Antarctica: the Final Frontier
Cruise next to giant blue icebergs, walk amongst vast colonies of penguins & learn how to photograph the pristine wilderness
Antarctica: the Final Frontier
About your trip
Follow in the footsteps of great explorers like Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton as you journey to the most remote continent on earth on this 15-day Polar adventure.
Aboard your sturdy expedition ship, you’ll voyage across the mighty Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans collide. You’ll visit the remote South Shetland Islands, filled with historical sites and wildlife, and you’ll step foot on the Antarctic Peninsula: a true bucketlist moment.
Together with your group of like-minded solo travellers, you’ll witness landscapes of breathtaking beauty and forge lifelong connections through incredible shared experiences. Think Zodiac excursions across icy waters dwarfed by brilliant blue icebergs, witnessing the march of clumsy penguin colonies shuffling across frozen shores, or photographing pods of graceful orcas as they glide silently through mirror-still bays.
It’s no exaggeration to say, after 15 days you’ll return home indelibly changed. Journeying to the Seventh Continent isn’t just a checklist adventure. This is Earth’s final frontier.
Please note that the cruise itinerary will vary, depending on ice and weather conditions. Sea kayaking and wild camping are optional activities with limited availability; we strongly advise booking early. Contact our sales team to secure your place.
- 14 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 12 dinners
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 11-day Antarctic cruise (114 passengers)
- Visitor permit for Antarctica
- Arrival airport transfer
- Local transport
- 2 domestic flights
- ATOL protected
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Cold weather kit including coat and boots
- Experienced Pack Leader and expedition guides
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, international flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Cocktails in Buenos Aires
Welcome to Buenos Aires, one of South America’s largest and most beautiful cities. The wide leafy boulevards, infused with tango and football passion, makes a fitting starting point for your adventure. Touching down at the airport, you’ll be met by a private Flash Pack transfer and transported to your boutique hotel in one of the city’s most popular barrios. Here, you’ll meet your Pack Leader and group before heading out to get to know each other over a hands-on evening of cocktail-making and Argentinean cuisine. Raise a toast of mate (the friendship drink) with your fellow Flashpackers as you share the excitement of the journey to come.
Day 02 Capital city immersion
Rested, refuelled and ready to explore, you’ll get your bearings this morning on a sightseeing tour of the city. Buenos Aires is famed for its eclectic architecture, with ornate Italianate buildings and Parisian-style palaces dwarfed by gleaming state-of-the-art skyscrapers. Starting at Recoleta cemetery (where you’ll find Eva Peron’s grave), you’ll visit the historic Plaza de Mayo to admire the pink presidential Casa Rosada. The working class districts of La Boca and Barracas beckon, with their colourful houses and street art, followed by the old cobbled alleys of artistic San Telmo. Finish with a traditional lunch at a bodegón, where you’ll sample the city’s unique culinary fusion, shaped by its cosmopolitan culture.
Day 03 South to Ushuaia
Today, you fly south to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and gateway to the Antarctic. After checking in at your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day free to explore this vibrant port city and pioneering adventure hub. Take a boat out to Seal Island to see Ushuaia from the water. Visit the Museo del Fin del Mundo for an introduction to local history and wildlife. Or stroll past the brightly coloured zinc buildings to Bahía Lapataia for serene views and a peaceful place to pause and reflect. For dinner tonight, there’s a wide choice of ‘End of the World’ restaurants, featuring Patagonian lamb and typical Tierra del Fuegian seafood.
Day 04 Sail through the Beagle Channel
The morning is yours to pick up any last-minute supplies, but remember you’ll receive your very own parka and waterproof boots to protect you from the elements. After lunch, you’ll transfer to your four-star expedition vessel. Get settled into your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home for the next 11 days. Once underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with briefings and lectures from your expedition staff. Join your group for an à la carte dinner before stepping out onto the open deck to soak up the gorgeous scenery as you sail through the Beagle Channel. Your Antarctic adventure has begun.
