Antarctic Expeditions

Antarctica: the great white continent and one of the last true wilderness areas on earth – largely unchanged since the early explorers.

It’s home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife, where penguins, seals and whales are the only permanent residents.

Gaze up at magnificent icebergs, explore islands guided by various species of penguin including chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie. Experience the awe-inspiring king penguin rookeries of South Georgia, the “Galapagos of the Poles,” as well as the incredible wealth of untamed wildlife in the unique and diverse archipelagos of the Southern Ocean.

Quark Expeditions has been the world leader in polar adventures for over two decades and successfully operated many first-ever passenger voyages to Antarctica, including the Circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent and the first Weddell Sea voyage.

The Antarctic Peninsula

With its all glistening inlets, rocky cliff sides, pebbled beaches and floating ice sculptures, the Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost stretch of land on the 7th continent—you’re in for total sensory overload. Whether you venture on our popular penguin safari or new photography voyages, this season’s line-up delivers sublime adventures beyond your wildest dreams.

Photo by David Merron

Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent

11 or 12 days
from AU $10,100

This expedition offers the perfect chance to discover the best of the Antarctic Peninsula, the last continent’s most northern region.

Photo by David Merron

Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition

14 days
from AU $13,000

This expedition offers you the most in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and South Georgia

Encounter an unparalleled variety of wildlife and get a vivid picture of early Antarctic exploration at these two British territories in the South Atlantic Ocean. Hike through the tussock grass, wander the shorelines, listen to the stories, connect with nature—and get lost in the moment.

South Georgia Landscape

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Circle via Falklands and South Georgia

23 days
from AU $21,900

If you desire to “do it all” on your Antarctic adventure, then this is the voyage for you.

Photo by David Merron

Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica: Explorers and Kings

20 days
from AU $20,300

This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula.

A guest photographing King penguins at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia. Photo: Acacia Johnson
New!

Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia

17 days
from AU $25,100

This voyage will be the perfect opportunity to be rendered awestruck by the overwhelming enormity of Antarctica. From there, you’ll sail north and become part of a select few to experience a Total Solar Eclipse in the Antarctic before exploring the island of South Georgia.

A guest photographs Black Browed Albatross at West Point Island, Falkland Islands. Photo by Acacia Johnson.
New!

Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia and Falkland Islands

20 days
from AU $25,100

Designed for eclipse chasers, this itinerary offers the rare opportunity to witness the total eclipse of the sun while also setting foot in Antarctica, as well as a chance to explore the rarely visited sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia.

South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari

16 days
from AU $22,500

This adventure is the fastest way to get to the rarely visited South Georgia Island while also stepping foot on the 7th Continent. As we set sail, photograph massive albatross and pintado petrel as they swoop and soar around the ship, guiding us toward South Georgia.

Fly/Cruise Expeditions

Our convenient Fly/Cruise expeditions whisk you to the 7th continent for as few as eight days. Fly over the Drake Passage to embark on the rest of your journey by ship. This shaves off a little time, so you can make the most of every minute. We can get you kayaking the bays, cruising around icebergs and camping out under the Antarctic night sky in next to no time.

Photo by Quark passenger Karen Jacot

Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle

11 days
from AU $25,600

Enjoy Antarctica in style — by flying and then cruising south of the Antarctic Circle!

Photo: David Merron

Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake

8 days
from AU $15,800

You’re ready to explore King George Island and the Antarctic Peninsula—and no Drake Passage crossings are required! With a spectacular aerial view, included charter flights between Punta Arenas and Antarctica have you experiencing the majesty of the 7th continent before transferring you to your ship in no time.

Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Antarctic Peninsula

Your first step on the 7th continent will take place in the most readily accessible part of the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northern stretch of Antarctic land. Stepping foot on the 7th continent is a moment of pleasure and excitement that affects each traveler differently.
Photo by Quark passenger, Karine Bengualid

Buenos Aires, Argentina

This energetic port is the gateway to Argentina. Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of South America” for its classic architecture and rich European heritage. The city has wide boulevards and cobblestone alleys, quaint cafés and markets.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Drake Passage

The infamous Drake Passage extends about 1,000 km (600 miles) between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands. To reach the Antarctic Peninsula it is necessary to traverse this stretch of water at right angles to the current flow.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland Islands, also known as Islas Malvinas by the Argentines, are located some 400 km northeast of Tierra del Fuego, the southern-most point in South America. This archipelago itself consists of East and West Falkland, divided by Falkland Sound.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Arenas, Chile, is your gateway to Antarctica for all of Quark’s fly-cruise voyages. It lies 3,090 km to the South of Santiago de Chile and is the most important urban center in the Magallanes Region.
Photo taken by Quark passenger

South Georgia

This slightly crescent-shaped, mountainous island lies some 1,300 km (800 miles) east-south-east of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). It has not only an astonishing concentration of wildlife, but also glaciers, fjords and low-lying grassland.

South Orkney Islands

These are a group of rather barren islands 1,360 km (850 miles) north east of the Antarctic Peninsula. The climate is rather harsh, with strong winds, frequent rain and snow. Snow falls about 280 days each year.
Photo taken by Quark passenger, Chris Harbard

South Sandwich Islands

The South Sandwich Islands are located about 800 km (460 miles) south-east of South Georgia. The islands form a chain some 390 km (240 miles) long, comprising 11 major and several smaller islands. The islands are volcanic in origin and some remain active.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are approximately 120 km north of the Antarctic Peninsula and will usually be your first stop en route to the Peninsula. Home to a great number of animals, you’ll spot an abundance of wildlife, including various species of penguins, seals and sea birds.
Photo by Quark passenger

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. It is now a major tourist town, complete with casinos and a variety of restaurants. Ushuaia is commonly used as a base for hiking, and of course, cruises to Antarctica.
Camping on the Antarctic Peninsula, photo by Acacia Johnson

Camping - Antarctic

Imagine for a moment, staring at the stars in the indigo glow of an Antarctic night as you bed down for the night outside in the elements.
Skiing in the Antarctic

Cross-Country Skiing - Antarctic

Ski trekking is a cross between backcountry ski touring and cross-country skiing. But don’t confuse it with downhill skiing. Ski trekkers use lightweight touring skis that are equipped with special Ice Trek bindings, which provide flexibility, a crucial element when ski trekking downhill.

Flightseeing - General

Imagine soaring over the polar regions from the comfort of a helicopter and enjoying the most astounding aerial views imaginable of the frozen Antarctic Ocean, of snow-capped ice ridges, massive crevices, and of melt pools ranging from cerulean to deep, spectacular turquoise.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Mountaineering - Antarctic

Participants, using crampons or snowshoes and the occasional use of an ice axe, will find themselves hiking up the angled slopes of mountain glaciers and high peaks.
Passengers paddling on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo by Michelle Sole.

Paddling Excursion - Antarctic

Every sweep of the paddle as your craft glides through the pristine polar waters creates an incredible soundtrack: the jostle of glacial ice, the lapping of waves against the rocky shore, the perpetual drip from your paddle, the call of seabirds, and the occasional splash as wildlife break the su

Polar Plunge - Antarctic

The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions in order to choose the optimal time and location. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore or, in many cases, from the gangway or Zodiac.
Kayaking in Antarctica, photo by Sam Crimmin

Sea Kayaking - Antarctic

Positioning yourself in the seat of a kayak is one of the most intimate ways travelers can connect with the polar regions—at water level, up close, where you can touch and feel every polar sensation imaginable.
Stand-up Paddleboarding, photo by David Merron

Stand-up Paddleboarding - Antarctic

Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Taken in small groups in good weather conditions in Antarctica.
Passengers hiking in the Antarctic Peninsula, photo by David Merron

Walking/Hiking - Antarctic

Hiking in the polar regions differs from your typical trail experience. Here, in a tree-less terrain, you are the tallest figure on the landscape as you walk over spongy tundra, crusty snow or sandy beaches in remotes parts of the Arctic and Antarctica.

Zodiac Cruising - Antarctic

Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac.

