Summary : Antarctica is a world unto itself and this trip offers an additional two days to explore its majesty. Encounter leopard seals and immense rookeries of a variety of penguins. View dramatic glaciers and gaze at icebergs from the open deck. Experience the extraordinary marvels of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Along the journey, your team of expert guides and lecturers will provide context to the sites and bring alive the region's remarkable natural history. You can join a kayaking excursion to experience the Antarctic from another vantage point or follow in the footsteps of bold explorers and experience the majesty of Antarctica first hand with a camping excursion.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$7,499 to $13,499
Arrive in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Make your way to your hotel and enjoy a leisurely evening.
Situated on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia actually means "the bay facing westward" in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants. Once a penal colony (the presidio was disbanded in the 1940s) for political prisoners as well as hardened criminals, Ushuaia is now a major tourist attraction, particularly for people cruising to Antarctica. The town of 40,000 is also a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers and offers magnificent hiking in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, the only coastal national park in Argentina.
Today, you will embark on the Expedition in the afternoon. The morning is free to do any last minute shopping or an optional excursion to the Terra Del Fuego National park or a good hike up to the Marshall Glacier. The evening is spent on board the ship watching the sunset over the Beagle Channel.
Please note while it is intended to adhere to the itinerary described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On the first day on board, your Expedition Leader will give you an expedition overview.
Your adventure begins with a 497-mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The Expedition is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean, known for the unimpeded fetch of the winds that encircle the Antarctic. At some point on the second day you cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species.
As you make the passage you have time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library and lecture hall where you will meet your guides, ship’s crew and expedition staff. The lecture and information sessions begin where you can learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
This is what you've been waiting for–a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the next six days you will navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula. The goal is to attempt two excursions per day while navigating through the area, but the itinerary and daily schedule will be based on the local weather and ice conditions encountered.
The Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands abound with wildlife activity. Penguins gather with their fast-growing chicks, seals haul out onto ice floes and beaches, and numerous albatross and other seabirds trail in your wake. There is plenty of time to enjoy the sheer beauty and the breathtaking scenery of ice-choked waterways, blue and white icebergs, impressive glaciers and rugged snow-capped mountains. The Peninsula also has a remarkable history and, during the voyage, you will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. Keeping a lookout from the Bridge or the deck of the ship, as it threads its way along the continent, you'll feel the same sense of excitement as many of those early explorers.
Today, you leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching, whale watching and enjoying some final lectures by your expedition staff, this is a chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia.
And so the adventure comes to a close. You will say your goodbyes as you disembark in Ushuaia in the morning.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on the Expedition, all passengers must purchase medical and emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum medical coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, and evacuation expenses. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Clients must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
The Antarctica camping experience includes time to enjoy the beauty of Antarctica near your campsite with ample photography options. Space is limited to 20 passengers. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters on group kayaking excursions led by expert kayaking guides. Space is limited to 10 passengers. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Tierra del Fuego National Park:
Explore this stunning coastal national park extending 391 sq miles. Transport and park entrance fee are included. Pass Valle Rio Pipo on the way to Austral Fueguino train station, opt to take the End of the World train before visiting Lago Roca and Bahía Lapataia. Keep an eye out for a variety of birdlife and spectacular colors in the fall. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One pre-cruise hotel night at the Albatros Hotel (or equivalent) in Ushuaia; arrival and departure transfers; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; beverages including coffee, tea, and water; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of the Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; Antarctica destination guidebook; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots for US sizes 6-16); and a complimentary wind- and water-resistant jacket. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; departure taxes; gratuities are at your discretion; items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions; camping; kayaking; fuel surcharge may apply.