Daily departures from late June - early September, 2024.
Manitoba has a higher beluga concentration than anywhere else on Earth. Fisheries and Oceans Canada released a study pegging the province's beluga whale population in Hudson's Bay at around 60,000! 3,000 of these friendly beings congregate in an estuary close to Churchill, Manitoba. This 6-day small group tour can be booked anytime in July or August, and combines the thrills of whale watching, wildlife viewing, Arctic culture and field excursions with local naturalists all in one. Come packed with several memory cards! *Prices in your Cart are listed in CAD.
- An excursion by open-air boat to see high concentrations of the beluga whale up close.
- A second excursion through the Churchill River with the option to snorkel amongst the belugas!
- A Tundra Buggy adventure to Wapusk National Park, where you will be able to embark on foot amongst colourful thicks of Arctic wildflowers and seek out wildlife
- A guided walk through a boreal forest, where you'll have the chance to see arctic foxes, caribou, lemmings, ptarmigan, and white-phase Gyrofalcons
- A guided hike from Sloops Cove to Prince of Whales Fort, led by an expert naturalist and historian. Step back in time over 250 years, where Hudson Bay Company's small wooden sailboats, or "sloops" would be moored for the winter.
- An optional helicopter flight that will have you soar above Wapusk National Park, on the search for moose, caribou, and the king of the north himself: the polar bear.
6 Day Suggested Itinerary
Our small group tour commences with an early morning flight to Churchill, Manitoba. Upon your arrival, arranged transportation will be available to your Churchill accommodation, where you’ll have some free time to get settled. Tours of Exploration by Adventica will provide you with a map of the attractions in town; we highly recommend a visit to the Parks Canada Interpretation Centre which has exhibits, information and audio-visual presentations on the area’s natural history and human settlement in the area. The "Eskimo Museum" is another must, housing the finest collection of Inuit carvings and artifacts. Don't forget a quick visit to the post office where you can get your passport specially stamped to commemorate your trip to Churchill. There are several small stores and galleries to shop for Inuit crafts and Arctic memorabilia, and a list of places that can be visited on a self-guided basis. Everything in the town is within walking distance of our hotel (we will stay at either the Polar Inn or the Tundra Inn, or an accommodation of a similar style). A group dinner will be included on this day.
Beluga Whale Watching
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel this morning, after which we will set out for a morning whale watching orientation talk before setting out in open-air boats to see the belugas! These whales are relatively small. They weigh up to 1,000 kgs and measure 3 to 6 metres in length, coming to these warm and somewhat shallow waters to rear their young calves. This guided tour will also visit the historic Prince of Wales Fort. After our tour, we will return to the hotel where you can enjoy lunch and dinner on your own (a list of restaurant suggestions will be provided). There are often evening events and talks at the Parks Canada Interpretation Centre and/or the Churchill Northern Studies Centre that can be enjoyed freely.
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel. Then, we’ll set out on a guided naturalist tour through two different types of ecoregion. You will have the opportunity to see the transition of the taiga (or boreal forest) to the tundra. We will also look for Arctic foxes, caribou, lemmings, ptarmigans and white-phase Gyrfalcons and other Arctic wildlife. A field lunch will be included, then we’ll embark on our guided walk through the Boreal Forest. We’ll include visits to some of the top spots most-frequented by wildlife, depend on the weather and the movement of wildlife at the time of your visit. Dinner will be enjoyed at leisure. RE: Optional Helicopter flights: The helicopters in Churchill are chartered at this time of the year by researchers, therefore, we cannot guarantee that one will be available. If you wish to take a helicopter flight add-on to your trip, you should drop into the Hudsons Bay Helicopter office on arrival and put your name down for a one hour flight. The cost is $525 per person, with a minimum 3 people to be able to make a booking. The helicopter journey flies over Wapusk National Park in search of polar bear, caribou, moose, fox and other Arctic wildlife.
