Summary : In less than two hours of flying from Punta Arenas, Chile, arrive on King George Island (the largest Island of the South Shetland Archipelago) where you will embark the Ocean Nova at the gates of the White Continent. From King George Island you will navigate for seven days and six nights along the Antarctic Peninsula, and if weather conditions permit, attempt to cross the Polar Circle at latitude 66° 33’ South where you may enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate this extraordinary occasion! Visit the most wonderful places and enjoy the best wildlife sites of Antarctica along the way. With daily excursions, your naturalist team will deliver lectures to introduce and inform you about this wonderful continent.
Includes round-trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile with 7 days in Antarctica. Time spent in Antarctica is equivalent to an 12-day traditional ship cruise.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise, Antarctic Circle
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Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, before 2 p.m., where you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Attend a mandatory briefing that provides important information about your voyage and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. A welcome dinner introduces you to the local gastronomy as you meet fellow adventurers from around the world.
A two-hour flight takes you efficiently from Punta Arenas to King George Island (the largest of the South Shetland Islands). Your Antarctic adventure begins as you exit the airplane and the clear Antarctic air fills your lungs for the first time. Explore the area surrounding Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen Station, before boarding a Zodiac to embark your expedition vessel.
Sail along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of seabirds, penguins, seals and whales. Visit the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, disembarking by Zodiac each day. In small groups, hike to extraordinary sites and take part in exploratory Zodiac excursions to otherwise inaccessible areas. Your knowledgeable polar guides share their passion for Antarctica through an engaging program of illustrated presentations, and lead you ashore to interpret the wildlife, history and many wonders of the Antarctic environment. From the ship's glass-enclosed lounge, enjoy spectacular views while sharing your daily adventures with fellow guests over a drink. The goal of the expedition is to sail far south in an attempt to reach the Polar Circle at latitude 66° 33’ South. The expedition team sets the specific voyage route based on weather and ice conditions, and takes advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by Nature. Flexibility will be the key to a successful voyage. Your expedition may include visits to sites such as Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, or Prospect Point. Each voyage is unique and each is crafted to provide the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment.
Back at King George Island, bid farewell to Antarctica as you board the flight 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.
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 70 passenger 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 weather conditions could impact the operation. Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of airline tickets or onward travel plans.
Antarctica-bound Flight: (Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island)
Between Day 1 and until 2PM on Day 4 every effort will be made to transport passengers to Antarctica taking into consideration their safety and the safety of the aircraft. The following daily program will apply: Days 2 and 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 PM the shipping company will not be able to 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. The shipping company will refund to each passenger 100% the cruise fare paid for the expedition. Day 5: Group airport transfers are provided. No other services or meals are included.
Return Flight from Antarctica: (Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas)
In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is moved forward, passengers will disembark the ship and fly to Punta Arenas up to one day earlier than indicated in the itinerary. On arrival, accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar will be provided. All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary. In the case of a delay on the return flight to Punta Arenas from Antarctica, passengers on board the ship will continue cruising to nearby places until the return flight to Punta Arenas is authorized. Full board and all excursions are included. The trip will end at the Punta Arenas airport. No refund will be extended for any reason whatsoever.
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 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. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details. 2019 departures must be paid in advance at time of booking. 2020 departures are available on a per excursion basis. No advance payment; must be paid onboard the ship.
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.
Round-trip flights between Punta Arenas and Frei Station on King George Island; 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: © Ben O (penguins on ice, whale tail), Ruslan Eliseev (nesting penguin), Nicolas Gildemeister (seal)