Where will you explore?
The Arctic is (partly frozen) sea surrounded by land and therefore encompasses many diverse regions. Most of these are accessible from Wildfoot’s extensive range of expedition ships. Where you go, partly depends on what you want to see or experience. For many, it is wildlife and Spitsbergen, for instance is a principal choice for seeking polar bears. Nevertheless, they can also be seen in Canada and Russia. Birders will choose routes where their target species can be found, and some need to tick off ‘bucket list’ items such as setting foot on the North Pole. Most will simply want to experience rarely visited regions with varied and spectacular scenery. The following are the principal route options.
Greenland is the largest island in the world, stretching from 60º to 83º north and Kap Farvel, its southern tip, is located at almost the same latitude as the Shetland Islands, whilst the extreme north is the northernmost point of land on Earth. Greenland is also dominated by a massive ice-sheet , covering more than 80% of its surface area. Although huge in size, it is inhabited by less than 60,000 people. The coastline of Greenland is varied and spectacular, consisting of innumerable glaciers. These produce the huge, cathedral-like icebergs that are abundant in Greenlandic waters, especially off the west coast. The largest fjord system in the world, on the east coast, is Scoresby Sund at more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) long. The indigenous Inuit were traditionally subsistence hunters, living primarily from whales, walrus, reindeer, musk oxen, seals and birds; however, the receding sea ice and changing customs have affected this lifestyle.View Trips
North East Passage
This route across the top of the world between the European and North American Arctic, has only become regularly navigable in recent years, as summer sea ice patterns have changed. Travelling westbound, the route starts either in Alaska or Anadyr in Russia and crosses the Arctic Circle as it goes through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean. An important stop is on the nature reserve of Wrangel Island, home to a large population of polar bears and other mammals and birds. The route then proceeds with calls in remote areas of Siberia and islands such as Novo Sibirskiye, Severnaya Zemla, Novaya Zemla and Franz Josef Land, with disembarkation in Spitsbergen or northern Norway. The route is rich in birds and marine mammals, as well as polar bears
North West Passage
The northwest passage between Greenland and Alaska has been navigable in the summer for several years now and is on many travellers’ list of route to tick off. Full passage voyages westbound generally start in Iceland or Greenland and disembark in Alaska, south of the Bering Strait; however there are only a small number of these in the season. More sailings concentrate on partial passages in the more interesting region of Arctic Canada, not venturing further west than Cambridge Bay. This area is rich in wildlife with polar bears, Arctic foxes, musk oxen and a wealth of marine mammals, including the rare narwhal to be seen; there is myriad birdlife too. This region also has lots of historical associations with the Arctic explorers, especially the ill-fated Franklin mission to seek a passage to the east.
Spitsbergen is the most accessible part of the region and the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago; a world of dazzling glaciers, ice-plateaux and snow-capped peaks. With its deep fjords, sweeping tundra and summer alpine meadows of wildflowers, the islands have a population of just 3,500 people, most in the main town of Longyearbyen. The principal wildlife target here is the polar bear and there are good opportunities to spot bears on the ice or land. Cruise along the coast and fjords and also discover huge Arctic seabird colonies – little auks and Brunnich’s guillemots along with more familiar species such as puffins. Long -tailed and other skuas patrol the tundra and fjords looking for chicks and lemmings whilst the pure white ivory gull nests in small colonies. Other animal life abounds too – reindeer, Arctic fox, walrus, seals, and whales whilst delicate flowers carpet the land in spring.
Iceland is not actually in the Arctic, but it is certainly part of the region and has unique scenic attractions as well as marine and avian wildlife. It is also easy to reach, with flights to the capital, Reykjavik, from many European and North American cities. Scenically, Iceland is a mixture of volcanic and mountainous terrain, the latter, along the coastlines teeming with birdlife. In the interior is the eponymous town of Geysir, but this is not the only area with hot springs – bathing in the Blue Lagoon, close to the main airport at Keflavik is a must for visitors. Whales and other marine mammals can be seen on boat trips and a recommended visit option is to take an expedition ship cruise with zodiac landings. Combine this with a few days inland for a complete Iceland experience.
The Norwegian coastline is famous for its spectacular scenery, mostly best admired from on board ship. Many expedition ships start the summer Arctic season with sailings along the coast on their way north. These small ships penetrate deep into steep sided fjords with landings at small settlements. As they sail north, they cross the Arctic Circle and spend time in the Lofoten Islands with their especially dramatic scenery and picturesque fishing villages. In this area, there are also opportunities for sailings on board a 20 passenger schooner; these trips take place in the autumn and late winter, with the latter following whales as they hunt seasonal shoals of herring. Further up the coast is the quirky city of Tromso and the last sight of land is usually North Cape, before setting sail for Bear Island and Svalbard.
Scotland to Arctic
At the start of the summer season, some of the Arctic expedition ships position up to the region starting off in Scotland. Departing from Leith (Edinburgh) or Aberdeen, they then call in on the Orkney and Shetland Islands and Fair Isle, famous for its knitwear. On these islands, they not only take opportunities for viewing the amazing and abundant birdlife, but also visit ancient historical sites, associated with Vikings and others. Sailings then continue on, either across the North Sea to Norway and onwards, or directly to Svalbard. The latter may call in at the Faroe Islands and maybe, Jan Mayen Island, a remote Norwegian outpost, now a nature reserve, dominated by an extinct volcano, where there are large seabird populations.
Even more than other parts of the Arctic, the far north of Canada is truly the realm of the polar bear, the ultimate Arctic predator. This is because of the vast territory in which it can be found. But, it is by no means the only wildlife attraction; gyrfalcons and snowy owls hunt whilst the seas contain the Arctic whales – narwhals, belugas, and the endangered northern right whale (bowhead). Geese and ducks nest across these chilly lands; caribou and musk oxen graze on the sparse vegetation and a profusion of Arctic gulls, including the rare ivory, the exquisite Sabine’s and the diminutive Ross’s, can also be seen. There are evocative historical associations too, especially with the ill-fated Franklin expedition of the 19th century. Wildfoot offers not only a range of marine expeditions throughout this region, but also a land-based Arctic Watch programme.
The North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and is only accessible for short periods of the year by air or by icebreaker. Visits by air are very specialist and heavily dependent on ice conditions. Most years, a runway is created on the ice and tourists can fly in and engage in a variety of activities, including a running marathon. Most visitors who need to tick the Pole off their list, will, however, arrive by ship. Currently, there are just two icebreaking ships that are chartered to sail to the Pole in the summer. These depart from the port of Murmansk and will also plan calls in either direction on the islands of Novaya Zemla and Franz Josef Land, where there are polar bear and other wildlife viewing opportunities. At the Pole, visitors can celebrate by swimming in pools cut from the ice – a chilly option, not taken up by all!
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Great team and support. Our trip to Antartica was a wonderful experience. Amy and the team did a great job coordinating the trip and setting expectations. You will be very happy with Wildfoot Travel if you decide to use their services.
Wonderful holiday (trip to the Arctic). Very professionally and courteously arranged through Wildfoot Travel.There boat was good with excellent food. Great zodiac boat trips twice a day to see polar bears and other wildlife and scenery. Strongly recommend Wildfoot.
My recent Expedition cruise on the Ocean Albatross exceeded my expectations. From the exceptionally professional, knowledgeable and most personable guides, to the ship’s hotel staff, everyone was focused on ensuring my cruise was all I expected and more. No request, no matter how small was always met with a smile. Bravo! When combined with the raw beauty of Greenland’s snow capped jagged mountains, to the iceberg dotted fjords, flower adorned valleys and colorful quaint towns, Greenland is a must for the out of the way travelers. See it now, before word gets out on how unique the island is.
