Baffin Island Travel Guide

  • Baffin Island
    Baffin Island
    by pieter_jan_v
  • Baffin Island
    Baffin Island
    by pieter_jan_v
  • Baffin Island
    Baffin Island
    by pieter_jan_v

Baffin Island Things to Do

  • Take an Arctic Cruise

    My cousin and I travelled with Cruise North Expeditions on their inaugural voyage of the Canadian Arctic. Being the very first trip was not without its complications, but I was very satisfied with the services aboard the ship and with the wildlife and scenery that we passed along the way.Ours was a 7 day voyage that began in Kuujjuaq in northern...

    more
  • Get up close to an Ice Berg

    Unlike an ice floe which is simply the frozen layer of ice on top of a body of water, an ice berg is formed when it falls off of a glacier into the water. The ice bergs that we encountered probably came from Greenland glaciers and floated south into Hudson Strait.We spent a great morning in the zodiacs cruising very close to and in between some...

    more
  • Take a Hike

    We had several opportunities to leave the ship and/or the zodiacs for a walk on shore. It really is the best way to appreciate the local landscape, to notice the tiny arctic flowers and to catch a glimpse of elusive wildlife and birds. We usually were accompanied by local guides as well, and they were all very friendly and happy to discuss their...

    more
  • Meet the locals

    About 20,000 people live in the harsh environment of the Baffin region, 85% of these are Inuit. The Inuit have descended from the Mongolian race, most have dark eyes, straight black hair and dark skin.In the past, hunting and trapping were the sole means of survival for the Inuit. However, with the decline in the demand for fur, their source for...

    more
  • Visit Kimmirut

    Kimmirut is located on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut. It is also known as Lake Harbour and enjoys a mild climate and is home to a skilled group of artisans. Soapstone carvings are their specialty. There is a gallery in town where you can view and purchase their work.Kimmirut has a population of 425 people, most of whom rely on hunting...

    more
  • Watch for wildlife

    We encountered this large bearded seal on our zodiac trip to Akpatok Island. He didn't seem the least bit bothered by us and posed for all the photographers.We also spotted ringed seals and polar bears on this trip as well as many types of birds including thick billed murres, eider ducks, gulls and snow buntings.

    more
  • Make sunset an event

    Only when I travel do I make the time or effort to see the sun set. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to fit into my daily routine at home.We had a spectacular sunset on our third day at sea and it lasted almost an hour. In the Arctic the sun sets around 10pm and rises again by 4am.

    more
  • Photograph Ice Floes

    We encountered many ice floes blocking our passage through Ungava Bay. However, on the bright side, many of them were quite sculptural and very beautiful to photograph, especially when the water is calm enough to offer perfect reflections.BTW an ice floe is the remnants of the frozen sea or river, unlike an ice berg, which has broken off from a...

    more
  • Zodiac Excursions

    If you do decide to take an Arctic Cruise, be sure to take part in the excursions to land aboard the small and fast zodiac boats. The zodiacs will take you to places that the large ship just can't get to.Be sure to wear wet weather gear while aboard the zodiac as there may be some spray. Also keep your camera protected from water. It is also...

    more
  • Polar Bear Encounters

    One advantage that the Arctic has over the Antarctic is polar bears. I honestly didn't think we would actually see a polar bear, but over the week, I saw five myself, others aboard saw more. Each bear that we saw, save one, did not stick around once they sensed our approach. Polar Bears are hunted by the Inuit and they have learned to run at the...

    more
  • There are some nice Inuit...

    There are some nice Inuit carvings and art available for sale in Baffin Island. They are all handcarved out of some sort of bone (whale, seal, antler) so it could cause customs problems in some countries. The prices rise the further from the carver you go - they were fairly expensive in Iqaluit and astronomically priced in the galleries of...

    more
  • A couple of museums are worth...

    A couple of museums are worth a look. Firstly, the tourist office in Pangnirtung has some good displays about Inuit history and culture, and there are two whaling boats belonging to the Hudson Bay Company which can be seen through the tourist office.In Iqaluit, the Nunatta Sanukataangit (probanly wrong spelling...) has hundreds of carvings and a...

    more

Baffin Island Restaurants

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Aug 29, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    All food was expensive in Baffin Island as most things have to be imported. If we ate anything other than the dried dehydrated food, it was either bought from the Northern Stores in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung, or eaten at The Snack in Iqaluit, which definately had an 'interesting' atmosphere.

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Baffin Island Transportation

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Aug 29, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    First Air connects all communities in the North with Iqaluit, which is connected to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Nuuk (Greenland), with most flights south stopping off at Kuujjuaq, a small settlement in northern Quebec. Prices are very expensive, like most things up there. Some of the views are stunning, especially on the Iqaluit-Broughton Island flight, as this flies over the Auyuittuq National Park...or at least our flight did...the pilot announced that he wanted to take the scenic route for a change!
    First Air have a fleet of planes which decrease in size with the size of your destination...the Broughton Island flight was very small, just big enough for our group of 19...the hostess doubled as the co-pilot, and cabin service consisted of boxed drinks only. Because I'd chosen a seat next to the emargency exit, the hostess/co-pilot handed me a leaflet, saying that if we crashed, I'd be responsible for opening the doors!
    There are several outfitters which can provide boat trips. In Broughton Island we used Pauloosie to access Auyuittuq National Park. Because of the water temperature, you have to wear protective orange suits....you end up looking like the Michelin Man! Apparently, if someone fell into the water without one of these, they would only survive for a couple of minutes....with the orange suit, you can savour your last moments for a further 10, then die of hypothermia once rescued....so you can choose between slow or fast death!! I think it is probably best not to fall in!
    The weather is unpredictable, and so is the ice flow...our journey to the national park took 4 hours longer than expected, as the ice suddenly changed direction and blocked our path...so we waited on a beach and cooked bannock bread with our Inuit guides. The delay didn't really matter....we arrived at our first campsite at around midnight, but it never gets dark in the Arctic in summer!

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Baffin Island Local Customs

  • Watch out for bears, and get...

    Watch out for bears, and get local advice! The emergency huts sited throughout the trail are only for emergencies, so don't use the provisions unless you really are in trouble. There is usually a logbook inside them, and a radio, as well as a stove and basic food - replace anything you use. Canada Parks have a pack-in pack-out policy, which means...

    more
  • Inukshuks seem to be the...

    Inukshuks seem to be the unofficial symbol of Nunavut. They are built of stones to form a man-like figure, and traditionally they were used to keep caribou in one place - they were placed around valleys, and the caribou would think it was a hunter so would remain in the valley. I don't know how true that is, but in the Auyuittuq National Park,...

    more
  • Baffin Island Hotels

    0 Hotels in Baffin Island

Baffin Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Before leaving for the...

    Before leaving for the National Park, you must get advice on Polar Bears from the Parks Canada office - we didn't see any, but one was reported near Iqaluit while we were there. Crossing rivers can be hazardous, so it is best to cross early morning before the sun has begun to melt the glaciers - we crossed one once at 3am - it was still light but...

    more
  • Alcohol was a bad thing for us...

    Alcohol was a bad thing for us Europeans to have introduced....for a town of only 15,000 inhabitants, Iqaluit was quite a dangerous place to be at night, especially on pay day. It is one of the few communities in Nunavut to allow alcohol (Pangnirtung and Broughton are officially dry). This also means that some people coming to Iqaluit from the...

    more
  • Ask a Question

    Got a question about Baffin Island? Get an answer from our Location locals and frequent travelers

