Manitoba's Polar Bears & Belugas: The Ultimate Wildlife Experience
- Duration:10 nights
- Suitable for: Anybody over the age of 18. See our terms for further information.
- Flights: return flights from Winnipeg to Churchill, return flights from Churchill to the lodge
- Transfers: all transfers from day 3 through to day 9 in Churchill
- Accommodation: 4 nights at the Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel by the Lakeview in a double or twin room with en-suite; 2 nights at the Polar Inn in a double or twin with en-suite; 4 nights at the Nanunk Polar Bear Lodge in a double/twin with en-suite
- Meals: 6 breakfasts, 1 brunch (day 3), 6 lunches, 8 dinners
- The following activities and experiences are included: kayaking with beluga whales, a tour of the Prince of Wales Fort, a tour of the estuary and optional swim with beluga whales. Daily trips from the polar bear lodge may include the following (depending on weather and ground conditions): tour to the tidal flats and Hudson Bay shoreline, tour to the coastline to photograph polar bears, tour to the river deltas and coastal beach ridges, hiking and walking to photograph polar bears (the order of activities is subject to change)
- The services of expert guides from day 3 in Churchill until day 9 in Churchill
A note on flights: International flights are not included in the holiday price so that the best available fares and most appropriate schedules can be found for you at the time of booking. Our travel experts will happily provide you with a quote and arrange flights on your behalf.
Manitoba is a prairie province in the centre of Canada, which offers untouched nature and urban elegance. It is known to be a land of open space, broken up by lakes and forests, and hides a wealth of wildlife. Offering an incredible number of experiences, you will have the opportunity to get to know this special place and its residents during this unforgettable holiday.
This beautiful part of the world is home to diverse species of animals, such as birds, moose, bison, wolves, caribou, black bear, fox and lynx. It is most famous, however, for its majestic polar bears and curious beluga whales, which are the focus of our holiday here.
This adventure begins in Winnipeg, the vibrant capital of Manitoba with its warm welcoming spirit. The wide cultural range here is reflected in the globally inspired cuisine, world-class arts scene, festivals and unique shops.
Heading north to Churchill you will arrive in the polar bear capital of the world and one of the best beluga whale watching spots.
Each year thousands of the calm-natured and curious beluga whales make their way to the waters of the Hudson Bay’s Churchill River. Their unusual colour and shape make it easy to spot them, but out of curiosity, the beluga whales will sometimes even come to you. During your time in Churchill, you will have the opportunity to witness the whales at close quarters during a kayak excursion.Read more
On the last few days of this very special journey, you will make your way to the incredible Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, which is known to be one of the best places to see wild polar bears and other wildlife.
The remoteness of the Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and the highly trained guides combine to bring you closer to the fastest and most powerful carnivores on the planet. Here you will have the chance to see more wild polar bears than you are likely to see anywhere else in the world.
This is a truly incredible experience and provides the chance to see some of the most exceptional wildlife on the planet. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Image credits: Travel Manitoba, Churchill Wild, Dennis Fast, Andriy Stepanov, Charles Glatzer, Ian Johnson, Krypton Enerio, Didrik Johnck, Gerry Petrin, Michael Poliza
Day 1 Arrival in Winnipeg
Upon arrival in Winnipeg, it is only a short walk to your airport hotel. You can settle in and relax before having a dinner in the hotel’s restaurant (payable locally).
Day 2 Explore Winnipeg
After a restful sleep, head for breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant (payable locally), or alternatively try out the cafés in Winnipeg. It is approximately a 25-minute taxi drive from the airport to the city centre (not included).
Today has been left free for you to explore Winnipeg. Have a wander around the Forks, a 6,000-year-old meeting place where the Aboriginal, French Canadian and Manitoban culture come together. There are many informative attractions that detail the site’s historic and natural features.
Walk through the Exchange District, which is located in the heart of Winnipeg and is one of North America’s most colourful neighbourhoods with 150 designated heritage buildings in the area. It is a fascinating place and well worth a visit.
