Our love for Antarctica has led our Antarctic Travel Specialist to look at exploring what’s on offer in other polar lands. This is what we found…. The word ‘Arctic’ is derived from the Greek word for bear, ‘arktos’. The name refers to two constellations visible in the Arctic sky year-round. They are, Ursa Major meaning ‘Great Bear’ and Ursa Minor, ‘Little Bear’, which also feature Polaris, the North Star. This vast region spans across eight countries; Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (which includes Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway (Svalbard) as well as Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
One of the main highlights of a holiday in the Arctic is the spectacular aurora borealis (Northern Lights). In Greenland, legend has it that these breathtaking dancing lights are the spirits of past ancestors. While we do love Antarctica, you don’t get to witness this magical sky down south.
Antarctica offers seals, penguins, whales, and much more, however one famous ice-loving animal you won’t find there is the humble Polar Bear. These incredible mammals are only found in the Arctic, in sea ice regions spread across Canada, the United States (Alaska), Greenland as well as Russia, and Norway.
Over 36 mammals inhabit the Arctic (17 of which are marine species). Each has successfully adapted to one of the most challenging environments on earth. On the water, you might see beluga whales, narwhals, ringed seals and walrus. On land, look out for muskoxen, reindeer, arctic fox, hare Polar Bears and more.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no penguins in the Arctic. A photo of penguins along with Polar Bears in the wild is impossible when they live at opposite ends of the world.
Another one of the many differences between the these two polar wonder lands is the history and culture. The Arctic has been inhabited for thousands of years.
The Inuit people who settled in Qaanaaq (one of the northernmost places in the world) have passed down their traditions for centuries. The Thule people first populated Greenland’s coast in approximately 1300 AD; according to arctic legends, they arrived in the area seeking iron used for making tools. In Greenland, the land of the Vikings, at least 6 different Inuit cultures (including the Thule people) have survived over several centuries.
From abandoned whaling stations, expedition base camps, as well as hunting and trapping camps, the region’s explorer history is fascinating. On Ellesmere Island, if you have the chance to fly by helicopter over an ancient petrified forest, take it!
We love what we do and are always seeking new adventures for our customers. This is one we highly recommend. Why wait?! Discover the majestic Arctic region and all of its spectacular history and amazing wildlife. Book your Arctic adventure with the Antarctic Travel Specialists today.