South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari

Duration 16 days
Departing from
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Ushuaia, Argentina
Starting from $10,495
Adventure Options Sea KayakingPaddling ExcursionStand-Up Paddleboarding

Overview

Your adventure begins in Buenos Aires, where you’ll enjoy its heavily European-influenced heritage before being whisked away on a private charter flight to explore Ushuaia prior to embarkation. At sea, photograph massive albatross and pintado petrel as they swoop and soar around the ship, guiding us toward South Georgia. Beaches teeming with king penguins and elephant seals greet us on this fabled island, where we’ll pay our respects to famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Antarctica awaits, with its geographic contradictions and overwhelming enormity. Relax on a Zodiac ride, hike glistening glaciers, share comical moments with inquisitive penguins, or witness the rugged peninsula from a sea kayak. Antarctica will surprise and delight, and never disappoint.

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

Highlights

  • Experience the quintessential wildlife experience of the “Galapagos of the Poles”
  • Visit South Georgia’s king penguin rookeries – the largest in the world
  • Reflect at the resting place of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Visit abandoned whaling stations and learn stories of inhabitants who called this island home
  • Enjoy on-board lecturers and educational presentations from polar specialists
  • Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the tango capital of the world, and let us take care of the rest of the journey

Itineraries

Day 1 — Buenos Aires, Argentina

You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of the itinerary. Upon your arrival in this splendid city, known for its rich architecture and 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. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Think of the Beagle Channel as the tasty appetizer before your main course arrives. You will want to get out on deck and keep your eyes open as there are several bird species to capture your attention and test your photography skills.

Days 3 to 5 — At Sea

The Expedition Team will keep you busy by testing your knowledge of seabirds, penguins and the history of South Georgia as they begin their educational lecture program. Your first days will include time to get acquainted with fellow travelers and learning about the shore landings, Zodiac excursions and kayaking opportunities that await you.

Days 6 to 8 — South Georgia

The first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sighting of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Rising out of the icy ocean waters, have your binoculars and cameras ready to photograph these rocks. Shags and prions often rest here.

After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head towards its sandy beaches to find a protected bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites on South Georgia are varied, and are largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever landing sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters that cannot be enjoyed anywhere else on earth.

This is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches littered with penguins - in particular king and macaroni penguins. Many rookeries number into the 100s of thousands! It won’t take you long to realize that South Georgia is a paradise for bird lovers as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.

You’ll find that South Georgia is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Once a popular base for whalers and sealers, Captain James Cook first reported on the abundance of wildlife here in 1775. His report resulted in an almost complete decimation of fur seals and a drastic decline in both whale and elephant seal populations. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life for you, as you’ll visit old whaling stations and enjoy lectures and presentations on the South Georgia of then and now. Thankfully, you’ll witness that many species have seen a remarkable population rebound on the island.

One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is located on Grytviken. This is one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find this place of special appeal as it is home to the remains of one of the best known Antarctic explorers, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Days 9 and 10 — 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, which will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.

Days 11 to 13 — 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.

Zodiac cruises, visits to current research bases or abandoned whaling stations 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 out 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 14 and 15 — At Sea

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 completion on your Antarctic adventure.

Day 16 — Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires

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

You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the 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 — Embarkation Day

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!

Day 3-6 — At Sea

There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.

Day 7-8 — South Georgia

The first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to photograph these rocks rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here.

After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerable beaches to find a protected bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites on South Georgia are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.

This is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for subantarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that South Georgia is a paradise for bird lovers, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.

You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.

One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in subantarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.

Days 9 & 10 — At Sea

Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! 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 activities, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica.

Days 11-13 — Antarctic Peninsula

The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica.

You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and at the next moment, you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.

Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.

As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional kayaking excursion (extra cost) or going for a plunge in Antarctic waters!

Day 14 & 15 — 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, to spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Day 16 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your flights home.

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
 
 
Nov 16 – Dec 1, 2019
16
$10,495
Dec 27 – Jan 11, 2020
16
$13,995

Adventure Options

Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

A trip of a Lifetime

5

After planning for several months, February 9th finally arrived and we joined the Quark Group to board the Ocean Endeavor for a magical and exciting journey to South Georgia Island and the Antartic Peninsula.

The expedition was most educational, in that we learned so much about Antartica's history through the ages to its current state.

The beauty of this continent is undescribable and cannot even be justified through photos.

Thank you Quark and your magnificent Team to present this exceptional Expedition for us to enjoy.

Get in on the adventure.

Subscribe today for all the latest news on the polar regions including stories, inspiration and exclusive deals!

We respect your privacy. You may unsubscribe from our communications at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy for full detail.