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It's always best to book with a local company that is directly involved in setting up your tours. PatagoniaHero specializes in organizing trips across Chile and to Antarctica and our main office is in Santiago Chile. All of our representatives have travelled and trekked in Patagonia and are familiar with all aspects of the trips to Antarctica. We offer cruises to Antarctica in partnership with Antarctica21 who facilitates the operations. All cruises are on small ships so you can be assured that you'll get less time waiting, and more time exploring with fast and efficient embarkation and disembarkation.
We have a high staff to traveller ratio, meaning you'll be well taken care of by a well-staffed team of passionate and engaging veteran Antarctic aircraft pilots, experienced sea captains, an international team of polar guides and academics, and a team of seasoned travel professionals. Our Antarctic Air-Cruises aim to strike that perfect balance between exploration and comfort. Every expedition is uniquely crafted and personalized to give you the best adventure possible. You can contact us anytime, 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we will provide a quick and knowledgeable response. Adventure is our passion and we’re excited to help you plan yours. (Meet The Team)
Due to the cold and unyielding nature of the Antarctic there is only one season in which we run air-cruises, the austral Summer (End of November to Early March). During this time daytime temperatures on the peninsula can reach upwards of 10 C or 50 F. During this time the continent receives nearly 24 hours of daylight. If you are looking to do some excellent whale watching, February is the best time to go.
Yes, but keep in mind that weather conditions are unpredictable and that safety is always our paramount concern. As such, while it is not likely, delays and cancellations can happen. Fortunately we have a comprehensive contingency plan in place in case of any unexpected changes to the trip. (See the details)
Spots on the Antarctica Air Cruises are competitive and can sell out well in advance of the season. As space is limited bookings should be as far in advance as possible, and at least 120 days in advance of the departure date. If you have a limited travel window for the season please contact us early to discuss options.
If a reservation is made less than 120 days prior to the departure date, the total cost of the tour is due at once, as is the Participation Form. Failure to comply with any of these requirements will result in cancellation and withholding the return of all payments received.
The official expedition language of our Air-Cruises is English. The voyage will take travellers to remote destinations where communication with our polar guides is essential. In the interest of safety and for the enjoyment of the experience we strongly recommend that travellers who do not understand English are accompanied by someone who does, such as a friend, a family member, or a Tour Leader.
Children as young as 8 years old may participate if accompanied by a responsible adult. A 5% discount is offered for children aged 8-12. Participants 75 years of age and older must submit a medical certificate.
Our air-cruise expeditions are suitable for adventurous travellers who enjoy full mobility and reasonably good health. Participants should understand that there are certain known and unknown hazards involved in Antarctic voyages. Guests are travelling to remote areas without sophisticated medical facilities. If you do have prescriptions make sure to bring sufficient quantity. And if you have any questions on specific health related issues please ask us.
As no one owns the Antarctic continent, a visa is not required. Chile and Argentina both have specific requirements. Please read our blog post: Getting to Antarctica.
Most nations do not require a visa to enter Chile or Argentina. However, in Chile Australians will need to pay a reciprocity fee of $117 USD and Nationals of Mexico need to pay a reciprocity fee of $23 USD. A valid passport and return ticket is required regardless of whether or not you’re required to obtain a visa. Please always check with your local consulate before traveling as visa requirements can change. Please read our blog post: Getting to Antarctica.
Extra expenses not included in the package are: accommodation, meals, excursions and transfers other than those included in the inclusions listed on the package and/or are as applicable with the Contingency Plan corresponding to each voyage, beverages purchased at the ship’s bar, personal travel insurance, wifi, laundry, souvenirs, gratuities, visas for Chile and/or Argentina, passport expenses, and any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable.
Solo travellers can book a single cabin at no additional cost. However if a solo traveler wants a higher level of accommodation an 85%-100% supplement will be added to their rate unless they elect to share with another passenger of the same gender, whom we will pair you with. There is also a single Hotel Room Supplement that varies based on the departure selected. Please inquire at time of reservation.
Our Air-Cruises offer two excellent extra activities for passengers: Sea Kayaking, and Snowshoeing which you can learn more about by clicking on their respective links.
A deposit of $1,500 to $2,500 USD per person (amount depends on the cruise) is made at the time of booking and can be paid by either by wire transfer or by major credit card (3% fee). The balance for the full payment should be made 150 days prior to arrival by wire transfer.
If you cancel the cruise 180 days or more before arrival we charge a $750 fee per/person. Cancellations made closer to the cruise date are subject to higher fees (Please see details).
