Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula
19 Days/18 Nights
From $13,550 per person
(Quad. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Explore the Falkland Islands and South Georgia en route to the Antarctic Peninsula on this fascinating journey. The Falkland Islands are located 310 miles east of Argentina, and are a haven for wildlife, including five species of penguins, elephant seals, sea lions, and killer whale. The tour includes a free day to experience Stanley, the capital city, on your own. On South Georgia Island, one of the highlights will be a visit to the breeding grounds of the Wandering Albatross on Prion Island.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 18 nights (18 nights aboard the Plancius), and 53 meals (18 breakfasts, 17 lunches, and 18 dinners).
Best Time to Go: November-March.
Destinations: Argentina, Patagonia, and Antarctica.
Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, and Wildlife Viewing.
Places Visited: Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, the Weddell Sea, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands.
Note: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per IAATO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with IAATO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of this vessel is 10.5 knots.
Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey.
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. Overnight aboard the ship. (D)
Note: We advise all passengers to plan to arrive in Ushuaia one night before the cruise departure.
Day 2: The winged life of the westerlies.
Several species of albatross follow the vessel into the westerlies, along with storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
Day 3: Finding the Falklands.
The Falkland Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems, the site of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina. Not only do various species of bird live here, but chances are great you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.
During this segment of the voyage, you may visit the following sites:
Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife and many endemic species. Anything from breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos to numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds) live here.
Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here.
Day 4: The seat of Falklands culture.
The capital of the Falklands and center of its culture, Port Stanley has some Victorian-era charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Admission to the museum is included.
Day 5-6: Once more to the sea.
En route to South Georgia, you now cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
Day 7-10: South Georgia Journey.
Today you arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program.
Over the next several days, you have a chance to visit the following sites:
Prion Island – This location is closed during the early part of the wandering albatross breeding season (November 20 – January 7). From January on, the breeding adults have found their partners and are sitting on eggs or nursing their chicks. Enjoy witnessing the gentle nature of these animals, which possess the largest wingspan of any bird in the world.
Fortuna Bay – A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. Here you may also have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.
Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for Antarctic fur seals. Literally millions breed on South Georgia during December and January. Only during the mid-season do they peak in their breeding cycle. There will be some young adult Elephant seals as well as this seasons ‘Weaner’s; the young Elephant Seals that have been left to fend for themselves. Watch your step and stay cool when walking the beaches during this time.
Grytviken – In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do. Here you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.
In the afternoon of day 10 and depending on the conditions, we will start sailing southwards in the direction of the South Orkney Islands.
Day 11: Southward bound.
There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds trailing the vessel south.
Day 12: The scenic vistas of South Orkney.
Depending on the conditions, you might visit Orcadas Base, an Argentine scientific station on Laurie Island in the South Orkney archipelago. The personnel here will happily show you their facility, where you can enjoy expansive views of the surrounding glaciers. If a visit isn’t possible, you may instead land in Coronation Island’s Shingle Cove.
Day 13: Last push to the Antarctic.
Enormous icebergs and a fair chance of fin whale sightings ensure there’s never a dull moment on this last sea voyage south. Also, your best chance to spot Antarctic petrels is here.
Day 14-16: Awe-inspiring Antarctica.
If the ice conditions permit, you now sail into the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins, is a possible stop. You might also visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could get the chance to set foot on the Antarctic Continent itself.
If conditions aren’t favorable to enter the Weddell Sea from the east, the ship will set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait, between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Here you can attempt to access the Antarctic Sound from the northwest.
The breathtaking scenery continues in the Bransfield Straight and, if conditions allow further South in the Gerlache Strait. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
Day 17-18: Familiar seas, familiar friends.
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Day 19: There and back again.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency at xe.com.
- The above prices are valid until January 16, 2024.
- The single supplement is 1.7 times the Twin/Superior price.
- Singles willing to share a cabin pay the Twin/Superior price.
- Children under 16 with parents may receive a 40% discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents/adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents/adults). Upon request (some voyages may be excluded).
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
- Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
- Accommodations on board the M/V Plancius.
- All meals scheduled on board, including snacks, coffee, and tea.
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
- Transfer to the vessel before the cruise.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides (suggested $10-15/per/day cash for the naturalist guides and crew).
- Bar, gifts, and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group/Private: All services included in this tour are operated on a group basis.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Australian and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee of $100 and $75 respectively (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons) online, and must show proof of payment prior to arrival. The reciprocity fee for U.S. citizens has been suspended until further notice. For citizens of Australia, this fee covers unlimited entries to Argentina for 10 years, while citizens of Canada are charged the fee every time they enter the country (or $150 for multiple visits within five years). The fee can be paid online at ProvinciaNet.com.ar. You will need to register in order to make the payment. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the embassy of Argentina in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan. The operator of the ship requires that you purchase Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance (minimum recommended amount is $100,000).
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. For reservations made more than 60 days prior to departure, the required deposit is between $3,140 and $4,930 per person and may be higher for single passengers. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
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