Currency (Antarctic)

There is no Antarctic currency. However, if you visit Port Lockroy in the Antarctic Peninsula, U.S. dollars, Pound Sterling and Euro are accepted, as are Visa and MasterCard where your transaction will be charged in U.S. dollars.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Gear Shop and Polar Boutique

The best place to prepare for your Polar expedition is the Quark Gear Shop. The online Gear shop carries all the clothing and equipment you'll need to make the most of your expedition to the Polar regions.
King George Island

Getting to Antarctica

Most of Quark’s Antarctic voyages begin and end in Ushuaia, Argentina, with the exception of our Fly-Cruise voyages that may start and/or end in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Expedition Essentials

Packing Tips

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Ranulph Fiennes We travel to the Polar Regions in the summer months when the weather isn’t that cold, however temperature can change unexpectedly.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Passports and Visas

All passengers are responsible for obtaining all necessary passport and visas prior to the departure of your voyage.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

Seasickness (Antarctic)

Everyone reacts differently to sea conditions whether during the crossing of the infamous Drake Passage to Antarctica, or even during calmer seas.
Photo taken by a Quark passenger

The Quark Parka

We know that packing for your Polar voyage may be challenging, so Quark takes the guess work out of packing an appropriate coat. All our passengers will receive our signature yellow expedition parka on the first day you’re onboard the ship.
Photo by Quark passenger

Travel Insurance

Included in the cost of your expedition is an emergency evacuation insurance policy with a maximum benefit of USD$500,000 per paying passenger. This included policy provides coverage only while traveling with Quark Expeditions, between the first and last day of the expedition.
Photo by Quark passenger, Sam Crimmin

When to Go

A common question travelers have is “When is the best time to travel to Antarctica?” The answer depends on what you want to see or do. Keep in mind that you cannot cruise to the Polar regions all year round.
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Excellent Anarctic adventure

5

A special thank you to Quark for a wonderful expedition to Antarctica!! Excellent organisation, and attention to detail, safety, sightings, landings and viewing, along with educational lectures. Well done!!

Amazing Antarctica

5

Wonderful experience. 5 star all the way. Highly recommended. Everything was top notch. Nothing to improve.

Exceptional Voyage

5

Quark's voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia, and the Antarctica Peninsula was wonderful--well-appointed ship, terrific crew and staff, plentiful and delicious meals, and, best of all, fabulous locations to visit--teeming with wildlife, glaciers and icebergs, historical sites, and the other-worldly views of the southern polar region. This is definitely a voyage not to be missed.

A trip of a lifetime

5

The expedition staff are excellent, the lectures superb and the food and accommodations delicious and comfortable. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone with a sense of adventure!!

Extended Antarctic Expedition

5

We had an amazing trip to the Antarctic which was made especially notable by the exceptional efforts of Allison and her entire expedition staff as well as the crew and hotel team on the Ocean Adventurer. Due to weather conditions preventing planes from flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island our original 5 nights on the ship was extended to 10 nights and the entire crew made this a special time with their regular presentations and developing several extra off-ship adventures to make the days fly by. The situation was very difficult for everyone but your team did an absolutely marvelous job of maintaining a very positive atmosphere and providing thoughtful and personal help to those of us in this extended situation. Quark is the best!

Surpassed every expectation, cannot recommend enough!

5

There is not one negative thing I can find in my trip, both things in Quark's control and out of their control. The staff was fantastic, the ship was cozy and spacious, the food was wonderful, the stops and landings were awe-inspiring, kayaking was a must-do, and the wildlife and scenery were beyond anything I could've expected. We also lucked out with weather as the Drake was easy to pass both directions, and we got ot get out on the kayaks 9 times out of a possible 9.

Quark took great of me and us and I would recommend them and this trip to anyone!

Just Perfect

5

It's definitely one of the most unforgettable trips for me. Still miss the tranquil & peaceful environment in Antarctica. The team was more than perfect, no matter in ensuring members' safety, handling ad-hoc glitches, giving in-depth information of all kinds about the continent and even entertaining people. The food served was a real surprise to me, thanks to the caring crew.

There were some presentations on penguins which were informative. I would also suggest more short presentations on history, geography (landscape) & meteorology if possible after dinner when people have some spare moments. I would also be interested in sharing sessions on photography skills.

Incredible Antarctica Trip of a Lifetime with a Fantastic Crew!