After paying your deposit of $1,500 to $2500 USD per person (amount depends on the cruise), you must fill out the participation form and pay the full balance 150 days prior to departure.
We require participants to be adequately covered by a travel insurance policy that covers aero-medical evacuation from Antarctica as a result of a medical emergency during the trips, including emergencies related to pre-existing health conditions. We also urge participants to obtain trip cancellation and interruption insurance as well as a luggage insurance policy that covers the cost of repairs or replacement in case their luggage is damaged.
We have a complete Downloadable Packing List or if you want more details visit our blog post on Packing for Antarctic Cruises.
We do not rent any required gear, though we do supply you with a pair of thermal rubber boots before arriving in Antarctica, and if you book the Sea Kayaking or Snowshoeing expedition we will supply you with the necessary equipment.
The maximum weight allowed on the flights to and from Antarctica is 20 kg (44 Lb.) per passenger, including hand luggage. The baggage weight limit is a technical requirement imposed by the flight operation. Unfortunately, it is not possible to purchase extra allowance.
For Classic Antarctica and Polar Circle Air-Cruises, excess luggage will be kept in custody in Punta Arenas and will be handed over to travellers upon their return from Antarctica. The Antarctica Express Air-Cruise starts in Ushuaia and ends in Puenta Arenas so all luggage must be taken. Excess luggage for the Antarctica Express Air-Cruise will be disembarked at Port Williams and will be sent to Punta Arenas by air cargo at the traveller's expense. It will be available for pick up in Punta Arenas upon the traveller's return from Antarctica.
Yes. Airport and hotel transfers are included in the package and one of our representatives will be there to pick you up when you arrive.
Please check the Chilean Visa Website for current regulations (click here).
The hotel we typically use is the Cabo de Hornos Hotel, a modern and comfortable hotel in the historic town of Punta Arenas offering free breakfast, wifi, a fitness lounge, quest laundry and dry cleaning facility, restaurant and bar.
We offer a hotel and transfer package in which we can arrange an additional night for you ensuring your same room. Included in the package is also a dedicated group airport transfer, breakfast, and a drink voucher. The pricing for this package is $295 USD for single accommodation $185 USD for double accommodation and $165 USD for triple accommodation.
We run three different ships; The Magellan Explorer which offers 7 different levels of accommodation, the Ocean Nova which has 3 different levels of accommodation, and the Hebridean Sky which boasts 8 different kinds of accommodation. Regardless of level, each cabin has its own private bathroom with a shower, window, individually controlled heating system, wardrobe or dresser, and depending on the ship many even have their own private balconies and/or sitting areas. You can find additional information about the different rooms and ships offered in our blog post Choosing Your Antarctic Cruise Ship
Yes. Each of our ships offers a number of dedicated Antarctica cruise single cabins, giving solo travellers the best value for single accommodation.
On board, you'll enjoy a generous buffet breakfast and lunch each day. These buffets provide a wide variety of food options to accommodate nearly any dietary restrictions or preferences, if you have any questions or special requests, please let us know.
When the weather and the trip schedule allow, you may also enjoy a BBQ lunch on deck, so you can take in Antarctica's fresh air and beauty while dining. Dinners consist of a three-course plated meal, including soup or salad, a main course, and a dessert, paired with great wine selections. Some main course options include a grilled tuna steak, oven-roasted valley duck, breaded and fried pork escalope, oven-roasted rack of lamb or wild garlic ravioli. Dessert options include meringue nest, tiramisu, coconut pudding, cheesecake crumble, and even ice cream. You can also enjoy afternoon tea and snacks in the lounge.
There is a selection of water, coffee, tea, and juices available throughout the day. Lunch and dinner are accompanied by a selection of twelve premium Chilean wines, paired to on the main courses available on any given day. Also served are Chilean and International beer brands and a variety of soft drinks.
Our experienced onboard culinary team can cater to almost any dietary restriction (except, Kosher and Vegan, unfortunately). If you have any food allergies please be sure to include this information on your trip participation form upon reservation so the team on board can take great care of you.
The Magellan Explorer is outfitted with combo Euro-American electrical outlets with a USB port. Electric outlets on board the Ocean Nova are 220V/50Hz, and are equipped with a standard 2-prong plug or Euro-Plug. Electric outlets on board the Hebridean Sky are 110V/50Hz, and are equipped with standard U.S. two-pin system (type B). Please bring with you the necessary converters and adapters based on this information.
