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Antarctic Odyssey from Union Glacier

Example 5 Day Tour
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Embark on a journey to the remote interior of the great white continent. Antarctica is a land of extremes and only a select few have the opportunity to visit the highest, driest, windiest, coldest continent on earth! Immerse yourself in the ultimate wilderness, surrounded by pristine views, untouched spaces, and profound silence. Live on a glacier where the ice is almost 5,000 ft (1500 m) thick and explore all of the landscapes this unique environment has to offer. You’ll have the opportunity to hike over waves of blue-ice, ski across frozen sastrugi, or tour the polar wilderness aboard a snowmobile. Experienced guides will tailor daily excursions to suit your personal goals. Then hop aboard one of the ski equipped aircraft for a spectacular scenic flight over the Ellsworth Mountains.
Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christopher Michel, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSnowmobiling excursionUnion Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christopher Michel, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsUnion Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christopher Michel, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Highlights
  • Take a scenic flight over the stunning Ellsworth Mountains
  • Experience the continent of Antarctica in the footsteps of polar explorers
  • Immerse yourself in the ultimate wilderness
  • Enjoy activities of your choice, such as skiing, trekking, or snowmobiling
Activity Level: Moderate
Activities that provide a reasonable level of physical challenge and elevate the heart rate. Focused on more active pursuits including multisport tours. Travelers may be active 5-7 hours total each day. Recommended for travelers with active lifestyles.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Fly to Antarctica

This morning, you are called at your hotel to advise of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for 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. Our 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.

* Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days prior to your schedule for briefings/orientation in order to fully prepare you for your upcoming experience.
 

Day 2-4: Explore Union Glacier | Scenic Flight

  • Campsite
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
A typical day at Union Glacier starts with a guest briefing after breakfast where you’ll meet with your guide to discuss the day’s options and choose an activity tailored to the weather and the group’s interest. The meteorologist will carefully monitor the weather conditions and find the best day for your Scenic Flight.

Whether you venture out for just a few hours or take camping equipment to overnight outside of Union Glacier Camp, excursions can include any of the following destinations:

Elephant’s Head
Ride in one of the wheeled vehicles to this dramatic marble buttress overlooking the blue-ice runway. Geology lovers will be delighted to find this is a hotspot for ichnofossils. Your experienced guides can help you navigate by GPS to known trace fossils or accompany you on a mission to discover new ones. For photographers, beautiful ice pools and moraines offer endless opportunities to capture close-up frozen formations or wide angle glacial landscapes. Hikers can trek up to the base of Elephant’s Head or all the way to the top of Rhodes Bluff for panoramic views of Union Glacier and the Heritage Range.

Buchanan Hills
Board the one-of-a-kind Tucker Bus, a custom designed tracked vehicle, for the scenic drive to the remote Buchanan Hills. You’ll arrive at a high pass that offers expansive views of Union Glacier as it flows into Constellation Inlet. Higgins Nunatak pokes through the ice, like an atoll in a frozen ocean. For the fit and adventurous, there are two easy hiking routes that require no prior experience and grant you the rare opportunity to summit a peak in the heart of Antarctica.

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.

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 the 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.

The Beach at Rossman Cove
Another spectacular setting for photography and panoramic views! Take cross-country skis with you or a picnic lunch and enjoy Antarctica’s version of a glacial beach getaway.

If you’d prefer to stay closer to camp, we have a variety of activities for all abilities. You can check out a pair of cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike and take a spin around the groomed 10k loop or you can enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or fun game in camp library

Once weather conditions permit, you will board our ski aircraft and get a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking Ellsworth Mountains including the Heritage and Sentinel Ranges. Majestic peaks and nunataks rise out of the endless Antarctic ice and form some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent. Your 30 minute scenic flight will give you a truly unique perspective of a landscape few will ever experience.

Day 5: Return to Chile

  • 1 Breakfast
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.

Accommodations

Union Glacier Camp

Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christian Iverson Styve, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christopher Michel, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Leslie Wicks, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$31,495

Notes

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Included
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental - Use of XC Skis, Fat Tire Bikes, and Ice Cleats
  • Internal Flights - Round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas Scenic flight over the Ellsworth Mountains
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • In accordance with the Antarctic Treaty requirements, all visitors to Antarctica must have adequate insurance or other arrangements in place to cover any costs associated with medical care and evacuation. All guests must hold Medical Evacuation Insurance for the duration of their experience and at least 7 DAYS BEYOND their return Antarctic flights. $150,000 (USD) is required for Mount Vinson, Antarctic Odyssey, Skydive Antarctica, Ski Antarctica, Climb Antarctica, and Ice Marathon. $300,000 (USD) is required for all other experiences and expeditions that travel outside the Ellsworth Mountains.
  • Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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