February 21st, 2017 | By MaryBeth McKenzie | Filed in Polar Bear, Wildlife
The Canadian Arctic is home to approximately 60 per cent of the world’s polar bear population. And while Churchill, Manitoba is popular viewing location, some of the best places to see this Arctic icon are away from crowds, on land and on ice – throughout the spectacular territory of Nunavut!
A polar bear for every season
You don’t have to wait until October and November for sightings – you can get the chance to see polar bears in the Canadian Arctic from March to November.
There are many options for polar bear tours in the Canadian Arctic. Here are some things to consider when planning your adventure:
What time of year do you want to travel?
The Arctic is always evolving. Depending on the time of year you visit, the Arctic offers a variety of experiences and weather:
More adventurous travellers may enjoy the unique polar bear and Northern Lights viewing opportunities in March and April, despite the extreme cold.
Other travellers may prefer the more mild weather during the Arctic spring, in May and June. At this time of year, temperatures range between -3 and 10°C (26 - 50°F) but can feel much warmer because of the 24-hour sun. This time of year is also great for those that want to experience the classic spring floe edge, where Arctic marine mammals (including polar bears and narwhal) tend to congregate.
Those that prefer even warmer weather may want to visit during July and August when temperatures can reach as high as 20°C (70°F)! You’ll get the chance to experience the midnight sun at this time of year as well.
While temperatures get colder and days start to get shorter in October and November, you can get the chance to see the Northern Lights
if conditions are right.
Learn more about how to choose the right season for you to travel to the Arctic here
How long do you have to travel?
Nunavut’s capital, Iqaluit, is just a 3-hour flight from Ottawa – making Arctic travel more accessible than ever before. For many people, this means less time travelling to the destination and more time enjoying the North. Still, the Arctic experiences unpredictable weather conditions. When planning your trip it’s a good idea to consider how many days you have available for adventure, and adding “buffer” time at the end of your trip to account for unplanned delays.
For those that have only about a week to travel, consider one of our 7-day trips, including Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari
or Kings of the Arctic.
Have a few extra days for viewing polar bears? Check out some of our 8 or 9-day trips like Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari
or Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage
Want an even longer stay and explore further in the far North? You can always build your own custom itinerary by contacting us.
How do you want to explore?
The right adventure for you will also depend on how you want to experience polar bears.
Are you a photographer looking for unique photography of polar bears (and possibly cubs) on icebergs?
You may want to head to a rarely-explored region of the High Arctic in early spring. Travel across the sea ice by snowmobile and qamutik (traditional Inuit sled) in search of award-winning photography opportunities on Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari.
Looking for rare footage of newborn polar bear cubs and their mothers?
To get the chance to see them emerging for their dens for the first time, check out Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Safari.
Do you want to view and photograph polar bears up-close from ground-level while safely behind an unobtrusive electric fence?
Perhaps you also prefer to stay in a simple, but comfortable, cabin instead of a mobile safari camp? Then Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari
is the trip for you!
Are you also interested in the chance to see Arctic whales?
If you’re looking for not just polar bears, but wildlife encounters including narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage
or Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari
are great options.
Want to discover the Arctic by boat?
You can get the chance to see polar bears and other Arctic wildlife on the shores and ice, and swimming amongst icebergs, in the summer months on Kings of the Arctic
and Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island
What activity level are you looking for?
On many of our polar bear tours you can choose to make your experience as active or relaxing as you want. That said, some of our trips may be a better fit for you depending on the activity level you prefer.
Some travellers embark on our trips looking for a more passive, relaxing experience with incredible landscapes and wildlife sightings. If that’s what you’re interested in, you may enjoy relaxing at the floe edge on Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari
or taking in the peace of the Arctic tundra on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari.
Others travel to the far North looking for a more action-packed adventure. If this sounds more your speed, you may enjoy the thrill of soaring across the sea ice by snowmobile and qamutik on Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs Photo Safari
, exploring the Arctic waters by boat on Kings of the Arctic
or hiking mountains on Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin
Are you travelling with family?
Whether you’re a solo adventurer, photographer or family, there’s a polar bear trip for you! All of our Arctic experiences are great for individuals or groups. For families with children, we suggest picking a summer
adventure. During July and August, temperatures are more comfortable and activities including hiking, boating, fishing and picking fresh summer berries, tend to be a hit with kids. Plus, the days are longer which means more time for fun and polar bear sightings!
Need help planning your polar bear adventure?
to speak with an Arctic Travel Advisor – they are always happy to help!
Want to build your own adventure?
We can bring your Arctic dreams to life with a private journey. Contact us
to start planning your custom itinerary.
February 1st, 2017 | By MaryBeth McKenzie | Filed in TRIPS
With dramatic landscapes and ice formations, unique wildlife, and incredible natural phenomena at any time of year, visiting the Arctic is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many travellers, adventurers, and photographers. We’re thrilled to help people around the world plan their bucket-list experience.
