Rich in history and home to astoundingly diverse and abundant wildlife, South Georgia is often called the Galapagos of the Poles. This epic expedition to remote lands traversed by the legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton gives adventurous travelers the unparalleled opportunity to explore this wildlife paradise and the equally unspoiled and storied Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in great depth.
Immersed in this spectacular setting, you’ll enjoy unforgettable encounters with historically significant sites and unique wildlife unafraid of humans. Come face to face with thousands of curious king penguins and a sea of fur and elephant seals, blanketing beaches nestled below towering snow-capped mountains. Here, your days will be devoted to experiencing one of the last untamed places on the planet, mesmerized by the magnificent beauty of these rugged and pristine landscapes and the wildlife that call them home.
Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief
- Experience several incredible penguin colonies, including the largest king penguin rookery in the world
- Wander the quaint British town of Stanley in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
- Follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyage to South Georgia and reflect at his resting place
- Visit abandoned whaling stations and learn about the region’s wildlife and environment
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Day 2 — Ushuaia, Argentina and Embarkation
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities to capture seabirds hovering overhead and seals and sea lions lounging on land. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you’ll see land, you’ll be in a wildlife wonderland!
Day 3 — At Sea
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you’re at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside the ship, attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time out on deck. You will also be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, so you can make the most of the adventure that awaits.
Days 4 and 5 — Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub- Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands—East Falkland and West Falkland—which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings. The archipelago is home to thriving Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguin colonies, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins, too! Your team of specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna as well.
Days 6 and 7 — At Sea
Sailing south to South Georgia, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is what creates the abundance of krill that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line, and also look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area.
Days 8 to 13 — South Georgia
South Georgia was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still find remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts scattered across the island. Although South Georgia’s storied history is an important attraction, it is the abundant wildlife that is sure to captivate.
Days 14 to 17 — At Sea
After two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Mingle with your fellow shipmates, sharing stories and photos in the lounge. The noisy, busy world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can, enjoying your final moments on deck, reflecting on all the amazing creatures you’ve met.
Day 18 — Disembark in Ushuaia
Today you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers, disembarking in the morning to catch your homeward flights.
Pre- and Post-Trip Options Extend Your Stay
Getting to the Antarctic can be just as much fun as being there. Quark offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Antarctic adventure.
Savour a spectacular bottle of Malbec with fine Argentine steak, explore street art in colourful San Telmo or experience the world-class shopping on Avenida Florida. Discover the elegant beauty of Buenos Aires, a city that melds European charm with the frenzied pace of Latin life. This package includes a guided tour of the city’s impressive highlights, from the quaint, cobbled plazas to its most sophisticated neighbourhoods. In the evening, you will enjoy a spectacular dinner and tango show with a live orchestra. Please contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser for pricing.
Take a five-hour flight from Santiago to Easter Island, one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands. A single massive (extinct) volcano rising over 10,000 feet from the Pacific Ocean floor, Easter Island is famous for its enormous statues carved from the tough stone of the Rano Raraku, the island’s volcano. Your package includes tours of the statues, tombs and volcanoes of the island. This luxurious package offers guests three nights’ accommodation at Explora Rapa Nui, where all meals, daily explorations and drinks are included.
One of the great natural wonders of the world, the grandeur of Iguazú Falls includes over 274 cascades spread over nearly two miles of the Iguazú River. Learn about the history, flora and fauna of the National Park, and the waterfalls. Experience the spectacular views and the thundering sounds of the waterfalls, located in the midst of 890 square miles of nature reserve. The National Park has easily walkable footpaths which will give you incredible access to the numerous waterfalls. Enjoy one of the true wonders of the natural world.
After an amazing day touring the national capital, you will head to Chile’s garden city by the sea, Viña del Mar for a lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Your driver will then head through the Casablanca Valley to Valparaiso, Chile’s best known seaside resort, for a visit to the old town, a UNESCO World heritage Site.