Summary : This Arctic expedition is our most thorough encounter with the world of the polar bear and the Canadian North. Travel in heated Polar Rovers over the tundra to watch the bears play and interact, entertaining you just feet away from large picture windows or off the outdoor viewing platform. But this grand adventure doesn't end there! You'll can also enjoy a helicopter ride in to the bears' denning area, experience the northern boreal wilderness on an authentic dog sled ride, explore the rough-and-tumble frontier town of Churchill 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
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 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 the 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 you about their traditions and what their daily lives are like. These captivating storytellers share 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 17, 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, and delight in 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 landscape 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 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. The Hudson Bay Inuit see the lights as the magical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky, and the aurora borealis is also caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field.
After a bit of free time this morning to pick up some last-minute native handicrafts and souvenirs 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.
Round-trip flights between Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations as per itinerary; meals; boots and parkas on loan for use during trip; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; helicopter tour; dog sledding excursion; some gratuities; activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; extensions; optional activities; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities, travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
PHOTOS: © Colin McNulty, NHA; © Patrick Endres, NHA; © Eric Rock, NHA; © Henry Holdsworth