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The Traveller's Diary: A bookstore quality Guidebook written annually by CapeRace to suit your travel style
Jonathan Tourtellot, Fellow, National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations: ". ..Things you (CapeRace) have done involving people are truly trailblazing. I don't know of anyone, anywhere that has figured out such a great way to get tourists in contact with local people..."
Your secret weapon. We are the only travel company that initiates real connections with the local community in a self-guided travel format. Seasoned travellers know that technology has destroyed the printed old-school travel guide. It's been replaced by Trip-Advisor type "opinion" and paid-for, commercially influenced blogs. Mobile apps have also largely failed in this area. We have used technology to improve the old-school guidebook.
Just how do we do it?
First, CapeRace believes the two major factors that impact the enjoyment of an adventure is spontaneity and time management. You simply need to allocate enough discretionary time to allow unplanned situations and interactions to influence your trip. This creates the sense of exploration and discovery. It's particularly important in Newfoundland to minimize your vehicle commute-time and maximize your commute-explore time. This is a challenge when touring the expansive island, as Newfoundland is a driving vacation. Many lose their trip to their car and return home with pictures taken through a bug-splattered window.
The CapeRace-written guidebook gets local. We write about people and places in your specific neighbourhood and recommend activities within 1.5-2 hours of each house. This creates a virtual "perimeter around the playground" and gets you back to your coastal home's deck for cocktail hour, just in time to watch the whales and magnificent sunsets.
Adventure Through People
Second, it is our strong belief that connecting with the local community produces the best travel experience. That memorable heart-felt and life-changing travel experiences occur off the standard tourist beat and with a sense of the unknown and discovery. We specifically write the guidebook in a way that changes the odds and nature of chance meetings of colourful characters, all set in a spectacular scenic backdrop. Through hidden agendas, the Traveller's Diary will lead you to a situation, but it is up to you to make the exchange happen through the development of your own relationship with the people you will encounter. It's all by chance, which creates the true, meaningful and most important, fun experience. This is the concept that caught National Geographic's attention and urged them to take the trip.
We use technology to quickly update the travel guide, swapping people and places in and out of the book as we discover new areas to explore and new people to meet. This dilutes the overall traveller's footprint and spreads out the economic benefit in rural areas.
- Question:What is CapeRace Cultural Adventures?Answer:A boutique travel company specializing in authentic self-guided travel experiences at Canada’s most eastern island of Newfoundland.
- Question:Where are the coastal homes located?Answer:CapeRace has six coastal homes that are used for different trips. The Eco-Culture Experience 10-Day trip utilizes three, the 7-Day uses two. Two houses are located in the Battery neighbourhood of St. John's at Signal Hill, two in the small quiet town of Heart's Delight at Trinity Bay and two are located on the Bonavista Peninsula, either at the Mockbeggar neighbourhood in the town of Bonavista, or in the small town of Elliston.
- Question:What does CapeRace offer?Answer:CapeRace offers outdoorsy, soft adventure, meaningful travel packages that bring Newfoundland’s rich history, performing arts, and the pristine wilderness together to create what we call an "Eco-Culture Experience"™. This occurs at the intersection of Newfoundland's unique cultural heritage, amazing wildlife and scenic wonders. It appeals to the mind and soul of the curious traveler and ensures the self-guided experience is filled with a sense of personal meaning and accomplishment. Sense of place, or geographical character of our destinations is highlighted through the encouragement of traveler participation in the local community in an authentic, sustainable setting.
- Question:How does the tour package work?Answer:CapeRace will give you a key that fits the locks of two or three newly restored homes situated in spectacular coastal locations, an unlimited milage vehicle, and a self-published commercial-grade guidebook written specifically for the CapeRace trip. In some cases we customize or extend these trips and access third-party accommodation. Travellers stay at two or three authentic indigenous homes on an exclusive–use basis, and use the self-directing "Traveller's Diary" to explore unique and out-of-the-way nature sites, pubs, and music venues - recommending activities that will inspire the traveler to become part of three local communities. Each are located within a three hour proximity, and offer a different take of Newfoundland lifestyle and culture. It is a flexible self-driving, self-guiding circuit-tour that offers the opportunity to experience cultural and ecological discovery at one’s own pace, on one’s own terms. For eample, guests on the 10-Day trip travel in a circuit tour, staying three nights in St. John’s, three nights in Heart’s Delight, and three nights in Bonavista/Elliston. Guests on the 7-Day trip travel in a circuit tour, staying three nights in St. John’s and three nights in Bonavista.
