Summary : Take the fastest route to Antarctica – a short flight – and enjoy your first glimpse of the continent from the air, a unique introduction to the vast and dramatic landscape that remains one of the last unspoiled regions in the world. Continue your journey on ship, where an adventure beyond your wildest imagination awaits—immense penguin rookeries, curious seals and graceful whales; amazing icescapes with possible visits to scientific bases; and breathtaking scenery with narrow waterways, glaciers, icebergs and rugged mountains. Conclude your voyage through the world’s most legendary – and exciting – passage of water, as you follow the path of historic explorers across the famed Drake Passage.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins, Air Cruise (Antarctica)
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Your journey begins in Punta Arenas, Chile. This port city is situated at the southern tip of Chile, on the north bank of the Strait of Magellan. Once a Chilean penal colony, Punta Arenas has transformed into a vibrant city offering you plenty of attractions to explore including historic sites and museums. Explore the city by day, and then meet fellow travelers for dinner later in the evening.
Board your chartered flight to Antarctica. The journey over the Drake Passage will take a few short hours, whereas ship-based travelers take two days to make the journey by sea. Your first glimpse of Antarctica comes into view shortly before the aircraft descends towards King George Island, hope for clear skies so you can appreciate the vastness of this great continent! You will have free time to photograph parts of the island and stretch your legs before joining the ship. Once aboard, you’ll enjoy your first trip in a Zodiac and begin your exploration of the Antarctic region.
You’ll get a sense that you’ve arrived on a new planet during the start of your Antarctic voyage, as the pristine nature and dramatic environments are like nothing else on earth. From the vessel, watch as whales swim and feed in the nutrient-rich waters and spot penguins porpoising in the water and jumping aboard ice floes. Just as amazing as the wildlife are the towering snow-covered mountains and massive glaciers of the Peninsula, which will be your playground for the next few days.
Every Zodiac excursion and landing presents new sights, sounds and smells. Some landings may be as relaxing as sitting on a beach, taking photographs of curious gentoo penguins. Other landings may provide exhilarating panoramic views of the Antarctic continent by hiking atop a hill. Perhaps catch a calving glacier crumbling into the sea at Petermann Island, or take a Zodiac cruise in search of fur and elephant seals around Pléneau Island.
Even common travel experiences like mailing a postcard take on an extra level of excitement in Antarctica. While weather and sea conditions determine which landings we can make, your Expedition Team will ensure that each day of your Antarctic adventure leaves a lasting impression.
A rite of passage for any Antarctic adventurer, the Drake signals the end of your journey. No matter the sea conditions, you will benefit from having developed your sea legs over the course of the previous four days.The Expedition Team will be available on deck and on the ship’s bridge to help you spot the majestic wandering albatross and a number of whale species, such as minke and humpback.
After chatting with fellow passengers and reminiscing about the previous days, listen to the Expedition Team conclude their series of engaging presentations on subjects such as marine biology, polar history and glaciology.
After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew as you disembark in Ushuaia. Transfer to your included hotel to check in and then you’ll have a chance to explore the town on your own to shop, sight see and sample some Argentinian wine and cuisine.
Make your own way to the airport for departure, or extend your stay in Ushuaia.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Sea Kayaking Option:
Not included in cruise rate. Must be pre-booked prior to the departure. Taken in small groups of 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Minimum age 16 years. It is recommended you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Snowshoeing Option: 12/28/2016 only
Included in cruise rate. Anyone can take part, no previous experience necessary. Snowshoes available free of charge for excursions when conditions permit.
Every effort will be made to ensure the program takes place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and on rare occasions not possible. For this reason, we strongly recommend that all expedition travelers purchase a travel insurance policy including trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance. In the unlikely event that the charter flight is unable to fly by 1159hrs on Day 3 due to weather delays, an additional hotel night in Punta Arenas will be provided, and the voyage will be officially cancelled. Letters for all passengers will be provided to submit to their travel insurance providers under the trip delay/interruption and cancellation clause. Passengers will not be offered a refund by the shipping company in the event of trip cancellation, nor will they offer passengers compensation in the event of delay. The shipping company will make every effort to assist passengers with rebooking hotels or flights, but this will be at the cost of the passengers. Passengers are advised to book changeable airlines tickets and have flexible travel arrangements upon disembarkation of the voyage in case delays arise. The shipping company and ExpeditionTrips will not be held responsible for any change/cancellations fees due to weather related delays or any other delays arising from force majeure.
Group transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to hotel on Day 1; one pre-voyage hotel night in Punta Arenas with breakfast; group transfer from hotel to airport on embarkation day; flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica and transfer to ship; group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia to hotel; one post-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia with breakfast; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; meals on board ship; photographic journal; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flight from Puntas Arenas to Antarctica; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes, Argentina's Reciprocity Fee; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except as mentioned in the included section; cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; kayaking; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only to travel between the first and last day of the expedition purchased. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.