- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Starting Price$13,495 USD
Antarctica is an incredible destination with the power to transform those who are fortunate enough to experience it. At Quark Expeditions, we’ve been delivering transformational polar experiences for three decades, and in that time we’ve realized that the more personalized an expedition is, the more enriching the experience will be. That’s why we’ve designed this guide; to help you plan your perfect expedition to the 7th continent.
If this is your first visit, this take on our classic Antarctic Explorer voyage gives you the best of the stunning Antarctic Peninsula, and on this special departure, the chance to land at the historical landmark of Cape Horn, and potentially visit albatross nesting grounds at Diego Ramírez Islands as well. Conquer the famed Drake Passage; explore majestic natural environments by Zodiac and on foot; get up close and personal with penguins, whales and other wildlife; and enjoy talks on history, biology and glaciology by our onboard polar experts.
Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries—now it’s your turn. Be among the first guests on our pioneering new vessel, Ultramarine. This purpose-built vessel is designed to extend the boundaries of polar exploration and offer an unmatched Antarctic experience, including a flightseeing tour you’ll never forget and a range of adventure options more extensive than any other ship in its class. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure! Please feel free to reach out to our team of Polar Travel Advisers, who are happy to answer your questions and provide assistance at any time.
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).
After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier.
After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America.
Depending on conditions, we aim to start our journey to the “edge of the earth” with a visit to historic Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). At the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”) archipelago, the most isolated place in the Americas, this steep, rocky headland on Hornos Island marks the northern boundary of the famous Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. From the 1700s to the early 1900s, prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, this cape was part of a major global trade route. If sea and weather conditions allow, you may go ashore for a hike out to the lighthouse, the tiny Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) Chapel, and the albatross-shaped monument honoring the many mariners who lost their lives attempting to “round the Horn.” Atop the 1,394-foot (425 meter)-high windswept promontory, pause for a moment to take in the panoramic view and to enjoy the peaceful solitude that can only be found at one of the most southern stretches of land in the world.
Your ship will then continue cruising farther south, to the Diego Ramírez Islands, the most southern point of South America and one of the least-explored places on the planet. This small archipelago was actually thought to be the southernmost land mass in the world when it was discovered in 1619 by the Spanish Garcia de Nodal expedition. Named after the expedition’s cosmographer, the archipelago held this distinction for 156 years, until Captain James Cook’s discovery of the South Sandwich Islands in 1775. Weather-permitting, we’ll Zodiac cruise around these tussock grass-covered islands to admire the abundant birdlife. A designated Important Bird Area, and part of the recently-designated Diego Ramirez Islands and Drake Passage Marine Park, the archipelago is home to millions of breeding seabirds, and an exceptional place for birdwatching. Binoculars in hand, birders will marvel at the sight of multiple species of albatross (these islands are the southernmost albatross breeding ground in the world), including black-browed albatross, shy albatross and grey-headed albatross. Sightings of dolphins, South American fur seals, and rockhopper, macaroni and Magellanic penguins are also possible here.
If conditions look more promising toward the end of your expedition, this itinerary day may take place after your Antarctic Peninsula exploration.
The unpredictable and exciting Drake Passage is an adventure unto itself. While being well taken care of by our expert onboard staff and leaders, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the ocean, take pictures of seabirds swooping around the ship, and get to know your Expedition Team and fellow travelers.
Once the Drake Passage is left in our wake and the South Shetland Islands come into view, your Antarctic adventure truly begins. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. On every visit to Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means your expedition will be unlike any other—a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you hike snowy pathways to vantage points offering panoramic views of your surroundings. 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 the next 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.
Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles. Each day will be different, carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides a final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team and celebrate the experiences you’ve shared exploring the remarkable world of Antarctica.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a little taste of Patagonia with a Tierra del Fuego National Park tour before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.
*MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- One pre-night’s hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
- Group transfer from hotel to airport in Buenos Aires
- Group flight departing from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport (Aeroparque/AEP) to Ushuaia, and returning to Buenos Aires’ international airport (Ezeiza/EZE)
- Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship, and return (Note: Transfer on arrival in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel at the beginning of the journey is not included. Please make your way to the included hotel.)
- Combined airport transfer and express bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park after disembarkation in Ushuaia
PACKAGE PRICE: $995 USD
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.
- Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
- All shore landings as per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- One 10- to 15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion (weather and logistics permitting)
- Mandatory Transfer Package*
- International airfare
- Passport and applicable visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
- Meals unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities