South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari

16 days
from
$11,795 USD
incl. taxes
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Polar Expeditions
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
PTF
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
189
Ages:
18+

Enjoy all of the highlights of South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsula

On this adventure, massive albatross and Pintado petrel swoop and soar around the ship, guiding us toward South Georgia. Beaches teeming with King penguins and Elephant seals greet us on this fabled island, where we’ll pay our respects to famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Antarctica awaits, with its geographic contradictions and overwhelming enormity. Relax on a Zodiac ride, hike glistening glaciers, share comical moments with inquisitive penguins, and witness the rugged peninsula. Antarctica will surprise and delight, and never disappoint.

Highlights

  • Experience the quintessential wildlife experience of the “Galapagos of the Poles”
  • Visit South Georgia’s King penguin rookeries – the largest in the world
  • Reflect at the resting place of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Visit abandoned whaling stations and learn stories of inhabitants who called South Georgia home
  • Witness abundant Antarctic wildlife, including penguins, seals, whales and more
  • Experience western Peninsula highlights and visit iconic landing sites
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 14 nights on the ship, 1 night hotel in Ushuaia
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable condition
  • Countries visited: Argentina, Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • Beer and wine during dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. To read more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice, click here, and to find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation click here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Although this tour is predominantly concerned with dramatic natural landscapes and the many species of whale, penguin, seals and seabirds which inhabit these areas, we try to benefit local people where we can as well. Before we embark in Ushuaia, clients are encouraged to explore and to use local businesses. By supporting locally owned shops and using various other services and facilities, money goes towards an increase of employment opportunities and growth of the local economy.
  • We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our team of lecturers, specialists and crew are able to pass vital information on to clients in briefings. We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), of which our operator is a full voting member.
  • Our onboard gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • All of our Antarctic expeditions are designed to operate in line with International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) which has guidelines in place to protect the fragile environment of this Polar region.
  • We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do. This is driven by our ‘leave no trace’ policy, which includes being vigilant with litter disposal and avoiding approaching animals any closer than 5 metres.
  • We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board.  Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste throughout and are provided with a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and the laundry is done with green detergents.
  • The South Georgia Heritage Trust do conservation work for important historic sites such as the Grytviken church in South Georgia and they run a habitat restoration project for the area. A particular problem for the wildlife, and particularly birdlife, in the area is the threat of foreign species such as rats, which were introduced by whalers over the last two centuries. On each voyage, we conduct passenger auctions and a portion of the money goes towards keeping these threats at bay.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • We do our best to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting the local economy and reducing our carbon footprint as a whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society.
  • Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Our vessel burns Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace.
  • We make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board and offer a carbon offsetting option for clients.
  • Our small Zodiac landing crafts are lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Ushuaia, Argentina

    Begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.

  • Day 2

    Embarkation Day

    Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Days 3-6

    At Sea

    There are many activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by the Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 7-8

    South Georgia

    The first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to photograph these rocks rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here.

    After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerable beaches to find a protected bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites on South Georgia are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.

    This is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for subantarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that South Georgia is a paradise for bird lovers, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.

    You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. The Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.

    One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in subantarctic waters. Many travellers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 9-10

    At Sea

    Say goodbye to the King penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by the Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between activities, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

    If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 11-13

    Antarctic Peninsula

    The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica.

    Discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and at the next moment, you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.

    The Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and Gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, Fur, Crabeater and Leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 14-15

    Crossing the Drake Passage

    After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, to spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by the Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Disembark in Ushuaia

    You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your flights home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Ocean Diamond takes a maximum capacity of 189 passengers, the World Explorer takes a maximum capacity of 176 passengers, and the Ocean Adventurer takes a maximum capacity of 128 passengers. Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with Quark Expeditions and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

If you are crossing the border into Argentina from Chile on your trip, we will need to know your profession in order to provide when entering Argentina.

 

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has updated the travel advice for Argentina with an update to the Health section – an outbreak of Hantavirus has been reported in Epuyén, Province of Chubut in southern Argentina; for more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Antarctica

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Weather

Late Spring and Early Summer - October & November

The start of the season and the most adventurous time to travel. You’ll encounter truly breathtaking, exquisitely sculpted icebergs emerging from their frozen hibernation. Many of these blue bergs house courting, nesting and brooding penguins.

High Summer - December, January & February

Close to the solstice you’ll experience almost perpetual daylight. These are the mildest months when the first Adelie and Gentoo penguin chicks are hatched. As the water warms the whale sightings also improve.

Late Summer - February & March

This is the time for some incredible encounters with whales, especially Minkes and Humpbacks. The receding ice allows for further exploration and penguin colonies are very active with adults feeding their chicks.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional Activities:

Paddling Excursion:

Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breath-taking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.  
 
Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.

Sea Kayaking Option:

Kayaking in Antarctica is probably one of the most intimate and inspiring ways you can explore this incredible region. Glide through the quiet waters and take in the beauty of Antarctica. Paddle through astounding icebergs, watch penguins, seals and possibly whales swim around your kayak.

Kayaking in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent, however we guarantee at least one outing during your voyage. Your kayak guides will always attempt to take you out as many times as possible throughout your voyage.

Offered on most Antarctic voyages, spaces are limited and require some kayaking experience. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding Option:

Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Guided by experienced staff in small groups in good weather conditions on calm bays and harbours, reservations for 10 paddleboarders will be taken at time of booking. Other paddleboarding opportunities will be offered via sign-up, onboard ship, on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Available on selected Antarctica Voyages. Space is limited.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Booking Conditions

Please note that, as with all Polar holidays and voyages, the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. 

The required deposit is 25% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent in booking currency) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.

 

COVID-19 Vaccination: Please note that as a condition of travel on any of our Polar voyages, clients must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Clients must provide proof of their vaccination status to Quark staff before boarding the ship. For full terms and conditions please refer to our Quark Book and Travel with Confidence Policy, found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/quark-book-and-travel-confidence  

If you have any questions, please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further details.

 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Polar Adventure Ship

Polar ship
Polar ship

The South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari voyage is offered on the Ocean Diamond, the World Explorer and the Ocean Adventurer which are Polar Adventure Ships. Please visit the Polar Fleet page for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships:

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are excellent and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Cabin - Ocean Diamond
Cabin - Ocean Diamond
Ocean Diamond
Ocean Diamond
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices.

 

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

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