Summary : This expedition takes you through Chilean fjords to the Antarctic Peninsula, starting in the vibrant city of Santiago. Cruise the Beagle Channel, with channels, fjords, and mountains plunging straight into the icy water. Witness Cape Horn, a mystical place where two oceans meet. Cross the Drake Passage to Antarctica where penguins, seals, whales, and large flocks of sea birds give life to the surreal and beautiful landscape. Opt to kayak in pristine icy waters or hike at a landing site. Experience the wonders of wildlife and nature on the Falkland Islands where sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross and rockhopper penguins. Onboard, enjoy the comforts of a new, purpose-built, hybrid-powered expedition ship. Spend time in the Explorer Lounge and Bar while taking in the scenery through panoramic windows, hear presentations by knowledgeable guides, swim in the infinity pool, run the outdoor track, learn in the Science Center, or take a photography workshop. Children ages 7-13 can participate in the Young Explorers Program to gain a deeper understanding of nature, climate, and culture. The expedition ends in Punta Arenas, where you'll board an included flight back to Santiago, Chile.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
NEW – Pre-Bookable Kayaking
$14,996 to $37,756
The capital of Chile is exciting and diverse. There is a lot to discover here, from the Andean glaciers at the city borders to tall mountains, skyscrapers, quiet parks, Colonial architecture, bohemian neighborhoods, and the fast-flowing Mapacho River. Your adventure starts with an overnight hotel stay here.
Take an included flight to Punta Arenas and embark the ship to begin your adventure.
Enjoy cruising through the Beagle Channel, with 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 that make up the unique fjord landscape of Chile.
When ranking the most iconic places on Earth, Cape Horn is high on the list. At almost 56° 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. Your captain will attempt a landing on Cape Horn before you cross the Drake Passage, part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current—the most voluminous current in the world. About 25 to 40 billion gallons of water per second are transported from west to east. As you cross the Drake, you sail over the mid-ocean West Scotia Ridge and over the nearly 20,000-foot deep South Shetland Trench.
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90% of the world's ice is here, 13,000-feet thick, covering the landmass. In winter Antarctica 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 of the wildlife found here thrives on a cornerstone species: krill. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of a single 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'll visit a place that has evolved through millennia without human interference. Antarctica's location makes every cruise to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment. Weather, wind, and ice conditions have a great influence on your program and schedule. Landings are changed, alternative routes are taken, and plans shift as you go along. This also means that you will take advantage of often ideal conditions to spend hours ashore hiking, kayaking through pristine water, or simply cruising among huge pods of whales.
The crew will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island, and Neko Harbor. All these sites are serene and offer untouched nature, opportunities to observe penguin colonies, seals, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and color, and old whaling stations. It's hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from veteran Antarctic travelers goes, “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”
After exploring this superlative and unique continent, set course to the Falkland Islands. The Falklands consist of two large islands and around 700 smaller ones. Captain John Strong of the HMS Welfare made the first recorded landing here in 1690. Attend lectures that focus on the dramatic history and diverse wildlife of the islands as you keep a watch out 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 of 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 surrounding areas. 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 conditions permit a landing on Carcass Island. This is a bird paradise with several ducks, geese, penguins, albatrosses, caracaras, and wrens. It is also one of few islands in the Falklands with trees. Board a small boat to go ashore for exploring, hiking, and taking a closer look at all the birds.
As you complete the loop of the Magellan Strait, you will have a recap of everything you've experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.
Arrive back in Punta Arenas in the morning. After the included return flight to Santiago, you can extend your adventure with a post-cruise excursion to experience this impressive South American region.
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.
Medical Declaration Form:
All travelers must complete a confidential medical declaration form, signed by a doctor, stating that they are fit to travel. This form will be available in advance of travel, and must be filled out, brought on board, and personally delivered to the doctor upon embarkation. Boarding may denied if this form is not presented at the time of embarkation.
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 Adventure: 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.
Kayaking - Basic Certification Program:
Learn how to effectively maneuver a kayak and perform simple, practical kayaking exercises and drills, as well as basic kayaking safety procedures. This course is up to 16 hours in duration over two non-consecutive days. Kayaking excursions on the water will be 2-4 hours in length. Graduates of the class will receive a basic kayaking certification from the Norwegian Paddle Association: Norsk Padleforbunds. The program is led by two professional kayaking guides, with a maximum of 8 participants. No previous paddling experience is necessary. The program is conducted in English. All equipment, including a dry suit, is provided for participants. Good physical fitness is essential. Children 13 years and older may participate on request. Please Note: This program is not combinable with the Explorer Photography School program. Pre-bookable (recommended) or bookable onboard, subject to availability. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
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. Min./Max. Capacity: 11-21 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 round-trip flight between Santiago and Punta Arenas, Chile; one pre-cruise hotel night with breakfast included; transfer from the hotel to the airport in Santiago; transfer from the airport to the ship in Punta Arenas, transfer from the ship to the airport after the cruise; shipboard accommodations; landings with small boats and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; Young Explorers program for children; onboard photography lectures; onboard science center; a wind- and water-resistant jacket; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); all meals aboard the ship; complimentary tea, water, and coffee. Expedition Suites (MF, ME, MD, MC, MB, MA) 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, © Dominic Barrington, © Stefan Dall, © Karsten Bidstrup, © Ralph Lee Hopkins