Trip reference number: ITN-FLK006
Trip Operator: Rainbow Tours
Explore the far flung South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica on this extensive in-depth exploration onboard the comfortable, well equipped Island Sky. Departing from the southern city of Ushuaia, your first stop is the Falkland Islands with its abundance of unusual wildlife, such as the rare rockhopper penguin. South Georgia is pristine with towering glacier covered mountains providing a spectacular backdrop. Visit the king penguin colony, observe seal and the charming macaroni penguin. As you approach the Antacrtica Peninsula, you will experience a sense of awe at the colossal icebergs, shimmering in the sun. If weather allows, take the opportunity to land on the actual continent at Paradise Harbour, a truly wonderous view.
As you sail back to South America across the Drake Passage share the many wonderful memories and experiences from the expedition.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your overnight flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Day 2 Transfer to the Mine hotel located in the bohemian Palermo Soho neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. This 20-room boutique hotel is ideally located close to art galleries, shops and cafés. Indulge in the charming ambiance of Palermo Soho with its cobblestone streets, olden trees and houses with traditional wooden doors and blinds. Nearby is the subway line for easy access to the highlights of the city.
Day 3 Explore the 'Paris of South America' with its wide boulevards and leafy streets. Your private guide will introduce you to the unique neighbourhoods that make up this vibrant city. From the old traditional area of San Telmo, colourful La Boca with its 'caminito' houses and modern Puerto Madero, the newly renovated dock area. End the tour in upmarket Palermo and Recoleta with a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery where you have the opportunity to visit the grave of the famous Eva Peron.
Day 4 Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to the Southernmost City in the World, Ushuaia. Beautifully positioned on the northern shore of the Beagle Channel, the town affords magnificent views over to the jagged peaks of Isla Navarino in Chile. The Arakur is located in an exceptional area inside the Reserva Natural Cerro Alarkén and close to the city of Ushuaia.
Day 5 Free day in Ushuaia. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Tierra del Fuego National Park just 12km from the city. Covering 63,000 hectares of mountains, lakes, rivers and deep valleys the park stretches west to the Chilean border. Ideal for a half day visit there are various walks and short paths leading to some of the various lakes, such as Lago Roca. Afternoon embarkation to the Island Sky cruise, your 'home' for the next 18 days, allowing you to settle in and learn about safety on board. Set sail early evening along the Beagle Channel, heading towards the Falkland Islands.
Day 6 Full day at sea with the opportunity to take in lectures from the onboard polar experts. Enhance your knowledge of this magical region of the world, allowing you to appreciate the wonderful wildlife you will encounter. One of the most common birds spotted at sea is the wandering albatross who spend most of their life in flight.
Day 7 Dock at the Falklands overnight in plenty of time for your first landing. Explore the islands of the West Falkland Archipelago, home to seabirds and migratory birds which include the black-browed albatross. Here you have great chances of seeing rockhopper and Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers, geese and the flightless steamer duck.
Day 8 Visit the town of Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands with its brightly painted houses and charming streets. Learn how this quiet harbour became a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting the sail around the treacherous Cape Horn. A stop is also made at the philatelic museum for its collection of historic stamps.
Day 9 Head southeast towards the island of South Georgia. Time at sea is spent looking for whales, other marine mammals as well as seabirds. Learn about Polar Conservation, a popular theme with the crew and guides as the series on onboard lectures continue. As we cross the Antarctica convergence notice the substantial drop in temperature
Day 11 South Georgia is the most rugged island in the region and on arrival you are greeted by majestic snow-covered mountains. Depending on weather conditions, we will normally land on the eastern coast of the island at Salisbury Plain or St Andrews Bay. The highlight of this area is the abundance of king penguin adults and their young that live in this region, covering almost the entire shore. Other wildlife common in this region include fur seals, skuas and giant petrels along with the albatross. Explore the old whaling station at Grytviken where you have the opportunity to visit the grave of the famous Sir Ernest Shakleton, the most famous Antarctic explorer.
Day 15 Head closer to Antarctica as we cross the Scotia Sea. There will be further presentations on board and various wildlife spotting opportunities from the boat.
Day 17 Continue towards the South Shetland Islands and through the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. The itinerary focuses on spectacular wildlife with hopes of seeing Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, and Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals which are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common. Your time in this area will be with the aim of maximising your time on the zodiacs on the water and with landings.
Day 21 A final two days at sea crossing the famous Drake Passage to the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn. Heading back to Ushuaia this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the experiences of your expedition. As you sail the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of this special trip with a final dinner shared with your new Antarctica friends.
Day 23 Arrival to Ushuaia in the morning and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Overnight at the Mine Hotel, as before and enjoy a final night out in vibrant Buenos Aires chatting about and enjoying the wonderful Antarctica experience.
Day 24 Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK after a memorable, once is a lifetime trip.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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