FAQs

Do I need to book my accommodations in advance? What should I pack for my trip? What statutory holidays are observed in the maritime regions of Québec? This section provides the answers to these questions and many more.

Accommodations

What types of accommodations are available in the maritime regions of Québec?

Whether you are travelling as a family, with a group of friends or planning a romantic getaway, the maritime regions of Québec offer a wide selection of lodging options. For a unique experience, spend the night in a lighthouse, yurt, hut, teepee, treetop “bubble,” “Tiny House”-style eco-cottage or treetop cabin. Or spend a comfortable night in a hotel, inn, bed and breakfast, cottage or cabin. The maritime regions of Québec also offer many campgrounds in remarkable natural settings, including six national parks.

Are there any well-known hotel chains in the maritime regions of Québec?

Seven hotel chains, groups or networks can be found in the maritime regions of Québec:

Riôtel Hospitality Group

This hotel chain operates the following establishments in Gaspésie:

SÉPAQ

This association of outdoor establishments manages 26 national parks, 15 wildlife reserves, SÉPAQ Anticosti and 10 tourist resorts. SÉPAQ also manages hotel establishments, including:

Chaîne Hôtelière Hôte

This hotel chain runs the following establishments:

Hôtellerie Champêtre network of hotels & inns

This network includes the following hotels:

Gouverneur Hotels

This hotel chain includes the following establishments:

  • Gouverneur Rimouski
  • Gouverneur Sept-Îles

Hôtel Accents

This hotel group in the Îles de la Madeleine runs the following establishments:

Comfort Inn

This hotel chain includes the following establishments:

  • Comfort Inn Baie-Comeau
  • Comfort Inn Rimouski
  • Comfort Inn Rivière-du-Loup
  • Comfort Inn Sept-Îles
Do I need to book my accommodations in advance?

It is generally recommended to make reservations for the first two nights of your stay in the maritime regions of Québec, especially if you are travelling from June to September.

Keep an eye out for the “Book Now” button appearing in many of the profiles of the tourist accommodation establishments featured on our website. This button will direct you to an online reservation form (either directly on the establishment’s website or on an online booking centre’s website), which will make planning your vacation in the maritime regions of Québec that much easier.

To make reservations at establishments that do not offer an online booking service, please contact them directly using the contact information provided in their profiles on our website.

What is the accommodation rating system?

In the province of Québec, all tourist accommodation establishments must obtain an official classification certificate from the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec (Québec tourism industry corporation).

The level of comfort and services offered by each establishment is rated on a scale of 3, 4 or 5, depending on the type of accommodations. The ratings are identified by suns for bed and breakfasts and stars for all other types of accommodations, including campgrounds. Note that the meaning of the star rating systems varies depending on the type of establishment.

For more information about the meaning of the rating systems, visit:

Climate and seasons

What is the climate of the maritime regions of Québec?

Our regions have a temperate maritime climate with four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Each season dramatically transforms the landscape and has a profound impact on residents’ way of life.

The hottest months of the year are in the summer, in July, August and September, when temperatures generally fluctuate between 20°C (68°F) and 28°C (82°F), sometimes reaching as high as 35°C (95°F). Summer officially begins at the summer solstice on June 20 or 21.

The coldest months of the year are January and February, with average temperatures generally fluctuating between -6°C (21°F) and -19°C (-2°F). Winter officially begins at the winter solstice on December 21 or 22, although it usually snows before this date.

The weather has a profound impact on life in the maritime regions of Québec. Strongly influenced by the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, temperatures are often cooler in the summer and milder in the winter than they are in the southwest of the province. In addition, there is often a significant difference between the air temperature at sea versus the temperature on land, along the coast versus in the interior, and at low altitudes versus high altitudes. In other words, make sure you pack a good windbreaker for outdoor activities!

Finally, keep in mind that the maritime regions of Québec cover a vast territory: temperatures often vary significantly from one region to the next. For up-to-date weather information, please consult www.weather.gc.ca.

When is the best time to visit the maritime regions of Québec?