5

I cannot overstate just how impressed I was with the fantastic experience that Quark Expeditions provided during my recent trip to Antarctica. The education, fun, sight-seeing, service, food, accommodation, and care that everyone on the cruise--from the talented and knowledgeable and adventurous Expedition Guides to the warm and gracious food service staff to the wonderful and cheerful hotel and housekeeping crew--made the trip an absolute joy throughout!

Our interaction with Quark began way last year, via regular email correspondence with Laura to book our trip. She was exceedingly helpful and answered our plentiful questions and helped facilitate a Triple Cabin aboard the Ocean Diamond ship. A couple months before out trip, however, we were ecstatically surprised to find out that we had been upgraded to a Suite, doubling our lodging real estate!

Our cabin was spacious (by ship standards) and clean, with storage and everything efficiently organized. Our housekeeper, Tony, greeted us with a smile everyday and always had a cheerful attitude, even if we interrupted him (which humorously tended to be a habit... we always seemed to be coming back to our room right when he arrived to clean in).

The food was fantastic. Food tends to be on a cruise, and this was no exception. Breakfast and lunch were buffets daily, with minor variation in the menu for breakfast but different meat and fish entrees, vegetables, potatoes, soup, and grains for lunch each day. Dinner was always a different four course meal and absolutely delectable. The fantastic chefs conjured up cuisines from all around the world, providing great variety each day.

Of course, the highlight and reason for our trip was the actual exploration of Antarctica, which lay in the highly capable charge of the Expedition team. We had excursions twice a day--in the morning after breakfast and in the afternoon a couple of hours after lunch. The typical excursion consisted of dividing the boat in half to produce groups under the 100-person maximum allowed on Antarctic land under the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty System. One group would go to shore, where they were presented with a variety of paths that could lead to wildlife colonies, high overlooks, or fun walks along the shore. The other group would cruise in Zodiac boats, gaining a different perspective of the landing site or chasing marine wildlife or exploring the natural features of whatever bay or harbor we were in.

We were highly impressed by how quickly and efficiently the staff operated. Zodiac cruises often launched faster than the announced schedule, which kept us on their toes. As with the ship staff, the Expedition crew was constantly full of smiles and great energy, clearly showing their passion for polar exploration.

Our transit days also featured multiple seminars and courses covering Antarctic history, wildlife, and science, with a few miscellaneous classes like photography courses thrown in for anyone interested. We also had expedition recaps and assorted activities on the ship during the late afternoons and evenings to bring people together and to review the past day and upcoming plans.

That doesn't mean things were all serious either. We had an incredible outdoor barbecue in the Lemaire Channel, a fun Polar Plunge event where brave souls jumped into the icy Antarctic waters, a truly magical and unforgettable overnight camping adventure, and plenty of nighttime partying for those interested in social activities. It was so wonderful meeting so many kindred spirits who shared the love of travel and exploration.

Throughout it all, the Expedition staff was fantastic. Our fearless Expedition Leader, Niki, was tirelessly amazing in greeting us on shore at every landing, plotting our courses, and coordinating the excursions and landings. We loved spending time with guides like Lauritz, Ema, Johann, History Dave, and Jake, just to name a few. Their enthusiasm and love for their fields of expertise were contagious, and they really helped us appreciate the grandeur and majesty of our surroundings even more.

Add to that all the whales, seals, penguins, and sea birds we saw, set amongst an incredible and resplendent landscape of pure and pristine ice and snow, and you had an unforgettable trip. Thanks, Quark, for facilitating the trip of a lifetime. Our experience was so grand that we were already plotting how we might be able to partake in another Quark adventure in the future!

Amazing On So Many Levels

5

We loved our trip to Antarctica with Quark. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and fun...the meals were delicious...the fellow passengers were interesting and cool...and the daily landings / zodiac cruises were out of this world! I didn’t think anything would top our recent trip to Kilimanjaro, but this was right up there. Stunning and mysterious beauty, blue-green ice everywhere you looked, penguins galore, and one terrifyingly awesome polar plunge. We’ve ticked this one off the bucket list—and may happily do so again in the near future!

Almost flawless

5

Almost flawless. The ship and expedition staff were great. The only hiccup was the ship coming in to port late. The "alternative arrangement" made by Quark was nice but not great - it did not allow for flexibility. But the expedition itself was wonderful.

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