Journey to unforgettable Antarctica via the Falkland and South Georgia islands

Experience an adventure tour of Antarctica and explore the unique conditions at the end of the Earth. Embark from Ushuaia and travel through the Beagle Channel to the Falkland Islands, where a treasure trove of bird life and cheeky penguins put on a show on the rocky shores. Then head through the Antarctic Convergence on the way to South Georgia, and get your first taste of Antarctic life on this remote island made famous by Shackleton. Incredible icy bays, abandoned whaling stations and an abundance of noisy wildlife are just some of the sights to greet you before sailing further along the Antarctic Peninsular to spend days exploring the area on zodiacs, witnessing ethereal icebergs and soaking in the incredible landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica. Benefit from the navigational expertise and local knowledge of a professional crew and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Countries
Antarctica, Argentina
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar, Wildlife
Code
GQMYE
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 199

Why we love this trip

  • Your voyage at sea brings new experiences every day. Cross the wild and wintry Drake Passage, pass between blue-tinged icebergs and explore the coastlines of a multitude of contrasting islands

  • Daily Zodiac trips along the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Falklands and on South Georgia Island provide unequalled encounters with nature. See thousands of penguins in their natural habitat, elephant and fur seals lining beaches and various species of whales

  • The Falkland Islands are a haven for birdwatchers. Search for petrels, cormorants and Black-browed albatross before heading to the pub to rub shoulders with friendly locals in Port Stanley

  • Discover the old abandoned whaling station of Griytviken in South Georgia, paying your respects at the grave of the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton

  • Optional activities such as sea kayaking can take your adventure to the next level. Book early, as these sell out fast

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.

Boats

Ocean Endeavour

On this itinerary, you'll be travelling aboard the Ocean Endeavour

View ship information

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 14 November 2018 to 03 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 13 December 2015 - 25 January 2018

Welcome to Buenos Aires. Begin your Antarctic Explorer adventure with an overnight stay in this Argentinian metropolis and explore its sophisticated streets. Meet your shipmates at the hotel in the evening for a welcome meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.

Please note, no arrival transfer is included in Buenos Aires. Clients are asked to make their own way to the joining hotel. Full details of the hotel will be given on your final documents.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please note, no arrival transfer is included in Buenos Aires. Clients are asked to make their own way to the joining hotel. Full details of the hotel will be given on your final documents.
This morning take a 3-4 hour charter flight to Ushuaia. On arrival enjoy a little free time to explore the charming port town. Board the ship and cruise out through the beautiful Beagle Channel in the afternoon. Named after the British ship the HMS Beagle, this channel is rich with birdlife, so look out for penguins, cormorants and petrels. The waterway transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, providing unforgettable scenery along the way.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
While at sea, you'll be kept busy by your expedition team, who will prepare you for the adventures to come. The team may include marine biologists, historians, geologists and more. Enjoy on-board presentations about the history and wildlife of Antarctica.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your first encounter with land after being at sea will be the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). This area is packed with birdlife so you'll be able to use your newfound knowledge to identify particular species of animals. Look out for Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins, Black-browed albatross and two endemic bird species - Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. Meet the friendly local residents and explore the islands on daily Zodiac landings.

POSSIBLE LANDING SITES AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS - FALKLAND ISLANDS

CARCASS ISLAND
The 8 km long (five mile) island, northwest of West Falkland, belongs to Rob and Lorraine McGill. It's a picturesque island, where songbirds nest among the luxuriant growth that covers the gently rolling landscape. The island is named after a Royal Navy ship, the HMS Carcass, which arrived in 1766.

NEW ISLAND
The most southwesterly island in the archipelago is about 13 km (eight miles) long and 800 m wide. The western side of the island is a cliff 183 m high, while the eastern side slopes to the sea. Tony Chater and Ian Strange hold ownership of the island, and have turned their respective portions into nature reserves.

STANLEY
The deep-water harbour of Stanley was the economic mainstay of the Falkland area in the 19th century. Sailing ships damaged while rounding Cape Horn called in for expensive repairs, and vessels carrying fortune seekers on their way to the gold fields of California and Australia often docked at Stanley as well. Stanley is as lively as it gets in the Falklands, and the future of the port may be bright if hydrocarbon deposits off the coast prove to be abundant.

WEST POINT ISLAND
The Napier family has owned this island since the 1860s. Black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguins nest on cliffs along the water’s edge, and Commerson’s dolphins are often seen in the water surrounding the island.

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.
MOUNTAINEERING – There are many unclaimed or rarely climbed peaks in Antarctica. Imagine standing on an icy ridge looking at the ship in amongst the icebergs far below. This is a once in a lifetime experience. To take part in mountaineering, you must have a good level of fitness as excursions can last up to 5 hours. A fitness waiver form must be completed before taking part in this more challenging option.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING - Cross-country skiing is one of the most efficient ways to travel over ground that is covered in snow and ice, enabling you to travel in Antarctica the same way that pioneering explorers like Amundsen and Shackleton did. With journeys taking a few hours, it is imperative to be in good physical shape. Ideally, you’ll have cross-country skiing experience to partake in this activity, however exceptions may be made for those deemed physically capable. While Quark provides the essential gear, you will be responsible for certain extras such as additional warm clothing and a pair of good sunglasses.
STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING - Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. This activity is taken in small groups in good weather conditions on calm bays and harbours, with a Zodiac following for your safety.

