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Trails of Antarctica & Patagonia

A combination of  ‘Wild Antarctica featuring the Weddell Sea’ + ‘Patagonia Discovery Trek’

Departure Date: 17 February – 11 March 2026 | 23 days

Departure/Arrival: Punta Arenas, Chile – Punta Arenas, Chile

Voyage code: VTC095S

Voyage type: Expedition + Trek

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Price: from USD $26,495 (Aurora Stateroom Superior)

Call us on +44 808 189 2005 for full pricing and special offers!

Summary

Welcome to AE Expeditions’ Trails of Antarctica & Patagonia expedition.

Adventure lovers can aim to tick two boxes off their bucket list with this unique expedition combining an Antarctic voyage with a trek through Chile and Argentina’s Patagonian region. During your Antarctic portion, witness spectacular, towering cliffs and glittering icebergs, see playful penguins and ice seals such as leopard and crabeater seals resting on ice floes. Then shake off your sea legs with a small-group trek, focusing on the natural wonder and stunning sights of Los Glaciares National Park and Torres del Paine National Park. With any luck the curious local wildlife will welcome you to their adventure playground!

Level 2 – Moderate Hiking: Some difficult terrain. Can have multiple ‘long’ hiking days in a row (‘long’ hiking day is considered 5+ hours). Use of support vehicle for luggage. Hiking experience necessary and good health and fitness are strongly advised. Medical form signed by your doctor is required.

Highlights

  • With favourable conditions, we hope to experience the incredible sea ice and enormous icebergs in the Weddell Sea.
  • Learn about the incredible fossil-rich volcanic islands from our onboard palaeontologist.
  • Sit mesmerized by Nordenskjöld Lake, just one of the many azure lakes and milky tarns visited during the trek portion
  • Enjoy fresh king crab in Puerto Natales, gateway to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Enjoy close encounters with friendly guanacos

Gallery

AE Expeditions operates in remote and challenging environments, and in the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage you to adopt a flexible and adventurous attitude when joining our voyages. This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change due to weather, sea state and other conditions beyond our control.

In Patagonia we stay in a range of comfortable hotels and in the National Parks we stay in basic, but comfortable, hosterias or lodges, with ensuite bathroom facilities. Please be aware that the hotel standards are very different in South America, especially in Patagonia, with small rooms and basic facilities. Reservations have to be made well in advance and it is not unusual for hotels to be overbooked.

Itinerary

Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative of AE Expeditions and transferred to our hotel. We ask that you arrive no later than 2:00pm so that you may attend our important briefing this evening.

Please visit the AE Expeditions hospitality desk in the lobby between 2:00pm – 6:00pm to collect your luggage tags. Our team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information about where to dine or purchase last minute items.

Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world’s most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great blend of cultural backgrounds, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors. It remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile’s rich history. Modern day Punta Arenas is home to many popular restaurants, and bars, offering a mix of local and international fare (meals at your own expense today).

At 7.00 pm this evening, meet your fellow expeditioners at a voyage briefing where we will reconfirm your transfer times for tomorrow, explain the procedures for your flight to King George Island and outline important IAATO regulations for visitors to Antarctica.

This morning we will be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for our charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica (weather permitting). The flight will take approximately one hour and forty-five minutes. On arrival into King George Island our expedition team is on hand to greet you and to prepare you for your Zodiac transfer to the vessel. You will have time to settle into your stateroom before our important safety briefings.

Note: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required for safe take-off and landing. A contingency plan will be applied to your itinerary should your flights not proceed today. Your safety is our upmost priority. We apologise in advance for any delays caused due to this unpredictable situation. Please refer to our terms and conditions for a more detailed explanation.

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.

Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding.

This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea.

With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley where large icebergs try to escape the Weddell Sea through Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.

We hope to experience memorable wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac excursions or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.

Enjoy a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.

With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.

As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and passengers not continuing with the land portion, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.

Expeditioners departing on flights prior to 12.30 pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport, those with flights after 12.30 pm will have the opportunity to explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer, and the transfer procedures and details will be communicated onboard before disembarkation.

Fly to El Calafate to begin your small group trek. On arrival into El Calafate, transfer to the group hotel (details will be provided in your final documents).

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

This township, founded in 1927, is best known as the ‘national capital of the glaciers’ and is the gateway to the Patagonian Los Glaciares National Park including the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Today is at your leisure to explore the town or walk down to Lake Argentino to watch the waterbirds. You will have a briefing in the afternoon to meet your guide and learn about your upcoming adventure, before having the first dinner with your group.

Overnight El Calafate. (D)

This morning, we depart very early to the breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier to watch and listen to the frequent ice calving. Later, we drive across the arid Estepa Patagónica to El Chaltén (approx 4 hours).

The village of El Chaltén is in the north of Los Glaciares National Park and it’s from here that we make our day trips. We enjoy dinner together this evening.

Overnight El Chaltén (B,D)

Over the next two days we enjoy day walks to the base camp of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. Mount Fitz Roy is found at the northern end of the park and is part of a range of bizarre peaks including the needle like rock pinnacle of Cerro Torre. For a climber it looks to be one of the most unclimbed peaks in the world – in fact it was only scaled for the first time in 1974. To the south runs a great chain of massive glaciers that basically follows the line of the Chile/Argentina border.

