Antarctic Basecamp Adventure

Book with KE and receive a Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300





From $7,060 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Multi activities on Antarctica from a ship basecamp
  • Kayaking, snowshoeing, photo-workshops, mountaineering, camping
  • Zodiac and shore excursions on this unique Polar Cruise
  • Scuba diving in the antarctic option available for the intrepid

This is Polar cruising in Antarctica for the restless! The ship becomes our base camp on these voyages. We sail down to the ‘High Antarctic' where we have numerous inlets and channels to choose from to set up base. We will have 2 or 3 different base camp locations for the duration of the voyage. Once we are in place we go out and enjoy multi-activities which go beyond the normal shore program. We can take the kayaks out, or enjoy some time on shore snowshoeing or if we are more intrepid we can do a few hours mountaineering on Antarctica, giving us a huge sense of achievement and a true feeling of the remoteness and scale of Antarctica. We can also opt for a photo-work shop or shore excursions on the Zodiacs. Everyone will also get the chance to camp on Antarctica for a night. All these activities are included in the price of the holiday and do not require any previous experience. The only activity which is extra and requires experience is scuba diving. Of course we get extremely close to the wildlife during our activities as well, which is a totally exhilarating experience. This is the Polar cruise holiday for wildlife lovers and outdoorsy people.

Is this holiday for you?

All activities from the ship are optional, and you can choose just to participate in the zodiac excursions. However, if you are interested in the activities then you should have a reasonable level of fitness to participate. No experience is required for most activities, although basic kayaking and mountaineering is preferred and for Scuba Diving experience is essential. The snowshoeing and mountaineering on Antarctica is sessions of around 3-4 hrs, this is because no toilet visits are allowed on land and no food/snacks are allowed either for passengers of cruise vessels like ours. You must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. Also consider that you are travelling in remote areas without quick access to sophisticated medical facilities.

Please see our online Polar Guide for the differences between our departures, ships and more Polar information.  

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Ushuaia.
  • Morning free, afternoon board the ship.
  • Crossing the Drake Passage.
  • Crossing the Drake Passage.
  • Basecamp Activities.
  • Basecamp Activities.
  • Basecamp Activities.
  • Basecamp Activities.
  • Basecamp Activities.
  • Returning over the Drake Passage
  • Returning over the Drake Passage
  • Departure Day. Disembark Ushuaia. A single timed transfer to Ushuaia Airport is provided.
Sun 15 Nov - Thu 26 Nov Code PAB /02/15/ Adult$7,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Fri 20 Nov - Tue 01 Dec Code PAB /03/15/ Adult$7,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Wed 17 Feb - Sun 28 Feb Code PAB /01/16/ Adult$7,270 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 27 Feb - Thu 10 Mar Code PAB /02/16/ Adult$7,270 Status Guaranteed Book now
Thu 17 Nov - Tue 29 Nov Code PAB /03/16/ Adult$7,270 Status Limited Availability Book now
Fri 16 Dec - Wed 28 Dec Code PAB /04/16/ Adult$7,270 Status Guaranteed Book now
Tue 27 Dec - Sun 08 Jan Code PAB /05/16/ Adult$7,270 Status Guaranteed Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Ushuaia. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Ushaia Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

Full payment for all Polar Cruises is 14 weeks prior to departure. Early booking is recommended as flights to fill early and cabin choice can be more limited nearer to departure.

PHD Jacket

Free PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300 with every booking!

Everyone booking a polar cruise with KE will receive a FREE PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300. Made with probably the warmest down in the world (grade 900), this quality jacket was designed to keep competitors warm at -35C during the Yukon Arctic Ultra sled dog race. Naturally, it's also perfect for spotting wildlife from the deck of your cruise ship. Jackets will be sent out on receipt of full payment.

Medical Form

Please note that for all our Polar Cruises you are required to complete a confidential medical form. This will be sent to you with your booking confirmation.

