Summary : This epic expedition takes you through the isolated Falkland Islands and stunning South Georgia before experiencing the great continent of Antarctica. Look forward to an expedition of a lifetime – go ashore on isolated beaches to encounter incredible wildlife in haunting landscapes, take kayak trips in untouched waters with icebergs floating by, or spend a night in a tent under the stars. The overwhelming power of nature and teeming wildlife, thriving despite the extremes of temperature, will leave you speechless, creating everlasting memories to take home. Starting in Buenos Aires, you will have the opportunity to discover the 'Paris of South America' before embarking on your expedition vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost town. From there, you will chart a course through the scenic Beagle Channel and cross open sea before you reach the Falkland Islands, with its seamless horizons, vast open spaces, stunning white sand beaches and wildlife, like penguins and albatrosses. Sail onward into the mountainous Drygalski Fjord at the southern end of South Georgia – a world-renowned wildlife destination. Your expedition culminates on the Antarctic Peninsula, where you will have the opportunity to visit highlights like Whalers' Bay, Half Moon Island, and Brown Bluff.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
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Your expedition starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Today you will have the chance to explore the city on your own or join an optional city tour excursion. Spend the evening at your leisure discovering the 'Paris of South America'. Enjoy an included overnight stay in the capital city.
Start your day with an included breakfast at the hotel before meeting your included transfer to the airport for an included flight to Ushuaia. Your included transfer in Ushuaia will be waiting to take you to the ship for an evening embarkation. When you arrive in Ushuaia, you may choose to join an optional Tierra del Fuego National Park excursion.
Today you will cross the open sea en route to the Falkland Islands.
The Falklands Islands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature, and offer fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and stunning white beaches. Here the sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross and rockhopper, king, and macaroni penguins, while predatory striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese forage at the water’s edge. In the Falklands, penguins waddle close to take a look at you, then continue on their way, giving you some great photo opportunities! Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, makes a wonderful starting point for the various excursions offered in the area. The town is easy to navigate on foot, as most shops and services are centrally located.
Spend two days cruising southward to beautiful South Georgia. En route you can participate in a number of presentations about the area’s wildlife, as well as whaling and polar history. Your expedition team is well-versed in every facet of South Georgia, from its geology and glaciology to the mating rituals of the sooty albatross and the legends of the Norwegian whalers. Look forward to hearing fascinating stories about Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men of the ill-fated Endurance and their amazing feats of bravery.
On this expedition, you will have ample time to explore the unique beauty and wildlife of South Georgia. The rich history of exploration and whaling lends a great backdrop to its rugged scenery with glaciers and bustling wildlife. It is known as the 'Serengeti of the Southern Ocean', and is a favored place for wildlife photographers. South Georgia’s unique position inside the Antarctic ecosystem – yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice – makes it home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. You will plan to visit Fortuna Bay and some of South Georgia’s abandoned whaling stations. During your stay here, you will see elephant seals lounge on the sand, fur seal pups race in and out of the water, albatross soar overhead, and king penguins in the thousands. Another highlight is exploring Gold Harbor. Enjoy the sight of hanging glaciers and cliffs, the lagoons, and a large king penguin colony. You will also see a whaling museum, the Norwegian seaman’s church, and the tiny graveyard where you can pay your respects to the great Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. South Georgia offers some good hiking options, including walking the last part of the route that Shackleton took on his brave journey across the island’s rugged mountains to find help for the 22 men left on the isolated Elephant Island.
As you continue towards Antarctica you can learn more about the wonders of the 'deep south' – focusing on the history, environment, and wildlife of Antarctica. You will cruise by Washington Strait and Coronation Island before setting course towards Elephant Island and Antarctica.
Antarctica is different from anything else you will ever experience! Once you have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you will start feeling the air getting crisper and colder. You will begin to see Antarctic penguins in the water, and don’t forget to be on the lookout for the first iceberg!
Among the highlights you might visit during your days in Antarctica is Deception Island, one of the South Shetlands and a distinctive ring-shaped volcanic caldera. This is one of the few places in Antarctica where you can take your backpacks and hike. Being on an active volcano in Antarctica is hardly an everyday experience! Other places you might visit are Half Moon Island, considered a jewel of diversity in the polar landscape, Hanna Point with its diversity of wildlife, and the large Adélie colony at Paulet Island. It can be difficult to navigate through the 30-mile Antarctic Sound due to ice, but it offers the most impressive manifestations of icebergs that you will see on this expedition. On Brown Bluff, Adélie and chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and cape petrels nest below spectacular cliffs that rise 2,444 feet out of the sea. The stony beach is suitable for shore landings outside of nesting season. You might sail through the narrow Errera Channel, to and from Cuverville, and see the icebergs that have become trapped and grounded in the nearby shallows. Danco Island lies peacefully among the icebergs in the Errera Channel, just a few hundred yards from the Antarctic mainland, and is a breeding site for Gentoo penguins. Come ashore and explore, go kayaking to see the ice up close or take a trip on one of the ship's small boats. Port Lockroy is a British station from the Second World War that was turned into a museum in 1996. It is one of the most popular sites in Antarctica and offers a peek into life on an Antarctic base in the 1950s. Pleneau is situated just south of the Lemaire Channel and is a beautiful landing site, with many stranded icebergs in the bay area. When opportunities arise you will launch your kayaks, pitch tents ashore, and set out on unforgettable hikes to explore the most beautiful, untouched places on the planet.
On your way back to civilization, continue enjoying the onboard lecture series and reflect on your experiences of Antarctica. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 600 miles or 40 hours of sailing time in good weather.
Today you will make landfall in Tierra del Fuego. Your voyage ends in the world’s southernmost town, Ushuaia, and your journey back continues with an included flight to lively Buenos Aires.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for camping during the voyage in Antarctica and on the Falkland Islands. Gear and all cold-weather needs supplied – except pajamas. Due to popular demand, campers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit as to the number of guests allowed to sleep onshore. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for deck camping during the voyage. Spend the night on deck and enjoy a magnificent view of the landscape and sky. Included: Sleeping bags, a welcome drink, and a fresh pastry and coffee in the morning. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: $199 per person, per excursion (pre-bookable, please inquire)
The duration of each excursion is 2-4 hours. Basic kayaking experience is required. Includes kayaking gear. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Taught by two professional photography instructors, this pre-bookable photography school program covers basic image editing, wildlife and landscape photography, and DSLR video instruction. This program is designed for proficient beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated work station with software provided, priority access to the Photo Optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens cleaning kit. Min. / Max. Capacity: 2-10 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Small Boat Cruising:
Depending on the weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for small boat ‘Polarcirkel’ cruising excursions during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 1-2 hours. Included: Survival float suit, and a hot drink upon return. Small boat cruising is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Max. Capacity: 21 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for snowshoeing during the voyage. Due to popular demand, snowshoers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit to the number of guests allowed to go onshore at one time. Snowshoeing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Round-trip flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia; one pre-cruise hotel night in Buenos Aires, including breakfast; pre-cruise transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires; pre- and post-cruise transfers in Ushuaia between the airport and the ship; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Expedition Suites (M + MG) include a cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not detailed in inclusions; transfers not detailed in inclusions; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; luggage handling; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as mentioned; mini bar replenishment; optional excursions and gratuities; items of a personal nature such as laundry; walking sticks and binoculars can be rented for an additional charge; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Jesper Neilsen; © Havard Jensen; © Marsel van Oosten