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How to choose a polar bear adventure

February 21st, 2017 | By | Filed in Polar Bear, Wildlife

polar bear migration fly-in photo safari_arctic kingdom_mother and cub

By: Liz Carino

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.

arctic photography polar bear mother cub on iceberg

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.

polar bears glaciers of baffin island-arctic kingdom - polar bear swimming

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.

arctic kingdom photography polar bears on iceberg

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!

polar bears glaciers baffin island 2016 arctic kingdom

Need help planning your polar bear adventure?

Contact us 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.

10 Fast facts about polar bears

September 20th, 2016 | By | Filed in Polar Bear

Arctic Kingdom Polar Bear mother and newborn cubs
Polar bears have always been icons of the Arctic, and one of the most popular animals that guests want to see on our trips – they’re one of our favourites too. We love all things polar – and bears are no exception!

Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s polar bear population. Their habitat in Canada ranges from James Bay in the south to Ellesmere Island in the north, and east to west from Labrador to the Alaskan border. We are thrilled to be able to provide opportunities to see these majestic animals for guests from around the world.

Whether you are gearing up for a trip to the north, or just want to learn more about them, here are 10 facts about polar bears:

1. The classic white bears are not really white.

Polar bears actually have black skin and hollow, colourless hair. Their hollow fur reflects light and traps the sun’s heat to help keep them warm.

2. Polar bears can overheat.

Though they are adapt to survive Arctic temperatures, which can dip below -50°C, they can also overheat. This becomes more of a risk when running and in the summer – when temperatures rise above freezing and up to 20°C.

3. Polar bears clean themselves by rolling in the snow.

Can you blame them for wanting to keep themselves clean? Staying clean also helps the insulating properties of their fur, so after feeding they will often freshen up by taking a swim or roll in snow. Rolling in the snow also helps cool them off when they get too hot.

4. They’re quick on their feet.

Polar bears can reach speeds of up to 40km per hour (25 mph) on land.

5. …and in the water.

Polar bears are also excellent swimmers and can comfortably swim around 10 km per hour (6mph). They use their large front paws to propel themselves through the water and their back legs to steer. Their latin name actually means “sea bear”.

(FYI: You can see them swimming on Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island)

6. Giants of the Arctic: Polar bears are one of the largest carnivores that live on land.

Males can weigh more than 770kg (1700lbs).

7. They have a good sense of smell.

Polar bears can sniff out seals – their main food – from up to 1 km (0.6 miles) away and even under 1m (3 ft) of snow.

8. A female polar bear will have an average of five litters of cubs in her life time.

Two-thirds of polar bear litters are twins!

9. Polar bears in the wild can live up to 30 years.

Most live 15 to 18 years.

10. The biggest threat to polar bears is climate change.

Global warming causes sea ice to melt earlier, and form later each year. This give polar bears less time to hunt, and studies have shown that polar bear litters are also declining in size. There are more than 22,000 polar bears across the Arctic, but many scientists believe they could be gone within 100 years. Steven Amstrup of Polar Bears International deems polar bears “the most vulnerable of any species to a warming world” and says two-thirds of all polar bears will be gone by 2050 if nothing changes.

Want to see them this year?

Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cubs wildlife photography
We provide opportunities to view and photograph polar bears in the Canadian Arctic from March to November.

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari – October & November
Spring Polar Bears of Baffin – March & April
Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs – March
Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari – May & June
Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage – May & June
Kings of the Arctic: Polar bears, Whales, Walrus – June & July
Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island – August

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom

Want to see polar bears but not sure which trip is for you?

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!

Want to create your own polar bear adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.
Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom
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