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Watch brown bears in Finland

Price:
From £849 (4 days) including UK flights
From £495 excluding flights. Prices based on 2 adults sharing.
Vouchers: accepted
Dates:
2015: 22 May, 29 May, 26 Jun, 24 Jul, 7 Aug
Reviews:
5 reviews3.5 star rating
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Watch brown bears in Finland

Watch brown bears in Finland

Responsible travel: Watch brown bears in Finland

The aim of this tour is to witness the endangered Brown Bear in its natural environment without creating any impact. We travel to a remote wilderness area in Finland where local experts take us on guided nature walks so we can learn about the bears and their habitat. All accommodation and transport is locally owned and run on this low impact, wildlife specific tour. A portion of the money we pay to stay in the bear hides goes towards the national park and the protection of the bears and their natural habitat.

Our Tour Leaders are all trained by us in the importance of responsible tourism with guidance given on how they can make a difference. This then percolates down through those they deal with.

As well as the above, we support a variety of charities and projects worldwide which support vulnerable communities and habitats including Friends of Conservation, Hope Worldwide and Send A Cow. We are also actively engaged with UK travel industry bodies which promote best practice in responsible tourism, such as Tourism Concern, The Travel Foundation and AITO. Our commitment to responsible tourism is not limited to our overseas operation and we have measures to ensure our UK office operates according to our responsible tourism policy. Carbon offsets for all flights booked with us are included in the tour cost.

The story of the provider of Watch brown bears in Finland

This small group operator is just celebrating its 30th year and was originally set up to enrich people’s lives through adventure travel. The directors have roots in overland trucking and are determined to keep a pioneering spirit alive. They believe what sets them apart is the strong relationships they’ve developed with local suppliers and tour guides over the years. A tour leader who thinks creatively can turn a good experience into a fantastic one and open up a place so that travellers gain insight into a completely different way of life. They operate in many different countries and try to avoid a blanket approach – their aim is to get customers involved in the projects they visit and to forge lifelong friendships.

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Watch brown bears in Finland

You can trust responsibletravel.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.


5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed 05 Jun 2013 by Anne Higgins4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being in a bear hide and seeing the Brown Bears

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Good long weekend trip with our tour guide being excellent. Small group tour with seven in thegroup.

Make sure you take shorts and tee-shirt as very hot, even in May/ June. Mossi bite so need a good spray and sun cream in you go on the lake.

Tea and coffee on tap and food Is excellent but basic.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Small local hotel using local people.

Good awareness for care of the Bears and wolverines.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent

Reviewed 19 Jul 2013 by Rosemary Dunk3 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


As the trip was specifically to watch brown bears, the most exciting moment was when a brown bear came into view after a wait of 9.5 hours in the hide, when we were beginning to feel pessimistic about seeing one.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The accommodation is simple but comfortable and the food is good. Sabrina, our guide, was excellent and did her utmost to ensure we had an enjoyable time. Be prepared to spend 14.5 hours in the hide (from 5pm to 7am). We took the moose safari but saw no moose or reindeer but a lovely sunset.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday obviously benefited the local people who got employment from it and I hope that the interest in wildlife supports conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A very enjoyable holiday which would have been wonderful if we had seen more wildlife (eg moose, wolf) but obviously they don't appear to order and at least we saw a bear!

Reviewed 02 Jul 2013 by Paul Butler2 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Spending the night in the hide. Great views of several bird species and then a sighting of a single female brown bear. The hide was well constructed, comfortable and better than others I have spent time in.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The hotel accommodation is very simple. The rooms were sparsely provisions and very hot with no fan. The curtains were very thin and did not block out the 24- hours a day bright skys making sleep difficult. There was no choice of food and it was adequate at best. I would rate the accommodation from poor to adequate

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not really.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


OK, not as good as the Bear Watching Tour of Finland I did the previous year with another operator.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the above holiday, forwarded to us by responsibletravel.com.

We are pleased that you enjoyed spending the night in the hide and it’s great that you sighted a female bear, I hope you managed to get some good photos.

We are sorry you were disappointed with the hotel accommodation. We do warn of the very basic standards to be encountered on this trip in our Tour Notes. We describe our simple accommodation as a “no frills experience with adequate amenities and service standards”. Our aim is to stay at small, locally owned establishments, not only to allow greater contact and insight into the areas being visited, but also to try and be of greater assistance to the local economy.

I hope you’ve got some fond memories of your time in Finland, and that you might choose to travel with us again in the not too distant future.

Reviewed 10 Jul 2012 by Angela Coombs4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It would have to be actually seeing the brown bears and wildlife - all as promised.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for mosquitoes and fluctuating temperatures in this beautiful unspoilt landscape.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Certainly supporting conservation and to some extent benefitting local people through tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Really great what you can do in a couple of days. Exciting and also very relaxing - you really do ' get away from it all'.

Reviewed 10 Aug 2009 by Cathy Seymour4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It is difficult to isolate one part as each bit was interesting. This was my first trip with this operator. The company, we were a group of 7. There was space to be alone and to be together. A good balance. Seeing the bears was breathtaking. 3 hours between sunset and sun rise. Walking through an area where very few people go. Stopping and making a fire for a brew. A wood sauna and swimming in the lake. Our guide was brilliant, answering our questions and asking us some too.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Check on the transfer times. We had a long wait on transfer.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I hope so. It was a very small community. We had local food, cooked fresh on site. We had a local driver

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a fabulous experience. Despite being in a "wild" environment I felt safe, because of the company of the other travellers, the care our guide and the hotel staff.
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Small group holidays

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?

Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.

Who is it ideal for?

Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.

Mythbuster

“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.

Meet a group Leader

As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide

No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
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