"It won't just be the cold that takes your breath away on this tour of an unforgettable, serene landscape!"
Antarctica: a wilderness of white, and one of the world’s final frontiers. This ‘Classic Antarctica’ cruise offers the ultimate introduction to the stunning snowy desert, embarking and disembarking in the Argentinian port of Ushuaia. The comprehensive itinerary encompasses many of the scenic highlights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, and also allows for plenty of spectacular wildlife-watching opportunities; hidden amidst imposing rock faces, icy waterways, majestic glaciers and snow-capped mountain ranges are vast colonies of penguins, seabirds and seals.
Begin your unforgettable cruise by sailing through the famous Beagle Channel and the picturesque Mackinlay Pass, before crossing the Drake Passage. Here, your ship’s on-board lecturers and expert naturalists will be on hand to teach you about the area’s geography, as well as point out any seabirds you might encounter. Get your first tantalising glimpse of colossal icebergs and magnificent snowy peaks as you come close to the South Shetland Islands; this group of 20 islands and islets provides a safe haven for colonies of penguins and seals and, weather permitting, you’ll be able to go ashore to seek out these charming creatures. Navigate through scenic iceberg-strewn waterways, explore untouched islands, and admire an abundance of Antarctic wildlife on this once-in-a-lifetime cruise.
Chimu Adventures aims to minimise its impact on the environment and support local communities in any way possible. The company strives to source guides, meals and transport from the communities it operates in rather than importing. Chimu Adventures prides itself on the fact that all operations for this tour are carried out by locally-owned companies, and they select locally-owned hotels which share their values in terms of social and environmental responsibility. The company's guides are highly experienced and qualified, and are paid above the minimum wage; since they are local, travellers are able to gain a more authentic insight into the communities and environments they visit.
Travellers are encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint whilst touring with Chimu Adventures, and are provided with information and advice on responsible waste disposal and how to offset carbon emissions. This ensures that guests are equipped with the knowledge necessary to help them protect the diverse ecosystems they visit. The company also practices what it preaches, with sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company/staff vehicles, and processes to help create paperless offices and reduce waste. Chimu’s ‘Pass it On’ programme empowers local people, providing funding to help Latin American communities develop their own infrastructure. Finally, Chimu Adventures also offers travellers the chance to make a positive impact by visiting community projects.
Ushuaia – Embark on Ship: You’ll embark on your cruise in the afternoon, at the port in Ushuaia. Enjoy a welcome drink, and meet the crew and expedition staff, before settling into your cabin. Today you’ll sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the wonderfully scenic Mackinlay Pass.
Drake Passage Crossing: The Drake Passage marks the ‘Antarctic Convergence’, where cold, polar waters meet the warmer northern waters to form a biological barrier. As you sail across the passage, look out for marine life and take in the views of the open ocean. Get your first glimpse of icebergs and snow-capped mountains as you arrive at the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islets and islands. The islands are a haven for wildlife and (conditions dependent) you’ll be able to go ashore to encounter penguins and seals.
South Shetland Islands and Antarctica: Spend an unforgettable few days in the spectacular South Shetland Islands; sail through a narrow passage into the awe-inspiring flooded caldera of Deception Island, and visit King George Island, home to colonies of penguins, terns, cormorants and petrels. With at least two landings a day, there’ll be plenty of time for you to explore the vast wilderness of snowy mountains and icy waterways, and to discover the area’s stunning variety of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might even spot whales at close range! Depending on ice and weather conditions, you may get the chance to cruise along some of the most scenic waterways, passing between imposing rock faces and glistening glaciers.
Drake Passage Crossing (Return): Leave Antarctica, heading north to cross the Drake Passage once more. Enjoy a few more final lectures, joining the ship’s expert naturalists on deck as you search for seabirds and whales. Take these last couple of days to relax and reflect on your epic adventure as you make your way back to Ushuaia.
Ushuaia – Disembark Ship: Arrive in Ushuaia early in the morning, and bid the M/V USHUAIA farewell. In the afternoon, board your onward flight – but be sure not to book any flights out of Ushuaia before noon on the day of disembarkation!