$ 19,79617-days trip
Day 1, Punta Arenas: Start your journey in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Day 2, King George Island: Fly to King George Island (this saves you the treacherous journey through dreaded Drake Passage). Tour the Frei Chilean Base and Bellingshausen Russian Base before taking a Zodiac to embark your cruise vessel.
Day 3-6, Antarctic Peninsula: You’ll spend the next three days exploring the mysterious, harsh yet beautiful landscape of Antarctica, The White Continent. Have your camera ready for shots of penguins, albatross, and seals, as well as the incredible formations of ice, fiords, glaciers, and floating icebergs. Enter into the water in a Zodiac for up close viewings, cruise the Lemaire Channel, and visit Port Lockroy.
Day 7, King George Island: Return to King George Island for your flight back to Chile.
Trips that follow this itinerary:
Classic Antarctica Fly and Cruise with Explore! - 8 Days, premium trip
Antarctic Express, Fly the Drake with Peregrine Adventures - 8 Days, value trip
Antarctica Fly and Cruise with Arctic Kingdom - 8 Days, luxury trip
Day 1, Ushuaia: Enjoy a day to explore Ushuaia, Argentina. Do some shopping, or walk around the nearby National Park. Set sail through the Beagle Channel in the evening.
Day 2-3, Drake Passage: Drake Passage can be a notoriously rough crossing. If you get sea sick, prepare accordingly with as many precautions as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for whales!
Day 4, Bransfield Strait: Make your way to the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Shetland Islands on the way, and stopping for your first step onto Antarctic soil.
Day 5-10, Antarctic Peninsula: Kayak among icebergs, observe penguins, and walk through stunning snowscapes. Visit the historic base at Port Lockroy and send a postcard from the only post office on Antarctica. Weather permitting you may cruise through Lemaire Channel or experience the stunning views of Paradise Bay. You may also have the chance to visit an active scientific research station.
Day 11-12, Drake Passage: Sail once again through Drake Passage
Day 13, Ushuaia: Arrive back in Argentina and end your journey.
Trips that follow this itinerary:
Antarctic Circle with Explore! - 14 Days, premium trip
Journey to Antarctica with National Geographic Expeditions - 14 Days, luxury trip
Antarctic Circle Quest with Exodus - 14 Days, value trip
Ever since Lars-Eric Lindblad built the first expedition-style cruise ship to take passengers to visit Antarctica in 1969, adventurous travelers have aspired to follow in their wake. Today about 40 vessels – mostly expedition-style vessels but some yachts as well -- make the run to the White Continent, leaving primarily from Argentina or the Falkland Islands, carrying as few as six and as many as 500 passengers.
Most of the Antarctic-bound ships, though, carry fewer than 100 passengers. Visitors go in search of the last real wilderness on earth, whose sole permanent residents are penguins, whales, seals, albatrosses and other abundant marine and bird life. Besides the stunning array of wildlife, you’ll see glaciers, snow-covered mountains, icebergs, and, on some tours, historic sites (such as early Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s huts) and perhaps one of the 20 scientific research stations that have welcomed visitors since 1969.
The most common destinations on sea tours leaving from South America are the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Falkland Islands -- all havens for wildlife. (The latter two are not part of Antarctica.) The primary destination in Antarctica itself is the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts up from the rest of the mainland and is closest to South America. A few icebreakers challenge the often frozen Weddell Sea in search of emperor penguins to the peninsula’s east. And some ships make the journey from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to the Ross Sea on the other side of the continent; emperor penguin colonies are accessible from there by helicopter.
While some 100 tourist sites have seen landings in Antarctica over the years, fewer than 10 receive the bulk of the visitors. Port Lockroy, site of the British Antarctic Survey, is the most visited site, drawing more than 10,000 visitors per year. Passengers board Zodiacs (rubberized rafts) to go ashore, with most ships making one to three landings per day on the mainland.
Strict standards Antarctic tour operators must follow strict environmental protection guidelines mandated by the international Antarctic Treaty as well as the voluntary guidelines of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO); all itineraries must be approved in advance so they don’t harm the wildlife or the fragile ecosystem.
The Antarctic tourist season runs from late October or early November to March or early April, the summer months when the waters off Antarctica are comparatively ice free. The earlier months bring penguin and elephant seal courtship rituals, while the later months see the birth of penguin chicks and seal pups. By March the adult penguins are mostly headed out to sea, but whale and seal sightings increase. December and January bring the most daylight hours, prime time for photographers.
With so many variables in itineraries, vessels, levels of luxury, price, and trip lengths to wrestle with, it makes sense to let Stride help you sort through all the possibilities. And sooner than you may think, you can experience the same wonders that have captivated polar explorers for more than a century.
|Antarctica and the Arctic|
|Port Lockroy, Drake Passage, Deception Island, Beagle Channel, Antarctic Peninsula and Many More|
|Wildlife Sightseeing, Expedition Cruises & Zodiac Cruises|