Day 1 Arrival in Punta Arenas
Upon arrival at Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ), meet your representative at the exit of the luggage claim area and transfer to your hotel. A time will be arranged for a clothing and equipment review, as well as the time of the Welcome & Safety Briefing. These events are required and very important steps in preparing you for arrival in Antarctica.
*Please note you are required to arrive in Punta Arenas a minimum of 48 hours prior to your scheduled Antarctica flight to fully prepare for your upcoming experience. These days also allow a buffer in case of flight or luggage delays. Antarctic flights will not be held for delayed passengers or luggage.
Day 2 Pre-Departure Day
This morning, a representative will come to your hotel lobby at your scheduled Luggage Pick-Up time. All luggage will be weighed, but only checked luggage will be collected at this time in order to preload the aircraft.
This evening, you are invited for an important safety briefing. Here, the flight dispatch process will be described and you will be updated on the current weather to prepare you for arrival in Antarctica. Stay to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and pisco sours served over Antarctic ice with your fellow passengers. And don't forget to take your boarding pass and commemorative cocktail glass with you!
Day 3 Fly to Antarctica
This morning, you will be called at your hotel and advised of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for the flight, you are picked up at your hotel by bus within the hour. At the Punta Arenas airport, board a chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. The route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. Land on a naturally occurring blue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps in Antarctica. Climb aboard a specially-adapted van for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to the main camp where you’ll spend the next 2-6 hours. Take a tour of Union Glacier Camp, equip yourself with skis or any other recreational gear you may want to use during your stay, and eat your first meal in Antarctica. When you’re ready for the final leg of your journey, board the Twin Otter for the scenic 15-minute flight to Three Glaciers Retreat. Celebrate your arrival with a champagne toast and settle into your personal suites, as talented chefs put the finishing touches on a special welcome dinner.
Day 4-7 Explore Three Glaciers
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Wake up on your first morning in the heart of Antarctica and enjoy a hearty breakfast to fuel for a day of exploration. Our meteorologists will carefully monitor the weather conditions and find the best day for your South Pole Overnight. In the meantime, take advantage of this magnificent setting where the opportunities for adventure are almost endless. Our experienced guides will tailor each day to suit your preferences and the weather. Excursions around Three Glaciers can include any of the following destinations or activities:
Snowmobile below the stunning cliffs of Mount Sporli to the foot of Sporli Col. A short hike takes you up the col to Larson Valley Overlook where you’ll have fantastic views of Antarctica’s highest mountain range. This spot is also ideal for downhill skiing, with expansive views of Antarctica. For backcountry skiers looking to ‘earn their turns’, the col is a scenic 2-hour skin from Three Glaciers.
Travel over the Schneider Glacier by snowmobile or enjoy the terrain from the comfort of our heated Tucker Sno-Cat. This landscape is a photographer’s dream with views across the Ellsworth Mountains, all the way to Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak. Pass the Mhire Spur and journey into the secluded Larson Valley towards Hall Peak. The peaks in this valley showcase impressive geological folds and create the perfect setting for a picnic lunch or a climber’s base camp.
Depart Three Glaciers for an overland journey towards Union Glacier aboard one of our Tucker Sno-Cats or snowmobiles. After a scenic lunch stop, your traverse will continue on to the Drake Icefall. Named in the 1960s after geologist Benjamin Drake IV, this impressive icefall tumbles off the polar plateau into Union Glacier. Winds from the South Pole carve huge waves into the blue-ice and polish the surface into a high shine. The ridges of this frozen sea of ice tower high above your head and deliver brilliant photos of the polar landscape.
Charles Peak Windscoop
Discover the power of wind on ice as you wander through a sparkling turquoise corridor. If you’re truly adventurous, this is a prime place to try ice climbing with one of our experienced guides. For the less vertically inclined, you can rock hunt to your heart’s content. Just remember to leave them in place, as nothing may be removed from Antarctica.
This corner of the Heritage Range has something for everyone, no matter your skill level or prior experience. Our guides can lead you on spectacular treks across cols or take you up a local peak for your first Antarctic summit! For downhill skiers, we’ll seek out prime slopes and the best powder for carving fresh tracks. Or take advantage of the perfect hill behind Three Glaciers for some quick turns. If you’d prefer to stick to the groomed trails, grab cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike for a tour through stunning scenery. Looking for a bit more speed? Follow our guides on a snowmobile tour across glaciers, into hidden cwms, and over mountain cols.
Dine, Wine, & Recline
Want to relax? That’s our specialty! Let us pour the wine as you breathe in the absolute quiet and gorgeous panoramas from one of our secluded viewing platforms. Take advantage of our cozy lounge and enjoy a cup of tea, a polar book, or a fun game on the comfy sofa. In the evenings, we can offer lectures and films tailored to your specific interests
Day 8 Fly to the South Pole
Once weather conditions permit, you will board our ski aircraft and head for the southernmost point on Earth! The flight to the Pole will take between 4-6 hours depending on the aircraft. You’ll fly over the high, polar plateau, viewing wind affected snow called sastrugi, crevasse fields, and an endless expanse of white. You’ll pass the Thiel Mountains approximately halfway to the Pole and continue to fly over the plateau. As you near 90° South, you will catch sight of the South Pole station, a cluster of buildings surrounded by snow and sky. Our aircraft lands on a groomed ski-way and you’ll deplane near the South Pole marker. Here all 360 lines of longitude meet and beneath your feet the ice is almost 10,000 ft (3000 m) thick! You have joined an exclusive group of people who have journeyed this far south on our planet. Congratulations!
Be prepared for extreme cold and the effects of altitude as you deplane. South Pole temperatures range from -31° to -13°F (-35° to -25°C) and even the slightest breeze can quickly freeze exposed skin. Put on warm layers and cover your hands and face completely. The physiological altitude (how high it feels) at the South Pole is roughly 11,000 ft (3300 m). You may feel the effects of altitude, including shortness of breath and mild headache. Take it slow and steady to help your body cope with these unfamiliar conditions. One of our experienced medics accompanies all South Pole flights and is ready to assist you should you have any issues with the cold or altitude. The United States of America maintains a research station at the South Pole, named Amundsen-Scott Station in memory of those intrepid explorers. If United States Antarctic Program (USAP) staff are available, you will be escorted inside the research station for a guided visit. Outside the station, you will have plenty of time to take photos at both the Geographic and Ceremonial Poles. Enjoy this special place and imagine how it must have felt to stand here a century ago with only the sound of the wind and an endless expanse of white stretching northward in all directions. A .6 mi (1 km) walk brings you to our private South Pole Camp for your overnight stay. Enjoy a celebratory meal prepared by one of our talented chefs and mingle with your fellow explorers in the large, heated dining tent. Depending on the time of your visit, you may also get the chance to greet ski teams just completing their journey to the Pole. After a momentous day, climb inside your expedition-style tent and get snuggled up for a southerly snooze at 90°S. The next morning, you’ll pack up for the return flight to Union Glacier Camp where you’ll receive a certificate to commemorate your South Pole Overnight Experience in Antarctica!
Day 9 Return to Chile
When weather and runway conditions permit, the intercontinental aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Representatives will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.
Due to the potential for weather delays, it is strongly suggested to book your flight home one week after your planned return from Antarctica. If you purchase a full-fare ticket, most airlines will allow you to move your departure date. When it is time for your flight home, you will be provided transportation from your hotel to the Punta Arenas airport.