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 : Culture, Hiking
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 recommend that you arrive a day early and either participate in the Extra Day in Winnipeg program or stay on your own. The trip begins with a 7:00 pm welcome dinner on Day 1. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.
R/T flight from Winnipeg to Churchill; accommodations; all meals; services of professional Expedition Leaders and assistants; some gratuities; helicopter flight; dog sledding excursion; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; permits & park fees; all taxes and service charges; complimentary boots and parkas for use during trip.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; some gratuities; alcoholic beverages; personal items; airport taxes; travel insurance.
Extra Day in Winnipeg Extension (pre-trip):
Includes: Airport transfers; hotel accommodations; breakfast and lunch; guided tour of Winnipeg; guided tour of the Manitoba Museum; entrance fees. From $260 per person.
PHOTOS: © Eric Rock (NHA); © Colin McNulty (NHA); © Megan Emmett (NHA)