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A Photographer's Paradise

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Gould Bay Emperor Penguin Colony on the remote coast of the Weddell Sea. Camp on the same sea ice where thousands of birds come to raise and feed their young. Photograph majestic emperors and their chicks against a spectacular backdrop of ice cliffs, pressure ridges, and icebergs. Spot petrels and seals amongst the endless white expanse. Fall asleep to a chorus of trumpeting calls and wake to find curious penguins outside your tent.

Our remote field camp offers you unparalleled access to the emperors as you witness their amazing adaptations to the Antarctic environment alongside our expert guides.
Trip Itinerary
Emperor Penguins
Arrival Day: Punta Arenas, Chile
Arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days prior to your scheduled Antarctic flight in order to fully prepare you for your upcoming experience
Pre-departure Day: Luggage Pick-Up & Briefing
Allowing a buffer for flight and luggage delays should your travels to Chile not go as scheduled. We do not hold Antarctic flights for delayed passengers or luggage.

The evening before your Antarctic flight, you are invited to our office for an important safety briefing. At the briefing, we will describe the flight dispatch process, update you on the current weather, and prepare you for arrival at Union Glacier. Please stay to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and pisco sours served over Antarctic ice with your fellow travelers.
Day 1: Fly to Antarctica
We will call you at your hotel in the morning to advise you of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our flight, we will pick you up at your hotel within the hour. Please meet us in the lobby with hotel bills paid, ready to board the bus.

At the Punta Arenas airport, we board our chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. Our route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. We land on a naturally occurring blue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps on Antarctica.

Climb aboard one of our specially-adapted vans for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to our main camp. Our friendly staff will provide a welcome tour of camp and show you to your tent.
Day 2: Explore Union Glacier
Guests usually enjoy a few days at Union Glacier as part of their experience.

A typical day at Union Glacier starts with a briefing after breakfast where you’ll meet with your guide to discuss the day’s options and choose an activity tailored to the weather and the group’s interests. Union Glacier excursions can include any of the following destinations:

Elephant’s Head
Ride in one of our vehicles to this dramatic marble buttress overlooking the blue-ice runway. Beautiful ice pools and moraines offer endless opportunities for photography. If you’re looking for something more active, you’ll have the opportunity to hike up to the base of Elephant’s Head or all the way to the top of Rhodes Bluff for panoramic views of Union Glacier and the Heritage Range.

Buchanan Hills Board our one-of-a-kind Tucker Bus, a custom designed tracked vehicle, for the scenic drive to the remote Buchanan Hills. You’ll arrive at a high pass that offers expansive views of Union Glacier as it flows into Constellation Inlet. Higgins Nunatak pokes through the ice, like an atoll in a frozen ocean. For the fit and adventurous, there are two easy hiking routes that require no prior experience and grant you the rare opportunity to summit a peak in the heart of Antarctica.

Drake Icefall Named in the 1960s after geologist Benjamin Drake IV, this impressive icefall tumbles off the polar plateau into Union Glacier. Winds from the South Pole carve huge waves into the blue-ice and polish the surface into a high shine.

Charles Peak Windscoop Discover the power of wind on ice as you wander through a sparkling turquoise corridor. If you’re truly adventurous, this is a prime place to try ice climbing with one of our experienced guides. For the less vertically inclined, you can rock hunt to your heart’s content. Just remember to leave them in place, as nothing may be removed from Antarctica.

The Beach at Rossman Cove Another spectacular setting for blue-ice photography and panoramic views! Take cross-country skis with you or a picnic lunch and enjoy Antarctica’s version of a glacial beach getaway.

Hidden Valley Our staff’s favorite getaway—this secret canyon opens up to a beautiful valley prime for snowmobiling, hiking, climbing, and backcountry skiing.

If you’d prefer to stay closer to camp, we have a variety of activities for all abilities. You can check out a pair of cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike and take a spin around our groomed 10k loop or you can enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or fun game in our camp library.

In the evenings, we regularly offer lectures and films tailored to your experience. Before you depart for the colony, we will review the Emperor Penguin Colony Visitor Guidelines
Day 3: Fly to Emperor Colony
As soon as weather conditions permit, we will fly to the colony. The flight takes about 4 hours, traveling north-eastward over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Berkner Island where we may stop to refuel if necessary.

We land on sea ice where our staff has prepared a field camp 1-2 mi (2-3 km) from the colony. Our Emperor Field Camp Manager will give you a tour of the camp and review safety procedures for travel to and from the colony. In this unfamiliar environment and remote location, it is vital that you follow the instructions given by our experienced staff. Your safety and the protection of wildlife are our top priorities.
Day 4-6: Live with the Emperors
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of the colony. Walk to the colony with our experienced field guides to photograph penguins, seals, and seabirds. We provide small sleds and walking poles to help transport your camera equipment between camp and the colony. The sea ice generally provides a hard surface to walk on.

We make every effort not to disturb wildlife and strictly adhere to Emperor Penguin Colony Visitor Guidelines. These guidelines include maintaining a precautionary distance of 17 ft (5 m) away from all wildlife. Our guides are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the wildlife and their unique adaptations to the Antarctic environment.

24-hour daylight allows us to adapt our schedule to the best weather and lighting for photography. While our guides are happy to accommodate individual requests, keep in mind this is a group activity and we may not always be able to offer 1 to 1 guiding. Please discuss your wishes with the guides in advance so they can tailor the camp schedule to include meals and sleep for everyone
Day 7: Return to Union Glacier
Our field staff will stay in close contact with Union Glacier Camp to identify the best ‘weather window’ for your return flight.
Day 8: Explore Union Glacier
Depending on flights, you may have a few days at the end of your experience to explore more of Union Glacier. You will also enjoy a celebration dinner and receive a certificate to commemorate your Emperor Penguins Experience in Antarctica.
Day 9: Return to Chile
When weather and runway conditions permit, our intercontinental aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.
Flexible Departure Day: Fly home
We recommend booking your flight home one week after your return Antarctic flight. If you purchase a full-fare ticket, most airlines will allow you to move your departure date. It is important to give yourself a buffer as delays are common in Antarctic travel. Our Punta Arenas team can provide a list of local tour operators and excursions if you wish to explore Chile before you return home.

When it is time for your flight home, our staff will provide transportation from your hotel to the Punta Arenas airport.
Tour Dates & Rates (US$ / per person)
Emperor Penguins
Trips Dates Nights/Days Double Occupancy
Nov 10 - Nov 18, 2018 08/09 $48,250
Nov 18 - Nov 26, 2018 08/09 $48,250
• Airport transfers in Punta Arenas, Chile.
• Round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas .
• Round trip flight to Gould Bay Emperor Penguin colony from Union Glacier, Antarctica.
• Meals and tented accommodation in Antarctica.
• Antarctic guides.
• Celebration dinner and Certificate of Achievement
• Checked luggage up to 66 lb (30 kg)
Not Included:
• Insurance coverage—personal, medical, evacuation, or otherwise.
• Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas.
• Airport transfers outside of Punta Arenas.
• Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas.
• Additional flights within Antarctica.
• Personal equipment and clothing.
• Expenses incurred due to delays
• Luggage over 66 lb (30 kg)
• Satellite phone charges
Emperor Camp
You will be sleeping in lightweight mountaineering tents designed to withstand Antarctic conditions. These tents are low to the ground and you will not be able to stand up in them; however, they are relatively roomy. We provide padded sleeping mats and pillows to use with your sleeping bag.
Itinerary Map                                                                                                                                                                                    Back to Top

Apex Cruises & Travel (c) 2017 All rights reserved. Last Updated: 2017