Summary : This voyage encompasses the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and the enchanting wildlife haven of South Georgia. Discover the historic Falklands~Malvinas and stand in awe before the world’s largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. In Antarctica, experience the serenity and grandeur of the most remote place on earth, where penguins nest, whales feed and captivating seals frolic in ice-speckled seas.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in Santiago, where you will be met by a representative of the operator and transferred to your group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with your cabin tags.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Stanley, capital of the Falklands~Malvinas.
Stanley is a charming town with a distinctly British character, something you'll discover on a panoramic tour. The town features terraced town houses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica. The tour ends at the pier, where you will board the vessel.
After embarkation, you'll have time to settle into your cabin before your important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, you'll gather on the deck to commence your adventure with spectacular views over Stanley town.
The Falklands~Malvinas comprises two large islands (East and West Falkland), with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life.
There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands~Malvinas, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities.
You will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Even though we’re north of the Antarctic Convergence it can be quite chilly here, so you’ll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English ‘tea and scones’ at a local cottage.
This trip also aims to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced town houses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.
Between the Falklands~Malvinas and South Georgia, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our precise arrival time in South Georgia. Our lecture program will continue highlighting all of the incredible sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy observing the sea birds, whale-watching from the observation areas, or simply relaxing with a book.
If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent! In fact, it is a small island only 176 km (110 mi) long, but with a 3,000 m (9,842 ft) snow-capped mountain range, some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches.
On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. You’ll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore!
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their local knowledge to plan your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea state and wildlife opportunities.
This operator generally makes landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguins, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia’s kelp forests as well - these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface.
Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals (making sure you listen to your guides and keep your distance!) and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. The operator also hopes to visit the remnants of South Georgia’s thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow.
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, you may ship cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia’s majestic coast.
Attend informative lectures to learn about Antarctica as we sail across the Scotia Sea towards the white continent. Treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre or stay active in the gym; the choice is yours on how you want to enjoy days at sea.
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
You will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, you may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
After your final landing in South Shetland Islands, you commence our crossing of the Drake Passage back to Ushuaia.
The choice is yours on how you’d like to spend these precious moments: editing photos, attending talks and presentations, staying active in the gym, swapping stories over a drink, or simply relaxing.
During the early morning, you will sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where you will begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as you all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, it is not recommended to book flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
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. The information below is subject to change at any time.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $250,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Exploration by sea kayak is an ideal way to surround yourself in the sights and sounds of Antarctica. Paddle among icebergs and brash ice, get up close to wildlife and observe in an unobtrusive manner. Some kayak excursions may be long in duration and on choppy water, so a reasonable level of kayaking experience is required to participate in this activity. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places where others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, you’ll be led by guides who will provide all the instruction you need for a thrilling experience. No previous experience is required, but a good level of fitness is necessary. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.
Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1; One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Santiago on Day 1; Transfer from hotel to Santiago airport on Day 2; Flight from Santiago to Stanley on Day 2; City tour in Stanley on Day 2 (dependent on flight arrival time to Stanley); Transfer from pier to downtown Ushuaia or to airport on Day 19; On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages; All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult); A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage; Comprehensive pre-departure information, Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
International or domestic flights, unless specified; Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary; Airport arrival or departure taxes; Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges; Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges; Hotels and meals not included in itinerary; Optional excursions not included in the itinerary; Optional activity surcharges; All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, additional medical expenses such as medication, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Photos: © Aurora Expeditions