Photo: Acacia Johnson

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Circle via Falklands and South Georgia

Duration 23 days
Departing from
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Ushuaia, Argentina
Starting from $14,995
Adventure Options CampingSea KayakingPaddling ExcursionStand-Up Paddleboarding

Overview

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on this diverse expedition — you’ll experience the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia.

Whether you’re visiting Antarctic research stations, witnessing a sudden minke whale breach from your Zodiac, sharing a magical moment with king penguins, or celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle with like-minded travelers and crew, you’ll know this experience will live on in you forever.

Highlights

  • Explore the world’s seventh continent on the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and on foot;
  • Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with an expert team of lecturers;
  • See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as “the Galapagos of the South.” This includes more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of penguin;
  • Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyage on South Georgia and pause for a moment at his graveside;
  • Explore the quaint, British town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands;
  • Crossing of the Antarctic Circle; and
  • On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar specialists.

Day In The Life: Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica

Interested to see more of this voyage? Explore Antarctica in 360° Virtual Reality!

Itineraries

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 rich architecture and European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-night hotel included in mandatory transfer package).

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. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!

Day 3 — At Sea

There are many activities to keep you engaged while we’re at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, hang out at the bar chatting to other travelers or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.

Days 4 and 5 — Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands, East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier feel to them, especially at Port Stanley—the largest settlement on the islands. It’s an interesting British outpost–type place, where you may just as easily wander into a pub as you will a church or museum.

With your camera at hand, our wildlife sightings in the Falklands (Malvinas) should include at least three species of penguins and two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.

Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you have the most memorable time.

Days 6 and 7 — At Sea

Enroute to South Georgia you’ll cross the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica – the Antarctic Convergence. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attract large cetaceans such as humpback whales.

Days 8 to 11 — South Georgia

Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heydays is still found throughout the island. You’ll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once decimated here, as today their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.

One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Visiting his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers to this unforgiving, yet beautiful environment.

While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. Often referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the Poles,’ South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with a 100 thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day we may visit another beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals.

The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share their knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.

Days 12 and 13 — At Sea

Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team, who will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.

Days 14 to 16 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

The most common reaction to arriving at the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, the next you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.

Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling each and every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin-eater, the leopard seal, or come eye–to–eye with a curious minke whale while on a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.

If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you’ll treat yourself by booking our kayaking Adventure Option (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a Polar Plunge might be what you need!

Days 17 and 18 — The Antarctic Circle

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south.

With a toast to the first explorers who ventured here, you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, with the potential for fantastic iceberg sightings.

Days 19 and 20 — Northbound Along the Peninsula

If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time we return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on the journey south.

Days 21 and 22 — Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.

Day 23 — Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina

We will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast. After disembarkation, we will taste a little of Patagonia by touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before we transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Day 1 — Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day

As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. On board to ensure your comfort and safety, your team will also help make your wildlife dreams come true.

Day 3 — At Sea

Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar, or enjoy the fresh air and views on the outer decks.

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.

Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit numerous churches and museums.

The Archipelago is rich in wildlife, especially birds, and home to Magellanic, gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb’s wren.

Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.

Days 6 and 7 — At Sea

Sailing southeast 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, helps create 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 11 — South Georgia

This remote, mountainous island was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and seals. Today, island wildlife populations are rebounding, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.

One significant and historic site is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, plus a museum, gift shop, church and small research station.

Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the tremendous abundance of wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Each landing you make on South Georgia, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, will open your eyes to the wondrous lives of new, enthralling creatures.

One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next, you may visit another beach blanketed with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and interwoven relationship is something your Expedition Team will explain to you during your time here.

Days 12 and 13 — At Sea

Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival.

Days 14 to 16 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and solitude; the next, you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.

Zodiac cruising, visits to historical sites and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with an Antarctic minke whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.

If you find yourself wanting more, treat yourself to an optional kayaking adventure (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or a plunge into Antarctic waters!

Days 17 and 18 — Antarctic Circle

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as few expeditions reach so far south.

If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun and fantastic iceberg sightings.

Days 19 and 20 — Northbound Along the Peninsula

If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to make excursions by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.

Days 21 and 22 — Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than three weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.

Day 23 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia

After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Dates and Rates

Departure
Days
Starting from
 
 
Dec 18 – Jan 9, 2020
23
$16,195
Feb 15 – Mar 8, 2020
23
$14,995
Dec 18 – Jan 9, 2021
23
$16,495

Adventure Options

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 3 of 5

Epic Voyage to Antarctica

5

Absolutely the most fantastic trip ever! The scenery was stunning, the animals were amazing, the weather was cooperative (as were the seas), the ship staff bent over backwards to accommodate us, and the expedition staff gave us the experience of a lifetime. The expedition leader was superb and through her inexhaustible efforts she made the whole trip a huge success from the time we boarded to the time we disembarked. There are not enough adjectives to describe our experience but it was simply amazing. This trip should be at the top of everyone's to-do list.

Cheli, Cheli, Cheli

5

Cheli was fantastic!! She maintained excellent control of crew & passengers alike. Cheli was everywhere and at all times.
A very dedicated and compassionate workhorse. What Trojan you were - Thank you, Thank you Cheli!!

Raakhe Kapila and Amalia Goodall

5

Raakhe Kapila and Amalia Goodall are outstanding in prompt response to my email enquires before the commencement of trip, putting my mind at ease with trip/hotel/transport logistics

Cheli Larsen’s wish to show us as much of Antarctica assured us she would choose the best and as many as weather permits, spots for landing. In addition, she granted our nine-year old son an interview for his school report, gave him a lesson on zodiac-driving as she manages transport of canoes, post him on bridge watch for whales (and we spotted groups of humpback whales and orca), and let him summarize one recap night towards the end of the trip.

The other 30-or-so expedition team members are most incredibly awesome people, especially Mette Eliseussen, Noah Strycker, Colin Souness, Meghan Roberts and Nicky Souness - their friendliness and willingness to share their experience made this trip most memorable.

We are always warmly greeted by our cabin attendant Kiev and the catering staff - which made returning to cabin and having meals in light-hearted atmosphere making the entire experience too good to be true.

The landscape, the living creatures, the expedition team, the crew, and also making new friends amongst fellow passengers, have given us precious memories of the trip, having spent quite a sum of money and time. We return becoming more aware of our role as environmental stewards of earth.

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