Summary : Sail the Beagle Channel, explore Cape Horn, and cross the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands on a condensed journey of discovery. Scout for albatross and petrels; keep a close watch for humpback and minke whales; or cruise in a Zodiac to a penguin colony and enjoy some of the best wildlife sites in this region of Antarctica. Along the way, an experienced naturalist team will give informative lectures introducing you to this spectacular continent. Conclude your adventure by disembarking at King George Island and flying to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise
$4,995 to $8,595
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Your journey begins in Ushuaia, Argentina. Embark your ship in the afternoon and sail along the Beagle Channel towards Puerto Williams, Chile, the southernmost town in the world. Explore the surroundings before setting sail to Cape Horn.
After an overnight crossing of Nassau Bay, awake in full view of legendary Cape Horn! Weather permitting, board a Zodiac and be one of the few privileged adventurers to step foot on this famous and rarely visited island. Back on board, set sail towards Antarctica and cross the famous passage named in honor of Sir Francis Drake, the great 16th-century British explorer.
As you sail through the Drake Passage en route to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations. Watch for wildlife from the lounge or from the outside decks in the company of knowledgeable guides. You may spot magnificent seabirds, such as albatross and petrels, as well as different species of whales on their way south to Antarctica.
After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, the environment changes noticeably. Keep your camera ready, as this is the time to watch for the first icebergs and the first sight of Antarctic land. Reaching the South Shetland Islands, sail in ice-filled bays, while enjoying the company of seabirds, penguins, seals, and whales. Board a Zodiac for your first memorable shore visit to a penguin colony. Taking advantage of the endless Antarctic daylight, exploration will continue well into the evening.
Scheduled flight to Punta Arenas, Chile
Upon reaching King George Island, disembark at Fildes Bay. A 1.25-mile walk takes you through Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen Station to the aircraft. Bid farewell to Antarctica as you board 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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance that includes medical evacuation and repatriation in remote areas, including Antarctica. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Three similar aircraft are used for flight operations: the BAE 146-200, the AVRO RJ 85, and the AVRO RJ 100. These aircraft were manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace (which later became part of BAE Systems). They are high-wing aircraft with short runway requirements, which make them particularly suited for this kind of destination. They are operated by Aerovias DAP, which has more than 25 years of experience flying in Patagonia and Antarctica.
Luggage Weight Restriction:
Due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, passengers can only carry 20-kg / 44-lbs of personal luggage, including carry-on. This weight restriction is strictly enforced—it is not possible to purchase extra allowance. Note that ALL luggage will be weighed. Soft-sided luggage is recommended.
Some departures in the past have experienced delays. Based on past experience, the estimated chance of delay is very low. Still, it is important that prospective participants understand that flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions. Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of airline tickets or onward travel plans. 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.
Return Flight: (Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas)
In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is moved forward, passengers will disembark the ship and fly to Punta Arenas up to one day earlier than indicated in the itinerary. Upon arrival hotel accommodations will be provided. All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary. If the return flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas is delayed, passengers on board the ship will continue cruising to nearby places until the return flight to Punta Arenas is authorized. In such case, shipboard accommodations, full board, and all excursions are included. No refund will be extended for any reason whatsoever.
Single Hotel Accommodation:
Single travelers who book a shared twin cabin will be accommodated in single rooms at the hotel and must pay a single hotel room supplement. 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. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Antarctic Flight Preferred Seating:
Travelers can purchase preferred seats on their Antarctic flight. This option offers travelers an extra level of comfort and a guaranteed aisle or window seat at the front of the aircraft, as well as a guaranteed empty middle seat. Capacity is limited to a maximum of 8 aisle seats and 8 window seats (aisle 2, 3, 4, and 5). Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Additional Hotel & Transfer Package:
Travelers can purchase a hotel and transfer package that includes: one night hotel accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos (or similar) in Punta Arenas, shared airport-to-hotel transfer, breakfast, and a drink voucher. Available as a pre- or post-expedition package.
From whale sightings and identification to seabird surveys, each trip offers the opportunity to assist in data collection to benefit a variety of research studies. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
One-way flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile; one post-cruise hotel night with breakfast in Punta Arenas at Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on day of scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer airport/hotel on day of scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer hotel/airport on last day of air-cruise; shipboard accommodations; guided shore excursions; onboard lectures and entertainment; gear on loan (waterproof boots); all meals onboard the ship; wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner aboard ship; complimentary coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccinos, water, and snacks aboard ship throughout expedition; contingency plan; IAATO passenger fee. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare, accommodation, meals, excursions and transfers other than those included in the itinerary and the Contingency Plan; preferred seating on Antarctic flights; dinner in Punta Arenas upon return from Antarctica; mandatory evacuation insurance; personal travel insurance; recommended travel protection policy; personal expenses (beverages purchased at the ship’s bar, communication, laundry, souvenirs, etc.); gratuities; visas for Chile and/or Argentina; passport expenses; any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ben O (penguins on ice, whale tail), Ruslan Eliseev (nesting penguin), Nicolas Gildemeister (seal)