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Expedition Antarctica: Fly to and Discover This Icy World

Program No. 21788RJ
Experience three nights in a luxury camp in Patagonia after embarking a special study cruise that flies over the Drake Passage instead of sailing it!
16 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at

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At a Glance

Discover the ethereal, ice-covered world of Antarctica on the only study cruise that flies over the Drake Passage instead of sailing it. Rather than voyaging two-plus days in each direction, you’ll take a short flight over the passage from Chile to an Antarctic base where you meet the ship and immediately start your exploration. After your journey to the southernmost continent, experience cosmopolitan Santiago and discover the dramatic natural beauty of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Make the most of your journey to Antarctica by flying over the Drake Passage in just two hours instead of four days at sea sailing across it.
  • Marvel at fjords, icebergs and wildlife like whales, seals and penguins from hand-picked landing sites by Zodiac boat and from aboard your ice-strengthened vessel.
  • Spend three nights at an eco-camp in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and discover the dramatic mountains, glaciers, and lagoons of Chilean Patagonia.

General Notes

Flights to Antarctica can be delayed due to weather conditions. There is a contingency plan in place in the event of a multi-day delay that will be sent with your first mailing.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Wallpaper City Guide Santiago
by Rachael Moloney
A stylish, thin (it fits in your back pocket) city guide compiled by the design magazine Wallpaper's local reporters. Well-organized, with chapter tabs, many photographs and of-the-moment recommendations.
Torres del Paine Map
by Zagier & Urruty Maps
This detailed walking map (1:80,000) includes trekking routes, refuges and color topography.
In Patagonia
by Bruce Chatwin
A masterpiece of travel, history and adventure, this award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia. There's no travel writer as engaging, insightful and just plain wonderful as Bruce Chatwin.
Chilean Wine: The Heritage, a Journey from the Origins of the Vine to the Present
by Rodrigo Alvarado
Alvarado does justice to the long winemaking tradition of Chile in this narrative, which explores the history of Chile's vineyards and wine production. Ideal for anyone on the path to becoming a connoisseur, or interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this long-standing tradition in Chile.
The Oceanites Site Guide to the Antarctic Peninsula
by Ron Naveen
The guide, which supports the Antarctic Site Inventory Project, covers 40 prime visitor sites in detail. It also includes some of the best photography we've seen. Second edition.
1912, The Year the World Discovered Antarctica
by Chris Turney
Turney looks at the great leap forward in Antarctic science that was made 100 years ago with the expeditions of not just Scott and Amundsen but also those of Mawson, Filchner and Shirase. A brisk and engaging history of science and exploration in the Antarctic. An Australian scientist himself, Turney sees Mawson as the scientific hero of the age.
Antarctica, A Guide to the Wildlife
by Tony Soper
Designed for the field, this compact handbook features all the species of birds, seals and whales the traveler is likely to encounter on an Antarctic voyage.
Night Flight
by Antoine de Saint Exupery
Saint Exupery captures the thrill and mystery of early flight in this tale of a pilot alone in a storm over the Andes en route to Buenos Aires.
A Wildlife Guide to Chile
by Sharon Chester
Chester's splendid guide, featuring 120 color plates, covers the wildlife, plants and natural history of Chile from the Atacama Desert and Patagonia to Easter Island and Antarctica
The Crystal Desert
by David Campbell
A biologist with the heart of a poet, Campbell focuses on the fossils, glaciers and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula in these vivid essays.
Torres Del Paine, Trekking in Chile's Premier National Park
by Rudolf Abraham
This hiking guide covers the Torres del Paine Circuit in Chile and 10 shorter excursions, including two just over the border in Argentina.
Frozen in Time, Murder at the Bottom of the World
by Theodore Jerome Cohen
A scientist with the 16th Chilean Antarctic Expedition in the 1960s, Professor Cohen turns his experiences and actual events from the time into a novel with a strong setting at Deception Island and the South Shetlands.
Travels in a Thin Country, A Journey through Chile
by Sara Wheeler
British author Sara Wheeler deploys her wit, intelligence and powerful investigative skills on the Republic of Chile in this insightful travelogue.
Penguins, The Ultimate Guide
by Tui De Roy
Featuring more than 400 photographs, this is the traveler's ultimate guide to the world's 18 species of penguins. Includes scientific discussions on penguin conservation, profiles, facts and tips on where to see them in Antarctica.
Alone in Antarctica, The First Woman to Ski Solo Across the Southern Ice
by Felicity Aston
In this inspirational memoir, Felicity Aston describes her pioneering journey -- skiing across the whole of Antarctica -- while meditating on human vulnerability, struggle and the experience of solitude in the Information Age.
Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine
by Susan Alcorn
A comprehensive guide to Torres del Paine National Park, featuring journal entries, interviews, historic documents and essays alongside maps, time and mileage charts and elevations.
Ines of My Soul
by Isabel Allende
Allende turns the amazing life of Spanish conquistadora and founder of Santiago, Ines Suarez (1507-1580), into a gripping novel.
Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
by Alfred Lansing
Lansing's gripping day-by-day story of Shackleton's legendary perseverance is essential reading for any Antarctic traveler.
Melting Away, Images of the Arctic and Antarctic
by Camille Seaman
In her masterful series of 75 portraits and essays, Camille Seaman shows how climate change has wreaked havoc on both the North and South Poles.
Forgotten Footprints, Lost Stories in the Discovery of Antarctica
by John Harrison
A frequent lecturer aboard expedition ships to the Antarctic, John Harrison mixes his own adventures with tales of the seamen, sealers, whalers and plain lunatics who have journeyed to the Ice to make their fame and fortune. He focuses not on Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen but lesser-known tales of the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetlands and Weddell Sea.
7 Reviews
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(5) Review left 3/05/2022

