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Antarctica Wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula

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This cruise provides an in-depth experience of not only the snow-drenched mountains and icebergs of the Antarctic Peninsula but also the bleakly beautiful landscapes of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. These windswept sub-Antarctic islands are brought to life by the chattering and wheeling of birdlife: beaches are choked with penguins in their hundreds of thousands, and the vestiges of a human history of struggle and endeavour are everywhere to be seen.

Sail east from Ushuaia to the Falkland Islands and spend a couple of days exploring the rugged coastline and draughty plains, spotting Magellanic and gentoo penguins, maybe a nesting albatross or two. Pop into Port Stanley, the Islands’ friendly ‘retro’ capital.

South Georgia is a more savage landscape with jagged, harshly glaciated mountains. Former centre of the sealing and whaling industries, there are mournful reminders of the human struggles here, with shipwrecks and pioneering scientific stations. It was here that Shackleton scaled the ice-clad peaks to seek help for his ship-wrecked crew. You may even have the opportunity to walk in his footsteps. But it is the multitude of wildlife that really stuns you here: elephant seals, king and macaroni penguins and albatrosses abound.

Continue to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula where primeval mountain peaks are scoured by glaciers which calve vast icebergs into the sea, while providing breeding grounds for seabirds, penguins and seals.

The specific itinerary shown below, departure dates and costs are based on the Plancius.  Other ships operating the same route on different dates and with different prices include Silver Explorer, Ocean Diamond.  Click on the Departure Schedule tab above for more information.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in the chic Recoleta district.

Day 2

Guided city tour.

Day 3

Fly south to Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), overnight in hotel.

Days 4-5

Embark MV Plancius. Sail along the Beagle Channel.

Days 6-7

Visit the Falkland Islands.

Days 8-9

At sea.

Days 10-13

Visit South Georgia.

Days 14-16

Sail through the Scotia Sea via the South Orkney Islands.

Days 17-20

Explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Days 21-22

Sail through the Drake Passage.

Day 23

Disembark in Ushuaia; fly to Buenos Aires.

Day 24

Transfer to the airport for international flight home.

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Places visited on this holiday

Antarctica Wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula

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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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Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) lie 500km east of the coast of Argentina. Many people know a bit about their history, but few are aware of the wilderness beauty of this remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The islands have an unpolluted hilly environment with sprawling, wind-buffeted, tree-less landscapes and white sand beaches. A huge variety of wildlife inhabits or visits the archipelago and the fauna outnumbers the human population by 10-1. At least five species of penguin crowd the shores of the Falklands - gentoo, macaroni, rockhopper, king and African penguin. Elephant seals, sea-lions and seals, an abundance of birds, minke and killer whales can be spotted here, their mournful cries carried on the incessant winds.

Port Stanley, the capital, resembles a small English town fifty years ago, with squat, white, pitched roofed cottages, an Anglican seafront church and familiar red phone boxes. The hulks of ships abandoned a century ago lie in rocky coves, testament to an era when the islands were a port of call for passing ships before the opening of the Panama Canal. Nowadays, the 3,000 islanders remain British in outlook and descent, adhering to British laws and buying British goods.
When's the best time to visit the Falkland Islands?
The Falkland Islands have a chilly climate characterised by strong winds, particularly in the spring (Sep-Oct). Rain falls on approximately 180 days per year, but totals are small. The islands are at their warmest in Jan, the mid-point of the southern summer, but temperatures (averaging 10°C) don’t vary much throughout the year. A little-known fact is that the islands are bathed in the same number of sunshine hours as southern England. Visitors benefit from long hours of daylight Oct-Mar, when migratory birds and mammals arrive. November is the breeding time for penguins.
What's the official language of the Falkland Islands?

English.

What are the Falkland Islands' official currency?

The Falkland Islands pound. This is equal to one pound sterling, with notes and coins being similar to those in the UK, varying only in their design. There are generally no currency restrictions. British currency is accepted or exchange UK sterling for Falkland Islands currency at the bank in Port Stanley. There is no charge for exchanging sterling for Falkland Islands currency or vice versa. There are no ATMs on the island nor is it possible to exchange South American currencies, but credit cards are widely accepted and you can get a cash advance on cards at the bank. A departure tax of £25 is payable in cash by all passengers on flights departing Port Stanley to South America.

What is the time difference between GMT and the Falkland Islands?

GMT -3 hours; this is actually daylight saving time. The accurate time is GMT -4 hours, observed all year round since 2011.

Which countries combine well with the Falkland Islands?

Chile, accessing the country by air at Punta Arenas, gateway to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park; Antarctica - many cruises drop anchor at the Falklands.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in the Falklands?
Bank holidays. UK bank holidays are observed, with the exception of Easter Monday and the bank holidays in May and Aug. 

Liberation Day, 14 Jun. Church services and military parades commemorating the 1982 war.

Falklands Day, 14 Aug. Commemorates the first recorded sighting of the islands by English sea captain John Davis on the ship ‘Desire’.

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South Georgia
South Georgia
Two days’ voyage north from Antarctica across the Scotia Sea, this narrow island of two mountain ranges rises 2,300m from the ocean – a land of glaciated alpine peaks, ice-scalloped fjords and protected valleys. It is at the now-rusting whaling station at Stromness that Shackleton first raised the alarm of his wrecked ship, having famously trekked across the mountains

Breeding colonies of king, gentoo, macaroni penguins are to be found, Adélie, chinstrap, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins may also be spotted. Also present are Antarctic giant petrels, snow petrels, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic and slender-billed prions, albatrosses and mollymawks. Elephant seals, and over a million fur seals breed on the beaches, and leopard seals hunt around the penguin rookeries.
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South Shetland Islands
South Shetlands
The South Shetlands are a rugged, heavily-glaciated chain of four island groups and dozens of islets hugging the Antarctic Peninsula, providing a sheltered sea passage defined by towers of black rock. Names evoke the experiences and imagination of the early explorers – Deception and Desolation Islands, the Watchtower, and Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s expedition was stranded for 135 days.

Visitors include chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and Adélie penguins; giant petrels, Wilson’s and black-bellied storm petrels, brown and south polar skuas, Cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, blue-eyed shags, Dominican gulls, elephant, fur, leopard and crab-eater seals; humpback, minke and orca (killer) whales offshore.

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

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