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News from The Welcome Desk

We’ve been getting a lot of great questions at the Welcome Desk about the whales, icebergs, and puffins that visit Newfoundland and Labrador each year. So, we decided it’s about time for us to take a closer look.

Want to learn more? Take a look around — we put a ton of answers to other common questions here on one page. And if you’d like to chat, give us a call at 1 800 563 6353.

Know Before You Go

As the saying goes, the best place to start is at the beginning.

First, book your accommodations and car rental early. Remember, the sooner you book the sooner you can slow down.

Trip Planning 101
What to Pack for your Newfoundland and Labrador Experience

What should I know about driving in Newfoundland and Labrador?

We have the same driving system as Canada and the United States. Vehicles keep to the right side of roadways and highways. Drivers must abide by road rules and regulations. On highways where a passing lane ends, the driver in the centre lane must yield to the right-hand lane.

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NL 511

Be sure to use the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 511 Traveller Information System. NL 511 is your source of up-to-date information on winter driving conditions, construction and major incidents, highway cameras, ferry status, and more. Travellers can access 511 by using the free smartphone app (Apple, Google Play), visiting the website NL511.ca, or dialing 5-1-1 to hear key information over the phone.

Driving Regulations

Drivers must carry a valid driver's licence, Vehicle Registration Certificate, and Proof of Liability Insurance Coverage in order to drive in Newfoundland and Labrador. Legislation requires that motorists carry lump-sum public liability and property damage insurance of $200,000. Seatbelts are mandatory and cellphone and mobile one use is prohibited unless a hands-free device is used. A child weighing less than nine kilograms (20 pounds) must be secured in either an infant carrier or a convertible car seat adjusted to the rear-facing position. Radar detectors are illegal in our province. It is also illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or cannabis.

Watch out for Moose

There are about 120,000 moose on the island of Newfoundland. Most highways go through moose habitat. If you see one of these large, brown, hoofed animals on or near a roadway, use extreme caution. You should slow down and prepare to stop. Like all wild animals, moose are unpredictable. Avoid driving at night if possible, as most moose/vehicle accidents occur between dusk and dawn. If you must drive at night, slow down. Scan both sides of the highway with your lights set to high beam unless you are overtaking traffic. Pay attention to highway signs. A road sign with a picture of a moose or a warning that says "Caution, moose next 'X' kilometres" means moose cross there.

Winter Driving

Caution is also required when driving in winter. Slippery road conditions, drifting, and blowing snow can sometimes make driving treacherous. When road conditions are not optimal, it is imperative that you slow down and use caution while driving. For information on road conditions, use the Highway Cameras from the Department of Transportation and Works and Weather Forecasts.

Expedition 51°: Travelling the Québec-Labrador Highway

Do I need to book my rental car in advance?

Yes. While this place is off the beaten path, lots of people want to visit Newfoundland and Labrador at the same time as you. 
The summer season is particularly busy. You should make car rental reservations before you travel, because they can book up fast. Pre-booking your accommodations, airline, and ferry crossings is also recommended. For more information visit the Getting Here & Around section of our website.

Getting Here & Around

Sure we're off the beaten path. All the best places are.

Whether you fly, drive, or catch a ferry, there's a way to get all sorts of places in this beautiful province.

Things to Do & Places to Go

Hiking? Whale watching? Icebergs?

Or historical sites, camping, and kayaking? There’s so much to see and do, you may have trouble narrowing down your must-see list.

When is the best time to see Icebergs?

Spring and early summer. As you move north, the season stretches a bit longer. April and May are the months when icebergs are most plentiful, but they may be locked up in sea ice, so it's recommended that late May and early June is best for viewing. For more, look here.

A lone kayaker paddles towards an iceberg

When is the best time to see whales?

Anywhere between May and September, whales can be seen breaching the surface of the water and playing along our shores. For more, look here.

Humpback Whale

When is the best time to see seabirds?

Summer and early September are the traditional times for seabirds. You can find more information and a map here.

Puffins gathered in front of a coastal view of the Ocean

Customizable Itineraries

Top 10 Bucket List Items in Newfoundland and Labrador By Newfoundland & Labrador
Five Reasons to Drive and Take the Scenic Route By Newfoundland & Labrador

Meet the Locals

Everything you've heard is true.

You won’t find a friendlier bunch this side of the Atlantic. Pull up a chair and we’ll talk your ear off about this place. It won’t take long till you feel like a local.

The Jelly Bean Palette
A Guide to Indigenous Culture in Newfoundland & Labrador By: Newfoundland & Labrador Indigenous Tourism Association

What Else?

