Summary : Early summer is an extraordinary time of year in Antarctica. Penguins and seabirds are returning to their breeding colonies, elephant seals are engaging in epic battles, and the thawing of sea ice invites you into an unspoiled polar wilderness. On this once-per-season voyage you'll explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Each of these destinations is legendary for abundant marine mammals, exceptional subantarctic birdlife, spectacular scenery, and fascinating history. In the Falkland Islands, where birdlife abounds, discover easily accessible albatross and penguin rookeries on idyllic island farmsteads. In South Georgia, amidst the dramatic Southern Ocean seascape, find world-famous wildlife beaches thronged with jousting elephant seals, raucous fur seals, and stately king penguins. In the South Shetland Islands, explore a pristine polar wilderness of singular beauty, complete with bustling penguin colonies, dauntless seals, and voracious whales. On this ultimate wildlife expedition, each destination is more amazing than the last.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
Just-Released Offer Save up to 15% per person
$14,695 to $33,095
The small city of Ushuaia is the perfect starting point for your expedition cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. Located near the southern tip of South America, it boasts beautiful views of the Andres Mountains and the Beagle Channel. Stroll the lively main street of cafes, shops, and outfitters—perhaps picking up a last-minute item for your voyage or enjoying a typical Argentine grill entrée at one of many casual restaurants. If you arrive early, you will want to visit beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park.
You will embark in the afternoon and set sail down the scenic Beagle Channel.
Through presentations and informal conversations on Antarctic wildlife, history, and geology you will learn about the animals and sites you'll encounter in the days ahead. Keep a sharp eye out as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, where ocean dynamics create a unique zone of marine life and activity. In the early evening of the fourth day, weather and sea conditions permitting, plan to have your first landing in the South Shetland Islands.
In the region of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula you will have a variety of opportunities to actively explore the area's unique wildlife and breathtaking scenery. With nearly 200 recognized sites here, your expedition team will draw from their experience to offer you the best places and ways to explore the enchanting world of the Sixth Continent. A flexible plan is the key to a successful expedition.
Your captain and expedition leader will do their best to show you all the faces of Antarctica. Aim to check off five penguin species, six seal species, and several whale species off your Antarctic checklist. While cruising along narrow Antarctic waterways, admire huge icebergs of different shapes, sizes and colors. Visit scientific stations representing several different countries and learn about Antarctic scientific research projects straight from the source(s). Of course, setting foot on the actual Antarctic Continent is also on agenda.
More informative presentations are in store as you head northeast toward South Georgia.
For many, South Georgia is a must-see destination within the Antarctic region. These sub-Antarctic islands are mountain peaks emerging from the Scotia Arc, an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the White Continent. Shaped like a long and narrow whalebone, the islands are home to four seal species, several whale species, scores of Antarctic seabirds, and penguins.
Around half the world's population of macaroni penguins, along with 100,000 pairs of gentoo penguins, and about 6,000 breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins reside here. Perhaps the most attractive residents of South Georgia are the king penguins with their orange-yellow crowns. The total number of king penguins is around 400,000 breeding pairs. You will spend three days among the alpine landscapes and penguins colonies. You will also visit to the historic settlement of Grytviken. With its whaling-era remnants and Earnest Shackleton’s gravesite, the one-time whaling town is one of the highlights of South Georgia.
From South Georgia head west toward the Falkland Islands. Presentations and workshops as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities ensure that days at sea are not idly spent.
The Falkland Islands offer an unforgettable vista of moors and rugged coastlines carved by the South Atlantic, where the wildlife and plant life form a link between Patagonia and Antarctica. On the beaches, elephant seals are a spectacular sight when battling each other to establish territories or simply relaxing. Sea lions and fur seals are also common sights. As many as a million penguins nest in the Falklands every summer, representing five of the world’s seventeen species: king, gentoo, rockhopper, Magellanic and macaroni. What’s more, the Falklands are home to the largest gentoo population on Earth. Look for black-browed albatrosses nesting on grassy hillsides overlooking the sea. The capital of the Falklands, Port Stanley is the southernmost British outpost in the world. With many reminders of its British heritage such as red phone booths and English pubs, the town boasts other unusual sights like a whalebone arch and shipwrecks along the coast.
Reality begins to set in during this final sea passage separating the magical world you’ve just explored from the rest of the world you’ll soon be rejoining. Refresh your memories through a photo exchange with newfound friends and bid farewell to seabirds and whales that you can identify more easily now.
Disembark this morning in Montevideo. Following disembarkation, a group transfer to the Montevideo airport or the city center is provided.
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.
Bilingual Departures: All voyages are conducted in English and German.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to carry valid evacuation and repatriation insurance which must contain medical and evacuation coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. You must book your spot before you join the vessel for your voyage. Weather permitting, sea kayakers will have the opportunity to experience the thrill and tranquility of sea kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Children who are 16 to 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate if they are accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.
Learn and practice photography skills alongside an experienced professional. An expert photographer will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia (if a single traveler reserves a shared cabin aboard the ship, they will automatically receive shared hotel accommodations on the pre-cruise night at the hotel); group transfer from airport to Ushuaia hotel on the day prior to departure; group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; ferry from Montevideo and transfer to the airport in Buenos Aires upon disembarkation (for passengers flying out of Buenos Aires); shipboard accommodations; scheduled landings/excursions; digital voyage log; gear to keep (complimentary expedition parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); meals on board ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station on board ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on board ship; port fees. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees (if applicable); luggage, medical and trip cancellation insurance; excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and onboard communications (telephone calls, faxes, and e-mail service); gratuities to shipboard personnel; emergency evacuation insurance; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Poseidon Expeditions