Arrange Your Transportation to Bowen Island Before Landing at YVR

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So, the plane has landed at YVR Airport, and you’re excited about arriving at your beautiful Bowen Island vacation rental. Adventure and relaxation await. Now, how to get from Vancouver International Airport to Bowen Island?

If you’re planning important travel details on-the-fly, as you leave the plane, you’re risking the vacation you have been looking forward to, and that you have invested money on. So much can go wrong, if left up to chance.
Vancouver International Airport to Horsesshoe Bay to Bowen Island, British Columbia
Be Prepared – don’t leave your travel arrangements up to chance.
The Bowen Island Ferry schedule determines all comings and goings to and from the Mainland. It is important to note that the ferry crosses Georgia Strait approximately once every hour. The first ferry departs Horseshoe Bay (HSB) at 5:50 am and the last at 10 pm. The ferry schedule is seasonal and should be consulted for all sailing times and possible service notices.
Important ferry FAQs:
  • 10 pm is the last ferry crossing for the evening. 
  • First come, first aboard; no reservations necessary.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before sailing time. If a commuter crossing, you may want to arrive 45 minutes before sailing.
  • Ticket sale cut-off is 10 minutes before the sailing time and fare includes round trip.
  • Consider purchasing an Experience Card if you will be making more than two round trips from Bowen Island to the Mainland. 
  • The Bowen Island Ferry crossing takes 20 minutes.
We highly recommend that all of our Bowen Island Accommodation guests rent a vehicle. 
Renting a vehicle for traveling from the Airoport to the island will simplify your trip and give you more "getting-around" options while on Bowen. 
There are no ubers or taxis on Bowen Island. 

Renting a vehicle* will simplify transportation from YVR to HSB and traveling around Bowen. Renting a car from Richmond rather than at the airport will save you money. *Ask about AWD vehicle requirements for the Lazy properties. 
Vancouver International Airport to Bowen Island, British Columbia route
Are you renting a car or catching a cab? Arrive at Vancouver airport no later than 7:30 pm.
Rent a car - It is possible to make the 10 pm ferry with your drive time being approx. 40 – 60 minutes. Renting a car is advantageous especially when driving off the ferry on the Bowen side as you will then have transportation to get you to your accommodation.  Use real-time traffic and mapping from YVR to Snug Cove on Bowen Island.     
Hiring a Vancouver taxi cab at the airport –Your travel time from the Vancouver Airport to Horseshoe Bay is approximately 40 – 60 minutes during non-commuter hours.  Keep in mind there is no Uber or Lyft in Vancouver.
Are you using public transportation? Arrive at Vancouver International Airport no later than 6 pm.
A 6 pm flight arrival or earlier is recommended.  If you are a savvy public transportation traveler with just a carry-on, it is possible to land at 7 pm and make it to the 10 pm ferry.  In all cases, planning ahead of time for your SkyTrain, bus, and ferry connections is essential. 
First, catch the SkyTrain at YVR Airport Station (Domestic Departures Level 3) and ride from YVR to City Centre Station in downtown Vancouver (SkyTrain service from YVR goes to this station en route to Waterfront Station.) The SkyTrain trip to downtown Vancouver takes approx. 25 minutes.

Departure times for the SkyTrain between YVR and downtown Vancouver are approx. every 5 minutes throughout the day (slightly reduced service in late PM hours). The service runs between 5:10 am and 1:05 am.
Get off the SkyTrain at City Centre Station. Once outside the City Centre Station, locate Georgia St and head east toward the Hudson's Bay Company store, cross the street at Georgia and Granville to the north side of Georgia, and board the next #257 Horseshoe Bay Express Bus. An additional choice is the 250 Horseshoe Bay bus, which takes about 20 minutes longer than the 257.

Walk east along Georgia, cross to the north side in front of Hudson's Bay for the 257 stop
Ride the #257 Express bus from West Georgia St. across the Lion's Gate Bridge, to its final stop at Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. The ferry waiting rooms are a 10-minute walk from the bus stop and remember that the ferry ticket sale cut-off is 10 minutes before the sailing time. You should also allow for 10 to 15 minutes to wait in line to purchase your ticket, just to be safe. During the busy season with lots of travel to our fair island, lineups can be long.
Read our past blog post about public transportation, so you are completely informed and organized before stepping off your flight at YVR. 
Arriving on Bowen Island without a car? (Not recommended)
Arriving on Bowen without a vehicle will leave you with transportation challenges. 
  • Shuttle Bus travel on Bowen is limited to the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite.  The last shuttle bus #281 to the Lazy properties leaves Snug Cove at 8:25 pm.
  • NO car rentals, Ubers, or taxis are available on Bowen. (Note the one “Bowen Island taxi” on Bowen runs on Friday and Saturday nights only and is unpredictable. We no longer include the “BI taxi” as a mode of transportation on Bowen.)
  • Walking from the ferry dock to the properties takes approximately 60 minutes. The route is very hilly, lightly traveled country roads with no sidewalks or street lights. Consider your fitness level, luggage load, the weather and time of arrival; if hiking to and from your accommodations during your stay, keep a flashlight handy for travel after sunset.
  • Hitchhiking is legal on Bowen and an accepted mode of transportation. Stick your thumb out and put your smile on to get a ride from a local Bowener. Watch for Bowen LIFT signs. 
Will you miss the last ferry at 10 pm?
Recommended:  Book a hotel in Vancouver or Horseshoe Bay   
Murray Atherton, our neighbor, and past Tourism Bowen Island Chair says: “I’d suggest booking the Accent Inn, Holiday Inn, or the Sandman Hotel (not inn) on St. Edwards Drive. All of them offer free airport shuttles. Guests  then could take a taxi or arrange a pick up at the hotel from a car rental agency in Richmond vs. the Airport (a lot cheaper).”
6588 Royal Ave, West Vancouver 
10551 St Edwards Dr, Richmond 
3233 St Edwards Dr, Richmond 
1 604-303-8888
10720 Cambie Rd, Richmond 
Bowen Island Accommodations hopes this will assist our guests with their travel planning from YVR to Bowen Island. If you have questions about transportation, please ask. We want our guests to have a smooth travel experience.