Canadian Arctic Wilderness Safari
starting from US $10,100per person
Choose a wildlife viewing tour that works best with your travel style.
Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.
Explore the Canadian Arctic from the comfort of a unique wilderness lodge. Travel to Somerset Island in Nunavut, 500 miles (805 km) north of the Arctic Circle, and experience world-class beluga whale watching. Choose from diverse adventure activities, and extraordinary wildlife photography opportunities, from the elusive musk ox to the polar bear. While exploring, enjoy superb food and exceptional hospitality from expert guides and hosts. There is no better way to experience the Canadian Arctic!
Trip at a glance
• Arrive Yellowknife
• 1 night Yellowknife
• 5 or 7 nights Somerset Island, Nunavut
• 1 night Yellowknife
Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized experience for you that matches your schedule, travel style and budget.
Note: Each day at the lodge you have up to three guided activities to choose from. The itinerary outlined below is only a sample of what a typical visit to the Arctic Wilderness Lodge may include. Activities may vary due to weather conditions.
Day 1 – Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Your adventure begins in the city of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The excitement builds as you meet your fellow travelers at a welcome expedition briefing. Once you’ve gathered your expedition parka and boots you’re ready to fly north tomorrow.
Day 2 – Adventure Begins in the Arctic – Fly to Somerset Island, Nunavut
Board a privately chartered plane for the 4.5 hour journey to the Arctic Wilderness Lodge. Over the 1,000 mile (1,500 km) journey, you’ll pass over the treeline as you cross the Arctic Circle. Enjoy stunning aerial views of the Arctic, before landing on Somerset Island. The short journey to the lodge involves a small walk across the tundra and a raft ride across the Cunningham River – the adventure has already begun. Settle in to the lodge and meet your hosts for a safety briefing and overview of the exciting days ahead.
Day 3 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
While at the lodge, enjoy a choice of activities each day based on what the weather will allow. Your first day may include an introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles, ATVs, a short hike to the Cunningham River Estuary to spot beluga whales frolicking in the shallow water, or a visit to Triple Waterfalls, five-stories of free-falling water. As you explore keep an eye out for Arctic wildlife like peregrine falcons, loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks or muskoxen.
To keep you fueled throughout your adventures enjoy plentiful fresh breakfasts, lunches and gourmet dinners. Recharge for the next day of adventures in your private safari tent cabin.
Day 4 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
Travel along the Muskox Ridge Trail by ATV, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. Pass by muskoxen and an impressive arctic fox den and watch fox cubs at play. Following an outdoor lunch at Inukshuk Lake, try your hand at catch-and-release fishing for arctic char. On the return journey to the lodge, pass by hoodoos, sculptured sand pillars, and local coal deposits. In the evening, after another delicious dinner, enjoy an informal lecture.
Day 5 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
Today’s activities may include kayaking in Cunningham Inlet. Float amongst icebergs, and watch for beluga whales as well as ring and bearded seals and seabirds. Enjoy lunch served along the shoreline, then embark on a short hike for stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. You may also have the chance to visit the Cunningham River estuary, a beluga whale migration site unique the world over because of the density of the beluga population. Stand on the river banks, and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides will use hydrophones so you can also hear the whales’ underwater song. In the evening, you’ll hear a lecture on the beluga research in the area.
Insider tip: The best time to see beluga whales is in July when they are migrating through the area. Ask your Vacation Advisor about selecting the best dates for belugas and other wildlife.
Day 6 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
Depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, where you’ll have the option of hiking or traveling by Mercedes Unimog, a multipurpose truck. Visit the Somerset Island canyons, with its steep walls up to 1,000 ft (305 m) high. Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals are scattered around the ground. An alfresco lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon.
Next, visit Gull Canyon and observe the striking color contrasts between the barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. This spot is declared a unique ecosystem by the Canadian Wildlife Service due to the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, enjoy an informal lecture from the Scientist in Residence.
Day 7 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
Today, discover Cape Anne by ATV, and visit some Thule sites to learn about these ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The ride showcases scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones. The Cape Anne Thule site includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can often be seen on the shoreline as they wander the coast, waiting for the ice to return. The return overland trip via the Red Valley provides incredible views.
Day 8 – Explore the Arctic from a Wilderness Lodge
Get ready for a day of excitement with a full-day rafting adventure on the Cunningham River. On the way to the launch, pass the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales that date back 8,000 years. You may also encounter muskoxen, snow geese, jaegers, arctic fox, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach, as the guides prepare the rafts. Return to the lodge by raft on the clear waters of the river as you pass by amazing scenery and steep canyon walls. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner and last night in your cozy cabin.
Day 9 – Depart the Arctic – Fly to Yellowknife
Bid a fond goodbye to the guides and lodge staff today. You may have time for one last activity before you depart on your return flight to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 10 – Depart Yellowknife
All too soon your Arctic vacation has come to an end. After breakfast, a transfer is included to take you to the airport in time for your flight.
What are the best months to see the polar bears?
The peak bear viewing months in Churchill are October and November. As the bears wait for the ice to freeze on the Hudson Bay. But you can see the bears and other wildlife (like beluga whales) throughout the summer.
Where do we sleep at night?
You can choose to stay in a cozy hotel in the town of Churchill or sleep aboard the 'Tundra Buggy Lodge'. It's a converted and comfortable Tundra Buggy from which you can view bears round the clock.
How cold will it be?
Temperatures range from 24-35 degrees fahrenheit in October, and about 3-16 degrees in November. In October, the snow is just starting to accumulate.
What we love about this trip
Observe the largest beluga whale pod in the world
See rare arctic wildlife from, polar bears to Arctic foxes
ATV riding in stunning scenery
Hiking in incredible canyons
Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation options. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.
Arctic Wilderness Lodge
An example of our Wilderness Lodge accommodations
Explore the stunning wilderness of the Canadian Arctic from the comfort of a fly-in lodge. This unique wilderness lodge is located on Cunningham Inlet, on Somerset Island in Nunavut. Relax in your cozy private cabin with ensuite, or spend time in the Great Room and take advantage of the extensive Arctic library and interpretive centre.
Prices & Dates2019 Dates (8 Day Trip)
July 18, 23
2019 Dates (10 Day Trip)
July 4, 11, 28
2020 Dates (10 Day Trip)
July 2, 9, 16, 30
Prices listed may vary by departure date, hotel class and degree of personalization. Please speak with one of our travel advisors to get a personalized quote.
8 and 10 Day Experiences
from US $10,100to US $13,165per person
On this arctic adventure maximize your time exploring this vast wilderness with either 5 or 7 nights at a wilderness lodge in a private cabin. Enjoy wildlife viewing and photography, ATV adventures, kayaking, rafting, whale watching, and guided exploration of the Canadian Arctic.
Canada Polar Bears Vs. Others
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