Summary : Not only does this expedition include one of the most in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula, it also offers the opportunity to venture farther south across the Antarctic Circle. As you head toward a milestone that few travelers reach, you’ll feel as if you’re in a world without borders, sailing across an endless stretch of sea dotted with ice. Fire up your spirit of adventure and take a few extra days to work your way south and explore some of Antarctica’s most pristine and rarely visited areas. Dramatic ice formations will ignite your imagination as you search the landscape for the wildlife that calls it home. Whether it’s humpback whales alongside the ship, a leopard seal diving beneath your Zodiac, penguins sliding off an iceberg into crystal waters, or a giant petrel soaring above cracking sea ice, you’ll experience a sensory overload in Antarctica like you’ve never felt before.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
$8,795 to $18,895
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its rich architecture and European heritage, you will independently transfer to your hotel. (See Rate Notes for mandatory transfer package details.)
After breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will have a little time to explore this quaint port town before heading to the pier. After embarkation, you will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
As you cross the Drake Passage, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the sea—spotting and snapping shots of seabirds swooping around the ship—as well as chat with your expedition team and fellow travelers.
Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels, and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you hike snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360-degree views of your surroundings. 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, and the next moment you’ll be
inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Each day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your expedition team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not reach as far south as 66°33’ S. If conditions allow a crossing of this famed line, you and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass
Make a toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, penguins, and some of the most awe-inspiring ice formations you’ll see anywhere on the continent.
By now, your knowledge of Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, fur, and Weddell seal. Terms like ‘bergy bits’ and 'pancake ice' will be part of your vocabulary, yet there are many tales to be told. As you head north, Zodiac excursions will continue to fill your days, and your expedition team will continue offering presentations and looking out for more species of penguins, seals, and whales.
As you re-cross the Drake, Antarctica fades away, leaving you with a collection of memories to last a lifetime. Excited conversations with your newfound friends will make the crossing fly by. Your expedition team will round up its series of presentations as well, perhaps with a slideshow of the great landing sites and wildlife you’ve visited over the course of your voyage.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast. After disembarking, get a little taste of Patagonia by touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.
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:
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 U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required for you to feel comfortable on the water, and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the paddling excursions described below.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than the full kayaking program, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time, one-hour paddle on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Pre-booking required.
This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in an intimate manner and take your expedition to the next level. A camping safety briefing onboard gets you fully prepped and ready for a night sleeping under the stars. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. This popular camping option has limited availability, so book early. You will need to complete a waiver form before being considered for this Adventure Option.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Taken in small groups—in calm bays and harbors, in good weather conditions—and accompanied by a Zodiac, can be pre-booked in two consecutive priority groups. After the first two successful outings, it will be offered via sign-up on board the ship on a first-come, first-served basis for any subsequent outings.
Included in cruise rate and weather dependent. Taken in small groups in good weather conditions. Prior experience not required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Shipboard accommodations; snowshoeing; parka to keep; photographic journal; gear on loan: waterproof expedition boots, use of walking poles, use of snowshoes (weather dependent); all meals aboard the ship; daily housekeeping; house wine, non-premium domestic beer during dinner; soft drinks and smoothies at all times aboard the ship; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock; shore landings per the daily program; Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $500,000 USD per person*. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
International airfare; Mandatory Transfer Package; arrival transfer in Buenos Aires on Day 1; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore; adventure option supplements (except snowshoeing); mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except those mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, massage and other personal charges; phone and Internet charges; voluntary gratuity at end of voyage for shipboard staff and crew; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.
PHOTO CREDIT: © A. Miller (Adelie penguins on ice), © Quark Expeditions