner.
► I'd like to have dinner at the lodge, how do I book and what do you offer?
We offer a 3 course meal, consisting of a salad using fresh greens from our garden when available, main course using fresh locally caught seafood (Sockeye, halibut, crab) - if seafood is not for you other arrangement can be made with advanced notice - and a dessert (homemade ice creams, tarts etc.), and coffee and tea. The cost is $45/person, with a 15% gratuity and HST added to the final bill and charged at check-out. Dinners are served at 6:30 pm. As we serve all our guest at the same dinner hour, alternate times are not available, as we cannot ask all our other guests to wait. We are not a full service restaurant but a guesthouse serving excellent fresh food made to order for each of our guests.
► Should I rent a car or SUV?
If you're only here for a day or two, you'll probably just be visiting the more established attractions and places of interest, so a car will be fine. If, however, you are planning on being on the island or in Port Renfrew for a longer duration of time and plan to explore off the beaten path (i.e. logging roads), you will want an SUV as the area is full of old logging roads and interesting points of interest which are better accessed by 4 wheel drive. Also, the road to Lake Cowichan is now fully paved and called the Pacific Marine Circle Route. http://www.crd.bc.ca/jdf/tourism/
for more info and maps.
► Is there a gas station in Port Renfrew?
From mid April to early October, gas is available at the Marina, but we recommend filling up in either Lake Cowichan or Sooke to avoid higher prices. There is a gas station currently being built and should be done by mid June.
► Is there a cash machine in town?
Yes. However there are times when it runs out of money, so it's best to bring extra. Pretty much all businesses take Interac and/or Visa and/or MasterCard.
► Can I get to Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Tofino, & Nanaimo from Port Renfrew without backtracking to Victoria?
Yes. The road to Lake Cowichan is the first leg to saving hours of driving and is now fully paved (called the Pacific Marine Circle Route
). From Lake Cowichan, the road is paved to Duncan/Nanaimo. To access Tofino, you can head north from Honeymoon Bay, on a gravel road to Port Alberni. It is best to check with the Info Centre in Lake Cowichan on the road conditions. Otherwise, using the road to Duncan will still save time.
► What kind of clothing should I bring?
Depending on your activities, good hiking/walking shoes/boots. Although it doesn't rain much in the summer, it has been known to happen, so a rain jacket is a good idea. The nights in Port Renfrew tend to be cool, as we are so close to the ocean. It may be hot during the day, but bring a long sleeve shirt if you plan to stay out all day and night.
► Should I bring Wine or Beer?
There is a liquor store located in the general store, but the selection is very limited. We are not licensed to sell alcohol, however our guests are welcome to bring their own. This is true for dinner guests as well.
► Do you have cooking facilities?
No. However, the yurts & cabin are equipped with a mini fridge, microwave (except the Carmanah Yurt) & water kettle . We do have an area with a picnic table and have a BBQ available for guest use. All the suites in the lodge have a mini fridge and a water kettle. As my brother and I are both chefs, we also provide dinners using local vegetables and fish from the waters around Port Renfrew. Other non fish items are also available. Please, no cooking inside our units.
► Can I bring my pet/do you have dogs/cats?
We don't allow pets, as we have had problems with people with allergies, as well as lots of barking from our own dogs receiving animal visitors. We however do have two friendly dogs who are not allowed in the Lodge, Yurts or Cabin. Please do not bring dogs of any size onto the property. We will not honour your reservation if you have a pet with you or in your car.
Sorry, there are no exceptions to this.
► Is there Cell service and/or Wifi at the Lodge?
There is no
cell service in Port Renfrew. Guest are welcome to use our guest phone to make calls however. All of our units now have WIFI, including the yurts and cabin.