Why go to Gaspe?
It's common to spot whales in Gaspe Bay during summer and fall.
During fall, especially around Canadian Thanksgiving, some shops in nearby Perce close down for the season.
This collection of coastal villages is the perfect gateway port for excursions to Forillon National Park, Bonaventure Island and other natural sites.
Gaspe Cruise Port Facilities?
A 15-minute tender ride gets you to the cruise terminal, where you'll likely encounter a battalion of cheery greeters wearing red shirts or jackets. Inside, the modern terminal is staffed with members of the local chamber of commerce (or Bureau d'Accueil touristique de Gaspe), who have maps aplenty, and lots of ideas about where to go and what to see. There are also clean restrooms and strong, free Wi-Fi.
Just outside is the parking lot for coaches that will take you on shore excursions. Bear to the right to head into town; it's about a 10-minute walk across the bridge to get to the town center of Gaspe. There's also an Enterprise Rental Car outlet at the airport; advance reservations are strongly suggested, and they can bring the car to you at the port.
Good to Know?
Getting in and out of the ferry to Perce Rock and Bonaventure Island can be bumpy, which makes it challenging for those with mobility issues. Also, for those visiting Gaspe in the fall, note that some of the shops in Perce, a touristy fishing village known for its shopping, will be closed for the season. (Thanksgiving in Canada is typically held in early October.) Despite limited shopping, the town is beautiful, especially its reclaimed coastline with seaside boardwalk.
On Foot: From the port, it's a short walk into town, where there's a nice selection of shops and restaurants, plus a couple of interesting sightseeing options: the Gespeg Micmac Interpretation Site, the Musee de la Gaspesie and the Jacques Cartier Monument. Just outside the marina is a 10-mile hiking/biking trail that leads to a sandy town beach at Haldimand, southeast of Gaspe.
By Shuttle: During the summer season, the Regim shuttle leaves from the shopping center in Gaspe (just across the bridge from the marina) twice daily to transport visitors to Forillon National Park. The park is a 40-minute drive, heading northeast from the city center, so this is an affordable option (as opposed to taking a taxi.)
By Car Rental: To get to Perce, most people take a shore excursion, though rental cars are available in town -- (Discount) and at the airport (Enterprise). If you book in advance, these companies will deliver the car to you at the cruise port, but vehicles are limited and more expensive than might you find in larger ports; plan accordingly.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Gaspes currency is the Canadian dollar, divided into 100 cents. Visit www.xe.com for current rates. Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, especially Visa and MasterCard. Most retail shops and restaurants will accept U.S. dollars, but will give you change in Canadian currency. The closest bank to the cruise terminal is the TD Canada Trust at 134 Rue de la Reine in Gaspe.