How to take the ferry to Fogo Island, Newfoundland: a comprehensive guide - Amy and the Island (2023)

How to take the ferry to Fogo Island, Newfoundland: a comprehensive guide - Amy and the Island (1)

Here’s everything you need to know and what to expect when taking the ferry from Newfoundland to Fogo Island or Change Islands (from a year-round resident!)

1. Getting to the ferry & paying the fare

The ferry to Fogo Island and our sister island Change Islands leaves from Farewell, Newfoundland. The drive to Farewell from Gander takes about an hour and fifteen minutes if you’re going the speed limit the entire way. The road condition changes throughout the drive so be sure to watch out for the ubiquitous Newfoundland pothole. Google maps can advise you of driving times from other places such as St. John’s. As a general rule, leave yourself plenty of time. You’re bound to get stuck behind a slow driver or two, and if you’re a tourist, you’ll likely to want to stop at least once or twice along the way for a photo.

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At Farewell, you’ll come upon a small white hut with signage posted around it; this is the ticket booth. You must stop here before proceeding. Sometimes, cars will be lined up at the ticket booth if it isn’t open yet (especially in the summer when things are busy). Sometimes, traffic will be moving at the ticket booth as folks are paying their fare and then getting in line just beyond the booth. The person in the booth will advise you where to drive after paying your fare based on whether you’re going to Change Islands or Fogo Island. They accept cash and cards. Rates are posted on this website and are fairly nominal depending on number of people and type of vehicle. A couple driving a car onto the ferry can expect to pay around $35 to go to Fogo Island, for example.

Note: you only pay on the Farewell side for a return trip on & off Fogo Island and/or Change Islands. Once you are on Fogo Island or Change Islands, you will not pay to leave and there are no ticket booths on the Island sides.


2. Reading the schedule

The ferry schedule for Fogo Island and Change Islands is controlled and posted by the Transportation & Works department of the provincial government. Click here to view the ferry information website.

At the top of the webpage, you’ll see a notice specifying which schedule the ferry is currently following. Slightly below that, you’ll see links to different schedules. Be sure to click on the correct schedule for when you are travelling! The schedule changes seasonally but the number of crossings and timings remain quite similar over the course of the year.

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There is a “511” information system for service updates related to the ferry system in Newfoundland & Labrador (we have many ferries services different parts of the province.) Before heading to the ferry, you should make sure it’s on schedule. Here is the 511 information page for the ferries. Make sure “ferries” is checked off in the righthand sidebar, and move the map so you can see the Fogo Island/Change Islands area. Click on the little ferry icons and a status message will pop up noting whether things are on schedule or not. There is also a Newfoundland 511 App you can download for similar information; search “NL 511” in your app store to download.

For most of the year, Fogo Island and Change Islands share a ferry. This is why you’ll see that the schedule notes various times for when the ferry leaves Farewell to stop and Changes Islands, and then leaves Change Islands for Fogo Island. If you are travelling from Farewell to Fogo Island, you only need to pay attention to the time that the ferry leaves Farewell for Change Islands. The stop at Change Islands will be brief before the ferry goes on to Fogo Island, and the entire crossing will take approximately 1 hour. In the summer, we are sometimes blessed with a second, smaller ferry that serves only Change Islands. The schedules will reflect this, so just be sure you’re paying attention and reading the correct schedule for where you’re trying to go.


3. When to arrive

The best time to arrive at the ferry to get in line for the next crossing changes depending on the season. In the winter (say, December to March), you can generally arrive half an hour before the sailing and be pretty much assured to get on. The ferry will be busier around holidays such as Christmas when many people are coming to the Islands to visit.

In the spring, summer, and fall, you need to arrive early. In the spring and fall, I usually plan to arrive an hour before sailing. In the height of summer (June, July, August), I’d recommend arriving an hour and a half before the scheduled crossing. The ferry is first-come, first served with no reservations, which is why you need to get in line to assure yourself and your vehicle a space. The ferry holds about 64 vehicles (give or take). If you don’t get on, you’ll have to wait for the next crossing.

