Summary : Beginning in the Chilean town of Punta Arenas and finishing in the Argentine seaport of Ushuaia, on top of four spectacular days on the Antarctic Peninsula this itinerary gives you the opportunity to bookend your voyage with visits to two charming and historically significant towns of the south. Meet penguins in person, aim to 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
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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.
En route to the Eclipse location, your time at sea can be filled with presentations from your onboard team of experts or enjoy photography and bird watching from the warmth of the viewing space on the Ocean Endeavour’s spacious bridge as albatross and other seabirds circle the ship and you spot for whales. On this special voyage, talks from your resident astrophysicists and meteorologists will prepare you for the incredibly rare event that lays ahead and evening programming will see a chance for a casual drink at the bar while you get to know your shipmates and guides.
During the early hours of the day, you will be invited onto the deck of the Ocean Endeavour to view the incredibly rare spectacle that is an Antarctic Total Solar Eclipse. During the night, your ship will have sailed well into the zone of 100% obscuration, your navigators precisely measuring longitude in conjunction with local weather events to allow a viewing for approximately 1 and a half minutes - the longest possible for the region. Also on deck will be your resident experts in astrophysics and meteorology as well as your team of photography guides to interpret this astronomical phenomenon and instruct on how best to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Following the early start to the day, the ship will turn back to face the west and it’ll give you an opportunity to rest and review your photographs on your way to historic Elephant Island.
Join the team on the bridge this morning to scan the horizon for your first sighting of land since South America, when icebergs may well appear in numbers and when you first lay eyes on the continent of Antarctica. The Ocean Endeavour’s navigators will be aiming for the historic Elephant Island – a place central to the incredible survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men who used this very island as a camp and rendezvous point during the final and harrowing legs of their epic Endurance saga. Either from the ship or from zodiacs, witness Point Wild – the very place where Shackleton’s men clung to rocks for several months in anticipation of his return from South Georgia. Ashore, a monument marks this site and the incredible feat of survival that surmises their astonishing journey.
The eighth day of your voyage will see a turn south and sail toward the eastern side of Joinville Island, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Far less trodden than the western shores, this area affords time to truly explore some of the world’s most remote and rugged beaches and islands. This area is home to some of the largest Adelie penguin colonies on Earth which attracts an abundance of leopard seals and other marine fauna. On this day, you’ll be in true expedition mode as you take the opportunity to reconnoiter this remote region on your way further south.
Perhaps the most profound experience and when the sights and sounds of the Antarctic really come to life is upon visiting one’s first gentoo penguin colony. Here, on the Peninsula’s western side, you’ll explore some of the continent’s most famous locations where tens of thousands of penguins find a rare piece of bare rock on which to nest for the summer months. At this time of year, penguins will be sharing incubating responsibilities and perhaps a few tiny penguin chicks will be appearing. Jumping out of a zodiac onto a beach laden with these vast congregations of birds makes for an unforgettable immersion into the Antarctic ecosystem and a sensory experience like none other!
In addition to the penguins, on this voyage you will be exploring glacial faces, channels and bays of the Peninsula offering the chance to witness icebergs of every description and to get up close and personal with the various seal species that call this part of the continent home. Along the way, your expedition team will be constantly scouting for those leviathans of the ocean – the thousands of humpback whales that migrate to this part of the world at this time of year to feed on krill.
After turning north again, your voyage will take you to the rugged, windswept vistas of the South Shetland Islands. Home to some peculiar species including elephant seals and fur seals, these islands also boast a water-bound volcano, a string of scientific bases and some of the best sunsets the Antarctic has to offer – making for a fantastic way to round out your excursions and take to the deck of the Ocean Endeavour for a toast to the Antarctic at sundown
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. Activity is weather dependent.
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.
A true outdoor adventure, experience the sights and sounds during your opportunity to fully immerse yourself when you camp overnight in Antarctica.
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 hotel to ship on Day 2; transfer from ship to 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