Cortes Island, BC offers adventure, romance and pristine coastal wilderness
Cortes supports a population of 1,000 which expands in the summer to 3,000. Large portions of Cortes remain uninhabited and wild.
The island itself is 25 km long and 13 km wide.
160 km north of Vancouver, Cortes Island is accessible by boat and seaplane as well as car ferry. It's a quick half hour flight from downtown Vancouver by seaplane. Flying with carriers that leave from Vancouver International Airport to Campbell River takes forty minutes in the air. From Campbell River, you can connect with the Discovery Launch water taxi, for a quick and gorgeous half hour trip to Cortes by water. Flights are also available from Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver to the nearby Campbell River. Another option is to rent a car in Campbell River and take the ferry to Cortes.
Cortes is home to a thriving arts and crafts community. An array of performing artists headline at the island's "Hall" throughout the summer, and every Friday, you can take in the local culture at "The Friday Market," where artisans, cooks and craftspeople sell their creations. Marnie's bookstore, across the street from the hall, is open during the summer, small, but packed with the latest great books. You can usually find Marnie seated in the store, enthusiastically reviewing and recommending. A few steps from Marnie's, the Coop sells fresh, local organic fruits and vegetables and has shelves stocked with the regular organic grocery fare. Bertha's, across the street, sells liquor, rents videos and functions as a small general store. The skate park is located up the hill from the hall. Walk a little further and you'll find the health center. In the woods across from the health center is one of my favourite walks. The path winds through huge trees and follows the high bank above the ocean then drops down to Manson's Lagoon. My other favourite thing to do is to ride bikes to Linnaea Farm, see what's fresh on the farm stand and then cut back to Hague Lake for a swim. Ah, summer.
Hollyhock offers delicious meals, classes, retreats, and presentations by an impressive list of teachers, health experts, and performers. Gourmet food can also be enjoyed at The Cove Restaurant in Squirrel Cove, on the exquisitely beautiful northern end of the island.
Locals take pride in the quality shellfish harvested on the island, and no trip would be complete without a succulent seafood dinner. For a gourmet extravaganza, visit this year's annual SeaFest 2011 on Victoria Day weekend. For more details, check out the Cortes Island community calendar.
For accommodation, check out Beach House Holidays (Cedar Moon on map above) and Cortes Island Vacation Rentals. The first offers spacious comfort and drop dead beautiful views of Desolation Sound from the living room window, as well as private beachfront.
Cortes Island Vacation Rentals offers idyllic cabins, cottages, and vacation homes at every price. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway, a family holiday, or an individual retreat, consider Cortes.