We visited Torres del Paine on a Puma watching safari in January on a trip organised by Wildfoot Travel. This was part of a trip which included Punta Arenas and Easter Island - the holiday of a lifetime without any doubt. This review is solely about Torres del Paine. The 3 day Puma safari involved my wife and I setting out very early before daybreak in a vehicle with a driver and a guide and following the expert Puma tracker Roberto who went ahead to spot the Pumas. Roberto I recognised from Frozen Planet II episode 4 where he had spotted for the BBC camera team. We were delighted to be with a TV star, and he was delighted we recognised him. We had been concerned as to how much we would see as my wife only walks with a stick short distances. On the first day within an hour we were viewing the flamingos at Lake Armaga when we saw in a cave 5 Pumas which we watched as they settled down for a snooze after a night's hunting. Little walking was involved for superb views. After a couple of hours we went back to park HQ for a toilet break, and returned to find we had missed 4 more Pumas who had appeared from the opposite direction and then laid down in the bush and could not be seen. After spending several hours sightseeing, we returned to view the cave and watched the Pumas waking up and getting on with life, On the second day we saw no Pumas but toured the park with magnificent secenary. On day 3 Roberto took just us in his car to private land. Before we even got there we watched 4 pumas walking on the beach at Lake Armaga , and a 5th, hereafter known as Ruth's puma was spotted by Ruth not 5 metres from her, which calmly walked across the road and disappeared into the bushes. In the private land we watched a puma stalking a guanaco but not getting close enough and she eventually settled on a hill top for a sleep. Returning in the late afternoon we eventually tracked her down and from 50 metres away watched her and her cub, and another older female and 2 cubs gathered round a guanaco which she had killed and resting having eaten their fill. What an end to our safari - a 10 puma day. David Attenborough would be amazed.
Wildfoot Travel provided first class attention and support from our first contact with Amy finishing with a personal card welcoming us home from our Arctic trip. Amy spent a lot time ensuring we selected the right trip for our group of 4 adults and got it spot on. Hurtigruten was a well oiled organisation who made the trip a wonderful experience helping to broaden our knowledge of all things arctic and going the extra mile to help us spot the wildlife we all longed to see - the polar bear. All wildlife was treated with the utmost respect as was the fragile environment. Can't wait to plan our next trip and won't hesitate to use Wildfoot Travel again.
Wildfoot booked a Galapagos cruise which we had already identified. Their views and experience was important in making the choice. Overall the experience of the cruise was wonderful. Whilst we were on holiday prior to the cruise we heard that there were problems and Simon at Wildfoot was active in getting to the bottom of it to reassure it. Would recommend Wildfoot for your next adventure.
I came into contact with Wildfoot in 2022 as I was looking for a last-minute trip to the Artic. The team was super professional and gave me right advice and we booked my trip in 2023. The team was very well coordinated with the expedition company and followed me in every step before and after departure. I am very happy with them and in the future I will for sure ask for their advice when looking at expedition trips
Michael at Wildfoot is efficient courteous and flexible. He coped with several changes we requested. He knows his stuff and advised well for our Latin America trip and we will book through him again with pleasure.
Wildfoot made the process of booking a trip of a lifetime (to Antarctica) so easy! They helped find a cruise that met all our requirements (including finding us a great deal on the voyage), were communicative, and answered all our questions promptly. I would highly recommend Wildfoot for adventure travel reservations!
We worked with Amy to organise our Antartica expedition. She was very attentive and was able to accommodate all of our requests. I highly recommend this company. Wildfoot found us the perfect expedition at the best possible price.
I cannot thank Wildfoot Travel enough for organising such an epic trip to Botswana for me! No question was too much, everything went smoothly, the places I stayed were exactly what I wanted and although this was my 6th time in Africa, this was definitely the best trip thanks to Michael and Sylvia.
Wildfoot were really helpful in the planning of our trip to Antarctica, especially when we needed to make some changes. They were very patient and we had an amazing trip to Antarctica!!
