Summary : In less than two hours, fly from Punta Arenas, Chile and arrive on King George Island (the largest Island of the South Shetland Archipelago) where you will embark the newly-built Magellan Explorer at the gates of the White Continent. From King George Island you will navigate for seven days and six nights along the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoying stunning landscapes and the best wildlife sites along the way. If weather conditions permit, attempt to cross the Polar Circle at latitude 66° 33’ South and enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate the extraordinary occasion. With daily excursions, your naturalist team will deliver informative lectures introducing you to this spectacular continent.
Includes round-trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile with 7 days in Antarctica. Time spent in Antarctica is equivalent to an 12-day traditional ship cruise.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise, Antarctic Circle
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Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, before 2 p.m., where you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Attend a mandatory briefing that provides important information about your voyage and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. A welcome dinner introduces you to the local gastronomy as you meet fellow adventurers from around the world.
A two-hour flight takes you efficiently from Punta Arenas to King George Island (the largest of the South Shetland Islands). Your Antarctic adventure begins as you exit the airplane and the clear Antarctic air fills your lungs for the first time. A 1.25-mile walk to shore takes you through Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen Station before you board a Zodiac to embark your expedition vessel.
Sail along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of seabirds, penguins, seals, and whales. Visit the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, disembarking by Zodiac each day. In small groups, hike to extraordinary sites and take part in exploratory Zodiac excursions to otherwise inaccessible areas. Your experienced and knowledgeable polar guides share their passion for Antarctica through an engaging program of illustrated presentations, and lead you ashore to interpret the wildlife, the history, and the many wonders of the Antarctic environment. From the glass-enclosed lounge, enjoy spectacular views while sharing your daily adventures with fellow guests over a drink. The goal of the expedition is to sail far south in the attempt of reaching the Polar Circle. The expedition team plans the specific voyage route based on local conditions and takes advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by Nature. Flexibility will be the key to a successful voyage. Your expedition may include visits to sites such as Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Prospect Point or other magnificent locations. Each voyage is unique and each is crafted to provide the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment.
Scheduled flight to Punta Arenas, Chile
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica as you board the flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program.)
After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward flight.
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 insurance that includes medical evacuation and repatriation in remote areas, including Antarctica. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Getting There & Getting Home:
Arrive in Punta Arenas on Day 1, no later than 2 p.m. The same deadline applies to travelers arriving directly to the hotel on Day 1. That afternoon, all travelers must attend a mandatory safety and Antarctic briefing session covering important practical details. You must also attend a fitting session for your expedition boots. Participation in these activities is essential for the success of the expedition. Travelers who miss the 2 p.m. deadline will be considered 'no shows'—they will not be able to participate in the expedition and will not receive a refund. Tight connections during an Antarctic expedition are not recommended. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home. In addition, booking a departing flight on the same day as the return flight from Antarctica is not recommended.
The BAE 146-200 was manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace and is equipped with 4 turbofan Honeywell engines. It is a high-wing aircraft with very short runway requirements which makes it particularly suited for this kind of destination. It is operated by Aerovías DAP, which has more than 20 years of experience flying in Patagonia and Antarctica.
Luggage Weight Restriction:
Due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, passengers can only carry 20-kg / 44-lbs of personal luggage, including carry-on. This weight restriction is strictly enforced—it is not possible to purchase extra allowance. Note that ALL luggage will be weighed. Soft-sided luggage is recommended.
Some departures in the past have experienced delays. Based on past experience, the estimated chance of delay is very low. Still, it is important that prospective participants understand that flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions. Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of airline tickets or onward travel plans. In the unlikely event that the flight to Antarctica cannot operate due to unfavorable conditions, whether at point of origin in Punta Arenas and/or at the destination in Antarctica, the following contingency plan applies.
