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.

 

Arctic Discovery - Dates and Rates

2019 Dates

Aug 1 – 9
Aug 5 – 13

 

Price (per person) Single Private Room Children
2019: $12,295 CAD 2019: $22,795* CAD 2019: $11,095 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.

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 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 get a behind-the-scenes tour of the vault to see historic York Factory artifacts. Then dinner is served in the Nonsuch gallery with a short trip orientation. The shuttle will leave the hotel for the tour and dinner at 4:30 pm. You will return back to the hotel to prepare for your early morning departure to Churchill.

Includes: dinner

Day 2-3 - Historical and Marine Excursions

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 one of our preferred hotels, your home base for the next couple of days. After settling in, you will enjoy a hearty brunch in a restaurant where your local guide will introduce you to the itinerary for your time in Churchill.

During your two days in this historic port town you will be scheduled for four separate marine excursions. These will include a combination of kayaking or snorkelling with beluga whales in the Churchill River 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 gourmet 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 first hand while also taking home your meal in the form of a cookbook from her bestselling series “Blueberries and Polar Bears”.

Throughout these two days there will also be time to wander about the unique shops, visit the excellent Parks Canada museum located in the historic train station, the award winning Itsanitaq Museum or other points of interest.

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 the Bay before arriving at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Hot breakfasts will be served daily, 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 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 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 Itsantiq 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 you “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 some 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 lunch dinner

Day 9 - Homeward bound

After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home. If you’ve not had enough bear action for one lifetime, ask us about our Great Ice Bear Adventure or our Polar Bear Safari that takes place in October and November annually.

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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