Why go to Ilulissat?
Stunningly beautiful icebergs from Jakobshavn Glacier surround this off the beaten path destination
Do not try to make friends with the local sled dogs -- they are bred to work, not socialize and are not friendly
You might visit to see the icebergs, but Ilulissat offers much more including shopping, history and art
Ilulissat Cruise Port Facilities?
Everything is a few minute's walk from the dock -- souvenir shops, hotels, museums, the bank, you name it.
Good to Know?
The sled dogs. They may look like pets, but these dogs are used to pull sleds in Greenland and are bred to work, not to be your best friend. You'll see them by the dozen, snoozing in front of practically every house. By law, they have to be tied up. Even so, if you get too close, they growl and snap at you. Beware of the really cute puppies. They can run free until they are five months old, and they may or may not be the friendly type.
Mosquitoes. Don't let all that ice fool you. Mosquitoes thrive in Greenland, particularly in July and August. Bring your bug spray and keep covered up.
This is a really small place. Walking is the best, easiest and fastest way to get around. You can circle the whole of Ilulissat in 25 minutes or less. Get a map from the ship or stop by just about any shop and ask for one. Most of the places you're likely to go are marked on the map. You don't need a street address, and you can't get lost.
Yes, there are taxis and occasional van-type buses if you can communicate with drivers who probably don't speak English, and if you have Danish money to pay the fare. Bus fare is 10 DKK (about $2).
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The official currency is the Danish krone (DKK), about 5.5 to the U.S. dollar. Check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for current rates. There is an ATM at the Bank of Greenland, open weekdays 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Good news: Many restaurants and shops take Visa and Mastercard. Bad news: Most add a 5-percent service fee for credit card purchases. It's a good idea to carry some cash. Euros are generally okay. U.S. dollars are rarely accepted.
Greenlandic, an Inuit dialect, and Danish are the official languages. Some children learn English in school, and resident Danes usually speak English. Don't count on being understood if you stop someone on the road. Go to one of the souvenir shops instead. Greenlandic is said to be one of the hardest languages to learn. You can practice by saying "kutaa" (KO'-daa) for "hello."
Where You're Docked?
Ships anchor outside the main harbor where there's a good chance of being right next to an iceberg. The inner harbor is filled with small fishing boats, and your ship's tenders or Zodiacs must travel at slower-than-normal speeds while taking passengers ashore. From the dock, it's a fairly short climb up the wooden stairs to reach town.