Arctic Discovery

A historical journey into the heart of polar bear country.

“The best travel experience of my life.” — Lil G., Berlin, Germany
Dates & Rates | Location | Itinerary

Polar bear relaxing on a gravel bar at Nanuk.
Polar bear relaxing on a gravel bar at Nanuk.

The Arctic Discovery is your immersion into one of the planet’s last untameable wilderness areas: the Canadian Arctic.  Your stay at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge — a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World — boasts unrivaled access to polar bears, their denning areas and coastal habitat. Similar to our Hudson Bay Odyssey (see video below), but with the addition of two days exploring the port of Churchill and kayaking with beluga whales, the diverse and abundant wildlife on this safari combined with untouched terrain, make the Arctic Discovery one of our most loved trips.

Your safari experience starts in Winnipeg, where you’ll be introduced to the regions that you’ll soon explore at the Manitoba Museum’s artfully curated Arctic Gallery and the fur trade artifact Vault. Your actual northern exposure begins in Churchill, the gateway to the historical fur trade. The isolation of this Arctic port has preserved the link between the timeless practices of the indigenous of the north to the modernizations of the 21st century.

You’ll have your first encounter with one of the many uniquely adapted mammals of the Arctic ecosystem, the beluga whale, while in Churchill. Family pods will regard you curiously, and sing and chatter, as you float among them in your kayak at the mouth of the Churchill River.

Kayaking with beluga whales in Churchill.
Kayaking with beluga whales in Churchill.

Next, you’ll be transported to our Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for unrivaled access to the Hudson Bay coastline and its polar bear habitat.  Make sure to have your cameras ready on your flight to the lodge, as this rugged landscape is truly photo-worthy.

Relaxing in the lounge at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Charles Glatzer photo.
Relaxing in the lounge at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Charles Glatzer photo.

Once at Nanuk, your daily treks for polar bear sightings may also have you crossing paths with black bears, moose and wolves. Often, they’ll come right to the lodge to investigate our fenced compound and its inhabitants — you.  So, do stay alert!

Polar bear arrives at the Lodge fence for tea.
Polar bear arrives at the lodge fence for tea.

Your walking encounters are supplemented with low-impact multi-passenger ATV excursions that will take you further afield to new vistas and fresh wildlife, where the backdrop of the boreal forest will make for stunning photos.  You’ll want to gaze above tree level as well, as over 130 species of migratory and shore birds travel through this area. On clear nights, you’ll set your sights even higher, to the Aurora Borealis and some serious star-gazing.

Northern lights over Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Charles Glatzer photo
Northern lights over Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Charles Glatzer photo.

We invite you to join us in our rugged, breathtaking, north country for this life-changing adventure.

LIFE-DEFINING EXPERIENCES ON YOUR ARCTIC DISCOVERY SAFARI

Polar bear approaches at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Doreen Booth photo.
Polar bear walking into memory bank at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Doreen Booth photo.

TREKKING AMONG THE LORDS OF THE ARCTIC

This is a daily part of the Churchill Wild experience and excursions range from a short jaunt to get up close and personal with a pair of polar bears sparring within view of our lodge to day trips further afield with a packed lunch and traditional Arctic tea boil. There is no better way to experience the sheer vastness of the Arctic ecosystem and the habitat of the bears’ summer home.

Curious polar bear meets "rhino" at Nanuk Polar bear Lodge. Doreen Booth photo.
Curious polar bear meets “rhino” at Nanuk Polar bear Lodge. Doreen Booth photo.

Polar bears are curious creatures and it is not uncommon for them to visit our guests and saunter up to the perimeters of our secure Arctic home, which saves you the trekking! These close encounters provide interactions with the bears that make for a rare and unforgettably unique experience.

Polar bear at the lodge fence.
Polar bear at the lodge fence.

KAYAKING & SWIMMING WITH THE BELUGAS

Kayaking among beluga whales is a truly memorable experience, and the large family pods that migrate into the Churchill River from the Bay provide a perfect staging area for this immersive adventure. The obvious intelligence and curiosity of these mammals provides an interactive encounter that connects you to nature in an unforgettable way.

Bedroom at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. You'll sleep better than the explorers did!
Bedroom at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. You’ll sleep better than the explorers did!

FOLLOWING IN THE EXPLORER’S FOOTSTEPS

The fascinating port town of Churchill provides an exceptional glimpse into the lives and challenges of the intrepid explorers who braved incredible hardships to deliver the bounty of the world’s most luxurious furs to wealthy Europeans. In many ways, this isolated port has been frozen in time, allowing visitors to connect with the exploration of uncharted wilderness areas as if it were yesterday.

