Havre-Saint-Pierre – Charming, Quaint and Off-the-Beaten Path

Image Credit:  Zach Baranowski

If you’re an adventurous traveler, we have a great spot for you.

On the north shore of Quebec along the Saint Lawrence River is the port of Havre-Saint-Pierre, located in the beautiful Minganie region.  Hiking and boating are some of the adventure tourism options offered.  Miles of beautiful and unique shoreline, stunning sandy beaches and charming, picturesque villages are some of the distinguishing features of this destination. Surrounding the town of Havre-Saint-Pierre is the world-famous Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, a chain of limestone islands and granite islets with a natural beauty that will take your breath away.

To get to the National Park you’ll need to take a boat trip on the Mingan Archipelago. Your ride will depart the Havre-Saint-Pierre marina for a scenic cruise, which is an experience in itself. Each island is unique, with awe-inspiring landscapes and geological history, and visitors are accompanied on the island of their choice by a Parks Canada guide. You’ll be surrounded by the flora of various habitats and magnificent monoliths that resist the ravages of time. The region’s mysterious monoliths and diverse wildlife, including deer, marine birds and botanical plant life, have inspired many.  Every experience is filled with the rhythm of the Mingan Islands.

Make sure to explore the Innu community – now known as Ekuanitshit – meaning “take care of the place where you live.”  It’s one of the First Nations to have lived on the land about 5,000 years before the first Europeans arrived in North America.  Mingan was a major fishing and trading post for the Hudson Bay Company. Treat yourself to some real traditional Innu food and visit their magnificent church. The church is decorated entirely with Innu art and provides an enchanting glimpse into the mysteries of Innu culture and its people.  Experience a true change of scenery at the end of route 138 and discover the Eastern Mingan region. This region has only been linked to Québec by road since 1996. Here both First Nation and non-First Nation get together to share their culture. The magnificent landscapes of the North Shore make this a uniquely fascinating area.

Next up: hiking the historic circuit.  Local residents refer to themselves as Cayens and are very proud of their Acadian heritage. Fishing, hunting and lumber were the main industries of the village for many years, but today mining beats them all. This hiking tour takes you on a journey into their lifestyle, and their historical and economic background. The Roland Jomphe culture house is an old general store which now houses a permanent exhibit.  With the feel of a museum, visitors can relive the history of Havre-Saint-Pierre from 1857 to today, thanks to characters in period attire.  Lively evening entertainment can be arranged in advance which showcases “Cayen” cultural heritage activity.

Havre-Saint-Pierre is a charming town of 3,400 residents who graciously and enthusiastically welcome visitors.  It’s the ideal spot for small expedition and luxury ships and appeals to adventurous explorers of every kind.  Make sure to add this destination to your list.

This post was written by cruise industry expert, Shannon McKee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.

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