Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Small groups of no more than 13 guests with two zodiacs between the group
- The carbon impact of all departures is offset
- Kayak among the whales, seeing and listening to these canaries of the sea
- Includes helicopter flight over the region
- Exclusive opportunities to meet with local elders of the Inuit and Metis communities
- Possible Arctic fox and occasional polar bear sightings
Day 1: Arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the distinguished Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the style of a French chateau, it remains the grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality. On your first evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with your Expedition Leader and fellow travellers.
Day 2: Fly from Winnipeg to Churchill
This morning, fly north by chartered plane to Churchill, the remote outpost community that is the gateway to the Arctic. You'll spend the day exploring this hospitable frontier town that was originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post. During the tour of the community and its natural environs, you'll follow a trail through the boreal forest and visit Churchill's Itsanitaq Museum, showcasing the region's indigenous cultures with artifacts collected from centuries of habitation.
You may also have a chance to meet local individuals for insight into their cultural traditions and daily lives. These captivating storytellers share tales from their personal histories, offering a window into the enduring cultures that have flourished in this harsh environment for thousands of years.
Days 3-5: Exploring Churchill – Beluga Encounters & Wildlife Watching
With Churchill as your base, spend four full days exploring the tundra, river and seacoast of Hudson Bay. Take a helicopter ride over the subarctic to search for polar bears that roam this otherwise inaccessible wilderness terrain, and to glean an aerial view of beluga pods gathered in the river and sea. Two Zodiac excursions are in store, where you can observe belugas congregating in the mouth of the Churchill River. Enjoy a boat trip to explore the delicate wetlands and brackish water habitat where wildlife thrives along Churchill River estuary.
There is also opportunity to kayak among inquisitive beluga whales that often nudge close to the paddles or follow in the human-powered wakes. More than 3,000 of these small white cetaceans spend the summer in the area, and the motorized rafts and kayaks put you at eye-level with them. With their unusual ability to turn their heads from side to side, belugas appear to be as curious about us as we are about them. Through the use of a hydrophone on board, you can even listen to their otherworldly songs. Few wildlife encounters offer as intimate a perspective as this one does.
You’ll take a larger vessel across the river to Prince of Wales Fort, established by Danish explorer Jens Monk in 1619, on the site where the Hudson’s Bay Company built one of its original fur-trading posts. Churchill became a stopover point for explorers searching for the fabled Northwest Passage and was instrumental in the opening of the Canadian West. On occasion, polar bears can be seen roaming just north of here around the rocky promontory that juts into Hudson Bay, and there's a good chance of encountering part of the resident caribou herd that numbers 600+ animals.
Ashore, traverse the tundra on a specialized Polar Rover vehicle in search of northern wildlife as you head to a spot near Hudson Bay for an outdoor cookout. Here at the interface of the boreal forest and tundra, you may spot Arctic fox, ptarmigan and polar bears, too. At this time of year, it is not uncommon to find mothers with cubs. The Churchill area also has plenty of walking trails that weave within the border of the northern boreal forest and southern tundra edge. This nexus of ecosystems is home to a variety of flora and fauna, which you will encounter on short walks. You also have chances to explore farther afield on foot, led safely by the Expedition Leader and local polar bear guards.
Late in the season, when the sun finally starts to dip, there's even a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights if the conditions prove right. After all, you're directly under the auroral oval, one of the planet's best places to see aurora borealis, and even late summer can create some fortunate magic encounters with them.
Day 6: Fly from Churchill to Winnipeg
The chartered flight to Winnipeg allows you ample time to explore more of Churchill today.
Along the main street, several shops offer locally made handicrafts, from Inuit-designed wall-hangings to caribou fur sculptures. Meet a local dog sled musher and his team, spending time with the lively, affectionate dogs that are an intrinsic part of winter life on the frozen tundra. Then head out to the Northern Studies Center, where scientists are researching the Arctic environment, social issues and sustainable resource development within this extreme yet fragile landscape.
Early in the evening you'll gather for a farewell dinner, reveling in the memories made over the past week, before meeting the flight.
Day 7: Travel home/onwards
After breakfast, the Arctic summer tour comes to a close as you transfer to the airport for flights home.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability. Please note there is an additional charge for domestic charter flights.
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* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $6,495
Charter flights between Winnipeg and Churchill are an additional cost of USD $1495/$995 (2019/2020) per person.
The 14-Jul-2020, 26-Jul-2020 and 7-Aug-2020 departures are Photo Specials. The itinerary is the same with a focus on the photographic experience, please enquire for more information.
Single Supplement And Child Policy
Single supplement – the price of single occupancy is an additional USD $795/$895 (2019/2020) per person.
- Hotel accommodation as per the program
- All meals throughout the trip
- Loan of cold-weather gear and boots
- Expedition Leaders & Assistant Guides
- All activities and excursions as detailed and entrance fees
- Evening presentations
- All taxes and service charges
- Charter flights Winnipeg/ Churchill return
- Air travel to and from Winnipeg
- Any trip pre or post extensions
- Alcoholic beverages
- Items of a personal nature (laundry, beverages, etc.)
- Travel insurance
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses