Explore the far flung South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica on this extensive in-depth exploration onboard the comfortable, well equipped Akademik Ioffe. 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 AntacrticaPeninsula, 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 Akademik Ioffe, 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. At West Point, visit the rockhopper rookery continuing to Carcass Island for 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 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 14 Head closer to Antarctica as we cross the Scotia Sea. If conditions allow a visit will be made to the South Orkney Islands which are linked to the Antarctica Peninsula by an enormous submerged mountain range. The islands are often shrouded in mist and are protected by large icebergs. An excursion, subject to weather, is made to Coronation Island where it is possible to observe penguins nesting in moss beds with graceful snow petrels. There may also be the opportunity to visit the remote Laurie Island and its meteorological station.
Day 17 Continue towards the South Shetland Islands with a possible stop at Elephant Island. The famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, used Elephant Island as refuge in 1916 after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. On arrival to the South Shetland Islands the focus is moved to the spectacular wildlife including Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, along with several species of seal. There may even be the opportunity to spot the gentle humpback whale off King George Island. At barren Deception Island the scenery is rugged and sparse, with particularly interesting geology. There is also the chance to hike to the crater rim for spectacular views. Last stop will be the actual Peninsula at either Paradise Harbour or Hope Bay and the opportunity to set afoot on the actual Continent, all weather permitting. Take in the vastness of this white wilderness and its deafening silence.
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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