Why a trip to the Arctic is just what you’re looking for

When you think about your next vacation you might be debating between a relaxing beach getaway or a European adventure.  But there is one destination you might not have considered: the Arctic.  We know, know – it may feel like the Arctic in your own backyard at the moment, but trust us: this is a once in a lifetime, bucket list destination that also remains to be one of the few remaining naturally pristine areas of the world!

While we have always loved this destination, it’s often hard to describe. To help us, we turned to the experts at Arctic Kingdom Expeditions, who specialize in customized trips year round that focus on everything from wildlife to photography. I chatted with Liz Carino at Arctic Kingdom Expeditions about what travelers can expect, how to pack, and what makes this unique destination so special.  

What is your favorite trip for first time visitors to the Arctic region?
One of our favorite trips for first time visitors to the Arctic is our Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari. On this safari, visitors experience the classic spring floe edge and view unique wildlife, including the elusive narwhal, under the midnight sun. As the Arctic transitions from winter to spring, the sea ice opens up and marine mammals and other wildlife congregate at the floe edge – also known as the “line of life”. Guests have the chance to view pods of narwhal, polar bears, seals, sea birds and possibly even bowhead whales and beluga. Guests stay at our Premium Safari Camp near the floe edge, nestled between the majestic mountains of Baffin Island and Bylot Island, with a stunning backdrop of towering granite cliffs, glaciers and icebergs. With the edge, awe-inspiring landscapes, unique wildlife and 24-hour sunshine, guests are able to have a classic Arctic experience with milder temperatures and a low difficulty level.

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The unicorn of the sea! The elusive narwhal congregate at the floe edge in spring: an incredible sight to see! Photo: @michellevalbergphotography

What is the breakdown between guided time and “free” time?
Arctic Kingdom trips are not meant to have set itineraries, and day-to-day activities may change both due to weather conditions and our guests. While we do have limited expedition leaders and activities are limited to the conditions and locations, we try to accommodate the interests of our guests for daily activities. 

For people who prefer to travel solo or with a small group or family, we offer private journeys that can be fully customized. From floating above the top of the world by hot air balloon to seeing glaciers from above in private helicopters, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

 

Why should a family choose Arctic Kingdom for their Spring Break or Summer vacation?
The summer is an incredible time to visit the Arctic! Travelers have the chance to experience the midnight sun, with 24-hour sunshine from May to July, and extended daylight in August. Our most family-friendly trips are King of the Arctic and Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island. During the summer months, the weather is also milder – with temperatures up to 20°C! Families can also experience snorkeling, kayaking and boating, and seeing wildlife including whales, walrus and polar bears. You can learn more about why we love the Arctic in summer on our blog here: http://arctickingdom.com/5-reasons-visit-arctic-summer/

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What a way to dream! Sleeping under the Northern Lights Photo: @fg_finding_wilderness

What is your favorite family activity in the Arctic?
Our most family-friendly trips are King of the Arctic and Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island. These trips also include activities such as boating, kayaking and hiking, that are appropriate (and exciting!) for children and families.

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Winter is coming, but we’re dreaming of summer! Experience the long days & seemingly endless sunsets of summer in the Canadian Arctic with Arctic Kingdom.

What wildlife can people expect to see?
Opportunities for wildlife sightings varies by trip, time of year and location within the Arctic. Depending on the trip, guests can have the chance to see polar bears, narwhal, walrus, bowhead whales, beluga, Arctic fox, seals, sea birds, muskox and other Arctic wildlife.

 

What “extreme” activities are available?
One of the more exciting activities that we can offer is SCUBA diving in the Arctic. This is offered on our Baffin Island Dive Safari in May. Participants have the chance to explore the Arctic from below the ice, and dive amongst some of the most incredible ice formations, including icebergs. This is a diving experience like no other!

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Now that’s a real adventure! Traveling to camp via snowmobile & qamutik (Inuit sled): Just the beginning of an incredible high Arctic experience.

Arctic Kingdom took over my Instagram account to show you what your vacation could look like, which you can check out at @gehringtravel!

If you want to learn more about an arctic expedition today, contact me at louisa@gehringtravel.com.