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The Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Tour Code: ATA01

A 23-day wildlife holiday including an 18-night voyage from Ushuaia in Patagonia to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

23 days from £13995(inc flights) Land Only Price: £12695 SRS: £0

In January 2019 Naturetrek will be chartering the 116-berth, ice-strengthened, MV Ortelius for the ultimate in wildlife cruises. This 23-day holiday includes an 18-night expedition voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. We begin with a flight to Ushuaia in Patagonia where we board our vessel and - with a variety of albatrosses and petrels in our wake - cross the Southern Ocean to the Falkland Islands, our first port of call. We have two days here to enjoy the colonies of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browed Albatrosses before heading out to sea once more for South Georgia, home to millions of penguins and other seabirds. We spend four days here amidst spectacular scenery and huge seabird colonies and, weather permitting, hope to include a visit to Prion Island, the breeding site for the Wandering Albatross, and a landing at the vast King Penguin rookery at St Andrews Bay. Next we visit the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands watching out for ocean giants such as Humpback, Southern Right and Fin Whales en route. Finally, we have three days to enjoy the majesty and grandeur of the Antarctic Peninsula before heading back out to sea, across the Drake Passage and back to Ushuaia.

  • Join Naturetrek on our exclusive wildlife charter
  • Focus: birds, mammals & scenery of the Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica Peninsula
  • Small ship cruising on the ice-strengthened MV Ortelius
  • Enough Zodiacs for everyone to leave the ship at the same time!
  • Visit Rockhopper Penguin rookeries on the Falkland Islands
  • Enjoy 4 days exploring South Georgia
  • Spectacular Antarctic scenery & numerous huge icebergs
  • Visit the Wandering Albatross colony on Prion Island, South Georgia
  • Mammals include Southern Elephant Seal, Leopard Seal & Weddell Seal
  • Visit Chinstrap, Adelie & Gentoo Penguin colonies, South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
  • Look for cetaceans such as Orca, Humpback Whale & Commerson's Dolphin
  • Escorted by Naturetrek naturalist guides & expedition leaders


All included in the price with the exception of meals in Ushuaia and Buenos Aires.


For this cruise we have exclusively chartered the 116 berth ice-strengthened MV Ortelius. All cabins have private facilities. In Ushuaia and Buenos Aires we use comfortable tourist hotels with private facilities. The above prices are based on quad cabin accommodation. Please download the tour itinerary or call the Naturetrek office on 01962 733051 for twin cabin prices and further cabin upgrade options.

Chinstrap Penguin (Frano Banfi)

Chinstrap Penguin (Frano Banfi)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Ushuaia

Day 3/4 At sea

Day 5/6 Falkland Islands

Day 7/8 At sea

Day 9/12 South Georgia

Day 13 At sea

Day 14 South Orkney Islands

Day 15 At sea

Day 16/18 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Day 19/20 Drake Passage

Day 21 Depart Ushuaia

Day 21/22 Buenos Aires

Day 22/23 Fly London

Antarctica is a land of superlatives. It is the coldest, windiest, driest, iciest and highest of all the major landmasses of the world. It is a continent of extremes, but also one of extreme beauty! Those fortunate enough to explore its icy shores cannot fail to be awe-struck by the shear grandeur of the landscape, the towering glaciers, rugged snow-covered mountains and huge ice-bergs calved into a myriad of shapes by the relentless pounding of the Southern Ocean. This encircling ocean is, in turn, one of the richest of all seas and the basis for the food-chain that supports Antarctica's huge concentration of wildlife. Every spring, as the pack-ice slowly retreats, millions of penguins, seabirds and other creatures leave the vastness of these turbulent waters to converge on the continent to breed and raise their young. By late January the breeding season is at its peak, penguins and albatrosses are busily feeding chicks and the race to fledge is in full swing before darkness descends once more heralding the return of winter's even icier grip. 

In January 2019 Naturetrek is planning to take a full charter of the 116-berth, ice-strengthened MV Ortelius, with the aim of repeating the itinerary, and success, of our recent 30th anniversary cruise around the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula. Taking a full charter of the Ortelius was key to the success of our 2016 expedition for it allowed us to design the itinerary to include only the very best wildlife sites and full the ship with like-minded Naturetrek clients. It also allowed us to bring along a selection of our most experienced naturalist tour leaders ensuring that all aspects of natural history were covered and that our group enjoyed three weeks of unforgettable wildlife sightings and breathtaking scenery. It's a winning formula we plan to repeat every few years, the next one being in January 2019.

