Welcome to Bonavista

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When Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (or John Cabot as he is locally known) first set eyes on North America in 1497, his first words were “O buono vista!” When translated into English, this phrase means “Oh happy sight!”, which is certainly fitting for what would become the town of Bonavista, the historic site of Cabot's landing.

Explore our Attractions

Small huddles of houses, new and old, sit alongside rocky shores, pebble beaches, and picturesque fishing boats. Dense forest becomes amazing shoreline, frequently visited by whales, seabirds, and icebergs.

At the Dungeon, the cliffs drop away into a mammoth sinkhole with two seaward channels, the result of years of ocean erosion. In fact, throughout the peninsula the ancient past is recorded in the land and seascapes. Download the Bonavista! Geological Tour app (iPhone and Android) for a driving tour that highlights the geology of the region.

At the harbour, step inside a full-scale replica of Matthew, Cabot’s ship, and imagine how the explorer felt on his epic voyage to North America.

Bonavista & Area Attractions

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Experience the Lighthouse

Catch a glimpse of 10,000-year-old icebergs from the top of the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site, and gaze over the horizon where lightkeepers have stood watch since the 1840s. If you look close enough, you might catch a glimpse of a puffin nesting ground just behind the lighthouse or a humpback whale. Now, if that doesn’t brighten up your day, nothing will.

Explore Waterfront

On the waterfront, the Ryan Premises National Historic Site and the Bonavista Museum bring to life the salt fish trade – the cornerstone of Newfoundland and Labrador's economy for centuries. The nearby Mockbeggar Plantation Provincial Historic Site tells a story of the battle for Confederation.

Getting to Bonavista

Bonavista is located on the island of Newfoundland on the Discovery Trail, Route 230, just 3 hours from both the Argentia ferry and the town of Gander, and 3½ hours from the capital city of St. John's.

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Customizable Itineraries

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Videos far, far off the beaten path



How to Experience the Bonavista Biennale

In the art world, a biennale refers to a large, international exhibition held every two years in a certain location. World-renowned artists present their work in various settings, and the results are jaw dropping. Think of it as a treasure hunt for incredible art.

While most biennales take place in major cities like Venice and Montreal, the Bonavista Biennale is unique because all of the art is displayed around rural communities and the coastline of the Bonavista Peninsula. It’s a bi-annual exhibition of contemporary visual art by Indigenous, Newfoundland and Labrador, and other Canadian and international artists. Here’s an opportunity to hike the coastline, visit some towns you’ve maybe overlooked, and discover art in unexpected places.

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Travel Stories

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Bonavista Offers

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Visit the Story Exchange
In search of puffins

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Welcome travellers, the wait is finally over! All travellers must review Travel Info and submit a Travel Form prior to arrival in Newfoundland and Labrador. Travel Forms for entry into Newfoundland and Labrador can be submitted anytime within 30 days prior to arrival date. All travellers must follow COVID-19 travel guidelines.

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