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Flight landing on South Shetland Islands

Air-Cruise Antarctica



8 Days

Prices Start from

£7,900 (ex. flights)

Travel to the Antarctic Peninsula in style, cutting out the conventional two-day ship sailing across the erratic waters of the Drake Passage and opting instead for a two-hour flight from Chilean Patagonia

On arrival in the South Shetland Islands, board an ice-strengthened expedition vessel for an in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula. Ideally suited to those short on time, anxious about four days of sailing crossing the Drake Passage, or keen to arrive on the Great White Continent in style.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Flight landing on King George Island 1

Private Charter Flight

Take a private charter flight from Chile, arriving in Antarctica in less then three hours.

Golden sun over the Drake Passage 2

Skip the Drake Shake

Avoid two days of sailing across the unpredictable Drake Passage.

Scenic flight 3

Ice Sheet from Above

Take in the magnificent scenery of the Drake and the South Shetland Islands from above.

Magellan Explorer, Exterior View, Antarctica 4

Expeditionary Vessels

When in Antarctica, travel on-board an ice-strengthened vessel that will become your base camp.

On a most of our voyages you can get hands on with the citizen science projects to give whole new perspective on your travels. Gathering critical on-site data on a regular basis is a virtually impossible task for individuals and groups wanting to study the region so taking advantage of the vessels that regularly pass through the same region through their season data can be collected on a regular basis.  This may be anything from counting penguins and taking ocean samples to cloud mapping or taking photo identification images for the whale data bank.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Punta Arenas

  • Day 2

    Punta Arenas - King George Island

  • Days 3-6

    Sailing the Antarctic Peninsula

  • Day 7

    King George Island - Punta Arenas

    Depart Antarctica with a flight north to Chile.

  • Day 8

    Punta Arenas

    Depart Punta Arenas or maybe extend your stay in Patagonia

Day 1

Punta Arenas

Arrive in Punta Arenas in time for the evening pre flight briefing.

Day 2

Punta Arenas - King George Island

Golden sun over the Drake Passage

Fly into the Chilean air base at Frei on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands and embarking the ship ready to explore straight away.

Days 3-6

Sailing the Antarctic Peninsula

Adelie Penguins on an Iceberg, Antarctica

Explore the South Shetland Islands before crossing the Bransfield Straight to the Antarctic Peninsula allowing you to set foot on the seventh continent.  Visit penguin colonies, explore research stations and maybe post a letter from Port Lockroy.

Day 7

King George Island - Punta Arenas

Day 8

Punta Arenas

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

Birding, Antarctica

Soar Over the Drake Passage

Board a privately chartered plane in Chilean Patagonia for a scenic two and a half-hour flight over the infamous Drake Passage, spotting cruising vessels beneath you as you go. The sight of the vast continent of pristine white wilderness unfurling below is quite a breathtaking one. In circumventing the potentially stormy stretch of water (its unpredictability often expressed as “the Drake Lake or the Drake Shake”), the air-cruise option wards off potential sea sickness and exchanges two sea days for time on the Peninsula.

Henryk Arctowski Station, King George Island, Antarctica
Henryk Arctowski Station, King George Island, Antarctica

Wait Not, Want Not

Upon landing at King George Island, board a small expeditionary vessel and begin cruising the Antarctic Peninsula in an exclusive group of no more than 73 people. Restrictions on the number of passengers allowed at any one site mean that those travelling on larger ships may have long waits before excursions. In choosing this smaller ship option, bypass taking turns to disembark in favour of spending valuable time exploring the epic proportions, towering icebergs and huge variety of wildlife on offer in the peninsula.

Small group landing, Antarctica
Small group landing, Antarctica

Adventure in Antarctica

Depending on the specific departure, you might find yourself taking a dip in the hot geothermal springs of Pendulum Cove, walking inside the ruins of a Norwegian Whaling Station or bimbling amongst chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island. With each day comes another unique disembarkation, from zodiac safaris to wildlife hikes, ensuring snow-covered boots and hefty appetites at days’ end. We can also arrange small group sea kayaking for those who might like to try and spot a breaching whale up close, and snowshoeing for those seeking an adventure on foot.

Crabeater seal, Antarctic Peninsula
Crabeater seal, Antarctic Peninsula

Discover Endemic Species

From gentoos and humpbacks to king cormorants and minke, the wildlife in Antarctica is varied, plentiful and up close. Thriving in this enchanting territory that contains more than 90% of the planet’s land ice, find macaroni penguins, crabeater seals and the occasional wandering albatross (and compositions that make for a photographers’ dream). On-board expert polar guides are always on hand to identify the species that are present in abundant numbers, and engaging on-board lectures are designed to impart their knowledge of the creatures of Antarctica.

Puma, Patagonia, Chile
Puma, Patagonia, Chile

Extend to Torres del Paine

In shaving a total of four whole days off of your journey time to and from Antarctica, more days are freed to explore the south of Chile! We recommend a journey to Patagonia, particularly Torres del Paine National Park, to experience this iconic landscape and perhaps hike to the base of its three granite towers. For a wildlife-centric trip, consider joining a puma-tracking adventure.

Start planning your trip

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Both telephone and e-mail responses were excellent and all of Sue's expert advice was very much appreciated. She was prompt, supportive and engaging throughout and our expedition to Antarctica was spectacular.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue's in-depth knowledge of Antarctica, the route options and each of the vessels was invaluable in our preparation for the trip and was a strong differentiator when we were choosing a travel agent. When talking with Sue, we quickly got an honest perspective.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue’s extensive first-hand knowledge of Antarctica was so apparent from our first phone call. She was able to help us select the ideal route and vessel for our needs, and with her guidance we were able to see the emperor penguins!

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue forewarned us that there would be no words to describe South Georgia and that our photos wouldn’t do it justice, and how right she was. All we can say is “see for yourself”. Thank you, Sue, for your indispensable advice.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

We were blown away by Sue’s in-depth knowledge of everything from endemic species to the history of Shackleton and his men. No question we had went unanswered, and no little detail was missed.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Ocean Nova £££££

  • Antarctica

Built in 1992 in Denmark and designed to navigate the ice-choked waters off Western Greenland, Ocean Nova has since undergone an extensive refurbishment of cabins. There is an upper glazed observation deck which is perfect for wildlife viewing, a large dining room, a library and a small gym. She carries a fleet of seven zodiacs and offers easy zodiac access from her side step rather than a gangway. The 240-foot-long vessel has capacity for 78 passengers accommodated in comfortable outside cabins over two decks, and all cabins have a picture window and private bathrooms.

View Boat

Magellan Explorer £££££

The 100 passenger Magellan Explorer launched in December 2019 specialising in fly cruise itineraries to Antarctica. During Antarctic fly cruise itineraries the ship will operate with a maximum of 73 passengers. Specific measures have been taken to minimize Magellan Explorer’s carbon footprint, including state-of-the-art low emission engines.

View Boat

Hebridean Sky £££££

Re-launched in early 2016 having undergone a comprehensive refit and upgrade, Hebridean Sky is a 295-foot-long expedition ship that accommodates up to 112 passengers. With the addition of 10 zodiacs and a state-of-the-art stabilization system, a well-stocked library with computers and internet access and a lounge with panoramic views, there is plenty of outdoor deck space and a panoramic top deck observation platform. The suites all offer exterior views, en-suite facilities and a sitting area along with ample storage.

View Boat

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the departure date and cabin type that you choose. There are a number of dates which allow and addition couple  of night to explore further south with the intention of crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Low Season
From £7,790 Per person
High Season
From £24,400 Per person

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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