Summary : This condensed journey of discovery begins with a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. Embark an intimate, all-suite expedition ship and 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, a knowledgeable naturalist team will give informative lectures introducing you to this spectacular continent.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise
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Arrive at the Punta Arenas airport no later than 2 pm, where 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, gather for a welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers while enjoying regional cuisine.
Your Antarctic adventure begins with a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island (the largest of the South Shetland Islands), where you will transfer to your expedition vessel via Zodiac.
Marvel at the overwhelming beauty of Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands. Sail in ice-filled bays, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals, and whales. Board a Zodiac for a memorable shore visit to a penguin colony and take advantage of the endless Antarctic daylight to explore well into the evening.
Head north through the Drake Passage and attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations. In the company of knowledgeable guides, watch for wildlife from the glass-enclosed lounge or from the outside decks. You may spot magnificent sea birds, such as albatrosses and petrels, as well as different species of whales.
Weather permitting, board a Zodiac and be one of the few privileged adventurers to step foot on legendary Cape Horn! Plan to explore this famous and rarely visited island before continuing your journey. Sail along the Beagle Channel towards Port Williams, Chile. Explore the surroundings before setting sail to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Arrive in Ushuaia, where your journey ends.
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.
Antarctica-bound Flight: (Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island)
Between Day 1 and until 2 p.m. on Day 4, every effort will be made to transport passengers to Antarctica, taking into consideration weather conditions, their safety, and the safety of the aircraft. The daily program described will apply: Day 2 / 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 cannot 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. Passengers will be refunded 100% the cruise fare paid for the expedition. Day 5: Group airport transfers are provided. No other services or meals are included.
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 Punta Arenas/Frei Station, King George Island; one pre-expedition hotel night in Punta Arenas on Day 1 with welcome dinner, drinks, and breakfast at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar; group transfer airport/hotel on Day 1; 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; 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)