OverviewYour adventure starts in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel.
The next few days are spent sailing across the 'Drake Passage', which connects the Southwestern part of the Atlantic with the Southeastern part if the Pacific. There is a whole plethora of seabirds to spot here and a glimpse of the first icebergs of the trip!
Follow the Drake Passage to head into iceberg strewn waters onto spectacular The Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. A haven for all types of rare wildlife keep an eye out for penguins, seals and Whales! Learn all about the explorers of time gone by and embark on your own exploration by alighting onto a number of possible landing sites.
Head out onto the ships deck to learn all about navigation and spot a plethora of wildlife and towering icebergs passing you by as the ship effortlessly glides back towards Ushuaia!
It is then time to head back across the Drake Passage for you onward journey from Ushuaia.
Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Arrive at the port by 4pm to board the expedition vessel and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabin, you set sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.
Days 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As you sail across the passage, the expedition lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in the wake. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favourable conditions in the Drake Passage, our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3!
Days 4-7: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you at Livingston Island.
The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, Crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, Killer (Orca) and Humpback Whales at close range.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on the ice conditions): The Gerlache Strait, The Neumayer Channel, and The Lemaire Channel, the latter are narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. We plan to make at least two landings per day and possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay (perhaps the most aptly named place in the world!) and we attempt a landing on the continent proper. After negotiating the iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic Sound, we hope to visit the bustling Adélie Penguin (over 100,000 pairs breed here) and Blue-eyed Cormorant colonies on Paulet Island. The Nordenskjöld expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins!
Further exploration may take you to the Melchior Island group, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Pléneau Island and if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins.
Days 8-9: Crossing the Drake Passage, Northbound
You leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the
fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Day 10: Arrive in Ushuaia
Arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the vessel after breakfast. Transfer from the port in Ushuaia to your hotel or for your onward travel.
The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board.
Would you like us to organise all your pre-departure arrangements for you? Just get in touch and make your booking hassle-free!
Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.
Getting to Ushuaia (the starting point for all our Antarctica tours) is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights and we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your trip. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation and is non-refundable.
As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights within Argentina to Ushuaia. For Antarctica itineraries, you will need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date in order to board the expedition boat, therefore it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.
To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights booked with us. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.
We provide brief information about activities/ excursions in the itinerary, if you would like to know more we are very happy to provide more in-depth details. Please note all itineraries may be subject to change.