Antarctic Circle Quest via Buenos Aires

14 days
from
£6,800
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Trip code: 
PRE
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar Holidays
Min age:
18
Max group size:
199

One of the most exciting voyages in the South Seas, going south of the Antarctic Circle and beyond, into waters untouched by all but the lucky few

The aim on this voyage is to head as far south as ice and weather permit. After a few days exploring the 'deep south', there are further shore excursions on the northerly route along the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship is small enough to navigate through the narrow Lemaire Channel, with glacial walls towering high on both sides, leading to a jigsaw of jewel-like islands that are home to huge penguin rookeries, Elephant seals and countless seabirds. There are also whales: imagine a pair of Humpbacks, at least 30 tonnes of mammal, rising imperiously against a turquoise ice-wall viewed from a Zodiac only metres away, and you have the essence of the Antarctic.

Highlights

  • Visit the stunning Antarctic Peninsula
  • Cross the Antarctic Circle at 66° 33’ S
  • Incredible wildlife viewing including seabirds, penguins, seals and whales
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 12 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Mandatory Charter Flights Buenos Aires to Ushuaia Return - £760 (or equivalent in booking currency) paid on booking

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Buenos Aires, Argentina; overnight in hotel.

    Our journey begins in Buenos Aires where we will overnight in a hotel.

  • Day 2

    Charter flight to Ushuaia; board ship and sail along the Beagle Channel.

    We will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, we’ll take a short city tour before heading to the pier.The transfer to the ship takes place in the afternoon. Once on board there is a get together for introductions to the expedition team, to learn about the ship and its layout, talk about the itinerary for the next 11 days and participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. Departure from Ushuaia is normally around 6:00 p.m, and we set sail through the Beagle Channel in the early evening. The long days mean plenty of evening light in which to experience the beauty of the channel, and to perhaps enjoy your first wildlife sightings.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 3-4

    Cross the Drake Passage.

    Sea conditions in the Drake Passage can vary from dead calm (known as 'Drake Lake'), to rough and stormy (known as 'Drake Shake'). As you cross the Drake Passage our team of experts is out on deck to help you spot whales and identify seabirds. There is also a programme of talks, covering the wildlife, the ice, and polar history to prepare you for your adventure to the 'White Continent'. The excitement intensifies as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, where the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean meet the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You feel the change as the air gets cooler. Huge icebergs loom up against the horizon in increasing numbers, and Wandering albatrosses, petrels and other birds which thrive in this cold, remote ocean are frequently seen.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 5-11

    Exploring the Peninsula and crossing the Antarctic Circle.

    Our itinerary for these days is necessarily flexible, and will be decided upon by your expedition leader in consultation with the ship's captain. It will depend on ice and weather conditions, and may start by sailing as far south as possible, hopefully to the Antarctic Circle, and then working our way back north along the peninsula and finally visiting the off-shore Shetland Islands group. On the other hand the order may be reversed, first cruising among the volcanic South Shetland Islands before travelling to the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, and further south.

    The itinerary focuses on the areas with the greatest promise of wildlife, and frequent shore excursions are planned at perhaps Livingston, Half Moon, Aicho or King George Islands. This area is a favoured feeding ground for Humpback whales and, with luck, you may see them dining on krill. Nearby, around 80,000 Adelie penguins have established one of the largest rookeries, alongside Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, providing great opportunities for photography. At crescent-shaped Half Moon Island, a breeding colony of Chinstrap penguins shares their territory with Fur seals and Blue-eyed shags; while at Livingston Island you may observe Weddell seals, Elephant seals, skuas, Giant petrels, Antarctic terns and rookeries of Chinstrap, Gentoo and Macaroni penguins.

    Weather permitting you may also enter the flooded caldera of Deception Island, a recently active volcano and one of the most perfect crater islands in the world. Steam rises from the black sand beaches in places along its shores where the cold Antarctic waters mix with the steaming thermal waters of the bay - although this is very much dependant on the tide and the hot water flow. You may also observe the island's large Chinstrap penguin colony and enjoy spectacular walks to the higher points of the crater rim.