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If you’re walking on to the ferry and not driving a vehicle, you can arrive almost any time before the sailing. Make sure to stop at the ticket booth to pay your fare! You can wait in the terminal building and walk on to the ferry right before the cars begin rolling on.

When leaving Fogo Island, again you’re going to want to get in line early on the Island side in busier months- especially during festival weekends when campers (RVs) are filling out the lines. To give you some examples, if I was leaving Fogo Island in January, I’d arrive to get in line no more than half an hour before the sailing. But if I was leaving on a morning ferry (which are the most popular by far) in July, especially around a weekend, I’d arrive at least an hour and a half before the sailing.

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Remember, you don’t need to pay to leave Fogo Island or Change Islands, so don’t go looking for a ticket booth. Just get in line. And for goodness sakes, don’t be a jerk and pass someone on the road after Stag Harbour. That’s just rude and leads me to my next point…

4. Some tips regarding ferry etiquette

  • If you’re less than 1 kilometre from the ferry on either side and you pass someone, you’re an asshole. #sorrynotsorry but we’re all trying to get in the same line here, and that’s just rude.
  • Do not turn your car on too early when you’re on the ferry and waiting to drive off. Folks are trying to get into their vehicles and don’t need to be choked by your exhaust.
  • If you don’t need the elevator on the ferry, take the stairs. The elevator should be reserved for persons living with disabilities, or those with health issues.
  • Note: there is no smoking permitted anywhere on the ferry, even on the outside deck.

5. What to expect: step by step from driving on the ferry to driving off

  1. When the ferry is ready to load, you will know. Either the horn will sound, or a staff member will signal to the first car in the line and the line will start moving. It will be quite obvious, so as long as you’re not asleep, don’t stress about missing it.
  2. Follow the other cars and drive on. Ferry staff will direct you where to drive as you enter the ferry; stay in the rows and don’t freak out if you need to drive up one of the ramps. The staff will motion you to cuddle right up to the car in front of you. Watch and listen to them and you’ll be just fine.
  3. Exit your car and take everything you’ll need with you (a book, water bottle, etc). Head for one of the doors on the sides to go up to the passenger lounges. There are two lounges and it doesn’t matter which one you hang out in. The stern lounge has access to the outside decks as well as a minimal play area for children.
  4. There are washrooms on the ferry.
  5. There will be an announcement when the vessel is docked and it’s time to disembark. But to be honest, most local people head down to their cars before this.
  6. Again, a staff member will direct you when it’s time to drive off. Do not drive off before you’ve received a clear signal as this can be dangerous! In general, folks who are walking off the ferry will be allowed to walk off before the cars begin rolling off.


How do you get the ferry to Fogo Island? ›

Fogo Island is in central Newfoundland and can be reached by taking Route 330 north from Gander to the ferry service that runs from Farewell (via Route 331 and 335). The ferry sails visitors to Change Islands in 25 minutes, while the crossing from Farewell to Fogo Island is approximately 50 minutes.

Do you need a reservation for the Fogo Island Ferry? ›

There are no reservations for the Fogo Island ferry. It is first-come, first-served (you drive up and put your car in the line up).

How long is the ferry ride to Fogo Island? ›

Access to Fogo Island is through a passenger and vehicle ferry, operated by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador several times each day. The crossing takes about 45 minutes, including some trips that stop briefly at neighbouring Change Islands.

How many vehicles can the Fogo Island Ferry take? ›

If your chosen crossing is listed as "combined" it stops at the Change Islands, and up to 15 spaces are served for Change passengers and vehicles on a combined route. That means 15 vehicles could be left behind on Fogo or at Farewell, if the trip is a combined crossing.

What is the name of the ferry to Fogo Island? ›

The MV Veteran is a ferry operating in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. She is operated by the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, entering service on the route from Newfoundland to Fogo Island and Change Islands at the end of 2015.

