Summary : This expedition is ideal for those who desire a longer, in-depth experience of Antarctica. Fire up your spirit of adventure and spend a few extra days along the Antarctic Peninsula as you venture farther south, beyond the Antarctic Circle—a milestone few have reached. Discover penguin colonies, glaciers, bays, and historical sites with a team of experienced guides aboard a new expedition vessel with included flightseeing and a range of optional activities.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).
After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. (Included in mandatory transfer package)
Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier.
As the ship sets sail in the late afternoon, you will begin your Antarctic journey, passing through the Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities of landscapes and seabirds. Eventually the channel opens up to the Southern Ocean, and onwards to Antarctica.
Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your expedition team who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon arrival. Between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar, or enjoy the fresh air and views on the outer decks.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched, unique, and endearing as Antarctica. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time someone visits Antarctica, they witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of your guides' minds, 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. Your expedition team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
Your days will be busy spotting wildlife and being mesmerized by the astounding beauty of Antarctica. Listening to the crackling and crumbling of icebergs and glaciers and watching penguins waddling on the beach will become your daily entertainment, while kayaking, paddling, and camping are optional activities available on select voyages (at an extra cost).
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is both a memorable experience and impressive achievement, as few travelers reach so far south. If conditions allow you to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, you’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here 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, Weddell seals, and your best chances of encountering sea ice – the foundation of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
By now, your knowledge of penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between seals; and terms like ‘bergy bits’ and 'pancake ice' will become a part of your vocabulary, yet there are still many tales to be told. As you head north, Zodiac excursions will fill your days, and your expedition team will continue looking out for species of seabirds, seals, and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
As you recross the Drake, Antarctica fades away, leaving you with a collection of memories to last a lifetime. Excited conversations with newfound friends will make the crossing fly by. Take time to reflect on everything you've experienced so far. Your expedition team will round up its series of presentations as well, with a slideshow of the great landing sites and wildlife you've witnessed over the course of your voyage.
Arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a little taste of Patagonia with a Tierra del Fuego National Park tour 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.
NOTE: This ship is NEW for the 2021/2022 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:
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.
Luggage Weight Restrictions:
Due to the limited capacity of the aircraft, there is a strict luggage limit of 15kg/33lb for checked luggage and 5kg/11lb for carry-on luggage. Additional luggage can be stored at the hotel in Punta Arenas. There is NO option to pay for additional luggage. Weight limits are subject to change.
Experience remarkable aerial perspectives on a 10- to 15-minute flightseeing excursion included in the cost of your voyage. Additional helicopter activities may also be available for purchase onboard. Please note all helicopter operations are weather- and logistics-dependent. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Experience Antarctica in an intimate manner and take your expedition to the next level by sleeping on the continent under the stars. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. This popular camping option has limited availability, so book early. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Limited availability; pre-booking required. A small group of kayakers will attempt multiple outings per voyage in lieu of shore landings. The number of opportunities is weather dependent; kayaking will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior experience is required. Participants must be capable of a wet exit in order to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the Paddling Excursion described below. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something less in-depth than kayaking, consider a Paddling Excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddle using a stable, unencumbered sit-on-top kayak—perfect for anyone with little to no kayaking experience. Rotating groups will venture out on calm days with expert guides to connect with the sea. Space is limited. Pre-booking required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Small groups explore calm waters in good weather conditions accompanied by a Zodiac. Stand up paddleboarding can be booked in advance (limited availability), and will be also be offered via sign-up onboard the ship on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Shipboard accommodations with daily housekeeping; one 10- to 15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion (weather and logistics permitting); all luggage handling aboard the ship; Zodiac transfers, cruising, and shore landings as per the daily program; Emergency Evacuation Insurance* to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person; photographic journal; gear to keep (parka); gear on loan (walking poles, waterproof expedition boots); all meals and snacks onboard the ship; select beer and wine during dinner onboard ship; soft drinks and juices onboard ship; coffee, tea, and cocoa around the clock; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges. Subject to change without notice.
Mandatory Transfer Package (see Additional Costs); international airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned; meals ashore unless specified; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except for those included; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage fees; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, massage services or other personal charges, unless specified; phone and Internet charges; gratuities; additional overnight accommodation; arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated; Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities; 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. This shipping company strongly advises that all passengers purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.
Photos: © Quark Expeditions