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Admiring Adelie penguins

Antarctica Direct: Sail and Fly the Drake Passage

Ushuaia - Puerto Natales - Example 10 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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On this 10-day Antarctica Direct: Sail and Fly the Drake Passage Cruise from Ushuaia to Puerto Natales aboard National Geographic Explorer, cruise through the Drake Passage outbound, then return via a 2-hour flight from Antarctica, saving time at sea. Join experts aboard the National Geographic Explorer. Discover channels and coves among towering peaks, observe whales, embark on Zodiac cruises around icebergs, and enjoy activities like hiking and kayaking. Customize your experience with an active agenda or relax onboard. Receive photography guidance from a National Geographic Expert.
Penguins with a view!Hiking in AntarcticaFur seal!Penguin!Kayakers out in Antarctica.Hiking in AntarcticaPuerto Natales on the Strait Of MagellanBeautiful view near Puerto Natales, ChileAdmiring Adelie penguins
  • Cruise through Drake Passage outbound and return via a 2-hour flight
  • Discover channels, coves, and towering peaks of Antarctica
  • Observe whales, embark on Zodiac cruises, and enjoy hiking, kayaking
  • Customize your agenda or relax onboard at your leisure
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Upon arrival in Ushuaia, situated amidst icy peaks and the chilly Beagle Channel, aptly nicknamed "El Fin del Mundo" or "The End of the World," transfer from the airport to our hotel. Join us tonight for dinner and a briefing on our upcoming adventure.

Day 2: Ushuaia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart from your hotel and commence the exploration of this remarkable area. Explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, covered in dense beech forest reminiscent of ancient Antarctica. Enjoy lunch aboard a private catamaran as you cruise the Channel, observing South American sea lions and seabirds like the imperial cormorant. By day's end, you'll be comfortably aboard the ship, prepared to set sail for the White Continent.

Day 3-4: Crossing the Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Experience the legendary 500-mile-wide strait that alternates between ferocious and flat calm, separating South America from the Antarctic Peninsula. Sense the excitement as you embark on the crossing, often accompanied by seabirds like the wandering albatross and, if you're fortunate, a pod of killer whales or rare dolphins. Familiarize yourself with the ship and prepare for the upcoming adventures. Explore the Bridge, an ideal spot for wildlife observation, unwind with a massage, attend a lecture on the unique biology of penguins, or simply relax in the observation lounge, gazing out over the waves while reflecting on the history of this passage. Named after English privateer Francis Drake, it was initially discovered by Spanish navigator Francisco de Hoces.

Day 5-8: Antarctica

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
With extended daylight hours during this season, you have ample opportunities for exploration. Your itinerary remains flexible, allowing you to seize unexpected moments, whether you're observing playful whales from the bow of your ship, hiking alongside penguin pathways, or enjoying a Zodiac cruise among diving penguins in the evening. While wildlife is stunning, the Antarctic landscape is defined by ice. You'll have the chance to intimately encounter ice in its various forms—from colossal icebergs resembling islands and small ice fragments to towering glaciers and delicate, newly forming layers of ice. One day, you might paddle by kayak to encounter towering icebergs at water level, embark on a Zodiac excursion in search of seals and blue-eyed shags, or walk amidst thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins. The next day, you might experience the exhilaration of the ship navigating through pack ice. Everywhere you venture in Antarctica offers opportunities to capture uniquely beautiful images. Throughout the journey, our expert expedition team will enhance each experience.

Day 9: King George Island | Disembark | Puerto Natales

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, you find yourself near King George Island, which hosts a diverse array of wildlife including Weddell and elephant seals, as well as Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguins. Besides its rich wildlife, the island also accommodates a human population. Researchers from multiple countries, such as the US, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, inhabit various research stations here. You disembark and take a Zodiac ashore to catch your 2-hour flight back to Puerto Natales, where you will spend the night at Hotel Costaustralis or Remota Patagonia Lodge (or similar).

Please note: If the weather at King George Island does not allow for flights this morning, the ship operator will follow its published contingency plan.

Day 10: Puerto Natales

  • 1 Breakfast
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport to begin your journey homeward. 

Please note: Flights arranged for later in the day provide more buffer against any of those potential flight delays out of King George Island.



National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer's dining room.
Relax in the luxurious sauna aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Relax in the National Geographic Explorer's lounge.

Puerto Natales - Hotels

Ushuaia - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,673 2-3 travelers
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.


Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors that are available for purchase.
  • Crew gratuities
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
  • One-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Ushuaia, Argentina
  • One-night post-cruise hotel stay in Puerto Natales, Chile
  • Complimentary expedition gear, consisting of a parka and reusable water bottle
  • Welcome reception and/or bon voyage dinner (in Puerto Natales)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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