Summary : Embark on an expedition to South America, Patagonia, the Falkland Islands – and Antarctica. Experience the dynamic South American cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, see sheep grazing next to penguins in the Falkland Islands, then cross the Drake Passage to the remote white wilderness of Antarctica. Enjoy full expedition days with optional kayaking and Zodiac cruising, then return to the ship for daily science lectures, a Young Explorers youth program, and photography workshops.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
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Montevideo boasts colorful cultural diversity, with a picturesque blend of colonial Spanish, Italian, and Art Deco architectural styles. Long considered one of South America's most interesting cities, you can visit the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) with its 18th century buildings, the vibrant Mercado del Puerto, the bustling Avenida 18 de Julio with its numerous theatres, museums and art galleries, and the stretch of white, sandy beaches surrounding the city before embarking your ship.
Enjoy your first day on board. Your expedition team will start with a lecture program covering history and the great explorers, marine biology, wildlife, oceanography, and climate change. Spend time on deck enjoying the sunshine and looking for wildlife.
The first highlight on this expedition is your visit to the Valdez Peninsula. This is a nature reserve that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on Argentina's barren eastern Patagonian coast, this oddly shaped peninsula is home to some of the country's most dramatic wildlife habitats, with elephant seals, Magellan penguins, the southern right whale, and a great variety of birds. Puerto Madryn is known as the gateway to whales, penguins, and Welsh traditions. Founded by Welsh immigrants in 1865, it is now one of the most vibrant cities in Patagonia, with a beautiful coastal avenue overlooking the huge natural amphitheater of Nuevo Gulf. Enjoy a wide variety of optional excursions like horseback riding, snorkeling with sea lions, kayaking with sea lions, whale watching, or visit Estancia San Lorenzo where you will see wildlife including rheas (flightless, ostrich-like birds), guanacos (related to alpacas and llamas), and elephant seals.
Enjoy a day at sea. Participate in science and photography programs and get to know your fellow passengers.
When you arrive in the Falkland Islands, you will experience everything from red buses and English pubs in the capital Stanley, to penguins, hikes in the hills or along the coastline or kayaking clear waters. New Island is an adorable inlet, with sandy white beaches and turquoise waters. It could easily be mistaken for a Caribbean island, if the sun was a little stronger. You will pass an old shipwreck on your way ashore to enjoy a day among penguins and seals. While you are here, you can join several optional excursions like history tours, bird watching tours, nature walks and even a scenic plane tour where you can discover the Falklands by air in a classic island-hopping aircraft.
Today you will set sail for Antarctica. Once you have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you will notice that the air becomes crisper and colder. From deck, you might start seeing icebergs in the water, maybe whales as well.
Antarctica is sure to overwhelm you. Endless white horizons, an ocean full of glorious icebergs, and whales. Maybe even more awe-inspiring will be your meeting with the huge colonies of penguins. They are not afraid of humans, you can look forward to true close encounters with this most charming of bird species. Come ashore to explore the impressive Antarctic scenery. From deck, there are great chances to spot whales. Spot wildlife, glaciers, old whaling stations, and relics. You are in one of the most remote areas of the world and the sensations are non-stop. You will land several times for unforgettable experiences. Among the locations you may visit are Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbor, and Cuverville Island, home to a large colony of Gentoo penguins. Neko Harbor is beautifully located in the innermost part of Andvord Bay, and Paradise Harbor got its descriptive name from the whalers who came here long ago. When the storms were at their worst, this is where they came to seek shelter. The high glacier walls in Wilhelmina Bay convey the mighty power of ice, from calving glacier fronts to floating ice.
After exhilarating days in Antarctica and the Falklands, the final days on board are spent crossing the Drake Passage. Spend time with family, old friends, new friends, and your expedition team. Enjoy the farewell dinner on the last evening.
When you arrive in Ushuaia, it’s time to say goodbye. Enjoy an included transfer to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Basic Kayaking Certification Program: $995 per person
Learn how to effectively maneuver a kayak and perform simple, practical kayaking exercises and drills, as well as basic kayaking safety procedures. This course is up to 16 hours in duration over two non-consecutive days. Kayaking excursions on the water will be 2-4 hours in length. Graduates of the class will receive a basic kayaking certification from the Norwegian Paddle Association: Norsk Padleforbunds. The program is led by two professional kayaking guides, with a maximum of 8 participants. No previous paddling experience is necessary. The program is conducted in English. All equipment, including a dry suit, is provided for participants. Good physical fitness is essential. Children 13 years and older may participate on request. Please Note: This program is not combinable with the Explorer Photography School program. Pre-bookable (recommended) or bookable onboard, subject to availability. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
Explorer Photography School: $995 per person
Participate in three photography workshops: Workshop #1: Basic Image Editing (2 hours, divided into two sessions or more); Workshop #2: Wildlife and Landscape Photography; Workshop #3: DSLR Video Instruction. The program is taught by two professional photographers, with a maximum of 10 participants. It is conducted in English and intended for advanced beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated workstation with photo editing software, priority access to the photo and optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens Cleaning kit. Please Note: This program is not combinable with the Basic Kayak Certification program. Pre-bookable (recommended) or bookable onboard, subject to availability. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. The duration of the hike depends on the tour. Hiking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: $199 per person, per excursion (pre-bookable, please inquire)
Embark on a 2-4 hour kayaking excursion accompanied by expert guides in a stable double kayak. Included: head-to-toe kayaking gear, including a dry suit; snack and/or lunchbox as needed. Outings are subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to pre-book kayaking.
Photography Program: Included
Join onboard photography lectures about still photography, video photography, and wildlife photography. Lectures are included in the price of the voyage. Those interested in a more in-depth photography expedition are encouraged to consider to optional, pre-bookable Explorer Photography School program. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Science Center: Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for snowshoeing during the voyage. Due to popular demand, snowshoers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit to the number of guests allowed to go onshore at one time. Snowshoeing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Young Explorers Program: Included
Designed for children traveling with adults to magnificent destinations where the focus is on education, fun, and participation. A dedicated staff member will lead age-appropriate lectures and field research with your Young Explorer on topics ranging from science, polar history, photography, and navigation. Activities and learning are designed for children between the ages of 7-13 (although all ages can join in!)
Economy flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires; transfer from the ship to the airport in Buenos Aires; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; one landing (approx. 60-90 min.) per day; one small boat cruise (approx. 60-90 min.) per day; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard science center; Young Explorers program for children; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Expedition Suites (Q, M, MG, MX): a soft drink package; a wine package; an Arctic Pure amenity kit (bathroom); a fleece blanket/throw; a cabin kit (bathrobe and slippers); an Espresso maker; a kettle with premium tea/coffee; sweets and snacks with sparkling wine on embarkation day; a separate check-in with sparkling wine; a suite breakfast. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not detailed in the inclusions; transfers not detailed in the inclusions; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; luggage handling; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as mentioned; mini bar replenishment; optional excursions and gratuities; items of a personal nature such as laundry; walking sticks and binoculars can be rented for an additional charge; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Andrea Kalvig Anderson