Fly across the Drake Passage to South Shetland and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula
This all-encompassing Peregrine journey takes you to one of the world's most awe-inspiring destinations: Antarctica. Skip the often turbulent Drake Passage with return flights from Punta Arenas to King George Island. After making shore visits through the South Shetland Islands, arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula and be immediately dazzled by some of the most dramatic scenery to be found anywhere on earth. Sailing aboard your well-appointed expedition vessel, witness Antarctic nature in all its glory. These areas boast an extraordinary abundance of wildlife, including five species of seals and massive rookeries of gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins. Observe magnificent whales in close proximity as they crest the surface of waves. Weather, ice and other mitigating factors may result in changes to your itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions.
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 108
Why you'll love this trip
Your adventure begins in the most populated city in Patagonia, Punta Arenas. There are plenty of museums, restaurants and shops to keep you entertained before embarkation
Flying from Punta Arenas to the South Shetland Islands is the fastest, most direct way of travelling to Antarctica, and the view over the Drake Passage is unforgettable
Go where few others do...over the Antarctic Circle. This voyage will have you joining the elite group of intrepid travellers who can say they have been this far south.
On-board lectures by polar specialists provide great insight in to the history and geology of Antarctica
Whale spotting among icebergs is easy when you have your expedition team searching for wildlife. Daily Zodiac landings afford the group great flexibility and opportunity during your time in the Antarctic
This all-encompassing trip includes everything you need for peace of mind on your journey, such as your return flights from Santiago to Puntas Arenas and King George Island, pre-expedition hotel accommodation, transfers to and from your ship, full meals and drinks on-board (including complimentary house wine, beer and spirits), waterproof expedition boots for shore landings (on loan), all gratuities and emergency evacuation insurance.
Is this trip right for you?
Although our ice strengthened ships are big and sturdy, Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings. Please be prepared with medications to combat this. There is also a doctor on-board should you need further assistance.
As you’d expect, temperatures in the Antarctic are freezing. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The on-board library and educational lectures are ideal ways for keeping entertained.
will be transferred to the included group hotel. In the afternoon, a Quark Expeditions® representative will meet you at the group hotel, where you’ll
enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation
Special InformationThis morning, you will need to meet at a designated airport hotel and transfer to the airport for the included flight to Punta Arenas. The exact meeting point will be provided with your final documents. The flight is at 8.00am this morning, so the meeting time will be at 6.00am. Please ensure you are in Santiago early enough to reach the meeting point on time.
the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship will
approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic
Antarctic landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane
descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch
your legs and spend time exploring the island before being transferred by
Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!
Special InformationNotes: Luggage allowance for the charter flight is strictly limited to 15 kg for checked baggage and 5 kg for carry on.
approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes. As your captain and Expedition Team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your daily land excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking up to a beach dotted with penguins and seals is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.
Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won’t be long before you can tell the difference between an Adélie, gentoo or chinstrap penguin.
You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs around Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier at Neko Harbor to the thrill of watching a leopard seal as it hunts a penguin, you’ll wake up early and welcome each day with a sense of excitement and a desire to explore that which is unrivaled by any other travel experience.
Your Expedition Team will be with you all along the way, providing insights into the places you visit.
POSSIBLE LANDING SITES IN ANTARCTICA
A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Depending on the time of season you arrive, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls breed on the island.
If you are lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point, the northern entrance to the harbour on which Port Lockroy is located.
This small island, one mile (1.6 km) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. You can visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.
Located in Wilhelmina Bay, the island was used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes a wrecked whaling ship.
This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula; you’ll see that this is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 6.8 mile-long (11 km) Channel may become
impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.
A group of low islands in Dallmann Bay, on which you may see male fur seals haul-out at the end of the breeding season to recuperate from their battles for supremacy.
Little evidence remains that this bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You might see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There is an unmanned refuge hut here, erected by Argentina. Climb past the hut and up a steep slope for
spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbour.
Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the island rises 650 feet (200 meters) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island.
A ‘fun’ destination of sorts, we always strive to journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built on the harbour during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It is now designated as a historic site, where Port Lockroy is a museum and post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.
Of historic interest, you may venture to this unique point, which at low tide is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs are used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behavior lived in a water boat on the Point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been
designated an Antarctic historic site.
This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, with gentoo and chinstrap penguins having established rookeries. Southern elephant and fur seals are frequently hauled-out here too.
Also known as Rancho Point, this area is a rocky headland on the southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests on slopes leading to a high ridge that dominates the natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.
HALF MOON ISLAND
This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike sealers who liked to keep their best locations secret, we’re happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic birds breed here including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm-petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.
Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on the point, which is on the south coast of Livingston Island. Due to the rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only visit here from January 10 onwards.
Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, named for observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the scalding hot water!
Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the island for breeding purposes.
A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.
Your Expedition Team will be happy to point out that it is here where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.
Chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries are found on this point, situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches here are often crowded with southern elephant, fur, and Weddell seals hauled-out on the rocks.
To reach Whaler’s Bay it is necessary to sail through a narrow passage called Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from 1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbour created by a circular flooded caldera, known as Deception Island. Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see rusting remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam that may rise from geothermally heated water springs along the shoreline.
Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. Here you can see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a large glacier that stretches along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned sealing try pot is all that remains of the
activity that brought men thousands of miles in tall ships to seek their fortune.
- Breakfast (3)
- Lunch (3)
- Dinner (3)
As you toast the first explorers who ventured this far south, you can take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals and some of the most magical, odd ice formations you’ll see anywhere on the continent.
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
Special InformationThe trip ends on arrival at Santiago Airport. The flight will arrive at approximately 4.00pm so please ensure you allow sufficient time if you are planning to fly onwards on this day.
Meals10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 9 dinners
TransportExpedition cruise ship, plane, Zodiac
AccommodationExpedition Voyage, Hotel
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.
Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.
Strict luggage limits apply. Please see Trip Notes (What to Take) for more information.
Please ensure you are aware of the times for the included flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas and book your international flights accordingly. See the itinerary for more information.