Upgrade Price per person and cabins

Our base price for this holiday includes accommodation in a quad (four bunks) cabin with porthole. It is possible to upgrade to cabins with triple or twin berth twin with porthole, or twin with window or superior/suite. If you are travelling on your own you will be paired up with other single clients of the same sex. Please contact the office for further details on upgrade prices. All cabins and have private en-suite bathrooms.

International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators

Our ground agents are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and comply with the organisation’s guidelines in promoting and practicing safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO, in cooperation with ship operators, has established extensive procedures and guidelines that ensure appropriate, safe and environmentally sound travel to the Antarctic.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • trip direction
  • point
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Ushuaia.

    Meet at the group hotel in Ushuaia. KE Land Only package services begin with the overnight stay at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Morning free, afternoon board the ship.

    This morning is free for independent sightseeing in and around Ushuaia, the worlds most southern city, or for any last minute purchases you need for the voyage. In the afternoon we embark our ship and sail through the famous, scenic waterway of the Beagle Channel.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bd

  • Crossing the Drake Passage.

    Drake Passage. Our adventure begins with a two day sailing crossing of the 400-mile Drake Passage, named after the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. We have time to familiarise ourselves with the ship and its common areas including the lounge with bar with it's large panoramic windows. We will start our daily lectures and get to know the guides and crew.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Crossing the Drake Passage.

    Drake Passage. We cross the Antarctic Convergence and we may see albatross, petrels following the ship's wake as well as whales and we look out for our first sightings of icebergs.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Basecamp Activities.

    We sail directly to the 'High Antarctica' passing the Mechior islands and the Schollaert Channel where we navigate into the Neumayer Channel and position the ship for our multi activity base camp. Walkers can snowshoe on the shore and mountaineers are rewarded with some summits and view points slightly further inland. There is plenty of opportunity to kayak as well.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Basecamp Activities.

    Another day in the Neumayer Channel. We can visit the British research station and the post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. We look out for leopard seals, crabeater seals and whales whilst participating in our activities.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Basecamp Activities.

    Weather dependent we move onto the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Booth Island, Pleneau and Petermann Island where we can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. We choose another base camp site which is suitable and close to next day's activity.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Basecamp Activities.

    Another full day to enjoy our activities including kayaking, snowshoeing/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshops as well as the standard zodiac and shore excursions. We also have the opportunity to camp on Antarctica for a night. Scuba diving is also available but this carries an additional charge.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Basecamp Activities.

    At Neko Harbour we can set foot on the Antarctic Continent near a huge glacier and enjoy the magnificent landscapes whilst participating in zodiac cruises, hikes or kayak excursions. The mountaineers can climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. We will spend the night at Neko or near Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Returning over the Drake Passage

    We leave early morning after breaking our last camp. We sail via Melchior Islands, in a northerly direction towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. We can enjoying some final lectures by our expedition staff and catch some final glimpses of the birds and whales in this extraordinary part of the world.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Returning over the Drake Passage

    Our final day onboard, we can reflect on our adventure and relax as we return into Ushuaia.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Departure Day. Disembark Ushuaia. A single timed transfer to Ushuaia Airport is provided.

    We disembark in Ushuaia in the morning. KE Land Only services end with a transfer to the airport.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Expert Expedition staff
  • All accommodation
  • All meals whilst on board and B&B whilst in Ushuaia
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises with expert expedition team
  • All multi-activities and equipment including: Kayaking / snowshoeing / Mountaineering / Camping / Photo-workshops
  • Waterproof boots supplied (men's USA sizes 8-14 and women's USA sizes 3-9)
  • Single timed airport transfer Ushuaia Airport on disembarkation

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for staff
  • Airport transfers on arrival in Ushuaia
  • Transfers to/from vessel other than as described
  • Dinners and lunches whilst in Ushuaia (if applicable)
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Cost of optional excursion - Scuba diving (see extensions)
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