Picking the time of year to travel is one of the most important things to consider when planning your Arctic adventure. Unlike tropical vacations where you can expect sun and sand throughout the year, the Arctic is always changing and evolving.
While we run polar bear tours from March to November, the different seasons also bring a variety of amazing experiences. Depending on what you want to see and how you want to explore– whether it’s viewing rare wildlife like narwhal, incredible glaciers, the midnight sun or the Northern Lights – there is a season for you in the Arctic.
Here’s what you can look forward to throughout the year:
Early Spring – March and April
This time of year is great for adventurous travellers looking for unique, award-winning polar bear photography and the chance to view the Northern Lights.
The opportunities for polar bear (and possibly cubs!) photography are incredible during this season. Depending on the location you travel to, you may have the chance to see polar bear mothers and newborn cubs as they leave their dens for the first time, or polar bears lounging on sea ice and climbing majestic icebergs. For polar bear mothers and newborn cubs, you’ll want to visit one of the world’s largest denning areas, Wapusk National Park, on Polar Bear Mother & Newborn Cubs. For polar bears and icebergs, and to be one of the first to explore the high Arctic in early spring, check out Spring Polar Bears & Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari.
If conditions are right, you may also get the chance to witness the Northern Lights!
Travelling at the end of the Arctic’s cold season can mean more extreme weather with average daily temperatures ranging between -15°C and -29°C (5 to -20°F), but can drop as low as -40°C (-40°F). While cold, you can still have an enjoyable experience with the right gear! We offer a Polar Clothing Rental Package to keep you comfortable no matter what Mother Nature brings.
Experience early spring in the Arctic on these trips:
Spring Polar Bears & Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari
Polar Bear Mother & Newborn Cubs
Spring – May and June
This is floe edge season! The floe edge, also known as the “line of life”, is where the land-fast ice meets the open water. It is also where all Arctic marine mammals come to mingle. Throughout May and June, you can have opportunities for Arctic whale watching – including the chance to see narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales – as well as possibilities to see other wildlife like polar bears and thousands of bird species.
You’ll also have the chance to experience incredible land and icescapes. From soaring icebergs, to spectacular mountains and glaciers, there are breathtaking panoramas at every turn – all under the midnight sun.
Activities to look forward to in Arctic spring include travelling across the sea ice by snowmobile and qamutik (traditional Inuit sled), snorkeling and kayaking at the floe edge, hiking, and more.
Temperatures at this time of year range from -3 – 10°C (26 - 50°F) but can feel much warmer because of the 24-hour sun.
Experience the Arctic in spring on these trips:
Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari
Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage
Baffin Island Dive Safari
Summer – July and August
Arctic summers are perfect for any type of traveller – including families! This season also experiences the midnight sun – with almost 24-hours of daylight in July and upwards of 17 hours of daylight in August. During this time, much of the ice has melted and the tundra blooms with colourful wild flowers and berries. Weather in this season is mild, with temperatures ranging from 10 – 20°C (50 – 70°F).
The Canadian Arctic is a great place for summer fun in nature. With the warmer weather, activities include boating, fishing and hiking among spectacular landscapes – including Canada’s most stunning national park, Auyuttiuq National Park. You’ll also have opportunities for wildlife viewing at this time of year, including chances to see polar bears on land and swimming, walrus, bowhead whales and more.
Learn more about summers in the Arctic here.
Experience the Arctic in summer on these trips:
Kings of the Arctic
Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island
Bathurst Inlet Lodge
Autumn – October and November
Autumn is a great time of year for travellers looking for up-close polar bear photography and chances to see the Northern Lights, or travellers looking to unplug and experience the peacefulness of the Canadian Arctic tundra.
During this time of year temperatures begin to drop and polar bears congregate around the western coast of Hudson Bay waiting for freeze up so they can continue their migration north. This allows for incredible opportunities for polar bear viewing at ground level. Other wildlife sighting possibilities include Arctic fox, Arctic hare and birds.
If conditions are right, you’ll also have the chance to see the spectacular Northern Lights!
Experience Autumn in the Arctic on this trip:
Polar Bear Migrations Fly-In Photo Safari
Whatever time of year you choose to travel, don’t forget to pack a camera! There are amazing photography opportunities at every turn. Get tips for photography in the Arctic here.
Our trips are determined by the cycle of life; wildlife migrations and natural phenomena. Scouted with expert insight from Inuit guides, we bring you the best of the Arctic at any time of year. See all our Arctic safaris here.
Still need help picking the right time of year to travel, or the perfect trip for you?
Contact us to talk to one of our Arctic Travel Advisors.
Want to plan a fully-customized private experience in any season?
We’d love to help you build your dream itinerary. Contact us today!