The World’s Most Coveted Small-Group Polar Bear Expedition
An important note on polar bear viewing: Since 1989, we have run approximately 1,500 departures to Churchill to view polar bears, and we’ve missed seeing them on just a handful of occasions. 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.
Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Our Churchill polar bear tour begins in Winnipeg. Once a center of fur trade and a Canadian Pacific Railway boomtown, today Manitoba's capital is a cultural and commercial center at the eastern edge of Canada’s vast prairies. 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 a welcome dinner this evening.
Day 2: Winnipeg / Churchill
Fly by chartered plane to Churchill this morning. This hospitable frontier town, originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post, is our base for adventure. On the 6-day trip
we head to the tundra this evening for our first glimpse of the bears, though we often see them from the bus as we leave the airport, even before boarding our Polar Rover. Our 7-day trip opens with an evening presentation on polar bears and the northern environment by our professional naturalist staff.
Days 3 & 4: Polar Bear Viewing
Custom-built Polar Rovers are our mobile means for spending time among the bears. Though they can accommodate up to 35 passengers, we take a maximum of 16, ensuring everyone a window seat and plenty of space. Our Expedition Leaders know the best places to observe polar bears, which congregate each fall in the region as they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze, signaling the start of the winter seal-hunting season. As we watch them interact, we're delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. From the warmth of our big vehicle, we may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, or a lone
bear ambling over the tundra in solitary majesty. Our Expedition Leader interprets all we observe, explaining the bears’ behavior and how they thrive in such a harsh environment. In the evenings, we meet for dinner and presentations on wildlife and local cultures.
Day 5: Explore Around Churchill / Evening on the Tundra
On the 7-day trip, we tour historic Churchill, then head out to the tundra for evening bear viewing and dinner aboard the Rover. During the day we may explore the coast road on a drive to Cape Merry, often spying Arctic fox and Arctic hare. Keep a close eye out for them, as their winter-white coats offer excellent camouflage later in the season when the ground is white. If the skies are clear, our nighttime tundra excursion might reveal one of nature’s
most exhilarating experiences—a chance to view the northern lights away from the glare of town. Though never predictable or promised, the auroral display often starts as a pale glow in the northern sky, then the lights begin to flicker and dance in shimmering curtains of color, most typically green but occasionally red or violet. On the 6-day trip (your nighttime tundra journey takes place on Day 2), there’s free time in Churchill or an opportunity for an optional helicopter excursion over the vast expanse of frozen tundra before boarding the flight back to Winnipeg.
Day 6: Churchill—Dog Sledding / Winnipeg
Our return flight to Winnipeg is scheduled to depart mid- to late afternoon, offering as much time as possible for exploring Churchill today. A highlight this morning is an authentic dog sled ride. We meet a local musher and his team, spending time with the lively and affectionate dogs before taking turns riding behind them on an exhilarating trot through the boreal forest. If time permits, you may be able to pick up last-minute locally made handicrafts or take an optional helicopter tour over the tundra before we depart. We'll have a farewell lunch together before flying back to Winnipeg, where a final reception concludes our adventure together.
Day 7: Winnipeg / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Please note: On the 6-day trip, our sled dog excursion takes place on Day 5 with a return to Winnipeg that afternoon, and flights home scheduled for Day 6. On the 7-day trip, the nighttime tundra trip occasionally alternates between Day 4 and Day 5. Itineraries may vary slightly, but inclusions are the same.
Check out more details on the ebbs and flows of the Churchill polar bear viewing season.
Physical Rating: Easy