One of the most magical and awe inspiring places to visit. It was magical.

(5) Review left 12/17/2019

From bustling Santiago and environs followed by the soaring beauty of Chilean Patagonia and culminating in the magnificence of Antarctica, this trip was a delight from start to finish. I waited decades for this trip and it is one I will always remember it with total joy

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 3/18/2019

Trip of a lifetime. Patagonia was beyond beautiful. Our stay at Patagonia Explora was all inclusive. Food was delicious although service sometimes slow. Hikes were fantastic but this time of year it was quite windy there. View from our bedroom was drop dead gorgeous. We were lucky to be able to fly to Antarctica on the scheduled day and time. However Our flight from Antarctica back to Punta Arenas was delayed for 2 Days. But no one seemed to mind spending more time aboard the Ocean Nova. Our leader Robyn and RS rescheduled our flights home and we were able to take an extra zodiac excursion to Ardley Preserve during the delay. Our RS guide, Robyn Steegstra, the expedition staff and ocean Nova staff were superb. Food was fantastic and service excellent. Our zodiac excursions each day were terrific. We saw thousands of penguins - Adelaie, Gentoo and Chinstraps. Plenty of seals and even a few humpback whales. Got to walk on an ice floe too. Icebergs were so colorful and we even got to do a zodiac landing on Heroina island, part of the Danger Islands. It is estimated that on average, only one ship per year can navigate the icebergs and floes and get close enough for zodiacs to land there. It was recently discovered that the Danger Islands have over 1.5 million penguins....and we got to see them! Truly remarkable navigation by the Antarctica 21 Expedition team. This was a trip of a lifetime for each of us.

(5) Review left 2/25/2019

You can't go wrong with this adventure! It was totally fascinating.

(5) Review left 2/24/2019

The trip to Antarctica and Patagonia was a fabulous experience. Flying to Antarctica made the trip much more enjoyable than traversing Drake Passage. And seeing part of Patagonia gave us the opportunity to see Condors, gorgeous views, mammals, hike in pristine areas, and enjoy a different culture.

(5) Review left 2/10/2019

The trip with road scholar to Chile and Antarctica was the best trip I have ever taken; full of adventure! I will keep traveling with this great organization!

(5) Review left 1/07/2019

A wonderful program which is highly recommended. Everything was exceedingly well-organized by enthusiastic people throughout the trip. The group leader (Steve), the fellow Road Scholars and the others on the ship, including many Chinese, were interesting and engaged. The itineraries in both Patagonia and Antarctica showed off the highlights of these areas, and the ability to fly across the Drake Channel was a time saver and a comfortable way to get there. If you are in good physical condition, and this has been a dream destination, then definitely sign up for this program.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.