ATV TOURS

Polar bear comes in for a closer look at Nanuk. Charles Glatzer photo.
Polar bear comes in for a closer look at Nanuk. Charles Glatzer photo.

A day trip in one of our custom low-impact tundra vehicles will give you access to unique habitats and wildlife encounters further afield from our lodges. The Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Area that Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge is situated in plays host to a variety of large predators beyond the majestic polar bears. Encounters with black bears and elusive wolves are not uncommon, and many unique habitats in the region are accessible with our specialty vehicles designed for that purpose.

Timber wolf keeps eyes on us at Nanuk. Robert Postma photo.
Timber wolf keeps eyes on us at Nanuk. Robert Postma photo.

PHOTO PRESENTATIONS AND LECTURES

From lectures on “Travelling in Bear Country” to “Wildlife of the Arctic” our own northern adventurers will regale you with photos and stories. These conversations provide you the opportunity to learn about the Arctic wildlife, landscape, and people.

This curious black bear kept popping up and down in the willows in front of the lodge.
Curious black bear pops up out of the willows in front of the lodge.

AURORA WATCHING

You can enjoy the greatest light show on earth from the comfort of the lounge or dining room, or even from your bedroom! The northern skies are a perfect ballroom for the aurora, but remember, the lights are best photographed with a tripod. If you have one, bring it along.

FINE NORTHERN CUISINE

Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction
Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction. Ian McCausland and Shel Zolkewich photo.

The Churchill Wild culinary experience provides the metaphorical icing on the cake for life-defining experiences during your stay! Your taste buds will delight, whether you are indulging in our appetizer specialties or dining on one of our many exquisite entrees accompanied by hand- selected Canadian wines.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce. Shel Zolkewich. Ian McCausland.
Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce. Ian McCausland and Shel Zolkewich photo.

Should you decide that curling up by the fireplace with a good book or enjoying a hot drink and sharing stories with your fellow adventurers is just what you need, our comfortable lounge area provides you with the perfect setting.

Wolf and polar bear sharing the wilderness at Nanuk. George Kourounis photo.
Wolf and polar bear sharing the wilderness at Nanuk. George Kourounis photo.

Arctic Discovery - Dates and Rates

 2017 Dates

Aug 10 – 18 – SOLD OUT 
Aug 14 – 22 – SOLD OUT

2018 Dates

Aug 1 – 9**
Aug 5 – 13

Price (per person) Single Private Room Children
2017: $10,895 CAD 2017: $20,195* CAD 2017: $9,795 CAD
2018: $10,995 CAD 2018: $20,395* CAD 2018: $9,895 CAD

Prices are subject to taxes of 9%. Children from ages 8 to 12 qualify for the child rate.

* Single guests can sign up to share a room with another person of the same gender at the regular rate per person based on double occupancy. If a single guest prefers to have a private room option we also have a single private room rate as listed above. This rate guarantees a private room at the Lodge as well as at the hotels required within the package.

**This special departure, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, allows us to expand on our principles of education, conservation and promotion. You’ll enjoy evening presentations by representatives of the Society who’ll speak about their exciting projects and initiatives. By joining forces with this established organization we’re able to reach a larger audience to promote awareness and appreciation of Canada’s vast and diverse geographical landscape.

Location

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

A recent inclusion in the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge is located 250 km and 75 minutes southeast of Churchill by plane, deep in the heart of polar bear country.

An authentic wilderness lodge with all the comforts of home, Nanuk Lodge is ideally situated on the shores of Hudson Bay near known polar bear denning territory allowing for phenomenal access to mothers and cubs-of-the-year.

Nanuk maximizes ground-level polar bear and wildlife viewing and offers spectacular coastal views of Hudson Bay via nature trails, viewing decks, and expansive picture windows.

Whether you’re hiking, dining, or relaxing at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, you will be able to observe polar bears and other wildlife at eye level.

Intimate, thrilling, up close and personal.

NatGeoLofW1000

 

Itinerary

9 Days, 8 Nights

The Arctic Discovery includes two nights in Winnipeg, two nights in Churchill and four nights at Nanuk Polar bear Lodge, as well as round trip airfare between Winnipeg, Churchill, and our Lodge.

