An In-Depth Immersion in the Wildlife Spectacle of the Southern Ocean Islands
Please note: Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions, and the day-to-day itinerary can change as we adapt to weather and local conditions, taking advantage of rare wildlife sightings or allowing photographers to linger ashore through the golden hour of light.
Days 1 & 2: In Transit / Buenos Aires, Argentina
After an early morning arrival in Buenos Aires, check in to
your deluxe accommodations in Argentina’s elegant capital, set on the Rio de la Plata. Buenos Aires is one of Latin America’s largest metropolitan areas, and a top tourist destination known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, vibrant cultural mélange and a European-style architecture that reflects its colonial heritage and the influence of many 19th- and early-20th-century immigrants. After a leisurely morning to catch our breath, enjoy a guided afternoon tour of the city, including Beaux Arts palaces, grand boulevards and Eva Peron’s famous balcony. Get acquainted with your fellow travelers during an early evening reception.
Day 3: Fly to Ushuaia / Embark Ship
Today we travel by private chartered flight to Ushuaia, soaring over the peaks of Patagonia before landing at the bottom of Tierra del Fuego at the foot of the southern Andes. There’s no mistaking the "end of the world" feeling about the world’s most southerly city, which is the point of embarkation for expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula. If weather permits, we will enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise in the Beagle Channel, where spectacular mountains rise out of the sea, before embarking our expedition ship and setting sail.
Day 4: At Sea
Days at sea are an opportunity to learn and relax. Our expedition ship has a full complement of naturalists, scientists and historians on board who are eager to share information about geology, climate, wildlife and human exploration in the southern polar region. Lectures and slideshows add to our appreciation of all that we see and experience during the voyage. Today, our experts will prepare us for our visit to the Falkland Islands. Meanwhile, our crossing of the South Atlantic should provide ample opportunities to witness seabirds, including the black-browed albatross.
Days 5 & 6: Falkland Islands
Also called the Islas Malvinas by Argentina, which contests Britain for claim to the colony, this windswept archipelago is a study in stone, sand and peat, with rugged cliffs battered by the ocean. Its isolated shores are home to marine mammals and prodigious birdlife—including the world’s largest albatross colony. Flightless steamer ducks, blue-eyed shags and several penguin species, including Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper, are abundant, and Peale's dolphins often ride our bow waves near the islands. Though the Falklands are still disputed territory, culturally they are British through and through. English and Scottish immigrants arrived with sheep in the 19th century, and wool is produced to this day. The photogenic capital of Stanley offers a quaint exploration with its tin-roofed houses, rose gardens, pubs and other emblems of Falkland colonial heritage—including an Anglican cathedral with an organic whalebone archway.
Days 7 & 8: At Sea
We continue sailing south, with whales swimming beneath the waters and seabirds circling above. The ship’s naturalists and polar historian prepare us for the exciting days ahead with presentations about South Georgia’s flora, fauna and geology, plus the inspiring story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance.
Take advantage of the ship’s leisure and recreation opportunities, including a fitness center, sauna, massage therapy at the spa, and a library filled with books about Antarctic natural history and polar exploration.
Days 9–13: South Georgia Island
Remote South Georgia is best known for the riveting saga of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 expedition aboard the sailing ship Endurance
. The magnitude of Shackleton’s heroic trek across South Georgia to secure the rescue of his crew can only be fully grasped on a visit to the island, with its spine of glaciated peaks rising precipitously from the sea. J. Gunnar Anderson, who encountered the island in 1902, described it as “mighty fells with snowy crowns and sharp, uncovered teeth, around the valleys through which enormous, broad rivers of ice came flowing to the sea.” Yet the land, for all its ruggedness, is rich in animal life. Explore the spectacular coastline, with flexible opportunities for walking, hiking, kayaking and Zodiac excursions. Zodiacs permit visits to desolate beaches and glacier-carved fjords, and curious fur seals often approach the boats. Millions of king penguins live here in colonies stretching to the horizon. South Georgia’s waters are home to blue, sperm, fin, sei and southern right whales, though they were nearly wiped out in the 20th century when whaling was still a commercial industry. At the former whaling outpost of Grytviken, abandoned processing factories lie derelict, and elephant seals have taken over the grounds. Those who wish to pay respects to the legendary explorer can visit the grave of Shackleton, who died here in 1922.
Days 14 & 15: At Sea
Head up to the bridge to observe expert navigation at work as our skilled captain and officers sail these history-laden waters. Take advantage of community spaces including the lounge, the observation room with its collection of games and binoculars, and a chance to delve into the intrigues of the library’s collection of regional titles.
Day 16: Falkland Islands
Our journey across the South Atlantic returns us to this archipelago teeming with wildlife. Take a last walk along the beautiful white-sand beaches, meander through tussock grass or sit atop a cliff and ponder the views, musing on a the
very distinctive way of life in this forgotten outpost that was once a port for refueling steamships traveling around Cape Horn before the Panama Canal opened.
Day 17: At Sea
In the wake of all your Zodiac cruises, kayak excursions and walks ashore, you may wish to use this leisurely day at sea to sort through your photos or capture experiences in your journal—or just relax while enjoying the view through the ship’s panoramic windows.
Days 18 & 19: Ushuaia / Buenos Aires / Depart
After breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia with time to explore this rugged mountain town at the bottom of the world before our private charter flight returns us to Buenos Aires this evening. From here, we connect with homeward flights the next day.