Trip Highlights

Trip Highlights

  • Hop aboard an all-terrain vehicle for a polar bear safari, and learn how to capture the animals’ movements on camera.
  • Gain insights into indigenous culture and the Arctic way of life at the Itsanitaq Museum.
  • Paddle in the sapphire-blue waters of the Hudson Bay, surrounded by pods of “singing” beluga whales.
  • Meet first responders at Churchill’s “polar bear jail,” where wandering polar bears are detained before being relocated to the wild.

Itinerary

Itinerary

The Canadian Arctic shakes off its frosty cover during the summer, revealing flower-filled fields and a flurry of four-legged activity. With the remote town of Churchill as your base, discover this epic landscape while hiking and kayaking with our experienced Expedition Leaders and a National Geographic Expert. Seek out fascinating wildlife—from polar bears and majestic caribou to beluga whales—and trace the history of this former fur-trading post, inhabited by the native Inuit people for thousands of years.

Days 1-9: CHURCHILL, CANADA/CHURCHILL NORTHERN STUDIES CENTRE

Churchill is home to fewer than a thousand people, and owes its fame to the resident polar bears that move through the area in the summer months. Chat with local youth about growing up in this far-flung corner of North America, and visit Polar Bears International, a global nonprofit dedicated to bear conservation. Meet with first responders at the town’s “polar bear jail”—a holding facility for polar bears that wander into town—and discuss how this practice prevents human-wildlife conflict. Marvel at hundreds of Inuit artifacts at the Itsanitaq Museum, and meet with First Nations elders to immerse yourself in the customs of the area.

Venture across the tundra from our base at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a non-profit research station that has hosted National Geographic–funded scientists. Head out on foot and in our all-terrain vehicle to photograph the iconic creatures of the Arctic from a safe distance—from the sprightly arctic fox and herds of caribou to snowy white polar bears. Follow in the footsteps of the region’s early European fur traders as you hike from the Prince of Wales Fort to the harbor at Sloop Cove. Hit the waters of the Hudson Bay by kayak, paddling alongside large pods of beluga whales; and learn how scientists are working to decipher their communications. Investigate the ecology of an estuary that serves as a temporary habitat for calving belugas; and walk along tidal flats to collect specimens that we’ll bring back to the lab for further research. Spend the evenings relaxing at the center’s observatory deck, and keep an eye out for the mesmerizing northern lights!