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Belugas and the Arctic

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Nunavut, Arctic Canada

Open for just a few weeks each year, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is a unique place to experience polar bears and beluga whales in their natural environment. With cozy safari style tents, enthusiastic guides and good food it's an incomparable experience.

At a Glance

  • The ultimate luxury arctic experience

  • Only 16 cozy cabins, fantastic cuisine and fascinating guides make this an intimate experience

  • 500 miles North of the Arctic Circle, the lodge is always bathed in daylight as it never gets dark

  • Open for just two months a year in July and August

  • A fantastic place to experience polar bears, beluga whales and arctic animals in their natural environment

Adventure, Wildlife, Family

Insider's View

The Northwest Passage marathon takes place at Arctic Watch each year and polar bears are often found along the course

Anna Bleasdale

Insider's View

This place is so special that even the BBC goes there to film their wildlife documentaries

Anna Bleasdale

Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Arctic Canada


Constructed and opened in 1992, the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is located in Cunningham Inlet on Somerset island, in Nunavut, Canada’s largest and newest territory, which formally came into being in 1999. It’s the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world, 500 miles North of the Arctic Circle even and offers a level of accommodation that’s the equivalent to that of a five-star hotel in Nunavut.

Somerset Island has no permanent residents and truly gives a true feeling of being in the tundra wilderness. The camp is set on the inlet making it ideally located for viewing the upwards of 2000 belugas that swim in to breed during the summer months. It is truly a sight to behold to be so close to these fascinating creatures and observe them in their natural setting.

Arctic Watch is not a "camping" experience though and guests are assured a little bit of luxury. You certainly don't have to be a Polar explorer to go on this Arctic Adventure, with 16 guest cabins complete with proper beds and warm duvets, a hot water bottle prepared for you at bedtime and a cappuccino in the morning. Hot showers are close by and the lodge's fantastic chefs whip up an array of tasty meals to keep you going throughout the day and to savor in the evening along with fine wines and fascinating stories to share amongst your fellow guests.

Due to its location, each stay at Arctic Watch is 7 nights. Each day brings a new surprise from learning to drive the fun ATV (all terrain vehicles) to hiking to Triple Waterfalls and into canyons. Searching for Arctic Fox and muskox or simply watching the beluga whales frolic in the river. Head off in search of icebergs and polar bears, learn about the Inuit history and culture. One of the best days surely is traveling by the lodge's unimog vehicle 14 kilometers from the lodge and then hiking a further 6 kilometers through the Badlands on look out for wildlife before arriving for a picnic lodge. Then take to the river by kayak or raft with stunning canyon walls, crystal clear water and even a 180 degree turn which brings you back to the lodge, an incredible 3 hour journey.

Arctic Watch is also a haven for wildlife photographers with private photographic programs also available. The BBC's "Deadly Pole to Pole" program has filmed up here due to the amazing photographic opportunities it offers and up close wildlife experiences.

A trip to Arctic Watch is a once in a lifetime experience that is well worth the journey. For individuals, couples and older families, it is sure to offer sights and sounds that are very hard to find anywhere else.


Arctic Watch boasts 16 private guest cabins, each with a marine toilet and cold-water sink. Showers are located in the main complex. Every night, guests receive hot-water bottles to take with them as they bed down under thick duvets that keep them cozy and warm through the Arctic night.

Electricity is by a generator that operates from early morning to 10:30 p.m., which means there is no electricity in the cabins at night.


Families with older children are welcome, however, this is a wilderness adventure experience and parents need to be aware that there will be no facilities or entertainments specifically for children.


There is a main lodge tent (the Great Room) that is tough and durable, specially constructed for the Arctic conditions and features a dining room, kitchen, library, lounge, an interpretive museum and small gift shop. Showers and activities rooms can also be found here.

The interpretive center is home to an extensive Arctic library. Here guests will find a small interpretive center, housing regional artifacts, traditional Inuit clothing and 42-million-year-old wood, bones and fossils. Detailed geological and geographical maps are also accessible at the center


The lodge is fully inclusive and all activities are included during a stay. These include ATV driving, kayaking and rafting, guided hikes and tours. Evening lectures by scientists and polar explorers. Beluga whale scientists are also based at Arctic Watch and give valuable insight into these weird and wonderful animals

Location & Directions

Nunavut, Arctic Canada

500 miles North of the Arctic Circle in Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island in Northern Nunavut. Arctic Watch camp is 50 miles from the nearest town.

When to go

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is open in the months of July and August each year only. This ensures the optimal weather conditions for this experience.

In these months the weather is generally mild and sunny although being the Arctic the weather can change rapidly and good weather is by no means guaranteed. Bad weather can lead to delays in your arrival or departure from the camp if it is not considered safe to fly.

Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Arctic Canada

Belugas and the Arctic

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