ANTARCTIC EXPLORER WITH CAPE HORN AND DIEGO RAMIREZ
Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries. And this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal. This itinerary also includes Cape Horn at the southern most edge of Tierra del Fuego. One of the most isolated places in South America. This itinerary also visits Diego Ramírez Islands, the most southern point of South America and one of the least-explored places on the planet.
Once reaching the Antarctic peninsula you will spend time cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, exhilarating adventures and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
|Day 1||Buenos Aires||Transfer from airport, overnight hotel|
|Day 2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Disembark on your cruise in the afternoon.|
|Day 3||Cape Horn and Diego Ramírez||Explore some of the most remote places in South America|
|Days 4-5||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
|Days 6-10||Antarctic Peninsula||South Shetland Islands and Antarctica|
|Days 11-12||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
|Day 13||Ushuaia - Buenos Aires||Disembark in Ushuaia to Buenos Aires|
The Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Ultramarine accommodates 199 guests and is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters to offer the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, the most spacious suites in its category, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. With two dining areas, four bars, a panoramic lounge, theatre, library, spa and fitness centre, Polar boutique and an oceanview sauna your days at sea can be as busy or relaxing as you decide.
Your journey begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Settle into your hotel and explore the bustling city.
In the morning board your flight to Ushuaia. In afternoon you will join a group transfer to the pier and board the ship. You will set sail in the late afternoon passing through the Beagle Channel. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your cabin and meet your fellow travellers. As you begin your cruise you will notice sea birds hovering overhead.
Depending on conditions, the ship will start its journey to the “edge of the earth” with a visit to historic Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). At the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”) archipelago, the most isolated place in the Americas, this steep, rocky headland on Hornos Island marks the northern boundary of the famous Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. From the 1700s to the early 1900s, prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, this cape was part of a major global trade route. If sea and weather conditions allow, you may go ashore for a hike out to the lighthouse, the tiny Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) Chapel, and the albatross-shaped monument honoring the many mariners who lost their lives attempting to “round the Horn.” Atop the 1,394-foot (425 meter)-high windswept promontory, pause for a moment to take in the panoramic view and to enjoy the peaceful solitude that can only be found at one of the most southern stretches of land in the world.
Your ship will then continue cruising farther south, to the Diego Ramírez Islands, the most southern point of South America and one of the least-explored places on the planet. This small archipelago was actually thought to be the southernmost land mass in the world when it was discovered in 1619 by the Spanish Garcia de Nodal expedition. Named after the expedition’s cosmographer, the archipelago held this distinction for 156 years, until Captain James Cook’s discovery of the South Sandwich Islands in 1775. Weather-permitting, we’ll Zodiac cruise around these tussock grass-covered islands to admire the abundant birdlife. A designated Important Bird Area, and part of the recently-designated Diego Ramirez Islands and Drake Passage Marine Park, the archipelago is home to millions of breeding seabirds, and an exceptional place for birdwatching. Binoculars in hand, birders will marvel at the sight of multiple species of albatross (these islands are the southernmost albatross breeding ground in the world), including black-browed albatross, shy albatross and grey-headed albatross. Sightings of dolphins, South American fur seals, and rockhopper, macaroni and Magellanic penguins are also possible here.
If conditions look more promising toward the end of your expedition, this itinerary day may take place after your Antarctic Peninsula exploration.
Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates while your Expedition Team provides safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.
Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time the expedition team visit Antarctica, they witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Danco Island, affords us the opportunity to visit a penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here, you’ll have the choice between hiking to the island’s summit or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach, enjoying the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets!
Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour.
Each day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and will disembark after breakfast. Included in the mandatory transfer package you will experience a bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park before boarding your flight for Buenos Aires. Upon arrival at Buenos Aires airport your itinerary has concluded.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
To make the most of your time in South America we can tailor a holiday to Patagonia to suit your voyage dates. If you have a bit more time we can create a tailor-made itinerary to some of the highlights of South America. Take a look at the Patagonia sample itineraries below and contact us to begin creating your perfect holiday.