An incredible trip to the Falklands islands, I had the most memorable time and loved every minute of it. Wildfoot travel made all the arrangements kept in touch and also organised my flights. I want to say a huge thank you, everything organised so well. I was travelling on my own and they made sure all eventualities were covered. Thank you so much!!!
requested an active holiday that would excite and also enjoy local wildlife and culture. Wildfoot found me the absolute perfect holiday that i would not have found on my own. from Surfing/Abseiling down waterfalls and climbing 40ft trees, to night wildlife walking tours, across the diverse lanscape of Costa Rica, i couldnt have been happier every second of the holiday, thank you
Communication with WILDFOOT Travel was good throughout. Replies to queries were received quickly - thanks Sylvia Captain, crew and guides were all very knowledgeable and entertaining. Cabin was clean, comfortable and warm (occasionally a little too warm). Excellent food. We didn’t see much of the wildlife, but we were super lucky with the weather- clear night skies with super sunsets and fabulous aurora shows. Great snowshoeing treks each day. We joined the “survival” group on the first day. Bit of fun in a light snowy blizzard. Thereafter we chose the “cozy” group. A bit like walking through Narnia. Stunning scenery. Also managed to sail with the sails raised a couple of times … take seasickness tablets/bands with you. A great holiday. Many thanks guys. COVID health and safety measures were in place which did have an impact on getting to know other group members. However, we were kept as safe as could be achieved. If you are considering this trip, we’re sure you will have a great experience Isobel and Nicola
Iceland proved to live up to our expectations scenically. The cruise was largely professionally run. (There were some chaotic issues associated with evacuation practice, probably due to the prior Covid lapse to their schedule.) What we had not realised was that the trip was heavily dominated by 2 USA tour groups. There was a sizeable German contingent too, but their requirements had little impact on overall customer satisfaction (unlike our American friends.) Wildfoot Travel administrative pre-trip response was good but it was difficult to elicit timely and accurate responses from Iceland Pro-Travel.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. The hotels were great, our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful, and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. But the big item - the Antarctica trip - was superb. Wildfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted. A truly memorable experience. Thank you Wildfoot.
We did an 11 night trip to Botswana and Victoria Falls. The quality of everything was outstanding and the organisation top class. Thank you so much.
Questions usually were promptly answered. But, overall, communications with our agent were not good. An expected package of materials was promised four weeks before departure … then three weeks … then two weeks. Certain, important pieces of information were not delivered until we asked for them. Overall, not a very personable, experience.
In May 2021, we booked an Antarctic expedition through Wildfoot for departure in January 2022. Simon, Tina, and Syliva spent many hours walking us through various options, and eventually placed us with Oceanwide Expeditions. The ship, MV Hondius, was state-of-the-art, and our all-too-brief time on the Antarctic Peninsula was as magical as you’d expect. I’ve never been anywhere so desolate and forbidding, yet overflowing with wildlife, at the same time. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, our trip was cut short due a covid outbreak on the ship. Oceanwide’s onboard staff handled the disappointing situation with great professionalism despite the difficult circumstances. However, it was after the shortened voyage ended that Wildfoot truly excelled. Simon, Tina, and especially Sylvia negotiated a resolution with Oceanwide’s corporate office for more than a month afterwards. They could have simply thrown their hands in the air, and said ‘there’s nothing we can do’, and walked away. Instead, they advocated for us for weeks afterwards with Oceanwide. This is a level of service far above and beyond the ordinary. This team is ‘the real deal’. I can’t recommend them more highly. I would book again with Wildfoot in an instant.
A great big thanks to all at Wildfoot Travel for making my Antarctic expedition an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken. Looking forward to booking the next trip with you.
I have recently return from Svalbard and the Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth. I highly recommend this trip. I had discussions and advise from various team members at Wildfoot and I'm extremely happy with there advise. I think this trip suited me the best. Was great for a single traveller or groups. Wild foot organised everything well. I appreciated them getting me there a couple of days prior to sailing. There is a lot more than you may think to do in and around Longyearbryn. I could go back and plan plenty to keep me busy. I have had an unbelievable experience thanks to Wildfoot and G Adventures. The Arctic is a once in a life time not to be missed. Given the chance it is definitely somewhere I would go back. The binoculars that I received for booking early were a lovely touch from Wild foot and an essential item on a trip like this.
We travelled to the Arctic via Longyearbyen with Wildfoot. It was a memorable trip. The MS Plancius was definitely the right choice. The ship is very nice, very comfortable, very clean, the crew is fantastic, the meals were very good, the expedition staff very kind and extremely knowledgeable and professional. It holds approx 100 people which is perfect as you get to know people better and its a great atmosphere (better than the big liners). All activities were very well and timely organized in a safely manner. On our Arctic voyage we came across a massive 13 polar bears, two Arctic foxes, reindeer, walrus, seals, minkey whale and fin whale. Wildfoot’ support was outstanding. They responded to my emails time after time as I had so many questions and gave us detail every time, I strongly recommend this trip with Wildfoot.