Antarctica-bound Flight: (Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island)
The group will remain in Punta Arenas while waiting for an improvement in the weather and for the opportunity to fly to Antarctica. Included are accommodations at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar, meals, and guided excursions to local attractions. If by 2 p.m. on Day 4 of the itinerary it is still not possible to reach Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted and the cruise fare will be refunded. Between Day 1 and until 2 p.m. on Day 4, every effort will be made to transport passengers to Antarctica, taking into consideration their safety and the safety of the aircraft. The daily program described below will apply: Day 2: Guided tours to sites of historic and wildlife interest in Punta Arenas will be provided. Meals are included as well as accommodation at the same hotel included on Day 1 of the itinerary. Day 3: Guided tours to sites of historic and wildlife interest in Punta Arenas will be provided. Meals are included as well as accommodation at the same hotel included on Day 1 of the itinerary. Day 4: If by 2 p.m. the shipping company cannot transport passengers to Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted. Accommodation with breakfast in a 3-star hotel in Punta Arenas will be provided. No other services or meals will be included. The shipping company will refund each passenger 100% the cruise fare paid for the expedition. Day 5: Group airport transfers are provided. No other services or meals are included.
Return Flight: (Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas)
In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is moved forward, passengers will disembark the ship and fly to Punta Arenas up to one day earlier than indicated in the itinerary. On arrival, accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar will be provided. All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary. In case the return flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas experiences a delay, passengers on board the ship will continue cruising to nearby places until the return flight to Punta Arenas is authorized. In such case, shipboard accommodation, full board, and all excursions are included. No refund will be extended for any reason whatsoever.
Limited to 10 participants per cruise. Prior kayaking experience and the ability to swim are required. Kayakers will be under the guidance and leadership of an experienced Kayak Master at all times. Minimum age for participation is 16. Space is limited, however, so be certain to book in advance. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Hiking & Snowshoeing:
Limited to 12 participants, no previous experience required. Available on a per excursion basis. No advance payment; must be paid onboard the ship. Participants will be led by an experienced mountain guide. Requires a good level of physical fitness. Minimum age for participation is 12. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Single Hotel Accommodation:
Single travelers who book a shared twin cabin will be accommodated in single rooms at the hotel and must pay a single hotel room supplement. Note: Passengers who use CPAP machines or other assistive devices, as well as those with conditions that could disturb their traveling companion, cannot book on a twin-share basis. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Antarctic Flight Preferred Seating:
Travelers can purchase preferred seats on their Antarctic flight. This option offers travelers an extra level of comfort and a guaranteed aisle or window seat at the front of the aircraft, as well as a guaranteed empty middle seat. Priority boarding in Punta Arenas and an amenities kit are included. Capacity is limited to a maximum of 8 aisle seats and 8 window seats (aisle 2, 3, 4, and 5). Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Additional Hotel & Transfer Package:
Travelers can purchase a hotel and transfer package that includes: one night hotel accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos (or similar) in Punta Arenas, shared airport-to-hotel transfer, breakfast, and a drink voucher. Available as a pre- or post-expedition package.
Round-trip flights between Punta Arenas and Frei Station, King George Island; one pre-expedition hotel night with welcome dinner, drinks, and breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on Day 1; one post-expedition hotel night with breakfast in Punta Arenas at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer airport/hotel on Day 1; group transfer airport/hotel on day of scheduled return flight from Antarctica; group transfer hotel/airport on last day of the air-cruise; shipboard accommodations; guided shore excursions; onboard lectures and entertainment; comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material; gear on loan (waterproof boots); all meals onboard the ship; wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner aboard the ship; coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccino, water, and snacks aboard the ship throughout the expedition; contingency plan (outlined below); IAATO passenger fee. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare, accommodation, meals, excursions and transfers other than those included in the itinerary and the Contingency Plan; preferred seating on Antarctic flights; optional activities such as sea kayaking or hiking and snowshoeing; dinner in Punta Arenas upon return from Antarctica; mandatory evacuation insurance; personal travel insurance; recommended travel protection policy; personal expenses (beverages purchased at the ship’s bar, communication, laundry, souvenirs, etc.); gratuities; visas for Chile and/or Argentina; passport expenses; any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ben O (penguins on ice, whale tail), Ruslan Eliseev (nesting penguin), Nicolas Gildemeister (seal)