Travel ▻ Polar ▻ Antarctica12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica

12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica

12 days

12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
from $8045 USD

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The Basecamp Antarctica expedition is expressly designed for active outdoors enthusiasts seeking the most adventure possible out of their Antarctica experience! This is our most popular Antarctica offering. Travelers enjoy camping on Antarctica, mountaineering, hiking, snowshoeing, and sea kayaking all included in your expedition rate. The vessels that serve as your mobile "basecamp" provide an ideal balance of toughness and comfort. These expeditions are great value in the world's greatest place!

*** Prices for 2020-2021 departures start at US$8,045/person sharing in a quad cabin (and up, in higher cabin categories, like twin porthole cabins, etc.) for many of the departures. Prices vary a bit by length of trip and departure date, with the most expensive trips typically around the holidays and the lesser expensive expeditions being the shoulder seqson departures. Twins with portholes , on some departures, are US$9,945/person but the same notes apply (prices vary by departure date, length of the expedition, etc.). Please contact us for specific rates for the departure date and cabin type you'd prefer.

Departure Dates 2020-2021 (for 2021-2022, please scroll down)

  • November 8-19, 2020 (Ortelius >>)
  • November 21 - December 2, 2020 (Plancius >>)
  • November 29 - December 20, 2020 (Ortelius)
  • December 10-22, 2020 (Ortelius) - 13 days
  • December 22, 2020 - January 3, 2021 (Ortelius) - 13 days
  • February 25 - March 8, 2021 (Plancius)
  • March 8-19, 2021 (Plancius)

Departure Dates / Starting Rates 2021-2022

  • December 22, 2021 - January 3, 2022 | 13-days (M/v Plancius) | US$9,095/person (Quad) & US$11,195/person (Twin with Porthole)
  • January 3-15, 2022 | 13-days (M/v Plancius) | US$9,095/person (Quad) & US$11,195/person (Twin with Porthole)
  • February 24 - March 8, 2022 | 13-days (M/v Plancius) | US$8,495/person (Quad) & US$10,445/person (Twin with Porthole)
  • March 8-20, 2022 | 13-days (M/v Plancius) | US$8,495/person (Quad) & US$10,445/person (Twin with Porthole)


ACTIVITIES

Camping

On Basecamp voyages, we offer an exciting "open air" camping option, which gives an intensive experience of the Antarctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to a tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of Antarctica. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. One expedition guide will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. We can help with more details, please inquire with us if you have any questions.

Hiking

During voyages with hiking options we hope to be able to exceed on our normal shore excursion walking Program. The possibilities to hike longer distances in de Antarctic are limited by mountains and glaciers. In general the longest hikes can last up to two hours. We aim at one or two hikes per day during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of ankle high hiking boots and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge; contact us for more details.

Kayaking

In general we plan to at least up to 4 kayaking excursions. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Parallel to all other activities we are planning on offering kayaking excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. The vessel will provide kayaks, neoprene wet suits, booties and gloves. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions.

Mountaineering

This is a technical and more strenuous activity for mountaineers who wish to walk beyond the shore radius in order to reach higher grounds and view points. Mountaineers walk in rope parties under the leadership of a certified mountain guide mostly across glaciated environment. Mountaineering knowledge is preferable, but not required. Physical fitness is essential. The maximum number is limited to 6 mountaineers per rope party. Special glacier equipment will be provided: ropes and carabiners, harnesses, helmets, ice axes and crampons. Participants will bring their personal protective outdoor clothes, mountaineering boots (ankle high) suitable for using crampons. A mountain guide and assistants (depending on group size) will supervise and guide the activity.

Snowshoeing

Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further inland. During voyages to the Antarctic we are planning on offering hiking excursions with snowshoes. Snowshoe walking is easy and does not require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided to everyone on board. Those will fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with supplied rubber boots.

