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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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Photographing at Floe Edge, Canadian Arctic

Canadian Arctic Holidays

A space in which wildlife can flourish with little human influence. Become one with an Inuit community and seek out the elusive narwhal, or head out onto open waters in search of whales and polar bears.

The Arctic region of Canada is a vast, wild territory of tundra, ice packs and isolated towns and villages together with an Inuit community set on preserving their culture and customs. The Canadian Arctic is also one of the few true wilderness places where wildlife can thrive unencumbered by human interference.

 

Sea ice in the Northwest Passage, Canadian Arctic
Northwest Passage, Canadian Arctic

Why we like the Canadian Arctic

Despite being one of the world’s sophisticated countries, a great swathe of Canada’s northern territory remains a vast ice-bound wilderness ripe for adventure. Hudson Bay, Baffin Island and the infamous Northwest Passage are all intriguing names remembered from school days and are now accessible by small, comfortable, expeditionary ships, or by staying in remote lodges and camps.

Artic Foxes, Quebec, Canada
Artic Foxes, Quebec, Canada

What to expect on your Canadian Arctic holiday

With a limited supply of income-earning resources, tourism, and particularly polar bear viewing, has become a major industry in the Canadian Arctic and several towns have become famous tourist hot spots, but with 5,000 miles of coastline to choose from, there is plenty of scope to find isolation. Move away from the towns and you find a barren wilderness which harbours a rich variety of wildlife, where orcas, walruses and narwhals swim the cold oceans and musk ox, arctic foxes and polar bears rule the frozen lands.

Experiences

View the Aurora Borealis

With very little light pollution, watch the Aurora Borealis.

The history of Franklin

Learn more about the fate of Franklin, his men and their recently rediscovered ship.

Join an Expedition Vessel

Explore areas only accessible by small expedition vessel.

Learn Inuit History

Visit the fascinating Inuit cultural museum and learn all about Inuit history.

Stay in a Polar Lodge

For a true wilderness experience, stay in one of the exclusive polar bear lodges, a short flight from Churchill.

Camp on the ice-floe edge

Stay the night in luxury camps on the ice-floe edge with Inuit guides. Search of the elusive narwhal.

Photography Tour

Photograph bears in spring flower meadows along with prolific birdlife.

Reindeer Migration

Travel to the edge of Hudson Bay and follow the reindeer migration.

Search for Arctic Wildlife

Take tundra vehicle excursions out into the wilderness in search of bears and other wildlife.

Air Balloon Adventure

Take a hot air balloon ride to see an aerial view over the vast frozen ocean.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Dymond Lake Eco Lodge £££££

  • Canada
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

The eight rooms at Dymond Lake are split between two lodge buildings which offer great views through the picture windows out over the lake and towards the treeline. The individual lodges are all enclosed by a large fence allowing for bear-proof access between all the buildings and a great place to view the northern lights. Wildlife in the region includes large numbers of polar bears but there are also frequent sightings of wolverine and occasionally wolves along with other Arctic wildlife. Excursions are taken on foot along the extensive nature trails all accompanied by expert guides.

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Seal River Heritage Lodge £££££

  • Canada
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Boasting panoramic views of the surrounding tundra and sea, the Seal River Lodge offers fantastic opportunities for bear viewing and spotting wildlife. Polar bears roam the area and the lodge has a large fenced space at the rear, which almost guarantees an up-close encounter with one of these powerful creatures. It also has an observation tower and can make for spectacular aurora viewing in the winter months. In the summer, Hudson Bay is teeming with beluga whales and Seal River Lodge can arrange trips to spot the whales by kayak.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Bird

Watching bears interacting without any care of his presence was fascinating for Paul, and being a privileged onlooker in their natural habitat created a lifelong fascination with Canada.
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  • 01285 601 784

Sue Grimwood

Sue has a passion for polar bears and has seen more than most people can dream about. She has canoed down the Yukon river encountering grizzly bears and moose, walked with polar bears in Manitoba, paddled with belugas in Nunavut, explored the ancient sites of the Inuit and sailed the coastlines of Labrador and Nova Scotia.
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  • 01285 601 784

Roxy Dukes

Roxy’s love for Canada is limitless and she has returned on an almost yearly basis since her first visit as a child. From hiking the high alpine trails, riding with local cowboys to kayaking with humpbacks, she has likely been there and done it.
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  • 01285 601 784

Frequently asked questions about Canadian Arctic

What clothing should I take to the Canadian Arctic?

