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Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia 2015-16: From Buenos Aires

Introduction

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Peregrine.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


Your Trip

What's Included

Transport

Not Included


Preparing to Travel

Safety

Safety is paramount on a Peregrine voyage. Due to new International Security Regulations, you will not be able to approach the ship on your own. You will have to arrive with the rest of the group, accompanied by a Peregrine representative. Full details of embarkation/disembarkation procedures will be supplied with your final documentation. On board you will be asked to participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures and Zodiac operations.

Visas and Permits

Antarctica

No visas are required to visit the Antarctic continent or its offshore islands. However, you will need to have your passport with you on the ship, as port authorities will wish to inspect passports on departure from Ushuaia or Punta Arenas and also again at the end of your voyage. To facilitate matters, our ground operators in Ushuaia or Punta Arenas will usually collect your passport prior to departure in order that all passengers’ passports may be kept together for the duration of the voyage. After completion of port formalities on the return to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas, they will be handed back to you prior to your disembarkation from the ship. For most departures, your ship departs for the Antarctic continent from the port of Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, at the southern tip of Argentina. At the time of printing, no visas for Argentina are required by holders of Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian, U.S.A. or European passports. Passengers holding passports issued by other countries should carefully check the situation with their travel agent or Argentinean consular authorities. For Fly/Cruise itineraries departing from Punta Arenas (Chile) or if your flight to Ushuaia travels via Santiago, tourist visas are required for Chile for some nationalities. Please check with your travel agent. For the voyages scheduled to visit the Falkland Islands, visitors from Britain, the Commonwealth, North America, Chile and the European Community do not need visas as at the time of printing. Visitors should check their particular situation with us, their travel agent, the nearest British Consulate, or contact the Travel Co-ordinator at the Falkland Island Government Office in London (tel: 020 7222 2375).

Falkland Islands

Visitors from the EEC, USA, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, New Zealand or South Africa do not need Visas. Check with the relevant Embassy or Consulate in their country for up to date visa information.

Argentina

IMPORTANT: Australians, Americans, British, Canadians and New Zealanders, do not currently require a visa for Argentina. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. Please note that when entering Argentine Territory, the following citizens must pay a "reciprocity fee": Australians - US$100, Canadians - US$75, and Americans - US$160. The fee will be valid for multiple re-entries within a period of one year as of the date of first entry. Payment must be made entirely ONLINE and fees can no longer be paid on arrival at any airport. This fee also needs to be paid online if you are crossing the border into Argentina by land. This price is subject to change and the price on the below website will have the up to date costs.

How to pay the reciprocity fee online:
• Visit www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar and register to start the process
• Fill out the form with the corresponding personal and credit card information
• Print the payment receipt
• Present the printed receipt at Immigration Control on arrival in Argentina. The receipt will be scanned by the Immigration officials, the information will be checked, and entry to the country will be registered

Government travel advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

U.S. Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport

Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.

Insurance

Every Peregrine traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader/guide can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.

Medical preparation

Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.

Vaccinations

Vaccination requirements do change, but generally you do not need vaccinations for this voyage.


It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

Copies of key documents

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy and credit cards. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.

What to take

General Packing List

The Antarctic Peninsula has relatively mild weather conditions when compared to the rest of the continent. As a result, you should not need to make many expensive specialist gear purchases, although you do need good wet weather pants and warm clothing. Wet weather jacket and boots are supplied on board the ship.

 
The dress code on board is relaxed and casual and you will not need to dress formally for meals. The inside of the ship is well heated, so you will not require special clothing on board. Indeed, you could spend most of your time in light trousers and a t-shirt! However, it is not unusual for you to want to go out on deck suddenly – a whale sighting or seals on a nearby ice-floe nearly always produce a major exodus, so you need to keep warm clothing handy at all times, even when a shore excursion is not imminent. When you do go ashore you will require warm clothing - a few layers of light and medium-weight items which can be easily adjusted rather than one or two large and bulky items - and wet weather gear to protect you from the spray which can sometimes be encountered on the Zodiacs.

 

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday. Laundry facilities are available on board the ship.  A more detailed packing list is provided in the pre departure information from the ship operator, Quark which will be provided to you after booking.

Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
Spare passport photos
Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
Money belt (for travelling en route)
Small first-aid kit
Ecologically friendly laundry soap
Daypack (lightweight and waterproof)
Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
Electrical adapter plug
Toiletries/travel wipes
Sunscreen, lip balm, moisturising cream, sunhat and sunglasses (with UV protection)
Swimsuit
Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
Refillable water bottle
Phrase book (if travelling en route to ship)
Gloves (2 pairs minimum)
Hat that covers ears
Scarf or other face protection
Wind and waterproof pants (a few sizes larger)
Warm pants
Comfortable shoes
Long wool or cotton socks (for expeditions)
Silk or polypropylene socks (for inside the ship)
Jumpers/sweaters/fleeces
Cotton turtlenecks and t-shirts
Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
Plastic bags with zippers for carrying film, etc
Binoculars


Money Matters

Currency

Falkland Islands

The Falkland pound (FKP).

South Georgia

The British pound (GBP).

Argentina

The unit of currency is the Argentinean peso. The peso is subdivided into 100 centavos.

Exchange rates

Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Falkland Islands

Currency exchange and cash are available at the bank in Stanley. Sterling traveller's cheques, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Stanley. English pound sterling is often accepted.

Argentina

In Buenos Aires and all large towns in Argentina, cash can be drawn from ATMs in local currency. This can either be drawn on credit with Visa or MasterCard or directly from your savings account if it is linked into the Cirrus or Maestro network. Look for ATMs displaying either Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Visa or MasterCard symbols. Although this is a very convenient and safe form of receiving local currency it is not always available when you most need it so you should still have a back-up supply in US dollar traveller’s cheques and US dollars cash (you will be charged a small fee to change these into local currency). Please note that many ATM machines will only accept 4-digit PIN numbers. If you have a PIN number of more than 4 digits you should contact your bank and obtain a new number.

Personal Expenses

Antarctica

All meals, shore excursions and presentations aboard the ship are included in the price. Each time you use the laundry, communication or medical services, or purchase anything from the shop or bar, you will be required to sign a chit detailing the cost and the item you purchased. Be aware that it is sometimes possible to purchase souvenirs, post cards, and stamps if you go ashore at one of the research or weather stations that we sometimes visit. US dollars cash is probably the best for this purpose, except on the Falkland Islands where pound sterling is preferable. See also the section on gratuities.

Airport Taxes

Antarctica

Most countries have airport departure and security taxes. These are generally now added to the cost of your flight ticket and will be quoted to you when you are arranging your flights. However, there is a departure tax of 28 pesos (or US$8) payable when leaving Ushuaia and this must be paid in cash at the airport. From Buenos Aires International airport, in addition to a number of taxes built into your airline ticket, there is also an additional tax now payable in cash at the airport.

Argentina

At the time of writing this most airports in Argentina include the departure taxes in the air ticket, however at El Calafate and Ushuaia airports you will be required to pay a departure tax. Please check the most up to date amount with your travel agent. 


While you are travelling

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.


Other Important Information

These Trip Notes should be read in conjunction with Peregrine’s Antarctica pre-departure information that is provided to you shortly after booking (or which can be requested prior to booking). A second information manual dealing with Antarctic history, geology, geography, marine and bird life will also be provided.

1. Budgeting: in addition to funds for onboard expenses, it is sometimes possible to purchase souvenirs such as books, t-shirts, stamps, postcards, windcheaters, caps and similar items at some of the research stations in the Antarctic Peninsula area. Mail can sometimes be posted from these stations as well. Transactions are usually in US dollars cash.

2. Clothes: please read our Antarctic pre-departure information carefully. Although you don’t need to make expensive, specialist-clothing purchases for this trip, you will need clothes that adequately protect against cold and wet conditions. (Sea spray is common on board Zodiacs). It is recommended that you have warm, waterproof clothing available for use upon arrival in Ushuaia, to protect yourself against the inclement weather.

3. Motion sickness: the waters of the Drake Passage can be some of the roughest seas in the world, although at other times they are so smooth that it is referred to as the 'Drake Lake'! Although our vessels are among the most stable ships in their class, we will still inevitably encounter motion. Unless you are certain you are impervious to the problem, you should take precautions against seasickness. Your doctor can advise you as to the best methods for avoiding this uncomfortable condition.

4. Gratuities: we suggest you allow the equivalent of US$11-13 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise. If you wish, the amount can be paid by Visa or MasterCard.

5. Sea kayaking: there are separate Trip Notes for the sea kayaking option. Please note that this option must be booked prior to your departure from home and it cannot be booked on the ship. Some prior experience is required and places are limited.

