Summary : This comprehensive, adventure-packed voyage includes major Antarctic highlights, starting with the Falklands (Islas Malvinas), reminiscent of both sandy Cape Cod and the English moors, home to sheep, seals, dolphins, and five species of penguins. From there, venture to South Georgia where you’ll enter the home of 300,000 breeding king penguins, 50 million seabirds, and 5 million seals. Then, head south as you explore the stunning Antarctic Peninsula and finally cross the Antarctic Circle—a significant milestone for any world traveler.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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$14,995 to $30,995
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. In 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, to explore by Zodiac excursions and landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit churches and museums.
The archipelago is rich in wildlife, especially birds, and home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins there 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 boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans where the cold Antarctic waters mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans is what creates an abundance of krill that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Expedition staff will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line. 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 and 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 small research station.
While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. 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 during your time there.
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 greet you upon your arrival. In between activities, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness; the next, you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Zodiac cruising, visits to historical sites and, of course, communing with seals and penguins will keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as few expeditions reach so far south. If conditions allow you to cross this famed line, you'll toast the first explorers who ventured there. You can raise to toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, where there is the potential for fantastic iceberg sightings.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your expedition team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals, and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After more than three weeks of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Arrive in Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast. After disembarkation, sample a bit 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.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Small groups explore calm waters in good weather conditions accompanied by a Zodiac. Stand up paddleboarding can be booked in advance (limited availability), and will be also be offered via sign-up onboard the ship on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.