We begin the holiday with a flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina, and then to Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world. From here we board our ship and head out along the Beagle Channel and into the Southern Ocean. En route to the Falkland Islands there will be plenty to entertain us as the ship will be accompanied throughout by a wonderful variety of exciting seabirds. These are sure to include plenty of Black-browed Albatross and Southern Giant Petrels, plus the occasional Wandering Albatross. Indeed, an undoubted highlight for many will be our first sighting of a 'Wanderer' gliding effortlessly over the ocean held aloft by the longest wings in the avian world.

We now have two full days to enjoy the scenery and wildlife of the Falkland Islands. Arriving from Britain the visitor finds a landscape which brings to mind the northern isles of Scotland and there is an essentially British feel to life here, although the wildlife is excitingly different! We will visit Rockhopper, Magellanic and Gentoo Penguin rookeries, plus colonies of Black-browed Albatross which nest on windswept tussock-covered slopes. King Penguins also nest here in smaller numbers whilst in the surrounding seas we will be looking out for Commerson’s and Peale’s Dolphins.

A further two days of pelagic bird and whale-watching brings us to the isolated island of South Georgia, home to some of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. For the next four days we will enjoy the mountains, glaciers and abundant wildlife of this remote outpost, including the vast King Penguin colony at St. Andrew's Bay and the Wandering Albatross colony on Prion Island. Huge Elephant Seals crowd the beaches and create a somewhat grumpy obstacle course for the thousands of Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins as they make their way to their huge and raucous colonies. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross also breed here and we will also take a quick break from the wildlife to visit the grave of Ernest Shackleton, one of history’s great Polar explorers. The whale-watching around South Georgia can also be superb with sightings of Humpback, Fin and Southern Right Whales all likely.

Moving on, we visit the South Orkneys and South Shetland Islands before arriving at the Antarctic Peninsula itself, a truly awe-inspiring landscape that dwarfs the ship and its inhabitants. Flock after flock of Gentoo and Adelie Penguins porpoise rapidly through the water on their way to and from numerous breeding colonies. South Polar Skua and the ghostly white Snow Petrel are also to be seen here, whilst beneath the waves the summer bloom of plankton and krill attract in ocean giants such as Humpback and Antarctic Minke Whales. The mighty Orca also patrols these waters and the menacing, almost reptilian, outline of the Leopard Seals is frequently seen as they lie hauled up on ice floes awaiting their next unfortunate penguin snack!

We will have three days in which to absorb the majesty and grandeur of the Antarctic Peninsula before heading back out to sea for the final time to cross the Drake Passage, past Cape Horn, back to Ushuaia and ultimately home.

