One of our most popular adventures, this trip offers extraordinary opportunities for polar bear watching in the Canadian Arctic. Staying in a mobile tundra lodge, you will have unparalleled changes to watch these inquisitive mammals.
You’ll stay in the icy wilderness outside Churchill in the Tundra Lodge, where bears can be viewed day and night. Daytime excursions in Polar Rover vehicles get you close to these amazing creatures, complemented by learning about life in the sub-Arctic from professional and experienced expedition leaders.
There are polar bears in the Churchill area all year around, however the greatest numbers occur in October and November. In some years the best viewing is at the start of the season, at other times it's best in the middle, or even at the end - it's impossible to know. The bears wait for Hudson Bay to freeze over, and when it does, many head off straight away to hunt. Historically, this happens in early December, but if an unusually early cold spell occurs, this may hasten their departure.
Where else can you watch the sun set over the snow in the home of the polar bear?
Day1: Fly to Winnipeg
On arrival at Winnipeg you will be met and transferred to your hotel downtown. This evening you have an orientation dinner with other members of your group.
Today you transfer to Winnipeg Airport to check in for the flight north to the small isolated community of Churchill. On arrival you will be transferred directly to your lodge out on the tundra, maybe even catching your first sight of bears en route. This novel accommodation outside the former fur-trading post is the base for your adventure. Out on the sub-Arctic tundra each evening dinner is followed by a presentation on polar bears given by the knowledgeable naturalist staff. If the skies are clear, you may have an exhilarating opportunity to see the Northern Lights without the distraction of urban light pollution.
Your transport on the tundra is the unique Polar Rover vehicle - a large heated vehicle on giant tyres that provides an elevated vantage point, with an outdoor viewing platform at the rear - allowing you to spend time out amongst the polar bears. You will travel with a maximum of 15 passengers, to ensure that everyone has a window seat from which you may see mothers with cubs, or young adult males play-fighting. Your knowledgeable expedition leader will explain the bears' behaviour, and how they thrive in such a harsh environment.
Day5: Fly to Winnipeg
On your final day in the Churchill area, you will be transferred back into town, where - depending on the time of your flight - you are free to explore, until it's time to head to the airport for the flight back to Winnipeg. During the day you can visit the Parks Canada interpretative centre to see interesting wildlife dioramas, exhibits from the fur trade, and videos that relate the area’s history and focus on its culture and natural history. Alternatively you can maybe do an optional helicopter tour, or an optional dog sledding tour. On arrival in Winnipeg you are transferred to your overnight hotel - the same as previously.
Accommodation: Fort Garry Hotel, 1-night
Day6: Depart Winnipeg
The day is free until you transfer to the airport to check in your overnight flight back to the UK. Depending on your departure time, there may be time to see something of Winnipeg during the day. Note: you will have to check out of your hotel room by midday at the latest.
Day7: Arrive UK
You should note: Also available as an 8 day tour with an additional night at the Tundra Lodge.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 7 daysfrom £7,945 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 6 daysfrom £6,995 pp
Churchill is known as the ‘Polar Bear and Beluga Whale Capital of the World’ and lies right in the migratory path of polar bears, as they head north onto the ice floes to spend the winter hunting seals. Situated in Northern Manitoba, the coastline here is so remote that it has not changed in thousands of years.
Due to its location at the confluence of two major rivers that provide access to an extensive network of canoe routes, Winnipeg was a trading post for First Nations peoples long before the first Europeans arrived. It serves as a gateway to Churchill in northern Manitoba, where our polar bear tours start.
Excellent for: City stopover
This iconic, historic property in downtown Winnipeg is one of the original and most characterful Canadian railway hotels. For almost 100 years The Fort Garry Hotel has set the standard for grandeur, elegance and culinary excellence, and is second to none in terms of service, comfort and location.
Tundra Lodge is remarkable hotel-on wheels which positions itself on the tundra each season, in the area of highest bear density. Inquisitive bears often approach the carriages, and you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to watch them through the large windows, or from elevated outside observation decks.