Private Journeys

Antarctica Wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula

23 days from £13,040pp

Antarctica / Falkland Islands

Itinerary

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Day 1

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

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in the chic residential district of Recoleta by one of our local representatives.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills.

The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of French belle époque and Italian influence.

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Day 2

Guided city tour.

Your small-group guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best. On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on 3 sides by the metropolitan cathedral, the town hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the district of Recoleta.

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Day 3

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

Fly to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, southern Patagonia. The city has grown rapidly in recent years, partly as a result of government incentives to settlers, and its establishment as a Free Port, and partly a tourist centre - most Antarctic cruises, like yours, leave from the port here. The setting is spectacular; jagged mountains hem in the town down to the shore of the Beagle Channel. Spend a night here prior to embarking on your cruise ship.

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Days 4-5

Embark MV Plancius. Sail along the Beagle Channel.

Walk to the nearby port and embark on the ship Plancius. Set sail along the Beagle Channel, so named after the HMS Beagle which later took Charles Darwin on his explorations around the South American continent. Cruise through the wildlife-rich waters of the open ocean. Lectures introduce passengers to the various bird species and marine life that will become features of the expedition.

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Days 6-7

Visit the Falkland Islands.

The first port of call is the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Dolphins are often seen along the coast and wildlife includes rockhopper penguin, black-browed albatross and blue-eyed shag. You also have the opportunity to explore the Falklands capital, Stanley. Founded in 1844 this tiny outpost of colonial officials and sailors is now home to just 2,000 people and has a quiet Hebridean feel to it. Miraculously it was virtually unscathed during the 1982 war.

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Days 8-9

At sea.

At sea. The expedition team prepares you for landings and zodiac cruises along the coast of South Georgia. Learn about penguins, reindeer and the island's connection to the expeditions of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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Days 10-13

Visit South Georgia.

Sharing many of the biological characteristics of Antarctica, South Georgia is a narrow island with 2 mountain ranges rising 2,300m from the ocean – a land of alpine glaciated 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 with its towering, high peaks and equally impressive glaciers, also has many low-lying grassy areas, deep fjords and beaches.

The island, first sighted by Captain James Cook in 1675, attracts an outstanding concentration of wildlife. You can expect to see King and gentoo penguins, elephant seals and albatross.

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Days 14-16

Sail through the Scotia Sea via the South Orkney Islands.

Sail through the Scotia Sea. Stop at the South Orkneys, much visited long ago by scientists and whalers, where towers of black rock shield the flooded caldera of an active volcano and wildlife abounds.

Days 17-19

Explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

An iceberg looms into view followed by the mountains of the South Shetland Islands. The main stop here is at Deception Island, the centre of which is a volcanic caldera that last erupted in 1969. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula where silence is so complete that interruptions become indelible memories: noisy penguins squabbling over prized pebbles on Cuverville Island, the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Paradise Harbour, for example.

The soaring peaks and stark rocks of Lemaire Channel are just the excuse you need to grab your camera gear for a shooting session from the deck, if the channel is free of ice. Exactly where the ship lands will vary from one expedition to the next and according to the polar conditions as the ship edges its way southwards through the slush and abstract patterns formed by the sea ice. Wildlife you may encounter includes gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, petrel, shag, elephant and fur seal, and perhaps whales.

Days 20-21

Sail through the Drake Passage.

At sea: head back towards Ushuaia via Drake Passage, hundreds of kilometres of open water and the shortest crossing between Antarctica and the rest of the world. Very occasionally the crossing is gentle, but the odds are against it. Force 5/6 winds are considered normal conditions. Whales and dolphins can often be seen as well as an abundance of marine birds such as petrel, albatross and penguin. During this part of the voyage, there are briefings and presentations on the Antarctic ecosystem.

Day 22

Disembark in Ushuaia; fly to Buenos Aires.

Disembark, transfer to airport and fly back to Buenos Aires. Overnight.

Day 23

Transfer to the airport for international flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Jamie Swan
    Jamie Swan - Product & Marketing

    Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

Meet the team