- Punta Arenas, Chile
Starting Price$12,145 USD
Check off a travel milestone by crossing the Antarctic Circle. Maximize your adventure by skipping the ocean transit and flying over the Drake Passage by charter plane. Simply combine our exciting Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition itinerary with a direct round-trip flight from Chile to your polar-ready ship, to get our Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle voyage. Then, explore the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula by sea, and continue further to reach 66⁰33´ south. Check other achievements off your bucket list as well, such as sea kayaking through channels dotted with icebergs.
Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in southern Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions® representative will meet you at the official starting point hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.
Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica will have you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship will approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctic landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs with a one-mile (1.6 km) walk to the shore, before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As your ship approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes.
As your Captain and Expedition Team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the glaciology, history and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your land excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking on a beach dotted with penguins is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.
Each landing is different and dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won’t be long before you can tell the difference between an Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguin.
You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier to the thrill of spotting apex predators like leopard seals and killer whales in action, you’ll wake up early and welcome each day with a sense of adventure and a desire to explore this unrivaled travel experience.
Your Expedition Team will accompany you along the way, ensuring safety and providing insights into the places you visit.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is both a memorable experience and impressive achievement, as few travelers reach so far south. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals, and your best chances of encountering sea ice – the foundation of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to King George Island. You will continue to explore by Zodiac or on land as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After your week of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your adventure to an end. After your group transfer to the hotel, you are free to explore and enjoy an evening on your own, in the city or at the hotel to reminisce about the sights and sounds of Antarctica.
After breakfast, you are welcome to continue on your own travels or make your way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flights.
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.
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
- All shore landings as per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- A group arrival transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
- One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
- A briefing dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas
- A pre-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the hotel to the airport
- Flights to and from King George Island
- A post-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the hotel
- One night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast
- International airfare
- Passport and applicable visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
- Meals unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities