Summary : Discover the pristine beauty of Antarctica, wildlife-rich South Georgia—also known as the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean, and the isolated Falkland Islands. Starting in Buenos Aires, you have the opportunity to discover the `Paris of South America´ before flying to Ushuaia, the world's southernmost town, and embarking the ship. From there, set a course through the scenic Beagle Channel and across the Drake Passage to Antarctica where you can opt to kayak in untouched waters as icebergs float by or spend the night in a tent under the stars. Back onboard, lectures will prepare you for South Georgia, where you'll aim to visit abandoned whaling stations and discover rich penguin colonies. From South Georgia, cross the open sea to reach the Falkland Islands where sheep graze alongside colonies of albatross, rockhopper and king penguins. Enjoy the expedition of a lifetime—the overwhelming power of nature and teeming wildlife, thriving despite the extremes of temperature, will leave you speechless and create everlasting memories.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
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NEW – Pre-Bookable Kayaking
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Your expedition starts with an overnight stay in Buenos Aires, the bustling capital of Argentina. Spend the evening at your leisure and discover the 'Paris of South America' for yourself.
Start your morning with an included breakfast at the hotel before meeting your included transfer to the airport. Your flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and transfer from the Ushuaia airport for embarkation are also included. In the evening, you will sail through the scenic Beagle Channel.
En route to the Antarctic Peninsula your day will be filled with spotting an abundance of seabirds from the ship and enjoying fascinating presentations about the history and wildlife of Antarctica.
Antarctica is different from anywhere else you will ever experience! As you approach, you will start feeling the air getting crisper and colder. You will begin to see Antarctic penguins in the water. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for the first iceberg. A highlight you might visit during your days in Antarctica is Deception Island, one of the South Shetland Islands. This is a distinctive ring-shaped volcanic caldera, and one of the few places in Antarctica where you can hike.
Environmental conditions will dictate your time here. Other places you might visit are Half Moon Island, considered a jewel of diversity in the polar landscape; Hannah Point, with its rich wildlife; and the large Adélie colony at Paulet Island. It can be difficult to navigate through the Antarctic Sound due to ice, but it offers the most impressive manifestations of icebergs that you will see on this expedition. On Brown Bluff, Adélie and chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls, and cape petrels nest below spectacular cliffs that rise 2,500 feet out of the sea. The stony beach is suitable for shore landings outside of nesting season. You might sail through the narrow Errera Channel, to and from Cuverville Island, and see the icebergs that have become trapped and grounded in the nearby shallows. Danco Island lies peacefully among the icebergs in the Errera Channel, just a few hundred yards from the Antarctic mainland, and is a breeding site for gentoo penguins. Port Lockroy is a British base station from the Second World War that was turned into a museum in 1996. It is one of the most popular sites in Antarctica and offers a peek into life on an Antarctic base in the 1950s. Pleneau is situated just south of the Lemaire Channel and is a beautiful landing site only accessible later in the season, with many stranded icebergs in the bay area.
Optional excursions offer you the chance to experience Antarctica with all your senses. Kayak in untouched waters as icebergs float by, hike up snowy pathways to spectacular views, listen to the sounds of glaciers calving or penguins squabbling, spend the night on the continent, or for the most daring, take the polar plunge. Every day will be different and each will be carefully designed by your expedition team to create lasting memories.
Spend two days cruising towards beautiful South Georgia. En route you can participate in a number of presentations about the area’s wildlife, as well as whaling and polar history. Your expedition team is well-versed in every facet of South Georgia, from its geology and glaciology to the mating rituals of the sooty albatross and the legends of Norwegian whalers. One of the fascinating stories that will be told is that of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the men of the ill-fated Endurance expedition, and their amazing feats of bravery.
Explore the unique beauty and wildlife of South Georgia. The rich history of exploration and whaling lends a great backdrop to South Georgia’s rugged scenery of glaciers and bustling wildlife. This area is known as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean,’ and is a favorite site for wildlife photographers. South Georgia’s unique position inside the Antarctic ecosystem — yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice — makes it home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. Plan to visit Fortuna Bay and some of South Georgia’s abandoned whaling stations. During your stay here, you will see elephant seals lounge on the sand, fur seal pups race in and out of the water, albatross soar overhead, and king penguins by the thousands. Enjoy the sight of hanging glaciers and cliffs, the lagoons, and a large king penguin colony. You will also see a whaling museum, the Norwegian seaman’s church, and the tiny graveyard where you can pay your respects to the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. South Georgia also offers some good hiking opportunities, and a favorite is walking the last part of the route that Shackleton took on his brave journey across the island’s rugged mountains to find help for the 22 men left on isolated Elephant Island.
Cross the open sea on your way toward the Falkland Islands. Enjoy lectures and keep an eye out for wildlife from deck.
The Falklands Islands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature, and offer fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces, and stunning white-sand beaches. Here the sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross, as well as rockhopper and king penguins, while predatory striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese forage at the water’s edge. In the Falklands, penguins waddle close to take a look at you, then continue on their way, giving you some great photo opportunities. Stanley, the islands’ capital, makes a wonderful starting point for various optional excursions in the area. The town is easy enough to discover on foot, as most shops and services are clustered around the port.
Days at sea are full of activities and educational opportunities hosted by your expedition team.
Disembark in Montevideo, Uruguay, long considered one of South America's most interesting cities. Montevideo boasts colorful cultural diversity with a picturesque blend of Colonial Spanish, Italian, and Art Deco architectural styles. After disembarkation 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 theaters, museums and art galleries, and the stretch of white-sand beaches surrounding the city.
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.
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)
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for camping during the voyage. Gear and all cold-weather needs supplied – except pajamas. Due to popular demand, campers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit as to the number of guests allowed to sleep onshore. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
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.
Taught by two professional photography instructors, this pre-bookable photography school program covers basic image editing, wildlife and landscape photography, and DSLR video instruction. This program is designed for proficient beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated work station with software provided, priority access to the Photo Optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens cleaning kit. Min. / Max. Capacity: 2-10 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Small Boat Cruising:
Depending on the weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for small boat ‘Polarcirkel’ cruising excursions during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 1-2 hours. Included: Survival float suit, and a hot drink upon return. Small boat cruising is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Max. Capacity: 21 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
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.
Optional activities for this trip are subject to change without notice. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Economy flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia; one hotel night in Buenos Aires before the cruise, including breakfast; transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires; transfer from the airport to the ship in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard photography lectures; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary wind- and water-resistant jacket; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); all meals aboard the ship; complimentary tea, coffee, and water. Expedition Suites (M, MG) include a separate check-in; welcome package with sparkling wine on embarkation day; suite breakfast; soft drink and wine packages; fleece blanket/throw; cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles; espresso maker; Wi-Fi; turn-down service; and laundry service. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not detailed in the inclusions; transfers not detailed in 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; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Andrea Kalvig Anderson, © Daniel Avis, © Jesper Neilsen, © Harvard Jensen, © Marcel van Oosten