Summary : For most travelers, visiting Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, for those with the luxury of time, including the Falklands and South Georgia Island cruise just makes sense. Only the plains of the Serengeti during the migrations can compare to the wildlife spectacles offered by both South Georgia and the Falklands. On your South Georgia Island cruise you’ll see a single rookery with tens of thousands of king penguins—an astonishing sight and an indelible memory. In the Falklands, you’ll see rockhopper penguins in great number in their “hobbit shire” of the tussock grass. And, in both, you’ll have the rare opportunity to see albatross in great numbers—wandering albatross with their impressive 11-foot wing spans; and beautiful black-browed albatross—in colonies that fill the windward ledges of these southernmost islands. These, plus elephant and fur seals, pelagic birds in great numbers, and various species of whales feasting on the Southern Ocean’s seasonal bounty create unprecedented wildlife viewing experiences for you.
All departures are Photo Expeditions, see end of page for details.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$28,580 to $56,380
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.
Arrive today in Santiago and check in to your centrally located hotel, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to your afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. Explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening, gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel.
Fly by private charter flight to the Falklands, arriving in Mount Pleasant with a transfer to Stanley, the capital. You have time to stroll the photogenic tin-roofed, colonial-style houses of Stanley, seeing the Anglican Cathedral with its organic archway of whale bones before embarking the ship.
Each Falkland Island is a variation on the theme of topographical beauty with white-sand beaches, vaulting cliffs, windswept moors, and the sunlit yellows and greens of waving tussock grass. While the Falklands boasts a human population (3,000 people in total; 2,500 of whom live in the capital, Stanley) the animals—specifically thousands of irresistible gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, as well as magnificent albatross with 11-foot wingspans and curious fur seals—vastly outnumber them and constitute a major draw for wildlife.
During your days at sea, learn about the fascinating history of Antarctic exploration, as well as the flora, fauna, and geology of South Georgia—and the riveting story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance. Your naturalists help you identify the seabirds that follow the ship: wandering albatross, prions, and black-browed albatross. There will also be time to browse the library or workout in the gym.
Steeped in Shackleton and whaling lore, covered mostly in glaciers, South Georgia explodes with life: gentoo and macaroni penguins, enormous snorting elephant seals, and a thriving fur seal population. Here on South Georgia—the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean—you can observe one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles: literally tens of thousands of stately king penguins on a single beach! This is also the setting for the historic adventure story of Sir Ernest Shackleton aboard the ill-fated Endurance, and you’ll visit his grave at Grytviken to hoist a toast.
With whales below, birds above, voyage towards the seventh continent. Head up to the Bridge to watch for icebergs and observe expert navigation at work as your skilled Captain and officers sail these historic waters. Each day your naturalists offer talks that add depth to your experience.
With long hours of daylight, make the most of your days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands. Sail through the incomparable Lemaire Channel (conditions permitting) and land on the “White Continent,” exploring via Zodiac, kayak, and on foot. The schedule is flexible, allowing you to take advantage of the unexpected—watching whales play off the bow, taking an after-dinner Zodiac cruise, or heading out on an unplanned excursion. The goal is to offer opportunities each day to hike, kayak among the ice floes, and experience close encounters with wildlife. You may have the thrill of watching the powerful ship crunch through the pack ice, or step ashore to Adelie and chinstrap penguins. Expert staff will craft an expedition where you will learn, see, and experience more.
As you sail toward Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the escort of seabirds that cross the bow. There’s time to share photos with the onboard National Geographic photographer, catch up on the book you haven’t had a minute to read, and write emails home, saying “Don’t want this to end.”
After breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. This morning's charter flight will take you over Patagonia on the way to Buenos Aires. Continue on to other adventures, or connect with homeward bound overnight flights.
Arrive home after an overnight flight from 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.
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.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Pre-Trip Extension: Santiago, Chile / Casablanca Wine Valley / Maipo Valley
Discover the culture, cuisine, and superb wine of this corner of this city and its surrounding wine country. From $1,990 per person. (2 Days)
Optional Post-Trip Extension: Iguazu Falls
Taller than Niagara and twice as wide, Iguazú Falls is situated in a beautiful subtropical forest, home to more than 450 species of birds, including toucans and parrots, and butterflies, orchids, and endangered jaguars. From $2,790 per person. (3 Days) Available after select departures.
Optional Post-Trip Extension: Easter Island
Follow your expedition with a visit to one of the most mysterious places on earth—Easter Island. Home to the silent sentinels of a long lost culture, this tiny island is located 2,300 miles west of Chiles in the Pacific Ocean and almost 1,200 miles from its nearest island neighbor. Learn about the ancient Rapa Nui culture that grew up in isolation. Where did these people come from and why did they carve more than 600 giant moai? Learn from key archaeologists. From $4,390 per person. (4-5 Days)
One pre-cruise hotel night in Santiago; transfers between airport and ship if booked on group flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (November departures only); certified photo instructor; video chronicle of your trip; parka; all meals onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; crew gratuities. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; immigration fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as Internet and laundry; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Ralph Lee Hopkins (King Penguin Sunset, Elephant Seal Pups, Kayak and Whale, Shackleton's Grave, Albatross, King Penguins and Passengers); Sven-Olof Lindblad (Penguins on Ice, Kayak and Seal); Michael S. Nolan (Penguin, South Georgia Landscape, Penguins and Kayak, King Penguins, Stanley Falklands, and Seals, Zodiac and Whale)