Summary : In less than two hours of flying from Punta Arenas, Chile, arrive at Frei Station on King George Island (the largest island of the South Shetland Archipelago) where you will embark the Ocean Nova at the gates of the white continent. From King George Island you will navigate for six days and five nights along the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting the most wonderful places and enjoying the best wildlife sites of Antarctica. This trip features classic sites like Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel. With daily excursions, your naturalist team will be giving lectures to introduce and inform you about this wonderful continent. This unique experience is sure to be the trip of a lifetime!
Includes round-trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile with 6 days in Antarctica. Time spent in Antarctica is equivalent to an 11-day traditional ship cruise.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Air Cruise (Antarctica)
NEW – Parkas available for the 2017 / 2018 season.
$12,995 to $24,995
Upon arrival in the city of Punta Arenas you will be greeted by a staff member and transferred your hotel. In the afternoon, attend a briefing that provides important information about your voyage and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. Later, enjoy a welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers while enjoying regional cuisine.
Begin your Antarctic adventure with the two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island (the largest of the South Shetland Islands). Upon arrival, breathe in the clear Antarctic air and tour around the area where the Frei Chilean Base and the Bellingshausen Russian Base are located. Gather at the beach on Fildes Bay to board Zodiacs to embark your expedition vessel.
Cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Your journey southwards will include visits to some of the most magnificent spots on the white continent, which may include: Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, and the Lemaire Channel, amongst others. Your adventure will be very active, with daily landings and cruises in Zodiac boats, lectures and a very enjoyable time onboard.
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program.)
After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward flight.
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:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $50,000. 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.
Mandarin and Cantonese-Speaking Group Departures: 2/8/2018, 2/13/2018
These trips are reserved for Mandarin and/or Cantonese speaking clients traveling in a group or individually. There will be printed material in simplified Chinese, Mandarin-speaking staff onboard, and an adjusted catering program. Please inquire with ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Getting There & Getting Home:
Arrive in Punta Arenas on Day 1, no later than 3 p.m. A tight time-schedule connection with an Antarctic expedition is not recommended. Therefore, we strongly suggest that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home, and in any case not to book a flight on the same day as the return flight from Antarctica.
The 70 passenger BAE 146-200 was manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace and is equipped with 4 turbofan Honeywell engines. It is a high-wing aircraft with very short runway requirements which makes it particularly suited for this kind of destination. It is operated by Aerovías DAP, which has more than 20 years of experience of flying in Patagonia and Antarctica.
Luggage Weight Restriction:
Due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, participants in the Antarctica Fly and Cruise program can only carry 20 Kg/44 Lb of personal luggage, including carry-on. This weight restriction is enforced strictly. Note that hand luggage will be weighed as well as checked baggage. Soft-sided luggage is recommended.
Contingency Plan (2017-18):
Some departures in the past have experienced delays. Based on past experience, the estimated chance of delay is very low, in the range of 5-10%. Still, it is important that prospective participants understand that weather conditions could impact the operation. Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of airline tickets or onward travel plans.
Antarctica-bound Flight: (Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island): The group will remain in Punta Arenas while waiting for an improvement in the weather and for the opportunity to fly to Antarctica. Included are accommodations at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar, meals, and guided excursions to local attractions. If by 2 PM on Day 4 of the itinerary it is still not possible to reach Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted.Should weather delay a departure, the contingency plan detailed below will be put into operation. In the unlikely event that the flight to Antarctica cannot operate due to unfavorable conditions, whether at point of origin in Punta Arenas and/or at the destination in Antarctica, the following contingency plan applies: Between Day 1 and until 2 p.m. on Day 4, every effort will be made to transport passengers to Antarctica taking into consideration their safety and the safety of the aircraft. The daily program described below will apply: Day 2: Guided tours to sites of historic and wildlife interest in Punta Arenas will be provided. Meals are included as well as accommodation at the same hotel included on Day 1 of the itinerary.
Day 3: Guided tours to sites of historic and wildlife interest in Punta Arenas will be provided. Meals are included as well as accommodation at the same hotel included on Day 1 of the itinerary. Day 4: If by 2 p.m. the shipping company will not be able to transport passengers to Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted. Accommodation with breakfast in a 3-star hotel in Punta Arenas will be provided. No other services or meals will be included. The shipping company will refund to each passenger 100% the cruise fare paid for the expedition. Day 5: Group airport transfers are provided. No other services or meals are included.
