Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this prestigious landmark has long been a symbol of genteel elegance in the heart of Manitoba's capital, which was once a fur-trading post and railway boomtown and today is the cultural and commercial center of Canada's eastern prairie region. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner with our Expedition Leader.
Day 2: Winnipeg / Chartered Flight to Churchill / Tundra Lodge
Fly on our private chartered aircraft to Churchill this morning, where we board a custom-designed Polar Rover vehicle for our transfer to the Tundra Lodge. As we drive out of town, watch for Arctic wildlife against the vast, wide-open landscape—we may even get our first polar bear photos en route. Once we reach our hospitable outpost on the tundra, get settled in to spend the next two nights surrounded by the vast expanse of treeless plain on the edge of Hudson Bay. Then it’s time to gather for a presentation on polar bears by one of our naturalist Expedition Leaders. Our guides are experts on the natural history of the Canadian Arctic, and you’re sure to learn a lot during this enlightening introduction to our northern adventure. Later, as dinner is served in the Tundra Lodge dining room, keep your camera at the ready—we often see polar bears wandering right outside the windows!
Day 3: Tundra Lodge—Polar Bear Viewing
Accommodating just 29 guests, the Tundra Lodge is strategically positioned each season in the best area for polar bear viewing. Inquisitive bears often approach the lodge, which features rows of windows and safely elevated outdoor observation decks to accommodate our own curiosity. As we watch the bears interact, we're delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. We may see protective mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, and solitary individuals patrolling the tundra as they wait for the ice to form on Hudson Bay, signaling the start of their winter seal-hunting season.
The unique location of the Tundra Lodge, combined with excursions in our custom all-terrain Polar Rover vehicles, offers lodge guests the best possible wildlife encounters in the region. The small spit of land where the lodge is situated near the bay often attracts the greatest number of bears in the area. We typically divide up for activities so each guest enjoys a half-day excursion on the tundra, complemented by a half-day of viewing bears from the lodge. In addition to polar bears, we may also spot caribou, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, snowy owl and ptarmigan. At the end of an exhilarating day, gather inside our cozy accommodations for dinner and a naturalist presentation. And if we are fortunate to have a rare clear autumn night, we might even see the northern lights after dark.
Day 4: Polar Bear Viewing / Churchill
Depart the Tundra Lodge after breakfast and head back out to the tundra for a final full day immersed of nature and wildlife observation. Traveling aboard our Polar Rover, scout for polar bears and other Arctic species. Our vehicles are the newest and best in Churchill, with huge windows, a slanted front windshield that allows us to look down on bears that may wander in front of the vehicle, and a steel-grate outdoor observation deck on the back—bears sometimes wander directly below, and through the mesh we can safely view them just inches away! Our heated vehicles are spacious and comfortable, and while they can accommodate 30-plus passengers, we hold our numbers to 16 or fewer, so everyone has a window seat and plenty of room to spread out for photography. Later this afternoon, we drive back to Churchill and check in to our hotel. We’ll have dinner at a restaurant in town, followed by an evening cultural presentation.
Day 5: Exploring Churchill & Environs
This remote subarctic hamlet of Churchill, inaccessible by road, was once an important Hudson's Bay Company trading post, and our comprehensive tour of the town and surroundings includes cultural activities that highlight the frontier history and Indigenous heritage of the area. There will be time to wander the few blocks that comprise the town, with a chance to pick up northern handicrafts and souvenirs from the local shops.
Day 6: Dog Sledding / Fly to Winnipeg
This morning we learn about a distinctly northern pastime: dog sledding. On a visit with a local musher, hear all about this traditional means of Arctic transportation, interacting with the lively dog team as we learn about their care and training. Then we take turns enjoying an exhilarating ride as the dogs whisk us down a trail through the boreal forest.
Depending on flight schedules, there may be time for an optional helicopter tour over the tundra—a great chance to spy polar bears from the air. We enjoy a farewell lunch together in Churchill before our return chartered flight to Winnipeg, followed by a reception and final night at the Fort Garry Hotel.
Day 7: Winnipeg / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Please note: Itineraries may vary slightly and activities may happen at times different from what is listed, but inclusions are the same.
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.