South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari

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

Overview

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. 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.

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

Day In The Life: Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica

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

Itineraries

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!

Days 3 to 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 sea kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.

If conditions are right, 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 capture these rocks rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here, and due to nutrient rich upwellings around the rocks it can be a good place to keep a lookout for whales.

Days 7 and 8 — South Georgia

After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerable beaches to find a bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites 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.

South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, 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 sub-Antarctic 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 and 10 — At Sea

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

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 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 isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.

Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, 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 Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion 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 paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the polar plunge!

Days 14 and 15 — Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than a dozen days of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and 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 onward 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
Dec 27 – Jan 11, 2021
16
$14,995

Adventure Options

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Reviews

Displaying 1 - 3 of 6

The trip was stellar in

5

The trip was stellar in every way! My only disappointment is that no Stand up paddle boarding photos were posted. Maybe it is yet to come. And the photos were not really part of the trip, it was an extra that I was really looking forward to.

An Amazing Trip and Once in a Lifetime Experience

5

I was excited to book and go with Quark Expeditions, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would meet friends both travelers alike and those who were actually part of the staff of Quark. From the delicious and amazing food, to the Quark staff always smiling, eating with at meals, asking them questions and to the staff of the ships operations, nothing was missed. The memories I have from landing on South Georgia, the sights, smells, lectures, overall feelings of being the minority in a King Penguin colony, it was a feeling i’ve never felt before. Seeing and actually landing on Antarctica was something I’ve wanted to do for decades. Just beyond wild that words can not explain.
I really have to commend the staff of Quark specifically Solan Jensen for losing many hours of sleep to make sure we made the landings, on South Georgia and a technical landing on Antarctica. He pushed his crew and they responded without hesitation specifically 3 in one day on our last day in Antarctica. His staff to name a few, Colin, Wayne, Allie, Jaymie, Marla, Jim, Ross, Juani, Jen, Daven, Nicky, Bella, Dagny, and i’m missing a few more, were absolutely amazing making my trip of a lifetime unforgettable. Hats off to Quark from the very planning aspect and me dealing directly with Miriam Higgins, to the check in at the hotel in BA, to the transportation to Ushuaia and all the other logistics we never even saw. I will absolutely be back with Quark in the future to book the Arctic and hopefully, once more, to the Antarctic!! Thank you for everything!!

Penguin Safari

5

The whole trip was fantastic. Only one suggestion. Travelling one way charter and return by commercial flight meant I had to pay $25.00 for overweight luggage. We were made to understand 20 kg was allowable but it was only 15 kg. Also no meal or anything included.

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