Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- 9 days in length
- Maximum of only 14 travellers per departure
- Choice of departures in August & early September only
- Accommodation in a mixture of hotels and 2 person cabins
- Loan of cold-weather gear and boots during your trip
Day 1: Keflavik, Iceland / Tasiilaq, Greenland
The representative meets you on arrival at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport and accompanies you on the transfer to the domestic airport in nearby Reykjavik. Those who have arrived prior to Day 1 will depart with their Expedition Leader from the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum and transfer to the domestic airport. Here, the group will board a late-morning flight to Kulusuk, Greenland, two hours away by air. (We recommend arriving in Iceland 1-2 days prior to our departure to allow for any unexpected delays, and to explore a bit of this up-and-coming adventure destination.) From Kulusuk, there is a short, scenic transfer by helicopter to Ammassalik Island, landing in Tasiilaq, the small administrative center of East Greenland. Though it's just a 10-minute flight, it offers a preview of the magnificent scenery to come, with icebergs drifting below us and perhaps even a chance to spot a whale from the air.
Tasiilaq's charming collection of brightly painted wooden houses hugs King Oscar's Bay, surrounded by pointed peaks iced with glaciers. The vibrant town of 2,000 is a hub for outdoor adventure, from hiking and kayaking in summer to dog sledding and glacier skiing in winter. Most of East Greenland is uninhabited, however, except for a handful of small subsistence hunting communities. Greenland's east coast is often called 'the backside' by those on the west, where most of the population, its capital and institutions are located. East Greenland's people had no contact with the outside world till the turn of the 20th century, and that isolation has fostered a distinct and resilient culture. The introduction to Greenland begins here where Arctic wilderness and traditional lifestyles meet. Convene at the hotel for lunch and a briefing on what to expect during your Arctic adventure. This evening, gather with the Expedition Leader(s) for a group welcome dinner.
Day 2: Tasiilaq - Whale Watching
Though the interior of Greenland is covered by an ice cap nearly two miles thick, a few habitable areas exist around the bays and islands along the coast. The region you visit enjoys a surprisingly mild climate in summer, earning it the nickname 'Arctic Riviera.' The exploration starts with a half-day whale-watching excursion in the open waters of the Greenland Sea. Travelling in an enclosed private motorboat, you cruise in search of fin, minke and humpback whales, and seals. The icebergs alone are worth the journey: these are ocean-going slabs of ice, some of which have been drifting for months or even years, driven down the coast by the strong southerly Greenland Current. Glaciologists believe that some have even come from northern Canada, hundreds of miles away. Once they reach the outer edge of Greenland's fjords, they collide with ice that has broken off the Greenland ice sheet to form gigantic composites, sometimes mingling with the brash ice to create vast, frozen mosaics.
You'll also explore the area around Tasiilaq on foot, hiking into the Valley of Flowers above the scenic bay that fronts the town. Bring your camera: the ice-clad gneiss and granite peaks provide a backdrop for a vibrant landscape of waterfalls and small lakes fringed by arctic wildflowers in season. Time permitting, you may also have a chance for a cultural encounter or two, plus a visit to Tasiilaq's small history museum.
Day 3: Tasiilaq / Base Camp Greenland
After breakfast, depart via boat or helicopter to the exclusive wilderness Base Camp, located on the east side of Sermilik Fjord. The destination is close to the small hamlet of Tinit, which you'll visit at some point during your stay. The village is one of the most scenic outposts in East Greenland, with a spectacular view of Sermilik Fjord, littered with huge icebergs, and the ice sheet beyond. Behind the town, glaciated peaks rise over a mile high, jutting up like sharp black teeth. Tinit is home to fewer than 100 hardy people crafting a subsistence fishing and hunting existence around challenging weather and constantly shifting ice conditions.
Keep an eye out for whales as you travel, as they are frequently seen in these waters when ice conditions permit. The area is filled with evidence of ancient habitation, including graves and ruins of old Inuit sod house foundations, an evocative place to learn more about Inuit history and lore. Reaching our destination at Base Camp Greenland, you'll find yourself in one of the most remote places on Earth. After settling in to the deluxe private cabins, you sit down for coffee and refreshments. Later, convene for an orientation to the surroundings, followed by dinner and a lecture that will further acquaint you with the remarkable natural history of the region. Through presentations and cultural visits during your stay, you'll learn about Greenland's cultural heritage, natural history and aspects of modern life. Traditional Inuit identity is at the forefront in East Greenland more than most other places in Greenland, and this will be an opportunity for an authentic encounter with this vibrant, enduring culture that remains largely in harmony with nature.
Days 4-6: Base Camp Greenland-Exploring Sermilik Fjord
Great fjords indent the coastline, penetrating far into sheer-sided mountains capped by the world's second-largest ice sheet and Sermilik Fjord is the mightiest of them all. The base camp provides a safe and comfortable outpost from which to explore this vast expanse of wilderness that lies just below the Arctic Circle. Though you are profoundly secluded, the wider region is dotted with a few isolated villages where Greenlandic Inuit people practice subsistence lifestyles in this stunning yet uncompromising Arctic environment. In varied encounters, you learn about their culture, still based on fishing and hunting, and discover how they are retaining their traditions while adapting to contemporary life in the 21st century.
On Zodiac excursions you'll observe the rugged and ever-changing shoreline, navigating among a flotilla of icebergs in an array of wild shapes, some as big as buildings. You'll look for whales and seals, both of which are present depending on ice conditions. Guided sea kayaking outings are also an option for exploring the waters around us. You'll spend plenty of time ashore, too, with walks and hikes for varying ability levels. Explore the mountainsides and wander near glaciers that wind down from the Greenland ice sheet. This huge ice mass, second in size only to Antarctica, stretches more than 1,500 miles from north to south and is more than 10,000 feet at its thickest point and covers 80 percent of the island. You can learn about the crucial role it plays in regulating the earth's climate, and see with your own eyes how rapidly it is being affected by climate change. Amid fields of Arctic cotton grass, look for Arctic fox and enjoy birdlife, including eiders, loons and possibly peregrine falcons.
The long hours of summer daylight allow for extensive exploration. But ultimately it's time to retreat each evening to the base camp, where you'll enjoy excellent meals prepared by the camp chef. After dinner, gather for interpretive presentations by the naturalist Expedition Leaders who share their extensive knowledge of Greenland's geology, glaciology and human history. And, though the sun gleams in the sky much of the night here near the Arctic Circle, a good night's sleep is in order to refuel for the next day's adventures. Given that the wilderness cabins have real beds with full bedding, you'll be sure to get it, wrapped in the profound silence of our wild surroundings. Guests on later-season departures may even have a chance to glimpse the northern lights, if the aurora is active in the darkening night sky.
Day 7: Base Camp Greenland / Kulusuk
This morning you'll bid farewell to Base Camp Greenland and make your way back to Kulusuk. Weather and ice conditions dictate which transportation mode you will take, but both offer spectacular views. By helicopter, survey huge U-shaped valleys gouged by glaciers, beneath pointed peaks. By boat, make your way through the imposing fjord system, keeping an eye out for whales and seals and marvelling at the ever-shifting tableau of drifting ice. Once you arrive in Kulusuk, check in to the hotel and enjoy a last chance to soak up the beauty of this stunning region. Celebrating an extraordinary adventure of discovery, wild beauty and camaraderie, enjoy dinner with all the guests on your last night together in Greenland.
Day 8: Kulusuk / Reykjavik
Though today is devoted to journeying back to the urban world, it is filled with magnificent Arctic scenery on view from the air. Meet the plane for the return flight to Reykjavik's domestic airport. On arrival, transfer to the hotel in the city centre and enjoy a farewell dinner in downtown Reykjavik.
Day 9: Reykjavik / Keflavik / Depart
This morning a transfer is included to Keflavik airport for your departing international flight.
NOTE: Please be aware that this itinerary is for guidance only and that a flexible approach is required due to local weather and/ or ice conditions.
Basecamp in Greenland
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.
|Start date||Price (pp)|
* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $12,995
The following departure dates are Special Photographic tours: 30th Aug 2019 & 28th Aug 2020
Please note that departure dates for 2020 will not be finalised until January 2020. To secure your place(s) we strongly recommend that you book ahead now, but that no concrete pre- and post- arrangements involving flights, hotels or other adjacent plans are booked until exact dates are confirmed.
- Airport transfers in Iceland
- Helicopter flight between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq
- Accommodation based on full board
- Meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on the final day
- Purified drinking water throughout the trip
- Soft drinks at meals & alcoholic beverages at dinner in camp
- Guided throughout by an Expedition Leader(s)
- All boat transportation and excursions
- Optional sea kayaking & hiking excursions
- Loan of gear waterproof overshoes & mosquito head nets
- Loan of all kayaking equipment
- Most gratuities, all permits, entrance fees & taxes
- Air travel to and from Keflavik, Iceland
- Return flights Reykjavik/ Kulusuk, E. Greenland*
- Some gratuities
- Travel insurance
- Any additional services before & after your trip
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Items of a personal nature: laundry, beverages, etc