Kaktovik Tours: 4 Important Polar Bear Watching Tips

If you plan on visiting Alaska after the pandemic, then brace yourself for a surreal polar bear viewing experience! The majestic animal continues to amaze the world with its sheer strength, its ability to survive in astonishingly difficult conditions, and of course, its cuteness!

Anyone who has been to Alaska to observe the behavior of polar bears will tell you that no region can rival the unsullied, rustic experience that the remote city of Kaktovik has to offer. No wonder that Kaktovik tours are slowly rising up the ranks. Being less ‘tourist-y’ than places like Churchill, you are more likely to view a ‘celebration’ of healthy polar bears (yes, that is what a group of them is called!) in their wild habitat in Kaktovik than anywhere else. In this blog, we will share some tips to prepare you for the polar bear viewing trip in the region:

  1. Choose the season wisely
    Fall is a great time to visit Alaska not only because of the vibrant colors that it has in store for you but also because polar bears find their way down from the mountains to the waters to catch salmon and seals! This venture helps in the build-up of fat in their body, thus preparing them for the harsh winters ahead.
    In addition to this, polar bears are known to come out of hibernation in early spring so it’s easy to catch a glimpse of solitary bears as well as groups during this time. Make sure that you book your boat seat early though!
  2. Don’t leave your binoculars at home
    As you will be maintaining a respectable distance for your safety, bringing binoculars with you would be a great idea. Some recommend scopes but bear in mind that boat instability might not allow you to keep them steady.
  3. Listen to your guide
    You are sure to take back a wealth of knowledge home if you have a local Kaktovik customs tour guide to explain the way of life of polar bears and their behaviors to you. It’s also crucial that you listen to your guide, maintain a healthy distance from the polar bears, and stay quiet to ensure everyone’s safety. Remember that polar bears might look adorable from afar, but they are also incredibly fierce, strong, wild, and hate to be disturbed.
  4. Keep an eye out for movement
    A polar bear’s coat makes for an amazing camouflage in the snowy expanse, thus making them difficult to spot. That is why Kaktovik tour guides suggest that one should look out for movement instead of trying to spot the animal. You might also end up finding other forms of wildlife in this manner.

Apart from this, remember not to leave any food scraps or plastic waste behind as these can have damaging repercussions on these bears as well as the environment they live in. Remain patient during the viewing as you might not spot polar bears immediately upon arrival. But trust us, the wait will be worth it!



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