Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Quebec Whale Watching

"The boat is here. We are boarding soon!" We are told to bundle up, the temperature at Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park turns -10 degrees below the temperature at land. Was it Celcius or Farenheight? Gosh, it doesn't matter, dress warmly!

We then layered ourselves with our favorite brand for winter wear. Our little guy? Oh well, he's complaining. He'll just have to bear with it!

Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec
Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec

"Does this remind you of something?" I queried the husband. He responded with a blank expression on his face. Nevermind him (the-one-who-is-born-and-raised-on-the-island), for me, the boat ride evokes the ferry ride feeling from Hagnaya to Bantayan Island back in Cebu, Philippines. Absurd! I'd agree.

Scenic Views from Quebec City to Baie-Sainte-Catherine

The drive to Baie-Sainte-Catherine (this is where we board the boat to whale watch) from Quebec, City took 3 hours. It seemed fast! With the impressive views greeting us along the way, who'd get bored?

Yes, I'm talking about rolling hills dressed in bright autumn hues of the season. Take a look!

Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec
Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec
Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec
Quebec Whale Watching: Things to do in Quebec

Where, When & How Much Does it Cost?

  • Where: Either take the observation boat or the zodiac from Tadoussac, Baie-Sainte-Catherine or Rivière-du-Loup. Since we are coming from Quebec City, the most accessible place for us is at Baie-Sainte-Catherine. 

    For comfort, purchase the tour company's cruise package, it includes the bus trip from Quebec City to either of the pick-up points mentioned above. Book here

  • When: The best season to whale watch is from late June to early September. We traveled mid-October. It's not the best season to come, but the whales remain active. We get to observe the whales (belugas, minkes, fins, humpbacks), and grey seals. That's a lot still!

  • How much does it cost? We paid $75 CAD excluding tax per person. Our 2-year-old is FREE. This is the price for the boat ride only since we opt to drive on the way there. It's double if you choose the cruise package (bus from Quebec city + boat/zodiac cruise).

#Tip: If you're not traveling kids, take the zodiac, it's much more agile than the observation boat and you get to observe the whales at a closer distance. 

The photo above shows the zodiac boat I speak of. These things caught up on us easily and then disappeared just as quickly.

The Whale Watching Experience

During the tour, we were accompanied by a naturalist who speaks both French and English. Everyone rushed to the direction where the first group of whales is located. What happened next? You'll hear the continuous clicking sounds of the cameras. You'll join in too if you're there. :P

I wish the whales would put up a show, like maybe, jump out of nowhere. Haha. Dream on! These are wild sea creatures, there's no guarantee you'd even see them on a given day. But from my research, one of the best places in the world to find them is at Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park in Quebec.

We went for the afternoon cruise, I'd suggest scheduling the morning, you'll possibly spot more.

Other than the cruise, you can go to certain spots in Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Catherine, like the one in the photo below, to watch for whales and seals. It's free but you'll have to exercise patience -- yes, lots of it. Oh, and don't forget to pack your binoculars too!

After the 2.5-hour whale watching cruise, our boat steered to the direction where the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence River (check out the photo below, left side).

The whales, seals, and birds are drawn by the rich food supply stirred up by the mixing of waters here. No wonder you can find them aplenty in the area!

Look at him, he's no longer complaining wearing his jacket! 

Buy winter jackets for kids below.

We also caught a glimpse of the picturesque town of Tadoussac (photo above) before the cruise company took us back to the dock.

I'd say, It is a fun once-in-a-lifetime experience! I'm glad we took the trip. Once is never enough, we'd definitely like to do this again! Perhaps, in a different location the next time around? We'll never know!

I hope our whale watching experience at the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park gave you an idea of what to do during your trip to Quebec.

If you're planning to visit Quebec, book the whale watching tour package from Croisieres AML.  Schedule a day, make sure it's the peak season (late June - early September), take the zodiac (if not traveling with kids) and choose the morning cruise. It's worth it!