Wrangel Island Cruise – An Arctic Expedition

© Photo by A.Terauds
Wrangel Island - one of the world’s largest breeding populations of polar bears, and the highest concentration of walruses on earth.
Cruise to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world. Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.

Wrangel Island Arctic Expedition Cruise HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Whale Bone Alley is the name given to a beach on Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea. Landing on the beach, you’ll take in the haunting atmosphere of this ancient site, where gigantic whalebones appear to sprout out of the ground, stretching along the coast for nearly half a kilometre
  • Uelen, the most northeasterly village in Russia, home to a predominantly Chukchi population. The village is one of the foremost centres for Chukchi and Inuit art. On our visit, we’ll be entertained by local folklore and a visit to the bone-carving workshops
  • The bird cliffs of Kolyuchin Island are a breathtaking spectacle. An abandoned Russian research station, the island is now a birder’s paradise. Near the derelict buildings stand cliffs alive with huge numbers of puffins, guillemots and gulls
  • Wrangel Island: After 6 days we reach the highlight of our cruise. Explore the island on foot and via Zodiac, searching for wildlife such as polar bears, musk oxen and reindeer amid majestic tundra landscapes with brilliant pastel patches of Arctic wildflowers

There’s only one way to visit the biosphere reserve of Wrangel Island, and that’s by cruising aboard an ice-breaker. This 15 day Arctic cruise departs from the port town of Anadyr in northeastern Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Region. From here, we'll make our way through the narrow Bering Strait which separates Russia from the United States.

We then travel west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait that leads to Wrangel Island. Our four to five days on Wrangel will be spent tracking polar bears and other wildlife against a backdrop of wildflowers and the surprisingly varied landscapes of summer in the High Arctic. Weather permitted, we’ll also attempt a landing on neighbouring Herald Island, whose sheer cliffs rise dramatically out of the ocean and support a flourishing colony of walruses and seabirds.

The return journey will pass by mile-after-mile of untouched wilderness along the North Siberian coast, a veritable paradise for birdwatchers. Finally, we return to the Bering Sea at the end of this Wrangel Island tour, where pods of grey and minke whales will hopefully escort us back to our starting and finishing point in the Bay of Anadyr.

The vast distances and unpredictable weather present their own unique challenges for cruise guests, but for wildlife lovers with a spirit of adventure, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover Wrangel Island and commune with nature on its own terms.

15 days
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary




Trip style



I/b Kapitan Khlebnikov

Expedition Cruise


Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

15 days / 14 nights


up to 110

Guaranteed Departures


Day 1:Anadyr

Welcome to Anadyr, the administrative centre of Chukotka and the easternmost town of Russia. Board our expedition vessel and get acquainted with the guests and crew.

Day 2:Anadyrsky Bay

At sea today, we’ll have a chance for some bird and cetacean watching as we settle into ship life. An afternoon Zodiac boat cruise is planned to some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Day 3:Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

Today we round the Yttygran, Nuneangan and the Arakamchechen Islands, looking out for grey whales and walruses. Stopping at Yttygran, we explore the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley.

Day 4:Cape Dezhnev and Uelen village

Conditions permitting, we land at Cape Dezhnev, the north eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. Here we visit Uelen village to learn about the lifestyles of the indigenous Chukchi people.

Day 5:Kolyuchin Island

Visit Kolyuchin Island, once an important Russian Polar Research Station. Near the derelict buildings are magnificent bird cliffs where puffins, guillemots and gulls can be photographed up close.

Day 6-10:Wrangel and Herald Islands

Depending on ice and weather, we’ll have up to 5 days exploring Wrangel and nearby Herald Island on foot and via the Zodiac tenders. Polar bears will be high on our list of animals to observe, and we may also be rewarded with sightings of walruses, musk oxen, reindeers and Arctic foxes.

Day 11:North Siberian Coast

Tracing the north Siberian coast, we’ll stay on the alert for whales, walruses and other wildlife. See Chukchi villages whose residents survive the unforgiving climate, hunting marine mammals as their ancestors did.

Day 12:Kolyuchin Inlet

Stop near the mouth of the massive Kolyuchin Inlet to visit the wild, rugged Belaka Spit. Search the dunes and tidal areas for birdlife and look out for feeding grey whales sometimes spotted only metres off shore.

Day 13:Bering Strait and Chukotka Coast

By early morning we will pass the Diomede Islands. Here Russia and America are separated by only 2.3 nautical miles of ocean. Later this afternoon we make an expedition landing on the Chukotka coast, our last chance to enjoy the wildlife and tundra landscape.

Day 14:Anadyrsky Bay

Relax and enjoy onboard activities and natural history lectures as we sail across the Anadyrsky Bay towards Anadyr.

Day 15:Anadyr

Our incredible journey complete, we dock at the port of Anadyr. After a farewell breakfast, transfer to the airport or your hotel in town



Accommodation onboard of an icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov


3 daily meals onboard


Airport arrival and departure transfers


All expeditions and shore excursions with professional leaders

Activities and sights

  • wildlife watching: polar bears, yaks, reindeer, foxes; different kinds of birds, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls; and marine wildlife: walruses, sea lions, otters etc
  • cultural immersion, visiting native people in Uelen Village
  • guided shore excursions and zodiac boat tours
  • onboard lectures


Russian visa support documents

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Additions and extensions:

  • Overland Traverse exclusive extension (US $1,450 pp) - optional
  • Local payment (US $500pp) - mondatory

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
22 Jul - 5 Aug 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,000 contact us Reserve
5 Aug - 19 Aug 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Limited spaces US $11,000 contact us Reserve
15 days
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
15 days
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816