Churchill Polar Bear Tours | Natural Habitat Adventures (2023)

The World’s Most Coveted Small-Group Polar Bear Expedition

6 or 7 Days 16 From $7295 (+air)

When you're standing on the outdoor platform of our Polar Rover, the chill Arctic air feels invigorating. But not as much as the sight of the huge polar bear ambling toward us. Sometimes they are silhouetted against the horizon, slowly moving shadows on the vast expanse of tundra. Other times, one may wander up directly below. Safely elevated, you're nonetheless just feet away as you look down on his shaggy,cream-colored bulk. Noticing us, he stops, sniffs and turns his face our way, curious. We grin with delight. The big bear rises on his haunches to peer at us more deliberately. We watch in wonder. Minutes go by, perhaps an hour, who knows?Out here among the bears, time stands still. Join us for one of nature's most wondrous wildlife encounters—no one does it better than Nat Hab.
Click here to learn about our special photo departures

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(Video) Polar Bear Capital of the World - Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Trip Highlights

  • The Most Intimate Polar Bear EncountersIn the smallest groups available, led by expert naturalist guides, meet the world’s greatest concentration of polar bears as they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze
  • Superlative Tundra Vehicles Get You CloserThe newest fleet of technologically advanced Polar Rovers, with huge windows and a see-through steel outdoor viewing deck, get you closest to the bears
  • Search for the Aurora on the Tundra at NightAn exclusive tundra excursion after dark provides a unique perspective, including the chance, on a clear night, to view northern lights away from town
WWF In ActionClick herefor more information about the conservation work WWF is doing to help protect polar bears in their Arctic habitat.

Close Encounters with Polar Bears in Churchill

A Conservation Travel Experience

(Video) Our one day polar bear tour in Churchill, Manitoba! An incredible adventure and amazing thing to do
(Video) Remember When? | Child Encounters Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba

There is a Difference in Polar Bear Tours—Choose Wisely!

We know that most travelers who come to see the polar bears of Churchill will do so just once in their lives. For that reason, we promise you will enjoy the highest-quality polar bear trip available! Here's why our polar bear adventures stand apart from the rest:

  1. We Hold Exclusive Permits for the Best Bear Viewing Area
    Just two polar bear tour operators in Churchill hold exclusive permits to access the full range of the Churchill Wildlife Management Area where the best—and often only—polar bear viewing occurs. Naturally, the Nat Hab/Great White Bear team possesses one of these permits. Those who don't can only offer trips aboard school-bus-style vehicles along the road to Halfway Point, which is, as the name implies, only halfway to the prime polar bear-viewing area. If you’re going to Churchill just once in your life, make it a complete experience!
  2. Our Polar Rovers are the Most Impressive Vehicles in the North
    The original tundra buggy designed for polar bear viewing was invented in the 1980s, an innovative concept that has since been substantially improved upon. Our partner in Manitoba, a world-renowned specialty vehicle designer, has created the world's premier tundra vehicle—the Polar Rover—which we operate exclusively in Churchill. Its innovative drive train allows us to traverse the tundra with virtually no chance of breakdowns. With the advanced elite suspension system that smooths the ride, plus on-board flush toilet facilities, our guests enjoy a superior level of comfort and safety.
  3. Steel Mesh Flooring Offers Close-Up Bear Observation
    Built into the rear viewing platform of every Polar Rover is an innovative and exclusive feature we've pioneered for optimal polar bear viewing—corrugated steel-mesh floors that facilitate remarkably close encounters with curious bears that sometimes wander beneath our vehicles!
  4. The Smallest Groups Ensure the Best Nature Adventures
    A fundamental element of the best polar bear expedition is a small group. It may cost a little more, but considering the hugely superior experience, we know it’s well worth it. By limiting our groups to approximately 16 guests (even though our Polar Rovers hold more than 30 passengers), we ensure plenty of space aboard our vehicles, room to angle for the best photos, and a window seat for all.
  5. Private Chartered Planes Maximize Time with the Bears
    So we don't waste time dealing with airline schedules and airport security screenings, we charter our own aircraft to fly directly between Winnipeg to Churchill at a time that's most convenient for us. We know you'd rather spend your time watching polar bears rather than sitting around airports.
  6. Sled Dog Experience Included on Every Departure
    Every one of our Churchill tours includes a personal visit with a local dog musher and his team, and a ride through the boreal forest behind a team of sled dogs. Earlier in the season, if there isn't sufficient snow cover, the dogs pull us in a wheeled cart. But whenever you come to Churchill, this authentic northern adventure is part of your experience.
  7. Special Photography Departures Spend Three Full Days on the Tundra
    If you're especially interested in polar bear photography, choose a Photo Tour: Our custom Polar Rovers get us in prime range of our subjects, and photo departures spend three full days roving the tundra in search of bears and other Arctic wildlife, with expert photography coaching from our Expedition Leader.
  8. The Finest Naturalist Guides on the Planet
    Natural Habitat Adventures is known for employing the highest-quality guides in the industry. Our Polar Bear Expedition Leaders—who have been guiding bear tours for an average of more than 10 years each—receive additional training and resources from WWF’s top scientists, ensuring a superlative interpretive experience. Expedition Leaders meet you in Winnipeg and travel with the group the entire way, sharing their wealth of knowledge and insight at every turn. On our special photo departures, guides are professional photographers with extensive experience photographing polar bears and other Arctic wildlife—and they're constantly by your side to share their knowledge. Our philosophy is pretty simple: a nature adventure is only as good as the guide, so we simply must provide the best! See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
  9. Local Cultural Interactions Enhance Our Adventures
    Through years of developing close relationships with local people, we are able to offer our guests exclusive opportunities to meet revered elders of First Nations, Inuit and Metis cultural groups in Churchill. These storytellers are some of the most senior in their communities, passing on their knowledge of the past to younger generations and also to our travelers.
  10. Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Special Polar Bear Experience
    Natural Habitat Adventures offers an exclusive guarantee, clearly stating that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
  11. Feel Good About Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
    We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
  12. Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel PartnerChurchill Polar Bear Tours | Natural Habitat Adventures (18)
    Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world's leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!

Read what travelers are saying about Canada's Premier Polar Bear Adventure:

5.0 average rating out of 79 reviews
(Video) Curious polar bear approaches vehicle in Churchill, Natural Habitat Adventures

FAQs

How much are polar bear tours in Churchill? ›

PRICE*: $6,995.00 + GST

Our full day polar bear tours also include viewing the Northern Lights if visible before midnight.

When can you see polar bears in Churchill? ›

October and November are the best time to see the polar bears in Churchill because the first winter ice begins to appear at that time (known as the autumn season). What makes Churchill so unique is that it's the intersection of three different eco-zones: arctic marine, subarctic tundra, and boreal forest.

How do I get to polar bear from Churchill? ›

The DIY tour – Get yourself to Churchill via either plane (there are direct flights from Winnipeg) or train (the journey takes 2 days), stay in town, and then book daily sightseeing trips on a Tundra Buggy or Polar Rover (the official names for the vehicles used by the two main bear-watching companies in town).

Where is Churchill polar bear Town? ›

No paved roads lead directly into the tiny town of Churchill, Manitoba, on the remote, southwestern shores of Hudson Bay, so you'll have to arrive by train or plane to see the area's most famous seasonal residents—polar bears.

Is Churchill Manitoba worth visiting? ›

Churchill is a pretty unique location. It's basically in the middle of nowhere on the sub-Arctic tundra, situated on the edge of the Hudson Bay. It's not easy to get to, which makes it expensive. But here are three unique draws that make Churchill absolutely worth the money and hassle to visit.

Can you see northern lights in Churchill? ›

Churchill is one of the BEST spots on the planet to see the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) Churchill lies directly beneath the Auroral Oval in the Northern Hemisphere. With auroral activity occurring on over 300 nights a year, Churchill offers unique access to this mysterious and compelling phenomena.

Can you see narwhals in Churchill? ›

From the middle of October to the middle of November, you can do polar bear-safaris with giant Tundra Buggies (a Churchill exclusive!) on the frozen Hudson Bay. Sightings are almost guaranteed. Apart from belugas, narwhals and polar bears, there are also many kinds of seals and walruses in the Canadian Arctic.

What should I wear to Churchill Manitoba in October? ›

Fall is also a great time to go dog sledding and see northern lights.
...
Several layers of clothing is recommended:
  • insulated parka or waterproof jacket.
  • insulated boots.
  • thick mitts or gloves.
  • toque (woolen hat)
  • long, thermal underwear are recommended.
  • camera.
  • spare batteries.

When can you see the Northern Lights in Churchill Canada? ›

Because Churchill is a top place to view northern lights, you can see them while visiting during beluga whale season (June to September) or polar bear season (October and November). The clear, dark skies of February and March are among the best times to observe northern lights.

Do people in Churchill lock their cars? ›

People in Churchill do not lock their front doors nor their cars, so that if anyone walking on the town streets runs into a bear, they can easily find safe refuge.

How is the drive from Churchill to Manitoba? ›

Can I drive to Churchill? While the town itself has a small cluster of unpaved roads, Churchill is not accessible by car. You can drive to Thompson, park, and take a plane or train from there. Alternatively, you can drive to Gilliam, a small town located between Churchill and Thompson, and board a train there.

Why is there no road to Churchill? ›

Because this is tundra area, there are no roads during the spring to fall as the area is too marshy. The only way they can get from town to town is by boat or by winter ice roads on frozen tundra.

When should I go to Churchill Manitoba? ›

Best time to go: July to August

The Churchill River is the place to be in the summer months, with droves beluga whales making their way in from the Hudson Bay to feed and breed. With populations of approximately 58,000 in the Hudson Bay, thousands of belugas enter nearby the Churchill and Seal estuaries.