INCLUDED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
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.
PHOTOGRAPHY - Antarctica is one of the most abundantly photogenic destinations in the world. Penguins amble across pebbled beaches, whales spy-hop from the crystal blue sea and sparkling icebergs tower in this serene, yet dramatic environment. Whether you own a serious SLR or a simple point-and-shoot, our on-board photography expert provides you with hands-on instruction and technical tips to ensure that you capture the best of your Antarctica experience.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Further shipboard presentations over the next few days will prepare you for upcoming landings and Zodiac cruises along the coast of South Georgia. Cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary dividing Antarctica from the rest of the southern seas, and sail into true polar waters. Keep warm in the parka provided up on deck and take advantage of the unlimited hot drinks available.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Jagged mountains erupting from the sea, your first sight of South Georgia is spectacular. Once ashore, you might hear a chorus of barking and squealing seals and penguins. Planned activities over the next few days include a series of landings at king penguin rookeries and abandoned whaling stations. Keep an eye out for albatross and petrels, and don’t be surprised if you spot the odd reindeer, as these were introduced by Norwegian whalers in the early 20th century. Perhaps visit Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave at the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken. As landings are dependent on weather and ice conditions, please be aware that plans may change with little notice.

POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS – SOUTH GEORGIA

DRYGALSKI FJORD
This is a photogenic and dramatic fjord, with sharp and jagged peaks rising out of the sea. Glaciation never reached the peaks of this fjord, giving it a unique landscape.

GOLD HARBOUR
The backdrop to this harbour is the hanging Bertrab Glacier. King and gentoo penguins call this place home, as do rowdy elephant and fur seals.

GRYTVIKEN
Only a handful of people live on South Georgia, a United Kingdom overseas territory. Two of them are curators of the South Georgia Museum, located in the former whaling station manager’s villa. A church was built for the whaling community and is the only building in Grytviken that is still used for its original purpose.

PRION ISLAND
Robert Cushman Murphy named this island for the species of petrels seen here. Wandering albatross are also known to nest on the island.

SALISBURY PLAIN
One of the largest king penguin rookeries in South Georgia is located on Salisbury Plain. The Murphy and Lucas Glaciers flank the plain, creating a perfect backdrop for photographers.

ST. ANDREW'S BAY
Thousands of breeding pairs of king penguins nest at St. Andrew’s Bay. It is the largest king penguin rookery on South Georgia and quite a spectacle to behold. Reindeer introduced by Norwegian whalers are known to feed on the grass in the area.

STROMNESS
This abandoned whaling station was in full operation the day that Ernest Shackleton and his companions staggered in after a 36-hour trek across the island. There is a small cemetery here, with the graves of 14 whalers.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (4 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Heading south again, spend a couple of education-filled days at sea en route to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Make use of the on-board library and attend more lectures made by the expedition team.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
By now you should have reached the Antarctic Peninsula. Your expedition team will make sure that your four days here are filled with varying landscapes, wildlife encounters and activities. Perhaps take a 'polar plunge' into the ice-cold waters of Neko Harbour, scramble to the top of a craggy hill for panoramic views of the area or witness a glacier calve into the sea near Danco Island while on a Zodiac cruise. Chinstrap, Adelie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs, giving you the chance to get right up close to these majestic animals. Perhaps partake in an optional sea kayaking adventure (at an extra cost and subject to availability). Every day along the peninsula will provide unique experiences.

POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

CUVERVILLE ISLAND
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.

DAMOY POINT
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.

DANCO ISLAND
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.

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

LEMAIRE CHANNEL
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.

MELCHIOR ISLANDS
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.

NEKO HARBOUR
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.

PETERMANN ISLAND
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.

PORT LOCKROY
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.

WATERBOAT POINT
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.

AITCHO ISLANDS
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.

BAILY HEAD
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.

HALF MOON ISLAND
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.

HANNAH POINT
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.

PENDULUM COVE
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.

PENGUIN ISLAND
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.

ROBERT POINT
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.

TELEFON BAY
Your expedition team will point out where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.

TURRET POINT
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.

WHALER'S BAY
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.

YANKEE HARBOUR
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.

Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (4 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Begin your homeward journey through Drake Passage. Cross your fingers for smooth sailing but be prepared for potentially rough seas. This immense passage separates the Antarctic Peninsula from South America, and was named after the famed English explorer, Sir Frances Drake. Enjoy your last couple of days at sea relaxing with your shipmates and enjoying views from the deck.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Arrive into Ushuaia this the morning after breakfast. After disembarkation, experience a little bit of Patagonia by touring Tierra del Fuego National Park. Transfer to the airport for the group charter flight back to Buenos Aires (approximately 3-4 hours). You should arrive into the Argentinian capital at about 5 pm, but we recommend that any onward flights should be booked to depart after 8 pm in case of delays.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your trip ends on arrival at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini (EZE) airport. Please do not book onward flights out of Buenos Aires EZE until at least 8.00pm.

Meals

19 breakfasts, 17 lunches, 18 dinners

Transport

Ship, Zodiac, Plane

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
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.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
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.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia: From Buenos Aires trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia: From Buenos Aires (Ocean Endeavour) 2015 - 2017, November 2016

Glynis Grey

Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands & South Georgia: From Buenos Aires (Ocean Endeavour) 2015 - 2017, November 2016

Glynis Kay Grey