March 16-23, 2018
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
You can RSVP without a deposit. A deposit secures your spot.
Well, here we go with another trip-of-a-lifetime. Let’s go see one of the most beautiful and majestic natural spectacles in the world: The Aurora Borealis.
Not only we’re watching the Aurora in the best place in the entire world to see it, but we’re doing that in an epic way, spending 8 days and 7 nights filled with fun and adventure in Alaska. We’ll watch the Northern Lights from a hot spring surrounded by snow, we’ll climb a mountain in a snow coach, we’ll go dog sledding, ride a snowmobile, go ice fishing and more! Anything better than that would have to involve crossing the Arctic Circle. Oh wait, we WILL be doing that too!!
Here are some of the things we’re going to do:
- Most likely see the Northern Lights MANY TIMES (I’ll tell you why further down).
- Ride the Trans Alaska Railroad through the Alaskan wilderness.
- Go to Chena Hot Springs, a hot spring resort in the middle of the snow.
- Visit the Aurora Ice Museum, which was once the original Aurora Ice Hotel
- Go dog sledding.
- Ride a snowmobile.
- Cross the Arctic Circle (and possibly see the Aurora from above the Arctic Circle)
- See ice sculptures at the World Ice Art Championship
- Go ice fishing (optional)
- And more! I’m posting the exact itinerary below.
Now, all those activities are awesome!! Amazing!! Super Cool!! Breathtaking!! But the biggest reason why you want to come is that we are all but guaranteed to see the Aurora not just once or a few, but many times. Fairbanks, Alaska is the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights. That’s right, not somewhere in the Nordic Countries, not in Siberia, but right here in Alaska, which also happens to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. There are many places in the Aurora Oval, an area in the north -or south-pole where the solar winds interact with the magnetic force of the Earth creating Aurora Borealis, but Fairbanks, Alaska is the best of all places. They say that if you want to see the Aurora, you need to go to Fairbanks for four days in between September and April. The best time in particular is equinox. Another factor that helps is being around the new moon when the sky is at its darkest. Well, we are spending 7 nights, exactly at and around Spring Equinox, on the week of the new moon (new moon happens on our first night there). We will also have experts guiding us and taking us to the best locations to see it. So nobody can guarantee it, but we have the biggest chances ever to see the Aurora MANY times. The last time we were there under the same conditions we saw the Aurora ALL SEVEN NIGHTS! Here is a little montage I made with some actual pictures we took and our reaction to one of the most amazing shows we’ve seen in our lives:
Yup, I’m hoping to see spectacles like those again. :-)
Here is our itinerary:
We will fly into Anchorage on Friday, March 13 and spend the night at the Coast International Inn in Anchorage. On the 14th in the morning, we’ll board the Alaska Railroad train to Fairbanks for a 358-mile journey through one of the most beautiful countries you can imagine: the nearly-untouched Alaskan wilderness.
We’ll arrive in Fairbanks right around sunset time. A shuttle will take us to our hotel, Regency Fairbanks and we’ll get settled. If the Aurora happens to happen that night, they will let us know so we can come out and see it.
Then on Sunday, we’ll have the day for ourselves in Fairbanks. Fairbanks, called “The Golden Heart of Alaska” is a beautiful city, home of the Museum of the North, the World Ice Art Championship, and a unique city just 188 miles south of the Arctic Circle. I have an outing planned for that day in the city, but you are free to do whatever you want, including going sightseeing, shopping, walking around, or even go skiing at Ski Land the furthest north ski resort in North America.
At night we’ll get on a shuttle to go to Ski Land for our first official outing to watch the Aurora. We’ll have a warm lodge, hot beverages and bathrooms available.
On Monday morning a shuttle from Chena Hot Springs will pick us up and take us to, well, Chena Hot Springs. Chena is an amazing resort with tons of fun activities that was built around hot springs right in the middle of the snow. And they are not little hot springs; they are pools where you can actually swim. So we will get to swim in the hot springs surrounded by snow!
That’s also where we’ll go dog sledding, snowmobile riding, visit the ice museum (and have an appletini in an ice glass at the ice bar!) and will have the option to rent snowshoes, cross-country skis, ice skates and also optional, get on a plane that will fly us over the wilderness or a glacier! We’ll spend two days at Chena, where we’ll get a chance to do all the fun activities we want.
On Monday night we will watch the Aurora from the hot springs. Imagine watching the Northern Lights in a hot spring pool with 90 degrees water surrounded by snow!
NO, NOT THAT!
Yup, that will be us. :-)
Chena also has the Aurorium a nice warm hut with a big glass window facing north up on the mountain, which gives you a great view of the Aurora.