Beluga Tour and Tundra Adventure
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel. We’ll then take off on a morning adventure to the Churchill River for another trip to view the belugas! This time, we’ll have snorkel options available, with exposure suits and gear provided! After snorkeling, we’ll provide a group lunch to fuel up for our next adventure. In the afternoon enjoy a 6-hour ride through the tundra aboard a specially designed vehicle. The day includes a pick up from town, and a drive to the Buggy launch point approximately 35 minutes away. The Buggy follows tracks adjacent to the Hudson's Bay shoreline and near to Wapusk National Park. It’s a perfect introduction to the unique Sub-Arctic biome in this region! The chance to observe wildlife is at an all-time high in this natural, untouched landscape. The day will include dinner on the Buggy, interpretation with a guide, and the chance to get out of the Buggy from time to time for short walks over the tundra. Birds and wildflowers are at their peak at this time of the year. Chances for spotting polar bear (from a distance) are possible! More commonly seen wildlife are Arctic Fox and caribou. A group dinner will be enjoyed on this day.
Sloops Cove Hike
After our hotel breakfast, we’ll enjoy a guided hike with an expert naturalist and historian from Parks Canada along the shores of Hudson Bay from Sloop Cove to Prince of Wales Fort! We’ll be able to explore historic sites, archaeological remains, lonely beaches and expanses of tundra. Please note, if you don't want to hike, we can substitute today for an additional day out on the water. From Churchill, we’ll board a zodiac and head across the Churchill River. Step back in time more than 250 years when Sloop Cove was a wintering and mooring site for sloops, the Hudson Bay Company's (HBC) small wooden sailboats used for exploration, whaling and trading expeditions. "Sloop" is thought to be a deformation of the French word "chaloupe" (longboat). Nowadays, Sloop Cove is a dry cove, but back in the 1700’s there was over 3m of water at high tide. Several HBC men who used to work here left their signatures on the rocks: sailors, gunners, ship carpenters, captains, laborers and even a servant! Continue for 3.2 km to a view-point overlooking Prince of Wales Fort. This particular trip does not include a tour of the fort, however that will have been done earlier in your stay. Walking along the beach you may spot Canada Geese, other arctic birds, polar bear, fox, wolf, and caribou. Please note, this hiking group will have armed guards for safety as polar bear mothers and cubs frequent this area. Dinner will be enjoyed on our own.
Departure from Winnipeg
On our final day, we will say our goodbyes and depart Winnipeg. We also have the option of extending our stay to check out some of Winnipeg’s attractions, such as the Oak Hammond Marsh or the museum. Unfortunately, our adventure comes to a close here, but we’ve made memories and seen wildlife sightings that will be etched into our minds for a lifetime.
Pricing: $4210 CAD / $3110 USD.
Single supplement - ask us about single room pricing.
Note: Program may change based on movement of the wildlife, weather and other factors.
Tours of Exploration by Adventica's customized tours are available in Churchill, Manitoba for:
- bird watching in June
- wildflowers, beluga whales, and Arctic Wildlife in July and August
- Polar Bear viewing adventures in October and November = prime bear viewing season
- 4 nights accommodation in Churchill and 1 night in Winnipeg
- Return airfare from Winnipeg to Churchill
- All meals indicated in the itinerary
- Excursions as indicated in the itinerary, by tundra buggy and foot to see the whales, wildlife culture
- Escorted nature excursions by expert naturalists
- Hotel taxes
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Insurance of any kind
- Personal items
- Any excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
- 5% tax (GST)
Our accommodation in Churchill will be in a comfortable three-star hotel with a private bathroom and facilities. The tour price is based on twin occupancy in the rooms. On request, single travellers may be matched with a suitable roommate. Only a limited number of single rooms are available. The single supplement cost is not included in the tour cost.
Breakfasts and dinners will be served at local restaurants in town. Lunches are served both as field style and in restaurants.
A variety of sightseeing tours are included in the price to enhance your Arctic experience. Local guides will provide insight to the history and wildlife of the area.
This program should not present any difficulty to those in reasonable physical condition. There will be some walking on rocky terrain. Proper outdoor clothing should be carried at all times. The trip is suitable for families although not recommended for children under 8.
The weather conditions in Churchill are generally stable. As this is typically an arid region, a high pressure dome remains over the area in the summer months. This results in endless sunshine, even in the small hours of the morning. Even though the daytime temperature is normally around 18-20'C (65-70'F) there can be days when the temperatures skyrocket to 30'C (85'F) or fall to 3-5'C (35-40'F). You must prepare for a wide range of possible temperatures and pack clothing accordingly.