For 25 years Entree Destinations has focused on creating spectacular experiences possible across Canada and Alaska, and it remains dedicated solely to the region, an advantage for the customer in my mind.
Because they consistently producing business, the company has forged lifelong partnerships with the top lodges, resorts and outfitters in our territory. Telio tells me, “We love contributing to these communities through our ongoing business and mentorship.”
He adds, “The region in which we operate is vast and complex, with an endless amount of choices and logistics to consider. We make the planning process simple, fun and collaborative; resulting in a bespoke journey tailored to fulfill your dreams.”
Entree Destinations also works with many of the top travel advisors I use as expert resources for these newsletters, and it’s not only the deep local knowledge that companies like Entree offer you, but also there relationships with the end providers that is why I believe while it’s fine to do some research on the internet, when it comes time to actually planning and booking, turn to the experts. After all, you wouldn’t fly your own plane unless your were a type rated pilot.
Days 1 to 4, Fogo Island
Fly on your own private jet to Gander Airport to begin your three night stay at Fogo Island Inn in a Fogo Island Suite.
The Fogo Island Inn is situated on the dramatic Northeast Coast of Newfoundland, on the Eastern edge of North America. It’s remote, yet accessible and perfect for a short, and soulful getaway. Locals enjoy seven distinct seasons, making this an ideal place to visit anytime.
With 29 guestrooms, each a bit different and all made with local materials, there is a room or suite to fit every guest’s needs. All rooms have a stunning view of the craggy Atlantic coastline, where icebergs float by and humpback whales migrate in the Labrador Current.
Dining at the Inn is a culinary adventure. Chef Murray McDonald creates an accomplished menu made of “wild things” from the North Atlantic.
Fogo Island Inn brings together a rich culture, history, and people. Here, the past intermingles with the future. On the island, culture and nature come together to create a travel experience unlike any other on the continent. This is one of the four corners of the earth, as defined by the Flat Earth Society, and guests somehow feel like they are often looking over the edge.
There are numerous activities you can do on your own or with a guide, including hiking, walking, backpacking, beach combing or even a bonfire night. Entrée Destinations can also arrange a full day guided nature or geology hike, a community orientation, iceberg, seabird and whale watching from shore, ice skating, during the winter, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, snowshoeing, and caribou watching. Get a private tutorial on boat building, take a boat tour, go pond fishing, seal watching and more. Back at the hotel there is a cinema, gym and library.
Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Start the day via a private transfer from Fogo Island Inn to Gander International Airport (approximately 2-hours, 30-minutes, including ferry). Fly on your own jet from Gander to Resolute Bay, Nunavut. Then fly on a private chartered Twin Otter flight from Resolute Bay to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge where you will stay in your own private cabin with all meals included.
Located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle the lodge is situated on the shores of the Northwest Passage in Nunavut. Arctic Watch is the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world, and is a permanent wilderness resort that offers hotel-like accommodations in a remote Arctic setting.
A world-class beluga whale observation site, Cunningham Inlet is of particular interest to naturalists, photographers, and travelers looking for a unique experience. Guests encounter the beauty and wonder of this fabulous place, while enjoying the comforts of home and delicious Canadian gourmet fare.
The lodge offers 16 private guest cabins, each with marine toilet and sink, with private showers located in the main complex. Other amenities include a lounge and interpretive centre, which houses an extensive Arctic library. Note: Weather conditions in the Arctic can vary, and at times, be harsh and unpredictable. Flight delays to and from the lodge are possible, and in the far north, this can be typical. While it is a once in a lifetime experience, keep in mind you may have to be flexible in the face of Mother Nature.
Your time at the lodge
Led by a team of polar experts, excursions at Arctic Watch are designed to showcase the best of Mother Nature and are tailored to guests’ desires and abilities. Sea kayak the Northwest Passage with beluga whales, photograph unique Arctic wildlife, such as muskoxen, Arctic foxes, polar bears, seals, and migratory birds, raft or paddle board the Cunningham River, fish for Arctic char, view 1,000 year old archaeological sites. You can hike and mountain bike the tundra, ATV the shores of Somerset Island. Then unwind with a glass of wine and view the 2,000 beluga whales that congregate annually in the inlet.
Day 5, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Note: The itinerary outlined below is a sample of a typical week at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Day-to-day activities may vary and are also weather dependent. Also, the likelihood of seeing belugas early in the season is dependent on weather and ice conditions. ATVs are the most practical form of transportation to cover long distances on the tundra.
Attend a hands-on introduction to all-terrain vehicles followed by a short drive to the Cunningham Estuary to watch beluga whales.
Archaeological sites and artifacts dating to Viking contact can be seen along Somerset’s coastline. Enjoy a lunch buffet back at the lodge before departing for a short afternoon hike to the Triple Waterfalls.
This short 5km roundtrip hike gives you an introduction to the plants and animals that live in the area. Encounters with muskox are common.
Other activities you may enjoy during your stay
Fat Biking: Even though they look a bit odd, fat-tire bikes are specialized mountain bikes that offer a smooth ride over the tough arctic terrain. You’ll have loads of fun riding out on the sea ice and along rocky ridges. Your bike’s stable fat tires will carry you over the mostly smooth surface and across some shallow creeks with ease.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on the Arctic. Taken in small groups in good weather conditions on calm waters, this activity offers the opportunity to paddle through deep arctic canyons and among ice floes. This evening, there’s free time to explore in and around the lodge. The library has a broad selection of arctic and polar titles. The interpretive centre contains collections of local fossils, the skeletal remains of arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia.
Day 6, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Today you’ll travel by ATV, crossing the Cunningham River delta and driving along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. It’s very likely that you’ll see muskoxen and Arctic foxes. From the high ridge, hike down into one of the many depressions where muskoxen often spend the summer months foraging.
Following a picnic lunch at Inukshuk Lake, gear will be supplied for those who would like the opportunity to try catch-and-release fishing for Arctic char. Returning on ATV’s, the tour takes an alternate route via the River Trail, so you can keep an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, jaegers, rough-legged hawks, and more. In the evening, you’ll enjoy an informal lecture.
Day 7, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
One of today’s activities may be kayaking in Cunningham Inlet. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for beluga whales as well as ring and bearded seals. Sightings of seabirds, including arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, you’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named Kayak Falls.
From there, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. In the afternoon, you’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary, a beluga whale migration site. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the beluga population and its proximity to the lodge. You may even be able to see the whales while you stand on the river banks, and be close enough to hear their calls.
Your guide will use hydrophones, so you can also hear the whales’ underwater song. In the evening, you’ll hear a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet.
Day 8, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Today, you’ll depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you’ll have the option of hiking or traveling by Mercedes Unimog (a multipurpose four-wheel-drive truck).
You’ll visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their steep walls vary from 61 to 305 metres (200 to 1000 feet). Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals are scattered around the ground. You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. An alfresco lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon.
After lunch, you’ll travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking colour contrasts between the barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. This spot was recently declared a unique ecosystem by the Canadian Wildlife Service due to the area’s gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, a Scientist in Residence will give an informal lecture.
Day 9, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Today, you’ll set out on an ATV to Cape Anne, where you’ll visit some Thule sites along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule people were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The ride showcases scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones.
The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can often be seen on the shoreline as they wander the coast, waiting for the ice to return. The return overland trip via the Red Valley will give us incredible views of the place we’ve called home this week.
Private chartered Twin Otter flight from Resolute Bay to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Upon arrival in Resolute Bay, you will meet your private jet for your return to the “real world.”