Photo Workshop

On selected voyages, another fun opportunity for travelers are the photo workshops for beginners and advanced photographers under the supervision of a photo expert on board. Everybody is welcome to participate, no previous experience required. The workshop group (up to 20 participants per guide per landing) will be accompanied by the photo expert during activity ashore. Participants with a special interest in photography will bring their personal photo equipment. During cruise days everybody will be able to listen into photo lectures and workshops in order to learn more about objects, exposures and photo composition. The workshop does not intend to instruct on how to use specific camera models, but more to give an insight on better photo results by respecting basic rules of photography. Photographers can also take part in other activities of their choice. Photo workshops are free of charge on Basecamp voyages. The photo workshop must be pre-booked prior to departure.

Character of photo workshops: this is a free "try out" activity for everybody, participants also dip into other activities, group size up to 20 participants per photo guide and landing, daily changing groups, workshop content not too specialised, target group "beginners to experts" who wish to receive daily photo tuition. During photo workshops powered by Leica Akademie, participants can test Leica camera equipment free of charge.

*** NOTES:

While quad cabins, sharing with others, is an excellent option for small parties of friends of the same gender and solo travelers, other cabin types like twins with portholes or superiors, for example, are better for couples. There are also triples available to share as well. Please contact us for specific pricing based on the cabin type you'd prefer and the departure date. All travelers are encouraged to contact us and book as far out from the departure date as you can - this will help you with finding the cabin space you prefer on the trip you want.

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Full Itinerary DETAILED ITINERARY >> ITINERARY IN BRIEF >>

Day 1: Embark from Ushuaia

This afternoon, make your way to the port and board the ship. We embark from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

*** Please note that we strongly recommend you fly into Ushuaia the day before your expedition and overnight. There are a number of 3-star and higher properties to choose from.

Meals included: Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 2: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

During the next two days, we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 3: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. The chances are good that we see the South Shetland Islands in the evening of day 3 steering past Nelson Island through Nelson Strait in order to reach King George Island. The South Shetland Islands are windswept and often hide in the fog. There are a wide variety of flora to see (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna (Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap penguins, and giant petrels) to admire.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 4: Entering Antarctica

Continuing south, we finally reach the hallowed outer reaches of the White Continent. We being to encounter towering gray stone peaks sketched with snow, seascapes of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife both below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Today with good weather we enjoy our first of our magical outings.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 5: Explore Antarctica

We continue our voyage South. Among the places we might visit includes:

Neumayer Channel - The vessel may position itself here, launching its multiple basecamp activities from the protected waters around Wiencke Island. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea with Zodiac and kayaking trips, or if you're in the mood for a walk, there are possible snowshoe hikes and soft-climb mountaineering options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities.

Port Lockroy - After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station - now a museum and post office - of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping here, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore.

Pléneau & Petermann Islands - If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There's also a good chance you'll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering trips are the potential activities of this location.

Neko Harbour - An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.

Paradise Bay - You have the chance to make camp here like a true polar explorer, enjoying a supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.

Errera Channel - Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 6: Explore Antarctica

We continue where we left off on Day 5, further exploring the region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 7: Explore Antarctica

Our exploring continues...

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 8: Explore Antarctica

Our exploring continues, seeing new spots and more wildlife.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 9: Explore Antarctica

On your last day of near-shore activities, you pass the Melchior Islands toward the open sea. Keep a sharp lookout for humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. You might also shoot for Half Moon Island, in the South Shetlands, with further chances for activities.

Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 10: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

On our way north, we are again followed by a fantastic array of polar seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage. Lectures continue to provide us with more knowledge of the region's singular wildlife, geology, and more. We'll be on the lookout for whales too. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 11: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

At Sea.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 12: Disembark in Ushuaia

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark. A group bus transfer from the port to the Ushuaia airport is included. You'll want to scheduled your departure flight out of Ushuaia from 12noon and later. 

Meals included: Breakfast

Pricing

12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
from $8045 USD
*** Contact Us for other itinerary and lodging options! ***

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

INCLUDES:
  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • Voyage aboard an ice-hardened expedition vessel
  • Free use of rubber boots (for wet landings) and snow shoes
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the ship to the Ushuaia airport (directly after disembarkation)
  • Lecture program by noted naturalists and experienced staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges during the program
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material Services of professional expedition staff
  • All activities as indicated (except scuba diving, which comes with an extra charge)
  • Coffee, tea, and water on the vess
EXCLUDES:
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Scuba diving (optional)

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