Summary : Join the excitement of an inaugural voyage aboard the newly built Magellan Explorer. Take part in the celebration while visiting the fjords and islands of Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Sail along the Strait of Magellan towards majestic Cape Froward, the southernmost tip of the American landmass, and continue south through fjords along the Magdalena Channel, where you might spot Magellanic penguins, cormorants and other seabirds. Discover southern Patagonia's Beagle Channel, from Glacier Alley in De Agostini National Park to the Lighthouse at the End of the World. Awake to views of Cape Horn before crossing the Drake Passage and spend two days exploring Antarctica's stunning scenery in the company of seabirds, penguins, seals, and whales. Return from King George Island via a two-hour flight.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise
$4,995 to $8,595
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, before 2 p.m. Board the ship and receive a welcome from the expedition team. Attend a preliminary briefing that provides important information about your voyage. The ship will sail along the Strait of Magellan towards majestic Cape Froward, the southernmost tip of the American landmass, and continue south through the fjords that open along the Magdalena Channel. These areas are home to Magellanic penguins, cormorants and other seabirds.
Escorted by Peale’s dolphins, the ship will navigate the Cockburn, Brecknock and Ballenero channels, offering impressive views of the islands that form Tierra del Fuego and its mountain ranges. Learn about these southern lands through an engaging program of shipboard presentations. In the afternoon the ship enters the western side of the Beagle Channel and proceeds through spectacular Glacier Alley in De Agostini National Park, where massive glaciers descend from the Darwin ice field into the sea. By the late evening you will call at Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
Wake up in Argentina's southern-most city and enjoy a catamaran tour exploring the Lighthouse at the End of the World, and Sea Lion and Cormorant islands. Spend some free time strolling along Ushuaia’s main street before the ship sets sail again towards Navarino Island and Port Williams, southernmost town in the world. Explore, visit the Anthropological Museum Martin Gusinde, and learn about the Yagan people, the canoe nomads who lived in this remote region.
After an overnight crossing of Nassau Bay, you 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 the South Shetland Islands, attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations. In the company of knowledgeable guides, watch for wildlife from the lounge or from the outside decks. You might spot magnificent seabirds, such as albatrosses 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 your 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.
Cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs. Each day, disembark by Zodiac to explore the landscape and discover the wildlife together with experienced polar guides.
No journey is the same as flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. Your expedition team sets the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by Nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition, you will explore several spots in the Gerlache Strait that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment.
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding 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.
NOTE: This ship is NEW for this season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
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.
Getting There & Getting Home:
Arrive in Punta Arenas on Day 1, no later than 2 p.m. The same deadline applies to travelers arriving directly at the hotel on Day 1. That afternoon, all travelers must attend a mandatory safety and Antarctic briefing session covering important practical details. You must also attend a fitting session for your expedition boots. Participation in these activities is essential for the success of the expedition. Travelers who miss the 2 p.m. deadline will be considered a 'no show'. They will not be able to participate in the expedition and will receive no refund. A tight time-schedule connection with an Antarctic expedition is not recommended. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home. In addition, we strongly advise against booking a departing flight on the same day as the return flight from Antarctica.
The BAE 146-200 was manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace and is equipped with 4 turbofan Honeywell engines. It is a high-wing aircraft with very short runway requirements which makes it particularly suited for this kind of destination. It is operated by Aerovías DAP, which has more than 20 years of experience of flying in Patagonia and Antarctica.
Luggage Weight Restriction:
Due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, participants in the Antarctica Fly and Cruise program can only carry 20 kg / 44 lb of personal luggage, including carry-on. This weight restriction is enforced strictly. Note that hand luggage will be weighed as well as checked baggage. 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, in the range of 5-10%. 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 those cases when the forecast suggests the likelihood of unfavorable weather conditions in Antarctica persisting for several days, the flight back to Punta Arenas may be moved forward to the previous evening as a way to avoid a protracted delay in Antarctica. Accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar is included upon arrival. All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary. In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is delayed, the group will remain in Antarctica and wait for the opportunity to fly to Punta Arenas. Included are meals and accommodation on the ship, and local excursions. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, the trip will end at the airport. Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of their airline tickets or onward travel plans.
Aircraft for Antarctic Flights:
The decision over which aircraft will be used for the Antarctica Fly and Cruise program is at the sole discretion of the tour operator. In case of unfavorable conditions or other circumstances beyond the tour operator’s control, either at the point of origin and/or at the destination, the tour operator reserves the right to fly different aircraft than the one described in the program information material.
Limited to 10 participants per cruise. Prior kayaking experience and the ability to swim are required. Kayakers will be under the guidance and leadership of an experienced guide at all times. Minimum age for participation is 16. Space is limited, however, so be certain to book in advance. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Hiking & Snowshoeing:
Limited to 12 participants, no previous experience required. Participants will be led by an experienced mountain guide. Requires a good level of physical fitness. Minimum age for participation is 12. Available on a per person, per excursion basis. No advance payment; must be paid onboard the ship. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Single Hotel Accommodation:
Single travelers who book a twin cabin on a shared basis will be accommodated in single rooms at the hotel. 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.
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. Priority boarding in Punta Arenas and an amenities kit are included. 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.
One-way flight from Frei Station on King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile; one pre-expedition hotel stay with breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar, with welcome dinner and drinks on Day 1; one post-expedition hotel stay with breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer from the airport to the hotel on Day 1; group transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer from the hotel to the airport on the last day of the air-cruise program; shipboard accommodations; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); all meals aboard the ship; wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner aboard the ship; complimentary coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccinos, water, and snacks aboard the ship throughout the expedition; onboard lectures and entertainment; comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material; contingency plan (outlined below); IAATO passenger fee. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flights specified in the inclusions; visa and/or passport expenses; arrival and departure taxes, if applicable; transfers other than those offered in the program, lodging and meals other than those offered in the program; mandatory evacuation insurance; recommended travel protection policy; personal expenses, such as beverages from bar; laundry service, telephone calls, use of Internet or other means of communication, etc.; gratuity to ship's crew at the end of the voyage; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Vladimir Seliverstov (Whale tails), Nicolas Gildemeister (Hikers, seal)