Why Nunavut Should be Your Next Travel Destination

Uncovering the Unexplored: Get Ready to Fall in Love With One of Earth’s Last Wild Places

June 7, 2019 Milda

Mythical, tantalizingly remote, and untamed are the first words that come to mind when you think of Nunavut, Canada’s youngest, largest, and northernmost territory. With today’s vacationers seeking the world’s wild places more than ever, Nunavut might well be the next travel craze.


Covering an incredible expanse of pristine wilderness, Nunavut is more than a destination - it’s a raw form of living. Sparsely populated by only a handful of indigenous Inuit people, the ancient local culture is rooted deeply in the stark, frozen landscapes that surround it.

If you’re wondering “What is Nunavut famous for?”, you’ve come to the right place. Read on and find out why this far-flung destination deserves a spot on your bucket list.

Spark your Imagination with Mind-Bending Landscapes

Picture yourself standing in a vast open space. The stillness is only broken by the soft crunch of snow underfoot or the tundra wind blowing across the purple saxifrage, one of the first flowers to bloom in the Arctic spring. Welcome to Nunavut. This surreal place is the size of Western Europe with a population of just 35,000, of which about 85% is Inuit.

We bet that even the famous Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher would be inspired by such mind-altering numbers and find a place for Nunavut on one of his mathematically-inspired lithographs. But let’s find out how the indigenous people of Nunavut manage to handle this massive territory.

Intriguingly, Nunavut’s distant communities are not connected together by highways, meaning the only means of travel are aircraft, power boats, snowmobiles or dog sledding. Most tourists travel to Nunavut and between its distant communities by air, which is a captivating experience in and of itself. Another fascinating way to reach Nunavut is to hop on an Arctic cruise. You might even have an exciting chance encounter with the mysterious bowhead whale en route!

Get Up Close and Personal with Exotic Wildlife

Wildlife watching is among the chief attractions in Nunavut, and no wonder, given its rich marine ecosystem, world-class birdwatching and a breath-stealing 750,000 population of caribou. Not to be forgotten are the shaggy muskoxen, one of the most ancient herbivores on the planet.

Surrounded by the starkly beautiful, treeless landscapes, prepare to meet rare and unique Arctic animals in their natural habitats. One of the most miraculous wildlife events happens in spring when the floe edge - the place where the ice meets the open water - becomes a feeding ground for animals such as beluga whales, narwhals, bowhead whales, and the impressive polar bears.

Be it a silent watch from the edge of the ice or a guided boat ride among the floating ice sheets, Nunavut’s wildlife will greet you with everything from hissing sounds to awe-inspiring maneuvers and gripping views.

Listen to the Fascinating Stories of Nunavut People

While Nunavut’s vast expanses of unspoiled wilderness will leave you nothing but stunned, Nunavummiut - the residents of Nunavut - will leave you with a lingering feeling of genuine kindness.

The Inuit, which means “the people” in the Inuit language, are generally warm and welcoming, open to share their intimate knowledge of the surrounding nature, if curious listeners are present. During our tours, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Nunavut’s mysterious lands straight from local Inuit guides.

For thousands of years, the harsh conditions of the Arctic tundra has defined the lives of the Inuit. Their ancestors taught them to respect animals, cultivate patience, and keep together to survive. Hunting groups led by elders traveled across the barren lands with the seasons to their summer and winter camps, always helping each other to navigate the storms or build a snow shelter known as igloo.

Over time, the Inuit managed to make friends with the unpredictable forces of nature and pass their knowledge on to future generations. This was their way of life for centuries. Today, Inuit life has changed. They no longer need to rely on hunting to survive but their special connection to nature remains undiminished and never ceases to fascinate.

Be Immersed in the Captivating Nunavut Culture

One of the main reasons why people travel to Nunavut is their desire to experience the unique culture and art of the Inuit in person. From drum dancing and throat singing to wildlife prints and soapstone carvings, Inuit art is famous worldwide.

The Inuit have been expert carvers for thousands of years and usually learn carving techniques by watching elders. When visiting Nunavut, you’ll see dancing bears, birds, whales, and human figures carved in soft stone, but beware - they might just enchant you!

Originally, soapstone carvings were very small and some suggest they served as amulets. Today, Inuit artists use various kinds of materials from caribou antler to oil and stone. Both the old and new Inuit art pieces give a rare opportunity to dive deeper into the myths and legends of the Inuit. Perhaps you’ll even find your next favorite artist or something a little bit outside your comfort zone. If you would like to get a better idea about Inuit art, then check out the works of Kenojuak Ashevak and Pudlo Pudlat, some of the most famous Inuit artists.

Inuit art explores such themes as shamanism, the spirit world and, most importantly, it reveals how the Inuit’s relationship with their environment has changed overtime. Mere words are never enough to express the profound power of Inuit art.

Find Off-the-Beaten Path Gems in 5 National Parks

If you’ve already started wondering “Will I get to see some mountains in Nunavut?”, rest assured: Nunavut is blessed with some of the most stunning peaks and shimmering glaciers in the world.

Some of the best places where you can veer off the tourist track and explore Nunavut’s untamed wilderness are its national parks. Choose your next destination from five pristine landmarks: Auyuittuq, Sirmilik, Quttinirpaaq, Qausuittuq, and Ukkusiksalik National Parks. Each of them is very remote and with their own unparalleled charms.

From Mount Thor featuring the Earth’s largest vertical drop at 4,101 ft (1,250 m), to the world’s biggest flock of greater snow geese and white, tumbling glaciers tucked away in the polar desert, Nunavut’s national parks will make you tremble with excitement. Most interestingly, these outrageously picturesque territories are fairly unexplored, meaning there are plenty of hidden gems for you to discover.

Auyuittuq, Sirmilik, Quttinirpaaq National Parks are the most popular options and invite visitors to cross the Arctic Circle, wander together with caribou or simply contemplate some of the world’s most phenomenal nature at a remote campsite. If you’re looking to experience isolation at its most extreme, Qausuittuq and Ukkusiksalik National Parks will be a silent sanctuary, but be prepared: it’s a harsh and rugged world out there.

Experience the Sensational Nunavut Northern Lights

If you’re looking for a place where you can connect with something bigger than yourself, Nunavut’s wide-open skies might have exactly what you need. In the wintertime, this distant territory in Northern Canada showcases one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Northern Lights.

Perched on the top of the globe, Nunavut is one of the best places to view the celestial lights of the Aurora Borealis. The vast stretches of land and pure air offer plenty of ideal spots for you to gaze on some spectacular vistas. While the best chances to witness the Aurora Borealis is in winter, you can also embark on a thrilling Northern Lights hunting adventure during early spring and autumn. To be more exact, this marvelous phenomena is enjoyed from October to April.

When visiting Nunavut, you might come across Inuit artwork of the Northern Lights. For centuries, this astronomical event have captivated the Inuits’ imagination, with good reason. Imagine the celestial lights of various colors and shapes dripping from the night sky so that it resembles a giant creature trying to enter Earth’s atmosphere. We would like to say that the view looks like it’s from outer space, but this time it’s literally the case.

The colorful dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis emerge when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with gaseous particles such as oxygen and nitrogen. The different gases radiate different colors when they are energized. For example, oxygen emits emerald green, which is the most common color of Nunavut’s Northern Lights.

 

 

Now that you know more about enchanting Nunavut, let your imagination go wild as you start planning your next (or first) Arctic vacation. The secluded beauty of Nunavut might even change your perspective on life, if you’re seeking it. It’s a miracle that such untouched oasis still exists and that it can be experienced by everyone!


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