Dos & Don'ts for Traveling to Haida Gwaii in Canada

Haida Gwaii shore
Skidegate, a Haida village. ISL0512_Feat_Haida-GwaiiJad Davenport

DO Check out You'll find maps, things to do and accommodations on Haida Gwaii.

DON'T Delay booking accommodations. They fill up really quickly in the summer. If you're looking for an intimate feel, try Eagles Feast House in Masset (run by Haida artist April White and her chef/pianist husband, Farhad). Englehard's Oceanview Lodge in Masset is clean and comfortable, and caters to groups, while Dorothy & Mike's Guest House in Skidegate is a nice place to meet other travelers.

DO Book a comfortable bunk with Maple leaf Adventures. Short of hiring a seaplane, its nine-day journeys aboard a classic schooner are the only way to reach the haunting shores of SGang Gwaay. En route you'll be treated to delicious meals and plenty of opportunities to hike and kayak. Quarters are private, curtained bunks, with two shared bathrooms. Most of the trip is motoring, but you'll also get a chance to be under sail.

DON'T Forget to spend some time at the $26 million Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. It has a beautiful collection of canoes and totem poles.

DO Get a small group together. Call chef Roberta Olsen at Keenawii's Kitchen. She'll serve you delicious traditional Haida food in her home; feel free to bring a bottle of wine. 250-559-8347

DON'T Take the slow, rocking ferry to the islands. Air Canada and Pacific Coastal Airlines are quicker and easier alternatives.

DO Be careful if you rent a car. There is logging on Haida Gwaii, and the trucks are fast and often overloaded. Stay out of their way.

DON'T let the tongue-twisting names of the Gwaii Haanas national Park reserve, national Marine Conservation Area and Haida Heritage Site throw you off. Gwaii Haanas (as locals call it) is a spectacular wilderness from mountaintop to seafloor.

DO Book a custom day trip with Haida Gwaii Discovery Tours. Run by the mayor of Masset, these land-based excursions take you to wild beaches and forests up north and to the last Haida villages. 1-866-626-3949;

DON'T Skip Sarah's Haida Arts and Jewelry in Old Massett. Or All About U Art gallery near Skidegate for original argillite, jewelry and wood carvings.