Following a tour of the Arctic Gallery in the Manitoba Museum, you will enjoy a delicious dinner in the Nonsuch Gallery of the museum. You will meet the other members of your group and a Manitoban representative will provide you with details of your trip and answer any queries that you may have about the days ahead (the departure from the hotel is at 4:30 pm. If you have decided to explore Winnipeg in the afternoon, you can either meet the group at the museum or go back to the hotel in time for the transfer).
Day 3 Fly to Churchill and Kayak with Beluga Whales
You will leave early in the morning for your flight to Churchill.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your accommodation, the Polar Inn. You will have some time to settle in, before having a hearty brunch at a local restaurant where your local guide will take you through your itinerary.
At the docks of the Churchill River, it is time for an unforgettable chance to kayak with belugas whales. After your equipment provision and a full briefing from your guide, you will take to the water for your kayak experience. Your guide will be accompanying you in a zodiac boat that will stay close to the kayaks at all times.
Beluga whales, also called white whales, are very intelligent and curious creatures. Their unusual colour and shape make them the most recognisable whales in the world. Belugas are also known to be very social animals and thus they live in pods and travel together. The guide will ensure that the whales are not disturbed by your presence and you will never follow the animals as they are such curious creatures, they may approach the kayaks for a closer look at their visitors.
After your first unique experience, you will join a guided tour of the historic Prince of Wales Fort. This astonishing fort was built 250 years ago on the bare coast of the Hudson Bay and served as the stronghold of the Hudson Bay Company’s grip on the early fur trade.
Tonight you can recall your wonderful day and share the amazing moments with other travellers whilst enjoying dinner in one of Churchill’s favourite dining spots.
Day 4 Zodiac Whale Watching and Gourmet Dinner
After breakfast at your hotel, you will join a guided tour of the Churchill River Estuary. The guide will take you out in a zodiac where you may once again encounter the beluga whales.
If conditions permit you will even have the chance to swim with these animals as you are pulled gently behind the boat. The whales’ curiosity is such that they often come and join you.
After this incredible experience, you will enjoy a delicious lunch at the locals’ favourite, Gypsy’s Bakery & Restaurant.
In the afternoon you can either go on another adventure with the beautiful beluga whales or enjoy some free time in Churchill. Wander around this northern port town with its unique shops or have a look inside the award winning Eskimo Museum.
A delightful gourmet dinner will be served by local resident and cookbook writer, Helen Webber, who has a multi-generational connection to this beautiful region. Enjoy her delicious homemade food whilst listening to her interesting stories about life in Manitoba.
Day 5 - 8 Flight to Nanuk, Nature Trekking and Polar Bears
In the morning of day five, you will be transferred to the airport for a scenic flight to your accommodation (around one hour), the Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. The lodge is located 250 km south-east of Churchill and is only accessible by air. Enjoy the breathtaking view whilst flying over the coastal flats of the Hudson Bay. Depending on the season, it is possible that you will see your first polar bear during your flight.
During your stay at the lodge, hot breakfast will be generally served at 8:00 am and the excursions will begin at about 09:30, to make sure you will get the best wildlife experience.
Your daily excursions here will be dependent on weather and ground conditions but may include: a coastal tour to the tidal flats and Hudson Bay shoreline; a tour of the Hudson Bay coastline to photograph polar bears, a tour to the river deltas and vast coastal beach ridges of the pristine region, a hike from the lodge to witness the bears.
Lunch will either be served at the lodge or enjoyed outdoors during the trips. Later in the evening appetisers and cocktails are served followed by a delicious dinner at 7pm that will be served in the dining area with panoramic views.
Whilst staying at the wilderness lodge you might even witness the incredible Northern Lights. Although January, February and March are the best months to see the Northern Lights, given the right conditions, it is possible to witness the Arctic phenomenon in any month of the year here. A gentle wake-up call will make sure you won’t miss out on the opportunity to witness this spectacular phenomenon.
Day 9 Return to Winnipeg
After breakfast, take a last glimpse at the remote wilderness before saying goodbye to this incredible place and taking your flight back to Churchill. You will have time for a last stroll around Churchill before your flight back to Winnipeg in the evening (lunch and dinner are included today).
