An immersion into South Georgia and Antarctica’s gems
South Georgia, for those who have never heard of it, is one of the most stunning and remote places on earth. This island is located in the South Atlantic Ocean, 1300 km away from The Falklands / Islas Malvinas. Most of those who travel to South Georgia, combine this trip with an expedition to Antarctica.
South Georgia is 160 km long, 32 km wide and rises to Mount Paget (2934 meters). It’s mountainous scenery, rocky beaches and fjords dominate the land. The Antarctic climate with constant snow, supports only hard grasses and other tundra plants.
Since you can’t fly directly there, the best way to get to this mountainous island is by doing the South Georgia and Antarctica Penguin Safari. As soon as you get there, you will be greeted by the amazing king penguins and elephant seals.
The beginning of the adventure
(DAY 1) This 16-day trip you will experience begins in Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) in its small port at the tip of South America, which allows you to start exploring Patagonia and prepare you for what’s ahead. Trying the handmade chocolates and cafés in town are a must.
(DAY 2) In the late afternoon you and your group will embark to your vessel and sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America.
(DAY 3 TO 6) Being at sea you will start sightseeing seabirds alongside the ship and learn how to identify them and/or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. There, you will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac Cruises and shore landings. For an extra cost, if you like you can also receive instructions for sea kayaking adventures.
Getting to the island
If you are lucky and the conditions are good, your first sign that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Be ready with your binoculars and cameras to capture these rocky spires rising out of the icy ocean waters.
(DAY 7 AND 8) Now that you have enjoyed South Georgia from the water, you will head towards its numerous beaches to find a bay to land and get started with your first excursion. The landing site will be determined by the weather conditions. No matter which sites we visit, you will have encounters with wildlife like nowhere else.
South Georgia and its beaches are home to penguins, seals and it is a bird paradise for burrowing seabirds, albatrosses and petrels.
The Grytviken settlement
A very significant site you will visit on the Island is Grytviken. This settlement is the first whaling station established in sub-Antarctic waters. Grytviken offers a variety of opportunities to explore such as old abandoned whaling station and whaling ships, Shackleton’s grave, and an amazing museum.
Sir Ernest Shackleton was probably the greatest polar explorer in history. His expeditions to the Antarctic and to South Georgia were of great importance during his adventures. Shackleton’s last expedition was in 1922, he died while he was in front of the coast of South Georgia and is now buried in Grytviken cemetery.
The encounter with the king penguins
There are approximately 500.000 pairs of King Penguins in South Georgia, they live in large colonies and like all penguins, they are very sociable.
Along the east coast of the island there are many colonies, but the largest ones are at Salisbury Plain, Fortuna Bay, Gold Harbour and St. Andrews Bay. While the parents are away at sea fishing, the juvenile king penguins stay at land waiting for their food.
When you are there, you will be able to see and hear them from a very close distance. This one is a very special moment.
Let’s head to Antarctica!
While you are at sea, your expedition team will fill your days with presentations and workshops that will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes that will surround you once you get there.
Be ready to feel the awe by the time you arrive to the Antarctic Peninsula, which is a land of extremes. The feeling of complete isolation and silence will take over you, while at the same time you’ll be amazed by the nature as a calving glacier crashes into the blue sea and a penguin comes by to greet you.
Each day in the Antarctic will present you new creatures and fill your camera roll.
If you are wishing for a bit more excitement, you can treat yourself with a paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge.
Getting close to the end
After two weeks of one-of-a-kind encounters with wildlife and outstanding landscapes your journey back home begins by crossing the Drake Passage. This is a good time to enjoy being on deck while you relax and do seabirds and whales sightseeing.
In the morning of your 16th day, you will arrive to Ushuaia, where you may continue your adventure in the end of the world or catch your flight home.
Other ways to visit Antarctica
We’re a local tour operator based in Buenos Aires, which offers custom tours in Argentina, Chile, and Antarctica; therefore, we’ll be very happy to assist you not only with Antarctica, but also with your previous and post-days in South America. There is a lot to see and we would love to hear about your preferences… Get in touch!