Satellite internet service available at a charge and accessible wirelessly throughout the Magellan Explorer. Aboard the Ocean Nova you can buy an Internet Card with 1 GB with a Speed of 512 kb and a 1 hour hard disconnect for $49.00, a VOIP Phone for $20.00 allowing 60 min to the USA and a little less to other countries or an Iridium Card allowing for 45 min. Email can be purchased as well with a setup fee of $12. The Hebridean Sky wifi cost is 45 USD (500m) & 90 USD (1gb).
Each room on board comes with its own private bathroom and shower.
There are no facilities aboard the ship to do laundry. However, the hotel does have a guest laundry room.
Safety is paramount to us, and as such, not only do we have a team of experienced expeditioners and professionals evaluating conditions each day to make for the safest and most enjoyable experience, there is also a mandatory safety and guidelines briefing on Day 1 of the itinerary. There is also a basic medical clinic aboard each vessel, lifeboats, and several safety measures and plans put into place.
The white snowy landscape of the antarctic reflects the sun's bright UV rays so it's important to bring sunscreen with a high SPF, lip balm with SPF and polarized sunglasses.
In the case of a medical problem arising during the tour, including those related to pre-existing conditions, which results in costs for evacuation or repatriation, the responsibility for payment of these costs belongs solely to the passenger. We require that such eventualities are covered by travel insurance. If not covered by travel insurance, the responsibility still remains with the passenger.
The average temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula during the summer is about 0°C (32°F), though it can at times feel a lower due to the wind chill factor.
Because most landings are “wet landings” you’ll want knee-high water boots on excursions. We will provide you with these, a pair of thermal rubber boots, before arriving in Antarctica. You’ll want to bring your own comfortable shoes as well for lounging onboard the ship.
There are no required immunizations however all travellers should be up to date on their routine vaccinations such as hepatitis A and B, typhoid, influenza, etc. Check with your doctor to make sure you're up to date.
If the outbound flight to Antarctica is delayed the group will remain in Punta Arenas until there’s an improvement in the weather. During this time we will take care of accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar, meals, and guided excursions to local attractions. If by 2 PM on Day 4 of the itinerary it is still impossible to fly to Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted and the cruise fare will be refunded. If the return flight to Punta Arenas is delayed the group will remain in Antarctica and wait for the opportunity to fly to Punta Arenas. In the extremely unlikely event that the delay exceeds 2 days and the weather forecast indicates the impossibility to fly over several more days, the captain of the vessel may decide to sail back to South America. Included are meals and accommodation on the ship, and local excursions. Travellers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of their airline tickets or onward travel plans which is why we suggest some cushion days before and after your cruise.
We have several contingency plans in place, such as the two outlined in the above “What happens if flights to or from Antarctica are delayed?” Also in some cases it may be necessary to move the Antarctic flight forward to the afternoon or evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. This will result in early departure from Punta Arenas and early arrival in Antarctica. In some cases when the forecast suggests the likelihood of unfavourable weather conditions in Antarctica persisting for several days, the flight back to Punta Arenas may be moved forward to the previous evening as a way to avoid a protracted delay in Antarctica. Accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar is included upon arrival. All other inclusions will remain as per the original itinerary. (See more details)
We suggest you bring enough money to take care of any accommodation, meals, excursions and transfers other than those included in the itinerary, beverages purchased at the ship’s bar, wifi, laundry, souvenirs, gratuities, and any other additional extra expenses.
$15 USD per person per day is suggested.
In general no as long as you are willing to share your cabin. If a solo traveller wanted to book accommodation other than a single cabin, and they didn’t want to be roomed with another person, they would be required to pay a supplement depending on the desired room type. There is also a single Hotel Room Supplement that varies based on the departure selected. Please inquire at time of reservation.
Please review current policies on our terms of service page. If the full payment and participation form is not received 120 days before the departure date, we reserve the right to cancel the booking and withhold return of all payments received. We reserve the right to cancel a tour prior to the scheduled date of departure for any reason whatsoever, and in this event a full refund will be given. You must plan to arrive with a flight that is scheduled to land in Punta Arenas no later than 2 PM on Day 1 of the itinerary. Travellers who miss the 2 PM arrival deadline will be considered “no-show”. They will not be able to participate in the expedition and will receive no refund. Protect your travel investment by building some buffer in your travel plans in case of problems with luggage delivery, flight delays etc. In case your flight into Punta Arenas is delayed for reasons beyond your control, we will do everything possible to accommodate your late arrival. However we cannot assume any responsibility for any resulting complications, including your inability to join the expedition. We recommend you purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance policy to cover this risk.
We at PatagoniaHero offer several amazing treks and tours in Chile. In particular we have some excellent tours that will give you a chance to experience a slice of the culture and you can view those here: Tours In Patagonia