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Take the easiest way to Antarctica and fly from Punta Arenas in southern Chile, to save time and enjoy an aerial view of the Drake Passage.

Flying from Punta Arenas in southern Chile over Cape Horn and thus avoiding the notoriously rough waters of the Drake Passage, this is the easiest way to travel to Antarctica – the coldest, highest, windiest, driest and least inhabited continent on earth – reaching King George Island, the largest island in the South Shetlands in under two hours. By retracing this route on the return journey you avoid two days of sailing each way, ensuring you experience only the best of the White Continent.

You then sail southward along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (with plenty of stops and landings along the way) to cross the Antarctic Circle. This active adventure involves daily landings by Zodiac inflatable, and a full programme of lectures on board ship, assisted all the while by experienced crew and knowledgeable expedition staff.

A typical Classic Antarctic Fly-Sail itinerary is shown below, however we offer a variety of voyages, durations and vessels.

Note: some trips will fly over the Drake Passage in one direction only (and sail the other).

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, 1-night hotel

    Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon there will be a briefing for your voyage and essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. Later, you will gather for a welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers while enjoying a typical regional menu.

    Note: You should aim to be in Punta Arenas by 15:00 hours at the latest (collection from the airport cannot be guaranteed if arriving any later).

  2. Day 2: Fly to King George Island in the South Shetlands and board vessel

    Fly to King George Island (approx one and a half hours) in the South Shetlands; visit the Chilean Antarctic mission's Frei Base and board your vessel. 

  3. Days 3-6 : Sail to the Antarctic Peninsula

    You will cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Each day, you can disembark by Zodiac and explore the landscape together with expert polar guides. On board the ship, you are free to attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations, and enjoy spectacular vistas from the glass-enclosed lounge while sharing your daily adventures with fellow guests.

    No journey is the same as flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. The Expedition Team sets the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition, you will explore several spots that offer the best possible overview of this varied Antarctic environment. Your voyage may include visits to sites such as Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island and the Lemaire Channel.

  4. Day 7: Disembark at King George Island and fly to Punta Arenas

You should note: Exact itinerary and duration will depend on your chosen vessel, departure date and local conditions. 

Key info

  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 7-11 days from £9,335 pp
  • Group size: Varies according to vessel
  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Accommodation in twin-share cabin
    • All meals on board ship
    • Guided shore excursions
Featured locations:

Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is the most accessible part of the great white continent with some of its best wildlife and scenery. Ice-choked waterways, sculpted icebergs, imposing glaciers and rugged mountains provide the back drop to an area with more whales and dolphins than anywhere else on earth.

  • Ideal for viewing: elephant seal, hourglass dolphin, humpback whale, minke whale, orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Penguin watching

Lemaire Channel

The Lemaire Channel is an 11 kilometre strait off Antarctica leading to a jigsaw of jewel like islands. Filled with icebergs and hemmed in by steep glacial cliffs, the waters are calm and passing through it makes for an unforgettably scenic journey, upon which orca or humpback whales may be seen.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, hourglass dolphin, humpback whale, macaroni penguin, orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Penguin watching

South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are situated north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Most of the land is permanently glaciated, yet, despite the harsh conditions, the islands do support a large variety of seals, penguins – including Adelie and chinstrap - and seabirds – including Antarctic terns and giant petrels.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, elephant seal, chinstrap penguin, gentoo penguin, southern right whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Penguin watching, Birdwatching
This itinerary is available on the following cruise vessels:

Ocean Nova

An extremely comfortable and well-equipped Polar expedition vessel, Ocean Nova is one of the leading vessels classified to operate in ice-filled waters. Accommodating around 60 passengers, cabins are outside facing and there is an excellent glass-enclosed forward observation lounge on the top deck.

Polar Pioneer

Small and manoeuvrable, the Polar Pioneer is an ice-strengthened vessel, capable of venturing into remote corners of the world that many larger ships cannot reach. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and you will be in the company of an experienced team of expedition experts and crew.