- Question:What makes CapeRace Cultural Adventures different?Answer:What makes CapeRace different from other tour operators is that we capture a balanced combination of the unique cultural heritage and spectacular scenic coastline, and package it up into a non-staged, experience. Our unique approach allows the traveler to become part of the local community, and can witness Newfoundland’s scenic wonders through the eyes of the locals. Most tour companies outsource their accommodations. Because CapeRace owns the three coastal homes, consistent high quality amenities are ensured across all three houses—including the most import—very high-end beds. Travellers stay in neighbourhoods exclusively in their own restored historic coastal homes. They become part of three very different communities. All houses are consistent, and are restored and outfitted to a common standard. New beds, new bed linen, new kitchenware, new paint- and ultra clean- no disappointing accommodation that happens when booking on the fly. All have a large outdoor deck with bbq and grand view of the ocean. All houses are architecturally different, and all offer a completely different take on Newfoundland living and lifestyle; creating a new and unique environment every three-five days. CapeRace takes the difficult and anxiety-causing task of planning out of the travel effort without effecting spontaneity or authenticity aspects of the experience. Travellers are self-directed and make all decisions. There is no “force-fed’ itinerary. The flexible self-driving, self-catering circuit-tour provides the opportunity to experience cultural and ecological discovery at one's own pace, on ones own terms. Not only are the actual destinations spectacular, but the road trip between the destinations is a large part of the adventure. The CapeRace tour creates time “safety-net” through its inherent itinerary--- set only by the home location and stay-duration.
- Question:Your trips are self-guided. Can we hire a guide through you?Answer:Yes- we have access to guides for all of our trips. Labrador extensions have guides included in the overall price. Guides can be hired through your outfitter for the Gros Morne Park extension.
- Question:Tell me more about the Custom Guidebook known as “The Traveller’s Diary”Answer:CapeRace is the only travel company that transparently initiates real connections with the local community in a self-guided, unscripted travel format. The travel guide is the vehicle we use to allow this to occur. A The guidebook is a crucial part of the overall CapeRace experience. It is the key enabler that allows us to deliver on the promise of a true Newfoundland experience experience. It is our strong belief that responsible travel ultimately produces the best travel experience--that memorable heart-felt and life-changing travel experiences occur without the intervention of a tour operator and without the deployment of intrusive traditional travel products and services. We deliver an enriched cultural tourism experience by creating a situation whereby our customers establish their own relationships with local people, without third party intervention. The “Traveller’s Diary” is a commercial-grade travel guidebook written specifically for the CapeRace Eco-Culture Experience and CapeRace Culinary tours, targeted at the Avalon and Bonavista Peninsulas and Fogo Island.
- Question:So why is this special?Answer:The guide self-directs the traveller not only to the popular sights in the vicinity of the three homes, but also to the unique and out of the way pubs, nature sites, shops and heritage sites that are not well known to the average sightseer. The travel guide covertly leads the guest to a potential cultural interaction, but it is up to the guest to make the exchange happen through the development of their own relationship. For example, the guidebook directs guests to the historic barbershop on Duckworth Street to see the numerous photographs of old St. John’s that hang on the wall. It’s our hidden agenda to have them meet the barber who has been cutting hair there for fifty years, knowing he would be able to recount the history of St. John’s much better than the pictures. Our ultimate objective to have the traveller purchase a haircut. Once you decide to go into the shop- you own the relationship that may transpire with the barber. Using new information technology we can professionally demand-print the travel guide. This has several major impacts; first, it allows the travel guide to be updated in near-real-time, to the point that we can print a new book for each traveling group. As CapeRace and our customers meet more interesting people, and visit more unique places, we evolve the guidebook to ensure the next traveller’s experience maintains originality, spontaneity, and authenticity. This allows us to get our guests to the sites long before they become popular- providing the most authentic experience and in a less crowded environment.
- Question:How many copies of the book are supplied per trip?Answer:One book per travelling party is provided. Additional books can be purchased for the cost of printing, or $80 cdn.
- Question:Do you offer Group or Mulit-Family pricing?Answer:Yes. You can see the multi-traveller pricing under the Booking Dates tabs under ADVENTURES. If booked well in advance we may be able to offer side-by-side trips that can provide accomodation for twelve travellers.
- Question:Where are the coastal homes located?Answer:Each is located within a 2-3 hour proximity of each other and offer a different measure of Newfoundland's intriguing cultural, scenic, and sporting assets. The tour starts in St. John’s and moves around the Avalon and Bonavista Peninsulas. The 10-Day traveller stays in St. John's and Heart’s Delight; 1 ¼ hours from St. John’s. They then travel on to Elliston/Bonavista Peninsula, a three hour drive from Heart's Delight. The 7-Day travller skips Heart's Delight and proceeds directly to Bonavista.
