With a population of over 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going, accessible feel, with dramatic mountain surroundings it is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. You can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city or visit the many boutique shops and cafes while preparing for your upcoming adventure.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of excitement as you depart - the next time you see land you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates, while your crew will provide safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.
When the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. Finally begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Your expedition will be unlike any other - creating a unique, personal experience. Take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. With wildlife always at the forefront of your minds you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for Humpback and Minke Whales and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning Leopard Seal.
The majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains will enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Orne Harbor, gives the opportunity to visit a Chinstrap Penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here you’ll have the choice between going for a mountain hike or depending on the time of year spend time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach to enjoy the antics of curious penguin chicks. While cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula you'll also be given the chance to take a Polar Plunge! Cheer on other travelers or strap on a harness yourself to take a dip and swim in the frigid waters of an icy Antarctic bay.
Amidst the peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbor. You can make a bit of noise yourself too. Hear the echo of voices bounce off a giant glacier, glide your kayak across a quiet bay or strap on some cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore further.
As you sail from island to shore to bay during your four days in the Peninsula, the Expedition Team will educate and entertain you.
Opportunities for quiet contemplation will be provided, along with activities for testing your endurance and more than enough wildlife interactions to satisfy your curiosity.
Your days at sea are enjoyed out on deck or taking in presentations by the Expedition Team.
With a rich history of exploration in the Antarctic, South Georgia has many stories to tell. You’ll learn that the original inhabitants here arrived to hunt whales and fur and elephant seals to perilously low levels, but thankfully populations have rebounded and whaling and sealing ceases to exist today. You will also see many remnants of these days gone by; including several whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
Perhaps the most historic and famous site on the island 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 a museum, small gift shop, church and an active scientific research station.
After that history lesson, you’ll surely be ready for some wildlife encounters. South Georgia is sometimes called the Galapagos of the Poles as it is home to a captivating number of inquisitive and curious creatures. Indeed, the number of animals you’ll see here will rival that of all the other days of your voyage combined.
Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife; one day may be a beach filled with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins, the next may present some close encounters with massive elephant seals or the smaller fur seals. Different penguin and bird species utilize the island landscape differently here, making it a fascinating destination teeming with wildlife from the shoreline to the top of the highest grassy hills.
The next few days at sea can be as busy or as relaxing as you desire. Go on deck to spot whales and sea birds flying overhead, or attend lectures from our on-board specialists. Whatever you choose, remember to take a moment to reflect on the amazing creatures you’ve met so far.
Upon arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), you’ll be greeted by abundant wildlife and a feeling of rugged remoteness. The Falkland (Malvinas) archipelago is great for exploring by Zodiac excursions and daily landings so you’ll get to it right away.
One landing that will surely stick out in your memory is at Port Stanley. This unique British outpost has a ramshackle charm to it with plenty of churches and museums to explore, as well as some friendly locals willing to chat over a drink at the local pub.
If you’re itching for some different wildlife then you’ve seen thus far, then how do magellanic and rockhopper penguins sound? Or, perhaps you’ll even spot some king penguins here as well. Other impressive birds you can expect to see here include black-browed albatross and two endemic bird species: Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
With such a smattering of interesting flora and fauna in the Falklands (Malvinas), your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on your surroundings and answer any questions about the sights and species you’ve seen.
It is always a bittersweet moment to turn the ship away from the penguins and icebergs and towards Buenos Aires. As the magical silence of Antarctica fades away, enjoy some final chats with your new friends on the ship and celebrate your successful journey to a land like no other.
Your journey ends in Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, and after enjoying a final breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye. Be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight, or you can continue on your adventure and visit the home of tango.