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Antarctica Wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula

24 days from £13,028pp

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Antarctica Wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula

24 days from £13,028pp
 

Private Journey

 

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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Buenos Aires

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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Buenos Aires

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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Ushuaia

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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Beagle channel

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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Port Stanley

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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chinstrap penguins

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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south georgia

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.

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volcanic cone

Days 17-20

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.

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Albatrosses

Days 21-22

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.

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petrel

Day 23

Disembark in Ushuaia; fly to Buenos Aires.
 

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

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Day 24

Transfer to the airport for international flight home.

24 days from £13,028pp

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Wanderlust

Food and Travel Magazine Readers' Awards - Tour Operator of The Year 2016

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Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards - Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator 2016

Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2015

British Travel Awards - Best Small Tour Operator to Central and South America 2012

Latin American Travel Association - Award for Customer Service 2012

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