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Arctic Travel

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

from $4,796
8 days

Trip Type

Land

Small Group Journey

Canadian Arctic

When To Go

Jun - Aug

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Trip Summary

Spend an unforgettable week at this unique Canadian Arctic wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site. Situated 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Watch Lodge offers a range of unique adventure travel activities- experience arctic safaris by tundra vehicles and small ATVs, raft the Cunningham River, sea kayak with hundreds of beluga whales, hike the tundra, spot polar bears and musk ox roaming the Northwest Passage, arctic foxes and snowy owls and investigate the mysterious Thule ruins crafted from giant whale bones, fish for arctic char and more.  Enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb locally sourced food, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada. The landscapes and vistas are immense, and high summer brings 24 hours of light and twilight to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the far north tundra.  

Activities
Kayaking
Photography
Polar Bears
Hiking
Culture

Itinerary Day By Day

Day 1

Arrival Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meeting your fellow travelers. 

Day 2

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

We’ll meet early in the morning to board our private chartered plane to fl y the 1,000 miles (1,500 km) to the Arctic Watch lodge. During the four and a half hour flight, we’ll pass over the treeline to the barrens, refueling in the community of Cambridge Bay, and landing in the afternoon on a private airstrip on Somerset Island. A short walk across the tundra, and an even shorter raft ride across the Cunningham River, will bring us to the lodge. Following a tour of the facilities, you’ll settle into your cabins and meet the expedition staff for a briefing on the activities in the days ahead.

Accommodation Details

Arctic Watch Lodge

Day 3

Arctic Watch Lodge, Somerset Island, Nunavut

A typical first morning at the lodge may include receiving a hands-on introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which are easy and fun to drive. Later, we may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to watch beluga whales frolic in the shallow water only a few yards off shore, followed by a wonderful buffet lunch. In the afternoon, there may be an opportunity for a hike to Triple Waterfalls, a five-story torrent of free- falling water. There you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Exploring the canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild Arctic flowers. Encounters with muskox are common. After a hearty dinner, there’s free time to explore in and around the lodge. The library has a broad selection of Arctic and polar titles. The interpretive center contains collections of local fossils, skeletal remains of Arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia.

Accommodation Details

Arctic Watch Lodge

Day 4

Arctic Watch Lodge

Today we may attempt to kayak in Cunningham Inlet. All equipment and basic instructions are provided. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for ring and bearded seals as well as beluga whales. Sightings of sea birds, including Arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, we’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named “Kayak Falls.” From there we’ll have stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. In the afternoon, we’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to our lodge. Standing on the river banks, you’ll be able to see the beluga whales frolic in the shallow water and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides will use our hydrophones so that you can also hear their underwater calls. In the evening, following a delicious dinner, we’ll have a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet.

Accommodation Details

Arctic Watch Lodge

Day 5

Arctic Watch Lodge

Following breakfast, we’ll depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you’ll have the option of hiking or travelling by Mercedes Unimog a (multi-purpose four-wheel drive truck). We’ll visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their walls, mostly vertical, vary from 200 to 1,000 feet (up to 305 meters). Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals litter the ground. You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. A picnic lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon. After lunch, we’ll travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. The Canadian Wildlife Service recently visited and claimed this spot to be a unique and special eco-system for the gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, Arctic Watch’s scientist-in-residence will give an informal lecture.

Accommodation Details

Arctic Watch Lodge

Day 6

Arctic Watch Lodge

The first leg of today’s journey will be by Mercedes Unimog truck. We’ll get to the Arctic Watch raft and kayak launch on the Cunningham River, 20 km from the lodge. Typically, the final six kilometers require a hike through the Badlands, passing the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales dated from eight thousand years ago. The voyage includes encounters with muskox, snow geese, jaegers, Arctic foxes, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. We’ll savor a picnic lunch on the beach beside the river, as the staff and guides prepare the rafts and kayaks. Returning to the lodge, you’ll have the choice of kayaking or travelling by raft. The river has swift-flowing, crystal-clear water with no difficult sections or rapids. The views are amazing and include steep canyon walls and, at one point, a 180-degree turn. Tonight, we’ll enjoy our final dinner and evening at the Arctic Watch lodge.

Accommodation Details

Arctic Watch Lodge

Day 7

Depart Arctic Watch Lodge

Today, you’ll bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before we depart. In the late afternoon, the plane will arrive for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife you will be transferred to your included hotel.

Day 8

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Today you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area.

