Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands

January 16, 2015 - February 6, 2015
January 7, 2016 - January 28, 2016

Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.

Activity Level

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain (rocky, uneven beaches in the sub-Antarctic islands, and occasional ice and snow on the Antarctic Peninsula).

IMPORTANT: Any major health problem, disability, or physical condition that may require emergency care must be brought to our attention prior to trip departure.

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Arrivals and Departures

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures

Please arrive at the airport for your flight at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Airlines change flight times frequently and Zegrahm will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier, if you booked your flights through Zegrahm. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure, which can be easily done online. This will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.

Arrival / Departure Transfers

Transfers and assistance between the Ushuaia airport and our group hotel are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates or who have booked extra nights through Zegrahm.

If you are arriving into the international airport in Buenos Aires, known as Ezeiza (airport code EZE) and need to make a direct connection on a flight to Ushuaia which departs out of the domestic airport known as Aeroparque (airport code – AEP), Zegrahm Expeditions will make arrangements with our land operator in Argentina to ensure that you are transferred between airports. It will be essential, therefore, that we receive your flight details.

If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.

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Baggage Allowanceimportant

Due to operational restrictions, flights to and from Ushuaia are limited to two checked bags at 50 pounds (23 kilograms) total per person. Carry-on luggage is limited to 17 pounds (8 kilograms) per person, plus one small personal item. Extra weight can be purchased directly from the airline at airport check-in on the day of departure.

Pre-Extension

If you are traveling on our Pre-Extension trip, domestic baggage restrictions apply to travel with-in Argentina. Baggage is restricted to two checked bags for a total weight of 33 pounds (15 kilograms total) per person. Carry-on baggage is limited to 11 pounds (5 kilograms).

If you are traveling independently and plan on meeting the group in South America, you will need to inquire about baggage restrictions with the airline you have booked.

We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store in the limited cabin space on board the ship. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.

PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.

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Climate

It will be summer in the Southern Hemisphere at the time of this expedition. Though typically mild during this time of year, the weather in Ushuaia varies and you might experience sunshine, high winds, and rain showers all in the same day. The Scotia Sea around South Georgia and the Falkland Islands is quite cold, resulting in a cool, windy climate during the summer months. You should also expect a cold, windy climate in Antarctica; though low humidity and sunny days can make the day feel warm, temperatures will still be below freezing. Be prepared for wet weather during our voyage as well.

If you wish to do your own research on the region’s climate, you may want to check local weather conditions on the Internet, the Weather Channel, or Accuweather shortly before departure.

The following are average high/low temperatures in January and February for selected locations on our itinerary:

 

High

Low
Ushuaia, Argentina

60º

42º
Falkland Islands 58º 45º
South Georgia 46º 39º
Antarctic Peninsula 37º 31º

Please be advised that the information above is not an exact forecast and unpredictable weather changes may occur at any time.

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Currency

The U.S. dollar is the standard currency on board the Sea Spirit.  Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations of U.S. dollars. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your American Express, Visa, or MasterCard credit card.

The currency of Argentina is the Argentina peso (ARS); the Falkland Island pound (FKP) is the unit of currency in the Falkland Islands, and its exchange rate is on par with the British pound, also in circulation in the Falklands. As of August 2014, the exchange rates are:

$1 US dollar (USD)

8.27 Argentine peso (ARS)

$1 US dollar (USD) 0.59 Falkland Island pound (FKP)

ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency, especially in Ushuaia, if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card. Please have some cash available as a back-up; make sure bills are crisp, new, and without rips or holes. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs.

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Departure Tax

Please note that a “reciprocity” fee applies to all U.S. and Canadian nationals entering Argentina, and that a one-time payment of $160.00 must be paid in U.S. dollars by credit card ONLINE before you arrive in Argentina. Once paid, you must print out the receipt and present it to the Argentine immigration officer at the time of entry. The fee is valid for ten years from the date of payment and multiple entries.

1

To pay the reciprocity fee, please visit the following website:
http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/templates/reciprocidad/reciprocidad.htm

 
You must make this payment online before arriving in Argentina, as it is the only way to comply with this requirement.
2 Register and fill out the form with your personal data and credit card information (Visa, American Express or Master Card are accepted). The National Directorate of Immigration in Argentina will receive this information electronically.
3 Print the receipt. This receipt will be valid immediately, as soon as payment is made. A copy of the receipt is also automatically sent to your e-mail account. In case you do not find it in the Inbox, please check the Spam as well.
4 Upon arrival in Argentina, this receipt must be presented to immigration officers.
5 The receipt will be scanned by the immigration control officers, who will verify the data and authorize entry to Argentina.
6 The fee is valid for 10 years from the date of payment, and for multiple entries for U.S. citizens.
7 If you require further information, please send an e-mail to consular@embassyofargentina.us or call BApro pagos help desk: + 54 (11) 5080-3030 Mon-Fri from 9 AM to 9 PM EST.

The receipt should be kept as proof of payment, as it allows future entries into Argentina without incurring the charge again. You might be asked to show your receipt at the airport when departing the country at the end of the program. For American and Canadian nationals only, it is valid for the life of the passport. Those who paid the reciprocity charge on a prior flight to Argentina using their current passport should also bring their receipts, as this will allow entry without repayment.

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Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior.

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Electricity

The electrical currency in Ushuaia and onboard the Sea Spirit is 110V. If you are bringing standard, North American appliances with you, bring a converter and a European, round, 2-prong adapter.

PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.

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Extending Your Stay

Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information.

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Flight Information

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Buenos Aires/Ushuaia and Ushuaia/Buenos Aires/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

Airlines change flight times frequently and Zegrahm will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure, which can be done easily online. This will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.

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Health Informationimportant

At this time no inoculations or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition. However, it is strongly suggested that you have an up-to-date flu shot, hepatitis A vaccination, tetanus, and diphtheria inoculations. People who travel frequently to international destinations should also consider vaccinations or boosters against meningitis, typhoid, measles, and polio. Please check with your doctor or local travel clinic to determine what is right for you. Obtain inoculations at least four to six weeks before departure for shots to take effect.

Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.

The most common health problem passengers may encounter is what is known as Traveler’s Diarrhea, which can vary from mild to extreme cases. Anti-diarrhea tablets (Imodium or Lomatil) should be carried as a precautionary measure against upset stomachs, but we strongly suggest that you also bring along an antibiotic that can help you resolve the problem quickly and get you back to enjoying the expedition. Consult with your physician about what medications will be best for your use.

Protect yourself against dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. This can prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. We will be out of doors for long periods, so take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.

The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.

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Internet and Phone

Contact information will be included in your final document package.

There are two computers in the Library with internet access and Wi-Fi is available throughout the Sea Spirit. Internet cards are available and rates will be posted on board.

While access to Wi-Fi has improved, connection may be slow and cannot always be guaranteed.

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Local Time

Following is a sample of local times during this expedition when it is 7:00a.m. on the North American West Coast:

7:00a.m.

Seattle, WA (PDT)

10:00a.m. New York, NY (EDT)
12:00p.m. Argentina & the Falkland Islands
2:00p.m. South Georgia

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Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet and we will do our best to prepare for them.  Unfortunately kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

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Packing Suggestions

General Information

It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly. Laundry service is available, and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended.

The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin.

Expedition Clothing

On our itinerary, warm, waterproof clothing will be needed for shore excursions, as temperatures may be at freezing or below in places. Bring a few pairs of pants, comfortable shirts, at least one pullover or sweater, and long underwear. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and turtlenecks or sweater that can be layered on top will add warmth. The following tips will help you stay warm in cold weather:

  • In wet weather, wear a waterproof outer shell that will keep you dry on the outside but still “breathes” enough so that moisture from your body can escape.
  • Dress in layers. Air is a very good insulator. It is better to trap air in several layers of light, loose clothing than in one or two heavy layers. Wool, silk, polar fleece, and other synthetic fabrics are much more effective in trapping air than cotton. When damp or wet, polyester down is a better insulator than goose or duck down.
  • Body heat is most likely to be lost from parts that have a lot of surface area in comparison to total mass – namely, head, hands, and feet. Keep them warm and dry. For hands, mittens are better than gloves; for feet, thermal socks are a must. Even if all the rest of your body is covered, as much as 90 percent of the heat you lose can come from your head, so be sure to wear a hat.

Waterproof, knee-high boots are essential on wet landings, as you will be stepping from the Zodiac onto the shore in wet or surf conditions. If your feet get wet, they will lose heat rapidly, so your boots need to be waterproof. Muck Boot brand, Arctic Sport model are HIGHLY recommended.  Do not bring “moon boots” or leather boots. Once ashore, excursions can involve a fair amount of walking and hiking over uneven terrain and on trails where paths may be damp or icy. Where conditions warrant, your Expedition Leader will advise when walking or hiking shoes are to be used. Make sure your hiking shoes or boots are sturdy with non-skid soles.  Please see your packing check list for options to purchase or rent boots and additional recommended gear.

Special Restrictions

PLEASE NOTE: Recently adopted regulations prohibit flying any Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone of of any kind without a specially arranged permit both on South Georgia or in Antarctica.

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Payments and Cancellations

Reservations

A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars and must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
  • 60 through 119 days prior to departure: 50% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 59 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare

Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition.

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Passport and Visa Requirementsimportant

Passport

A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least three (3) months after you return home, May 6, 2015. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. Please be sure you have at least one page for each country visited available in your passport for entry/exit stamps, and secure additional pages if necessary.  We suggest that you carry a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.

Visas

Visas are not required of U.S. or Canadian nationals for entry into Great Britain (South Georgia and the Falkland Islands) or Argentina if traveling per the group arrangements of the expedition.

However, an entry fee of up to US $160 is charged for many nationalities entering Argentina via an international flight. Please see the Departure Taxes and Entry Fees section for specific information regarding this tax and other airport fees.

If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the voyage, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.

PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the USA should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

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With Our Compliments

Each traveler will receive a specially designed parka for this expedition. There is also a gift certificate to Longitude Books where you will have the opportunity to choose from books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. Information on obtaining these items will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure.

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