Summary : This voyage combines the comfortable adventure cruises of Classic Antarctica with visits to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and spectacular South Georgia. Much of the wildlife (penguins, whales, seabirds and seals) and scenic highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are included, as well as the best of two wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands. Stroll the typical English village of Stanley, walk sandy dunes and beaches where king penguins breed, and visit rugged seabird cliffs. Both islands are known as a paradise for wildlife with epic displays of animals congregating by the thousands—as far as the eye can see. In addition to wildlife viewing, this expedition is designed to include a visit to a scientific research station, stepping foot on the 7th continent, and plenty of time to enjoy breathtaking scenery. Passengers electing to participate can take part in stretching classes, enjoy healthy meals, a fresh juice bar, indulge in a massage therapy session, or take advantage of the sauna or gym in addition to experiencing great daily expedition activities.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$11,795 to $27,295
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its rich architecture and European heritage, you will independently transfer to your hotel. (See Rate Notes for mandatory transfer package details.)
After breakfast at the hotel, your group will transfer to the airport and board your charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will have a little time to enjoy this quaint port town before heading to the pier.
After embarkation, sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your expedition team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. Between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
Upon arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas) your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and the rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with a bit of an eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic bird species, Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and guides will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Sailing southeast to South Georgia, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans, is what creates the abundance of krill that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your expedition team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line, so you can look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area.
This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales, and elephant and fur seals. Today, South Georgia Island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts. One significant historic site is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, gift shop, church, and a small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that stands out. Each landing you make on South Georgia, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, will open your eyes to a new wonder of enthralling creatures.
One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next, you may visit another beach dotted with hundreds of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains, and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and interwoven relationship is something your expedition team will explain to you during your time here.
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops from your expedition team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival in Antarctica. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
If conditions allow, the ship may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, your first official stop in Antarctica.
The most common reaction to arriving at the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, as few places are as untouched, unique, and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Your expedition team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site, or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie, and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater, and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales such as minkes while on a Zodiac cruise, giving you a chance for an intimate experience with these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure. Enjoy the last moments of your trip by celebrating with your fellow shipmates.
Arrive in Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast. After disembarking, you will get a little taste of Patagonia by touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before transferring to the airport for your charter flight back to Buenos Aires.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. 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. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required for you to feel comfortable on the water, and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the paddling excursions described below.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than the full kayaking program, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time, one-hour paddle on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Pre-booking required.
The goal is to offer this activity once per voyage, at an ideal landing site during the expedition. With journeys taking a few hours, it is imperative that you be in good physical condition. Ideally, to partake in this activity, you should have cross-country skiing experience; however, exceptions may be made for those deemed physically capable. While the essential gear is provided, you will be responsible for certain extras, such as additional warm clothing and a pair of quality sunglasses.
Geared toward fitness-conscious adventurers, the goal is to offer this once per voyage. Your expert mountaineering guide will work with the expedition leader to select the ideal location for a full-day mountaineering adventure, which can last up to five hours. To participate in this challenging option, you are required to complete a fitness waiver.
Included in cruise rate and weather dependent. Taken in small groups in good weather conditions. Prior experience not required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Shipboard accommodations; snowshoeing; parka to keep; photographic journal; gear on loan: waterproof expedition boots, use of walking poles, use of snowshoes (weather dependent); all meals aboard the ship; daily housekeeping; house wine, non-premium domestic beer during dinner; soft drinks and smoothies at all times aboard the ship; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock; shore landings per the daily program; Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $500,000 USD per person*. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; mandatory transfer package; arrival transfer in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel on Day 1; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore; adventure option supplements (except snowshoeing); mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except those mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, massage and other personal charges; phone and Internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.