Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- 3 full days in Antarctica
- November departures when penguins are busy nesting
- Stay at the Union Glacier Camp, remote yet bustling with the penguin population
- Round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas included
- Enjoy a final night celebration dinner
Arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile
We ask you to arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days prior to your scheduled Antarctic flight in order to fully prepare you for the upcoming experience. These days also allow a buffer for flight and luggage delays should your travels to Chile not go as scheduled.
During these days, a clothing and equipment check will be arranged at your hotel. The day before your departure, all luggage will be prepared and your checked luggage will be collected. The evening before the flight you will join the safety briefing, which will introduce you to the process, update on current weather, and prepare you for your arrival at Union Glacier. Afterwards, you can enjoy hors d'oeuvres and pisco sours with your fellow travellers.
Day 1: Fly to Antarctica
In the morning, you'll be advised on current weather conditions and whether the flight will therefore be going ahead. If the weather is suitable, you'll be picked up from the hotel within the hour and transfer to Punta Arenas Airport.
Fly a little more than 4 hours to Antarctica by private transport jet. The route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. You'll land on the blue-ice runway and travel to Union Glacier Camp five miles away.
Day 2: Acclimatise to Antarctica
Today is an easy day to acclimatise to Antarctic conditions. You will have an orientation to camp and life in Antarctica, review expedition logistics with our guide, and enjoy a presentation by the staff naturalist about coastal wildlife and wildlife viewing procedures.
Day 3: Fly to the rookery
As soon as weather conditions permit, you will set out on the flight to the rookery. The flight takes about 4 hours, travelling north-eastward over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Berner Island where the plane may stop to refuel if necessary.
You'll land on multi-year sea ice near the Emperor colony and the guides will set up a cosy field camp beside the aircraft. The rest of the afternoon is then yours to explore, with your first audience with the Emperors.
Days 4-6: Living with the Emperors
Experience the rhythms of the rookery at your own pace over the three days. Take guided walks with the naturalist or do your own thing. Small sleds and walking poles are provided to help transport your camera equipment between camp and the colony. The sea ice generally provides a hard surface to walk on.
Watch adults display and feed their young. Listen to trumpeting and whistling calls as parents and chicks search for one another. At each step you'll marvel at the magnificence of where you are. 24-hour daylight allows the schedule to be adapted to the best weather and lighting for photography.
Every effort is made not to disturb the wildlife and strictly adhere to Emperor Penguin Colony Visitor Guidelines. These guidelines include maintaining a precautionary distance of 5m (17 feet) from all wildlife. The guides are on hand to answer any questions that arise about the wildlife and their unique adaptations to the Antarctic environment.
Day 7: Return to Union Glacier
The field staff will stay in close contact with Union Glacier Camp to identify the best 'weather window' for the return flight.
Day 8: Explore Union Glacier
Depending on flights, you may have a few days at the end of your experience to explore more of Union Glacier.You will also enjoy a celebration dinner and receive a certificate to commemorate your experience in Antarctica.
Day 9: Return to Punta Arenas, Chile
The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you will depart for the final leg of your Antarctic experience. The staff will meet you at Punta Arenas airport and transfer you to your hotel.
It is recommended that you book your flight home one week after your return Antarctic flight. If you purchase a full-far ticket, most airlines will allow you to change your departure date. It is important to give yourself a buffer as delays are common in Antarctic travel. When you fly home, you will be provided transportation from your hotel to Punta Arenas airport.
NOTE: This itinerary is for guidance only as each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.
Expert Impartial Advice At No Extra Cost
Antarctic travel options are complicated. We help you choose the right boat, the right cabin, and at the right point in the season.
A Depth Of Knowledge On Board
As a team of ex-guides, tour leaders, & polar adventurers our Antarctic knowledge is leagues ahead of the rest.
For The Ends Of The Earth
Swoop is proud to be B Corp Certified as we know sustainability is more than our carbon footprint (but we’re reducing that too).
We’re With You At Every Step
We’ll make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
No two Antarctic experiences are exactly the same. This is part of
the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. The itinerary above
highlights typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline and
details will vary from trip to trip. Trip length may vary by departure.
Please anticipate delays and do not plan anything for at least a week after your scheduled return. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.
- Transfers to and from Punta Arenas airport, Chile
- Briefing with refreshments in Punta Arenas one day prior to departure
- Round trip flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
- All flights within Antarctica as shown in your itinerary
- Meals and tented accommodation while in Antarctica
- Antarctic guides
- Official and personalised Certificate of Achievement
- A baggage allowance of up to 66 lbs (30 kg) on Punta Arenas-Union Glacier flight
- Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas
- Flights within Antarctica, other than those shown in itinerary
- Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
- Airport transfers other than in Punta Arenas
- Personal equipment and clothing (polar clothing may be available for rent)
- Expenses incurred in Punta Arenas due to delays
- Any excess baggage costs over confirmed baggage allowance
- Cost for the use of satellite phone whilst in Antarctica
- Insurance coverage – personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise