Set out on an epic voyage to the remote lands made famous by Ernest Shackleton. Traveling aboard the ice-class expedition ships, National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion, spend six days discovering the icy wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula. Stroll through lively crowds of penguins in stunning South Georgia, and hike the rocky shores of the Falkland Islands. Experience boundless wildlife and captivating beauty as you venture into some of the planet’s most unspoiled landscapes.
Depart Miami on an overnight flight to Argentina. Check into your hotel before setting out on an afternoon tour of the city. Then gather for a welcome reception.
Caesar Park Hotel (D)
Fly to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and enjoy lunch overlooking the Beagle Channel. Then set sail on the National Geographic Explorer or the National Geographic Orion.
Settle into shipboard life. Search the horizon for seabirds and look out for humpback and southern right whales.
Dock in Port Stanley, and stroll along the streets lined with Victorian-style houses. See an archway made of whalebone at the Anglican Cathedral, and visit the Falkland Islands Museum. Hike and kayak along rocky coasts, spotting Magellanic penguins burrowing in tussock grass, herds of enormous elephant seals, and the largest albatross colony in the world.
Enjoy talks by our experts and National Geographic photographer, and unwind in the spa, library, or on deck.
The following days are devoted to exploring the magnificent coastline of South Georgia Island. The schedule is flexible, and throughout our journey there will be opportunities for walking, hiking, kayaking, and taking Zodiac excursions. Depending on weather and sea conditions, we plan to make some or all of the following stops:
King Haakon Bay
This is the site of Shackleton's landfall after his rigorous voyage in the 23-foot lifeboat, James Caird. The untouched beaches, headlands, mountains, glaciers, and nesting wandering albatrosses are a great introduction to the wilds of South Georgia.
Wander on foot, visiting the ruins of the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken and its fine museum about whaling and the island's natural history. A host of seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals can be seen as we hike along the coast to the cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
Salisbury Plain/Elsehul Bay
At the height of breeding season, the northern tip of South Georgia is said to have more wildlife per square foot than any place else on Earth. We are likely to be greeted by thousands of king penguins. Visit a colony of wandering albatrosses and see colorfully crested macaroni penguins, fur and elephant seals, and gray-headed and black-browed albatrosses on their nests.
Right Whale Bay
Land on black-sand beaches, inhabited by southern fur seals, elephant seals, and king penguins, plus dozens of other bird species.
St. Andrews Bay
St. Andrews Bay is teeming with wildlife. Hike past fur and elephant seals and a colony of more than 200,000 king penguins.
Gold Harbour is home to elephant seals, thousands of fur seals and tens of thousands of penguins, including a colony of aristocratic king penguins.
Whalers once sought shelter in this small bay. Here we are likely to encounter king, gentoo, and macaroni penguins; prions; petrels; and terns; and perhaps Weddell seals.
Stromness offers views of cliffs and glaciers that legendary captain Ernest Shackleton and his companions descended to complete their famed crossing with the Endurance in 1916. Shackleton and a crew of five men had set sail in a 22-foot wooden sailboat on a 700-mile voyage across the Southern Ocean—a journey that became one of the most incredible stories of survival at sea. Explore the glacier's ice face by Zodiac. Walk along a pebble beach, passing king and gentoo penguins, and hundreds of fur seals.
Watch for whales from the ship's bridge, attend talks by our experts, and enjoy the amenities on board.
With nearly 24 hours of daylight at this time of year, we make the most of our six days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. In keeping with the nature of an expedition, our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected—pausing to watch whales off the bow, taking an after-dinner Zodiac cruise or an extra landing during the day. Those interested may have the opportunity to kayak.
We anticipate making several landings each day in Zodiacs to explore this vast land. Depending on weather and sea conditions, we plan to make some or all of the following stops:
The bay is aptly named because the surrounding mountains look as though they rise straight to heaven. Stretch your legs on a hike to a nearby summit for a breathtaking view, or slip into a kayak to quietly paddle along a cliffside rookery in search of blue-eyed shags.
Lemaire Channel and Petermann Island
Cruise through the narrow Lemaire Channel between towering snow-covered mountains and spectacular blue icebergs. Step ashore at Petermann Island to the cries of thousands of gentoo penguins that stand along the coast as if awaiting your arrival.
Drop anchor in beautiful Neko Harbor. Enjoy an up close encounter with the penguins on the beach or climb high onto an ice field for a panoramic vista of untouched peaks surrounding this idyllic bay.
Historic Port Lockroy
The great French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot named Port Lockroy a century ago. In 1944 the British government instituted the top-secret expedition code-named Operation Tabarin, creating a series of base stations in Antarctica. Base A, at Port Lockroy, was the first and now serves as a museum and Antarctica's only public post office where we can send mail to be postmarked in Antarctica.
On our final days at sea, enjoy a last chance to view the marine life of these southern waters. Gather to toast our epic voyage at a festive farewell dinner tonight.
Disembark in Ushuaia. After lunch and time to explore, fly to Buenos Aires by private charter. Connect to your flight home, arriving the next day.
A diverse team of experts, including naturalists, historians, and a National Geographic photographer, will accompany each expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.
National Geographic photographer Michael Melford has produced more than a dozen feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 for National Geographic Traveler, including eight covers. Some of Michael’s recent assignments have focused on Russia, Israel, and North America’s national parks. He has produced photography for eight books for National Geographic, including three on Alaska, his favorite being Treasures of Alaska, for which he spent four months traveling to every corner of the state. When not shooting for National Geographic, Michael enjoys giving seminars and workshops on photography and sharing both his love of nature and his extensive knowledge.
Michael will join the following departure:
Jan 25 - Feb 17, 2016
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
National Geographic Explorer
National Geographic Orion
REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.
*Departures on the National Geographic Orion departing in 2016 begin and end in Santiago, Chile instead of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Please call for details.
Add a three-day post-trip extension to Iguazu Falls or a four-day post-trip extension to Easter Island to any departure. Please call for details.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For single cabins November 2014 - February 2015, add $5,730 in Category 2 and $5,990 in Category 3 on the Explorer, and add $10,630 in Category 1 and $12,540 in Category 3 on the Orion. For single cabins November 2015 - February 2016, add $6,020 in Category 2 and $6,290 in Category 3 on the Explorer, and add $11,160 in Category 1 and $13,170 in Category 3 on the Orion.
International airfare to/from Buenos Aires and airfare within Argentina is not included in the expedition cost. The group flight between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia begins at $850 (subject to change).