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When To Go / Activities / Preparation / Money Matters / Gratuities

When To Go

A common question travelers have is “When is the best time to travel to Antarctica?” The answer depends on what you want to see or do. Keep in mind that you cannot cruise to the Polar regions all year round. Travel is restricted to the austral spring and summer, when daylight lasts between 18 and 24 hours each day. In Antarctica this is from October to March.

From October to the beginning of December

The continent is covered in snow to the water's edge. Penguins build highways as they waddle the same path again and again, from the sea to their nests far from shore. During this period, penguins, shags and seabirds court and lay their eggs.


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From December through February

The snow retreats, exposing rocky headlands. Penguin chicks hatch and their parents spend endless hours feeding their hungry young.
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From Mid-February to March

The whales return to feed, seals haul out on the beachheads and penguins begin to molt. Antarctica is preparing for long months of darkness. Highlights for travelers are whales, red snow and fledging gentoo penguins.
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When To Go

Antarctic voyages by ship begin and end in Ushuaia, Argentina. The season is from the end of October through beginning of March. The Fly-Cruise voyages start and/or end in Punta Arenas, Chile. The flying program is from December through February.

You arrive in either Ushuaia, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile, by international flight from any major city airport around the world. We usually encourage passengers to plan a minimum of two days of travel in case of lay-overs or unexpected airline delays.
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Activities

Camping

Camping in Antarctica, you spend 1 night in a tent in Antarctica, or just in a very heavy sleeping bag you sleep outside.
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Climbing

Climb mountain and or ski in Antarctica. - This program can be all day, beginning very early climbing mountains and or skiing in places not yet touched by the human being. This option is only done on some boats only on departures from November to December.
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Kayaking in Antarctica

An unprecedented adventure, being able to see the mountains from the water level, the penguins and seals swimming on the side of the kayak. Limited group. Included all Kayak equipment with 2 guides. This is attempted to offer in each landing the weather permitting.
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Preparation

Weather

You will be traveling to coastal regions during the austral summer, when conditions are mild – mean coastal temperatures are seldom far below freezing. However, sunny conditions can swiftly shift to storms with very cold winds and snow flurries. Be prepared for rapid weather changes. Average daytime temperatures in mid season are between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit or -4 and +2 Celsius.

Wind and weather conditions, can make it seem colder. Daytime temperatures frequently drop below freezing.

Boots

Rubber boots are essential for an Antarctic expedition, but to eliminate these from your packing list we loan you a pair for the duration of the voyage.

Pants

Waterproof pants are essential for zodiac travel as well as activities on shore. These, over a pair of warm pants will provide the desired combination of warm and dry.

Hat and Scarf

Pack a warm, woolen hat or cap that covers your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection. A peaked or brimmed hat helps protect against the sun but needs some kind of retainer for windy conditions.

Outer Clothing

Pack woolen, or fleece sweaters and tops; plus several turtlenecks for layering.

Knapsack or Backpack

To keep your hands free for shooting photographs bring a water resistant or waterproof knapsack or backpack.

Swimsuit

There may be an opportunity for a polar plunge during the voyage, so we recommend that you pack a swimsuit.

Passport

You must carry a passport during the expedition. Thepassport must be valid for six (6) months beyond thereturn date of your voyage. Please be sure that you have sufficient pages available for entry/exit stamps.

If you do not have a valid passport please apply for it well in advance of your departure.

Expedition Documents

In addition to the preliminary documents that accompany this booklet, you will receive final documents, which will be sent approximately four weeks prior to your departure. Please note that final documents will not be sent we have not received your payment and the completed, mandatory forms.

Clothing

Informality is a hallmark of our expeditions. For outdoor wear, please bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Tight clothing is not recommended as it does not allow insulating air to be trapped.Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibers, like fleece, retain heat. We do
not recommend clothing made of cotton. Plan to dress in layers.

Parkas

A complimentary parka will be provided on the ship.

Gloves

To keep your hands warm and dry, pack a minimum of two pairs of gloves: a pair of thin polypropylene gloves to be worn underneath warm outer gloves.

Socks

For maximum warmth, we suggest that you wear wo pairs of socks to wear inside the rubber boots that we will loan you. In addition pack warm, long wool or cotton socks to be worn over a thin pair ofsilk or polypropylene socks.

Underclothing

Pack silk or polypropylene underwear since it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Many polar travelers prefer a lightweight version – but this depends on your own personal thermostat.

Shoes

Non slip soles for walking around the vessel. Slip-on sandals are not suitable for use on board vessels.

Additional Useful Gear

  • Ear plugs – often useful for hotels or, if your cabinmate snores!
  • Small medical kit containing prescription medicines and over-the-counter medication for basic ailments such as stomach upsets, allergies, headaches and seasickness.
  • Plastic bags with zipper style closures for carrying film, camera, etc.
  • Protective sunscreen for face, lips and hands.
  • Good pair of binoculars for spotting wildlife.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Camera, extra batteries and twice the amount of film or memory cards you think you may need.
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses, even if you wear contacts.
  • Electrical converter with adapter plug set, 220v/110v.avion
  • Snow poles or trekking poles.
  • Spare prescription glasses if worn.

