Fly the Drake and board your Antarctica Cruise
Have you ever thought about an easy way to get to Antarctica? Well, before answering this question, it is important to give you some interesting information about this unique and amazing place. As you may know, our planet has two regions where geographical poles are located: The North and South Pole.
The first one is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, and the second one, by the Antarctic Ocean. But, why do these oceans and their territories have these names? Greek people used to call the North Pole “Arktos” in reference to a star constellation -the Ursa Minor- which was used as a guide to locate North during the night. So, the opposite of this place, had to be named as “the anti arktos”: Antarctica then! And of course, is the most distant territory of the Earth.
How to arrive to The Antarctic Peninsula: Fly the Drake with Quark Expeditions and Antarctica 21!
Getting to know and go to The White Continent is an amazing adventure and a life changing experience, but the route to arrive there has its difficulties and it takes time. If you choose to arrive by sailing all the way from South America (Ushuaia or Punta Arenas), you have to spend two days going through the Drake Passage, a part of the sea that separates this continent from Antarctica. This route might be conditioned by the weather and the toughness of the sea. Even though nowadays ships are way safer than before, the issue comes when the travelers don’t want to invest so much time navigating.
In order to avoid sailing these 48 hours through these rough waters there are two touristic companies that offer a to Fly the Drake (Air Cruises to Antarctica): Quark Expeditions and Antarctica 21. Your journey starts by taking a flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island, where a ship will be waiting for you to start sailing through this stunning territory and enjoy many excursion options included in their program. As a result, you’d save time by flying the Drake passage, and yet still have the chance of doing your Cruise trip.
What do these two great companies offer?
Quark Expeditions has different circuits. One of the most popular ones is an 8-day tour with two ships available: The Ocean Adventures and The World Explorer with a 128 and 172 passenger capacity, respectively.
The first ship has eight room categories, including suites! The World Explorer is more luxurious: it has only suites level rooms and within the main amenities it has a theatre, sauna and spa! Regarding the tour itself, the staff members are polar experts in Glaciology, history and wildlife who explain and guide you to have a memorable experience.
Also, the ship crew is always on alert of new sights you may be able to enjoy, like whales, penguins, birds, and amazing natural sceneries.
This tour starts in Punta Arenas (flying to King George Island), where you meet a staff member of Quark at the official hotel meeting point. They give you an introduction to the tour and inform you about the first steps you have to take to initiate this journey.
Then in King George you board the cruise and head to the Peninsula. The tour includes many zodiac landings in which you can hike to a penguin rookery, enjoy glaciers and their icebergs, polar plunge, or just take a zodiac cruise to be delighted with amazing wildlife, including predators like orcas! (Fauna watching depends on different factors, though).
Extras optional activities which are not included, but you can add to this tour there are sea kayaking, a paddling excursion or stand-up paddle boarding.
On the other hand, Antarctica 21 offers many options for Cruises and Flights to Antarctica – from an express 6 day to a 16 day tour. The most popular is the 8 day tour called Classic Antarctica Air-cruise. Once you arrive by plane to King George Island and you get on board the ship, your sailing goes by the South Shetlands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
They have two ship options too: The Magellan Explorer, which has seven categories of accommodation, a 100 (73) limit guest capacity and amenities like gym, sauna and a library! The other one is The Ocean Nova. This ship has a 73 (67) passenger capacity, so it makes the experience in Antarctica more intimate. It has three room categories which are very comfortable and, as The Magellan Explorer, but smaller, a gym, a library and a bar! In each day of this tour, you will disembark by zodiac and explore landscapes with expert guides. As extra optional –and not included- activities to book in this trip, you can choose sea kayaking, hiking and Snowshoeing. Also, they offer preferred seating in your flight and a hotel and transfer package as extra trip options to book for.
These two companies have their own advantages. While Quark Expeditions has more capacity in their ships, they include the hiking activity, but they need more than one flight to take all their explorers to King George Island. Despite of that, they have one very experienced and professional polar experts guide for every seven passengers onboard, so there are a lot of guides being available and interacting with you, teaching everything about the White Continent each day of your journey. Quark has been in the polar industry for more than 30 years.
In contrast, Antarctica XXI takes all their passengers in one flight and the tours are for smaller groups. As Quark Expeditions, they have a high expert guide to guest ratio, so you will not miss any knowledge about Antarctica!
Nature also is in charge of your adventure!
If you fly the Drake and go to Antarctica either with Quark Expeditions or Antarctica XXI, all the landing activities are conditioned to weather conditions, but as there are so many varied recognized sites in Antarctic Peninsula, the worst thing could happen is probably that the sites and activities mentioned above may be changed to others that are equally beautiful and amazing!
Fly the Drake and find other Antarctica Cruises too, with special benefits!
We invite you to travel to Antarctica through us and get special benefits!
Additionally, as we are local travel experts based in Argentina, we can offer you custom tours in Argentina and Chile, and the best Patagonia tours. Furthermore, we also offer journeys for travelers with specific interests, such as Argentina wildlife tours, Patagonia hiking tours, Ushuaia tours (and other Patagonia Cruises), etc.. Let us know your plans, and let’s design together your next great experience!