Canada’s Really Big

A few people have mentioned that Victoria, BC is really nice and “hey wouldn’t that be a better destination?” To their credit, yes Victoria is really nice. Or so I’ve been told, since I haven’t actually been there. There’s only two gotchas:

  1. It’s still too cold: winter temperatures are between 3 and 7ºC on average. Oh, and they still get snow.
  2. It’s really not that close.

For some reason, people seem to think that because Victoria is in Canada it’s faster and easier to get to. That isn’t true. Here’s an image from Great Circle Mapper to show us why:

Map showing great circle routes from Toronto to Victoria and San Jose, Costa Rica

From To Distance Flight Time Cost
Toronto (YYZ) Victoria (YYJ) 3380 km 4:54 avg* $760
Toronto (YYZ) San Jose, CR (SJO) 3759 km 5:20 $900**
Difference 379 km 0:25 $140

Notes:

* I’m guessing due to winds, but Air Canada Shows YYZ to YYJ at 5:12 and the return at 4:35

** I couldn’t actually get a price from Air Transat directly, so this is the cheapest package I could find on selloffvacations.com. Yes, that includes hotel and food, though I’d just drop it since they’re actually cheaper than Air Canada!

It probably took you longer to eat lunch than the difference in time it would take to get to San Jose than Victoria. Compared to the flight time and the time to get to the airport, deal with security, etc. it’s really insignificant.

What is significant is customs and immigration. Yes, getting permanent residency in Costa Rica is a hassle. But you know what? It’s worse in the US. Also, I can go for 90 days at a time without even worrying about it. For the lengths of the trips I’m looking at, it really doesn’t make a difference. There are actually bigger hurdles ahead of me than that.

All said, it’s worth it to me to go somewhere actually warm – and without snow! – than not have to deal with customs.

All of this, because Canada’s Really Big.

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