Peregrine Voyage Documentation
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar regions with Peregrine, you will be required to complete a series of online forms. You will be sent a link via email (my polar forms) which will take you to an enrolment form, cruise contract, medical form, arrival/departure information form and expedition parka size order form. These forms must be completed.

Please note that the exploratory nature of this expedition involving weather, ice, wildlife or other mitigating factors may require that unscheduled or last-minute changes be made to the itinerary, sometimes resulting in the cancellation of certain shore excursions. Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, within the limits of safety and time constraints.


Day to Day Itinerary

Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia 2015-16: From Buenos Aires

Trip Length

Trip Code

20 days PPBE15

Countries Visited

Antarctica, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Argentina

Start City

End City

Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia 2015-16: From Buenos Aires

This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll experience a great diversity of environments and landscapes, which will provide unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities. Join us for the quintessential Antarctic experience for polar travellers!

Note: Weather, ice and other mitigating factors may result in changes to our itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions.

 

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.

Day 1: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Elegant and exciting Buenos Aires is where Old World sophistication dances to the beat of tango music. Argentina's capital is certainly one of the world's most eclectic places, with various neighbourhoods reflecting the city's diverse cultural heritage. Grand colonial edifices surround the Plaza de Mayo, while glamour and grit walk side-by-side down the pedestrian streets of Florida and Lavalle. The colourful areas of Recoleta, San Telmo and La Boca all tell their own stories in this city where reality and romance are never too far from each other.

You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of the itinerary and no meals are included on this day.

Arrival Transfers: Please note, no arrival transfer is included in on day 1 in Buenos Aires.  Full joining details will be sent with your final joining instructions.

Accommodation: If you arrive earlier or wish to extend your stay and need accommodation, please ask Peregrine or your agent for details and costs.

Day 2: Ushuaia - Embarkation Day

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred with your group to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, in the far south of Argentina. Upon arrival, we’ll take a short city tour of this quaint port town before heading to the pier.

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which the vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Historic visitors who have traversed this channel include Charles Darwin, who journeyed through this region in the famous HMS Beagle. As we continue south, travelers will keep watch on deck for seabirds, seals and dolphins that can approach the vessel.

Day 3: At Sea

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

As we sail to the northeast we have the chance to enjoy a series of presentations that include talks on wildlife, ice and polar history, which will undoubtedly create enormous anticipation for our upcoming adventures. On deck the first sightings of albatross and petrels are likely to add to our sense of excitement, whilst our team of experts will be on hand to help us spot whales and identify the various other seabirds. There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You will be prepped on safety procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings. You’ll also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.

Day 4-5: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and the rugged feel of the Falklands (Malvinas). The archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Port Stanley is often a favourite landing site as the town offers a unique British outpost feel to it, complete with a bit of a ramshackle charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub or visit the numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross 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 get the most out of your time in the Falklands.

Day 6-7: At Sea

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Leaving the Falklands, our journey continues southeast towards the island of South Georgia. We have a chance to learn more about Antarctic conservation as well as the fascinating history of the area, as our on-board presentations continue. Of course, there is ample time to scan the seascape from the top deck in search of marine mammals and seabirds.

Sailing south, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters by crossing the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Expedition staff will be sure to keep you posted when you cross this invisible, yet important line.

Day 8-11: South Georgia

Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, South Georgia Island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of those old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.

One significant and historic site that will be of interest 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, a museum, gift shop, church and a research station of approximately 20 scientists and support personnel.

While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the 'Galapagos of the Poles', 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 hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day you 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 species on the island, this fragile and symbiotic relationship is something that your expedition team will share with you during your time here.

Day 12-13: At Sea

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with seminars from your expedition team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, which are officially in Antarctica.

Day 14-17: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

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

Your expedition team will take care of you at each landing, whether it is trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and every landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter 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 (at extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in Antarctic waters!

Day 18-19: Crossing the Drake Passage

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.

Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travellers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savour the silence of the sea as long as you can.

Day 20: Disembarkation in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Meals included: 1 breakfast

After breakfast aboard the ship we arrive back in Ushuaia. After disembarkation, you will have a little time to explore Ushuaia before we transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

About this information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Your feedback is important

At Peregrine we are always looking for ways to improve our trips and your feedback is invaluable to us and to our tour guides. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Peregrine. At the end of your trip we ask that you to take a few minutes of your time to complete our on-line feedback form. Just go to http://www.peregrineadventures.com/tour-feedback for our easy to fill out questionnaire. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

24 October 2014


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