Aerial Photo of the Sea To Sky Highway in British Columbia

How To Get To Whistler – 8 Best Ways To Arrive From Vancouver Airport

Looking for ways on how to get to Whistler, Canada from Vancouver Airport? We’ve got you covered. Check out this handy guide with recommendations on transport options to get you to this picturesque mountain town.

Whistler stands as a mountain destination like no other, beckoning adventurers with its majestic peaks and thrilling outdoor pursuits. Nestled roughly 2 hours north of downtown Vancouver in British Columbia, this enchanting town offers a playground for skiing, biking, hiking, and sightseeing alike.

How to get to Whistler

Airport Arrival Options

For travelers seeking the easiest access, Vancouver Airport (YVR) is the best port of call to get to Whistler. It is the city’s major airport and has the most transport links. Alternatives like Abbotsford Airport (YXX) exist, but it is a smaller airport usually used by low-cost airlines. Its limited airline services often make Vancouver Airport the preferred choice. Abbotsford airport is approximately 30-45 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

Another option could be to fly to Seattle; however, this route adds an additional journey from Seattle to Vancouver via train, car, or bus (2-3 hours drive by car, longer by train or bus).

8 options for how to get From Vancouver to whistler

Upon touchdown in Vancouver, your journey to the mountain town truly begins. Here, we present eight ways to traverse the distance from Vancouver to Whistler, ranging from the basic to the boujee.

  1. YVR Skylynx
  2. Epic Rides
  3. Whistler Connection
  4. Whistler Executive Transportation
  5. Helicopter
  6. Floatplane (seasonal)
  7. Car Hire
  8. Taxi & Rideshare

It’s worth noting that accessing Whistler during the overnight period (10pm – 8am) can prove challenging via many of the listed transport methods. Unless you’re open to splurging on private transfers or negotiating with a taxi driver, planning your flight arrival time accordingly is advisable.

1. YVR Skylynx

YVR Skylynx Bus at the gateway loop drop off point in Whistler, Canada

YVR Skylynx is a popular and hassle-free shuttle service connecting Vancouver Airport to Whistler’s mountain charm. Offering a seamless transfer experience, Skylynx ensures travelers embark on their Whistler adventure with ease and convenience. Departing directly from Vancouver Airport, the Skylynx shuttle whisks passengers away on a scenic journey along the picturesque Sea-to-Sky Highway, treating them to breathtaking coastal vistas and rugged mountain landscapes along the way.

With its comfortable and spacious coaches equipped with modern amenities, YVR Skylynx prioritizes passenger comfort throughout the journey. Whether you’re traveling solo, with family, or in a group, the shuttle service provides ample legroom and storage space for luggage, ensuring a comfortable and stress-free ride. Additionally, the knowledgeable and friendly drivers occasionally offer insights into the surrounding sights, adding an fun layer to the travel experience.

YVR Skylynx operates a fleet of 52 seater coaches and offers multiple daily departures from Vancouver Airport to Whistler and vice-versa. They also offer multiple pickup and drop-off spots, including Pacific Station in Vancouver (for anyone arriving to Vancouver by train or bus), Burrard St in downtown Vancouver (for anyone already in Vancouver or arriving by other transport options such as cruise ships) and can pick up or drop off in Squamish and at Whistler Creekside (check out our post here for the lowdown on Creekside Village and Whistler Village).

They do also offer a 10% discount for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton locals. To get this discount, you need to book via phone and also email proof of residency. with a copy of ID or bank statement/pay statement.

When travelling to and from Vancouver Airport, we recommend YVR Skylynx and will almost always use them ourselves. If you are searching for how to get to Whistler, YVR Skylynx presents one of the best options.

Note that YVR Skylynx have their scheduled shuttle times on their website and you will book a time. These buses do not wait and leave exactly at the minute they are supposed to, so if you feel like you might be late, it would be best to book a later bus.

YVR Skylynx do have a booth inside the arrivals gate at the international terminal that you can buy tickets at – however buses can often be full and have no availability so it is best to book ahead.

Check out the YVR Skylynx website here for ticket availability and booking.

2. Epic Rides

Another option that provides 52 seater coaches, Epic Rides provides a similar service to YVR Skylynx, albiet with a few differences.

Epic Rides is not licensed to operate out of Vancouver Airport, and so they only offers service between Whistler and downtown Vancouver (Burrard St). It also does not make multiple stops like YVR Skylynx and does not stop at Pacific Station, Squamish or Creekside either. This service operates purely between downtown Vancouver and Whistler.

Epic Rides is competitively priced and is usually runs about the same cost as YVR Skylynx (to and from the downtown area). If you utilize Epic Rides but still need to get to Vancouver airport, you can get there from downtown by taking the Skytrain, Vancouver’s public transport. This operates directly to the airport, and though there is the Burrard Station where the Epic Rides pick up and drop off spot is, you will need to change trains in the downtown area.

