Oh my, Fogo Island, you surprised me! I’ve heard about what a nice place Fogo Island is to visit and me wanting to experience as many parts of this province as I can, I was always willing to go there if the opportunity ever came up, but I had no clue what to expect. Our short couple of days spent there were jam-jam packed (hehe..) with driving around and taking in the beautiful sights, scenic hikes, a boat tour to the Little Fogo Islands, watching hundreds of puffins, listening to live music at a festival and LOTS of Growlers Ice Cream. If there’s ever a reason to go to Fogo Island it should be for the ice cream. YUM!
Like I said, we went to Fogo not knowing what to expect; we really didn’t know what we were going to do there so we kind of left it open to our friends who we were staying with to show us around and point us in the direction for the ‘must dos’. We arrived around supper time because of an unfortunate long wait at the ferry*, but once we arrived we were greeted with a hot meal and a tour around Joe Batt’s Arm at dusk and it was beautiful!
The next day we were lucky enough to go on a boat tour which left Joe Batt’s Arm and went to the Little Fogo Islands. This was by far the best boat tour I’ve ever been on! It was a smaller boat and there were only about 11 of us on the tour and the two men who took us were phenomenal. I liked how laid back and relaxed it was (but also felt extremely safe the whole time as well!) We were free to sit or stand wherever we wanted to during the ride; there was water and refreshments there for us; they checked in with everyone to make sure they was feeling okay and to make sure everyone had a good place to see and take in the views. I was hoping I’d get to see a puffin on this tour – I know I’ve been living in Newfoundland for five years and I had never seen a puffin – little did I know that the closer we got to our destination the number of puffins were growing by the second. Literally HUNDREDS of puffins everywhere! We couldn’t take pictures fast enough, we even put the cameras down and just stood there in awe. We also had the chance to get off the boat and explore the island where the homes and church still stood from decades ago when people lived there before the resettlement – which was an extraordinary experience to walk back in time. We then headed back to Joe Batt’s Arm on some rocky waters, which made the experience that much more fun! The captain let myself and three friends stand in the cabin because we were getting soaked out on the deck, so we spent the rest of the trip listening to Newfoundland music while the waves were rocking the boat back and forth – I could not take the smile off my face, it couldn’t have been better if we planned it!
Our next adventure around Fogo Island involved a bit of hiking – the number of hiking trails around the island is incredible! We hiked out to a statue called ‘The Great Auk’ where you got to see views of the world famous Fogo Island Inn. Walking up there you came close with one of the unique art studios and of course breathtaking sights of the ocean. At the end of the trail there is a big brass Great Auk (an extinct bird which were similar to penguins – but not penguins, if that makes sense) facing Iceland where apparently there is a partner Great Auk facing this one!
Another highlight of our trip was that we had loads of Growlers Homemade Ice Cream – Jam Jam ice cream.. Oh my gosh. I would seriously take the 6 hour drive back to the island to have more Jam Jam ice cream. So creamy and delicious and jam jammy! Finally we were lucky enough to be able to catch some of the music festival (which I was told they have a few in the different communities across the island during the summer) and it topped off our Fogo experience perfectly! Live Newfoundland music while the sun was setting, some carnival games and fresh popcorn!
So clearly I would highly recommend a trip to Fogo Island to anyone and the great thing about it is the tiny island has so much to offer. There were so many things that we could have done while we were there but we ran out of time! On our next trip we’re hoping to get to take a tour of the famous Fogo Island Inn (the tours were all booked up while we were there), we saw one of the unique art studios up close but we’d like to take the hikes to the other ones, there are dozens of little museums and shops all over the island that we didn’t have the chance to explore and of course we’d have more Growlers Ice Cream.
Feel free to comment on recommendations on things to do or places to stay on Fogo Island (or your favourite Growlers Ice Cream flavour)!
*You have to take a ferry to get to the island and it runs a few times a day so being aware of the times is crucial because sometimes there can be quite the lineup of cars waiting to get on. I’d also recommend taking a look into if anything special is happening on the island, say a summer music festival… because you can guarantee the wait will be much longer than expected.. Here’s the website to find out the ferry schedule : http://www.tw.gov.nl.ca/ferryservices/schedules/c_fogo.html