Hesquiat Wilderness Retreat - Included and What to Know

Date for 2016 - August 16-21, 2016


This unforgettable package offers:


  • Membership in Taste (paid separately)

  • 3 nights hostel accommodations in Vancouver

  • 4 nights wilderness camping on Salt Spring Island

  • 6 nights wilderness camping in Bamfield

  • 3 days of intensive 'deep nature' initiation

  • Nature skills, wilderness training, camping skills

  • All meals including welcome & farewell restaurant dinners in Vancouver

  • Bus transfers and transportation throughout

  • All local guides, teachers and entrances

  • Island ferry crossings and sailing

  • Natural foods and wild edibles

  • Fabulous beaches for swimming & surfing

  • Campfire cooking & camping out under the stars

  • Dungeness crab and side-striped shrimp fishing

  • Wild salmon fishing from canoes, fishing boats or sailboats

  • Nature walks and forest food foraging with trained guides

  • Beach combing and clay bread-oven baking (90 second pizza!)

  • Unforgettable scenery, landscapes and seascapes

  • Live music events, great memories, new friends...


Not included:

Airfare*, maps, personal effects, battery-less LED flashlights (highly recommended), pen knives or Swiss Army knives, telephone or camera chargers, electrical adapters, beach towels, beach bags, umbrellas, rain gear, any entrances not included in the itinerary, meals not mentioned, guide gratuities and transfer from Vancouver at the end of the tour to any other destination. Sleeping bags are provided, but we invite you to bring your own if you can.


What you need to know

Behaviour & Safety Policy

Safety is a priority for all Taste Tours activities. Our policies and staff training are designed to promote a healthy and inclusive space for all participants. Should any challenges with respect to behaviour arise, we have a problem-solving framework that offers support to all involved. Any disciplinary measures that may be required are fair and progressive, and intended to be used as a teaching tool.

Our guides respond immediately to issues of verbal or physical intimidation, putdowns of any kind, or any situation that creates discomfort for participants. We hope that prior to joining our tour you will discuss the importance of positive interactions with others, so that we are simply reinforcing these lessons during the tour.

A safe environment requires safe practices. The possession, use, or being in the presence of alcohol, tobacco or related paraphernalia during the tour, or at any sponsored activity by any participant is prohibited to minors and closely monitored.


Health & Safety

Health and safety are our top priorities. We believe that the foundation for good health is a healthy immune system sustained through a healthy diet and so maintain a policy of 100% organic, local, seasonal and wild foods for all meals.

Our guides have first-aid training and a rigorous approach to safety is practiced throughout our tours.

'Finding the Wild' tour is an active adventure that includes daily contact with all of the elements and we expect participants to learn to master these elements, especially fire and water. We cook on open fires and swimming and hiking are daily activities. The Canadian wilderness is not tame and there are elements of possible danger of which participants must be aware. Cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and exposure to sun, wind, rain, rocky terrain, living forests and the majesty of the sea are all part of the experience. Though we do our utmost to protect participants from injury, it may be expected that cuts, scrapes, burns and insect bites do happen. We maintain close contact with emergency services in the event of accidents and our guides are well equipped with extensive first aid kits.

For those sensitive to insect bites or who tend to be accident prone, we encourage you to bring your own collection of Band-Aids and insect repellent.


We engage in informal and regular discussions with all of the participants on the
'Finding the Wild' tour to ensure that every participant is adjusting to the experience and participating in activities to their fullest potential. This process allows participants to have the support they need for a successful wilderness experience.

Sun safety

People are not always aware that cloudy days can still cause sun damage to skin. No one wants sunburn to spoil their day, so we encourage sun awareness and offer these basic rules:


  •      Pack and wear a hat.

  •     Wear protective clothing, in particular loose fitting clothing, preferably with sleeves.

  •     Avoid sunbathing.

  •     Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

  •     On extremely sunny days stay in the shade as much as possible.

Food & Health

'Finding the Wild' tour is an outdoor wilderness adventure that is also an awareness programme about food sourcing. Our aim is to help participants discover what the real tastes of foods are by encouraging direct links between farming and nature and the transformation of foods through cooking, fermenting, macerating and seasoning. Direct sourcing from organic farms, cheese-makers, bakers and wilderness and coastal foraging are the focus of the tour and offer an intimate connection with nature's pantry. The camping experience is hands-on and so everyone is required to help with the gathering, preparation and cooking processes.

The tour is for 'omnivores' and includes many wild salmon cookouts, but the relationship with meat and fish is limited to local, organic, sustainable sources to help emphasise the threat to our planet that over-consumption of meat represents.


Camping & Cooking Equipment

Taste Tours provides all camping equipment and cooking materials, but expects that these materials be respected and maintained in good condition. Tents, inflatable mattresses, ground sheets, sleeping bags, tarpaulins, water bottles, fresh water containers, solar showers, cooking equipment and waterproof containers and totes are all provided. Our tents are large and spacious (each tent sleeps up to 6) with large storage / entrances and are entirely rainproof.



'Finding the Wild' tour is a very active tour. Urban cycling, swimming, hiking, foraging, fishing, tracking, sailing, surf-boarding are all integral parts of the tour, but are not an exhaustive list. Survival skills and wood lore including building shelters, starting fires without matches and cooking without pots and pans are basic training and wood gathering, chopping wood with an axe, and building fires are daily activities. Cooking is an especially important part of the experience, turning tasks into fun, and everyone is required to participate in preparing the daily meals.

Team sports such as basketball, volleyball, beach football and baseball are regular activities and canoeing, kayaking, snorkelling and other water sports are also possible.


Electronics and Technology

The fundamental idea behind the
'Finding the Wild' tour is connecting with nature, so disconnecting from electrical gadgets is part of that. Electrical outlets for charging MP3 players, telephones and cameras are few and far between and so we cannot assure that these machines will function in the wild. It might be better to simply forget about them while camping...


What to bring (guidelines)


  •      2 pairs of jeans

  •     2 pairs of shorts

  •     1 'dress shirt', dress or skirt

  •     A good pair of water resistant hiking / walking shoes

  •     Sandals

  •     Water shoes for rocky beaches

  •     5 or 6 very good thick pairs of wool or cotton socks

  •     5 or 6 pairs of underwear

  •     2 swim suits

  •     A toque (bonnet) or hat

  •     2 warm sweaters or fleeces

  •     A 'hoody'

  •     4 or 5 T-shirts

  •     A good quality rainproof jacket


  •      A notebook for keeping track of wild edible plants and species

  •     A pen / pencil

  •     A cloth laundry bag

  •     A cloth bag for foraging

  •     A small back-pack for hiking

  •     A wind-up pocket lamp (dynamo rechargeable)

  •     A Swiss Army knife or Opinel

  •     Waterproof Matches

  •     Band-Aids

  •     Insect Repellent

  •     Sunglasses


West Coast summer weather is characteristic of a marine temperate climate. It is very changeable with heavy rainfall possible even in July and August. Rainfall averages 120cm per year; summer temperature average is 14 degrees Celsius (57 F) with highs in the upper 20's. Heavy morning fog is very common, especially in July and August.


Passports, visas

There are no visa requirements for Europeans travelling to Canada. Visitors traveling to Canada from all countries must present a valid passport (with at least 6 months left before the passport expires). Before entering Canada, all visitors are responsible for ensuring that they have the required documents necessary.

Persons under the age of 18 seeking to enter Canada are classified as minors and are subject to the entry requirements set out under the
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

A more detailed examination will be conducted for minors entering Canada without proper identification or those travelling in the company of adults other than their parents or legal guardian(s). This additional scrutiny helps ensure the safety of the children.

Persons under 18 years of age travelling by themselves must have their own passports; they cannot use the passport of their parents even if their details are endorsed in that passport.


If a minor child is travelling alone:

If the child is travelling alone, the child should have a copy of their birth certificate as well as a letter of authorization, preferably in English or French, signed by both parents or by their legal guardian. The letter of authorization should give the parents’ (or legal guardian’s) address(es) and telephone number(s). It should also include the name, address and telephone number of the adult who will be responsible for the child in Canada.

All tour participants under the age of 18 arriving from Europe will be met at the Vancouver International Airport and escorted to their hostel or host family (see Tour Extensions) at the beginning of the tour, and likewise escorted to the airport at the end of the tour for their return flight.


Travel Insurance

We recommend you take out travel insurance covering medical expenses, personal accident, cancellation and personal property.


Tour Extensions

Taste Tours can organise extensions with host families prior to or after the tour. Please
contact us for further information.