    We may visit Paradise Harbour further south or Hope Bay to the north, both situated on the Antarctic mainland, to see some of the most dramatic scenery the continent has to offer. Here, there are further opportunities for spectacular photography. Ringed with overhanging ice cliffs, the bay is filled with a wild assortment of floating icebergs that reflect a stunning array of the colours, including the most exquisite blues, turquoise and indigo. On one or two occasions we may also go ashore to visit some of the research stations maintained by several different countries on the peninsula or offshore islands.

    Back on board whilst we cruise between landing points, you will be tempted to spend time out on deck if conditions are calm, just watching and marvelling at the glory of the passing scenery. Penguins are often seen 'porpoising' in the water, or resting on ice flows, which pass by the ship, and the scenery of the Lemaire Channel can be absolutely breathtaking. South of this channel we hope that the seas will be clear enough to take us right down to the Antarctic Circle; the scenery remains outstanding, and although there's no 'marker on the sand', it's a great feeling to know when we've reached the line.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 12-13

    Sail back through the Drake Passage.

    Leaving the Antarctic Peninsula behind, our ship heads back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. The crossing is completed with the rounding of Cape Horn, weather permitting.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Disembark in Ushuaia; charter flight back to Buenos Aires and end.

    In the early morning you arrive back in Ushuaia where your voyage ends. You are transferred to the airport for our charter flight to Buenos Aires.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Group Information

The Ocean Endeavour takes a maximum capacity of 199 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 our partner, 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.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

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 and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

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.

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.

Antarctica

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 onboard 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

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

On many of our Antarctic voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are expertly guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

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 for select Antarctica Voyages only.

Accommodation

Ocean Endeavour

The Antarctic Circle Quest via Buenos Aires voyage is offered on the Ocean Endeavour which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) 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, kayaking 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.

Expert Blog Entries

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” ~ Ranulph Fiennes To get the most enjoyment out of a

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Robert Atkinson

    The most stunning trip of my life

    Its been a long held dream of mine to go to the Antarctic and the trip I booked via Exodus far exceeded my expectations. Amazing scenery, captivating and exciting wildlife, a plethora of facts, figures and general education from the on board experts and I can claim a world first to boot from my holiday to the Antarctic and below the polar circle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The landscapes and wildlife. The scenery is breathtaking, from the continent itself to the many islands and icebergs floating away from the land mass and glaciers. I have never seen anywhere quite so remote and in many ways barren, yet at the same time rich in life and activity. And you will never get over the amazing shapes of the ice along with the vivid blues you see in the glaciers and icebergs. Quite sensational. The penguins are of course the stars, but the frequency of whale sightings and fluking along with seals and many type of birds including the mighty albatross just make the experience even more rewarding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader is in effect an Expedition Leader fronting a large team of professional from a range of countries. Ours was wonderful. An enormous personality and with the best sense of humour coupled with safety and huge amounts of professional integrity. The people in the expedition team were sensational. They come from a mix of backgrounds, however all have skills in subjects ranging from glaciology to water sports instructor, polar researcher to the armed forces, historian to nature and much more. Not only do you get the chance to attend lectures and learn from them on a really diverse range of topics, but they also accompany the trips off the ship and interact with you during meals and drinks as well as on time when you are cruising. They have both professionally and also personally empowering stories to tell and they really enhanced my trip in a way I did not think possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to do any of the activities then book them up as soon as you make your reservation. Spaces are limited and I was unable to camp on the ice or take part in kayaking. Don't worry about being cold. Its not actually as cold as you imagine and the ship is fantastically warm and homely. The jacket and boots they supply you with are excellent. Concentrate on buying good quality thermals in layers along wit6h waterproof trousers and gloves and a warm fleece or wool hat. Edit your photos as you go along and always be ready to shoot stuff. The onboard team will help you with this as they have photographers ready to help with your trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was in the first group of paddleboarders believed to have ever paddleboarded south of the Antractic Circle. Not only had I never done it before, but we got to claim a world first. Finally don't delay going any longer. It may not be a cheap trip, however it is so amazing and experience that you will not regret the time and expense in going.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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