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Antarctica East and West: Peninsula in Depth

20 days

This epic 20-day expedition brings you to a side of the Antarctic Peninsula even the luckiest of travelers don’t often see. You’ll experience the best of polar travel, including abundant wildlife, important historical sites, and ice—lots of ice. Embarking from Ushuaia, Argentina, you’ll traverse the legendary Drake Passage to arrive at Elephant Island, which gave Ernest Shackleton’s crew refuge in 1916. From this significant start you’ll move on to see enormous penguin colonies up close; zodiac cruise among icebergs that look like art; walk around and explore historic and operating scientific bases; sail across the imaginary but important line of the Antarctic Circle; and take a zodiac ride to see humpback and killer whales—all the while surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Antarctica.

Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief

  • Get to know Antarctica intimately during this 20-day trip
  • Venture into the Weddell Sea on the remote east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Cross the Antarctic Circle at 66°33' S
  • See a penguin colony of over 100,000 breeding pairs on volcanic Paulet Island
  • Step back in time to experience Antarctic exploration in abandoned yet perfectly preserved bases
  • Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the tango capital of the world, and let us take care of the rest of your journey

Day 1 — Buenos Aires, Argentina

You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its soaring architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to the group hotel (pre-night hotel included).

Day 2 — Ushuaia, Argentina, and Embarkation

After breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will have a little time to explore this quaint port town before heading to the pier. Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel.

Days 3 and 4 — Crossing the Drake Passage

You will spend this time preparing for the exciting days ahead, with numerous educational and informative lectures presented by your Expedition Team. You’ll learn about everything from safety procedures to the history of whaling in Antarctica.

Day 5 — Elephant Island

Mountainous and ice-covered Elephant Island is the first land you’ll visit following the crossing. Named by early explorers for the elephant seals that dotted its shoreline, the island is best known as the refuge for Ernest Shackleton’s crew. Point Wild, the site of the crew’s camp, is an Antarctic Historic site.

Days 6 to 8 — Weddell Sea

Battered with ocean currents all year long, the remote east side of the Antarctic Peninsula is completely different to the more commonly visited west coast. Here, you’ll see mile-long tabular icebergs formed over hundreds or even thousands of years and broken off of ice shelves further south.

Days 9 to 15 — Antarctic Peninsula and Antarctic Circle

Travel around the Peninsula includes a variety of experiences. Glaciers, penguin colonies and breaching humpback whales will highlight your days, while friendly seals are plentiful in these waters. You can also expect to encounter what is arguably the most formidable Antarctic predator, the leopard seal.

Days 16 and 17 — South Shetland Islands

Places such as Half Moon Island or Livingston Island support huge numbers of nesting chinstrap, gentoo and even some macaroni penguins. Giant and cape petrels, blue-eyed shags and kelp gulls nest in the cliffs. You will explore the busy penguin and seabird rookeries and marvel at the huge elephant seals that wallow along the shore.

Days 18 and 19 — Drake Passage

Use your second passage across the Drake to put your newfound Antarctic knowledge to use; spend time on deck, spot icebergs and name seabirds. Enjoy presentations by our onboard experts and bond with your shipmates.

Day 20 — Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires

After disembarking, you will get a little taste of Patagonia, touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.
View full 20-day itinerary »

Adventure Options Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Every Quark Antarctic voyage includes great daily outdoor activities including Zodiac cruises, hiking and some also offer snowshoeing. The more discerning adrenaline junkie can also choose from a range of optional adventure activities, with varying exertion levels, to experience the 7th continent in a more personal way. Contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser to learn more about adventure options, including physical requirements.

Not very many people have the opportunity to say they’ve camped on the 7th Continent. This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in a more intimate manner, and take your expedition to the next level.

Camping is available on most Antarctic voyages and has a limited number of spots. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.

Pricing subject to change based on season. Please proceed to checkout or contact a Polar Travel Adviser for more details. 

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