Every season in the maritime regions of Québec has something special to offer visitors.

Spring

In the spring, take advantage of the high waters to go white-water rafting down the Bonaventure River. This is also the season to visit a sugar shack, feast on fresh crab and lobster, observe migratory birds and welcome back marine mammals to our regions.

Summer

Summer is a great time to enjoy a multitude of activities, such as:

  • visiting national parks
  • whale watching
  • outdoor sports
  • sea excursions
  • wildlife observation
  • discovering our culture and heritage
  • participating in events and festivals of all kinds

Fall

Once fall arrives, you will be enchanted by the striking colours of the leaves. This is the ideal season for trekking. To take full advantage of this season, cycle along the Petit Témis bike trail, hike part of the International Appalachian Trail or try wind sports in the Îles de la Madeleine. Enjoy the crisp, fresh fall air!

Winter

In the winter, go for a ride on our 6000 kilometres (3700 miles) of snowmobile trails, ski in the Chic-Choc Mountains, enjoy a stay at a multi-activity site or observe baby seals on the ice surrounding the Îles de la Madeleine.

What should I pack for my trip?

The contents of your suitcase will depend, of course, on the season and the purpose of your visit to the maritime regions of Québec. Generally, casual and informal attire is acceptable for almost all occasions. Very few restaurants require semi-formal dress.

In the summer, pack light clothes as well as a windbreaker, several pairs of pants and a couple of warm sweaters. These will keep you comfortable during cooler nights or when participating in activities at sea or at altitude. Sandals and comfortable shoes (for hiking) are also recommended. The following is a more specific list of items to pack in the summer:

What to pack in the summer

(88 Ko)

Winter in the maritime regions of Québec is usually dry and not very windy. Be sure to pack a warm coat or snowsuit, lined boots, mittens, a winter hat and a scarf. The following is a more specific list of items to pack in the winter:

What to pack in the winter

(87 Ko)

Fall and spring are transitional seasons during which it is difficult to predict the weather. The days may be warm, but evenings and nights are usually fairly cool. A layered approach is recommended. Bring along warm clothing such as long pants and sweaters, but also pack a few lighter items. A raincoat or windbreaker is also a must.

Money and the cost of living

What currency is used in the maritime regions of Québec?

The Canadian dollar ($) is the currency used in the maritime regions of Québec; it is divided into 100 cents (¢). Coins are available in denominations of 5, 10 and 25 cents, as well as $1 (known as loonies) and $2 (known as toonies). Bills are available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1000. Pennies (one-cent coins) were taken out of circulation in 2012. Cash transactions are therefore rounded up or down to the nearest five cents after taxes.

Note that American currency is accepted in most businesses, at the current exchange rate. Banks are the best place to convert your currency.

Collectors should pay attention to 25-cent coins, since new coins are often put into circulation and each showcases a cultural or historical aspect of Canada. Collectible coins and special issues of Canadian currency can be purchased at Canada Post offices.

What is the exchange rate?

To have an idea of the current exchange rate and to convert your currency into Canadian dollars, visit the Bank of Canada website.

Do I have to pay sales tax?

In Québec, most prices do not include taxes. Once you get to the cash register, the following sales taxes will be added to your purchase:

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is applied across Canada and payable at a rate of 5% on the sales amount.
  • The Québec Sales Tax (QST), which is applied in Québec only and payable at a rate of 9.975% on the sales amount.
When are banks open?

Bank opening hours vary depending on the region and institution. They are generally shorter than regular business hours. Typical bank opening hours are as follows:

Monday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Some banks are also open on weekends. Note that banks do not close at lunchtime and almost all of them operate on-site bank machines that are open at all times.

What methods of payment are accepted?

Debit and credit cards

Most bank machines are linked to the Cirrus, Plus or Interac network. Withdrawals are possible at any time, seven days a week. Foreign debit cards are generally accepted in bank machines; however, we recommend you check this before your departure.

Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most businesses.

Traveller’s cheques

Traveller’s cheques are accepted in some hotels, restaurants and stores. However, as they are decreasing in popularity, we recommend you cash them at foreign exchange bureaus or banks.

