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Sail with Whales along the Saguenay Fjord

Published by Tina Isa, Writer

Country: Canada

The Experience

Even for most Canadians, the Saguenay Fjord is one of those little-known hidden gems, proving just how vast and spectacular this corner of the globe can be. Located about a six-hour drive directly north of Montreal, this area can easily be mistaken for the northern regions of Europe. Quaint villages and small towns are enclosed by looming mountains and vast expanses of water.

For a fun family-friendly day trip, head directly to the Saguenay Fjord itself, said to be one of the largest in the world. Take the ferry to Saint-Felix-d'Otis - the boat ride itself is breathtaking, so make sure to have a camera on-hand! As soon as you debark, you'll find yourself in Nouvelle France, an open-air museum complete with costumed actors to give you an authentic experience of life amongst the natives and European settlers in the 17th century. You will likely spend several hours exploring the vintage exhibits, equestrian show and interactive demonstrations, and can round off your afternoon with a visit to their restaurant for a taste of some 17th century fare.

Based on your interests, you can also choose other types of boat trips down the Saguenay Fjord for a sampling of different activities. Some offer a relaxing cruise (or even a more intimate water-taxi for just one or two people) along the lengths of the fjord, with a guide to tell you about the history and highlights of the region. Other boat trips offer whale-watching trips, fishing (cod) and guided naturalist tours, while finally you can even find one boating trip of a slightly more religious nature - Croisières du Fjord takes visitors along to a little village called Sainte-rose-du-Nord and on the way, it stops for a few minutes of silent reflection at the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay (Our Lady of Saguenay).




When to Go to Saguenay Fjord

Since winter hits hard and fast in Saguenay (reaching temperatures of -40C at its worst!), summer is the best time to visit, between May to August (generally later in the summer is better).

This is also the best time to find local produce. There are a number of cheese factories that are open to the public, where you can buy fresh products in their adjoining shops. And let's not forget the surplus of fresh blueberries that grow seemingly everywhere in Saguenay! Before you leave, head to a bakery and purchase a fresh Saguenay blueberry pie or a box of chocolate-covered fresh blueberries for a sweet reminder of your trip.

Odds n' Ends

The locals are extremely friendly and will fall into conversation with you in a heartbeat. Travellers should note though that most of the locals tend to only speak French (that too with a thick northern accent which can be hard to understand).

The towns are quite small and usually not up-to-date with the latest technology, so you might have a hard time finding an internet cafe or even cell phone reception in some of the more remote areas. It would be best to rent a car to get to Saguenay, as taxis are minimal (I don't even recall seeing any while I was there).

Lastly, keep a hoodie or jacket with you if you're planning on being out all day, in case the weather does turn cold suddenly.


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French , Italian , Japanese , Lao , Portugese , Russian , Spanish , Turkish , Vietnamese are some of the languages spoken in Canada. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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