Summary : Meet penguins in person, aim to cross the Antarctic Circle, step foot on the White Continent, and hear the crackle of sea ice on this epic otherworldly adventure! Exploring the modern traveler’s final frontier, you’ll discover the iconic sights and sounds that make Antarctica one of the Earth’s most pristine, unforgettable, and coveted destinations.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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Arrive in Ushuaia and transfer from the airport to your included hotel.
Enjoy a group transfer from your hotel to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon.
Once onboard, enjoy your first taste of life at sea and a welcome dinner. The air is likely to be filled with anticipation, as after you leave the Beagle Channel your next view of land will be of Antarctica - the White Continent.
Crossing the Drake is a rite of passage that signifies your journey to the White Continent has begun! As you sail from the southern tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoy time on deck in the cool salt breeze as you spot sea birds gracefully soaring in the wind. Attend engaging presentations, enjoy the ship’s amenities, and get to know your fellow traveling companions as excitement builds in anticipation of your first excursion. The first iceberg will flash into sight as you near the South Shetlands Islands, and you may even see penguins swimming!
As you navigate historic waterways and visit prime sites along the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring South Shetland Islands, the goal is to attempt 1-2 excursions per day. Your Captain and Expedition Leader continually monitor weather and ice conditions, working together to insure you experience the best of Antarctica whether you’re exploring Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, Deception Island, or the many other locations available for landings and Zodiac cruising in the region.
Sailing in the wake of the 19th century’s great explorers—Sir Ernest Shackleton, Adrien de Gerlache, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen (to name just a few)—you’ll photograph the same towering mountain peaks they saw, hear raucous penguin colonies as you go ashore, see dazzling shades of blue and white as you navigate bays with impressive ice sculptures, and gain a new perspective of what it takes for wildlife—from penguins and giant petrels to elephant seals and humpback whales—to thrive in the beauty of this environment.
If weather conditions are favorable, continue to push south, past vast icebergs, in the hope of reaching latitude 66°33’ S to cross the fabled Antarctic Circle. This is a point that only a few intrepid travelers have reached, an impressive achievement and one worthy of a celebration! If successful, there will be a toast to yourself and a toast to the first explorers who ventured this far south. The area is home to Weddell seals and beautifully sculptured ice formations and you may see humpback whales and minke whales that feed on the krill-rich waters.
Heading north once more, continue to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, keeping a close watch for wildlife and scanning the waters for whale activity. Make the most of the on board facilities, and enjoy your final Zodiac excursions and shore landings.
The forecast for conditions across the Drake Passage will determine when you’ll say a fond farewell to Antarctica and sail back to South America. Enjoy the ship’s amenities as the coastline drifts out of view, take time for bird watching and searching the horizon for whales, and enjoy final presentations by the expedition staff as you relax and reflect upon your Antarctic adventure.
Disembark the ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; a minimum of $150,000 is advised by the shipping company. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Paddling in small groups, you’ll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife. Previous kayaking experience is required. It is recommended to have been in a kayak at least three times before. You will need to verify your travel and medical insurance prior to commencing kayaking. Kayakers should be aged 14 or over.
Optional Photography Private Workshop:
Includes workshops prior to arrival in Antarctica, critiquing sessions while in Antarctica and editing workshops on the return journey. Some Zodiac excursions will be on forward-facing Zodiacs with your photography guide at your side on landings too.
Optional Camping: Select dates
A true outdoor adventure, experience the sights and sounds during your opportunity to fully immerse yourself when you camp overnight in Antarctica.
Optional Snowshoeing: Select dates
A unique way to explore Antarctica. It makes walking up gentle slopes easier, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Ushuaia with breakfast; transfer from Ushuaia airport to hotel on Day 1; transfer from Ushuaia hotel to pier on Day 2; transfer from ship to Ushuaia airport on disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; gear to keep (wind and water resistant jacket); gear on loan (rubber boots, hiking poles); onboard yoga; all meals onboard ship; soft drinks at meal times. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than those mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses if applicable; optional adventure and photography programs and activities; alcohol; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities; excess baggage charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: The Ocean Endeavour Company; Jennifer Santoyo