Private Journeys

Signature Antarctica: Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula

14 days from £9,390pp

Antarctica

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Essentials

Transport

2 flights (4hrs); 9-night cruise.

Accommodation

The hotels in Argentina are good, practical mid-range options. The Ocean Endeavour is a purpose built expedition cruise ship, accommodating 200 guests and with an excellent range of facilities for its type.

The holiday price is based on a category 4 twin berth cabin with porthole (twin occupancy) or a category 1 interior cabin (solo occupancy).

Meals

Breakfast daily; full board days 4-12.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Summary Of Nights

14 days, 13 nights: Buenos Aires 2; Ushuaia 1n; Antarctic cruise 9; Buenos Aires 1.

Optional Excursion

• Kayaking.
• Camping
• Snowshoeing.

These activities are offered on some but not all departures and in some cases previous experience is advised or required. It is advisable to pre-book (and pre-pay) any optional activities which are charged for, as some of these have limited numbers and can fill up before the cruise commences. Please enquire with us for details. Hiking and Yoga classed are also offered at no additional cost on selected departures.

How To Take It

For our latest currency advice for Argentina please see our FAQs section.

On the cruise ship you can pay your bill for extras with a credit card (most accepted excluding Diner’s Club), or in US dollars cash.

Currency

The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso. The ship works with US dollars.

Daily Spend

Meals on board ship are included. Water, coffee and tea are complimentary but other drinks are charged. You pay for your extras (in US dollars or by credit card) at the end of the cruise. There isn’t much else to pay for on board.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.

Most service industry It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants. Workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for cruise ship staff, hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants. On the cruise, a tip of $US 8-10 per person per day for the crew and guides is considered appropriate. 

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Make sure your insurance covers you for the full amount if you have to cancel.

Details of our recommended policy can be found at Travel Insurance.

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

The cruise ship has roomy, well heated and well equipped cabins and there is a limited health spa on board. There are optional excursions on some departures (enquire) such as kayaking and cross-country skiing, previous experience is advisable for some activities.

The cruise:
Antarctica is very remote: once committed to your journey, you are at the mercy of the weather and ocean conditions, the melting and freezing of ice-packs, and the movement of icebergs. This is expeditionary cruising: you will be facing the same environmental challenges as the early explorers, albeit in much greater comfort, and with the assistance of modern technology and communications.

You need to be sufficiently agile to get in and out of small landing craft and walk over rocky terrain. There is a doctor on board but if you fall ill while on the cruise or have an accident, it could be a long time and maybe an arduous journey before you return to a destination with good medical facilities, so bear this in mind if you have a pre-existing condition.

Climate

Buenos Aires is hottest January-March (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40°C during the day).
November and December may be a little cooler.

Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego is best to visit in the summer (December-February) when days are long and mild. March and November can be sunny and clear, but it may be windy.

Antarctica is accessible by ship from late October to March, the southern hemisphere summer. Outside this period days are short and dark. The Peninsula has a typical maritime climate with average temperatures during the cruising season varying between 1°C and -15°C. Antarctica is a desert, so you won’t see much precipitation.

Clothing And Special Equipment

The southern hemisphere summer is hot in Buenos Aires, so take loose-fitting light clothing for maximum comfort at this time. An umbrella is a good idea in case of a tropical shower. Spring and autumn are milder and less predictable.

South America is in general a relaxed continent and you won’t need clothes for formal dining but you may wish to take some smart casual wear if you intend to visit top of the range restaurants.

On the cruise:
Protective clothing is the single most important way of ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable cruise and the key is to dress in layers. For Antarctic landings, travellers on Ocean Diamond expeditions receive a complimentary parka consisting of a fleece jacket and an outer shell which is wind and waterproof. In addition, you should bring (to be worn beneath your parka) a breathable, thermal base layer to wick away perspiration and a warm mid-layer such as a fleece or down sweater; trousers (with thermal lining, or base layer of thermal leggings) and an outer shell of waterproof trousers; hat, warm socks, scarf, gloves and sunglasses. Rubber boots are essential for Antarctic landings; these can be pre-ordered and are loaned on board free of charge. Dress on board ship is informal and it’s sensible to bring a spare change of warm, dry clothing for wearing out on deck between landings.
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Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Travelling Alone

Ocean Endeavour is ideal for the solo traveller as the ship has dedicated single (interior) cabins at no supplement. If you prefer a different cabin category it may be possible for us to secure one for you at no supplement if you are willing to share the cabin with a person of the same sex, or upon payment of a supplement for sole occupancy.