CabinTags

Only on the day of embarkation, please clearly complete and attach to your luggage the cabins tags provided. Our porters will collect your luggage from the hotel lobby in the late morning of the day of embarkation. Properly tagging your luggage will assist our staff to readily identify your luggage and place it in the correct cabin. Full instructions will be given on your arrival.

Disembarkation

Disembarkation is generally early morning, around 8am. Please arrange to fly from Ushuaia on the day of disembarkation after 9:30am.We encourage you to book your departure flight as late as possible. If you have booked a late departure flight, on disembarkation you may participate in an included group transfer from the pier to a central location where you may leave a bag, while you explore the city. The subsequent transfer to the airport will be at your own expense. If you booked an early flight, you and your luggage will remain on the bus, which will continue to Ushuaia airport.

MONEY MATTERS

Currency on Board

The US Dollar is the standard currency on board. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover Card and American Express are accepted on board for settling your shipboard account.

Payment System

At the time designated in the shipboard program, please give the Hotel Manager the credit card you would like to use for all your incidental expenses. An account will be opened for your cabin for purchases aboard ship.

This will include bar services, laundry, postage, and communication charges. A ‘chit’ system will operate for on board payments. You will sign for any bar, wine, communication charges, laundry, etc. An account for payment will be presented to you on the final day of the voyage. Final payment can be made using cash, travelers’ checks or major credit cards. Personal checks are not accepted on board. If you are sharing a cabin and would like separate accounts, you must advise the Hotel Manager.

Gratuities

The price of your voyage covers all gratuities/taxes for included meals, baggage handling, local sightseeing, drivers and/or guides.

The voyage price does not include the customary gratuity to the ship’s personnel, which is divided amongst the crew, Expedition Team and Hospitality Team.

We suggest this guideline for your convenience: aboard ship US $11 to US $13 per traveler, per day. The amount you choose to give is at your discretion. It can be added to your shipboard account.

Here are a few guidelines that you will be asked to follow. More detailed instructions (IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) Recommendation XVIII-1 Visitors Guidelines) will be provided in your final documents.

  • Always wash your boots on the ship before and after each landing.
  • Standing still for long periods of time can be of great benefit when viewing wildlife. Protecting Fragile Vegetation
  • Do not try to make an animal react for a photograph.
  • Keep quiet – do not make loud or sudden noises.
  • avion Birds flying or calling overhead signifies you are too close to a nest or young chicks. Retrace your steps the way you came.
  • Avoid coming between an animal and the shore or ocean. Be Aware of your Surroundings
  • Fur seals are usually dangerous, therefore keep a greater distance than 5 meters from them at all times.
  • Keep a minimum distance of 5 meters (15 feet) from all animals – especially nesting birds.
  • Anything that you carry to a landing should be returned to the ship. Safe Behavior Near Wildlife
  • No littering, souvenir collecting, or urinating ashore.
  • Do not walk onto glaciers – there may be hidden crevasses.
  • If you hear the ship’s horn or a Team member asks, you must return to the landing site immediately.
  • Do not delay others – return to the landing site prior to the appointed time of departure.
  • Listen and obey Expedition Team instructions.
  • Keep track of time.
  • Never wander off alone or out of sight of the Team positioned ashore.
  • Maintain visual contact with Team members.
  • No smoking ashore.
  • Avoid taking items ashore that could become accidental litter: film boxes, tissues, etc.
  • Do not touch animals.
  • If an animal’s behavior changes – you are too close. Although the animal may not show obvious fear, they could still be distressed. Remember, if a bird leaves its nest, the eggs or chicks are at risk.
  • Always give wildlife the right of way.
  • Move slowly and always check behind you.
  • Do not make sudden movements.
  • Keep low if possible – you will appear less threatening to animals and it will also yield better photographs for you.
  • Patience yields the best rewards.
  • Avoid walking on moss beds, lichens, or grasses. They are very delicate and slow growing.
  • Leave nothing but foot prints.

BASIC PRINCIPLE

Do not disturb wildlife, historical remains or the landscape.

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Ravipal Singh

Hi Zelfa, I'm back home in Los Angeles after an incredible nine weeks in South America. 

I had an absolutely fantastic time in Antarctica. The people aboard, expedition staff, Clipper staff, Clipper ship itself, the food, wildlife, Vernadsky, weather, crossing the Antarctic Circle were all absolutely magnificent.

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Raul & Berta

Zelfa,

We had the Trip of our life! it was incredible and we enjoyed it very much!

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Lance and family

Antartica and the Cruise were  beyond our wildest imaginations!! The weather was great and we saw tons of penguins, whales and even orcas. I think I saw five whales breaching. The girls had a blast in the snow. I will always remember having a snowball fight with my girls in Antarctica. We've recomended you and the ship to some friends. Here are some pictures from our adventures.

Lance and family, on board the M/V Ushuaia DEC 31,2017

Talk to Zelfa

For more information please contact Zelfa:

E-mail: antartida@antartida.com.br

Phone Brasil: + 55.51. 3334.5479

Phone Argentina: + 54.11. 4806.6326

 

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