Summary : Looking for the trip of a lifetime? Look no further than this epic journey giving you an in-depth experience not only in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, but also includes the South Orkney and Sandwich Islands. Discover a plethora of penguins: gentoos, chinstraps, and adelies. Learn the difference between fur, leopard and crabeater seals. Spot humpback and minke whales and seabirds as they soar overhead returning to their nests high in the cliffs. Giant tabular icebergs drift by in amazing shades of blue and crisp white. These expeditions are designed to include as much wildlife viewing as possible, but also contain visits to scientific bases and allow plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, and icebergs with the opportunity to kayak and camp.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
$999,999,999 to $0
Arrive in Ushuaia, a small town at the "end of the world" surrounded by rugged peaks and glaciers, and transfer independently to your conveniently located hotel.
Prior to the afternoon embarkation in Ushuaia, visitors can explore the southernmost city in the world. The former prison for hardened criminals and political dissidents has been converted to a museum. The shops and cafés will be open for last-minute purchases or for a moment of relaxation.
In the afternoon, the Expedition Team gets you settled aboard your ship as you sail into the Beagle Channel to start your Antarctic expedition.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team. They will prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising that is to come.
Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of the Falklands. The archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Port Stanley is often a favoured landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel to it, complete with a bit of a ramshackle charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! We can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic species; Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Continuing east, marine mammals and seabirds lure you to the decks as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar waters sink beneath the warmer waters of the more temperate zones. Keep your eye out for whales and seals.
Sharing many of the biological characteristics of Antarctica, South Georgia has awe-inspiring scenery with towering, 7,000-foot mountains and mighty glaciers, but also low-lying, grassy areas, deep fjords and beaches. First sighted by Captain James Cook in 1775, the island attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife and is viewed by many as one of the most inspiring places on earth.
Thousands of King Penguins greet you at Salisbury Plain. Wandering Albatrosses nest at Prion Island, where luxurious tussock grass provides a habitat for a variety of seabirds - and camouflage for thousands of breeding fur seals. Huge elephant seals, King and Gentoo penguins crowd the beaches along the coast at places such as Gold Harbor, while Light-mantled and Sooty albatrosses nest in the cliffs behind. The island also played a significant role in the story of Shackleton's epic journey after the sinking of his ship, the 'Endurance.' It was here, at the whaling station of Stromness that he finally arrived after a harrowing voyage in a small boat from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea and over the never-before-climbed mountain range of South Georgia. Visit his grave at Grytviken, a once-active whaling station.
Arriving in the South Sandwich region, the first stop is Zavadovski Island, a small volcanic island and home to one of the world’s largest penguin colonies. Almost a million breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins can be found here, in the shadow of a recently active volcano. The island was discovered in 1819 by Russian Antarctic explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and named for Lieutenant Ivan Zavodovski, the captain of this ship, the Vostok.
Continue sailing towards Saunders Island. Discovered in 1775 by Captain James Cook, Saunders Island was named for Sir Charles Saunders, First Lord of the Admiralty. Saunders is home to another active stratovolcano, Mount Michael. At almost a kilometer in height, it last erupted in 2012. In its crater is a recurrent lava lake, one of only a few in the world. Over half the island is covered by a permanent ice cap, but you’ll still see penguin colonies on its rugged shores.
Two days at sea to relax, as well as to review your adventures in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Sail towards the South Orkney Islands for your next adventure while sharing stories with fellow passengers and partaking in the ship's many amenities.
Off the beaten track, the South Orkney Islands will draw you in with their vibrant scenery, rich bird life and the towering icebergs that collect along their shores. Observe graceful snow petrels, silver-grey Antarctic fulmars, as well as chinstrap, adelie and gentoo penguins. If you are lucky, and ice conditions are right, there will be an excursion to Coronation Island to observe penguins nesting in moss beds alongside playful fur seals. Another possible stop is the remote island of Laurie to visit the oldest human outpost in Antarctica, Argentina’s Orcadas Base.
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether it is trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, adelie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get to experience distance these majestic animals at close range. Each day and every landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in the Antarctic – take the polar plunge!
After more than three weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, which will complete your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.
After breakfast aboard, you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward 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:
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. See rates page for price. Minimum age 16 years. This is a pre-booked option for kayakers with some experience. Places are strictly limited so please advise at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Not included in cruise rate. See rates page for price. Minimum age 16 years. Space is limited; request at time of booking. No camping experience is necessary to participate in this program. Sleeping bags and all safety equipment are provided.
Group transfers in Ushuaia from the airport to local hotel for passengers arriving on Day 1 of the program or one day prior only; one night pre-expedition hotel accommodation at a four-star hotel with breakfast, as indicated in the itinerary (The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available), five-star hotel for guests in Deluxe, Premium and Owner's suites; group transfers from a designated location in Ushuaia to the ship on embarkation day; group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport only for passengers with departing flights before noon; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage, “open bar” offering unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (please inform of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.); leadership throughout the voyage by your experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities; formal and informal presentations by your Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled; Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; an official parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; a 10 Mb card for access to the ship’s wireless internet connection; comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person*.
Any airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes, Argentina's Reciprocity Fee; any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, massage and other personal charges; telecommunications charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; supplements for adventure options; 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.