Day 1 - Anticipation Builds during your overnight stay in Winnipeg

Arrive into Winnipeg, where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel — The Grand by Lakeview at the Winnipeg airport. To start off your northern Manitoba experience you will enjoy a tour of the Manitoba Museum in the Arctic Gallery and receive a behind the scenes tour of the Vault to see historic York Factory artifacts. Dinner will then be served in the Nonsuch Gallery, with a short trip orientation. The shuttle will leave the hotel for the tour and dinner at 4:30 p.m. You will return back to the hotel to prepare for your early morning departure to Churchill.

Includes: dinner

Day 2 - Arctic Frontier Arrival

You will depart Winnipeg for Churchill early in the morning on Calm Air International. You will be greeted in Churchill by your Churchill Wild host who will shuttle you to your hotel. This will be your home base for your two days in this unique community.  After settling in, you will enjoy a hearty brunch in a restaurant, where your local guide will also introduce you to your itinerary for the next two days.

After brunch you will be brought to the docks of the Churchill River for several hours of frolicking with the beluga whales in your kayak. Your guide will accompany you in a Zodiac. An afternoon tea will refresh you for your late afternoon guided tour of the historic Prince of Wales Fort, which served as the stronghold of the Hudson Bay Company’s grip on the early fur trade. Your day’s activities will conclude with a relaxing dinner at one of Churchill’s favourite dining spots. Excursion times for your Churchill adventures will vary with the tides in order to maximize your time with the belugas.

Includes: lunch dinner

Day 3 - Historical Immersion and more Marine Adventures

Enjoy the healthy breakfast bar set up at your hotel, after which your guide will take you to the dock for your first beluga tour of the day. A delicious lunch will follow at the local favourite lunch spot, Gypsy’s.  The afternoon will provide you with an opportunity for a second beluga encounter or allow for some free time to wander about the unique shops.

Late afternoon provides time for visiting the award-winning Eskimo Museum, and the Parks Canada museum located in the historic train station.  Your Churchill visit will be completed with a gourmet dinner hosted at the home of local resident and cookbook author Helen Webber. Helen has a multi-generational connection with this northern community that extends back to the fur trade. You will enjoy Helen’s culinary talents first-hand while also taking home your meal in the form of a cookbook from her bestselling series “Blueberries and Polar Bears”.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 4 -7 - Nature trekking and polar bears!

Day 4 begins with a scenic flight from Churchill over the coastal flats of Hudson Bay to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Hot breakfasts will be served daily at the lodge, generally around 8 a.m. and your outings will begin at about 9:30 a.m. Lunch will either be served at the Lodge or enjoyed out on the land. Daily outings may include the following, depending on weather and ground conditions:

  • Coastal exploration in our specially designed “rhino” (you’ll see!) to the tidal flats and Hudson Bay shoreline.
  • An immersive tour of the Hudson Bay coastline to photograph polar bears and other abundant wildlife in their unique environment.
  • An exploration of the river deltas and vast beach ridges in this pristine area.
  • Staying close to the lodge to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves as the day unfolds, to photograph polar bears and other wildlife.

Appetizers and cocktails are served at 6:00 p.m. and dinner is served at 7:00 p.m. During the evening there will be an informative lecture, slide show presentation, or informal visiting. Churchill Wild staff will monitor the Aurora Borealis after dark and will provide a gentle wake-up call to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities to witness and photograph this spectacular Arctic phenomenon.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 8 - Last minute wildlife viewing

After another hearty lodge breakfast, we will begin air transfers back to Churchill. Have your cameras ready for the return flight, as it also affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots. Today is your last day in the Churchill area.

Upon your return to Churchill, our representative will store your luggage. The balance of the day is then free for browsing the shops and exhibits of Churchill. Local places such as Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, the Eskimo Museum, the Polar Bear Holding Compound (otherwise known as the Polar Bear Jail), as well as the Parks Canada Exhibit, are all of great interest. Please refer to your “Top things to do and see” list we provided.

Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening and we hope to see you back at one of our eco-lodges for more bear viewing very soon! Upon arrival, collect your bags, head out of the arrivals doors and look to your right. The Grand Hotel is located just across the way.

Includes: breakfast

Day 9 - Homeward bound

After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home. You will also enjoy a breakfast at the hotel before your trip back to reality. If you’ve not had enough bear action for one lifetime, ask us about our Birds, Bears & Belugas adventure, which takes place in July and August annually, or our fall/winter packages which take place in October and November.

Includes: breakfast

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