Day 05 Across the Drake Passage
Passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, you’ll begin the two-day journey across the Drake Passage. Travelling across open sea, you might experience large swells in this notoriously unpredictable body of water. However, your ship is kitted out with GPS technology and advanced stabilisation systems to ensure a safe crossing. Along the way, there’ll be plenty to keep you occupied, including a bar, restaurant, gym, outdoor jacuzzi and library, as well as BBQ and quiz nights. You can even hang out with the captain on the ‘bridge’ for an insight into polar navigation or simply enjoy the panoramic view from the ship’s high-tech control centre.
Day 06 The South Shetland Islands
Wake up to a buffet breakfast as you continue your journey across the Drake Passage, keeping your eyes peeled for the wealth of wildlife that inhabits these choppy waters. The Antarctic Convergence (the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean) is rich in krill, sustaining large numbers of marine mammals, including dolphins, humpback and fin whales. The open decks and balconies also offer prime views of the wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds that often accompany the ship. Arriving in the South Shetland Islands on the evening of your second day at sea, you’ll welcome the calm conditions and sight of land as you draw closer to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Day 07 Antarctic exploration
You’ll spend the next five days exploring the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic mainland. With a rota of morning and afternoon activities including Zodiac boat trips, shore landings and hiking excursions, you’ll become fully immersed in the incredible frozen wilderness, feeling like an intrepid explorer. Gaze in awe at the picturesque Gerlache Strait, a spectacular white landscape of colossal icebergs and bustling penguin colonies. Feel dwarfed by nature at the famous Lemaire Channel – known as the Kodak Gap for the photogenic way the narrow channel reflects the image of sheer snowy mountains.
Day 08 Antarctic exploration
In addition to your core activities, you’ll have the chance to take part in some optional excursions*, for a different perspective of the landscape. Protected by giant icebergs, the waterways around the Antarctic Peninsula often offer glass-still conditions, perfect for sea kayaking. Paddling through the crystalline waters, you’ll be able to get right up close to natural ice castles and might spot curious wildlife swimming under and around your kayak. Or perhaps, you’d prefer a wild camping experience, spending a night out on the pristine ice, sleeping under the polar stars? *Be sure to book early as these activities have limited availability and will be sold on a first-come first-served basis.
Day 09 Antarctic exploration
Another day of exploring awaits. This vast empty continent is a haven for wildlife, and much of it is unafraid of humans. King George Island is home to large colonies of Adélie and chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls, blue-eyed cormorants, Antarctic terns and southern giant petrels, as well as a handful of remote scientific research bases. On Livingston Island, macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguins live alongside broad-nosed elephant seals. Depending on the time of year, the penguins might be busy nesting, diving or huddling around their fluffy chicks – but beware! Where seals and penguins congregate on ice floes, orcas, minke whales and leopard seals are never far away.
Day 10 Antarctic exploration
As part of your expedition, you’ll have the chance to spend time with a professional photographer, who will show you how to capture the countless beautiful scenes. Icebergs in every shade of white and blue, sparkling bays reflecting towering peaks and immense glaciers, beaches crowded with seals or penguins, and endless sunsets over unbroken horizons – all present fantastic photographic opportunities. You’ll learn to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing. With cold, bright conditions and stunning backdrops, you’re sure to come home with some spectacular images of this surreal and monumental landscape.
Day 11 Antarctic exploration
Setting foot on the Seventh Continent is a profoundly moving experience. You might not have endured the hardship of the early expeditions, but your journey south has been substantial and you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the deafening silence and sheer beauty that you’ll witness at the very end of the earth. After having your photo taken with the Antarctic flag, allow yourself a quiet moment away from the group as you gaze at the wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and reflect on the incredible array of wildlife that lives in this silent world, untarnished by human development.
Day 12 The long journey home
All too soon, it’s time to say goodbye to the magical Antarctic continent and set sail back across the Drake Passage toward Argentina. You’ll relish the time to decompress and commit the experience to memory as you prepare for your return to reality – but the adventure isn’t over yet. Seabirds are your constant companions and there is always the possibility of whale encounters in these wild waters. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow. (You’ll be given a memory stick of photos and videos as a souvenir of your trip.) Finally, as you enter the calm Beagle Channel, you’ll enjoy a night of smooth sailing.
