Summary : Travel aboard the new National Geographic Endurance to the rarely visited shores and isles of the South Atlantic—places of stunning beauty that harbor a mesmerizing array of marine creatures. Enjoy a unique opportunity to experience Argentina’s rugged—and lesser-explored—eastern coast, seeking out secluded ports, wildlife-rich estuaries, and the whale-rich waters of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Península Valdés. Hike the rocky shores and atmospheric moors of the Falkland Islands among fur seals and the world's largest colony of black-browed albatross. Then get immersed in a sea of black and white amid tens of thousands of king penguins on a remote beach in South Georgia.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$26,670 to $52,550
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Fly overnight to Buenos Aires.
Arrive and check into your hotel. Set out on a guided tour of the city’s beaux arts palaces, the bohemian neighborhoods of La Boca and San Telmo, and the balcony immortalized by Argentina’s iconic first lady Eva Perón.
Later embark the ship.
Arrive in Montevideo—Uruguay’s vibrant capital city—and discover its elegant mix of architectural styles ranging from Spanish colonial to art deco. Or opt to join a bird-watching excursion in nearby wetlands. Later, travel outside the city to a family-owned estancia, or ranch. Here, vintage vehicles take you to Río de la Plata, or “River of Silver,” to enjoy a traditional asado barbecue lunch accompanied by gaucho music and dancing.
As National Geographic Endurance sails south along the Argentinian coast, hear talks from onboard naturalists and visit the ship’s open Bridge to learn about navigation. Unwind with a massage in the spa or a session in the fitness center, get lost in a book in the library, or simply soak up the views from the rooftop observation deck or one of the outdoor infinity hot tubs.
Dock in the port city of Bahía Blanca. Travel into the hills to enjoy a barbecue lunch at a splendid ranch and discover the flora and fauna of the Argentinean pampas on a guided hike. Then sail to Bahía San Blas and explore its mangrove islands by Zodiac and kayak. Continue along the coast to the mouth of Rio Negro. Visit the seaside village of Balneario el Cóndor, or “La Boca” as it is known locally, home to the world’s largest colony of burrowing parrots. Scan the cliffs to see thousands of the colorful birds that make their nests here.
Spend two days exploring the coastal wonderland of Península Valdés. Granted World Heritage status as a marine sanctuary in 1999, Península Valdés is the world’s most important breeding ground for endangered southern right whales. Your arrival coincides with the height of whale season, optimizing the chances for spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. Set out by local boat to seek out whale calves and their often-curious mothers, which can grow up to 50 feet long. Step foot on secluded beaches frequented by southern elephant seals, nesting Magellanic penguins, and frolicking sea lions. Scan the shores for orcas, which are known to beach themselves here to hunt for prey. During walks and hikes, keep an eye out for terrestrial wildlife such as the guanaco, armadillo, and rhea—a distant relative of the ostrich.
Travel in small boats into the Reserva Natural Ría Deseado, a submerged estuary that is home to the black-and-white Commerson’s dolphin—one of the smallest cetaceans in the world—and the only rockhopper penguin colony in Patagonia. Seek out these rare marine species and discover the reserve’s unique geology. Later, at a local museum in Puerto Deseado, learn about the famous explorers who passed this way and peruse a collection of well-preserved artifacts retrieved from the shipwrecked H.M.S. Swift, a British sloop-of-war that sank in 1770. Spend the afternoon sailing Argentina’s southern coast.
Discover the remote South Atlantic archipelago of the Falkland Islands, where some 200 islands each offer a distinct variation on rugged coastal beauty. White-sand beaches, soaring cliffs, windswept moors, and swaying tussock grass set a stunning natural backdrop to encounters with thriving wildlife—from thousands of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins to black-browed albatross, elephant and fur seals, and sea lions hauled out on rocks. Enjoy a variety of excursions with the naturalists and take in sweeping views at every turn.
Journey across these southern waters, and deepen your understanding of this far-flung region. Learn about the history of Antarctic exploration and join the naturalists on deck to identify seabirds soaring overhead.
Spend five incredible days exploring the spectacular coastlines and abundant wildlife of South Georgia. The schedule is flexible, and opportunities to walk, hike, kayak, or explore by Zodiac are anticipated to be offered on most days. Take in unforgettable wildlife spectacles: the antics of elephant seals, leopard seals, and fur seals; cliffs inhabited by hundreds of nesting albatross; and shores peppered with tens of thousands of king penguins. Stops may include visits to the abandoned whaling station at Grytviken, which played a part in the extraordinary story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition and is now the explorer’s final resting place, as well as Stromness Bay, where Shackleton, Tom Crean, and Frank Worsley finally reached help after a year and a half stranded in Antarctica.
After time at sea, return to the Falkland archipelago and its natural wonders. Stroll around the lively Victorian town of Port Stanley—the largest and most populated city in the Falklands—and mingle with islanders at a local pub in this remote outpost.
As you sail back to Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the escort of seabirds that cross the bow and follow in the ship's wake. Soak up final vistas of these southern waters, share photos with fellow travelers, and toast to your epic voyage at a farewell dinner.
Disembark in Ushuaia and take a charter flight to Buenos Aires connecting with your overnight flight home.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to 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.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Buenos Aires; transfers between airport/hotel/ship if booked on recommended flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; 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)