Tadoussac... where to start? The story starts before our trip to France, when my cousin tells me about a youth hostel that was warmly recommended to him. Moreover, Tadoussac is a place not to be missed to see the whales... so why not? I can tell you that the adventure we lived there, I am not ready to forget it!
We had booked a flight there in advance... and what an adventure to reach our destination! We left from Montreal where we had started our Roadtrip across Canada. First of all, we made the mistake of trusting our GPS. On the way, there is a ferry that we have to take and the GPS indicated us the one of the Wolf River (it's not the right one). We arrived on the spot and there was no one there, just a guard who laughed at our false information about the ferry. Indeed, the ferry is not free and only crosses twice a day. If, like me, you realize this on the spot, you'll have to turn back and cross everything again by the Quebec City bridge. A nice 6 hours detour in perspective.... The best way to reach Tadoussac is to cross the St-Lawrence river by Quebec City, then take the small ferry from Saguenay (there is one every 20/30 mn 7 days a week). Once you get there, the adventure begins.
The youth hostel "Le Tadoussac Hostel" is located just on the right after taking the ferry. You can easily recognize the building by the color of its carmine red roof. The price per night is really cheap: $24 per person or $60 per double room. You can take a bed in a shared room, or a room for two people maximum. At the reception, you will meet nice people who will explain you all the things to visit in the area: the walks to do, the stores or the places to go to see the whales.
The atmosphere in a youth hostel
After a day of driving (12 hours instead of 6), it was already midnight. We started by having a well deserved beer in the bar of the hostel. It's a great way to meet people during your stay; there's even a pool table, as well as musical instruments available if you want to play a tune. After a short evening in the hostel's bar, we headed for the double room we had rented. The advantage is that you have access to your own bathroom, so you don't have to share it with the rest of the hotel ;)
In the morning, you have access to the all-you-can-eat breakfast for $4.25. The owners provide you with the utensils and the ingredients, all you have to do is cook. Whether it's pancakes, fried eggs, toast, fruit... you will certainly find what you are looking for!
My advice: In the morning, reserve a place to participate in the evening meal: it's really worth it and it only costs 10$. All the people who have taken this option are having dinner around a very long table (like at a banquet), and everyone is helping to serve and wash the dishes. All this really contributes to create a good atmosphere, and this is how my cousin and I met people to share the stay with.
A little anecdote: one day a week, the building in front of the hostel turns into a bar/nightclub. The DJ is then the convenience store of Tadoussac who comes to animate your evening. A must-see in the area!
All around Tadoussac, you will find a multitude of trails that will punctuate your hiking days! Whether it's along the beach, in the forest or at the Saguenay Fjord, the scenery is breathtaking. If you walk during the fall, the colors of the leaves will be magnificent. And after a long walk, when you come back to Tadoussac, you will be able to taste the comfort. And for that, what better than a duck pancake with a salad at Café Bohême, a real treat!
Going to see the whales
If you've heard of Tadoussac, it's certainly for this reason. If you can see them from the shore near the port, there are also organized whale watching tours that I highly recommend!
The walk lasts about 1h30/2h and is really worth it. I advise you to follow the recommendations that will be given to you on the spot about the layers of clothing to wear. If it's a bit hot on the shore, in the middle of the St-Lawrence the temperature is cooler, but especially the speed of the boat will expose you a lot to the wind. If you have a car at your disposal, I suggest you go with Croisières Baleines Neptune which is located about 20 minutes north of Tadoussac. Their boat is closed and glazed, which makes the expedition more pleasant if the weather is cool. It will cost you about $60 compared to $90 near Tadoussac.
When you arrive to start the trip, you will be equipped with a fisherman's outfit (as you can see on the picture). Once this heavy equipment is on your shoulders, the trip begins with a bus ride to the port. That's it! You are finally going to board the boat! And then, a question arises: Should you choose the right or left side to sit? Indeed, depending on which side of the boat the whale will appear, a luck factor will play. To counteract this factor, my cousin and I split up on one side each to have more chances to capture the best shot or the best video.
And on this trip we were really lucky. We observed Belugas which are endangered (but from far away to respect their space), but also humpback whales, which offer a superb show during their dive. You will leave with stars in your eyes. :)
The atmosphere of Tadoussac
I really think that Tadoussac is in a dimension apart. You lose the notion of time, and you are surrounded by calm, nature and conviviality. I stayed there for only 3 days and I feel like it lasted a whole week... and I really came out rested.
Because yes, Tadoussac is also taking the time to do nothing... Sitting by the port and admiring the landscape, listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Admire the sunset and the sunrise while enjoying being in nature....
Before leaving Tadoussac, with the group of people we met, we decided to leave a note in the inn to leave our mark. So you too come to Tadoussac to write YOUR legend...
If you liked this story, subscribe to my newsletter by putting your email at the bottom of the page