Day 13 Back to civilisation
Today, you’ll arrive back in Ushuaia, where your expedition began. You’ve been away for just 11 days but with everything you’ve seen and experienced it will feel much longer. It’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll return a changed person with a new motivation to protect earth’s precious wild spaces. Every penny you saved for this trip will surely have been worth it. What’s more, you’ve shared this experience with a group of like-minded solo travellers and forged a bond that can only come from visiting such an extraordinary place. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a final dinner on board, toasting to the unforgettable journey you’ve been on together.
Day 14 Tango the night away
After breakfast, you’ll disembark with your Flash Pack group and make your way to Ushuaia Airport. From here, you’ll fly back to Buenos Aires where it all began – covering three times the distance of your Antarctic voyage in a little under four hours. Arriving back in the city, you’ll check in at your hotel, readjusting to the fast pace of life. Finish your trip on a high with a fun night of tango, starting with a private lesson at a traditional cafe. Then you’ll see how the professionals do it at one of the best tango shows in the world – full of drama, sharp footwork and evocative music – rounding off your adventure with a final farewell dinner.
Day 15 Farewell, Argentina & Antarctica
It’s time to say goodbye to your group and make your way to the airport for your onward flight home. The best way to see off those post-trip blues? Start planning your next Flash Pack trip. For more wintry adventures, how about Iceland or Northern Finland. Or perhaps you’ll opt for another nature extravaganza in the Galápagos Islands or Kenya. Our trip experts are just a phone call away and full of inspirational ideas.
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
Loi Suites Recoleta Hotel, Buenos Aires
An urban oasis of white and cream in the heart of swanky Recoleta. Rooms are stylish and minimalist, with marble en suites and kitchenette facilities. However, the real show-stopper is the triple-height glass-roofed atrium flanked by oversized palms, huge sofas and a retro 1950s-style lap pool flooded with natural light.
Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa Hotel
Built into a natural balcony, 250 meters above sea level, this sleek, contemporary hotel is located within the Cerro Alarken nature reserve. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the panoramic view over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel, while the heated pool and spa are the perfect place to unwind before your Antarctic cruise.
Polar expedition ship
This sturdy four-star polar expedition vessel carries a maximum of 114 passengers, making it more intimate and agile than your average cruise. With comfortable suites (all with portholes or windows), wraparound decks, a library, outdoor jacuzzi, BBQ and an open-bridge policy, it’s your home away from home.
Polar expedition ship cabin
Polar expedition ship jacuzzi
Polar expedition ship library
- How is this trip different to a normal Flash Pack adventure?
Normally, when you travel with Flash Pack you’ll be part of a group of up to 14 solo travellers, all in their 30s and 40s. You’ll also have a dedicated Pack Leader who will stay with you throughout the trip.
When you join our Antarctica adventure, you’ll still be part of an exclusive Flash Pack group – who you’ll meet in Buenos Aires and spend your entire adventure with, bonding over group meals and immersive activities. However, on board the cruise there will be up to 100 other passengers, of all different ages, travelling to Antarctica with you.
Your Pack Leader will accompany you from Buenos Aires to the cruise in Ushuaia and meet you again after the cruise. On board the ship there will be a team of expedition staff who will lead your activities and ensure you have a great trip.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into and out of Buenos Aires Airport (EZE).
- What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?
Before 3 pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 5 pm onwards, starting at the hotel.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no planned activities for Day 15, so you can leave any time that suits you.
- Are airport transfers included?
If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
We don’t include departure transfers as Flashpackers leave at different times, but we will offer you support with finding a local taxi.
- Do I need a visa?
You don’t need a visa to visit Antarctica. Antarctic visitor permits will be obtained on your behalf by the cruise ship.
If you’re visiting Argentina as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada, no visa is required. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.
We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
You’ll need to budget for meals and drinks in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
The Antarctic cruise is inclusive of all meals. However, drinks (other than coffee and tea) aren’t included, and you may want to purchase souvenirs from the on board shop.