How much does it cost to take the train from Winnipeg to Churchill? ›

VIA Rail operates a train from Winnipeg to Churchill twice a week. Tickets cost $260 - $750 and the journey takes 44h 55m.

How many days do you need in Churchill Manitoba? ›

1. Re: How many days for my trip? Subject to availability of the tours you want, on the days you have available, you'll need four days, as the two travel days will not be enough time to do the bear viewing view tundra buggy.

How much does a trip to Churchill Manitoba cost? ›

To summarize: Package tours to see the polar bears in Churchill often run in the $5000-6000 range, but if you book on your own, you may be able to get things around $3000-3500.

How long drive from Winnipeg to Churchill? ›

The shortest route between Winnipeg and Churchill is 1,740.82 mi (2,801.58 km) according to the route planner. The driving time is approx. 32h 4min.

Where is the polar bear adventure? ›

The 7-day Premier Polar Bear adventure begins and ends in Winnipeg, Canada, with charter flights to/from Churchill. Spend 7 days exploring the world's greatest concentration of polar bears aboard the custom Polar Rover, which allows close polar bear observation.

Can you see polar bears and northern lights at the same time? ›

Well, if you happen to be in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada you may have the chance to see them both! The northern lights often make an appearance during our October/November polar bear tour season, and occasionally a few polar bears stick around to see the show during spring's northern lights season.

Can you see polar bears in Churchill in March? ›

March is not really polar bear season (that is Oct/Nov). Once the Hudson Bay freezes up they are out on the ice floes hunting and eating seals. Also, there really isn't a lot to see or do in Churchill.

How many polar bears are in Churchill Manitoba? ›

Introduction to the polar bears of churchill

In Canada, there are 13 populations, totaling approximately 15, 000 bears.

Can you see polar bears in Churchill in February? ›

Churchill, known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” is one of the most accessible place on Earth to view polar bears in the wild. They can usually be spotted between July and November, so if you prefer a snowier climate, be sure to visit in October to November.

Can you see polar bears in Churchill in March? ›

March is not really polar bear season (that is Oct/Nov). Once the Hudson Bay freezes up they are out on the ice floes hunting and eating seals. Also, there really isn't a lot to see or do in Churchill.

Can you see polar bears in Churchill in the summer? ›

Many people don't realize that summer in Churchill is actually when polar bears first return to the area. After months of roaming the frozen Hudson Bay hunting ringed seals, polar bears make their way back to Churchill in early to mid-summer once the sea ice begins to melt.

Can you see the northern lights in Churchill Manitoba? ›

Churchill is located in the Auroral Oval, meaning it is a great destination to view the northern lights, or aurora borealis. The northern lights can be seen in Churchill up to 300 nights a year.

How much does it cost to take the train from Winnipeg to Churchill? ›

VIA Rail operates a train from Winnipeg to Churchill twice a week. Tickets cost $260 - $750 and the journey takes 44h 55m.

Do people in Churchill lock their cars? ›

People in Churchill do not lock their front doors nor their cars, so that if anyone walking on the town streets runs into a bear, they can easily find safe refuge.

Can you see narwhals in Churchill? ›

From the middle of October to the middle of November, you can do polar bear-safaris with giant Tundra Buggies (a Churchill exclusive!) on the frozen Hudson Bay. Sightings are almost guaranteed. Apart from belugas, narwhals and polar bears, there are also many kinds of seals and walruses in the Canadian Arctic.

When should I go to Churchill? ›

Best time to go: July to August

The Churchill River is the place to be in the summer months, with droves beluga whales making their way in from the Hudson Bay to feed and breed. With populations of approximately 58,000 in the Hudson Bay, thousands of belugas enter nearby the Churchill and Seal estuaries.

When can you see beluga whales in Churchill? ›

When is the best time to see belugas in the Churchill River estuary? The second half of July and first half of August are generally best for beluga whale watching tours. At Cape Merry, the whales can be seen diving in great numbers at the river mouth.

When can you see Northern Lights in Manitoba? ›

While northern lights can be viewed year-round, February to March is the ideal time of year to visit due to cold weather and longer nights.

How far is Winnipeg from Churchill? ›

Distance from Winnipeg to Churchill

The shortest distance (air line) between Winnipeg and Churchill is 1,256.28 mi (2,021.79 km). The shortest route between Winnipeg and Churchill is 1,740.82 mi (2,801.58 km) according to the route planner. The driving time is approx. 32h 4min.

Can you drive to see polar bears in Canada? ›

Tundra vehicle trips. The most popular way to view the bears in winter is by tundra vehicle with a guide (though you can also do this in summer, too). These giant six-wheel vehicles have no trouble rumbling across the wild landscape. They let you cover more ground than on foot, so you're likely to see more bears.

Videos

1. Belugas, Bears & Summer Wildlife of Churchill
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2. Tauck Polar Bear Expedition in Manitoba, Canada!
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3. Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba: Up Close and Personal!
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4. She Got to See Wild Polar Bears. Will the Next Generation? | Short Film Showcase
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5. Polar Bear Videos Natural Habitat Adventures 2
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