Can you do a day trip to Fogo Island? ›

At 7 am, we'll pick you up from your hotel in Praia and take you to the Santiago Island Airport. From there, you'll catch your 30-minute flight to São Filipe, the capital of Fogo Island. Once you've landed, we'll meet you at the terminal and take you on a tour of Fogo Island.

How far in advance should I book a ferry to Newfoundland? ›

In our trip we booked 24 hours ahead. There were cabins left. Back to NS from NL we took a morning ferry and reserved a cabin without problem 12 hours before departure. Have a good trip!

Is Fogo Island worth it? ›

The islands are tidy and pretty and colorful-well worth a visit. Also, there are photo workshops there and the participants can stay with the locals. Also a B&B and cabins. Fogo is interesting and offers many small communities.

How early do you have to be for ferry reservation? ›

Arrive at the terminal 60 minutes before your scheduled departure if you have a vehicle booking and arrive at least 45 minutes before your scheduled departure if you have a foot passenger booking.

Why is Fogo Island so expensive? ›

Fogo Island Inn and Jeremy Laing have used the item's small run combined with the fact that they were hand sewn on the island by local workers as justification for the high price.

What is so special about Fogo Island? ›

Fogo Island is not so much a place as a state of mind. With a long maritime history, the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador is a gentle world of bright-colored clapboard houses, sea-cliff footpaths, lush forest, and warm hospitality set against a striking coastline.

How long does it take to drive around Fogo Island? ›

The whole drive is only a 50 km round trip, so it's easy to do it in a day. But I recommend staying overnight as Fogo is a fantastic place to explore at your leisure.

How many cars can the Newfoundland ferry hold? ›

The ship has a max capacity of 961 passengers and 352 cars. The vessel was launched in 2002 and currently operates on the Canadian (Nova Scotia-Newfoundland) ferry route North Sydney-Port aux Basques (crossing time 7 hours, year-round, 7 days a week).

Are you allowed to stay in the car in the Cross island ferry? ›

On the Cross Sound Ferry

Once you park your car on the lower deck, you'll need to go up to the higher level. Passengers are not permitted to stay on the car level.

How much does it cost to take the ferry across to Newfoundland? ›

Passenger Rates (one way)
Empty HeadingRatesSecurity Fee
Adults 13 - 64 years$35.65$3.50
Children 5 - 12 years$18.00$0.00
Children under 5FREEFREE
Senior Citizens 65 years +$32.50$3.50

Is there a ferry from St John's to Fogo Island? ›

There is no direct connection from St. John's to Fogo Island. However, you can take the bus to Gambo - Chestnut Tree Cafe, take the drive to Farewell Harbour, take the car ferry to Change Islands, take the walk to Change Island, NL, take the ferry to Fogo Island, then take the travel to Fogo Island.

How many miles is Fogo Island? ›

The island is about 25 km (16 mi) long and 14 km (8.7 mi) wide. The total area is 237.71 km2 (91.78 sq mi).

How many rooms does Fogo Island Inn have? ›

Fogo Island Inn sits on an island, off an island, at one of the four corners of the Earth. Every one of our 29 one-of-a-kind guest rooms and suites has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the wildest and most powerful ocean on the planet.

Is there cell service on Fogo Island? ›

Internet, Telephone and Cellular Service

Bell Aliant dial-up is available as well. Many accommodations provide wireless internet service, and there computers available to use at the local library. Bell Aliant provides regular home and business phone service. Cellular service is available from Bell.

Can you see the northern lights from Fogo Island? ›

Fogo & The Change Islands, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

If the weather doesn't keep you away, the island's rugged landscape makes for an epic backdrop to see the Auroras.

How cold does it get in Fogo Island? ›

How cold does it get in Fogo Island? The average annual lowest temperature in Fogo Island is -8.5°C (16.7°F), and the February 9th is the coldest day on average.

Is it cheaper to book ferry in advance? ›

Tips For Cheaper Ferry Tickets

Book in advance - Generally, the lowest fares are available when you book in advance. So book as early as possible before your travel date.

Should you buy ferry tickets in advance? ›

Booking your ferry tickets in advance means that you will not have to worry about availability, which can become very limited as the departure date approaches. If your holiday plans change, you can easily change your booking through our website. Last minute booking: How late can I book a ferry?

