Canada wildlife holiday with the chance to see all 3 species of North American bear
15 days from £3715*
Canada wildlife holiday to see Grizzly, Black and Polar Bears in the same trip
This classic wildlife tour of British Colombia and Manitoba provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all three species of North American bears. Not only that; you visit at the best time for the salmon run at world famous Knight Inlet, watvch black bears on the shores of Vancouver Island hunting for crustaceans and enjoy some of the best whale watching in Canada. You finish this epic Canada wildlife tour by flying to Churchill in Manitoba for the start of the polar bear season.
Since we first began offering polar bear tours in 2003 we have striven to give genuine wildlife enthusiasts a more flexible and affordable option to the fixed itinerary and departure date escorted group tours that dominate the Churchill market. Our trademark custom unescorted tours for independent travellers are the net result, and have proved very popular with our clients over the years, particularly those keen to combine Grizzly Bear viewing in Western Canada with polar bear viewing in Churchill in a single tour. Initially we offered these tours only in the October 7-15 pre-season period, but in recent years we have had increasing success arranging these tours later and later into the peak season thanks to a partnership with a couple of independent local family owned B&B properties in Churchill which enables us to get around the lack of available hotel rooms. It is important to note that it is impossible to visit Canada at the very best time to see both brown and black bears, as well as polar bears, without putting in a 2-3 week gap inbetween the British Colombia and Manitoba sections. That is simply because due to milder winters, if you want to see the Polar Bears in Churchill in larger number and with that 'imagined' snowy backdrop, then you have to defer your trip to Churchill until November. However given the huge price savings on offer by avodiing peak season in Churchill and the wonderful opportunity to see all 3 bear species, we recommend our '3 bears tours' for those with a more general wildlife interest.
However we still feel that the pre-season period has a lot to offer in terms of value for money and enjoying a more intimate and personal experience. At this time of year there a relatively few visitors, accommodation and Tundra Buggy tour rates are significantly lower than later in the month, and we can offer full flexibility in terms of departure dates and tour duration. While the density of polar bears in the Churchill area is not as high as it is in late October/early November, multiple sightings per day are still commonplace, and the bears in Churchill are bold and very inquisitive so encounters tend to last hours rather than minutes. What you don’t tend to see in the earlier part of October is the interaction between multiple bears gathered in the same area (e.g. males wrestling) for which the peak season is known. The pre-season period does however have the added advantage of less crowded tundra buggies and less tourist traffic in the town.
The October 7-15 period is the certainly best option for those keen to avoid the crowds with the 40 seat Tundra Buggy vehicles often no more than half full, though this can vary greatly from one day to the next. This period is also still quite productive in terms of polar bear sightings with 2-6 sightings per excursion the norm. Typically we can also offer clients visiting Churchill prior to October 15th the option of upgrading to a hotel room with ensuite bathroom for a small additional cost.
The itinerary below is priced for travel the October 7-15 period when “casual” tundra buggy excursions (i.e. those open to independent travellers not part of an organised group tour) are available 7 days a week. However we are often able to offer a similar itinerary in the second half October or even early November when the density of polar bears in the Churchill area is nearing its peak, provided we have enough notice to secure suitable accommodation. Some re-sequencing of the activities may be necessary in this later period however, as “casual” Tundra Buggy excursions are only available 2 or 3 times a week after October 15th (typically on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays), and the cost of these excursions also increases which would have an impact on the overall tour price.
A key consideration is that the later in October this itinerary is undertaken, the more crowded the Tundra Buggy vehicles are likely to be. The flip side to this is that the later you travel the more polar bears you are likely to see. Please note that this Canada wildlife holiday can easily be extended to include additional Tundra Buggy tours (where available) and nights of accommodation in Churchill.
This is a Private Tour
This Canada wildlife holiday starts with a night at the Pacific Gateway Hotel (free shuttle available from the airport)
Pick up car hire and take ferry to Nanaimo followed by 4 hour drive to Tofino
Small boat Humpback and Gray Whale boat safari (lasts 3 hours) from jetty in Tofino (you can walk there from your accommodation)
Small boat safari for 2-3 hours in 12 person Zodiac looking for black bears
Drive 4-5 hours east and north to Campbell River and overnight at Painters Lodge.
Grizzly bear safari at Bute Inlet; small boat trip to multiple viewing areas
Full day Orca whale watching tour to world famous Johnstone strait
Drive back to Vancouver and connect with flight to Winnipeg
Morning flight to Churchill and rest of day free to explore town. Overnight at a good quality B&B.
Your first full day Tundra Buggy adventure to view polar bears. Lunch is included and you spend approximately 4 hours observing bears.
Full day town tour of Churchill visiting Parks Canada Interpretive Centre and the excellent Eskimo Museum
Enjoy a second full day Tundra Buggy tour looking for polar bears. Catch an evening flight back to Winnipeg and overnight at the Sheraton
Connect with your onward international flight from Winnipeg
Cost £3715 per person based on two people sharing and not including international flights.
Date window for the '3 bears tour' is from mid September to mid-October.
For a full tour description email Wildlife Trails, or for a different combination we are happy to help design your ideal Canada wildlife holiday.
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* Based on 2 persons and not including flights