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Snow PetrelKing Penguin Colony (Barbara Evans)Weddell Sea (Rob Thatcher)Tim at Gold HarbourSouthern Rockhopper PenguinsGiant Petrel on grass nestSouthern Giant PetrelSnowy SheathbillKing PenguinsSouthern Rockhopper PenguinSouth Georgia PintailAntarctic PetrelCommerson's DolphinDark-faced Ground-TyrantFuegian Steamer-duckAntarctic Prion (Rob Thatcher)Antarctic Fur Seal (Tony Marsh)
I feel very privileged and thrilled to have been on this wonderful trip. Magical encounters with the natural world enriched by excellent guides. Close encounters with a variety of wildlife both on land and at sea. Time to 'soak it up' in sublime settings.
The overall organisation both off and on the boat was totally superb...seamless. Fitting in some birding en route in BA on way south was inspirational, the staff of Oceanwide were remarkable...Andrew's organisation of shore trips was amazing..and brave....the boat (and captain) made every effort to get us amongst the penguins..and whales...even circling in whale waters! I thought the Naturetrek leaders were terrific.. they were up there looking out for birds at dawn..and keen to share knowledge and company. I also thought it was clever they way we had all these lectures and talks to fill very many empty sea hours....and the cocktail hours were fun and the auction was fun...even if I did overspend on a t shirt..but hey, it fits! But this was a fun evening to break up 3 solid days of sailing....long days...tho the extra tour into Drygalski fjord was brilliant too..........just an amazing trip...Svalbard next!!
The Naturetrek tour leaders were excellent throughout: full of enthusiasm and outstanding at pointing out the wildlife from the ship, as said wildlife appeared. Visiting South Georgia was a magical experience: truly awesome scenery and terrific wildlife. Also, we had an opportunity here to stretch our legs! Whale watching was terrific - I never imagined that I would see so many species, and so close to the ship. Initially, sharing a quadruple cabin with three other guys seemed daunting, particularly given the cramped conditions, but the camaraderie that developed between us actually heightened my enjoyment of the holiday. The huge logistical operation of ensuring that 110 clients got to the right places at the right time worked remarkably well. Congratulations to Paul Stanbury and all the Naturetrek staff who managed to pull off this achievement.
I thought the whole organization and attention to detail was amazing and would like to congratulate everyone involved in the organization of this holiday. I think the Captain's flexibility played a big part in enabling us to see as much as possible, and the crew and expert and informative guides, both from the ship and Naturetrek, made it a 'happy' ship and contributed to an experience I shall never forget. I really enjoyed all our trips ashore and the zodiac rides along the coast. The numbers of penguins in the rookeries was unbelievable and a sight I shall never forget. Neither shall I ever forget dawn in Antarctica for the few of us who got up at 2.45 a.m. to see it! Our day in St. Andrews Bay was a favourite and I have to confess that after the Arctic trip I am hooked on the colours and shapes of sea ice/ icebergs.
South Georgia was awesome, Falklands and Stanley inspiring. Sheer numbers of birds incredible. Spectacle and light great for photography.
The variety of wildlife was even better than we expected. Tour leaders made every effort to ensure everything went smoothly. The arrangements in the ship were first class, with lots of very good food.
Moray & Nairn
The Ortelius, her crew, the expedition staff and the Naturetrek leaders were all excellent. We were well aware the itinerary could and would be changed to ensure maximum wildlife viewing and of course everyone's safety and this did happen. We were delighted with any changes made as they were for valid reasons and in everyone interest.
My best holiday ever, thank you Naturetrek for fulfilling my boyhood dream. Overall the organisation right from the start was first class and the team put together the ultimate trip. Both Naturetrek and the expedition team from M V Ortelius worked tirelessly to provide a trip of a lifetime for their clients. Nothing was too much trouble and if it could be done (taking safety into account) it was done. I had high expectations on this trip, but the actual adventure went way beyond this. 11 out of 10 Naturetrek!
Credit, and thanks, must be given to the thought that went in to organising what to do in between flights and boarding and leaving the ship. For example, the birdwatching, plus excellent packed lunch, prior to leaving for Ushuaia and then organising for the luggage to be stored having left the ship so that we were able to explore Ushuaia prior to flying back to Buenos Aires.
East Sussex
The organisation from LHR to USH via EZE and return was excellent in all respects - well done Paul for all his efforts. The buffet arranged at the excellent hotel on arrival from London worked really well and most welcome. The presence of so many Naturetrek guides was a bonus board. During our time on Ortelius they were always available and very helpful with identifications.
The spectacle of all the penguin colonies were amazing but the King Penguin colony was my favourite and so much better than I could ever have imagined. The quantity and quality of the whale sightings was also unexpected but fabulous and getting to land on the Antarctic Peninsula itself was the icing on the cake.
The whole experience - the scenery, the wildlife, the guides and the crew on the boat. It was the holiday of a lifetime.
We were exceptionally fortunate with both weather and wildlife, even the captain and crew were delighted at what was achieved. The bridge was spacious and the bridge crew and captain welcoming. The ship's expedition crew were all very knowledgeable and helpful. Excellent hotels in both Ushuaia and Buenos Aires. Less a holiday more an unforgettable life enhancing experience.
South Yorkshire
The whole trip worked well. The hotel in Ushuaia was very well chosen, providing a great opportunity to relax and recover after all the travelling from the UK. The Captain's enthusiasm was appreciated. I enjoyed the opportunity of a couple of walks on the trip - particularly St Andrews Bay. Landing on an ice floe was fun! The whole team, Naturetrek & Ortelius, ensured that we got the most possible out of the holiday.
A fantastic, never to be forgotten trip. The next one to Antarctica is already being planned. Thanks to everyone who helped to make it possible.
A truly wonderful experience. Both John and Rob did a wonderful job and I would be delighted to go with either again.
It is seldom that what is promised as the holiday of a lifetime really lives up to one’s dreams, but this one did. Because the expedition was a single charter the programme was flexible and the small number of passengers meant that we could arrange the landings to suit everyone. The Captain and his crew were friendly and courteous…we were always made welcome. Our chef, Marcello, provided superb meals, I wouldn’t like to think about preparing soup in a force 12! He deserves special thanks. The experts were unfailingly helpful. But I must save my highest praise for the expedition leader Rolfe. His knowledge and experience of the area is vast and he was generous with both his time and his expertise. He was always alert to everybody’s needs, fully appreciating that this expedition was likely to be our one and only chance of visiting the area and making sure, as far as possible, that all our own personal agendas were satisfied. He did this with unfailing good humour and charm. Thanks also to all in the office for helping with my pre-departure questions and concerns.
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Thu 17th January 2019 - Fri 8th February 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £12695 More info

Room sharing options: Female sharing is available More info

Visiting: Antarctica

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Paul Stanbury
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

I feel very privileged and thrilled to have been on this wonderful trip. Magical encounters with the natural world enriched by excellent guides. Close encounters with a variety of wildlife both on land and at sea. Time to 'soak it up' in sublime settings.
B.E., Hampshire