Surrounded by half-bare, scrub-covered, ochre hills, OSOYOOS (which comes from the Syilx’tsn word suius for “narrowing of the waters”) has one of Canada’s most curious landscapes. With a mere 25cm of rain per year, this is a bona fide desert, with lizards, cacti and snakes: 23 types of invertebrate are endemic. Temperatures are regularly 10°C higher than in Nelson, less than a morning’s drive away, which means exotic fruit like bananas and pomegranates can be grown, with the temperature also inspiring the odd adobe building around town. Its other great feature is Lake Osoyoos, Canada’s warmest freshwater lake, with an average summer temperature of 24°C. In summer it comes alive with swimmers and boaters while streams of RVs slow-tail their way northwards.

The relative lack of crowds and strange scenery might persuade you to do your beach-bumming in Osoyoos, though you may be pushed to find space in any of the town’s twenty or so hotels and motels during high season.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

Canada is famous for its stunning vistas, from the Arctic shores to the Rocky Mountains. But that's not all the country has to boast about. It also has engro…

30 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Simply put, Canada is stunning. The second largest country in the world, Canada is a land of crashing waterfalls, turquoise lakes and magnificent soaring mounta…

29 Jun 2017 • Olivia Rawes videocam Video
Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Rugged and vast, Canada is a road-trippers dream. Driving gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace – pull over and drink in the scenery along the wa…

27 Jun 2017 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right