- Question:When should we book?Answer:The majority of our spring and summer trips are sold from January through July. You can check availability under the BOOKING DATES tab under ADVENTURES. Booking early will provide you with more choice for departure dates such as weekend or mid-week departures.
- Question:What about flights?Answer:For CapeRace Eco-Culture Experience trips, 7-Day and 10-Day, we recommed taking the earliest flight into St. John's International Airport and a late afternoon or evening departure flight out of St. John's International Airport. Its a three hour trip from Bonavista to the St. John's airport with little chance of delay on the highway. For the CapeRace Culinay trip, we recommed taking the earliest flight into St. John's International Airport and an afternoon departure flight out of Gander International Airport. For any extensions to Gros Morne or Labrador, you will need to book your departure flight out of Deer Lake Airport. Watch for seat sales. If you book your trips well in advance, you will find cheap flights. For example, flights from Toronto may be secured for $450 return, tax-in, if you have at least three month lead time. Charter flights, including both fixed-wing and helicopter are available and have the ability to land at Fogo Island.
- Question:But I want to see more of Newfoundland- including Gros Morne on the west coast?Answer:Sure. Check our TRIP EXTENSION section under each trip. We offer three night extensions to Gros Morne and can customize a trip extension for you. Most Labrador tours depart on Fridays, however, we can make arrangements for customstart dates. Contact us for more details.
- Question:How often does the trip depart?Answer:Departure dates every four days from April through October.
- Question:Can we extend?Answer:Yes. CapeRace has properties not listed on this site. We offer packaged extensions and also market trips via CapeRace Custom. For custom trips please contact us to disucss options. There are many.
- Question:How can we pay?Answer:We take payments by certified cheque, bank draft, email funds transfer, VISA, Mastercard, and American Express. We recommend you check the transaction fees charged to you by your credit card company and balance and charges this with the travel bennefits your card provides.
- Question:What about the vehicle rentals and services offered by credit card companies?Answer:While the cost of the rental vehicle IS calculated and included in the overall price of your trip, National Car Rental corporate policy dictates the driver contract with them directly for the duration of the trip. You will not be charged by National Car Rental when you pick up your vehicle, however, the driver will be required to sign a contract. Upon return of the rental vehicle damage-free, the driver will be released fom any agreements made after payment for expenses such as tolls, fuel, traffic violations, GPS rental, and parking tickets. The driver is responsible for vehicle insurance for the duration of the rental. Note that most premium credit cards offer services such as trip cancellation, trip accident, and rental vehcile insurance coverage. We recommend you understand the breadth of services are offered, the terms of those services and if there are transaction fees associated with your trip purchase. We're happy to discuss our experiences with credit card transactions and alternative methods of payment.
- Question:What are your cancellation terms?Answer:We use industry standard cancellation terms for boutique tour operators. You can read our terms and conditions here.
- Question:Does your company carry insurance?Answer:We carry General Liabilty Insurance on CapeRace Cultural Adventures Inc., a Newfoundland & Labrador incorporated company. This does not cover you if you are injured, become ill, or have to cancel your trip. It's important that you are properly insured when you travel. Travel insurance can be purchased for as little as $100 per person per trip through most banks.
- Question:The preservation of the environment and responsible travel is important to me. What is CapeRace doing to minimize the damage tourism does to a destination?Answer:The key to responsible travel is found in the Traveller’s Diary. Using new information technology we can professionally demand-print induvidual travel guides. This has several impacts: First, it allows the travel guide to be updated in near-realtime, to the point that we print a new book for each customer. As CapeRace and our customers meet more interesting people, and visit more unique places, we evolve the guidebook to ensure the next traveller’s experience maintains originality, spontaneity, and authenticity. Second, and of most importance, the guide allows us to adhere to sustainable travel practices as it ensures that the traveller's collective seasonal footprint on the specific destination is minimized, and the distribution of economic benefits are spread wider. With less concentrated intrusions we are protecting the platform upon which the travel experience occurs by minimizing the tourism-based cultural erosion. Newfoundland & Labrador being a largely undiscovered and unexplored place allows the Traveller's Diary to change often throughout the season as new people and new experiences are uncovered. Across the ten-day trip almost all experiences are by chance and the outcome is what the traveller makes of them. We do not stage the cultural interactions they will have rather we place them in the situation to have them. This gives the traveller choice and removes frustration and disappointment found in traditional tours stemming from unpredictable and often uncontrollable events such as the weather, mood, and operator incompetence.