Named as one of the most unique adventures (by many reputable French publication in Montreal and Quebec City) discover in the summer and winner of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Le Grand Prix de Tourisme Québécois, Camp Explora is anything but a typical summer activity.
If you’re looking for summer to-do (as a matter of fact, make that Summer MUST-DO activity!) that would guarantee to entertainment your whole family or your group of friends, no matter what age group and areas of interests, then look no further as Camp Explora certainly has something for everyone.
This is exactly what we did one gorgeous summer weekend when we, 10 of us in fact, decided to Explore Montebello, booked a stay at the opulent Chateau Montebello, and woke up early to enjoy our buffet breakfast by the chateau’s blooming garden before heading out to have some #OutaouaisFun with Camp Explora. As you can see (please know that all these photos were taken while we were on the adventure, so this is the nitty gritty of the experience! Check out our Facebook page for more photos and videos of our adventures too), WE LOVED IT and here’s TOP 3 Reasons YOU WILL LOVE CAMP EXPLORA too:
1. IT’S INDIANA JONES MEETS AMAZING RACE
Forget the whip and the bad buys, Camp Explora is a hybrid Indiana Jones Meets Amazing Race kind of treasure hunt that would delight the trivia and history lover in you. Aside from the adrenaline rush you’ll experience as you zoom left and right, up and down the hills and forests of the stunning village of Montebello, you’ll be treated to a different kind of tour that’s totally guided by your own speed, driving and local knowledge of the area. Rémi and Alain Tremblay, co-founders and owners and their Camp Explora team have created different trails with different difficulty levels that travels through the rural landscape around Mount Wescott, by the Chateau Montebello, via the beautiful golf resort and back again to the grounds of the hotel.
2. IT WON THE TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE – 2015 AWARD WINNER
Not that in needed more validation but receiving the much deserved TripAdvisor Award for Certificate of Excellence is indeed a big deal. Well-deserved as it truly is a different kind of experience in the province of Quebec, if not in the entire country. It hits the spot is so many ways – history, culture, travel, tourism, adventure, speed, entertainment and family fun.
How does it work?
Starting with about 20 minutes of orientation from a Camp Explora staff who will explain the process, the rules and most especially, the safety guidelines with an emphasis on calling the rescue cavalry if you are lost or experiencing technical difficulties (or if you don’t want to admit you’re lost and just want to call it having technical difficulties). Before, you can either opt for an ATV that is a 2-seater or a 4-seater (kids can ride at the back) but now, they have a new type of vehicle. If being green and environmentally-friendly is more your thing, you will totally appreciate the fact that both the ATV and Géo-Kart are powered by electric. In fact, the latter can also be charged via solar power. Which means, you may actually be powering it as you are driving it on a sunny day!
Each ATV can accommodate either two people aged 12 and up, or the 4-seater ones can accommodate two adults plus two kids aged five to 12. As nature meets technology at Camp Explora, every team uses a Camp Explora iPad, which is pre-loaded with your “Scavenger Hunt” clues and the ‘map’ or route that you have chosen but every destination will only be revealed after you’ve successfully answered the clue. You follow the direction on the iPad, which takes you through what feels like an exclusive, not open to the public tour of the area while giving you a glimpse of its storied past, including the famous and prominent people that once inhabited the village. When you reach the right spot, the answer to your clue pops up on the screen, you have to answer correctly, then you get a new clue.
Remember, you cannot advance to your next destination until you’ve solved the clue at hand.
Were there fighting on where to go and how to drive? Ahm… yes.
Were there arguing on the right answers to the trivia questions? Of course.
Were there a lot of fun? ABSOLUTELY!
3. GUARANTEED A UNIQUE ADVENTURE FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
I couldn’t stop talking and telling everybody about Camp Explora last year and I’m pleased to see that it’s gotten bigger, more popular and getting the professional accolades (recognitions from a number of online and print newspapers, as well as awards from various travel and tourist associations) that it deserves. Our adventure started with an unforgettable stay at the stunning (which you may have seen in my @20YS Instagram as I couldn’t stop posting about it!) Chateau Montebello.
How do you get to Camp Explora?
If you’re coming from Ottawa, Highway 50 east from Gatineau for about 75 kilometres, then take exit 210 and follow the signs to nearby Montebello. Camp Explora is at 480 Notre Dame, next to the Chateau Montebello and in front of this amazing Italian Restaurant (regrettably, I forgot the name), which serves the most delicious pasta and wine on their patio. The adventure lasts from 90 to 120 minutes, depending if you got lost and need a rescue from the cavalry. I believe Ryan and Guil didn’t want to admit it but Rémi did come and rescue them.
How much is Camp Explora?
The Geo-kart is $69.95 + Tax and the ATV is $139.95 + Tax. Unless this policy has changed, it’s half price on rainy days. If it is a rainy day, wear rain gear and rain pants will be provided. You can call to reserve or book online, which is highly recommended as you save money and you get to see Camp Explora’s awesome new website!
Do we have sleep in Montebello?
You can make it a day trip but if you want to explore the area further and have some R&R, stay for a night or the weekend! We absolutely recommend a stay at the historic and legendary Chateau Montebello, which is only steps away from the base camp of Camp Explora. You can also stay and visit Kenauk Nature Resort (it was breath-taking!) and the super fun Parc Omega. The Chateau hosts a fabulous plein aire BBQ during the summer and it overlooks the back of the magnificent hotel on one side and the calming view of the water on the other.
All in all, it’s an experience I would do over and over again! Well, considering we finished FIRST amongst all the groups that day, I don’t think it would come as a big surprise that I want to come back and relive the experience. But this time, you can be sure I’ll be reading up on the history of Montebello!
A BIG THANK YOU goes to Madame Anne Chardon of Tourisme Outaouais for facilitating this unforgettable experience. A sweet MERCI BEAUCOUP definitely goes to Rémi and Alain of Camp Explora! To get more summer to-do list inspirations and updates on events and special occasions around town, follow @20YS on Twitter & @20YS on Instagram today. For behind the scenes from our ATV adventures with Camp Explora Chateau Montebello and Kenauk Nature Resort, follow #20YSSummer, @20YS on Twitter and @20YS on Instagram.