As you are returning to the Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel by the Lake, it is only a short walk to your accommodation.
Day 10 Winnipeg
After breakfast in the hotel (payable locally), you can relax and enjoy your final day in Manitoba. If you like, visit any of Winnipeg’s highlights that you didn't quite manage on your second day. Alternatively, simply enjoy one more gentle stroll through the city and soak up the atmosphere (return taxi transfer to the city centre is not included).
Day 11 Transfers and Departure
It is sadly time to say goodbye to Manitoba as you return to the airport for your flights home.
Included in price
The Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview
The Winnipeg Airport Hotel is merely steps away from the airport terminal, which is ideal for touching down and heading straight to your accommodation for some rest. It is also within 10 km of many popular local attractions, such as Polo Mark Mall, The Forks and Winnipeg Art Gallery. The lavish, modern décor and high-tech facilities here will really add to your overnight experience, and rooms even come with their own iPads so that you can communicate with the front desk and people back at home with ease.
To make things even more sophisticated, the hotel has a climate-controlled walkway connecting to the Lakeview museum for a quick historical excursion. And to top it all off, the Blue Lounge hotel restaurant prides itself on being eco-friendly, using local produce and their own “Urban Cultivator” to offer guests the freshest and most delicious ingredients.
- Fee Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, and in-room iPads are provided should you need another way of connecting with family and friends at home, or an easy way of communicating with the front desk.
- Keurig Coffee makers are available in every room, with free Starbucks coffee pods to enjoy.
- There is a doorbell outside every room, as well as an electronic ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to ensure the most relaxing and private stay possible.
- The stunningly chic Blue Marble restaurant and lounge are available for all guests to dine, drink and relax.
- The hotel porter and concierge are always happy to assist guests.
- The hotel has its own state of the art fitness centre which includes a variety of free weights and machines.
Deluxe King and Double-Queen Guest Rooms:
Each room consists of either one King bed or two Queen beds, meaning plenty of space for an extremely comfortable sleep. As mentioned above, every room has an in-room iPad, which can be used for its room service menu, guest directory, daily newspaper, Netflix app, web browser, iMessage, games and more. Starbucks coffee facilities are available, as well as a 46 inch LED Samsung Smart TV offering 20 HD channels, a complimentary Vivreau water (in a special, designer bottle) a mini-fridge and a safe. All rooms are en-suite with sleek washrooms which provide all basic toiletries, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner and a hair dryer.
Grand View Suite:
This room type includes all of the same amenities as the King/double-Queen guest room and more. The room is a total of 1100 square feet, with a King bed and a pullout, Queen-sized sofa bed in the bedroom. The room also has its own entrance foyer, with floor to ceiling windows perfect for admiring the surrounding views. Should more space be required, it is possible to choose a room with an adjoining guest room, complete with a King-sized bed and washroom.
The Polar Inn is a comfortable motel-style hotel located near the Hudson Bay in Churchill and offers easy access to the town as well as providing a simple base for the tours and attractions that the town offers. It is conveniently located around eight miles from the airport and is an excellent base for wildlife-watching tours to see the polar bears and beluga whales.
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout
- There is a small on-site gift shop selling postcards and some local handicrafts
- The reception also offers a laundry service
- A small continental breakfast is served each morning
Double or twin rooms
Each of the rooms is equipped with double or twin beds as well as a fridge, coffee maker, telephone, hairdryer and small seating area. The rooms all have en-suite bathrooms
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
Located 250km southeast of Churchill, the Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge sits on the Hudson Coast in Manitoba. The key highlight of the lodge is the excellent access to the resident wildlife that it provides, offering incredible opportunities to view polar bear and beluga whales. The lodge claims that there are no other people in a 100 mile radius, ensuring a remote and relaxing break.
- The lodge has a newly added lounge and dining area with scenic panoramic views of Hudson Bay and a cosy fireplace to relax in front of. The food served here is hearty and wholesome with a focus on home cooking and local ingredients
- The lodge has perimeter fencing and a 24 hour safety patrol to ensure guests’ safety
- Limited Wi-Fi is available in the main hotel areas
- The Lodge has its own viewing tower, offering excellent views over your surroundings
The lodge has eight guest rooms in total within four cabins. Each room has an en-suite bathroom and is furnished in a modern and comfortable manner.
