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Falklands (Malvinas) and South Georgia: Islands of the Southern Ocean

18 days

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. 

View complete 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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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.

Introduction to Buenos Aires Package

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.