Explore the best of Antarctica on this air and sea adventure

There is only one true wilderness left on Earth, and it’s damn cold. Like being trapped in the belly of one big unflavoured icy-pole, you would think a trip down to the south-est of the south is for but the bravest of the brave. Surely that’s why Antarctica’s early explorers were so legendary? But what if you could discover this pristine frozen paradise from the warmth and comfort of an expedition vessel? Where you can be ferried to shore in a zippy Zodiac, and where a chef ensures the onset of scurvy is kept well at bay? In this nine-day adventure, experience everything that this unbelievable continent has to offer, from penguins, to ice, to seals, to ice, to albatross, to ice… The Antarctic magic awaits.
Antarctica has long called to explorers and now you too can follow the call on this remote adventure to the icy shores of the seventh continent. Kick things off in Punta Arenas, Chile, before flying over the Drake Passage and heading straight for King George Island. Don’t worry, you’ll traverse the Drake by boat on your return. Explore remote outposts on King George Island and then travel south by boat, where you’ll take Zodiac rides to seek out all kinds of wildlife including seals, penguins, whales and birds. Experience this otherworldly environment surrounded by ice floes, glaciers and frigid waters.

Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Polar, Sailing, Wildlife
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 8
Group size
Min 1 Max 117
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • With a direct four-hour flight from Punta Arenas, getting to Antarctica has never been so easy
  • Pass through the mighty Drake Passage, a rite of passage for generations of Antarctic explorers and adventurers
  • The Antarctica Peninsula is one of the most unspoiled places on Earth. See abundant species of whales, seabirds, seals and penguins in their natural habitat on regular Zodiac excursions
  • A diversity of possible landing sites and activities allows you to see the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula from multiple perspectives
  • On-board educational presentations by polar specialists provide great context to the trip
  • Get up close to an incredible range of wildlife, such as minke, humpback and orca whales or gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins


Hola and welcome to Chile. Your journey begins on the southern tip of the country in Punta Arenas. On the north bank of the Strait of Magellan, this was once a penal colony but is now a friendly town port town with many historic sites and museums to see. After exploring during the day, join the rest of the group for dinner in the evening, where you’ll also meet the Antarctic expedition team.
Special Information
Please note, arrival transfers are included for clients arriving into Punta Arenas airport today. If you are arriving any earlier, you will need to make your own way to your hotel.
Today board the chartered flight to Antarctica. The four-hour journey over the Drake Passage provides spectacular views of the sea below. If skies are clear, Antarctica comes into view just before the descent to King George Island. On landing, use some free time to take your first photographs and stretch your legs before heading out to the ship via Zodiac boat.
As you approach the Antarctic Peninsula, watch wildlife swim in the cold waters below and witness penguins in their natural habitat. Over the next few days, make several excursions by Zodiac to the peninsula and surrounding islands. While weather and sea conditions determine which landings can be made, the expedition team will ensure that each day of your Antarctic adventure is unforgettable. Climb to the top of a hill for panoramic views of the continent, or explore the historic site of Port Lockroy and send a postcard from the world’s southernmost post office. Watch glaciers calving into the sea at Petermann Island or cruise around Pleneau Island in a Zodiac in search of elephant and fur seals. Each day will be completely different.


A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on the north end of the island on a rocky beach. Depending on the time of season you visit, you may see them building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls also breed on the island.

If you're lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point. This is the northern entrance to the harbour on which Port Lockroy is located.

This small island, 1.6 km (one mile) in length, is easy to explore and home to gentoo penguins. Visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut and watch out for a variety of seabirds such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.

Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island was once used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes by a wrecked whaling ship.

This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, and is one of the most scenic locations on the western coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The 11 km (6.8 mile) channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.

This is 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.

This bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You may see some whale vertebrae used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. There's 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. Adelie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island. The dome of the island rises 200 meters (650 feet) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views.

Journey to Port Lockroy if weather permits. The harbour is on the west side of Wiencke Island. A secret base was built here during the Second World War as part of Operation Tabarin. It's now designated as a historic site, featuring a museum and the world's southernmost post office. Proceeds from your purchases here support the preservation of historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration.

At low tide this historic point is connected to the Antarctic mainland. Zodiacs can be used to explore the area when the tide is in. Two scientists studying penguin behaviour lived in a water boat on the point from 1921-22. The remains of their camp have been designated as an Antarctic historic site.

This is a group of small islands, some still unnamed, situated in the northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife here, including at the established rookeries of gentoo and chinstrap penguins. 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, which dominates a natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.

This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike the 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 10 January onwards.

Hot geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, which was named after 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 point out where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.

Chinstrap and Adelie penguin rookeries are found on this point, which is situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches are often crowded with southern elephant, fur, and Weddell seals hauled-out on the rocks.

To reach Whaler’s Bay, sail through the narrow passage of 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 the rusty remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam rising from geothermally-heated springs along the shoreline.

Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbour, which is situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. You can also see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a huge glacier stretching along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned try-pot is all that remains of the sealing activity that brought men thousands of miles to seek their fortune.

The following Optional Activities are available to participate in, on some or all of the departures of this itinerary. These must be booked in advance (additional costs apply) and space is limited.

KAYAKING – Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Kayaking is open to all levels of experience, however kayaking in the polar waters is not suitable for novice kayakers. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory course prior to the voyage which includes how to do a wet exit. In addition regardless of your experience, we recommend you take part in some kayaking practise prior to the voyage to ensure that you are comfortable on the water in the icy conditions.

SNOWSHOEING - A novel way to experience the beauty of the polar landscape, and discover remote alcoves and hidden valleys. The rewards of walking atop the snow are well worth the effort, as we’ll be able to visit new places that may be inaccessible on foot. This traditional means of transport across the snow comes from the indigenous people of North America. While you can appreciate a connection with the past, the snowshoes we use today are much lighter and more forgiving than the old wood-weave snowshoes used during the days of the North American fur trade.
It may signal your last days at sea, but crossing the Drake Passage is a spectacular experience. Up on deck, your expedition team may be able to point out albatross in the sky above or minke and humpback whales in the water below. The team will also conclude their series of engaging presentations on subjects such as marine biology, polar history and glaciology, so there will be plenty of time to rest your weary sea legs.
After breakfast on the ship, say farewell to the crew and disembark in Ushuaia. Transfer to the hotel and explore the town on your last day. Perhaps head to the shops for some souvenirs, capture an obligatory picture beside the ‘end-of-the-world’ sign or sample Ushuaia’s classic dish of king crab. The Museo Maritimo and Museo del Presidio offer fascinating insights into the town’s penal and maritime history.
There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to make your way to the airport for departure at any time. If you’d like to extend your stay in Ushuaia, please let your agent know at least 14 days prior to departure.
Special Information
If you are departing Ushuaia today, a transfer is included from the port to the airport. We recommend that you book flights departing Ushuaia from 12.00 midday onwards.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners
Plane, Ship, Zodiac
Cruise ship (7 nights), Hotel 2 (nights)


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Important notes

Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of A$2000pp ($6000pp on Icebreaker voyages. Different amounts apply in other currencies). The balance is due 90 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 90 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 89 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.

Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping, stand up paddle boarding, cross country skiing and mountaineering. All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential and a good level of fitness is required for cross country skiing and mountaineering. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this 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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes