Summary : Take advantage of the fastest, most direct way to Antarctica: flying. A short flight takes you to the White Continent where you will enjoy all the Antarctic has to offer. Cruise south to explore some of Antarctica’s most pristine and rarely visited areas including the incredible wildlife colonies along the Antarctic Peninsula and in the South Shetland Islands. Navigate through some of the world’s most scenic waterways and attempt to land on the south of the Antarctic Circle. Take in the full Antarctic experience without having to cross the Drake Passage. Skip extra days at sea, while enjoying the beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife experiences of Antarctica.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins, Air Cruise (Antarctica)
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Begin your adventure in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in Patagonia. If arriving early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy. In the afternoon, meet your fellow travelers at the hotel, enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for embarkation day.
Cross the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours via chartered flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island. Glimpse the dramatic Antarctica landscapes from a very unique perspective, as you descend for landing in the South Shetlands. Spend some time exploring the island before transferring to the ship by Zodiac to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!
Few places in the world are as awe-inspiring as Antarctica. Much of Antarctica magnetism can only be fully appreciated with your own eye. Keep watch for whales and seabirds that populate the region. Expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history and wildlife of the region.
Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! You might experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica by walking up to a beach that is dotted with penguins and seals. Each day presents new sightings and photo opportunities. You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs in Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a chinstrap rookery the next day. From the booming shot of a calving glacier at Neko Harbour to the complete silence of night while camping (select departures only) in Antarctica, each day is full of excitement and energy. The Expedition Team will provide insights into the places you visit and offer photography tips to get the most out of your expedition.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not reach 66° 33’ S. With a champagne toast to the first explorers who ventured this far south, acknowledge their accomplishments and what it took for them to reach this part of the world. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, Weddell seals, and some of the most magical ice formations you’ll see anywhere in Antarctica.
Continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily while traveling north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Be on the lookout for penguins, seals and whales.
Disembark at King George Island. Take a three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile and transfer from the airport to your hotel. Enjoy an evening on your own, in the city or at the hotel.
Make your own way to the Punta Arenas airport for your flight home or continue on with other adventures.
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.
Luggage Weight Restrictions:
Due to the limited capacity of the aircraft, participants can only bring 15kg/33lb of checked luggage and 5kg/11lb of carry-on luggage. Weight limits are subject to change.
A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage during landings, taking advantage of the best opportunities, as kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. It is recommend that you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit.
This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in an intimate manner, and take your expedition to the next level. A camping safety briefing onboard gets you fully prepped and ready for a night sleeping under the stars. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. This popular camping option has limited availability, so book early. You will need to complete a waiver form before being considered for this Adventure Option.
Charter Flight Contingency Plan: 12/20/2017 voyage
In the rare instance where on the final day for flight attempts the flight was still not successfully completed, the shipping company has the right to cancel the trip. The shipping company reserves the right to extend the final attempt day if weather conditions are improving. If the trip is cancelled: THE SHIPPING COMPANY WILL PROVIDE A FULL REFUND FOR THE FULL CRUISE FARE AND ANY UNUSED ADVENTURE OPTIONS. No refund will be provided if the flight is successfully completed regardless of which day of the itinerary it was executed. International airfare, domestic airfare, any additional services purchased or change fees, will not be refunded by the shipping company. The shipping company will provide a trip interruption letter to be submitted by the passenger to their insurance company. The shipping company strongly recommends that all guests purchase changeable airline tickets and a travel insurance policy which includes trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance with airfare coverage. The shipping company will issue the cruise fare refund back in the same form/medium in which payment was received.
The shipping company reserves the right to send passengers on the charter plane the evening prior to the scheduled day. This may happen when they see a weather system that could cause a delay on subsequent days. For this reason, all passengers should arrive in Punta Arenas no later than 3:00pm on Day 1 for Antarctica trips.
For each day of the itinerary after Day 1, if there is a delay, all guests will be briefed by the shipping company ground staff on the flight status as you are waiting for a weather window to depart and could be required to leave with very little notice. All guests and staff will be on stand-by until approximately 14:00 hrs. During the stand-by period you must be at the airport, or at another location designated by the ground staff to be ready to go if and when a suitably long weather window becomes available. If by 14:00 hrs the flight remains delayed, you will be returned back to your respective hotels or you may choose to join additional excursions for the afternoon compliments of the shipping company which may include guided tours to sites of historic, cultural or wildlife interest. On these days, the shipping company will provide additional night(s) hotel accommodation and meals. If the trip is cancelled, the shipping company will provide a final single night of hotel accommodation. Any additional hotel nights and meals will be the responsibility of the guest. The shipping company reserves the right to make exceptions to these timing guidelines. Subject to change without notice.
Charter Flight Contingency Plan: 2018-2019 voyages
In the unlikely event that the plane is unable to depart on the planned date of the charter flight, you will be provided with a night of hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas, meals included. You may be required to be on standby and remain close to the hotel, as a weather window may open with very little notice. If the weather is not suitable on Day 3, 4, or 5, you will enjoy an additional night’s accommodation and meals in Punta Arenas. On Day 6, should the charter flight not be able to take off by 2 pm, the shipping company will officially cancel the voyage and provide letters for all clients to submit to their travel insurance providers under the trip delay/interruption and cancellation clause. The shipping company will make every effort to ensure your program takes place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and is beyond our control. The shipping company will offer passengers a refund in the event of a trip delay or cancellation as a result of the charter flight being unable to depart as planned. It is strongly recommended that all expedition guests purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy, including trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance, in addition to the required medical coverage. Please note that international airfare may not be covered by insurance in the event of a cancellation.
Group transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1 of the itinerary; one night pre-expedition hotel in Punta Arenas with breakfast; group transfer from hotel to Punta Arenas airport on embarkation day; return flights between Punta Arenas and King George Island; group transfer from Punta Arenas airport to hotel on disembarkation day; one night post-expedition hotel with breakfast in Punta Arenas; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board ship; shore landings and Zodiac cruising per daily program; photographic journal; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; parka to keep; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person; house wine, non-premium domestic beer and soft drinks during dinner aboard ship (2018-2019 only); gratuities (2018-2019 only) Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare except flights mentioned as included; transfer from hotel to airport at the end of the expedition; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore except those mentioned as included; kayaking and camping; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except for ones mentioned as included; baggage, 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 (2017 only); fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, 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.