Return Flight: (Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas)
In case the return flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas experiences a delay, passengers on board the ship will continue cruising near King George Island, until the return flight to Punta Arenas can be arranged. In such case, shipboard accommodation, full board, and all excursions will be provided at no additional charge. No refunding for whatever reason is foreseen.
Aircraft for Antarctic Flights:
The decision over which aircraft will be used for the Antarctica Fly and Cruise program is at the sole discretion of the tour operator. In case of unfavorable conditions or other circumstances beyond the tour operator’s control, either at the point of origin and/or at the destination, the tour operator reserves the right to fly different aircraft than the one described in the program information material.
Kayaking Supplement: $895 per person
Limited to 10 participants per cruise, prior kayaking experience required. Kayakers will be under the guidance and leadership of an experienced guide at all times. Minimum age for participation is 16. Space is limited, however, so be certain to book in advance. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Hiking & Snowshoeing Supplement: $195 per person (Select departures only)
Limited to 12 participants, no previous experience required. Participants will be led by an experienced mountain guide. Requires a good level of physical fitness. Minimum age for participation is 12. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details and to book in advance
Single Hotel Accommodation Supplement: $395 per person
Single travelers who book a twin cabin on a shared basis will be accommodated in single rooms at the hotel. Note: Passengers who use CPAP machines or other assistive devices, as well as those with conditions that could disturb their traveling companion cannot book on a twin-share basis.
Antarctic Flight Preferred Seating: $245 per person (one way)
Travelers can purchase preferred seats on their Antarctic flight. This option offers travelers with an extra level of comfort and a guaranteed aisle or window seat at the front of the aircraft, as well as a guaranteed middle seat. Priority boarding in Punta Arenas and an amenities kit are included. Capacity is limited to a maximum of 8 aisle seats and 8 window seats (aisle 2, 3, 4, and 5).
Additional Hotel & Transfer Package: Single – $265; Double – $165 per person; Triple – $145 per person
Includes a shared airport to hotel transfer; one night hotel accommodation at the Hotel Cabo de Hornos, Punta Arenas; breakfast; and a drink voucher. Available as a pre- or post-expedition package.
Optional Strait of Magellan Wildlife Experience: Single – $289; Double – $259 per person; Triple – $245 per person
Take advantage of your trip to the deep south of Chile, see more of Patagonia, and add another penguin species to your list. On the last day of your scheduled Air-Cruise program, transfer to the shores of the Strait of Magellan, where you will travel by motorboat to Magdalena and Marta Islands. Disembark on Magalena Island, where you will experience one of the largest colonies of Magellanic Penguins in South American – over 150,000 birds. Sail onward to Marta Island, where you can observe and photograph wildlife from the motorboat, with a chance to spot dolphins and a variety of seabirds. Total excursion time is 4.5 hours. Return to Punta Arenas in the afternoon, where you can explore the city at your leisure. Includes: one night with breakfast at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar; a transfer from the hotel to the airport on Day 2; excursion as indicated; entrance fee to the Nature Reserve ‘Los Pinguinos’; a snack during the excursion; and a Punta Arenas guidebook and map.
Round-trip flights between Punta Arenas and Frei Station, King George Island; one pre-expedition hotel night with breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on Day 1; one post-expedition hotel night with breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer from the hotel to the airport on the day of the the air-cruise program; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; complimentary wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner aboard the ship; complimentary coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccinos, water, and snacks aboard the ship throughout the expedition; guided shore excursions; onboard lectures and entertainment; comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); contingency plan (outlined below); IAATO passenger fee. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flights specified in the inclusions; visa and/or passport expenses; arrival and departure taxes, if applicable; transfers other than those offered in the program, lodging and meals other than those offered in the program; mandatory evacuation insurance; recommended travel insurance; personal expenses, such as beverages from bar; laundry service, telephone calls, use of Internet or other means of communication, etc.; gratuity to ship's crew at the end of the voyage; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ben Jackson