What is the cost of living in the maritime regions of Québec?

To give you an idea of the cost of living in the maritime regions of Québec, here is a list of items followed by their approximate price in Canadian dollars. Note that these prices may vary from one region to the next. We invite you to go to the exchange rate section to convert the prices mentioned below into your currency.

Lodging (1 night):

  • Hotel: $70-$180
  • B&B (including breakfast): $55-$80

Restaurants:

  • Breakfast: $7-$15
  • Snack: $3-$10
  • Lunch: $12-$20
  • Dinner (3 courses, excluding wine): $25 and more

Miscellaneous:

  • Coffee: $2
  • Bottle of water (500 ml): $1.50
  • Small bottle of beer: $3-$7
  • Pack of gum: $1
  • Movie ticket: $8.50 (depends on the cinema)
How much should I tip?

When you eat in a restaurant, it is standard to leave a tip in appreciation for the service you received from your waiter or waitress, since they are paid less than the regular minimum wage in Québec. Tips are rarely included in the bill and usually represent 15% of the bill before taxes or 10% after taxes.

The amount to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, porters and bartenders is at your discretion.

Daily life

What time is it now?

The maritime regions of Québec adopt Eastern Daylight Time on the second Sunday in March (summer time zone) and return to Eastern Standard Time on the first Sunday in November (winter time zone). During the summer, the maritime regions of Québec are 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, whereas in the winter, they are 5 hours behind.

Please note, however, that the Îles de la Madeleine region is in the Atlantic Time Zone, an hour ahead of mainland Québec.

In addition, the Lower North Shore is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) in the winter, but adopts Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) in the summer. This region is therefore one hour ahead of the rest of mainland Québec in the winter only.

What statutory holidays are observed in the maritime regions of Québec?

Most businesses, financial institutions and offices are closed during statutory holidays. The following are the main statutory holidays observed in Québec:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Good Friday or Easter Monday
  • National Patriots’ Day (Victoria Day in the rest of Canada) (second to last Monday in May)
  • Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day / Québec National Holiday (June 24)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Labour Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving (second Monday in October)
  • Christmas (December 25)
What languages are spoken? Can I be served in English?

Although French is Québec’s official language, English is widely used. In fact, some villages in the maritime regions of Québec are mostly English-speaking. You will be welcomed in English in most businesses in the maritime regions of Québec.

If you speak French, you can enjoy the variety of local accents, which change from region to region and even from one village to the next.

Here are a few French words and expressions:

  • Bonjour = Hi / Hello
  • Salut = Hi / Hello
  • Merci = Thank you
  • Bienvenue = You’re welcome
  • Comment ça va? = How are you?
  • Bien, merci = Well, thank you
  • Combien ça coûte? = How much is it?
What type of electrical outlets is used? Should I bring a travel converter?

In Québec, as in the rest of North America, household electricity is supplied at 110 volts at a frequency of 60 hertz. Travellers from other countries such as those in Europe will need a converter to use their electrical devices. We recommend that you purchase a converter before leaving home, as they are difficult to find in Québec.

Where can I go out at night?

There are many friendly local bars and nightclubs in the maritime regions of Québec. Several feature local singers or bands, and all offer a great opportunity to meet local residents and immerse yourself in our regions’ culture.

Note that alcoholic beverages are sold in bars between 11 a.m. and 3 a.m. and in taverns between 8 a.m. and 3 a.m. You must be at least 18 years old to be admitted into these establishments. You may be asked for ID before being admitted.

Am I allowed to smoke cigarettes in public places?

As of June 2006, smoking is prohibited in public areas in Québec including in restaurants, bars, terraces, conference centres, shopping centres and taxis.

Hotels are still able to reserve up to 40% of their rooms for smokers.

Note that you must be at least 18 years old to smoke legally in the province of Québec.

Communications

How do I make a phone call?

Very few cellular phones from other countries work in the province of Québec. You may want to check your cell phone coverage with your provider before you leave.

