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 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.

Black Bear cub peeking out from bush. Pat Teo 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.

 

Arctic Discovery - Dates and Rates

2020 Dates

July 28 – Aug 5
Aug 1 – 9               SOLD OUT 
Aug 5 – 13             Male share only available 

2021 Dates

July 29 – Aug 6
Aug 2 – 10
Aug 6 – 14

Price (per person) Single Private Room Children
2020: $12,295 CAD 2020: $22,795* CAD 2020: $11,095 CAD
2021: $12,995 CAD 2021: $24,095* CAD 2021: $11,695 CAD

Prices are subject to taxes of 8.5%. 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

Situated next to pristine Arctic waters on Hudson Bay with Canada’s Boreal Forest as its backyard sits Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, one of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. The diverse ecosystem surrounding Nanuk is home to Canadian icons such as polar bears, black bears, wolves, and moose.

From the safety of the fence surrounding the Lodge, view the northern lights or get up-close-and-personal with the polar bears and other wildlife that meander past, as curious about you as you are about them.

The eight guestrooms with en-suite bathrooms are housed in two guest wings connected to the main dining room/lounge area, each with cozy sitting areas overlooking the Bay. After a long day trekking the tundra, kick back in our lounge and enjoy an informative presentation by our guides or simply relax and enjoy conversations with new friends.

Location specifics:

250 km south of Churchill by plane
57° 07’ 22.4” N / 91° 39’ 52.0” W

NationalGeographicLodgesOfTheWorld1000

 

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 in 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’ll be shuttled to the Manitoba Museum for a tour of the Arctic Gallery and a behind-the-scenes look at historic York Factory artifacts in the museum’s vault. Dinner will be served in the famed Nonsuch gallery and followed by a short orientation.

Includes: dinner

Day 2 to 3 - Historical and Marine Excursions

You will depart for Churchill early in the morning and be greeted in Churchill by our expediter who will take you to one of our preferred hotels, your home base for the next couple of days.  After settling in, you will enjoy a hearty brunch while your local guide introduces you to the itinerary for your time in Churchill.

During your two days in this historic port town you will be scheduled for multiple marine excursions. These will include a combination of kayaking with beluga whales in the Churchill River, estuary tours and touring the Prince of Wales Fort while beluga watching from the boat. Excursion times for your Churchill adventures will vary with the tides in order to maximize your time with the belugas.

One of your days will conclude with a relaxing dinner at a favoured local dining spot while another will include a dinner hosted by local resident Helen Webber in her home.  Helen has a multi-generational connection with this northern community, going back to the fur trade, and you will enjoy her culinary talent firsthand 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 to 7 - Nature trekking and polar bears!

Day four begins with a scenic flight from Churchill over the coastal flats of the Bay before arriving at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Hot breakfasts will be served daily and your outings will begin soon after. 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 to the tidal flats and Hudson Bay shoreline using a combination of people power (walking!) and our specially outfitted all-terrain vehicles. Routes will vary but ample time will be provided to photograph polar bears and the other wildlife that live in this unique environment.

An exploration of the river deltas and vast beach ridges of this pristine area or staying close to the Lodge to take advantage of opportunities to photograph the polar bears and other wildlife.

Wind down from the day’s excitement during appetizer hour and after one of our signature dinners enjoy an informative lecture, slide show presentation, or free time.

Churchill Wild staff will monitor 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, you’ll be transferred back to Churchill.  Have your cameras ready for the return flight as it affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots.

Back in town, you’ll spend the day with one of our tour guides exploring Churchill and surrounding area and learning about its rich history as a seaport and ex-military town. Your tour will include stops such as the Parks Canada exhibit, the Itsanitaq Museum, and the Polar Bear Jail. Along the way, your guide will point out murals that were commissioned in 2016 as part of the SeaWalls mural festival. Before a group dinner, your guide will give you free time to shop for last-minute souvenirs at the unique gift stores in Churchill.

Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening. Upon arrival, collect your bags, head out of the arrivals doors and back to The Grand Hotel.

Includes: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 9 - Homeward bound

After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home.

Gear Provided

The equipment we provide at the Lodge such as rain gear, rubber boots, winter gear (rental), and gear for use during marine excursions are designed to fit guests from child to adult.  Boot sizes larger than a men’s size 13 or a very small child are considered to be customized sizes that we do not provide. Additionally, guests over 6’4” may be required to bring their own gear as we may not have clothing sizes to fit.

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