Experience the outstanding birdlife of the Falkland Islands. Marvel at the vast King penguin rookeries of South Georgia, before experiencing one of the most spectacular wilderness areas on earth. Antarctica has a remarkable collection of wildlife; snow-capped mountains and blue icebergs; penguins, whales and a rich diversity of birdlife - all of which await you on an exploratory journey of the Great White Continent.
21 nights premium boat
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
You will board the MV Ushuaia in the afternoon. After settling into your cabins, you will be introduced to the crew and expedition staff with a welcome drink on board. There will be plenty of time to get to know your fellow shipmates, as we set sail towards the western Falkland Islands known for their rugged beauty and wealth of seabirds and waterfowl.
The open bridge policy on board allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for marine life and enjoy the views of the open ocean. These waters are also home to an interesting group of seabirds, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship, such as albatrosses and petrels. Join the expedition staff and naturalists on deck whilst we are at sea, as we search for seabirds and other local wildlife, such as orcas and dolphins. An interesting selection of lectures will help us to prepare for our first excursions in the Falkland Islands.
With favorable conditions, the ship's lecturers and naturalists will accompany you on your first excursion.
On the western coast you might visit the following islands:
West Point Island
West Point Island lies off the most north-westerly point of mainland West Falkland (Malvinas). The attractive settlement sits on the edge of a small harbor on the eastern side of the Island, in the lee of Black Bog Hill and Michael's Mount. The valley between these two peaks rolls over the center of the island to the dramatic Devil's Nose, one of the Island's main attractions. From here visitors are treated to splendid views of Cliff Mountain, the Island's highest point at 1,250 ft (381 m), and the highest cliffs in the Falklands (Malvinas). This is where we will encounter a vast colony of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browed Albatrosses, nesting together in close vicinity.
Carcass Island lies to the north-west of the Falklands archipelago (Malvinas). A mature tussac plantation covers much of the lower ground below Jason Hill to the east. The availability of abundant cover and the absence of cats, rats and mice throughout the island have made for a spectacularly large population of small birds, which is one of Carcass Island's most delightful features. Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins do also nest here. Peale's and Commerson's dolphins come frequently close to the shoreline to get a glimpse of the visitors as well. At the settlement with its beautiful gardens, we are invited to enjoy tea and cookies with the locals.
Overnight, the ship will sail around the northern islands of the archipelago in an easterly direction to reach the capital, Stanley, the following morning.
In the morning hours we will have time to explore the quaint little town of Stanley and its wonderful museum, souvenir shops and pubs. For those who are more interested in the outstanding wildlife, you do not even have to leave town to enjoy it - Southern Giant Petrels often fly close to the shoreline. The endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks abound on the shorelines while Kelp Gulls can often be seen flying together with Dolphin Gulls. The less obvious but frequent visitors to Stanley area are Black-crowned Night Herons, Red-backed Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. In the early afternoon, we set sail for South Georgia.
An extensive lecture program will be offered during the days at sea.
Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems we will encounter throughout our voyage. South Georgia is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth, with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.
After more time at sea, at last, South Georgia comes into sight ! Though extremely isolated, it has amazing scenery ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers; to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. If the weather is favorable, we would aim to visit one of the following sites in the late afternoon:
Situated at the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of Parydian Peninsula, Elsehul is a beautiful little harbor. It is the only visitor site on the island, where colonies of Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses can be viewed from zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters.
Right Whale Bay
Right Whale Bay is a bay 1.5 miles wide, entered between Craigie Point and Nameless Point along the north coast of South Georgia. The name dates back to at least 1922, when South Georgia was still a center for commercial whaling. Today we hope to encounter a small colony of King Penguins, along with Giant Petrels, gulls and breeding fur seals on the black ashen beach.
Our exact itinerary will depend on local land and sea conditions but the following destinations are among those that we would like to explore:- Salisbury Plain, Prion Island, Grytviken, Godthul, St Andrews Bay, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord.
You will have five full days to enjoy the delights of this isolated island, rich in history and with an abundance of wildlife.
Salisbury Plain is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of King Penguins that nest in the tussac grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as we visit the colony, where we are literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant and fur seals also abound, as well as Southern Giant Petrels and the occasional wandering Gentoo Penguin.
We hope to visit Prion Island, a beautiful tussac-grass covered islet. If we are lucky, we will get the opportunity to see a breeding colony of Wandering Albatross on top of it. We will climb to the summit on a wooden boardwalk, which takes us close to their nests and offers comfortable viewing platforms.
Grytviken lies within King Edward Cove, a sheltered harbour tucked between Hope Point and Hobart Rock on the western shore of Cumberland East Bay. The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove, backed by steep hills and mountains. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does the nearby grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton on Hope Point. We hope to enjoy a landing at St. Andrews Bay, covered in penguins and seals and bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers. The Bay hosts the biggest colony of King Penguins on South Georgia. Early season, the beach is carpeted with fur and elephant seals. Leopard seals also patrol the rocks at the end of the beach, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds. Brown Skuas and Antarctic Terns breed on the outwash plain, defending their nest sites with their characteristic noise and vigour.
We spend the next two days crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula, offering opportunities to be out on deck, catch up on some reading, or simply reflect on the magical experiences of the last few days on South Georgia.
Further lectures and other activities will be offered throughout these days at sea and our expedition team will prepare you for our experience in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.
We hope to have a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Those who are aware of Sir Ernest Shackleton's story, will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed, is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure, in a truly remarkable part of the world.
Our expedition team will prepare you for our experience in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Later today, we hope to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula in the area of the scenic Antarctic Sound. Here we will try to land at one of the following landing sites:
Argentine Antarctic Station Esperanza
We will try to sail the passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which traverses the Antarctic Sound and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza are located on the western side of the Sound.
Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula's Adélie Penguin population.
We will attempt to land at as many sites as possible. We might visit Hydrurga Rocks, a small group of islets, which lie east of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago, at the northern entrance of the Gerlache Strait. Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags and Kelp Gulls are confirmed breeders here. The Gerlache Straight is a region of broad straits, mountainous islands, protected bays, and narrow channels. Here you will find an abundance of tall peaks, un-climbed by humans, with vast glaciers flowing towards the sea. Weather and ice conditions will determine our final itinerary and all trips vary depending on the ice, which means that all voyages are unique and no two are the same.
We might visit Hydrurga Rocks, a small group of islets, which lie east of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago, at the northern entrance of the Gerlache Strait. Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags and Kelp Gulls are confirmed breeders here. We may also go to Cuverville Island, which lies in the scenic Errera Channel, in the center of the Gerlache Strait. A well-defined raised beach forms a nesting site for many Gentoo Penguins here. On our way north we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands.
If conditions permit, we hope to land on Deception Island - the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered, volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point. We also hope to include a stop at the crescent-shaped Half Moon Island, in the entrance of Moon Bay (between Greenwich and Livingston Islands) - home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage.
Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales. We will also enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures we have had over the past days.
We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the MV Ushuaia after breakfast.
Dress on board is informal. Pack comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. Wind and waterproof outer layers are essential, and the most important piece of clothing you will bring is a parka. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton. Parkas You should look for a lightweight, roomy, wind and water-resistant parka with some insulation. Bright colours are more visible - and thus safer - in polar environments. Gloves Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outer gloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc. are also good. Socks Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet. Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk.
Complimentary waterproof boots will be supplied on-board. However, if you have extra small or large feet, you are advised to bring your own. Also ensure you take good walking boots and trainers for relaxing.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself. Please note that a 15kgs luggage weight limit is sporadically enforced on the internal flight to Ushuaia, occasionally charges may be levied against passengers taking luggage in excess of 15kgs.
Sunglasses and sun cream Personal toiletries A refillable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards (and something to protect the camera when out in the elements) Seasickness remedy Walking poles Personal First Aid Some cabins are equipped with a hairdryer. Hairdryers can also be borrowed from the Hotel Manager on the ship. The electrical supply on board the Ushuaia is 110 volts, 60 hertz. Cabins are fitted with multi-type sockets suitable for several international plugs (not British. It's advisable to take a multi-way international adaptor.
M/V Ushuaia, Zodiac
Built for the US agency NOAA (National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration), the MV Ushuaia has been constantly modernised and refurbished whilst operating in Antarctica. The MV Ushuaia is an ice-strengthened small ship, accommodating just 88 passengers; making it a comfortable and steadfast choice. Knowledgeable staff will ensure you get the most out of your visit and there's an open bridge policy plus ample deck space for wildlife-viewing.
Prices are based on outside facing, triple cabins on the lower deck. Triple cabins have three lower berths, with private facilities and have either a window or portholes. The MV Ushuaia has a number of different cabin categories, all with en-suite facilities, with two beds and a porthole (some suites have double beds.) Cabins are all outside facing and will either have portholes or windows. Most cabins are twin share, although there are two dedicated single cabins on board. We can also offer single occupancy on most cabin types, at a supplement cost. Call us for details on the cabin choice to fit your requirements.
On-board the expedition ship all meals are included in the price of your expedition; an American-style and continental breakfast, buffet lunch and three-course dinner. The dining room accommodates all guests in one sitting and it's free seating. Vegetarians and some special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice, please advise us at time of confirmation. Coffee and tea are provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included and can be purchased in the bar.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Although no visas are required for citizens of UK, CAN, USA, AUS and NZ visa waivers may apply. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. Please note that flights on the tour may transit through the USA. According to US law, passengers will have to disembark, collect luggage and clear immigration before re-boarding for the onward flight. Holders of the UK, AUS, NZ, CAN and several EU country passports can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if they hold a machine readable passport. They must also be entering the country by sea or air on a carrier participating in the visa waiver scheme, holding a return/onward ticket. As well as being machine readable, if your passport was issued on or after 26 October 2005, it must contain both a digital photograph of the holder and also an integrated circuit chip that stores biographic information. All passengers travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme must provide their details online no later than 72 hours prior to travel. British travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely to be detained and sent home. In addition to passport information, you must also supply the full address of your first night's accommodation in the USA. This information can be obtained from your joining instructions which are sent out approximately 3 weeks before travel. Anyone applying for ESTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) to travel under the Visa Waiver system will be charged a fee of 14USD (9GBP). For more information, and to apply online, please visit the following website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once obtained, the application will be valid for a period of two years, or for the validity of your passport (whichever is shorter). For more information about who is eligible for the VWP, or any other questions you may have regarding your eligibility, or machine readable passports, please contact your local consular office, or visit www.usembassy.org.uk Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. Argentina: Although a visa is not required by Australian, American and Canadian passengers to enter Argentina there is a reciprocal payment to be made. The fee must be paid online prior to entering the country. The receipt generated at the time of online payment must be printed and given to local migration authorities together with passport upon passengers arrival to Argentina. These payments are as follows: Australian - US$100; Canadian - US$70; American US$131. The fee can be paid at http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesibleingles
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.