A place like this will have you questioning everything.

Luckily, you can find answers to some pretty common questions here.

Q: Are there COVID-19 restrictions or safety rules in place in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Travellers should follow public health guidelines during their stay in Newfoundland and Labrador. Visit Travel Info for information.

Q: What should I know about travelling to Saint-Pierre et Miquelon?

A: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon is a French territory 19 kilometres from the town of Fortune on the Burin Peninsula, on the south coast of the island of Newfoundland. You can reach Saint-Pierre et Miquelon by passenger ferry or air. Visit Tourism St. Pierre et Miquelon for more information on entry requirements and travel options, as well as suggestions for places to stay and visit.
If you visit Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, you'll have to clear Canadian Customs in Fortune upon your return. Canadians visiting for short periods of time do not require a passport, but must show a valid driver's licence, citizenship card, permanent resident card, student card, or a social insurance card with an embedded photo. All other citizens, including Americans, must show valid passports.
Please note that Saint-Pierre Time is half an hour ahead of Newfoundland Time. So, when it’s 2:15pm in Saint-Pierre, it’s 1:45pm in Fortune.

Q: Do I need a passport to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador from the United States?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada, which means we are governed by Canadian law. If travelling from the United States, the Canadian Border Services Agency asks that you carry proof of United States citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo ID.
Whether you're entering by air, land, or water, we recommend you carry a valid passport. A passport may be required by your airline or alternative transportation authority, as it is the only universally accepted identification document.
Re-entry to the United States requires a passport, passport card, or a trusted traveller card, such as a Nexus card. Please consult the United States Department of State website for full details.
If you visit the French islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon from Newfoundland and Labrador, you'll have to clear Canadian Customs in Fortune upon your return and will require your passport.

Q: Do I need a visa or eTA to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador (non-US)?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada, which means we are governed by Canadian law. Visitors from countries other than the United States must have valid national passports, and visitors from certain countries also require a visa and/or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Which additional documentation you need may vary depending on your method of travel, so it's best to confirm the requirements for your country at the Government of Canada's website.
You will also need your passport if you intend to visit the French islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: I have Canadian citizenship (single or dual), do I need my passport to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: As Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada, Canadian citizens do not require a passport to travel here. However, if you intend to visit the French islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon from Newfoundland and Labrador, you'll have to clear Canadian Customs in Fortune upon your return. Canadians visiting for short periods of time do not require a passport, but must show a valid driver's licence, citizenship card, permanent resident card, student card, or a social insurance card with an embedded photo.
Dual Canadian citizens require a valid Canadian passport to travel by air to, or through Canada. If your country needs you to enter and exit that country using a passport issued by its government, you will still need a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada. Make sure to carry both passports when you travel. American-Canadian dual citizens are exempt from this requirement.

Q: What can I bring to and from Newfoundland and Labrador? What are your customs regulations?

A: Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada, so Canadian customs rules apply. There are a couple of non-customs agricultural regulations that are different than other provinces you should be aware of:
Pets
You can bring your cat, dog, or horse to Newfoundland and Labrador without a permit, and they can be moved freely between Newfoundland and Labrador. However, the importation of non-indigenous animals is restricted, as is the movement of Labrador Huskies from Labrador to Newfoundland. For more information on Canadian Customs regulations, please see www.canadainternational.gc.ca.
Agricultural Products
Neither soil nor plants bearing soil may be removed from Newfoundland because of the possibility of accidentally spreading soil-borne diseases from certain areas. Vehicles leaving Newfoundland are inspected at the ferry terminals, and soil and plants are subject to confiscation. Special permits for removing plants under strict conditions may be obtained from Agriculture Canada. For more information about soils and plants, please contact 709-695-2135 or (summer) 709-727-2307.
If you are planning on visiting Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, you should check this link (here) because they are part of France and French customs and regulations apply.

Q: What happens if I become sick or injured?

A: All visitors to Canada are strongly urged to obtain health insurance before leaving their home country. Canadian hospital and medical services are excellent, but a hospital stay can cost in excess of $750 a day, and the cost of an extended stay can be prohibitive. Be sure you are covered. If you are a resident of Canada, you should carry your provincial or territorial Health Care card just in case you need medical attention. If you are taking medicine prescribed by your doctor, it is a good idea to make a list of what you are taking in case of emergency, and bring along a copy of your prescription in the event that you need to have it renewed by a doctor in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: What kind of currency do you accept?

A: The Canadian dollar is the currency used in Newfoundland and Labrador. Many operators and retailers will accept American dollars, but not always at the official exchange rate. Businesses do not accept other foreign currencies, and there is no currency exchange house in the province. Banks do not normally exchange foreign currencies, so we recommend that you convert your national currency into Canadian dollars before you leave home.
If you would like to see how your currency converts, we recommend using the currency converter located at www.xe.com.

Q: What time zone does Newfoundland and Labrador occupy?

A: The island of Newfoundland occupies its own time zone, known as Newfoundland Time. It is half an hour later than Atlantic Time, and a full hour and a half later than Eastern Standard Time or 3.5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3:30). Most of Labrador occupies Atlantic Time; however, the area from L'Anse-au-Claire to Black Tickle operates on Newfoundland Time.
When travelling by Labrador Marine ferry, it's important to plan in advance. Schedules can vary and there are time zone changes. When you cross the border into Québec you enter the Eastern Time zone. However, the ferry from Blanc-Sablon to St. Barbe operates on Newfoundland Time. If flying from Québec, the Blanc-Sablon airport schedule operates on Eastern Time.
It can get a little complicated sometimes, so double-check your itinerary to avoid delay.

Q: What should I know about deposits, credit cards and refunds?

A: When you make a reservation, it's always a good idea to ask the operator about the deposits, what credit cards are accepted, and the establishment's policies on cancellations, refunds, and late arrivals. Some seasonal operators may have a minimum-stay policy in effect, while others may offer just one form of electronic payment. If you are asked to pay in advance, it's always a good idea to ask to see the room first.

Q: What is the Goods and Services tax (GST) in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: HST stands for Harmonized Sales Tax. This 15% tax is charged on goods and services purchased in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: What is a Tourism Levy?

A: Some hotels charge a Tourism Levy. For rates, check with accommodation at time of reservation.

Q: How wheelchair-accessible are buildings and establishments in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: Establishments in Newfoundland and Labrador listed as "wheelchair accessible" meet the minimum requirements as set out in the Provincial Buildings Accessibility Act and Regulations. These establishments have a main entrance, and, where provided, public washrooms that an individual in a wheelchair can access unassisted. Hotels, motels, cottages, and B&B establishments with the accessibility designation have a wheelchair-accessible room or suite, but there are no guarantees all the establishment's facilities could be accessed by wheelchair users. Some have only a limited number of wheelchair-accessible rooms, so reservations should be made. Also, many establishments not listed as accessible may provide acceptable facilities, depending on individual needs.

Q: What about Wi-Fi and Internet Access?

Travellers visiting Newfoundland and Labrador can take advantage of many internet connections and Wi-Fi hot spots. Internet access is offered at many accommodations, food establishments, and attractions throughout the province, all Provincial Visitor Information Centres, and all Marine Atlantic terminals, including onboard their ferries. Internet access can also be found in provincial libraries and airport terminals.
There are some blackout areas in some rural areas. Check coverage maps with your cellular carrier.

Q: What electric standard does Newfoundland and Labrador use?

We use the same standard as the rest of Canada and the United States: 110 volt / 60 Hz.

Q: How does tipping and gratuity work in Newfoundland and Labrador?

A: It is traditional to leave 10%–20% of your bill at most restaurants, pubs, etc. when served by a waiter, waitress, or bartender. Employees are paid at least minimum wage, but many rely on tips to supplement their wages. It is custom to also leave a gratuity to hotel staff such as bellhops and maids. Unless noted, tips and gratuities are not built into the prices.

Q: Is it possible to travel without a car?

A: Our province is mostly rural, so the answer is yes and no. While there is no train service, there are buses and regional taxis.
There is a local company called DRL, which operates a cross-island bus route.

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Pitcher Plant

Fun Facts

Here’s where you can find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. Yes, the Newfoundland and Labrador dog breeds both come from here. And did you know we have 29,000 km of coastline? There’s so much to know about this place and you’ll have some fun finding out all of the facts.

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Ready to book?

You gotta book it to see it.

From whales to puffins to icebergs, your itinerary is going to fill up fast. Take a look at the many travel packages and offers available before you start booking.

Wi-Fi and Cell Coverage

While travelling, keep an eye out for public wi-fi stickers – these indicate locations where free wireless internet access is available. Access is also offered at many accommodations throughout the province, at all provincial Visitor Information Centres, and at all Marine Atlantic terminals, including on board the three ferries. Internet access can also be found at all provincial libraries (nlpl.ca) and at the airport terminals in Gander, St. John’s, and Deer Lake. Be sure to check with your mobile service providers, and review the following coverage maps:

Rogers Bell Telus
Pitcher Plant

Get in Touch:

Wanna chat? You can contact us any way you like, but we can’t promise we won’t talk your ear off.