Deposited onto a deck of fragrant yellow cedar in a secluded inlet, my husband and I stand alone in silence as our captain maneuvers the boat into retreat. Save for the occasional splash of a diving cormorant and the faraway trickle of an unseen waterfall, we’re ready to enter Tofino’s latest wellness experience, the new West Coast Floating Sauna.
Officially opened in February, the new floating sauna is just 30 minutes by boat from Tofino Resort + Marina's on-site Marine Adventure Centre. The wood-fired cedar sauna is located deep within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in a remote, protected bay in the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
“We wanted [to] bring the feeling of remoteness within reach for our guests,” says Christopher Fehr, general manager of Tofino Resort + Marina. “With the support and partnership of the Indigenous community, we found the perfect spot to anchor this incredible wellness offering, opening up our wild backyard to those who seek it.”
Marcus PaladinoJill SalterJill Salter
The floating sauna sits in a truly off-the-grid location, far from cell service and Wi-Fi. However, guests are provided with a radio to reach the Marine Adventure Centre and their captain, who remains on the boat nearby and tends to the sauna and the fire before and throughout the experience, if needed.
The sauna is heated by a Harvia Legend GreenFlame which boasts a cleaner wood-burning fire chamber to protect the wilderness surroundings. And through their booking, guests contribute to the preservation of the Clayoquot Sound watershed. Two per cent of the total bill is dispersed between the Tribal Parks Alliance and the Resort’s own Fish for the Future Foundation (part of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust).
After soaking in the steamy warmth of the cedar sauna and enjoying the picture view through a ceiling-to-floor window, it’s time to cool off – Wim Hof-style – with a cold plunge into the salty waters of the bay. (For the less committed, there's an outdoor shower.) To conclude the hot-cold-rest circuit, relax next to the crackling flames of the firepit or in the hammock. The fun is rounded out with a rope swing, dock speaker, paddleboards and kayaks.
On the boat ride back, we stop to check a trap – an optional excursion add-on called “Cook Your Catch," where collected crabs and prawns are prepared by the talented chefs back at the Resort’s 1909 Kitchen.
The unique floating sauna experience soothes stress away, whetting an appetite for more servings of adventure on B.C.’s wild West Coast.
When you go
- The five-hour, round-trip sauna adventure costs $800CAD (plus tax and fees) for four people. Add +$100 per additional guest, to a maximum group size of eight. During high season – which starts May 1st – the base rate is $1,000.
- Guests can also pre-order a picnic lunch at the time of booking.
- Trips depart rain or shine, including during Tofino's renowned storm-watching season which runs October through March.
- Book year-round at the Marine Adventure Centre.
Getting to Tofino: Tofino is accessible via a five-hour road trip from Vancouver (inclusive of the ferry) or a one-hour seaplane flight with Harbour Air, which lands at the Resort's dock.