See the King of the Arctic in the Polar Bear Capital of the World! Our small-group adventures to Churchill, Manitoba get you closer to more polar bears, in comfort and safety, than anywhere else on Earth. Each fall, the world’s greatest concentration of polar bears convenes at the edge of Hudson Bay, waiting for the ice to form and their winter seal-hunting season to begin. Guided by expert naturalist Expedition Leaders, we view the bears from custom-built Polar Rovers. Or for the ultimate immersion in the kingdom of the polar bear, stay at our private Tundra Lodge, situated directly in the bears’ realm, with access to viewing 24/7. Read about what it’s like to spend a season with the bears on our Churchill Polar Bear blog. To find out more about what makes our polar bear tours so exceptional, learn about the Polar Bear difference! And click here to read about the “ebbs and flows” of polar bear season, for a better sense of the typical weather and viewing conditions during the bears’ migration.
What to Expect
When you’re standing on the outdoor platform of our Polar Rover, the chill Arctic air feels invigorating. But even more thrilling is the sight of a huge polar bear. Sometimes they are silhouetted against the horizon, slowly moving shadows on the vast expanse of tundra. On other occasions, one may wander right up alongside us. Safely elevated above him, you’re nonetheless just feet away as you peer down at his shaggy, cream-colored bulk. Noticing us, he stops, sniffs and turns his face our way, curious. Awed, we draw in our breath, surrounded by the silence of the tundra. The big bear ambles, then halts again. He rises on his haunches to peer at us more deliberately. We grin like kids, filled with delight. We watch. We wonder. Minutes go by, perhaps an hour, who knows? Out here among the bears, time stands still. Join us in Churchill for one of nature’s most wondrous wildlife encounters!
An important note on polar bear viewing: Some of our sightings are up close, and others are from afar, or even from a helicopter. It’s important to remember that while there is no better opportunity to see polar bears in the wild than our Churchill trips offer, the experience is weather-dependent. That means viewing polar bears—and the distance at which we may see them—is unpredictable and not guaranteed. Check out more details on the ebbs and flows of the Churchill polar bear viewing season.
We know that most people who make the journey north to witness the magic of Churchill’s polar bears will do so just once in their lives. For that reason, we promise you will enjoy the highest-quality polar bear trip possible! Here’s why our polar bear adventures are the very best:
Our 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 and explore this remote small community on a guided tour with our 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. We head to the tundra this evening in search of our first glimpse of the bears. Dinner is served aboard our enclosed Polar Rover in heated comfort.
An exciting adventure is in store as we soar over the tundra in helicopters, surveying the frozen landscape below. From the air we may see roaming polar bears and caribou. Landing on the tundra, we disembark to explore on foot, looking for Arctic fox and Arctic hare and perhaps even crawling inside an unoccupied polar bear den. We also sample an age-old means of Arctic transportation on a dog sledding excursion. We’ll 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!
Our immersion in northern culture continues as hosts from Churchill’s indigenous cultures tell us 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. We also visit Churchill’s Itsanitaq Museum, with artifacts collected from centuries of local habitation.
Our exclusive Polar Rovers are our mobile means for a full day on the tundra among the polar bears. Our 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 we watch the bears interact, we’re delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. We’ll have dinner back in town, and enjoy a presentation on wildlife or cultural aspects of life in the North.
Once again we board our Polar Rover for a full-day excursion to explore the subarctic landscape and watch wildlife. Our pace is leisurely as we move over the tundra, pausing whenever we see polar bears to observe their behavior and capture photos. Tonight, if skies are clear, we’ll 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. Though we now know the aurora borealis is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field, they are no less entrancing.
After a bit of free time this morning to pick up some last-minute handicrafts and souvenirs in town, we enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill. We then fly back to Winnipeg aboard our chartered plane, where we’ll have a final dinner before our adventure concludes.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departing flights.
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