Summary : Tour the beautiful Falkland Islands to view huge populations of rockhopper, gentoo, and Magellanic penguins, as well as the regal black-browed albatross. Witness the vast penguin colonies of South Georgia—king, macaroni, gentoo, and chinstrap—as well as large numbers of elephant and fur seals crowding the beaches. Set foot on the Antarctic continent and revel in the incredible scenery of snowcapped peaks, mighty glaciers, and glistening icebergs—a photographer’s dream. Learn about early polar exploration and whaling history, including a visit to the burial site of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$23,480 to $42,780
Board your independent flight via Buenos Aires, arriving in Ushuaia the next day. Transfer to Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa with the rest of the day at leisure. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight.
Today, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and disembark in Tierra del Fuego National Park for nature hikes surrounded by dramatic scenery. Board the ship this afternoon and set sail for the Falkland Islands.
Attend lectures on the natural and historical highlights ahead during a day at sea.
On Saunders Island, you will find colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins, as well as nesting Black-browed Albatross.
Step ashore in Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands and enjoy a short tour of this British-flavored town.
Lecturers recap your experiences and prepare you for your visit to South Georgia. On deck, join naturalists in search of the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.
Flexibility in this area is a must. Many of your leaders have been to South Georgia numerous times and, if the weather is in your favor, may offer a landing before breakfast or even after dinner. Call at some of the many islands, bays, and coves where you will see outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals close at hand. The following is a list of places where you may visit on South Georgia; some of them are pending final government approval.
Elsehul Bay – This beautiful bay is home to thousands of fur seals as well as macaroni penguins, the most numerous of all penguin species. Listen for the high-pitched trumpeting of king penguins amid the magnificent sounds of marine mammals that echo in the bay.
Salisbury Plain – Two glaciers flank Salisbury Plain on South Georgia’s north coast. Here, more than 200,000 king penguins congregate and breed, and you are greeted by one of the more remarkable sights—and sounds—on Earth.
Stromness Bay – The site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party’s arrival after their harrowing crossing of the island’s glaciers on foot, Stromness offers views of cliffs and a glacier from which the adventurer and his companions descended.
Grytviken – Go ashore to discover the ruins of this once-active whaling station. The cemetery holds a special fascination, as it is here that Shackleton is buried. Seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals can also be found here.
Gold Harbour – At the foot of the Bertrab Glacier, Gold Harbour is often referred to as the “jewel in the island’s crown.” In addition to a large king penguin colony, you are likely to see elephant and fur seals, gentoo penguins, giant petrels, and with luck, light-mantled albatross.
Naturalists recap your memorable visit to South Georgia and introduce you to the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.
Today arrive at Elephant Island, made famous by the Shackleton expedition. Awesome glaciers, speckled with pink algae, create a dramatic backdrop. Weather permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the island and the opportunity to view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, your daily schedule of landings are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. There is the possibility that you may visit a research station and witness the scientific activities conducted by the multinational community of scientists working there. The expeditionary nature of your voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops; in the past your guides have visited the locations below. This list serves as a guideline only of the places you may experience.
Brown Bluff – Located on the Antarctic continent, the volcanic promontory of Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with huge and bizarrely shaped boulders. Some 20,000 pairs of Adelie, and hundreds of gentoo penguins, make their home here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.
Deception Island – As you approach Deception through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for the ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Weigh anchor inside a volcano whose collapsed cone was filled by rushing seawater, and explore the ruins of a 20th-century whaling station.
Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island – Cruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel, keep watch for the humpback and minke whales frequently spotted here. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Steep mountain peaks jut out of the sea on both sides, and the waters are often choked with icebergs and frequented by crabeater seals. A stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs lies in the shallow waters west of Pleneau Island, presenting a superb Zodiac cruising experience. Crabeater and leopard seals haul out on the ice, and elephant seals and gentoo penguins occupy the island itself.
During your Drake crossing, watch for wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters, and white-chinned petrels. Whales are also frequently seen in these waters.
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight. Arrive in the USA on February 14.
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.
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage 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.
Shipboard accommodations and meals, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; group transfers; services of the expedition staff, including lectures and briefings; entrance fees, taxes, landing and port charges; parka; $80 gear certificate; gratuities; limited medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance*. Subject to change at any time.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation and additional travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges and alcoholic beverages other than those listed as included, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.
Photos by Sam Crimmin and Jim Wilson