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“Beautiful Area” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aurora Village

Aurora Village
Aurora Lake, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2P4 , Canada
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Ranked #6 of 35 things to do in Yellowknife
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Calgary, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Beautiful Area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

This was a great place. We went for two of our four nights and had a great time. They had staff to help you get the best pictures. Each group was assigned a guide and if you were inside and the aurora's were becoming active someone came and told you. We were there towards the end of the season so it wasn't as busy, I think they can have about 200 people there. Our guide Yuko was very friendly and helpful and spoke in English and Japanese to our group. I had contacted them a couple of months before our arrival by email to place our booking and received a response in English confirming our dates. They also asked if we needed to rent winter clothing. The teepees are cool but can get cold with people coming and going, to really get warm go to the dining hall. They offer soup and hot drinks in the dining hall to help warm you up too. It wasn't great food but nice to have something, the next night I took a couple protien bars. They have lights along the paths which is good and bad. It's good to help you see where you are going but you end up with the lights in most pictures. Some area's don't have a lot of lights, you should really have a flashlight with you. A flashlight also helps when you want to change settings on your camera.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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164 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Absent communication”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

I understood from other reviews that this outfit cater mainly to Japanese tourists. However their website is professionally written, in English, so one would assume that they do also want the business of English speaking tourists.

Well for us that certainly was not the case. Several emails to both the email addresses on their website resulted in complete silence from them. When we arrived in Yellowknife and enquired in the tourist office, we were told their would be no chance at all of getting onto one of their tours, because they are so busy, unless we "knew someone who could pull strings".

It would seem that when they can generate enough business from Japanese tour groups they are happy to rely on this. It is extremely discourteous of this company to market themselves in English and then completely ignore emails in English.

In the event we booked an aurora viewing tour with another, smaller operator, and had a fantastic time.

We did speak to someone who managed to get to the Aurora Village and said that they were treated well despite the lack of English skills of the staff. Alas we were not afforded that opportunity.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leonia, NJ
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Laurie and Luz-Marina experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Very professional - a lot of fun in our heated teepees. They make sure ot assign you a guide in your languate. Amy was amazing and gave us great photography tips. The soup, banna and maple butter were delicious. Thanks Amy!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“well organized, lots of fun, awesome aurora”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

My husband organized this trip and he was told upfront that Japanese is the first language at the Aurora Village. Initially, he didn't get email responses from them right away but when Ami took over with the responses, everything went smoothly since she speaks English.
We stayed at Yellowknife Inn for 2 nights and used the hotel's airport shuttle instead of Aurora Village's since my husband was not aware that it was available through them. It worked out fine anyway since there were less people with the hotel shuttle. On our way back to the airport, the hotel arranged for a taxi and gave us a voucher to use since the hotel shuttle was cancelled for the 445am Sunday trip.
The winter gear we rented was great for the cold weather. Our first night was -32oC, with wind chill in the -40 range. My boots were too big (I'm normally a size 7 so I guess I should've ordered a size 6) so I wore my own boots the first night. Aurora Village brought a pair of size 6 boots for my second night.
There were around 200 Japanese tourists and about five of us non-Japanese on our first night. But as mentioned by another traveler, Aurora Village is huge anyway so you won't feel it's crowded. Ami was our tour guide for both nights so we had no issues with communication. She's organized, accommodating and answered all our questions. She was the one who took care of my boot size (and later, mittens) issue.
Groups are assigned to their own teepee which has a fireplace and hot drinks. The dining hall serves soup and bannock and also has regular flush toilets.
The heated seats look like bumper cars for 2 and are not really heated.
During our trip, there was a guest Japanese professor who monitored some sensors and was able to tell us if there was an aurora right at that moment, in 10 minutes or an hour away. He speaks English and is very friendly. I love it when he said "explosion, whole sky" and I stepped out of the gift shop to see the whole sky alight with aurora.
We were extremely lucky to experience a level 5 aurora on our first night. We only brought a point-and-shoot (Lumix) camera and our tripod. We set it to 'starry night' mode with a 30 second exposure and did manage to capture the aurora (although we had to change the exposure afterwards via computer otherwise it was all black). But most of the time we just looked with our own eyes since cameras couldn't capture the whole sky or the details - when thin bars of green with pink ends make the curtain 'move' and ripple as if someone was playing the piano.
all in all it was a great experience. the aurora village is a comfortable place for this. although i wondered if bringing a winter-ready sleeping bag would've helped keep the cold out and allowed us to lie on the frozen lake to look up at the spectacle.
the day time activities were a lot of fun too. we did the dog-mushing and snowshoeing as well as the snow slide/tube. we were the first in line for the dog-mushing since we were going to do the snowshoeing as well.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Professional, friendly and excellent set-up”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

A very professional, highly organized operation who take you to their dedicated site around 30km from Yellowknife. While they take many guests (around 200 the night of my visit), the site is large, they assign you to a small group that has a dedicated, heated teepee and the area does not feel crowded. I

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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