Dates & Rates

DateDouble RoomTriple Room Single Room Charter Air Package
Jun 30 - Jul 7, 2016 $4796 PP $4796 PP $7196 PP$1352 PP
Jul 5 - Jul 12, 2016 $4796 PP $4796 PP $7196 PP$1352 PP
Aug 7 - Aug 14, 2016$5995 PP$5995 PP$8995 PP$1690 PP

View Rate Notes

The above rates are in U.S. dollars and per person, double occupancy, unless indicated otherwise. Discounted rates are reflected as applicable by date in the rate table above.

Deposit: 20% of fare (minimum $1000 per person), payable by credit card.

Final Payment: Due 120 days prior to departure. Payment is due by check, wire transfer or money order.

Additional Costs and Discounts:

  • Charter Airfare Mandatory Package: $1690 pp (includes hotel shuttle transfers on arrival and departure between airport and hotel in Yellowknife, one night pre-expedition hotel in Yellowknife with breakfast, group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge and return, one night post-expedition hotel in Yellowknife with breakfast.)
  • Single: $140 single supplement for hotel room in Yellowknife.
  • Solo travelers can be matched to share a room with someone of the same gender if available. If a match is not found, there will be no additional charge for a single cabin at the Wilderness Lodge.
  • Child policy: Children ages 8 and up are accepted as long as they meet the height and weight requirements (64lbs and 48")

Included: Accommodation per the itinerary; all meals and snacks at the Arctic Watch lodge; ATVs, kayaking, rafting, photography workshops; Expedition Leader and guides; pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan; parka to use and take home; coffee, tea, water and juice available around the clock (soft drinks and beer not available); pre-departure materials; miscellaneous service taxes during the program; luggage handling at the charter terminal and at the lodge; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person.

Not Included: Any airfare; mandatory charter package; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; any meals before and after the lodge with the exception of breakfasts in Yellowknife; wine and spirits; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry and other personal charges; fishing license fee; the customary gratuity at the end for staff; additional expenses (meals, accommodation, international flight change fees, etc.) incurred by delay or cancellation of activities due to sub-optimal weather.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation requests must be received in writing. Deposits are non-refundable. This may vary at the discretion of the tour operator. Failure to secure a valid passport, visa or air arrangements does not waive this cancellation policy.

  • 180 days or more, refund of deposit less a $1,000 per person fee
  • 170 - 120 days deposit is forfeited
  • 120 or less prior to departure, all payments forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. 

Mandatory medical evacuation insurance up to $100,000 is included in the cost of this program, however full Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised. 

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

Accommodations

Trip Policy

Included: Accommodation per the itinerary; all meals and snacks at the Arctic Watch lodge; ATVs, kayaking, rafting, photography workshops; Expedition Leader and guides; pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan; parka to use and take home; coffee, tea, water and juice available around the clock (soft drinks and beer not available); pre-departure materials; miscellaneous service taxes during the program; luggage handling at the charter terminal and at the lodge; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person.

Not Included: Any airfare; mandatory charter package; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; any meals before and after the lodge with the exception of breakfasts in Yellowknife; wine and spirits; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry and other personal charges; fishing license fee; the customary gratuity at the end for staff; additional expenses (meals, accommodation, international flight change fees, etc.) incurred by delay or cancellation of activities due to sub-optimal weather.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation requests must be received in writing. Deposits are non-refundable. This may vary at the discretion of the tour operator. Failure to secure a valid passport, visa or air arrangements does not waive this cancellation policy.

  • 180 days or more, refunded of deposit less $1,000 per person fee
  • 170 - 120 days deposit is forfeited
  • 120 or less prior to departure, all payments forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. 

Medical evacuation insurance up to $100,000 is included in the cost of this program, however full Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised. 

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

Causes

Global Warming

Science Initiatives

Union of Concerned Scientists

Science Initiatives

Union of Concerned Scientists

We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change. The Union for Concenrned Scientists develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

Plastics in Water

Oceanic Science Solutions

5 Gyres

Oceanic Science Solutions

5 Gyres

5 Gyres has been a global leader in researching the extent of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.  They have vision of a planet free of plastic pollution and they undertake a range of initiatives towards this aim.  They conduct field research, publish data, educate youth and consumers as well as business and government leaders about ocean plastics, and advocate for solutions. 

Water and Sanitation

Clean Water for All

Water1st International

Clean Water for All

Water1st International

A non-profit that supports high-quality water and sanitation projects that provide permanent solutions for the world’s poorest communities, improving health, education and women's lives in the process.

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