Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands
Before You Go
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). Temperatures will range from 45º – 55ºF in the sub-Antarctic region, and may get as cold as 30º – 40ºF on the Antarctic Peninsula itself.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. There are also multiple wet landings throughout this itinerary. You must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain (rocky, uneven beaches in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and ice and snow on the Antarctic Peninsula).
This expedition requires a moderate level of exertion. To best enjoy your experiences in Patagonia, you should be in good physical condition and be able to participate on nature hikes of one to five miles over rough or uneven trails. There will be opportunities for hikes of varied lengths.
IMPORTANT: Any major health problem, disability, or physical condition that may require emergency care must be brought to our attention prior to the trip’s departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flights to Buenos Aires/Ushuaia, Argentina three 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.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Upon arrival to Ushuaia, transfers and assistance between the Ushuaia airport and our group hotel, Arakur Resort & Spa, have been arranged for everyone on this expedition.
Please Note: If you are arriving a day early or on the group travel date into the Buenos Aires international airport Ezeiza (EZE) and making a direct connection to the Aeroparque domestic airport (AEP) for a flight to Ushuaia, Zegrahm Expeditions will provide a shuttle transfer between airports for guests staying at the Arakur Resort and Spa.
Transfers between airports in Buenos Aires for the return flight will only be provided for guests departing on our group travel date. Guests will be transferred from the ship to the Ushuaia airport upon disembarkation.
If you are booking your own flights or accommodation, 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. It is essential that we receive your flight details.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions 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. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Pre-Extension: If you are traveling on our pre-extension to Patagonia, upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, you will be transferred to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos. At the end of the pre-extension, you will fly with the pre-extension group to Ushuaia and will be transferred to the Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa.
Baggage restrictions for flights to and from Ushuaia vary per carrier. Aerolineas flights are limited to one checked bag at 33 pounds (15 kilograms) total per person, with carry-on luggage limited to 11 pounds (5 kilograms) per person, plus one small personal item. LAN Argentina flights are limited to two checked bags at 50 pounds (23 kilograms) total per person with one small personal carry-on bag. Extra weight can be purchased directly from the airline at airport check in on the day of departure. However, if you purchase an international through fare with Delta, you are you are allowed their standard international luggage requirements. Please contact our in-house Air Department for details on your specific luggage allowance.
Pre-Extension: If you are traveling on our pre-extension trip to Patagonia, the same baggage limitations apply.
If you are traveling independently and plan on meeting the group, 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 your essential toiletries with you, as well as 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.
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 may experience mostly cloudy days, high winds, and chance rain showers. The Scotia Sea around South Georgia and the Falkland Islands is quite cold, resulting in a cool, windy climate during the start of the year. You should also expect a cold, windy climate in Antarctica; though low humidity and slight chance of sunny days can make the day feel warm, temperatures will still be below freezing. Be prepared for wet weather during our voyage as well. Please also note that temperatures will feel colder during longer zodiac cruises, so dressing in multiple layers will help you stay warm.
The following are average high/low temperatures in January for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Ushuaia, Argentina||55ºF (13ºC)||42ºF (5ºC)|
|Falkland Islands||56ºF (13ºC)||47ºF (8ºC)|
|South Georgia||45ºF (7ºC)||36ºF (2ºC)|
|Antarctic Peninsula||37ºF (2ºC)||31º F (-0.5ºC)|
The weather in Patagonia is notoriously changeable. The Andes bisect the region and create a dramatic rain shadow effect to the east, with dry cold winds often sweeping down from the mountains. In the higher elevations, temperatures can dip below freezing at night and tend to climb into the 50sºF (10ºC) and 60sºF (15.5ºC) during the day. Be prepared for strong sun and high winds; even in the drier areas, rain should be expected at any time.
The following are average high/low temperatures in January for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Punta Arenas, Chile||58ºF (14ºC)||45ºF (7ºC)|
|Calafate, Argentina||64ºF (18ºC)||49ºF (9ºC)|
The British pound is the standard currency on board the Island Sky. Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. Most credit cards and traveler’s checks are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts.
The currency of Argentina is the Argentine 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 2018, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||.78 British Pounds (GBP)|
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||29.94 Argentine Peso (ARS)|
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||.75 Falkland Island Pounds (FKP)|
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||660.60 Chilean Peso (CLP) – Pre-Extension|
AATMs 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.
