Location of Adventure
Greenland, Iceland, Canadian High Arctic depending on itinerary
Group Size Limit
National Geographic Explorer: Approximately 148 Travelers
National Geographic Orion: Approximately 102 Travelers
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
Accommodations as listed; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; all port charges and service taxes.
Air transportation; personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyage DVD etc. Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion.
Easy / Moderate
You must be able to walk unassisted for a minimum of one mile over rough and uneven terrain including rocky beaches, ice and snow, in order to participate in this adventure. In order to participate in excursions ashore, you will need to walk down a steep gangway (steel ramp with stairs) and climb into and out of inflatable Zodiacs, which can sometimes feel unstable depending on water conditions. Travel via Zodiac occurs over variable conditions and can sometimes be quite bumpy. If it's windy, you may get wet from sea spray. Travelers with back problems or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions should take this into consideration. Travelers must be prepared for any type of weather, including extreme conditions. Rough seas may cause issues for those who are prone to motion sickness. We recommend that you discuss medication with your physician, if this may be a problem for you.
Important Information About This Trip
Ocean expeditions throughout Greenland and the Canada’s High Arctic depart within a window of nearly continuous daylight during July and August. Ice floes open up during this short summer season, allowing access to tens of thousands of islands from Hudson Bay to Baffin Bay and the prolific wildlife that maximizes sunlight, warmth and nutrient riches in the planet’s most glaciated landscape. While temperatures generally dip below freezing every month of the year in this region, the air is at its warmest in July and August, and due to low humidity the air often feels warmer than the thermometer may suggest.
Daytime temperatures loom in the mid-40s around Greenland and Baffin Island, while average high temperatures in the Canadian Arctic approach 50 degrees during this period when exposed land rapidly absorbs the sun’s energy. Details outlined below offer an idea of wildlife sightings and natural phenomena you might encounter in the shifting ice pack at different points in the Arctic summer. Many of the wildlife species highlighted in a given month remain present throughout the entire season, maximizing their habitation of the warm air and rich Arctic waters.
The sun rides high above the horizon for 24 hours a day, making this warmest time of the year with the least sea ice in the High Arctic. Coastal areas are free of ice and bare land heats up enough for a profusion of wildflowers and wildlife to blossom. Channels that were once blocked by ice tend to be open.
Visitors can expect to see:
- Polar bears and walrus hunting the far reaches of the ice
- Ringed seals, Arctic foxes and other species that have been essential resources for native Inuit
in their long habitation of this icy landscape
- Beluga, humpback and bowhead whales, and maybe even the elusive narwhal at the most northerly destinations
- A lively display from 60 bird species that breed in Greenland, including the white-tailed eagle
- Running of the silvery Arctic char heading up cold snowmelt rivers to spawn
- A wealth of colorful flowers, herbs, mosses, heather and ferns, including five types of orchid
In full bloom, Greenland is lush and lives up to its name. Prolific birds are on their various criss-crossing paths of migration, and late August may even increase chances of witnessing whirls of aurora borealis in the evening sky.
Visitors can expect to see:
- An ocean teeming with whales, including bowheads, minke, fin, sperm and blue
- Shorelines dotted with polar bears, Arctic fox, walrus, caribou, ringed seals and Arctic hare
- Hardy reindeer and musk oxen traversing the tundra
- As the permanent home of beluga whales and the rarely-sighted narwhal, Greenland is one of the only places in the world to see them
- Rock spires known as nunataks thrusting through frozen remnants of the last Ice Age along with 151 species of moss
- Abundant bird species, highlighted by the Arctic tern, plus nesting habitat for millions of nesting birds—including 74 different species at the tip of Baffin Island
Getting There & Getting Home
We can best serve you if our Natural Habitat Adventures Travel Desk makes your reservations, as our staff is intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient travel. Please call us at 800-543-8917. Note that while we offer you the best possible rates available to us on airfare and additional nights' accommodations, you may find special web rates or better fares online.