What is the cheapest day to go on a ferry? ›

Generally a Tuesday is the cheapest day to sail, closely followed by Wednesday and then Thursday. Some routes will throw a curve ball and the weekend may be cheaper, so always check other days. Sail in the afternoon. Most people tend to book ferry crossings either first thing in the morning, or last thing at night.

Can you see icebergs from Fogo Island? ›

The quantity of icebergs visiting Fogo Island changes from year to year and they don't exactly operate on a schedule, but you can usually spot them dotting our coastal waters between mid May and June.

Can you swim on Fogo Island? ›

Enjoy the gentle motions of our inland ponds. Take a dip in one of the local swimming holes and let the water connect with you to shape and soften your spirit.

Are there puffins on Fogo Island? ›

Little Fogo Islands, a tiny archipelago a few miles offshore, plays summertime host to hundreds of puffins nesting in hills and bobbing in the water. Pods of whales visit in the summer, their breaching backs and tails easily spotted from the windows of the Inn.

Do you have to book the ferry to Newfoundland? ›

Reservations are recommended for all non-commercial passengers travelling with Marine Atlantic's ferry service. Passengers must be checked-in at least two hours before the vessel's scheduled sailing time. Reservations, including accommodations, will be cancelled if you miss your check-in time.

Do you need ID to get on a ferry? ›

The form of ID you'll need to travel on a ferry depends on the route and your own nationality. On most international routes you will need your passport to check-in, however there are exceptions to this.

How much of a ferry gets reserved? ›

On average in a normal year, only about 68 percent of the available ferry capacity is used, so there should be space available throughout the day.

What celebrities have stayed on Fogo Island? ›

Fogo Island is a pretty trendy vacation destination in Newfoundland and Labrador, and has seen its fair share of celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Suits star Sarah Rafferty.

How many people live on Fogo Island? ›

Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
Fogo Island
ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador
IncorporatedMarch 1, 2011
Population (2021)
• Total2,117
11 more rows

Are there bears on Fogo Island? ›

The RCMP says a polar bear is in the area of the Great Auk Trail, Joe Batts Arm. Police ask residents to avoid the area and not to approach the bear for any reason, including to take photos. The WWF says polar bears' powerful sense of smell attracts them to human waste, stored food, dog teams, and animal carcasses.

What are people from Fogo Island called? ›

Fogo Island is an outport community: a small, remote coastal settlement unique to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Fogo Islanders are people of the sea who have made their living by fishing the frigid and often unforgiving waters of the North Atlantic.

What animals are on Fogo Island? ›

Birds circle the skies: puffins, razorbills, bull birds, snowbirds, evening grosbeaks, king eiders, harlequin ducks, white winged scoters, and gannets just to name a few. Those who venture to Little Fogo Islands will see hundreds of puffins nesting in the hills and bobbing in the water off of this tiny archipelago.

Who owns Fogo Island? ›

Founder & CEO, Shorefast, and Innkeeper, Fogo Island Inn

Zita Cobb is the Founder and CEO of Shorefast and is the Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn.

What is the best month to visit Newfoundland? ›

While there are cool things to do here at any time of the year, the best time to visit Newfoundland is from early-July to mid-August, when it feels like the province is full of colour and the people most lively. The temperatures finally warm up and we all come out of hibernation.

How much is the Fogo ferry? ›

Take Gander Bay Road (Route 330) north, cross the bridge at Clarke's Head and take a right on Route 335 (or just follow the “Ferry” signs). The ferry terminal is in a tiny community called “Farewell.” Expect a line-up. The ferry ride costs $6.05 for an adult walk-on or $18.15 for a vehicle and driver.

Can you walk around Lagoa do Fogo? ›

Enjoy this 3.9-mile out-and-back trail near Água de Alto, Azores. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 37 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding and hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

What language is spoken on Fogo Island? ›

Tilting is unique for its Irish culture and, some people say, its Irish dialect.


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