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Join this exclusive small group tour to see polar bears like never before, on the remote shorelines of the Alaskan High Arctic in summer. With viewing by boat, there are exceptional opportunities for close-up encounters and photography.

August is the best time to see polar bears interacting along the coastline as they become active, waiting for the ice to form. You will access the remote village of Kaktovik on the Beaufort Sea by privately chartered plane and travel as part of an intimate group of only eight people, divided into two small boats - making you feel completely alone with the bears. 

Your expedition leader is also an expert naturalist and experienced wildlife photographer, who will not only share his knowledge about High Arctic life but also help you capture the perfect picture of these charismatic carnivores.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Fly to Fairbanks, Alaska

    Board an afternoon flight to Fairbanks via Seattle. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where your expedition leader will brief you about the coming few days. 

    Depending on your flight schedule, join a welcome dinner to meet with your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: SpringHill Suites Fairbanks, 2-nights

  2. Day 2: Fairbanks, guided city tour

    Visit the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, showcasing the region’s natural, artistic and cultural heritage. You also visit the Large Animal Research Station, a former homestead which started with a muskox domestication project on the property before focussing on research into maintaining colonies of large animals, plus an educational outreach programme.

  3. Day 3: Fly to Kaktovik, polar bear viewing & photography

    This morning you board a chartered light aircraft and embark on a two-hour scenic journey over the Alaskan Arctic Circle to the remote Inupiat village of Kaktovik, your base to explore the coastline of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. You land on Barter Island, by the Beaufort Sea, and transfer to your rustic accommodation in the village.

    After lunch the small group of eight guests will be split into two small boats, each led by an expert naturalist guide, and head out for your first polar bear excursion. This intimate approach feels like an exclusive encounter with the bears and offers close-up encounters, ideal for photography, while providing an outstanding wildlife experience. The boat excursion lasts for about three hours with plenty of opportunities to see the bears interacting on the shoreline of the Beaufort Sea, waiting for the ice to form.

    You head back to town for dinner and a photography editing session with your expert leader, to conclude a thrilling day.

    Accommodation: Marsh Creek Inn, Kaktovik, 3-nights

  4. Days 4-5 : Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, polar bear viewing & photography

    The next two days are filled with morning and afternoon boat excursions following polar bears movements from the Beaufort Sea. You head back to the hotel for lunch and some rest before heading out again in the afternoon fpr some great photography opportunities, when the light is ideal and the bears more active. Other charismatic species you may see along the way include Arctic fox, wolf and a variety of seabirds.

    Your expedition leader will take the opportunity to share his knowledge about the bears' biology, behaviour and threats such as global warming and how they have had to adapt to survive longer summers with restricted food sources. He will also talk about the local Inupiat community and life in the Far North.

  5. Day 6: Polar bear viewing, fly to Fairbanks

    This morning you join your last polar bear viewing excursion by boat and after lunch board the charter flight back to Fairbanks. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner, reflecting on your extraordinary wildlife expedition.

    Accommodation: SpringHill Suites Fairbanks, 1-night

  6. Day 7: Depart Fairbanks

    This morning you will be transferred to the airport  to board your overnight flight back to the UK.

  7. Day 8: Arrive UK

You should note: Why not extending your time in Alaska to see the grizzly bears in Kodiak and Katmai for a complete bear bonanza, or travel to Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords for a great Alaskan wilderness experience?

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 8 days from £10,395 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 7 days from £9,195 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,830
  • Group size: 8
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return charter flight between Fairbanks & Kaktovik
    • 3 nights hotel in Fairbanks
    • 3 nights motel in Kaktovik
    • All meals
    • Transfers
    • 6 boat excursions to see polar bears
    • Guided city tour Fairbanks
  • Activities available:
    • Boat trip
    • Culture
    • Photography
Featured locations:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Considered one the ultimate virgin wildlife reserves in the Americas, the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 78,000 square kilometres and supports a remarkable biodiversity. It is particularly renowned for its polar bear population who rest on the Arctic coastal plains in late summer.

  • Where: Alaska Far North
  • Ideal for viewing: polar bear, Arctic fox, snowy owl, peregrine falcon


Alaska’s largest inland city is the gateway to Denali National Park. Its museums house interesting exhibits on Alaska’s cultural and natural history, as well as native crafts. In summer, daylight lasts forever. and in winter you can dog-sled and watch the spectacular Aurora Borealis.

  • Excellent for: Activity & adventure
Featured accommodation:

SpringHill Suites Fairbanks

Overlooking the scenic Chena River, this 3-star hotel is conveniently located in the centre of Fairbanks and offers all modern amenities for a comfortable stay. A member of the Marriott chain, its 140 suites have either a king size or two double beds, a sofa bed and private bathroom.