So, you need a quick and convenient way to get to the world’s greatest ski resort without blowing your budget? No problem. There are a number relatively inexpensive ways to get here, all of which can be booked in advance (we always recommend doing this – without a seat reserved you could end up forking out for private transport or a beige hotel room in Vancouver).
Here we present the various transport options for the 125km ride from Vancouver to Whistler…
For some of the cheapest fares, we recommend Greyhound. Buses depart from Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station (easily reachable by public bus in Vancouver) and drop you off in the Village. There are currently four services a day – if you select non-peak times you can sometimes pick up tickets for less than $20 (tip: book online at greyhound.ca for further discounts). Greyhound buses also have free wifi, so you can check out what the Pangea team has been up to on our Instagram account while en route.
Pacific Coach Lines is a reliable option if you’re wanting to travel to Whistler directly from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), though this convenience comes at a cost ($59 at time of writing). The service runs via downtown Vancouver, so you can also catch the bus from there if you’re already in the city. Doing so will save you around $30 on your ticket – which, if you’re arriving at the airport and are serious about saving money, makes it incredibly tempting to take the SkyTrain / “Canada Line” ($5-8) to Vancouver City Centre Station and walk 7 minutes to the departure point at Burrard Station from there (see map below).
As well as the convenience of a direct service from the airport to your hotel door in Whistler (which we hope will be Pangea, of course), Pacific Coach Lines offer slightly more luxurious buses than Greyhound, free wifi and up to 6 services a day in winter.
Bringing your own ski gear to Whistler? Check out Snowbus, which unlike mainstream operators does not charge luggage fees. Nor do they have cancellation fees, which is handy if you need a little flexibility. Other perks include free wifi, free protein bars, and a free drop-off at Vancouver International on your return (unfortunately Snowbus can’t offer an airport pick-up). Services run up to three times a day in winter (with multiple Vancouver pick-up locations) and cost $38 – though fares have been seen on the Snowbus website for as little as $24 one-way and $35 return. We recommend booking your tickets around November or early December for the best deals.
Epic Rides offer epic value for money, especially if you’re bringing a mountain bike to Whistler. One-way tickets are a bargain at $24, and they’ll take your MTB for free! They run 6 services a day in summer. Pick-up locations in Vancouver are numerous – check out epicrides.ca for more details.
How about a little commentary on the way to your destination? With Whistler Shuttle’s transfer service, you’ll get a guided tour from your driver as well as a very comfortable ride in a premium vehicle. This is another good option if you want to travel direct from the airport, particularly as their shuttles have no set departure times; they wait for you to arrive, even checking your flight status to see if you’re delayed. Of course, this level of service comes at a higher cost than your average bus, but it does give you some peace of mind.
All of the operators above utilise their own fleet of vehicles. Ridebooker, on the other hand, harnesses the power of multiple fleets, including some of the above, to offer a super-cheap lift ($13 fixed price each way) from downtown Vancouver to Whistler, even at the last minute. They do this by filling the empty seats on services run by various companies, making this a seriously compelling option if you don’t mind which operator you end up getting.
Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for more insight and more tips and tricks to experiencing the best of the unique mountain town of Whistler on a budget.