Summary : Follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers on this comprehensive voyage that illuminates Sir Ernest Shackleton's courageous exploration of Antarctica. Witness colorful houses on the Falkland Islands and the extraordinary scenery of these southern islands. South Georgia is home to Shackleton’s grave, former whaling stations, and a king penguin rookery of thousands. You will continue this extraordinary voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. Antarctica is beyond comprehension and sure to amaze any traveler seeking a true adventure to the world's most remote wilderness.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$12,999 to $28,999
Arrive in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Make your way to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Situated on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia actually means "the bay facing westward" in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants. Once a penal colony (the presidio was disbanded in the 1940s) for political prisoners as well as hardened criminals, Ushuaia is now a major tourist attraction, particularly for people cruising to Antarctica. The town of 40,000 is also a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers and offers magnificent hiking in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, the only coastal national park in Argentina.
Today, you will embark your ship in the afternoon. The morning is free to do any last minute shopping or an optional excursion to the Terra Del Fuego National park or a good hike up to the Marshall Glacier. The evening is spent on board the ship watching the sunset over the Beagle Channel.
Please note while it is intended to adhere to the itinerary described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On the first day on board, your Expedition Leader will give you an expedition overview.
As you make the passage east, you have time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall and library. You will meet your guides, ship’s crew and lecturers in the lecture hall. Also, the lecture and information sessions begin where you can learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
The Falkland Islands provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity and extraordinary scenery of the southern islands. Port Stanley provides an opportunity to meet the hardy local inhabitants whose colorful houses provide contrast to the long, dark winters. Here you may catch your first glimpses of penguins, including the Magellanic, rockhopper, macaroni, gentoo, and king penguins. With a little luck you may also see the elephant seals, sea lions, king cormorants, black-browed albatross, skuas, night herons, giant petrels, striated caracaras and, of course, sheep.
The islands consist of 700 small and mostly uninhabited islands and two main islands - East and West Falklands. Located 490 kilometers east of Patagonia, the Falklands have always been a land of hot debate. Officially discovered on August 14, 1592 by John Davis they remained uninhabited until 1764 when the French built a garrison at Port Louis disregarding the Spanish claim to the islands. From that moment on, there have been many disputes between Spain, France, Britain and Argentina over the next 200 plus years until the end of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982 brought the islands firmly under Britain’s control. Now with a human population of only 2,491, the islands are the first stop in your journey.
Sailing east, set course for South Georgia. Your days at sea will be filled with lectures to prepare you for South Georgia and you will have plenty of time on deck to identify the abundant sea birds of the south ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for the whales that inhabit these waters.
South Georgia Island is home to many marvels including Shackleton’s grave, former whaling stations, incredible scenery and prolific wildlife. Weather permitting you will have three full days to explore this island. A huge colony of king penguins is the highlight of this part of the journey. On nearby islands, you’ll hope to spot wandering albatross in their nesting grounds.
The Island’s wildlife is extraordinary, not only in its variety, but also for its sheer abundance. South Georgia is home to roughly 300,000 elephant seals, three-million fur seals, and 25 species of breeding birds, including wandering albatrosses. The gravel beach at St. Andrews Bay has a king penguin rookery of 100,000 and an estimated five-million macaroni penguins. The British explorer Sir Ernest H Shackleton landed at King Haakon Bay on the southwest coast after the 800-mile journey in a 20-foot open boat from Elephant Island. They proceeded to hike the ice-covered mountainous terrain, arriving to Stromness whaling station on May 20, 1916. Shackleton returned to South Georgia in 1922 for one last assault on Antarctica, but passed away after suffering a major heart attack while in his cabin. He was buried at the whaler’s cemetery at Grytviken station at the request of his wife.
Plotting a southwesterly course you travel toward legendary Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands. The waters are rich with nutrients and the long summer days provide the ingredient that is missing most of the year. The result is a complex food chain topped by several species of whales, seals, and seabirds.
This is what you've been waiting for - a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the next several days, navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula. The goal is to attempt two excursions per day while navigating through the area, but the itinerary and daily schedule will be based on the local weather and ice conditions encountered.
The Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands abound with wildlife activity. Penguins gather with their fast-growing chicks, seals haul out onto ice floes and beaches, and numerous albatross and other seabirds trail in your wake. There is plenty of time to enjoy the sheer beauty and the breathtaking scenery of ice-choked waterways, blue and white icebergs, impressive glaciers and rugged snow-capped mountains. The Peninsula also has a remarkable history and, during the voyage, you will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. Keeping a lookout from the Bridge or the deck of the ship, as it threads its way along the continent, you'll feel the same sense of excitement as many of those early explorers.
Heading north across the Drake Passage, spend two days enjoying the beauty of the sea as you sail for Ushuaia.
Your adventure comes to a close. Enjoy a final breakfast on the expedition ship before saying your goodbyes, as you disembark in Ushuaia in the morning.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on the Expedition, all passengers must purchase medical and emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum medical coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, and evacuation expenses. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Clients must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Limited to just 20 people, the Antarctica camping experience includes time to enjoy the beauty of Antarctica near your campsite with ample photography options. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details and to book in advance.
Limited to just 10 people per cruise, you'll venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters and take part in group kayaking trips led by experienced and skilled leaders. Space is limited, however, so be certain to book in advance. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
One pre-cruise hotel night at the Albatros Hotel (or equivalent) in Ushuaia; arrival and departure transfers; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; beverages including coffee, tea, and water; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of the Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; Antarctica destination guidebook; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots for US sizes 6-16); and a complimentary wind- and water-resistant jacket. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; departure taxes; gratuities are at your discretion; items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions; kayaking; camping; fuel surcharge may apply.