The Canadian Arctic covers a huge area and varies dramatically throughout the year.

For summer trips you should expect temperatures around +5 to -5 and It is always best to pack plenty of thin thermal layers rather than one thick layer. For voyages wellington boots, waterproof over-trousers & a waterproof jacket are essential. Most ships provide wellingtons & we will confirm the inclusions on your itinerary. Some ships also provide waterproof outer gear or have this available to hire.

For land-based trips to Churchill in the summer, you will not need heavy cold-weather gear however you will want good insect repellent. For later season departures a parka jacket is often included during polar bear watching excursions, we will let you know what you need to take for your specific trip. For spring ice-floe edge tours you can hire a full set of expedition kit.

What language do Canadian Inuit speak?

Inuktitut is the general term for Inuit languages spoken in Nunavut and the Northwest territories this covers a few variations but is considered official language. The Inuit culture is based on spoken word rather than written language which was only adapted from Cree syllabary in the late 19th century and in 1976 the Language Commission of the Inuit Cultural Institute approved two standardized writing systems for Inuktitut in Canada: one using the syllabary and the other using the Latin alphabet.

Do I need any immunisations?

The best person to speak to is your doctor or nurse practitioner, as the advice can change and we are not medically qualified to advice. Generally, the standard immunisations are recommended.

What clothing should I take to the Arctic?

It is always best to pack plenty of thin thermal layers rather than one thick layer. Waterproof snow boots or insulated wellington boots are recommended. It may be possible to rent gear locally, some trips will provided a parka jacket and boots, we will inform you of the inclusions on your personal itinerary but please ask for specific details. Aside from clothing, a high factor sun cream and sunglasses are considered essential, as the glare of snow and water will magnify the effects, insect repellent recommended at some times of the year.

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Roxy advised that we sail around the Hawaiian Islands, so that we could see as many of the islands as possible (including very remote ones) while getting to snorkel, kayak and meet local communities. What a perfect recommendation - our journey was a once in a lifetime experience.

Destination: Hawaii
Travel Expert: Roxy

We couldn’t believe that it was possible to see so many beluga whales and polar bears in one trip. This was a remarkable trip and one that was fantastically well put together by Sue.

Destination: Canadian Arctic
Travel Expert: Sue

After years of dreaming about a trip like this, I entrusted the planning and logistics to Sue. What a seamless journey and the most memorable trip – I will never forget seeing a narwhal for the first time.

Destination: Canadian Arctic
Travel Expert: Sue

All I can say is “everything was perfect”.

Destination: Canadian Arctic
Travel Expert: Roxy

Roxy was FANTASTIC at recommending the best place and season to go to see bears in Canada. We saw 47 in total, and 3 of these were up close and personal. Roxy was very professional and helpful, especially when my friends circumstances changed.

Destination: Canada
Travel Expert: Roxy

We had a truly amazing trip and everything was so very well planned by Paul - this trip will be hard to beat.

Destination: Canada
Travel Expert: Paul

Knowledgeable, approachable, enthusiastic, and keen to make sure we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. I was so impressed with Roxy's hard work.

Destination: Alaska
Travel Expert: Roxy

Everything went smoothly with minimum effort on our part. We really felt Roxy take all of the arrangements off our hands, making our trip so easy, allowing us to completely concentrate on enjoying the experience.

Destination: Alaska
Travel Expert: Roxy

From my first conversation with Roxy, it was clear that her knowledge was very good indeed. She listened to our ideas and created a fantastic bespoke holiday for us, and the pre-trip information was first class.

Destination: USA
Travel Expert: Roxy

All the way through the process - from us explaining what we wanted through to the programme that Roxy created - everything was excellent. Roxy understood our requirements perfectly and created a trip that exactly fitted the bill.

Destination: USA
Travel Expert: Roxy

Not only is Steppes an excellent organisation, but the friendliness, great advice and superb attention to detail provided by Paul meant that we had a seamless booking experience and a wonderful trip to Canada.

Destination: Canada
Travel Expert: Paul

I could not have wished for a better and more efficient itinerary in terms of both the destinations we visited and how the timing coincided. Plus, the communication from Roxy was excellent throughout.

Destination: Canada
Travel Expert: Roxy

As always, Paul married his knowledge with our preferences which resulted in a superb trip.

Destination: Canada
Travel Expert: Paul

Roxy was incredibly good at assessing what we wanted from our trip to Alaska, and advising us of exactly where to go and when.

Destination: Alaska
Travel Expert: Roxy

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

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