11 Days
Physical Rating
Group Size

Svalbard: Trip Full

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15 – 25 May, 2017

May in Svalbard is an ice lover’s dream. On our expedition you will have a chance to photograph one of the last great Arctic frontiers on earth under the cover of ice and snow – the landscape and wildlife of the Svalbard Archipelago. Because of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, Svalbard has an arctic climate that significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. Here lives the mighty polar bear, or Isbjörn (“ice bear“) as it is known, and they will be our main focus during the expedition.

(Please contact us at: info@focusexpeditions.com for future Svalbard expeditions. Ask us about family/group customized trips)


ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE LOCATION Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Accommodation for 10 nights in twin/single share room basis
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
Assistance on arrival and departure at each destination
Longyearbyen snowmobile excursion
Zodiac excursions
Certified bear guard
Two Focus Expeditions trip leaders
Any expenses of a personal nature such as telephone calls, beverages, liquor and wines, etc.*
International airfare
Tips and gratuities
Travel insurance
*Beverages including liquor can be purchased in USD on the ship at the bar.

Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.


Day 1, May 15th: Arrive to Spitsbergen

We arrive in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, before transferring to our hotel. Overnight stay at BaseCamp Spitsbergen, where meals are on your own.

Day 2, May 16th: Exploring Longyearbyen

After breakfast, we begin exploring the island and its inhabitants by snowmobile. Overnight stay at BaseCamp Spitsbergen, where meals are on your own.

Day 3, May 17th: Adventfjorden

After our last breakfast on shore and some relaxing time to wander around the community of Longyearbyen, we board the M/S Origo and depart the Adventfjorden at approximately 16:00. Breakfast, dinner and overnight stay on the M/S Origo is included, while for lunch we are on our own. Our ocean expedition begins now!

Day 4-10, May 18th -24th: Svalbard Archipelago

The next seven days are dedicated to exploring the Svalbard Archipelago in search of the ice bear and other northern wildlife. We will photograph towering glaciers and sea ice in many shapes and forms. Because we chartered the entire ship, we are free to go where the light and ice take us and linger as long as we like to capture the magical light available to us for arctic photography. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight stay are included on board the M/S Origo.

Day 11, May 25th: Return to Longyearbyen

We enjoy breakfast on the ship before disembarking in Longyearbyen in the morning. We transfer to the airport in Longyearbyen to connect to our outbound flights home. Please book your flight out of Longyearbyen no earlier than noon.

Click a letter on the map to show the sidebar and see the highlights of that location.



“There is a magic about the Arctic that is difficult to describe …even for me having lived in the far north for more than two decades. You have to experience it for yourself. Svalbard is one of the best places to do so.”



“Ice is a photographer’s dream. Polar bears are the ultimate predator – top of the land- bearing food chain. Light is the one element that makes a photograph become a piece of art. Svalbard has all three of these combined that make this trip one of my favorite places in the world to photograph. This expedition is the ultimate adventure and a chance to see the mighty polar bear in his natural and magical habitat.”


Tour Reviews

4.88 based on 8 reviews
June 12, 2017

Svalbard May 2017 12 guests, 8 crew
This journey was our most unique – EVER!. We are 70+years, so that’s saying something!. Last year we took an unforgettable trip to KENYA with Focus Expeditions.. THAT WAS AWESOME.. BUT this trip of opposite culture, climate, flora, fauna, transportation, and geography was so very unique and enriching..
Jami and Theo covered every traveler’s needs professionally and personally. The on site sea and landplanning was precise.
Theo and Jami each gave a photo mini-seminar on board during down (travel) time.
Jami and Theo had interviewed and chose VERY experienced Norwegian guides. Jens and Audun were genuine, knowledgeable, professional, accommodating and great humored. Every guest always felt safe.. The captain and crew of the retired ice breaker lead us on treks, zodiac exploration and snowmobiling..
We can’t forget our chef! Gourmet – for sure! Great humor – certainly. Clean – YES. Roger fixes ANY mechanical issue and then some.
The breathtaking photos that have been posted on FaceBook are telling. There is no where else on earth this could happen. Polar bears, seals, walrus, Arctic hare, Svalbard reindeer, beluga whales! yep all these were easily photographed. WRITE me if you’d like! with questions. We extended 3 night stay in OSLO; also gorgeous, active, easily walked- on our own. KLM – great airline!

June 14, 2017

The expedition was extremely well planned and executed. I had loads of questions in the run up to the trip, ranging from accessibility to photography gear, which the expedition leaders Jami and Theo answered with a lot of patience and aplomb. Beginning with the stay at the boutique Basecamp Spitsbergen, the nice, clear day out on the snowmobiles and finally onboard the MS Origo – the experience was once-in-a-lifetime.

Jami and Theo have rich knowledge of both wildlife and photography, which makes for great learning on the expedition. Looking at Theo’s pictures from all over the world, that he walked us through as part of his presentation on the ship, is a great lesson in understanding of light and composition.

The crew on board the ship was very helpful and hospitable. The food was exceptional – a special shout out to our chef! Our bear guides, Jens and Audun, were very knowledgeable and they, along with the captain and Theo and Jami, chalked out the best plan basis the weather and ice conditions. We were able to spot a diversity of wildlife including reindeer, walrus, seal, polar fox, a variety of arctic birds and of course, the apex predator of the Arctic, the polar bear! The count was about 13, including a mother and 2 cubs in the distance. We got up close to 2 polar bears and spent a good couple of hours taking pictures of each.