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
Please note: the 31st July departure date is in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. You’ll enjoy evening presentations by representatives of the Society who’ll speak about their exciting projects and initiatives.
Tue 31 Jul 2018Book
Fri 10 Aug 2018
Sat 04 Aug 2018Book
Tue 14 Aug 2018
Next year's provisional dates and prices
You can make a pre-reservation to secure your holiday at this stage by paying a deposit but, the provisional departure dates, prices and itineraries remain subject to change. We will contact you when the final dates, prices and itineraries are confirmed and you will have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. If you decide not to travel we will refund your deposit. Our Travel Experts will happily provide you with full terms and a complete quotation.
Tue 30 Jul 2019Enquire
Fri 09 Aug 2019
Sat 03 Aug 2019Enquire
Tue 13 Aug 2019
|Please contact our Travel Experts for the single supplement.|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum 2 people; maximum 18 people
Most of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate. Minimum numbers are detailed on each holiday page and are always approximate. Group sizes for tailor made holidays will vary for each of the activities. For private departures you may also be joined by other guests during the activities unless you have discussed specific private activities with us.
If your selected date has not yet reached minimum numbers you will be informed at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date has not reached the required minimum numbers nine weeks before your scheduled departure date we will contact you and discuss the various options available to you. We will always do all we can to operate a holiday and in some cases we may be able to operate the holiday by combining your itinerary with that of other guests for some activities (this may mean that the maximum group size is increased but this will be discussed in full with you).
If we are unable to operate the holiday then you will be offered the chance to transfer to an alternative holiday or date (subject to availability). If the alternative is more expensive you will be asked to pay the difference, if it is cheaper then you will be reimbursed. You will also be offered the option to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.
Whilst Artisan Travel only sells holidays to those aged 18 years and over on a small selection of holidays there may be those under the age of 18 who have booked with other companies and where our local supplier also allow those under 18 to participate (additional activities during tailor made holidays for example). Our travel experts will answer any concerns you may have in this regard.
Medical History and advice
You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
We cannot be held responsible for any incident or event arising from your failure to do so.
Experience and fitness
Any activities included in your itinerary are all designed for beginners. Full instruction and tuition is provided for all activities and you do not need to have any previous experience. For example you need never have set foot on a pair of skis of any kind before a cross-country ski tour. We have adults of all ages and fitness levels taking part in our holidays.
We do highlight certain itineraries where an increased level of fitness is required.If you have any questions at all with regards to fitness levels please get in touch and talk to one of our experts. You can find further details in our trip preparation section online. You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
Guides and safety
It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided. Nobody knows the environment better than our activity providers who work here almost everyday.
Consequently, their knowledge and experience is unsurpassed. If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
There may be rare occasions when our guides consider local conditions unsuitable for a certain activity. Hence, your itinerary may be subject to change at short notice but we will always endeavour to firstly find a replacement on the day and secondly, to provide the cancelled activity later in your stay whenever possible. Very occasionally it proves impossible to provide the activity in which case you will be refunded when you return home.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
You must inform us of any medical conditions that may affect your participation in an activity at the time of booking.
Booking activities locally
In almost all of our destinations you can book and pay for additional activities locally. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss that occurs through any activities that are booked in your destination (see our terms and conditions for further details).
Please always ensure that your safety is your primary concern when arranging any such activity.
If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card. Please see your trip dossier for full details.
Payment and cancellation terms: Please note that the following payment and cancellation terms supersede those mentioned in sections 2 and 6 of our general booking terms and conditions.
Payment terms for this trips: A deposit of £2100 per person is required at the time of booking. Full payment is required 110 days before departure.
Cancellation terms: After booking = loss of deposit (it is non-refundable and non-transferable); 110 days prior to departure, or after paying the final payment = 100%
Weathered into the lodge
If guests are weathered into the lodge beyond their registered stay, a rate of $200CND plus tax (13%) will be charged per day.