If you want to take part in sea kayaking (previous experience required) and wild camping in Antarctica, these are at additional cost and subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis:
- Sea kayaking fee US$795 / £610
- Wild camping fee US$285 / £220
To book these activities, you’ll need to get in touch with our sales team. We strongly advise booking early to secure your place.
- Are tips included?
Tips aren’t included in the cost of this adventure and are entirely at your discretion.
If you’d like to tip your Pack Leader, we recommend 20 USD per person per day.
Tips for cruise staff are collected anonymously at the end of the cruise and shared out equally. Again, 20 USD per day would be an appropriate amount.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
There is no required level of fitness to take part in this adventure, however you should be in good health as you will be a long way from full-scale medical facilities.
Once you reach Antarctica, there will be activities available, such as hiking and sea kayaking, but you can choose your level of exertion. For example, you can opt for an active hill hike or a more gentle walk along the beach.
To take part in the sea kayaking activity, you will need previous experience of paddling on open water and an appropriate level of fitness. This is due to the cold weather and changeable conditions, meaning you might have to paddle hard if the wind picks up.
We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.
- Will there be WiFi on the ship?
Yes, there is high-speed Wi-Fi on board the ship. However, please note internet connection can be unstable in remote areas.
- What will the ship be like?
You’ll be travelling on an outstanding four-star polar cruise ship. With a maximum of 114 passengers on board, the atmosphere is friendly and intimate, and you’ll be able to maximise your time spent exploring off the ship. Unlike the larger cruise ships, you’ll be able to navigate smaller channels and is permitted to make shore landings.
Suites are spacious and comfortable, complete with ensuite bathroom, closet and television. All cabins are outward facing and have windows. A daily housekeeping service is provided.
Common areas include a large outdoor sundeck (perfect for wildlife viewing) with barbecue, an outdoor hot tub, a small gym, a polar library (ideal to enjoy some quiet moments), a small souvenir shop (open twice a week), as well as a bar and restaurant. There are laundry facilities on board, as well as a ship’s doctor.
You’re also welcome to spend time at the ‘Bridge’ (the Captain’s Deck), as long as conditions allow. Here, you’ll be able to witness the inner workings of your expedition’s command centre, and see how the Captain and crew use cutting-edge navigation and communication systems to plan a safe voyage.
- What weather conditions can I expect?
Weather conditions in the Antarctic summer are generally mild, with temperatures hovering close to freezing point. However, the continuous sunlight of 18- to 24-hour days adjusts your thermal temperature to the cold air. Passengers have even been known to experience ‘t-shirt’ conditions.
At the same time, you may encounter fog, white-outs, and other adverse weather conditions.
- Will I get seasick?
Crossing the Drake Passage between Ushuaia and Antarctica requires a two-day voyage across open water. This stretch of water can be rough, however your ship features advanced stabilisation fins technology designed to make your journey as comfortable as possible.
Anti-seasickness medication is available on board. If there is a particular brand you prefer, we recommend bringing your own. A ship’s doctor will travel with you as part of your Antarctic expedition crew.
- What equipment do I need?
You’ll be provided with a thermal expedition jacket to protect you from the elements and rubber boots for shore landings. However, you’ll need to bring your own winter clothing too.
Make sure you have good boots, thick socks and insulated waterproof gloves/mittens, as well as a winter hat, scarf/buff and insulated wind-resistant winter jacket. You’ll also want a long-sleeved thermal base layers and a fleece. Don’t forget to pack a pair of insulated, waterproof trousers.
A full packing list will be provided.
- What will the food be like?
All food is included throughout the polar voyage, with three hearty meals a day, as well as a substantial 5 o’clock tea of sandwiches and cake. You can expect a full buffet breakfast, a buffet lunch with some meals to order, and an à la carte menu for dinner.
There is a complimentary tea and coffee station, open 24 hours. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available at extra cost.
- Can my special dietary requirements be catered for?
Food allergies and special diets can of course be catered for on this trip, for example, if you are a vegan you will receive a vegan version of the same menu.
However extreme allergies like an extreme nut allergy cannot be catered for on this adventure, as all food is prepared in the same kitchen. Please bear this in mind when booking, and reach out to us if you think you will be affected.
