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Red Bay National Historic Site

Red Bay National Historic Site
Overlooking Tracy Hill/Boney Shore in the Town of Red Bay National Historic Site
View of Visitor Orientation Centre , Red Bay National Historic Site
Bonny Shore Hiking Trail, Red Bay National Historic Site

In June 2013, Red Bay Basque Whaling Station was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And for good reason. This mystical place is world-renowned. Red Bay takes the essence of Labrador coastal living and transposes it onto a tapestry of rich culture and history.

In the 1500s, the waters of Red Bay were thick with thousands of Basque whalers hunting right whales and bowhead whales for blubber, which was rendered into oil for export to Europe. On Saddle Island, an island at the mouth of the bay, the remnants of whale oil rendering ovens and cooperages sit where Basque hands first built them. Today you can wander around the former whaling town of Red Bay and immerse yourself in history. You can visualize the day the San Juan sank in 1565, only 50 metres away and stand at the whaler's burial ground where 140 colleagues and friends were carefully laid to rest.

Take a hike along the beach and step into the interpretation centre to see an eight-metre chalupa, which whalers used on the ocean to harpoon their giant catch. To get a full appreciation for the size of these whales, compare the chalupa to the assembled collections of whale bones displayed. These showcase a time of prosperity and dangerous adventure, illustrating a long-ago way of life.

If you take a boat or kayak trip to Saddle Island, you will find the remains of a time miraculously preserved. Where once stood the home of the first large-scale whale oil production in the world, now piles of red clay roof tiles can be found on the island, 500 years since its closure.

Getting Here:

Red Bay National Historic Site is part of the Labrador Coastal Drive. It can be reached via ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland, to Blanc Sablon, Quebec, and just an 82 kilometre/1-hour drive.

Location data provided by the operator. Please confirm location
before departure.


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Driving distances and calculations derived using Google Maps. Actual driving times may vary. GPS coordinates have been provided by tourism operators. Please confirm location with operator before departure.

Helpful Links

Parks Canada - Red Bay National Historic Site of Canada

Starting at $1323 Per Person
Come with us to the top of Atlantic Canada's tallest Lighthouse, Point Amour. Pay respects to the oldest maritime archaic burial mound in North America. Learn how the Basque dominated the 15th century oil industry at Red Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site and "Walk Back in Time" when you set foot on Battle Harbour Island where you'll think the words tranquility and magical were born. Culinary experiences, accommodations and experiences are perfectly balanced with luxury and historic charm.
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Tour Labrador

Starting at $3100 Per Person
Visit Canada's newest UNESCO site at Red Bay. Explore Gros Morne. Take a week to savour the spectacles and stories of southern Labrador and northern Newfoundland. Meet the locals and see the sites. Look for whales and icebergs - leader Mark Tsang got this photo in 2013 on tour - no Photoshop! Enjoy delicious local seafood and wild subarctic berries. North America’s most diverse archaeological adventure features comfortable hotels, welcoming hosts, and some walking on the wild side.
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Wildland Tours

Starting at $1019 Per Person
Explore Newfoundland and Labrador’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows and Red Bay, along with many other natural jewels in Western Newfoundland and Southern Labrador.

Your self-drive adventure includes expert travel advice, 7 nights’ accommodation, 7-day mid-size car rental with unlimited kilometres, 2-day Gros Morne park pass, whale-watching boat tour, and admission to L’Anse aux Meadows and Red Bay National Historic Site.

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Maxxim Vacations


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the promotion at the time of booking. Please check with the operator for more details.

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