Summary : Travel in harmony with the elements to the White Continent. En route, you will experience the wild natural wonders of the Chilean fjords. Once in Antarctica, the sight of mighty glaciers calving into the ocean, flocks of penguins and whales in the icy seas will create indelible memories.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
NEW – Pre-Bookable Kayaking!
$7,882 to $27,024
The capital of Chile is exciting and diverse. There is a lot to discover here, from the Andean glaciers at the city borders, tall mountains and skyscrapers to quiet parks, colonial architecture, bohemian quarters and the fast-flowing Mapacho River. Your adventure starts with an overnight hotel stay here.
Today you will fly to Punta Arenas where the MS Roald Amundsen expedition to Antarctica will begin.
Enjoy cruising through the Beagle Channel, with channels, fjords and mountains plunging straight into the icy water. This wild and remote area seems almost undisturbed by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, leaving isolated islands and hidden bays and creating the unique fjord landscape of Chile.
When ranking the most iconic places on Earth, Cape Horn is high on the list. At almost 56 degrees south, it is the southernmost point of South America. Before the Panama Canal, seafarers had to pass this infamous rocky island in order to cross from one side of the Americas to the other. You will do your best to make a landing on Cape Horn—however, this is an area known for high seas and challenging conditions and if you make it this will be a great achievement. Then MS Roald Amundsen will use 1 ½ to 2 days to cross the Drake Passage, depending on the weather conditions.
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90 percent of the world's ice is here, over 13,000 feet thick, covering the landmass. In winter it is further cut off by sea ice forming off the coast—virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals that, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife thrives on a cornerstone species: krill. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth—including human beings. As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism. No human activity is allowed to alter the perfect natural balance. You will be visiting a place that has evolved through millenniums without human interference. Therefore, you must adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules. You want to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures! What is so overwhelming about Antarctica is that its location makes every voyage to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment. Therefore, you need to be pragmatic. You change landings, re-route, and shift plans as you go along. This also means that you will take advantage of the often ideal conditions—spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising among huge pods of whales. Weather, wind, and ice conditions have a great influence on your program and schedule. You will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island, and Neko Harbor. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, opportunities to observe penguin colonies, seals, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and color and old whaling stations and. It's hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from veteran Antarctic travelers puts it: “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”
After exploring Antarctica, you will set course back for the Falkland Islands. The Falklands consist of two large islands and around 700 smaller ones. Captain John Strong of HMS Welfare made the first recorded landing here in 1690. Continue enjoying a lecture series that focuses on the dramatic history and diverse wildlife of the islands as you keep a watch for wandering albatross.
Having just been in Antarctica, it might seem a bit surreal to arrive in a town that looks like a miniature England, with red phone boxes, red buses and English pubs. Stanley is the capital on the Falkland Islands. Roam the city streets, the town is easy enough to discover in a day on foot, or join one of the excursions to explore the wilderness and wildlife in the surroundings. The Falklands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature. This is an unpolluted environment with fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and stunning white sand beaches. As you reach the westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands you will see remote farms that have been family owned for six or seven generations. The sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross and rockhopper penguins, while predatory striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese forage at the water’s edge. Bird lovers will rejoice if we go ashore on Carcass Island. This is a bird paradise with several ducks, geese, penguins, albatrosses, caracaras and wrens. It is also one of few islands down here with trees. You will use small boats to go ashore for exploring, hiking or take a closer look at all the birds.
As you complete the loop of the Magellan Strait, you will have a recap of everything you have experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.
Today you will arrive back in Punta Arenas in the morning. After the flight back to Santiago de Chile, you can extend your vacation with a post voyage extension to experience the impressive region.
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.
This ship is NEW for the 2018 season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
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)
Kayaking: 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.
Special Guest Departure: Dr. Kathy Sullivan (11/9/2018)
One of the first women selected into the NASA astronaut corps in 1978, Dr. Sullivan is a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions, and the first American woman to walk in space. An earth sciences major at the University of California, Santa Cruz (and an exchange student at Norway’s University of Bergen), she received her geology doctorate from Dalhousie University. In 2004, Dr. Sullivan was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. She is the former Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and currently is the 2017 Charles A. Lindbergh Chair of Aerospace History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. While in residence at the museum, she will focus her research on the Hubble Space Telescope. Says Valerie Neal, chair of the space history department at Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. “Few individuals can match Sullivan’s illustrious career as a scholar, scientist, and explorer.”
Economy-class flights between Santiago, Chile, and Punta Arenas, Chile; one hotel night in Santiago, Chile, before the voyage, including breakfast; transfer from hotel to airport in Santiago, Chile; transfers in Punta Arenas, including orientation tour; landings with small boats and activities onboard and onshore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; complimentary tea and coffee; lectures by special guest Dr. Kathy Sullivan (11/9/2018 only); gear on loan (Muck Boot rubber boots); complimentary wind- and water-resistant jacket; shipboard accommodations; all meals onboard the ship. Additional inclusions for Expedition Suites: Amenity kit, bathrobe, and an in-suite espresso maker. 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: © Andreas Kalvig Anderson (Antarctic Sound Iceberg, Arctowski Station, Cuverville Landscape)