Nature Of The Antarctic Travel

Many factors play a role in shaping the expedition’s progress – the prevailing wind, weather and ice conditions, for example. Ideally, depart the ship by zodiac to explore the peninsula with at least two excursions daily – on land, by zodiac or a combination of both, lasting anything between two and four hours. There are no man-made jetties in Antarctica so landfalls are ‘wet landings’ where you scramble ashore from the zodiac in rubber boots and waterproofs. You are then free to explore on your own or in groups, before later being picked up again by zodiac. Evenings may be spent relaxing, reliving the days’ events with a briefing or lecture, or out on the deck, keeping an eye on the dramatic, ever-changing scenery. Itineraries will vary from the original plan if conditions demand/permit.

It’s a long time at sea, but the variety and intrinsic fascination of what can be seen is spell-binding.

What To See And When

The theatre of wildlife in Antarctica as a whole displays an ever changing narrative of birth, struggle, pleasure, fulfilment and death. You may witness the comedy of a waddling penguin building its nest, a mother bird feeding its young or reuniting with a returning mate; a wily seal escaping the clutches of a hunting whale.

A large variety of marine birds (includes 6 species of penguin – Emperor, King, macaroni, chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie) visit the White Continent. Mammals abound here: blue, orca, humpback, minke and southern right whales prowl the chilly ocean, while Weddell, Ross, crab-eater, leopard and elephant seals sprawl on the beaches. 

Plant life in Antarctica proper is restricted to lichen, mosses and algae but there are hundreds of colourful varieties of these.

What to see as the season unfolds:

November:
• Start of the season: clean, untouched landing sites.
• Courtship rituals of penguins and other seabirds, nest building.
• Elephant and fur seals court and carve out their territories.

December –January:
• Long days of summer light, milder temperatures.
• Penguin chicks hatch in the Antarctic Peninsula.
• Whale sightings increase.

February – March:
• Excellent whale-watching opportunities.
• Penguin chicks begin to fledge.
• Fur seals increasingly numerous on the Antarctic Peninsula.
• Colourful snow algae break the snow white domination of the landscape.
• Spectacular sunrises and sunsets add a rosy glow to the ice.

Specific to your cruise:

Drake Passage and the Antarctic Convergence:
Over 35 species of bird may accompany your crossing. Species include giant petrels, Antarctic fulmars, and the black-browed and wandering albatrosses with wingspans up to 3m.

South Shetland Islands:
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.

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

Country info

When To Go

Antarctica is accessible by ship from late Oct- Mar, the southern hemisphere summer. Outside this period, days are short and dark.

Currency

On board your cruise ship you can use US dollars or euros to pay for goods and services. The most popular credit cards are also accepted on most boats.

Time Difference

Officially Antarctica Standard Time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and does not operate daylight-saving. However owing to the Pole’s position at the foot of the world, you can walk through all 24 time zones in a few seconds. Bases and stations tend to keep either the time relating to their home territory or the supply line that feeds them.

Combines With

The Falkland Islands, another wildlife wilderness, frequently visited on longer cruises to Antarctica. A holiday in Argentina; you can spend time at a luxury estancia in Patagonia, or, much further north, visit Buenos Aires and the Iguazú Falls. A beach warm-up and wind-down at Punta del Este, Uruguay, easily reached from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Getting There

There are no direct flights from the UK to Antarctica. Most European and American visitors take a cruise from Ushuaia, a port on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina at the southern tip of South America, which can be reached via Buenos Aires. There are also fly-cruises from Punta Arenas in Patagonian Chile.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and domestic air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • City tour of Buenos Aires
  • Shore excursions on the Antarctic cruise

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and domestic air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • City tour of Buenos Aires
  • Shore excursions on the Antarctic cruise

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

Inspired by this trip

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

Meet the team