Wildfoot Travel put together a first class programme for my recent trip to Namibia. It was exactly what I was looking for. Their local agent was very good in going over the programme when I arrived in Windhoek. They gave me a mobile phone with all the lodge numbers already installed, which gave me confidence in case of problems. As it happened everything went very smoothly.
The Falklands were fabulous. Lots of birds, few people, lots of time to wander around on my own. All the islands were wonderful. The only day that was not excellent was the trip to Dolphin point. A long drive, few birds and few sea lions. I was very lucky with the weather. Lots of wind but hardly any rain. I debated whether to do this or go to antarctica, and am delighted I did this. I would recommend staying at the Neck on Saunders rather than at the settlement. La Yegua Loca in PA was a delight. I usually could care less about hotels and restaurants on trips like this, but La Yegua Loca was wonderful. The new restaurant they have - a glass enclosed space on the terrace in front of the hotel with old tools as fixtures and views out to the straights and delicious food was great.
WILDFOOT – PANTANAL TRIP 7-16TH OCTOBER 2018 Following a previous trip organised by Wildfoot to Antarctic, Shackleton route, which was a first class organised trip, we were confident a Pantanal trip with the same company would be equally first class, and how right we were. They arranged a private guided trip, transport and accommodation on bespoke dates when other companies couldn’t at short notice, and at good value.. Was it worth it? – All internal flights were efficient and on time (Azul and Latam). All road transport (4x4) air conditioned and comfortable, river boat=transport – efficient, reliable and always on time and waiting, with all drivers professional, and just as keen as the guide to spot and show you the wildlife. Our english speaking Brazilian guide (Fino) was world class (the best we have ever experienced anywhere), based on his bird/mammal knowledge, patience/persistence, and bird/animal behaviour predictability, correct judgements on sites and his adaptability to meet our individual requirements. He demonstrated great humour , kindness and “drive” to assist with any issue at any given time of day or night. We also learnt how to mimic some bird calls from Fino, and it worked for us! We deliberately decided not to count the number of birds/mammals species spotted (in the hundreds) and Fino adapted to our” Native” theme. Highlights were behaviour from seeing swimming/hunting Jaguars, foraging Armadillo, Howler and Capuchin monkey troops quietly/calmly playing in the treetops. Following a Tapir slowly rustling his way through the forest to a water hole, great river otters mating, a wild Peccary party, Anteater parading as if it was at Crufts, Blue Hyacinth Macaws gently preening each other, the territory battle between Agami and tiger Heron, the sound of Caiman crunching its fish……. And on and on it goes. The three locations of Pouso Alegre, Panoramic Flotel, and South Wild were essential to maximise the different wildlife opportunities and their behaviour We would repeat this trip again in exactly the same way and no doubt find even more new experiences After Shackleton route, this was our best trip ever, and Wildfoot (and their agents Brazil Nature Tours) were key to the success of this trip. Hundreds pf photographs taken, but none meet the visual/sensory memories. An outstanding, uplifting and mind-blowing experience. Thank You.
Great customer service and easy to work with. I would recommend working with Wildfoot when booking an Antarctica expedition.
Excellent service. Could not have been any better We are very satisfied customers
Absolutely brilliant service in difficult times of Covid and plane strikes. The best in the business and very reasonable. Total real care. Holiday perfect
Just got back from a wonderful trip to Svalbard via the Orkneys, Fair Isle, the Faroes and Jan Mayen. Thoroughly recommended.
Excellent advice, efficient and friendly organisation with a terrific expedition to Antarctica which we'll remember as long as we remember anything. Thank you Wildfoot
Fabulous knowledge and customer service. Only back a week and already planning our next trip with them - surely that says it all?
Very knowledgeable about the Antarctica and gave us invaluable advice.
Very good customer service with good pricing!
excellent personal service as always