In Search of Polar Bears
Where do you go when you want to see that large and iconic image of the Arctic, the polar bears? You could try several places but I went to Churchill in Manitoba, Canada. On the map below Churchill is right about where the bottom of the “a” in Canada meets the Hudson Bay and you can see that it is just below the Arctic Circle.
Churchill is a tiny town of just over 700 permanent residents but big on polar bears between mid-October and end of November. This is because Hudson Bay is the bear’s highway out onto the frozen ice and food and it generally starts freezing right around the town. As the weather changes and ice begins to form along the edges of the bay, the bears begin to gather in the area waiting for their first opportunity to go. They haven’t eaten since coming off the ice around June and they anticipate starting their hunt primarily for ring seals.
How to get there:
I went with Natural Habitat Adventures. Flew into Winnipeg and stayed overnight at the Ft. Geary Hotel, a charming, historic hotel originally built for the railroad. The next day we had a 2hr. charter flight into Churchill. At the end of the time in Churchill the steps were reversed.
What you will experience:
Remoteness, boreal forest giving way to tundra, polar bears, and hopefully arctic fox, red fox, snow hares, ptarmigan and snowy owls. Depending on the weather, some snow or a lot of snow and really interesting ice formations. Clear skies and northern lights if you are lucky. A town of resilient people with stories to tell.
An option on this trip is to stay at Natural Habitat’s Tundra Lodge which I was fortunate enough to do. The lodge is like several of the large tundra rovers pulled together and is not a permanent structure. There are 2 sleeping cars, a lounge car and dining car with kitchen. Sleeping arrangements are in tiny cubbyholes but just enough space since you won’t spend any time there except to sleep. The food is quite good, the best meals I had. The advantage to staying out here is that the lodge is placed out on the tundra in an area which is likely for bears passing through. And sure enough I awoke on the first morning to see a polar bear right on the side of the lodge. The other advantage is that your tundra rover is already out there thus eliminating the morning commute. The remainder of the time in Churchill was spent in a hotel in town. This is a moderate accommodation but it works. From here you will have an opportunity to visit around the town, browse the shops, attend talks from locals about the area and its history and hope that you don’t run into a wayward bear (yes, they do occasionally try to come through town and that is why there is a bear patrol). You will also go out for more tundra rover rides.
Why I recommend it:
Polar bears. Seeing polar bears with my own two eyes and in their habitat is amazing. All the other wildlife we saw was an added bonus. I was fortunate enough to see the aurora borealis which is a wonderful experience. I returned having learned a great deal about the Arctic and its inhabitants.
There are so many types of experiences to take on your travels. Whether you are doing a trip to see Polar Bears or an another travel adventure, travel advisor Marsha Dolbow will help you explore all the possibilities available for an amazing experience during your travel adventures. Marsha has been with World Travel for over 25 years and manages the Yorba Linda Travel office.
Be sure to follow World Travel on Instagram @wtfamilyofagencies and Facebook.
A Travel Advisor from World Travel will get you there…
Get Started: https://wtbinc.com/get-started/
Straddling the equator and encompassing numerous climate areas, Africa is the second-largest and second most populated continent in the world. Africa is home to many special destinations and cultures like Victoria Falls, the Maasai people, Cape Town and Winelands. Here you can visit the catacombs beneath Alexandria in Egypt, track mountain gorillas in Parc National…Read More
My Antarctica trip is coming up soon and now I need to decide what to pack or not to pack for this one in a lifetime adventure. I have begun the “thinking about packing” stage. With a month before take off (when I wrote this) I need to check for and tick off the list…Read More
Well, not exactly. Last October you may have seen my blog, In Search of Polar Bears. That trip took me just below the Arctic Circle and thus still a distance from the North Pole. In just over a month on Nov 5th I will be heading to Antarctica. My adventure there will again be a…Read More
Mexico and its culture keep travelers coming back. Mexico is famous for its great weather, food, art, archeology, pyramids, museums, Haciendas, 6,000 miles of shoreline, amazing architecture, and cities. Mexico also has excellent fishing and some of the world’s top destinations like Acapulco, Mexico City, Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos, and Patzcuaro. It has amazing wildlife…Read More
Last November, I was selected to represent World Travel Bureau at the Virtuoso Chairman’s event, being held in Venice for four days. Every year this annual event is held at a different city and about 200 guests are invited from the member travel agencies. Our group was split up and hosted by Virtuoso and three…Read More
Middle East is known as the “Cradle of Civilization”. The Middle East is a region in Western Asia and North-Eastern Africa also known as the “cradle of civilization.” It embraces the ancient and modern, encompassing Roman ruins and Biblical sites, trendy nightlife and the world’s largest tower. Here, there are blue waters of the Mediterranean,…Read More
Wendy Swenson of World Travel blogs about her recent adventure on a scenic river cruise which traveled through three rivers in Europe. We began our river cruise in Amsterdam headed to our final destination in Vienna, Austria. This was to be a 12-day cruise. We were part of a group of 60 and there were…Read More
It’s been almost two weeks since we came home from our Costa Rica to Belize travels. I can’t believe how quick that went by! Work was waiting as you can imagine and now here we are. That trip was spectacular! Cathy and I are very grateful for the effort you made to organize everything. You helped…Read More
About a year ago at the end of April, we flew to Amsterdam with a group of about 60, led by our tour designers, Joy and Terry Feulner, who also are Independent Contractors with World Travel Bureau. They create unique tours for their friends and family, and this was the starting point for our first…Read More
The United States is filled with great travel destinations. The United States of America is a large country in North America about half the size of Russia and about the same size as China, boasting the world’s third largest population, with over 320 million people. It includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and…Read More