Summary : This expedition offers an in-depth encounter with the world of the polar bear and the Canadian North. Travel in heated Polar Rovers over the tundra to watch bears play and interact, entertaining just feet away from large picture windows. But this grand adventure doesn’t end there: You’ll also helicopter in to the bears’ denning area, experience the northern boreal wilderness on an authentic dog sled ride, and enjoy cultural activities with local residents. When night falls, keep your fingers crossed to see the swirling colors of the aurora borealis, as vivid here as any place on earth. “Ultimate Churchill” is the ultimate North!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$7,995 to $8,195
Your polar bear trip begins in Winnipeg, once a fur-trading post and boom town for the Canadian Pacific Railway, today Manitoba’s cultural and commercial capital at the eastern edge of Canada’s vast prairies. Transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel, grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality and one of the city’s most prestigious landmarks. Meet your expedition leader at an orientation dinner this evening.
Fly to Churchill via your private chartered plane and explore this remote small community on a guided tour with your Expedition Leader. Originally a fur-trading post, Churchill is home to just under a thousand people and, in late fall, to hundreds of polar bears that congregate at the edge of Hudson Bay. Head to the tundra this evening for your first glimpse of the bears. Dinner is served aboard your enclosed Polar Rover in heated comfort.
An exciting adventure is in store as you soar over the tundra in helicopters, surveying the frozen landscape below. From the air you may see polar bears, caribou and arctic fox. Landing on the tundra, disembark to explore on foot, perhaps even crawling inside an unoccupied polar bear den. Sample an age-old means of Arctic transportation on a dog sledding excursion. Learn about the life of a musher, visit with the dogs, observe the team as they prepare for the run, then head out for an unforgettable ride behind an eager team of pure canine power!
Your immersion in Northern culture continues as Native hosts share their traditions and what their daily lives are like. These captivating storytellers recount tales from their personal histories and offer insight into the vibrant nations that have flourished amid adversity in this harsh environment for thousands of years. You'll also visit Churchill's Eskimo Museum, with artifacts collected from centuries of local habitation.
Your unique Polar Rovers are your mobile means for a full day on the tundra among the polar bears. Although these custom-designed vehicles accommodate up to 35 passengers, your group will be no larger than 16, ensuring everyone a window seat. Your Expedition Leaders know the best places to see bears, which are waiting for the ice to solidify on Hudson Bay in order to begin the winter seal-hunting season. Watch the bears interact, delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. After dinner back in town, enjoy a presentation on wildlife or cultural aspects of life in the North.
Once again, board your exclusive Polar Rovers for a full-day excursion to explore the subarctic scenery and watch wildlife. The pace is leisurely as you move over the tundra, pausing whenever bears are spotted to observe their behavior and capture photos. Tonight, if skies are clear, visit a heated aurora dome in hopes of witnessing the northern lights. The phenomenon often begins slowly as a faint white glow, then intensifies in scope and color as the lights undulate across the sky, shimmering curtains of electric green, waves of blue or even red. The Hudson Bay Inuit see the lights as the magical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky. Though they are no less entrancing knowing that the aurora borealis is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field.
Following time to pick up some last-minute Native crafts and souvenirs in town, enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill. Fly back to Winnipeg, where you have a final reception before your adventure concludes.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departing flights.
Departure dates and itinerary subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Getting There & Getting Home: In case of flight or weather delays, it is recommended that you arrive a day early and either participate in the Extra Day in Winnipeg program or stay on your own. Your expedition begins with a 7 pm welcome dinner on Day 1. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.
Northern Wilderness Sled Dog Excursion: Included
An introductory sled dog excursion may be available on your polar bear expeditions, weather permitting. This overview outing is designed to introduce visitors to the tradition of sled dogs in the northland and includes a short but exhilarating, mile-long ride through the boreal wilderness. The focus of this excursion is to visit and learn about the dogs and the dog sledding tradition from an expert musher.
Northern Helicopter Tundra Adventure: Included
This 60-minute exclusive helicopter flight over the tundra is the most exciting way to view the North’s fascinating wildlife. Track migrating caribou, arctic fox and the mighty polar bear from a unique aerial perspective as you fly over the northern environs. This vast expanse of open tundra and frozen lakes also contains ancient pre-Dorset tent rings and other intriguing archaeological sites.
Winnipeg Extension: From $265 per person; Single Supplement: $55
For polar bear travelers who want to see as much as possible during their time in Manitoba, this optional one-day program in Winnipeg takes place prior to each polar bear tour. The program includes hotel accommodations at Hotel Fort Garry, breakfast and lunch, a tour of the city highlighting historical and cultural points of interest, and a guided visit to the acclaimed Manitoba Museum, winner of numerous awards for excellence in visitor experience and service.
Round-trip flights between Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations; beer and wine at the Tundra Lodge; dog sledding excursion; helicopter excursion; meals; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; some gratuities; activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; taxes and service charges; and gear on loan (parka and waterproof boots). Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; distilled alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
PHOTOS: © Eric Rock (NHA); © Colin McNulty (NHA); © Megan Emmett (NHA)