- Do I need any special insurance to visit Antarctica?
Yes. It’s mandatory for all passengers travelling to carry adequate travel insurance that must contain medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage. Passengers must ensure that their purchased insurance includes cruise travel in the polar regions, and has evacuation and repatriation coverage of no less than 200,000 USD per person. You’ll be asked to submit basic medical information prior to departure.
- Will this itinerary change?
Absolutely! Travel to Antarctica is highly unpredictable and we keep our itinerary flexible to make the best of the seasonal and daily weather conditions. If one bay is be inaccessible due to thick sea ice, there will be an equally beautiful one around the next headland. Likewise, while encounters with wildlife are highly likely, nature comes with no guarantees.
Your safety and comfort is paramount and your ship captain and expedition leaders will always make the best decisions for each voyage using the latest weather forecasting systems. This could mean delays in setting off across the Drake Passage and could affect landings and other activities that take place during the cruise. As a result, no two Antarctic expeditions will ever be the same and you’ll have a truly unique experience.
Hotels and activities on the Argentinean mainland are are also subject to change, due to availability or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
- Will we have a Pack Leader for the duration of the trip?
While you are in Argentina you will have a dedicated Pack Leader with you, but they will not accompany you on the cruise. On the cruise, you will have access to a team of naturalists and expedition experts who will be there to lead the activities and answer any questions you might have.
- What should I pack?
To keep you warm in the polar conditions, you’ll be provided with a thermal overcoat and rubber boots for the duration of the cruise. However, please prepare for extreme weather and bring your own warm layers for day-to-day wear, including insulated, waterproof trousers.
What you pack is personal to you and our list is certainly not exhaustive. If you have any questions about what to pack for your trip to Antarctica, please get in touch with one of our friendly Trip Experts.
- A large backpack or suitcase – it’s up to you whether you bring a backpack or a suitcase
- A day bag – this needs to be around 20-25 litres to fit your daily essentials in, such as water and your camera
- Thermal vests/base layers – if the weather gets cold, you may want to wear a thermal vest during the day and at night
- Activewear – breathable and light materials are best as a base layer for most activities. Hiking tops are best as they have wicking properties that remove sweat, keeping you dry and warm
- Fleeces/jumpers/down jacket – substantial, warm layers will be required
- A warm, waterproof jacket – for general wear when you’re not on the cruise.
- Outdoor trousers that are warm and waterproof
- Scarf/hat/buff – a buff is particularly useful to cover your face if the wind picks up
- Warm, waterproof gloves
- Thin and thick socks – to wear in layers
- Swimwear – there is a jacuzzi on board the ship
- Polarised sunglasses – the bright snow can be blinding on sunny days (you might even want to bring a spare pair)
- What you wear in the evenings is up to you, but you may want some nicer clothes for the evenings
- Day shoes – you’ll be provided with rubber boots to wear on board but a comfortable pair of trainers or boots will be useful for your time on land and for wearing inside the ship.
- Electricals and chargers, such as your phone, camera, chargers, etc
- Plug socket adaptors. Plugs in Argentina vary between type I and type C. Type I plugs have three flat prongs and type C plugs have two round prongs. On board your polar ship, plugs are North American 120V two-flat-pinned sockets. If you’re travelling from a country with a different plug type, you will need to bring an adaptor.
- Refillable water bottle – refilling a bottle instead of buying single-use bottles will help to reduce our plastic footprint, consider an insulated winter water bottle
- Eye mask and earplugs – if you’re a light sleeper, you may feel more comfortable bringing an eye mask and earplugs
- Any personal medication you require
- Personal toiletries, including a toothbrush, deodorant, razors, hairbrush, etc
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Anti-bacterial gel
- Lip balm with SPF
- Moisturiser and lip balm
- High SPF factor sun cream – this helps to protect your skin from the cold and the high UV levels due to the ozone layer being thinner here
Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees
Our mission is to create 1 million friendships, so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends.
Want to know more about your group?
Get in touch.
We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account, meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled.
Book with confidence.
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