Summary : This Arctic expedition is the most thorough encounter with the world of the polar bear and the Canadian North. Traverse the tundra in heated Polar Rovers to search for bears, and watch them roam, play and interact—sometimes visible at close range through large picture windows or in the open from the outdoor viewing platform. But this grand adventure doesn't end there. You'll also helicopter in the area of the bears' denning area, experience the boreal forest on an authentic dog sled ride, explore the frontier town of Churchill and enjoy cultural activities with local residents. When darkness descends, keep your fingers crossed for a view of the northern lights—its mystical display are as vivid here as any place on Earth. "Ultimate Churchill" is the ultimate North!
NOTE: Dates for 2020 are tentative and will be allocated to guests on a first-come, first-served basis.
Activities : Birding, Culture
Your polar bear trip begins in Winnipeg, once a fur-trading center and later a boomtown for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today, sophisticated Winnipeg is Manitoba’s cultural and commercial capital at the eastern edge of Canada’s sprawling prairie. 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 Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post, Churchill is home to just under a thousand people and, in late fall, to a few hundred polar bears that congregate at the edge of Hudson Bay. Head to the tundra this evening in search of 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 roaming polar bears and caribou. Landing on the tundra, disembark to explore on foot, looking for Arctic fox and Arctic hare and 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 under pure canine power behind an eager team of huskies!
Your immersion in northern culture continues as hosts from Churchill's indigenous cultures tell about their traditions and daily lives. These captivating storytellers share tales from their personal histories and offer insight into the vibrant nations that have flourished for thousands of years in this harsh environment. You'll also visit Churchill's Itsanitaq Museum, with artifacts collected from centuries of local habitation.
You exclusive 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, a maximum of 15 guests will be on this itinerary, ensuring everyone a window seat and plenty of room to watch and photograph polar bears without intrusion from other guests. Your Expedition Leaders know the best places to look for bears, which are waiting for the ice to solidify on Hudson Bay in order to begin their winter seal-hunting season. As you watch the bears interact, delight in their antics and rugged beauty. Have dinner back in town, and enjoy a presentation on wildlife or cultural aspects of life in the North.
Once again board your Polar Rover for a full-day excursion to explore the subarctic landscape and watch wildlife. Your pace is leisurely as you move over the tundra, pausing whenever you see polar bears to observe their behavior and capture photos. Tonight, if skies are clear, visit a heated Aurora Dome in hopes of witnessing the northern lights through the 360-degree plexiglass roof. 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, rarely, even red. Caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field, the Hudson Bay Inuit see the lights as the magical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky.
After a bit of free time this morning in town, enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill. Then fly back to Winnipeg aboard your chartered plane, where you'll have a final dinner 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.
Optional Winnipeg Extensions:
Learn about the Northland's natural history, Inuit culture, Canada's fur trade and more as you explore historic Winnipeg and its world-class Manitoba Museum. 1 Day.
Double Occupancy: From $275 per person.
Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 7; accommodations as per itinerary; helicopter tour; dog sledding excursion; gear on loan (parka and boots); meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 7; most gratuities. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; extensions; optional activities and extensions; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities, travel insurance; items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, internet, etc.)
Photos ©: Patrick Endres, Henry Holdsworth, Colin McNulty, Eric Rock