Frequently asked questions
The purpose of this section is to answer the most frequently asked questions about Voyages Coste Travel Packages.
What should I wear?
The Minganie, Anticosti and Lower North Shore regions are not fashion hubs. You are explorers, so dress comfortably and think ‘practical’. Also, in summer and early fall, a good windbreaker is necessary. Ideally, you want to pack t-shirts, jeans, casual slacks, polo shirts and a light sweater for cooler evenings. A good raincoat (poncho) or rain suit is a must. In the warmer months of July and August, and even sometimes in September, summer apparel such as shorts and skirts are recommended. Good walking shoes, sneakers and rubber boots will allow you to comfortably walk the trails, beaches, rocky shoals, plains and wetlands. Remember to bring a hat and sandals. At our latitude, a hooded anorak or some other form of versatile outerwear is very handy.
What accessories do I need and what should I leave at home?
Cell phones are of little to no use here, considering that across 900 km of coastline, only Havre-Saint-Pierre has cell phone service. If you want to immerse yourself in a maritime experience and really soak up the region’s beauty, you could leave your iPod and headphones at home too. But do not leave home without your camera and binoculars. Also, bring a kite for your kids to fly on the beach ‒ or for your own inner child.
How is the weather?
Temperatures are very comfortable from June to October. The summer months as of late have been exceptional, even compared to larger urban centres, such as Montreal and Québec City. While they have experienced rain and extreme humidity, we’ve had mostly sunshine. We are after all the sunniest region in the province.
Even if the lovely months of May and June are also known for their cool breezes and fog that tends to roll in and hover over the Lower North Shore, as soon as the first days of summer arrive, the temperature warms up and usually holds until early October when the wind picks up and the fogs starts rolling back in. November is windy and rainy, and in December the snow arrives and normally stays until April.
Generally, the months of February and March bring very cold temperatures (up to -35 Celsius), making for very dry winters. As the temperature heats up, the sport of snowmobiling becomes extremely enjoyable as well as being the sole means of inter-village transport, on the Lower North Shore, right until the month of April.
They say Quebec’s North Shore is full of mosquitoes. Is it true?
This is mostly true of inland territories. Although coastal regions are somewhat less prone to mosquitoes, there are times and conditions that are more favourable to them. For instance, on a windless day, stopping along a stream may not be wise. But be assured that on the oceanfront, wind or a brisk breeze paired with one of the countless accessories and lotions available today is a surefire way to make your stay pleasurable. You’ll hardly notice our winged fauna!
Speaking of mosquitoes, in June between 5 and 7pm when the winds die down, some suggest we could open a “Mosquito interpretation centre”. But the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastline helps keep them at bay. And on a lovely summer’s night, a nice fire on the beach does the trick too.
Tell me about the people. What are they like?
Very friendly. Generally, one hello calls another ‒ and a smile. We aren’t shy about asking questions or talking about the weather to break the ice, because it may lead to more interesting ‒ even memorable ‒ conversations.
If North Shore men sometimes come off as being cold or hard to approach, it’s only because they have a lot of hard work to do with little time for small talk. But ask them about fishing, hunting, the capelin run, the whales, seals, salmon or trout, their boat and what size motor is on their quad ‒ or ask them about that thingamajig in the back of their pickup ‒ and they’ll have all the time in the world to chat and tell you all about it. You may even come away with a good story or two.
Unless they’re extremely shy, you’ll find that most North Shore people are warm and friendly. They too enjoy a good conversation and in some places like Natashquan, a bar or bistro is a perfect place to meet and chat with the locals, making your stay even more pleasant.
Note that if we find you friendly and interesting or if we feel like you’re enjoying our part of the country, that’s it: you’re a winner. A connection has been made. Maybe a friendship has been spun and ‒ careful ‒ it may last a lifetime. Because everyone wants to come back, once they’ve been here. Some even stay forever.
What languages are spoken?
When Jacques Cartier arrived, Innu was the only language spoken. Today, we can say three languages are spoken along the 900 kilometres of coastline, depending on the community. In Minganie between Sheldrake and Natashquan, as well as in Port-Menier on Anticosti Island, French is mostly spoken but some people are bilingual should you wish to speak English. And if you meet a member of a First Nations community, you may have a chance to speak the few words of Innu we’ve taught you. On the Lower North Shore, depending on the village you are visiting, English, French or Innu are spoken.
How do we get around the “coast”?
Travelling with the Cooperative for a Sustainable Tourism Environment (Voyages CoSte) means you are pretty much guaranteed to be using the same means of transportation as North Shore residents: whether by road, boat, airplane, seaplane, zodiac or motor boat (taxis-boat), all are accredited to transport passengers. ATVs or snowmobiles could eventually be added (depending on the package) to the modes of transportation used by Voyages CoSte. Early winter, you might even have a chance to travel from Harrington Harbour to Chevery by helicopter.
What are the first nations (Innu) like?
Native Innu established themselves on the North Shore thousands of years ago, after years and years of seasonal migration into the hinterland. A sedentary lifestyle was implemented by the government and its administrators in the early 20th century, by the creation of reserves.
But even today, Innu people return ‘to the land’ to hunt, to connect with their inner self or in the very least, to return to where they belong: in their forests, among their fir, birch and spruce trees, alongside their rivers and lakes.
I’m a bit limited time-wise. Will I make it back in time to catch my return flight?
The answer is YES. Voyages CoSte foresees an extra buffer day for unexpected delays. Unforeseen changes in the planned itinerary are always a possibility due to fog, high winds or other circumstances ‒ such as a transporter being unable to honour their schedule. However, to the best of its ability, Voyages CoSte will assist all passengers experiencing delays. In case of a lengthy delay, there is always the possibility that an activity or excursion could be dropped from the day’s program.
Every client who purchases this trip of a lifetime is also encouraged to foresee an extra travel day. On the coast, the above conditions do sometimes occur.
I could plan my itinerary and make my own reservations from what I see in your packages. I might even save some money by not buying one, right?
Voyages CoSte offers unique tour packages. While contacts have been established through our cooperative and its members, and numerous arrangements have been made with establishments and service providers we know, have tried and have deemed professional, they are entrusted to offer you a unique, authentic visit.
Also, the prices offered by CoSte are for a group of products; some fees are the same as you would pay if you were to pay for them individually. But you would probably have more trouble finding and coordinating them.
The advantage of travelling with CoSte? We take you much farther into the backcountry. Beyond the landscapes, we have you live select experiences, benefit from real contacts and precise information directly handed down by experienced guides or resource persons who represent CoSte in every village you visit.
I’ve taken package tours before; will I be a prisoner of group scheduling?
Travelling with CoSte means you will definitely not be part of a larger group. Perhaps 10 or 12, but most the time you’ll be alone, with your sweetheart or a few people who happen to be travelling on the same boat or flight as you, who have also chosen to “experience the coast and its people”. You will be requested to stay together as a group during excursions, for arrivals and departures in a new village, at your inn or hotel, for a tour, visit or meeting. If you wish to stay on your own and not participate in an organized tour, you may do so as long as you are on time for the next leg of your trip. The “coast” is sometimes best discovered alone, but in order to be on time for arrivals and departures, one must be advised of its particularities and ruggedness. Bon voyage!