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Sub-Antarctic Safari - M/V Polar Pioneer
15 days
Argentina, Falkland Islands, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands - Trip code PPFG

Sub-Antarctic Safari - M/V Polar Pioneer

This brand new sub-Antarctic adventure takes you to the wildlife sanctuaries of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas and South Georgia. See the World's largest king penguin rookery in South Georgia's Salisbury Plain, observe the majestic wandering albatross and traverse the kelp-strewn beaches alive with fur and elephant seals. Join our on-board photography workshops and capture the region's untouched beauty, whilst getting up-close to the fascinating mix of wildlife that inhabits these unique islands.

Trip highlights

  • See the world's largest colony of black - browed albatross
  • Walk on kelp - strewn beaches alive with fur and elephant seals
Accommodation grade:
Premium
Our premium accommodation is hand-picked and chosen for its character, location or local importance. These properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day.
Trip pace:
Relaxed
You can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences on these Relaxed pace tours, with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings, but still come home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Itinerary

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

Day 1 - Fly from Santiago or Punta Arenas to the Falkland Islands

You can choose to start from either Santiago or Punta Arenas and will fly from Punta Arenas onto Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. You will be met at the airport on arrival and will enjoy a brief tour of Stanley before boarding your ship.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Dinner
Day 2 - Falkland Islands/Malvinas

We start the day with a visit to the rarely-visited Steeple Jason Island in the West Falklands, home to the World's largest colony of black-browed albatross. We continue onto Saunders Island, the second largest off-shore islands in the archipelago. Saunders is a working sheep farm, rich in wildlife including four species of penguins. We follow onto Carcass Island which offers amazing bird-watching opportunities, including the endemic Cobb's Wren, the dark ground tyrants, tussac birds and more.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 - At Sea

Today, we start our sailing between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. You will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the spectacular sea birds that we'll encounter on our way.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 - At Sea

Our naturalist and historian guides enliven the crossing with informative talks and out on deck, we keep a watchful eye out for seabird-peppered Shag rocks.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 - South Georgia

Before we first land on South Georgia, you'll receive guidelines and instructions on the wildlife and some insight on the Antarctic Treaty. Thanks to its position, there are parts of the island chain not covered with snow or ice - providing visitors the chance to see unique flora and fauna. As a true wildlife sanctuary, South Georgia boasts some of the World's largest king penguin rookeries and majestic bird life, including the wandering albatross.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 - South Georgia

Despite its isolation, South Georgia and its associated islands have a history to rival most countries. First spotted in 1675, South Georgia was mostly used by whalers and sealers as a site to process their catch. As this industry came to a close, the focus switched to science with Argentina setting up a meteorological office here and the United Kingdom used the islands as a base for exploration.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 7 - South Georgia

With only 30 human residents, the population of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is comprised mostly of wildlife. It is important to note that the temperatures are slightly warmer than in Antarctica - even if you don't feel it! - meaning the shores and coastline are the perfect breeding ground for many species. This includes fur seals, penguins, elephant seals and albatross. We time our adventures in South Georgia so that you have the opportunity to see all manner of species interacting. You may spot penguins negotiating the sleeping seals or see the penguin chicks beginning to lose their non-waterproof feathers, so ensure you have your camera at the ready!

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8 - South Georgia

You will have plenty of time to explore the 100,000-strong king penguin rookeries of South Georgia, such as those found at Saint Andrew's Bay and Salisbury Plain - a truly remarkable sight ! Lose yourself amongst these gracious-looking creatures which is an absolute highlight of South Georgia. Off-shore there is also the chance to catch humpback and minke whales enjoying the rich waters of South Georgia, which we will attempt to search for on our daily Zodiac cruises.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 9 - South Georgia

For those interested in Antarctic history, this area is key to the Shackleton story. His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition encountered difficulties in South Georgia in 1916 and Shackleton himself had to abandon his vessel in a smaller boat to find help on the mainland. Amazingly, Shackleton and two others covered 35 km of tough mountainous terrain and Antarctic weather to reach assistance. Sadly, on a following trip in 1922, Ernest Shackleton died in South Georgia and was later buried here in a cemetery in Grytviken.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 10 - South Georgia

You will have the opportunity to visit the fascinating whaling museum at Grytviken, as well as pay your respects to Sir Shackleton at his nearby grave. Grytviken was once a Norwegian whaling station and is now the administrative capital of South Georgia. In Stromness and Grytviken harbours, 3000-metre peaks form dramatic backdrops to the remains of these historical whaling stations. As we explore the pristine, kelp-strewn beaches, playful seals and basking elephants seals provide entertainment and there will be ample time to cruise by Zodiac into magnificent sites such as Elsehul Bay, along the north coast of South Georgia.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 11 - South Georgia

In between landings and Zodiac cruises, we will enjoy more informative lectures from our naturalist guides - fully preparing us for our birdlife-spotting and allowing us to fully appreciate the historical value of our landing sites.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 12 - South Georgia

A final day to explore the delights of South Georgia before we make a course north towards Stanley.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 13 - At Sea

We make our way towards the Falkland Islands, accompanied by fascinating sea birds along the way.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 14 - At Sea

Our sea days will allow time to reflect on our adventure and an opportunity to sort or exchange photos with our fellow ship mates.

Accommodation: M/V Polar Pioneer(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 15 - Fly from the Falkland Islands to Punta Arenas or Santiago

This morning we'll cruise into Stanley Harbour in the Falkland Islands; you'll have the choice to extend your stay in the Falklands, or continue directly on the afternoon flight to Punta Arenas (or Santiago.)

Meals Provided: Breakfast

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.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 14
  • Lunch: 13
  • Dinner: 14
Transport
  • Polar Pioneer
  • Zodiac
Trip staff
  • Expedition Crew
  • Naturalist(s)
Accommodation
  • 14 nights premium boat
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Argentina Holidays & Tours

Climate

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

Plugs

3 Pin Flat

Religion

Predominantly Roman Catholic.

Language

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

Falkland Islands Trips

Holidays to South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands

Budgeting and packing

Clothing

Parkas 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. Gloves 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). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers 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. Socks 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. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.

Footwear

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

15Kg

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.

Equipment

There are no hairdryers aboard the Polar Pioneer. Sunglasses and sun cream Insect repellant Personal toiletries A refilllable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards Seasickness remedy Walking poles

Tipping

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.
Country Information

Argentina Holidays & Tours

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
£10
Dinner price
£17
Beer price
£2
Water price
£1.3
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Peso
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.
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

Falkland Islands Trips

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.


Foreign Exchange

Holidays to South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands

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.


Foreign Exchange

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

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.

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.

Essential Information

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 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 - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov 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 - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html


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 www.travcour.com 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.

Booking conditions

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

Transfers

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, 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

Insurance

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. 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.

Argentina Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

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 - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. 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.. 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 http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.

Falkland Islands Trips

Holidays to South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option
Saturday 24 March 2018 - Saturday 7 April 2018
PPFG_2018
From £8385
Single room option
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
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
Town
Santiago or Punta Arenas
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Santiago or Punta Arenas
Time
00:00
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.
Download Trip Notes

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