Discover Antarctica 11 days from Ushuaia
The Antarctic Peninsula is a legendary region in the world of polar travel, and this ten-day adventure showcases its very best. Trace the footsteps of the great explorers, crossing the Drake Passage to access this northernmost region of the legendary white continent. Spot penguins, seals and whales as they join you on your journey along the Antarctic coastline. Landing on the continent is the first of many thrills throughout the journey, and it only gets better from there, as one of the world’s most untouched, exotic and extreme environments reveals itself through one mind-blowing icescape after the next.
Ages: 12 - 99
Theme: Polar, Wildlife
Accommodation: Expedition Voyage
Welcome to Ushuaia. The day is yours to explore the city. There will be information and welcome meeting at your hotel at 7.30 this evening so please ensure you are there in time to attend.
This afternoon you will transferred to the port to board the Ocean Atlantic. After meeting our fellow passengers and finding our way around our new home we set sail through the famed beagle channel. Passing incredible scenery we glimpse our last sight of land as we head due south towards Antarctica.
We spend the day at sea, through the legendary waters of the Drake passage that is named after famous English seafarer, Sir Frances Drake. If conditions allow, enjoy the ample outer deck space to look for dolphins, whales and orcas as well as seabirds including the mighty Albatross following the ship. A comprehensive optional lecture program will also get under way, with some fascinating insights into Antarctic history, geology, biology and everything in between.
Today we continue crossing the Drake passage and hope to make landfall by early evening if conditions are favourable. The first sighting of land always brings great excitement on any expedition south.
For the next four days we explore the Antarctic Peninsula that is famed for its majestic mountains, glaciers, calm waters and abundance of wildlife. Our lecture program continues during our voyage and sightseeing during this period is at its most spectacular off the ship’s outer decks. We hope to visit an active research station during our time on the peninsula (subject to approval) as well as explore well known sites such as as the Lemaire Channel, Deception Island, Paradise bay and Neko harbour. Whilst on the Peninsula we will have our famous Antarctica quiz as well as a host of interesting night time activities.
Leaving Antarctica behind we sail north to our home port of Ushuaia. We have time to reflect on our amazing journey and hear more wonderful talks on Antarctica.
By the evening we hope to be back in the tranquil surrounds of the Beagle, ensuring a restful nights sleep. Our last meal together is often a highlight of any Chimu trip.
After breakfast we disembark the ship. We wave goodbye to our new friends and continue on our journey or home. Transfer to the airport is included.
Although you don't need to be particularly fit to take part in an Antarctic expedition, you do need to have a good level of mobility. You must be able to complete the on board safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures unaided. Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet while negotiating the ship over potentially slippery decks and gangways. The zodiacs are accessed via a gangway or stairs which may be steep on some ships. Most of our ships have lifts, but these may not access all decks so some stair climbing on board will be necessary.
For Fly/Cruise itineraries landing or departing from King George Island, a walk of approximately 1.5km's is required between the runway and the zodiac landing point. Your luggage will be transferred for you.
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.
Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Snow Shoeing is also an option on this voyage. Both 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.
This voyage is operated in conjunction with our partner company, Chimu Travel.
Your voyage will be led by an experienced Expedition Leader. In addition, a number of experts will be on board to add knowledge of their field to your experience. These experts will be on shore for your excursions, will drive the zodiacs and deliver lectures on board the ship. Kayaking and snow shoeing specialist guides will also be on board for those participating in these activities.
On your way to join your voyage, you may take advantage of the opportunity to visit a larger South American city such as Buenos Aires or Santiago. It is worth researching matters of personal safety and security in these places before your departure. Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Safety is paramount on a our voyages. 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 our local 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. All ships operating in Polar waters must comply with a variety of regulations, codes and industry standards. All our ships adhere to regulations set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) including ISM Code (Safety Management System), ISPS Code (for ship and port security), SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Prevention).
All of our ships have facilities to communicate with the outside world.
Satellite phone communications are available on all ships but be aware that on some ships, this connection is only available in certain locations and may not be possible from your cabin. Satellite communications can be intermittent and may not be available at all times or in all locations. Phone calls are charged per minute of usage.
Internet access is possible via wifi on your personal laptop or device in certain areas of each ship and is charged via a pre-paid card which can be purchased through the hotel manager. Each ship also has a computer for passengers to use for internet access and emails and the hotel manager can set you up with a temporary webmail address. Please be aware, accessing some websites from the ship will be very expensive as downloading picture heavy content will use up a large amount of data. Text only emails use up much less data and is a very affordable way to communicate with friends and family at home.
All communications from the ship are a bit intermittent as when travelling through mountainous areas or through narrow channels, signals can be disrupted and may not be transmitted until clearing this terrain or until satellites next pass overhead. Please make sure your loved ones have realistic expectations of your ability to communicate with them so they don’t worry about you.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
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).
Americans, Australian, Belgians, British, Canadians, Dutch, Germans, New Zealanders and South Africans do not currently require a visa for Argentina. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa or entry requirements with the Argentinean consulate in your home country.
Why we love it
The wildlife is simply amazing in this extreme part of the planet. Scan the seas for seals; look out for minke, humpback and orca whales; spot rare birds on the Beagle Channel; and witness gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins on daily boat trips
The terrain of Antarctica is like nowhere else on earth. Stepping across the plains, mountains and beaches of the white continent as icebergs calve dramatically into the ocean is an experience that’s hard to describe
A polar plunge in Arctic waters could well be the most invigorating swims you will ever take. This is an ocean dip to write home about!
Optional excursions give you the chance to see the peninsula from more than one angle. Explore by sea kayak, or take the adventure to the next level with some polar ice camping (this fills up quickly, so book early)
Is this trip right for you
Although our ice-strengthened ships are large and sturdy, Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may get seasick, especially on the Drake Passage and other open water crossings. Be sure to prepare with appropriate medication. There is also a doctor on board.
