Wellness in Tofino is not hard to come by – in fact, it’s this Canadian Pacific Northwest town’s brand. Whether in a downward dog, dipping in a hot spring, exploring the surrounding rain forest or the thundering waves, in Tofino, wellness will find you.

A true Tofitian is quite a rare find. The rugged natural beauty and misty ocean waves here in Tofino, British Columbia seem to capture those who come on vacation and then simply never go home. It certainly takes a little effort to get to Tofino, located at the very end of the Pacific Rim Highway on the most westerly drivable section of Vancouver Island. That’s the point. Coming here is a conscious, deliberate choice to slow down and recharge. The last part of the drive, winding around mossy forests, opens to views across the dramatic Cox Bay bordered by the Pacific Sands Beach Resort, where a wellness retreat awaits to leave you feeling brand new.

An empty beach with a rugged coastline. Sea mist is rising from the waves in the distance
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is at the edge of Cox Bay © Fiona Tapp / Lonely Planet

Sample the facilities at Pacific Sands Beach Resort

Whether you choose to stay in a one bedroom suite or a luxury two-floor beach house, all accommodations at Pacific Sands Beach Resort come with a fully equipped kitchen as standard. This makes it convenient for those traveling as a family, allowing them to prepare meals and snacks without having to venture into town or down to the Surfside Grill for tacos and burgers.

You’ll find complimentary Saturday morning yoga classes on offer as well as options to add on surfing lessons with on-site Surf Sister. Borrow a bike and take a ride into town or just enjoy those Pacific Ocean views which impress all year round, whether bathed in summer sun or shrouded in a wintry mist. Pacific Sands branded yellow fisher style jackets hang in your suite so you’ll always be ready to explore the beach no matter the weather.

Relax at Hot Springs Cove

You can only get to Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park and Protected Area by float plane or boat. You’ll need to do a little walking to get to the hot springs, along the boardwalk which snakes around giant trees. The geothermal hot springs flow from a waterfall into seven rocky pools. Each pool get progressively cooler the closer they are to the ocean, allowing for a completely natural hydrotherapy experience.

Join a yoga retreat

Yoga is practically a lifestyle in Tofino with most accommodations offering classes as well as many stand-alone studios in town. There is also the annual Winterlights Tofino Yoga Retreat held at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. It includes yoga and meditation classes, meals and access to the Winterlights show.

Two paddleboarders head in from the surf carrying their boards and oars
Paddleboarders coming in from the surf, Tofino © Jeremy Koreski / Tourism Tofino

Find yourself in the surf

Those moody Pacific waves welcome visitors to Tofino and help them to take a deep breath and ground themselves in this place. Along the 35km of beaches and coastline you can feel the ebb and flow of the ocean current. Paddleboarding or going out on a surfboard is one of the purest ways to de-stress and connect with nature.

If you’re a novice, take a class with Surf Sister right at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort or at Chesterman beach and find out why surfers are so chilled out!

Treat yourself to local chocolate and beer

Wellness isn’t all about green juice and meditating, it’s also about kicking back and enjoying yourself. What better way to do that than with locally produced beer and chocolate?

After a tiring morning spent surfing, get yourself to the Tofino Brewing Co, the only brewery in town. Sample its amazing Kelp and Spruce Tree Ales, both of which are crafted with locally harvested ingredients.

Allan Pearson from Tofino Brewing Co often surfs before or after work and says it’s one of the draws of living in Tofino. “We might not get the best surf in the world, but we do get it every day!” he says.

A man and a woman stand together smiling at the camera. In front of them is a tray of artisanal chocolates
Kim and Cam Shaw from Chocolate Tofino © Fiona Tapp / Lonely Planet

Kim and Cam Shaw who own Chocolate Tofino, a tiny but incredibly popular chocolate store and gelato spot, first came to Tofino on a career sabbatical. They couldn’t stop thinking about the Vancouver Island destination and the little chocolate shop they had visited. Once they returned home they reached out to enquire about buying the chocolate business and have been in Tofino ever since. Visit during a power outage (a fairly common occurrence in stormy Tofino) and you can grab half price treats!

Find the scent for you at The Apothecary

Step inside Claire Bond’s garage-based apothecary and scent envelops you. Here at Clarity Apothecary and Clarity Integrated Health she will place before you her nine signature scents and allow you to experience each one. It’s a simple yes or no she says, there are no maybes, smell is such a powerful sense that you immediately know whether or not it speaks to you.

Bond offers integrated health sessions as well as producing her beautifully designed line of Clarity Apothecary products across Tofino, Vancouver, Ucelet, Whistler and as far as Los Angeles.

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