You will receive your pre-departure information—including a complete packing list and gift certificate—approximately five months prior to departure. You will receive your final documents information—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical currents are as follows:
- Argentina 220V/50Hz with Type I
- Island Sky 110V/60Hz with Type A
- Chile — Patagonia Pre-Extension 220V/50Hz with Type C &L
PLEASE NOTE: Most modern electronics (cell phones, computers, and tablets) are dual voltage and don’t require a converter and adapter. 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.
Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions 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.
If you are booked on the pre-extension trip to Patagonia, you will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Punta Arenas and El Calafate/Ushuaia where you will then connect with the Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands group.
At this time, no inoculations or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition.
We suggest that you 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. Your doctor may recommend a flu shot, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and diphtheria inoculations. This will vary by guest and can only be advised by a medical professional.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
The Southern Ocean, and specifically the Drake Passage, are notorious for rough seas. If you are prone to motion-sickness, consult with your physician to determine the best remedy. The ship’s doctor onboard will have sea-sickness medicine, but it is best to bring your own as well.
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 outdoors for long periods of time, so take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized 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 https://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.
Internet & Phone
Your final documentation will include contact information for our group hotel. The Island Sky offers Wi-Fi for all guests at no additional cost and has two computers available on board.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00am on the North American west coast:
|7:00 a.m.||Seattle, WA (PST)|
|10:00 a.m.||New York, NY (EST)|
|12:00 p.m.||Argentina (ART) & the Falkland Islands (FKST)|
|1:00 p.m.||South Georgia (GST)|
|12:00 p.m.||Chile (CLST) — Pre-Extension|
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
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 (no dry cleaning), and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.
Clothing on Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended. Typically, there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: The Captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate attire and men may choose to dress business casual. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.
On this expedition, warm, waterproof clothing will be needed for shore excursions, as temperatures may be at freezing or below in some places. Bring a few pairs of pants, comfortable shirts, at least one pullover or sweater, multiple base layers, and long underwear. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, long pants (no denim), and turtlenecks or sweaters 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 can escape from your body. Zegrahm provides a complimentary Antarctic Parka for all guests on this voyage. Click here to order your free parka online. Please Note: The parka will be shipped to the address you provided. Parkas will NOT be sent to the Island Sky.
- 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 areas that have more surface area in comparison to total mass – such as the 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 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.
A limited number of waterproof, knee-high “Bog” brand boots will be available on board the Island Sky. However, we recommend you bring your own boots for best comfort and fit and in the event your shoe size is not available.
Waterproof, knee-high boots are essential for 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,” “Neos” brand, 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.
Recently adopted regulations prohibit any Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone of any kind on South Georgia and in Antarctica.
Bring loose, comfortable clothing appropriate for the variable conditions you will encounter. Bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, including a hat or visor and sunblock, as we will be out for extended periods of time. Being out early in the morning or later in the evening will result in cooler temperatures, so dress accordingly. It is highly recommended to dress in layers for added comfort and wardrobe versatility.
There will be opportunities for hikes of varied lengths, so bring sturdy, non-skid, waterproof walking or hiking boots. Otherwise, comfortable walking shoes or light hiking boots are recommended. Please make sure your shoes are well broken-in before you depart. Also, keep in mind that it is very likely we will encounter a rain shower on our excursions, as the weather in Patagonia is unpredictable. It is possible to experience all four seasons in one day, so be sure to pack accordingly.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six months after you return home, through August 14, 2019. 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 available per country in your passport for entry/exit stamps.
As of January 1, 2016, the U.S. State Department no longer allows additional pages to be inserted into passports. If your passport is nearly full, and you have insufficient pages for this expedition, then a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information pagewhen you travel.
Visas are not required of U.S. nationals for entry Great Britain (South Georgia and the Falkland Islands) or Argentina if traveling per the group arrangements of the expedition.
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 US 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.
Payments & Cancellations
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 US dollars and must be paid in US 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
- 1 through 119 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 & 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. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. A gift certificate to our Zegrahm Store will offer you the opportunity to purchase essential trip gear from our store. The certificate will be emailed to you approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificate for more details.