On Tuesday in addition to the free day and activities, at night we will hop into a snow coach, a gigantic snow vehicle that will take us to the top of a 2,600 ft. hill to watch the Aurora from there.
On Wednesday they will bring us back to Regency Fairbanks and we’ll have another free day at Fairbanks. At night 1st Alaska Outdoor School, one of the best local outfitters, will pick us up and take us to their Aurora viewing location far from the city lights. There we’ll have a warm yurt with hot drinks and we’ll be at another great location to see the Aurora.
On Thursday morning 1st Alaska will pick us up again and take us north. Way up north on the famous Dalton Highway where we will see the mighty Yukon River, the Trans-Alaskan-Pipeline and cross the Arctic Circle!
On Friday morning we’ll check out, hop in a shuttle to Fairbanks International Airport and go back home with amazing memories and photos that we’ll have for the rest of our lives. :-)
OR, if you would like to stay one more day, there will be the option to stay through one more day to go ice fishing!!!
Ice fishing will happen at night at the same time that we will be viewing the Aurora for one last time. We will be ice fishing next to a yurt where we can go warm up when it gets too cold. They also have underwater cameras where we can see under the lake and see the fish coming to bite. And we will cook and eat the fish we catch that night! That will be an amazing experience and an amazing way to finish our epic trip!
I know what you are thinking: OH MY GOD, I GOTTA DO THIS!!!! YUP; I AGREE. :-)
Detailed Planned Itinerary
March 16, Friday: Arrive in Anchorage and get shuttled to Coast International Inn for the night. Check-in is at 3:00 PM but we can arrive earlier and go explore Anchorage for a little bit. At night we can go have a drink at one of the local bars.
March 17, Saturday: We’ll get to the train station at 8:00. Our train leaves at 8:30 am to Fairbanks. Arrive in Fairbanks at 8:00 pm. Get picked up at the terminal and taken to Regency Fairbanks Hotel. If the lights are happening that night, we can call a cab to take us to a location where we can see them.
March 18, Sunday: Leisure day in Fairbanks. Relax, walk around and sightsee. My suggested activity and what I will be doing is to go check out the World Ice Art Championship (since this is optional, admission not included in the package, but it should be only around 15.00). You can come with me/us or you’re free to do whatever you want, such as sightseeing in Fairbanks, get a cab and go skiing at Ski Land or any other activity in Fairbanks. Just make sure you’re back at the hotel and ready at 10:00 PM because at that time our shuttle will pick us up and take us to Ski Land for Aurora Viewing. Back at 3:00 AM.
March 19, Monday: at 11:00 AM Chena Hot Springs Resort ’s shuttle will pick us up. We’ll arrive at Chena at around 1:00 PM. Our rooms won’t be available until around 3:00 PM, so we’ll leave our luggage in a secure room, bundle up, and go dog sledding at 2:00 PM. That takes one hour, so at 3:00 we’ll take our stuff to our rooms, get settled and have a couple of hours to get to see the place. At 5:00 pm we’ll do a guided Ice Museum tour, then have dinner and go to the Hot Springs and stay there to see the Northern Lights. Of course we can see them from wherever we want in the resort, including the Aurorum but I want to see them while laying down in a hot spring in the middle of the snow!
March 20, Tuesday: 11:00 AM Snowmobile tour. Then we have the rest of the day to enjoy the resort. We can go to the hot springs, take the Geothermal Renewable Energy Tour, go sightseeing, or do any of the optional activities*. At 9:00 PM we have the amazing Aurora Viewing Snow Coach Tour! Done at 2:00 AM.
March 21, Wednesday: At 11:00 AM take the shuttle back to Fairbanks. Arrive at Regency and have the afternoon to relax, walk around and sightsee. It will be our last free day in Fairbanks, so if you would like to go buy souvenirs, that would be a good day to do so. At 10:00 PM, 1st Alaska will pick us up to take us to see the Aurora at their yurt. Done at 3:00 am.
March 22, Thursday: At 1:00 PM we take off for our amazing Arctic Circle Tour!! Back at 4:00 AM. I know, long day! But you don’t even feel it; we’ll be in a nice comfortable coach going through beautiful scenery and stopping at different amazing places like the Yukon River until we reach the Arctic Circle. When we arrive at the Arctic Circle we’ll get off, have some hot chocolate, take pictures at the sign (hopefully with the Aurora right on top of us!) and head back.
