Whales, Glaciers & Photography: Lead Photo Safaris as a Guide in Alaska
Juneau's Premier Whale Watching & Hiking Company
As Juneau’s premier guiding company, Gastineau Guiding strives to deliver Juneau’s best fully guided outdoor experiences. We offer a variety of specialty whale watching and hiking tours that bring our guests off the ships and onto the trails as they explore Juneau’s abundant natural landscape. Now celebrating 25 years as a locally owned and operated company!
Alaska's beautiful capital city, Juneau is where the oceans meet the mountains to create a magnificent outdoor playground for visitors and locals, alike.
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About Gastineau Guiding Company
Founded by locals, run by locals, all in the name of making the local experience accessible - that's what we're about. We are not a company of scripts or unwavering planning: our guides and staff lead tours that cater to their expertise and interest. We help them achieve that passion through Juneau's most rigorous 100+ hour Naturalist Guide training program. We pride ourselves on being the team that can mix factually accurate science, photography and natural history with a whole lot of fun, all in the name of providing our guests with the Safety, Service and Sense of Wonder that has become Gastineau Guiding’s quality signature.
The Employee Experience
Gastineau Guiding was founded on the idea that people genuinely want to learn and have fun while being outside in Alaska. We expect our employees to want to do so on their own time just as much as at work. For that reason, we believe in a work-life balance - even amidst the chaos that seasonal work can sometimes be. If you want to work seasonally because it means memorizing a script and then hitting the ground running for 65+ hours a week, then we're not the right fit for you. We want our staff to be well fed and well rested because that's when natural curiosity thrives. We demand passion because we don't want to tell you what to be passionate about. We demand honesty because we genuinely want to make this the best environment for every person who works here. And we demand fun because....well, because we work with people on vacation. It should be fun!
For an unbiased look at working at Gastineau Guiding, check out our guide-generated videos on Vimeo: "GGC Summer 2 Second Video" (a guide's summer in 2 seconds a day) OR our EOY (end of year) slideshows.
All Gastineau Guiding tours are fully-guided, small group experiences, taking guests off the beaten track to places most other companies don’t go. Small groups of anywhere from 6-20 guests means more communication, more personal attention, and more time off the bus and on the trails and waterways. This is why our employees aren’t just guides, they’re naturalist interpreters. We’re looking for strong communicators who can maintain a professional attitude and appearance while sharing their knowledge and passion for the natural history of Southeast Alaska. Our tours operate in all weather conditions on the trails and on the water, so the ideal candidate is also comfortable on a boat and in rain pants (hello, Temperate Rainforest home!).
Gastineau Guiding proves extensive training beginning mid-April, with seasons coming to a close in late September. Full season availability is not required but preferred.
Room and Board
Gastineau Guiding does not provide employee housing, but we're still small enough to have our managers assist in helping you find it.
In general, company-sponsored employee housing is very uncommon in Juneau; however, Juneau does have two seasonal economies: State Government Legislative Session (January - April of each year) and Tourism (April/May - October). Seasonal housing is abundant due to these complimentary industries - but we still emphasize to any interested party that moving is always a lot of work and requires some financial planning. We do our best to summarize helpful information regarding housing, ferry schedules & getting around Juneau, but individuals should still expect to have to plan 2-3 months in advance to make a comfortable and successful move to Alaska.
Gastineau Guiding offers an End of Season bonus, as well as a variety of other employee incentive programs related to tour performance and feedback. More information is provided during the interview process.
Separately, we have various outdoor gear pro deals (North Face, OR, etc) and local business partnerships that vary from year to year. Things like gym discounts, local health care discounts, or restaurant promotions are common.
Getting Here and Getting Around
While you can't drive to Juneau - on account of being landlocked by an ice field the size of Rhode Island - it is still a surprisingly spread out community with relatively poor public transportation. Cars are recommended as they allow you to discover some of the trail systems farther 'out the road,' but a biking lifestyle is totally doable too. You just have to commit to biking to work in the rain.
Our offices are located right in Downtown Juneau, but the geographical complexities of the many Juneau neighborhoods are too numerous to name here. Rest assured, constructing a realistic Juneau transportation plan based on an individual's needs is one of the first interview steps.
Juneau is where the sea meets the land: where big mountain tops plunge dramatically into the Pacific Ocean and so people build their houses into the mountainside. We have more trails than roads, our "state highway" is a ferry route and you're more likely to see Carhartts and Xtratuffs than slacks and dress shoes. For this writer, Juneau is outdoor living at it's finest: just a 5-15 minute drive from my front door in any of four different directions can have me nestled in mountain valleys with established trail systems and no cell phone reception (though honestly there are plenty of trail systems with great cell reception, too, if that's your thing).
But don't be fooled - it's not all remote country living here: Juneau was ranked #8 in the top ten most "arts vibrant" small communities in the US by the National Center for Arts Research. We've got a symphony, two operatic companies, a nationally awarded local theater, a requisite art house theater and a variety of annual festivals and events (I'm looking at you, Folk Fest). We also have a shockingly high number of restaurants per capita, with a growing reputation as a "Foodie's Paradise" (according to the Washington Post, Vogue and Thrillist.com) thanks to our growing locavore movement. Plus, we're the central transportation hub for Southeast Alaska, meaning that it's easy to fly or ferry in and out.