Overall, I would highly recommend this expedition – the small group (12) is a huge advantage, with speed of getting into the zodiacs as well as space to do photography, both from the ship and the zodiac. We also had a diverse group that got along very well, resulting in a great time on the ship while cruising. Humour from different cultures is always awesome!

Thanks Jami and Theo for the awesome experience 🙂 If I do Svalbard again, I will do it with you guys only!

June 19, 2017

I had been looking forward to a Svalbard trip for a long time – so when I saw A chance to go with Theo, I jumped at it.

The trip was perfectly planned by Theo and Jami – they were very patient in answering the numerous questions I had prior to the trip and guided the whole group expertly.

The expedition itself was with just the right size of people – 12 on a ship which could have easily accommodated more. Because of the small group, frequent zodiac trips were not a problem at all. Most of the times, the zodiac excursions get you the best images because of the low angle and the approach flexibility. Having a small group and expert guiding from the two Norwegian guides (Jens and Audun) who had been picked by Jami and Theo, was the key to our success in getting good images and having some wonderful sightings of polar bears, walruses, bearded seals and belugas.

Theo also held a workshop on photography during the expedition – I had attended it earlier but it is wonderful to hear Theo’s insights into light and composition.

More than anything else, Theo and Jami are really nice and warm – it was great to get to know them! The expedition was an added bonus.

I am already planning more trips with Theo and Jami 🙂

Nikhil Nagle

June 19, 2017

This expedition was very well planned and I loved each and everyone in the group. Svalbard is unbelievably beautiful and we managed to see polar bears, walrus, seals, balugas and much more. Thank you Theo and Jami for such a wonderful experience and there can be no comparisons. It is a 5 star trip – I accidentally clicked 4 stars and don’t know how to change to 5 stars. Sorry!!!

June 20, 2017

Not knowing what to expect in such a remote area of the Svalbard archipelago I was consumed with the beauty of the Islands, Fiords and wildlife. This region is not for the faint of heart YET Theo and Jami put together a once in a lifetime safe experience for those desiring to photograph the beauty of this small area of our planet.

I consider myself an amateur photographer always eager to learn from experienced professionals. Both Theo and Jami are willing to both teach and critique which made this trip even better then one could expect. The guides, chef and crew were experienced and catered to all our needs. The food was gourmet considering where we were.

Lastly, this is the second trip in 10 months spent with Focus Expeditions, the other being Kenya. I look forward to other opportunities to be among a small group in another part of the world with them.

June 20, 2017

Another amazing excursion with Focus Expeditions to a truly surreal location to observe & photograph some of the less seen creatures of our planet. An adventure of a lifetime not to be missed.

June 24, 2017

This was our first ever photo expedition and thanks to Jami and Theo, certainly will not be our last. Focus Expeditions’ ability to structure and reach places on this planet that we never could accomplish on our own, was one of the big draws for this trip. And….our leaders and guides delivered. Before our trip began, we already had received the personal touch – as Jami met with me for lunch and put my mind at ease. She reviewed my equipment and made gear recommendations, as well as other hand holding. As for the trip, the handpicked guides of Jens and Audun was brilliant, as their knowledge of the arctic complimented Theo and Jami’s photography and nature skills.

We snowmobiled for the first time: what a great way to kick off the trip. Our boat, the M/S Origo was well matched with our goals, the crew very service oriented and quite accommodating – and the Chef kept us very well fed. We never imagined encountering our best ever lamb meal north of the arctic circle. Theo and Jami were attentive to our personal and photography needs, we definitely advanced our picture taking skills. We appreciated that you did not have to be a hard core photographer to learn from and enjoy this trip.

But best of all, our leaders and guides put us in position to experience and photograph nature and wildlife as we have never done before. Reindeer, arctic fox, seal, walrus, belugas, and most sought after – polar bear. That our zodiacs could be positioned to follow polar bear for several hours within a stones throw distance, is a testament to the skill set of those leading our group.

We highly recommend Focus Expeditions, and eagerly await our next opportunity to travel with Jami and Theo. This was our first trip with them, but God willing, will not be our last. Thank you for such an amazing and unique experience!

June 26, 2017

No words to describe this amazing adventure with a group of like minded people who also are in love with nature and the Arctic. Our guides were so much fun and filled with knowledge and answered all our questions while keeping us safe. I will most definitely be returning to this magical place with endless landscapes to fill the heart with so much gratitude for life and the people that I was fortunate enough to share each moment with. Not only did we capture wildlife memories on film or in our photographs, we also captured friendships for life. Jami and Theo are beyond wonderful people, whom I have known for about ten years. I was fortunate enough to spend time in Alaska with them many years ago and knew they were special people then and were in my heart to stay. I now feel even closer to them sharing these magical moments in Svalbard. If you get the opportunity to join Focus Expeditions on one of their unbelievable journeys, you will never forget the sights or the magic that the nature and landscapes has to offer. I love SVALBARD!! We already have discussed a reunion trip!! Thank you to the crew and Staff of the MS ORIGO. Outstanding food and cartoon drawings of our day to day events. I would recommend this expedition to anyone. Much love to all who were there.

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