Baffin Island What to Pack

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Aug 29, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: NOT a suitcase destination!! You need a good quality backpack/rucksack which can take a certain amount of bashing around, and it is essential that it is waterproofed, or at least has a plastic lining bag to keep clothes etc. dry. A small daysack is useful if you decide to make a base somewhere in the park.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Waterproof windproof jacket - probably best not to get a rock or ice coloured one, or rescue teams will have one or two problems finding you if you have an accident! You need warm clothes that can dry quickly, especially lots of thin layers. Jeans take ages to dry so aren't really suitable. Shorts (not for sunbathing - there won't be much sun!) are useful for crossing rivers. As for shoes, good strong walking boots plus a pair of old trainers for crossing rivers. Good quality sunglasses are needed for walking on glaciers. Underwear...hmmm, well take what you think you'll need...most people in our group took only one pair. Did we smell?...of course, but if everyone smells as bad as each other, you don't notice at all...trust me!!! Oh, and don't forget the woolly hat!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take anything you will need and can carry comfortably - there are no shops in this national park. You can probably buy most things in Iqaluit, but everything is expensive there. A basic medical kit is essential,

    Photo Equipment: Bring plenty of film, plus a waterproof bag to keep them and your camera in. Films and camera batteries are available in Iqaluit at inflated prices, but it would be very unlikely that they are available in Pangnirtung or Broughton Island, so stock up before arriving in Baffin Island.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I'm not an expert on tents or camping gear, but camping in Arctic Canada is a world away from camping on a hot sunny beach! The tent needs to be lightweight but able to withstand high winds. The sleeping bag needs to be fairly warm too. As for stoves, we used some sort of gas stoves. but we had problems carrying fuel, because of the airplane restrictions. Limited fuel is available in Pangnirtung and Broughton Island (the two gateways to the park) but double check this before you go.

    Miscellaneous: Pack-in Pack-out! In other words, take out everything you took in, including empty packets. Some people go as far as carrying out their toilet paper, but maybe this is a bit excessive...ask at Parks Canada about this sticky issue! They may not allow you to burn it and burying it is certainly out of the question.
    Food is a big thing to sort out...obviously it is impractical to take fresh food, so you'll have to use dehydrated food which is usually disgusting. Carrying it can be a pain, especially if you are intending to spend a long time in the park. We organised for some food to be left at a cache at Summit Lake a couple of months earlier (it had to be that early, as it was dropped off by snowmobile)...a good idea in theory, but unless you know exactly what food is being dumped, then I wouldn't recommend this...the company that provided our food didn't really do its job well; they provided us with lots of packaging which needed to be carried out with us (extra weight we could have done without), silly items like bread mix (how the hell did they expect us to make bread!!), and not enough calories per day to last someone sitting in an office let alone climbing glaciers. All of us spent almost the whole last week thinking of food, and we were continually hungry. If I can remember the company name, I will have no qualms about shaming it.

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Baffin Island Off The Beaten Path

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Aug 29, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Most travellers to Canada would miss out Baffin Island as a whole, so this entire page is relevant!
    'Off the beaten path' in Baffin Island could describe everything.
    The walk in the Auyuittuq National Park is fairly unknown, or at least the Northern section was - most trekkers start from Pangnirtung, trek up to Summit Lake (roughly half way) and go back the same route. The northern section isn't as beautiful, but is much more remote - we saw no-one at all until we arrived at the southern point of Summit Lake (and even then we only saw less than 15).

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Baffin Island Favorites

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Aug 29, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: My fondest memory of the expedition was probably the boat trip from Broughton Island through the North Pangnirtung Fjord to the start of our trek in the beautiful Auyuittuq National Park. The ice was still thick, even though it was July, so we had to wait several times on different beaches while waiting for the ice to clear. Just a week earlier, the in-flight movie on our flight from London to Montreal had been 'Titanic', and here we were in a tiny boat next to enormous icebergs.

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Instant Answers: Baffin Island

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

86 travelers online now

Comments

Map of Baffin Island

View all Baffin Island hotels