Lots of warm clothing, base layers, and a waterproof parka are all absolutely essential. Make sure to read the Essential Trip Information for more info on what to bring.
Depending on the weather, there will be regular excursions in a Zodiac boat for exploring and wildlife-viewing. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you’re dressed appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed for wet and dry landings from the boat, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, and the handrails will come in handy when the 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 interesting). You may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The onboard library and educational lectures are great ways to keep entertained.
Vaccination requirements do change, but generally you do not need vaccinations for this voyage but some may be required or recommended for countries you are visiting enroute to Antarctica.
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.
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.
There will be a licensed English-speaking physician on board. Your vessel will have a medical clinic with a limited supply of prescription medicines and basic first aid equipment. The clinic will not be stocked with every drug or piece of equipment required for every medical problem. If you are under regular treatment for any ailment, you must bring a sufficient supply of medicines for yourself. We cannot accept responsibility for not having a specific brand or type of drug on board. It is wise to carry an extra week’s supply of prescription medications just in case of flight delays or other unforeseen circumstances. If you have particular health needs, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician explaining your health problems and/or the dosage required for the prescribed medication. The letter will assist our doctor on board, and any emergency medical personnel to care for you should you become ill. Please hand the letter to the expedition doctor once you are on board.
Food and dietary requirements
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room. Hours of operation will be posted and are subject to change to accommodate the expedition. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available around the clock. The tap water on board is safe to drink.
We're able to meet most special dietary requests, as long as you have clearly indicated your requirements far in advance of your voyage via your online Polar forms. Kosher food cannot be prepared.
SPENDING IN ANTARCTICA
The US Dollar is the standard currency on board. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover Card and American Express are accepted on board for settling your shipboard account.
At the time designated in the shipboard program, please give the Hotel Manager the credit card you would like to use for all your incidental expenses. An account will be opened for your cabin for purchases aboard ship. This will include bar services, laundry, postage, and communication charges. A ‘chit’ system will operate for on board payments. You will sign for any bar, wine, communication charges, laundry, etc. An account for payment will be presented to you on the final day of the voyage. Final payment can be made using cash, travellers’ checks or major credit cards. Personal cheques are not accepted on board. If you are sharing a cabin and would like separate accounts, you must advise the Hotel Manager.
It is wise to travel with sufficient cash to pay for incidentals such as shipboard items on the last day of the voyage, airport taxes and taxi transfers.
In Antarctica, there are limited opportunities to spend money other than on the ship. If you are visiting the Falklands, it is advisable to have Pounds Sterling or US dollars to spend while in Stanley. Argentinean Pesos are not accepted. Please note there are no ATM’s on the Falkland Islands. For trips to the Peninsula, you may visit Port Lockroy which is a small museum and has a souvenir shop.
The voyage fare does not include the customary, optional gratuity which is divided between the ships' crew, and hospitality staff. We suggest US$13 - US$15 per day as a guide. Any tip for the Expedition Team is extra to this and is at your discretion. Gratuities can be added to your onboard account at the end of the voyage or paid in cash on board. Full details will be provided before you settle your onboard account.
Argentina currency information:
The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentinean peso (ARS).
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.
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.
If you are on a Fly/Cruise voyage, there is a US$15 departure tax when leaving Punta Arenas for King George Island and for any flights out of the Falkland Islands, there is a US$32 departure tax. These amounts will be added onto your ship board account for settlement before the end of your voyage.
What to take
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 and a suitable wet weather jacket. 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.
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
Sunscreen, lip balm, moisturising cream, sunhat and sunglasses (with UV protection)
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)
Wind and waterproof jacket
Long wool or cotton socks (for expeditions)
Silk or polypropylene socks (for inside the ship)
Thermal underwear (silk or polypropylene)
Cotton turtlenecks and t-shirts
Camera and spare film and batteries (or recharge for digital cameras)
Plastic bags with zippers for carrying spare batteries, etc
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we and our partners are doing well and what could be done better. It allows us to suggest improvements for future travellers.
BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:
CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):
While in Chile and Argentina contact: +56 9 7964 8594
While in Uruguay or Brazil contact: +55 2 199618 2018
Alternatively, the operations office located in Peru +51 99605 5559 (PEAK DMC South America)
Chimu Argentina: +54 15 53056456
Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below:
- Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
- Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
- Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
- Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
- Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.
Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.
It is a condition of travel that you have taken out a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover you for all eventualities and that covers you for travelling in the Polar regions.
Your fellow travellers
On your voyage, you will be travelling with up to 198 other people (depending on which ship you are on). The ships are spacious with ample deck space and public areas so it is always possible to find a spot to yourself to enjoy the scenery and some solitude. On excursions, you will travel in a zodiac with up to 10 guests on each boat. Polar travel attracts travellers of all nationalities and meeting people from other countries is one of the pleasures of life on board. The voyages will be conducted in English and clients who do not speak English will need to travel with someone able to translate for safety reasons. Some voyages may have large non English speaking groups travelling with translators so you may find that announcements are translated for their benefit and presentations may be given separately in their own language.
It is possible for solo travellers to share with another of the same gender in all twin cabin types except Suites. Single supplements are available for those wanting their own cabin with a payment of a 70% single supplement charge
No two Polar voyages are the same and this is part of the excitement of travelling in these remote regions. Weather, ice conditions and wildlife will all affect where your ship is able to access, and most importantly, where your Expedition Team think you will get the best possible experience from your trip. On board, daily updates are given to advise what the specific itinerary will be for the next day based on local conditions. Published itineraries cannot be guaranteed but an amazing voyage full of adventure and once-in-a-lifetime experiences is guaranteed.