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Antarctica: In search of the Emperor penguin

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Rather than just taking a cruise along oft-sailed routes, be part of a real expedition voyage. As a passenger on the sturdy ice-strengthened European cruise ship Ortelius, travel beyond the Antarctic Peninsula towards the Weddell Sea. An Emperor penguin rookery lies south of Snow Hill Island within the Weddell Sea off the peninsula’s east coast.

In recent seasons, the ice conditions have often thwarted access to the Emperor Penguin rookery, but the most recent attempt, in November 2017, was a success. Whatever the outcome, the beauty and emptiness of the relatively unvisited Weddell Sea, with its striking tabular icebergs and abundant wildlife make this a memorable expedition. If the ship doesn't make it as far as Snow Hill island, it will position itself on the edge of the ice to try and spot lone Emperors - the largest and most striking of all the penguin species - heading out to open water, and there may be trips by helicopter to search for individual birds.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in Recoleta.

Day 2

Guided walking tour of Recoleta and Retiro.

Day 3

Fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, transfer to your hotel.

Day 4

Transfer to the port to embark MV Ortelius and set sail.

Days 5-6

At sea en route to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Days 7-10

Reach the Weddell Sea, search for Emperor penguins.

Day 11

Visit Half-moon and Deception islands.

Days 12-13

At sea en route to Ushuaia.

Day 14

Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to airport for flight to Buenos Aires.

Day 15

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

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Places visited on this holiday

Antarctica: In search of the Emperor penguin

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Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Along with Rio, this is a city worth crossing the Atlantic for in its own right. Dynamic, stylish and nostalgic, it’s the continent’s most European city, but does not lack South American verve. Its contrasting neighbourhoods reveal colonial plazas, shady avenues, quirky antique fairs, street art, world famous theatres and football stadiums and spruced-up metropolitan port districts. Studded with extensive parks, cutting-edge boutique hotels, designer boutiques and a myriad of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s a restless place, challenging to find your way around but well worth the effort. It’s the beating heart of Argentina, the hub for visits throughout the country.
When's the best time to visit Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: Porteños head for the beach.

What's the official language in Buenos Aires?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Buenos Aires?

Argentine Peso.

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Please note that in 2016 many of the ATMs were not functioning properly; we are recommending that for the moment you take a good supply of US dollars cash. There are many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling frequently poor. 

What's the time difference between Buenos Aires and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Buenos Aires?

Beach time in Mar del Plata (392 km by road, 5hrs); Colonia or Montevideo in Uruguay across the River Plate: travel by ferry, bus or plane; a stay on a working estancia in the pampa south and west of the city; Iguazú Falls (2hrs approx by air).

How long is the flight to Buenos Aires from the UK?

Average flight time is 14hrs 20mins on a direct flight from London. There are also flights requiring a change of plane in Europe or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural and sports events in Buenos Aires?

Tango Festival: Aug. The world's – top tango festival, nine days  of concerts, shows, free classes, exhibitions, open-air milongas (Avenida Corrientes is closed for a massive display) and other tango-related festivities.

Opera season: Mar-Dec. Take in a concert or opera at the refurbished Teatro Colón which attracts internationally esteemed artists. 

Argentine Polo Open: Mid Nov-mid Dec. Polo is a passion for many Argentines. This is the year’s main attraction, taking place in Palermo’s 16,000 seater stadium.

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Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
This wilderness island – Land of Fire - sitting at the end of the world is separated from the southern Patagonia mainland by the Magellan Straits.  It is carved through by icy streams, waterfalls and glaciers, mantled by evergreen forests and carpeted with boggy, flower-speckled grassland. Framed by needle-sharp icy peaks, it’s a tortured landscape of incredible natural beauty. Ushuaia, clinging to its shores on the Beagle Channel, is a busy little port from which cruises depart for Antarctica; it still has a frontier feel and has an interesting history in its own right.
When's the best time to visit Tierra del Fuego?
This far south, you will benefit from long daylight hours and mild temperatures between Dec (when it is light until 1am) and the end of Feb, though you can have snow flurries at any time of the year. In the winter, snowy landscapes are beautiful here but hiking is not practical.
What's the official language of Tierra del Fuego?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Tierra del Fuego?

Notes in local currency can be withdrawn from the many ATMs along the main street of Ushuaia, calle San Martín, using a UK credit or debit card. A couple of banks also change money.

What's the time difference between Tierra del Fuego and UK?

GMT -3 hours.

What places combine well with Tierra del Fuego?

El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier, 564 km (50mins by air); most Antarctic cruises depart from Ushuaia; Buenos Aires (3.5hrs by air); a cruise to Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia on MV Australis.

How do I get to Tierra del Fuego?

Direct flights from Buenos Aires take 3.5 hours.

What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Tierra del Fuego?

The skiing season is Jun-Sep.

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Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctica
The Peninsula is the most accessible area of the continent itself, and hosts some of the most interesting scenery and wildlife, as well as many of the continent’s scientific bases. Ships edge southwards through the slush and abstract patterns formed by the fractured sea ice. A few cruises departing mostly in January and February attempt to reach the Antarctic Circle, at 66°33’S.

The Antarctic Circle is the northernmost latitude in the Southern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours. Every place south of the Antarctic Circle experiences at least one whole day each year during which the sun does not set, and at least one whole day during which the sun does not rise.

Chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie penguins abound. Breeding birds include skuas, Antarctic terns, giant petrels, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic shags, kelp gulls, Wilson’s storm, Antarctic and snow petrels.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Antarctica: In search of the Emperor penguin

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