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The Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea - Fly and Cruise - M/V Polar Pioneer
Argentina - Trip code PPWX Polar
Days 11
Deposit From £758
Price from £7578
Flights not included

Why book this trip?

Into Antarctica... The South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula form one of the most spectacular wilderness areas on earth. A remarkable collection of wildlife lives in the shadow of snow-capped mountains and blue icebergs; penguins, whales and a rich diversity of birdlife await you an exploratory Fly and Cruise journey of the Great White Continent.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 10

      Lunch: 9

      Dinner: 9

    • Trip staff

      Expedition Crew


    • Transport

      M/V Polar Pioneer


    • i


      9 nights premium boat

      1 nights standard hotel

    • i

      Trip pace:



    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Punta Arenas

    Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will overnight. Catch up with your fellow expeditioners and find out more about your charter flight to King George Island where you'll board your ship. Your evening is at leisure.


    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - King George Island

    In the morning, you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport in time for your flight to King George Island. On arrival into mountainous King George Island, you'll meet your expedition crew and board the Polar Pioneer to start your Antarctic adventure!


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 3 - Antarctic Peninsula

    We'll head for the Peninsula's beautiful Western flanks and make full use of daylight hours and relatively ice-free waters to experience as much as possible; wildlife stops on off-shore islands and Zodiac cruising amid icebergs and whales, are all possibilities. The Peninsula also has a remarkable history and during the voyage, we will learn more about the incredible expeditions to these remote areas of the World. Some of the landing points that we hope to visit are Half Moon Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Hydrurga Rocks, amongst many more. Using our Zodiacs for landings, we will explore penguin rookeries, historic sites and scientific stations and will cruise past exquisite icebergs, as we soak up the atmosphere of this dramatic landscape.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 4 - Antarctic Peninsula

    Stepping ashore on the continent itself creates an everlasting memory. Bubble-netting humpbacks deserve a wake-up call, even at midnight! A curious leopard seal cruising amongst spectacular icebergs may mean postponing lunch. Landings are dependent on the ice and weather conditions, so our itinerary does need to be flexible. Landings do often change voyage-to-voyage, but our expert guides and Expedition staff will ensure that you have the best chance to capture the surprising wildlife displays and to enjoy any unexpected opportunities that come your way.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 5 - Antarctic Peninsula

    A final full day to explore the western peninsula before we heading through the Antarctic Sound towards the Weddell Sea. You will have plenty of time to walk on shore amongst penguin rookeries a hundred-strong, or cruise amongst ice-floes filled with basking crab-eater seals - without doubt, there is much to see and uncover within this spectacular landscape.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 6 - Weddell Sea

    We spend the next three days exploring the ice-filled Weddell Sea where weather systems and shifting pack ice dictate our schedule: we hope to visit the large Adelie and Gentoo penguin colonies of Brow Bluff and fossil-rich Seymour Island. We may hike to spectacular vantage points on Beak or Devil Islands, from where you can enjoy the incredible vista below, made up of large tabular icebergs and volcanic scenery.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 7 - Weddell Sea

    Access to the Weddell Sea is totally ice dependent. Helmed by a highly experienced crew, the M/V Polar Pioneer will thread its way through these icy waters alive with penguins, against a backdrop of breathtaking volcanic scenery.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 8 - Weddell Sea

    This region of Antarctica is a key part of Shackleton's story and only by visiting this area, can you truly grasp the struggle of these early explorers. Wherever the trip unfolds, wildlife, heroic age relics and haunting landscapes await.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 9 - Drake Passage

    As the Captain steers the ship north across the Drake Passage, we leave this great continent rich in memories. You will have time to watch for seabirds, enjoy more entertaining talks and discuss what we've seen and learned, as we exchange photos and stories with our fellow passengers.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 10 - Drake Passage

    We cross the Drake Passage, accompanied by albatross, petrels, fulmars and prions. The outer decks and the bridge provide excellent space to see and photograph wildlife, as we edge closer to the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia.


    Grade: Premium Boat

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 11 - Ushuaia

    We arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark for onward travel, after breakfast on board.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information



    Argentina has a climate that ranges from subtropical in the north to cold in the temperate south. The Andes has erratic rainfall and flash floods from December to May. From June to September spring like sunny days temper the cold nights.

    Time difference to GMT



    3 Pin Flat


    Predominantly Roman Catholic.