The dramatic rock spires beckon and our days here will be a highlight of the trip. The beautiful valleys hold crystal clear streams and are home to a multitude of bird life. During the short summer the beech trees and the flowers bloom profusely and we are here at the best time to enjoy it.

Overnight El Chaltén (B,L,D)

Key Trekking Highlights
FITZ ROY BASE CAMP / LAGUNA DE LOS TRES (Los Glaciares National Park)
Difficulty: Medium/High
Description: Short drive to Hostería El Pilar next to Río Blanco 18 kilometres (11 miles) north of El Chaltén. The trail follows Río Blanco, pass Piedras Blancas glacier and up to Río Blanco base camp. Piedras Blancas glacier is a hanging glacier that descends from the base of Fitz Roy. Lunch stop will be in the vicinity of Río Blanco or Poicenot base camp. To return to town the group will follow the trail and pass Laguna Capri to enjoy even more views of Mount Fitz Roy.
Duration: 8 hours Distance to cover: Approx 20 km (12.5 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 700 metres (2,297 feet)


CERRO TORRE LAGUN & GLACIER (Los Glaciares National Park)
Difficulty: Medium
Description: Hike along the Río Fitz Roy valley to reach the Laguna Torre at the end of the valley. Get as close as non-climbers can get to the mystical Cerro Torre. You will also visit the base camp where climbers wait for the good weather to attempt the climb.
Duration: 7 hours Distance to cover: Approx 22 km (13.7 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 250 metres (820 feet)

Today, we leave El Chaltén and Argentina as we cross the border into Chile, driving across the pampas to Puerto Natales. Set on the shores of Seno Última Esperanza, this city is the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. The afternoon is at leisure and this evening you may like to sample King Crab in one of the seafood restaurants.

Overnight Puerto Natales. (B)

This morning we leave Puerto Natales and journey towards Torres del Paine National Park and its fabulous scenery. We board a boat and travel down the fjord, pausing at the Balmaceda Glacier en-route. We then change onto Zodiacs and continue along the Serrano River before reaching Torres del Paine.

Overnight Villa Serrano (B,L,D)

Over the next few days we plan to view the highlights of the park on foot. The first day we explore the park on a bus to reach the most remote areas, with stops for short treks. On the second day we will do a long and amazing trek to reach the base of Las Torres peaks.

The next two nights are spent in Torres del Paine National Park (B,L,D)

NOTE: The trekking level will depend on the group’s level of fitness, bearing in mind that many of the highlights of these parks require a 7-8 hour walk (round trip). There are other walks we can choose which are easier and provide excellent views of the parks, however as with any trek, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the day. The whole experience of trekking in Patagonia will spoil you!

KEY TREKKING HIGHLIGHTS
LAS TORRES BASE (Torres del Paine National Park)
Difficulty: Medium/High
Description: You will explore the Ascencio Valley, walking through a beautiful Lenga forest and getting up close to the astounding Torres del Paine viewpoint. Throughout the trek you will walk through bushes, streams and glacier moraines.
Duration: 7 hours Distance to cover: Approx 20 km (12.5 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 900 metres (2,953 feet)

We drive for approximately 3-4 hours across the steppes following the face of the Andes. The scenery is breathtaking, with great rolling hills dotted with stunted beech trees. We plan to arrive in Punta Arenas in the late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure, with time for last minute shopping or indulging the ‘dulce de leche’ a dessert you will by now be familiar with!

Overnight in Punta Arenas (B,D)

Today your expedition throughout Antarctica and Patagonia will end in Punta Arenas. Transfer to the airport, or contact us if you wish you extend your adventure in the region. (B)

Voyage Inclusions

  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Punta Arenas on Day 1.
  • Charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island.
  • Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily stateroom service.
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during on board the ship.
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner on board the ship.
  • Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
  • Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
  • One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
  • Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information.
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
  • Wi-Fi (please note we travel to remote regions and therefore the connection can be unreliable).

Trek Inclusions

  • 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 8 dinners
  • Flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate
  • Standard to Superior hotel and lodge accommodation throughout
  • Private transport
  • All guide fees and National Park entrance costs
  • English-speaking local guides
  • Trip accompanied by AE Expeditions trek leader

Exclusions

  • International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes.
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
  • Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
  • All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), gratuities, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.

Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or adjust the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’. 

Activities

Included Activities

Telescope

Bird watching

Lecture

Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations

Group 808

Near shore cruises

Camera

Photography

Snorkel

Polar plunge

Trips ashore

Trips ashore

Walking

Walking & hiking

Whale

Whale and mammal spotting

Zodiac

Zodiac cruises

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Staterooms & Prices

Browse our comfortable staterooms and suites below. Please contact us for best pricing and current availability.

Aurora Stateroom Triple Share

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Aurora Stateroom Superior

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Balcony Stateroom Category C

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Balcony Stateroom Category B

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Balcony Stateroom Category A

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Sylvia Earle balcony stateroom superior render

Balcony Stateroom Superior

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Junior Suite

 
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Sylvia Earle captain's suite render

Captain’s Suite

 
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Some stateroom images of the Sylvia Earle are artist’s impressions only and final results may vary.

Prefer a shorter voyage?

‘Trails of Antarctica & Patagonia’ is a combination of the 12-day Wild Antarctica featuring the Weddell Sea & the 10-day Patagonia Discovery Trek. View these itineraries below or contact us for more information.

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