Public telephones and telephone booths can be found throughout the maritime regions of Québec. A local call costs $0.50 for an unlimited length of time.

For long-distance calls, we recommend that you purchase a prepaid phone card. Cards are available in convenience stores, pharmacies and grocery stores at various prices, depending on your needs.

To make a long-distance call within Canada or the United States, you must first dial 1, followed by the three-digit area code (418, 438, 450, 514 or 819 in Québec) and then the 7-digit number. Don’t forget that all 1-800, 1-866, 1-877 and 1-888 numbers are toll free.

To place a call outside Canada or the United States, you must dial 011 (or 01, if you are using a prepaid phone card), followed by the relevant country code, then the city or area code and then the local number. To consult a list of country codes, visit the Bell Canada website.

For directory assistance, call 411 at any time. To reverse the charges or speak to an operator, dial 0.

How do I access the Internet?

If you are travelling with a laptop computer or smartphone, many airlines and train stations offer free wireless Internet access, as do most hotels, cafés and restaurants in the maritime regions of Québec.

In several regions of Québec, including Bas-Saint-Laurent and part of Gaspésie, many locations are hooked up to the Z.A.P. network. Keep an eye out for their logo. And don’t forget your travel converter if you want to plug in your computer!

Most tourist information bureaus and some hotels also have one or two computers available for their clients to access the Internet.

If you are travelling with your cell phone, beware of roaming charges. Contact your service provider before you leave to avoid any nasty surprises on your next bill!

Where can I post my mail and how much will it cost?

To send letters, postcards and packages or to buy stamps, go to a Canada Post office. Postal outlets are also sometimes found in businesses such as pharmacies, grocery stores and convenience stores.

You will find red mailboxes on the sidewalk in which you can mail your postcards and letters, as long as you have affixed sufficient postage.

Canada Post offices are generally open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Postal outlets usually follow the hours of the businesses in which they are located.

Postal rates effective January 12, 2015

(1st class letters and postcards under 30 grams)

  • Canada: $0.85
  • United States: $1.20
  • Other countries: $2.50

Note that the taxes (GST and QST) will be added to these amounts.

Food and drink

What foods are typical of the maritime regions of Québec?

The maritime regions of Québec are known for their seafood, but also for their lamb, game meat and other regional products.

Each region has its own specialties. In hotels, inns and restaurants, our chefs creatively outdo themselves to serve you fine regional cuisine featuring delicious and authentic ingredients. Visit the “Regional Flavours” section to find out more.

Where can I purchase alcoholic beverages?

Most restaurants in the maritime regions of Québec have their own wine lists, but in some cases you can bring your own wine.

For a wide selection of wines, spirits and beers from around the world, stop in one of the outlets of the Société des alcools du Québec (Québec liquor board), also known as the SAQ. Most SAQs are open every day, except statutory holidays, during business hours.

Grocery stores, convenience stores and other food stores also sell alcoholic beverages, but their selections are more limited. However, their opening hours are usually longer than those of SAQ outlets.

Note that the sale of alcoholic products is prohibited before 8 a.m. and after 11 p.m. throughout the province of Québec. In addition, the legal drinking age in the province is 18.

Is the water safe to drink?

You can drink the tap water in most places in the maritime regions of Québec, except in rest areas, where it is rarely suitable for drinking. Generally, a sign will be posted on the premises, such as “Eau non potable” or “Water not suitable for drinking.” Be on the lookout!

Accessibility

How wheelchair accessible are the maritime regions of Québec?

Many of the hotels, restaurants, attractions and activities in the maritime regions of Québec are wheelchair accessible. To find these businesses, visit the website of Kéroul, an organization that evaluates tourism companies with respect to accessibility and the services they offer to people with reduced mobility in accordance with criteria recognized by Tourisme Québec.

Can I use public transportation if I am a person with reduced mobility?

It is possible to travel to the maritime regions of Québec via public transportation if you are a person with reduced mobility. Some Orléans Express motor coaches are adapted for people with reduced mobility. Via Rail also offers adapted services for people who want to travel by train. Finally, most airlines also offer adapted services and facilities.