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Your Day by Day Itinerary. 7 Days 6 Nights
From $6395.00 ( + Air )
Trips Start in October 2019
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.
The Fine Print: This tour is operated by Tours By André. A 15 person minimum is required for the tour to be escorted. Tour payments are non-refundable unless the 15 person minimum is not reached and the trip is cancelled. Tours By André is not liable for damage, delay or inconvenience which may occur through acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in providing services, provisions, accomodations, transportations or facilities in connection with this tour, nor are we liable for any damage, loss or other acts of God connected with the tour. Read more about: THE FINE PRINT
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.
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.
Approximately 16 Travelers
An important feature of our polar bear expeditions is the limited group size. Nature is always best experienced in smaller groups, and it is particularly important on this expedition to ensure that our guests have plenty of room on board the tundra vehicles, for comfort and easy access for photos.
Important Information About This Trip
This flagship polar bear expedition has been our most popular adventure for more than two decades. Its longstanding success is due to the outstanding bear viewing opportunities Churchill offers, as well as the appeal of our subarctic environs and broad introduction to the natural and cultural history of the Hudson Bay region and daily life in the Canadian North that this trip provides. Two Polar Rover day trips and a night excursion are complemented by time spent exploring the frontier outpost town of Churchill, with expert interpretation from our naturalist Expedition Leaders.
Regarding polar bears: They are typically in the Churchill area year-round. The highest concentration occurs in October and November as the bears gather to await freeze-up on Hudson Bay and the beginning of their winter hunting season. But bear viewing is never predictable. Sometimes the best viewing happens at the beginning of the season, sometimes it occurs in the middle, and sometimes it's at the end—we never know for sure. Once the bay freezes, many of them depart. Historically, this has happened in early December, but an unusually early cold spell can sometimes occur, hastening their departure to the ice. Please be aware that conditions vary, and polar bears here live wild and free: we can never guarantee that you will see them, or promise exactly what your experience will be.
Please understand that the meals in Churchill are specially planned and prepared for well in advance. With ample notice, dietary requirements due to serious medical conditions or strict personal restrictions can be met, but must be adhered to while on the adventure. If you have a very restricted diet, we recommend bringing some of your preferred snacks along with the appreciation that certain foods are limited in this part of the world.
Getting There & Getting Home
In case of flight or weather delays, we recommend that you arrive a day early and either participate in our Extra Day in Winnipeg program or stay on your own. Please schedule your flights to arrive by 5 pm in order to attend a 7 pm orientation dinner on Day 1 of your program. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.