To get from Burrard Station to Vancouver Airport, you need to take the Expo Line one stop to Waterfront Station. At Waterfront station, switch trains to the Canada Line, and get on a train headed for Vancouver Airport. Note: The Canada Line does actually split off and trains can have two different final destinations. Ensure you get on the Airport train and not a Richmond-Brighouse bound train.

Overall we don’t feel there is much difference in Epic Rides and YVR Skylynx in terms of service. Both offer similar coaches and driving experience. However, as only YVR Skylynx operates to and from Vancouver Airport, we would recommend them for airport trips. If you are just coming from downtown Vancouver, we would perhaps take Epic Rides as the first choice as they do not have as many stops and so they can be a little quicker.

3. Whistler Connection

Whistler Connection offers shuttle and door to door service, similar to YVR Skylynx from the airport, however they will do it on your schedule. Unlike YVR Skylynx that leave on their own scheduled times, Whistler Connection will ask you for your flight arrival details and will monitor this for any delays. They have a 2 hour guarantee departure, so you will only wait up to 2 hours after you land before leaving for Whistler. This service is great for anyone arriving after the last YVR Skylynx bus but before the last shuttle time.

For example – in Winter, Whistler Connection will take passengers who land at Vancouver airport between 8am and 10pm directly to Whistler. This service is more expensive than YVR Skylynx, but they will also drop you directly at your hotel or accommodation door in Whistler (for an extra nominal fee).

We have used this service when arriving into Vancouver Airport after 6pm but before 10pm so that we can get back to Whistler without having to spend the night in Vancouver, and would recommend this service for anyone in a similar position. During daytime hours, we usually catch the YVR Skylynx instead as it is a cheaper service.

Check out their website here where you can also book directly. Whistler Connection also have a booth set up in the international arrivals terminal before you exit the arrivals area where you can book directly once you land for flights arriving outside of Canada. If you are on a domestic flight from within Canada you cannot access this booth and would need to call their phone number once you land instead.

4. Whistler Executive Transportation

Whistler Executive Transportation provide private transfers between Vancouver Airport and Whistler, as well as providing private chauffer services in Whistler should you need them. They have an updated fleet of new luxury cars including SUVs and mini-vans.

For those looking for a premium service via road, this is what you want. It is also great for large families or groups travelling together as they can take up to 14 passengers in premium mini vans.

Whistler Executive Transportation can also be hired on an hourly chauffer basis for any day tips or exploring while in and around Whistler.

5. Helicopter

Helicopter flying through snowy mountain range near Whistler, Canada

If you want the fastest and most scenic way to get to Whistler, look no further than a private helicopter charter from Vancouver Airport. Taking around 30 minutes, you’ll get great views of downtown Vancouver and its three main mountains, as well as the coastal mountain range and the Garibaldi park on the way to Whistler.

Though not for the faint-hearted, this stylish transport option starts at around $4500 plus tax per helicopter for up to 5 passengers each way.

Check out Tourism Whistler’s page here for more information on this incredible transfer option

6. Floatplane (seasonal)

Another scenic option for the avid adventure seeker, Harbour Air offers flights to Whistler via Floatplane. This service is seasonal though, as the landing area in Whistler is Green Lake, which freezes over during the winter time. Because of this, flights on floatplanes to Whistler are only offered during the warmer summer months.

Located at the Nicklaus North golf club in Whistler, the Harbour Air floatplane base is picturesque and offers complimentary shuttles between their port and many Whistler Village hotels.

They operate between their base at Coal Harbour next to downtown Vancouver, so you will need to get here from the airport via train or taxi.

Operating from spring until fall, you can get all the information you need from their website here.

7. Car Hire

If you need a vehicle in Whistler for day trips and driving to and from the ski hill if you are staying outside of the Whistler Village, hiring a car might be your best option. It can prove cost effective if you have 3-4 passengers (or more with larger cars).

Car hire at Vancouver airport is relatively easy and straightforward. All the major well known brands are located here, including Alamo, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise and Budget. Located just across from the terminals in the parking structure, you will need to collect your luggage and walk across the crosswalks to the adjacent building structure where you will find the offices for the car rental companies.

For anyone arriving in Winter, you should ensure that your car has snow tires equipped as this is a requirement when driving up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler.

Driving time is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours from Vancouver Airport to Whistler, depending on the traffic, weather and road conditions. More information can be found on the Vancouver Airport website about car hire options.

8. Taxi & Rideshare

Whilst a taxi from Whistler to Vancouver is an option, it is the least desirable option on this list, and can sometimes be the most difficult

The cost for a taxi would likely be around $200-$400, and you will also need to find a driver willing to take you that far. Many airport taxis will likely say no to this request unless it’s worth their while.

Uber is available in Vancouver, though it is not available in Whistler. An uber driver may also agree to drive you if you enter the route to Whistler into the Uber app, but many drivers might also decline the request as the distance and time commitment can be a lot.

For these reasons we do not recommend seeking out taxis to get to Whistler, but instead choose one of the above 7 options that will get you there cheaper and just require a little pre-planning. However if you do fancy taking a taxi, you will find a taxi rank outside the arrivals area – talk to the driver to see if they will agree to drive you to Whistler.