Incredible Antarctica in Eight Days

On this epic yet efficient trip to Antarctica, your cruise begins with a charter flight to one of the most remote places on the planet.

Fast-track to such sights as Antarctica’s leopard seals, the third-largest seals in the world.

Fast-track to such sights as Antarctica’s leopard seals, the third-largest seals in the world.

Acacia Johnson/Quark Expeditions

Crossing the Drake Passage on your way to Antarctica can be a thrilling adventure, at times calm as a lake and at other times so turbulent it’s nicknamed the “Drake’s Shake.” It takes a about two days each way, which is why trips to Antarctica often take a couple of weeks. If you prefer a shortcut, Quark Expeditions’Antarctic Express” cruise includes a two-hour flight over the Drake Passage, joining your ship, the Ocean Adventurer or World Explorer, on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. You’ll be only a few hours sail from an exciting realm of penguins, whales, seabirds, towering icebergs, other extraordinary landscapes—and a calm you’ll find nowhere else on earth.

Polar Plunge

Trip Highlight

Polar Plunge

Do a polar plunge if you dare. It’s an exhilarating experience, offered once each cruise, and opportunity to prove your can-do spirit. Your fellow guests and crew will cheer for you and your effort, whether they choose to join you in the frigid waters or not.

Trip Designer

Quark Expeditions

For more than 30 years Quark Expeditions and their highly experienced team of scientists, historians, and other expedition experts has been delivering true polar quests, full of educational and unforgettable experiences. With one expedition team member for each four guests, and such perks as complimentary helicopter landings and a spa, Quark delivers lasting memories in one of the most remote places on the planet.
Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas, Chile is one of the southernmost cities in the world.

Adobe Photostock

Day 1Overnight in Chilean Patagonia

Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in southern Patagonia. If you arrive early, explore the shops and cafes, admire buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and linger in the Plaza de Armas, the center-city square with trees and benches and an impressive statue dedicated to Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan—he sailed here from Spain in the 16th century. You’ll meet up early afternoon at your hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner hosted by Quark Expeditions.
Antarctica on a charter flight

Skip the Drake Passage and travel to Antarctica on a comfortable charter flight

Jimmy MacDonald/Quark Expeditions

Day 2Flightseeing Enroute to King George Island

Taking off from Punta Arenas on a chartered jet, you’ll zip across the legendary Drake Passage in only two hours and glimpse the scenery from a distinctive perspective as Antarctic landscapes come into view. After landing in the South Shetland Islands, you may unwind from the exhilaration of seeing the icy landscape with a mile walk to the inflatable Zodiacs that will take you to your ship to start your exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Chinstrap penguins

Chinstrap penguins are among fascinating creatures you may encounter on your Antarctic cruise.

David Merron/Quark Expeditions

Days 3-6Intimate Encounters with Penguins, Glaciers, Icebergs

Each day brings new experiences and new encounters, with the scientists, historians, and polar experts on your ship deepening your understanding of the 7th continent through lectures and one-on-one interactions.

Daily excursions with the best expedition team in the polar regions will bring you ashore for wildlife encounters—such as watching chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni, and Adélie penguins go about their business and march by. Your Zodiacdriver may make a beeline to an iceberg where a leopard seal has been spotted or bring you right up to the face of a towering iceberg or glacier, all jaw-dropping experiences.

Weather and ice conditions determine the route on each sailing, as you explore places including the gorgeous icy landscape of the Lemaire Channel. You’ll visit penguin rookeries, bays where humpback whales and seals tend to hang out, and the remnants of bases for human exploration. The historic site Port Lockroy, a secret British base during World War II, includes a museum and post office, where you can send home postcards from a far corner of the earth.

Keep your eyes out for whales and seabirds viewable from the ship—with the captain and expedition team alerting you to any of their sightings. The whole ship will embrace an expedition spirit, buzzing excitement at each new sighting and adventure.

The Lemaire Channel

Quark guests enjoying the views in the Lemaire Channel

Acacia Johnson/Quark Expeditions

Days 7-8Memory-Filled Return

After a week of exciting exploration, you’ll board your charter plane for the flight back to Punta Arenas. Take time to reflect on your amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

In Punta Arenas, you’ll transfer to your included hotel for a night, and are free to explore and spend an evening on your own—perhaps sampling Chilean crab and other fresh-caught seafood. Next day, you’ll continue with your own travels in South America or make your way to the airport for your flight home.

More From This Author
Journeys: Nature
Journeys: Antarctica