March 23, Friday: Check out, get shuttled to the airport and fly back to LA after one of the most amazing experiences in our lives. It will be hard to get back to work! :-)
OPTIONAL ICE FISHING EXTENSION
March 23, Friday: We have the day free in Fairbanks and get picked up at 8:00 pm to go ice fishing on a frozen lake. We will drive on the frozen lake until we reach the yurt that is set up permanently during the winter in the middle of the lake. We’ll make our holes in the ice, cast our lines and ice fish while watching the Aurora on our last night
March 24, Saturday: Check out, get transferred to the airport and fly back to L.A.
*Optional Activities at Chena Hot Springs (not included in the package price):
- Kennel Tour at 3 PM daily: $ 20 per person. Can be booked at Chena.
- Geothermal Energy Tour: free
- Cross-country ski, snowshoe or ice skate rental: $25 per item per day.
- Flightseeing tours: 30 minute -$99 per person. 4 hours -$440 per person. If you would like to do a flightseeing tour, please call Chena Hot Springs in advance to book it.
PRICE and PAYMENT TERMS
- The price is U$2,095.00 (I know. A steal. That’s how much companies charge for a four-day tour that only takes you to one place…)
- A deposit of 500.00 (non-refundable) secures your spot. Then you have until December 16 to finish making your payment.
- Ice Fishing Extension: 360.00, including one more night at Regency Fairbanks and one more Northern Light Tour.
- If you make payments or pay in full before the due date your payments (minus deposits) are refundable before the due date (December 15). After that, all payments are entirely non-refundable. We STRONGLY suggest that you get travel insurance to cover you in case you need to cancel your trip for any reason.
- All the hotel stays at double occupancy (please see ABOUT OCCUPANCY below)
- Alaskan Railroad ticket from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
- All transportation to our scheduled activities in Alaska as well as to and from terminals to hotels while with the group (if you do your own activity, obviously that’s not included).
- Continental Breakfast at all hotels except Chena.
- Activities at Chena Hot Springs: soaking and swimming in the hot springs, ice museum tour, geothermal energy tour, dog sledding, snowmobile and snow coach.
- Admission to Ski Land to see the Aurora.
- Travel insurance (I STRONGLY suggest you get travel insurance).
- Meals unless specifically stated
- Tips for drivers, staff, etc.
- Kennel tour, rentals at Chena (skis, ice skates, etc.) or any other activity other than soaking in the hot springs, ice museum tour, geothermal energy tour, dog sledding, snowmobile and snow coach.
- Double occupancy: we will pair you up with someone of the same gender. Unless you sign up with someone, of course.
- For single occupancy (your own room at all hotels), add 695.00
- The last people to RSVP and pay the deposit MAY have to be put in triple occupancy rooms if we end up with an odd number of men or women.
I’m not setting a deadline. HOWEVER, the time we’re going is extremely popular and they expect to have everything sold out very soon. Again, we have 10 spots reserved right now. We will add up to 10 more if needed, but it will probably cost more. The last time I did this trip, it sold out in less than one month. Once that happens, the trip is closed. Done. No more! I STRONGLY recommend that you put your deposit down ASAP. If you are not 100% sure you will be able to take the time off work, etc, sign up and get insurance that covers you in case you can’t come for work reasons. This way I can reserve your place and you are in. For every trip I do there are people who come in too late because they kept thinking about it too much. Life does not wait for you if you hesitate. This is a trip that you will remember for the rest of your life. SEEING THE NORTHERN FREAKING LIGHTS!! So jump in right now!!!! :-)
Flight is NOT included. Flights are very easy to book on your own and some people want to do side trips, so it gets really unpractical to include flight. Besides many of you can use miles or other ways of making your flight free or saving money if you book it by yourself. So instead of including air, I will suggest the flights so you can go to Kayak.com, Cheapoaire.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, or any booking website and book your own. The best time to book a flight is usually 3-4 months before (the best day is Tuesday and the best time is between 12:00 and 3:00 PM). I will book mine at that point and then will email the group telling you what I got. If you do book the flight I suggest from LA, we’ll meet at LAX. If not, I’ll just meet you in there. Shuttle to the hotel is included regardless so long as you arrive on the same day as the group.
- Arrives in Anchorage at any time on March 16. Your hotel room will be available at 3:00 PM.
- If you are not doing the ice diving or ice fishing extension: Leaves Fairbanks (NOT ANCHORAGE) on Friday, March 23 at any time.
- If you are doing the ice fishing extension: Leaves Fairbanks (NOT ANCHORAGE) on Saturday, March 24 at any time.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY STATEMENT
Itinerary and some locations are subject to changes because of weather. Whenever we make a change in the itinerary, we will do our best to keep the integrity of the trip. For example, we might have to change a location in which we will watch the Northern Lights, but will do our best to still see them from the safest place to get to.
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