    Spanish is the main language throughout this region, along with a number of indigenous dialects, of

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

    Kayaking can be booked as an option at a supplementary fee. This must be booked in advance and through the ship operator directly. Please note, you will need to have some experience of kayaking to participate in this activity.


    You should look for a lightweight, roomy, wind and water-resistant parka with some insulation. Bright colors are more visible - and thus safer - in polar environments.
    Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost).
    Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava.
    Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good.
    Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet.
    Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship.
    Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.


    Complimentary waterproof boots will be supplied on-board. However, if you have extra small or large feet, you are advised to bring your own.
    Also ensure you take good walking boots and trainers for relaxing.



    Luggage: On tour

    One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so
    don't overload yourself.

    Please note that a 15kgs luggage weight limit is sporadically enforced on the internal flight to Ushuaia, occasionally charges may be levied against passengers taking luggage in excess of 15kgs.


    Sunglasses and sun cream
    Insect repellant
    Personal toiletries
    A refilllable water bottle
    Books/reading material
    Camera and memory cards
    Seasickness remedy
    Walking poles


    Local crew
    Tipping is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. It is an expression of satisfaction. The suggested amount is USD $10 - 12 per person per day spent on board. Of course, tipping is a personal choice and the suggested amount is set only as a guideline.


    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

    Lunch price
    Dinner price
    Beer price
    Water price
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Carry all your funds in US cash NOT Sterling or Travellers Cheques which are more difficult to exchange. We recommend to take a minimum of US$400-$500 of your total spending money in cash, in mixed denominations. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange. You may wish to take extra cash as most optional excursions need to be paid in USD cash (not dispensed by ATMs in Argentina or Chile).
    Where To Exchange
    Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in Buenos Aires. In Patagonia some cards with Chip and Pin do not work in the ATM machines. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Credit cards are useful and can be used in some places, but may be subject to a 10% service charge
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers Cheques can be awkward or expensive to change
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    M/V Polar Pioneer, Zodiac

    Ship description

    The M/V Polar Pioneer is a Finnish ex-research vessel, refurbished to provide an adventurous journey in the polar regions; its ice class means it has excellent manoeuvrability. The vessel accommodates only 54 passengers, meaning more time with the experts and a friendly on-board experience. Informed crew and experts will ensure you learn about how a polar expedition runs, your unique surroundings and the wildlife; Zodiacs will take you to shore for close encounters.


    Prices are based on the use of outward facing, category one cabins on the main deck. Category one cabins are based on triple share. They are comfortable, with two lower bunks and one upper bunk. The cabin has a desk, a small washbasin, a sofa and a porthole. Showers and toilets are close by and shared with other main deck cabins. The Polar Pioneer has a number of different cabin categories, all are outside facing and most cabins have two beds (suites have double beds.) Most cabins have en suite facilities and some have larger windows, rather than portholes. Single occupancy is an option on board, subject to availability. Call us for details on the cabin choice to fit your requirements.

    Ship dining

    Onboard the expedition ship you'll find a diversity of international cuisines prepared and catered by professional chefs; all meals are included in the price of your expedition. Dining is casual in one of two dining rooms. There is always a selection of different meals available, and vegetarians will find plenty of options. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice, please advise us at time of confirmation. Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included and can be purchased in the bar.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information

    All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

    USA (If flights transit): you will need to apply for an ESTA if you are transiting the USA as you will have to disembark and clear immigration before re-boarding for the onward flight.

    Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - no later than 72 hours prior to travel.
    Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. When completing an application for transit you should enter the words 'In Transit' with your final destination location in the address line

    You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.

    If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan in the past five years or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel under the Visa Waiver Programme. Instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel.

    For further information please check out the US embassy website.
    Visa applications -

    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.



    Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Yellow fever is only recommended for those travelling to Iguazu falls. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Polar information
    Ship information
    The M/V Polar Pioneer is a Finnish ex-research vessel, refurbished to provide an adventurous journey in the polar regions; its ice class means it has excellent manoeuvrability. The vessel accommodates only 54 passengers, meaning more time with the experts and a friendly on-board experience. Informed crew and experts will ensure you learn about how a polar expedition runs, your unique surroundings and the wildlife; Zodiacs will take you to shore for close encounters.
    Additional Information

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Sun 10 Mar 2019 - Wed 20 Mar 2019
    PPWX_2019 Fly
    Price from £7578
    Save was
    Single room option Call us
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Punta Arenas
    Time and place
    00:00 at
    Ending Point
    Information Transfers from the port to the airport are not included. We recommended that you book onward flights that depart after midday.
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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