During this trip the group will spend 1 night in a hotel in Ushuaia and 10 or 11 nights on board the MV Plancius or the MV Ortelius (Depending on departure date). Standard cabins on the MV Plancius and the MV Ortelius are quad berth cabin with porthole. All cabins have en-suite facilities. All accommodation is on a sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Upgrades are available to triple or twin berth with porthole, twin berth with window, and superior/ suite. Depending on availability, it is also possible to arrange a single cabin. Please contact the office for upgrade and single cabin prices. Please note that if you wish to upgrade ensure that you book early to avoid disappointment.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Breakfast only is included while staying in Ushuaia. All meals while aboard MV Plancius or the MV Ortelius are included in the holiday price. We recommend you allow US$15 - 20 per meal in Ushuaia.

Onboard the ship a diverse range of international dishes is available. Meals are prepared and catered by professional chefs and all meals are included in the trip price. Special dietary requirements, including vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice (please advise us at time of booking). Coffee, tea and water area all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are not included and can be purchased in the dining room or the lounge areas.

On day 2 you will need to be at the port in Ushuaia to embark the ship in the afternoon at 4pm. No airport transfers, or transfers to the port are included on arrival. Private transfers are available please contact the KE office for prices. Taxi's are easy to find and reasonably cheap in comparison to pre-arranged private transfers.

We have included a night in Ushuaia for you, if you would like another additional night, just in case of major flight delays please do call us for a quote.

On return to Ushuaia after your voyage you will disembark the ship at approximately 8am. A transfer from the port to the airport is provided after disembarkation between 8-9am. No other transfers are included. You should not book flights before12 midday on this day.

If your flight is in the early hours of the morning on departure we advise that you book a hotel room in Ushuaia. You will need to take a taxi from the port to the hotel and then to the airport for your flight. Please do let us know as soon as possible if you require extra hotel nights.

Land Only clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights.

Hotel and ship contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

An international team of Polar experts and field guides is enthusiastic about sharing their in depth knowledge with lectures, briefings and field excursions. Lectures are selected and relevant to the destinations we travel to. We cover major topics such as marine biology, geography, geology, glaciology, ornithology and history. Our staff is skilled, trained and qualified in the activity they are in charge of: mountain guiding, photography, kayaking, zodiac driving, guarding against polar bears. Expedition guides organize the informative ship program and actively guide our shore excursions in different languages but always English as well.

Prices onboard are in Euros or US dollars. It is not practical to set a recommended amount for personal spending money on a holiday like this. All meals while on board are included in the trip price. The main extra spend on board will be on drinks and this will very greatly from person to person. A drink onboard costs from Euros 2.50. On board ship, bar bills can be put on a tab and paid at the end of the cruise by credit or debit card or in cash Euros or US dollars You will also need some money for any meals taken in Ushuaia and for tips. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - 15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff. It is possible to withdraw local currency at ATM’s in Ushuaia, but we recommend that you bring a minimum of US$200 in cash for emergency situations where you are unable to withdraw money from ATMs.

The customary gratuity to the ship’s service personnel is made as a blanket contribution in one envelope at the end of the voyage which is divided among the crew and staff. You will receive detailed guidelines aboard. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. It is better for the crew and staff, if you can give them cash, either US Dollars or Euros. You may give individually and / or communally as a personal ‘thank you’ to one or more of the ship’s personnel. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - 15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff.

There is no weight restriction on baggage other than that imposed by your carrier (please note that the baggage limit on the domestic flight between Buenos Aries and Ushuaia is 20kg). However, we ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag and a small daypack which can be carried on the plane as cabin baggage. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. We have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Note that a maximum of 20kg is allowed on the internal flight between Buenos Aries and Ushuaia. Please restrict your baggage to one main bag and a small daypack. Dress on board is informal. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibers, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton.

You must bring the following items:

  • Causal shoes / Trainers / Sneakers or similar for onboard
  • Rubber boots (Wellington boots)*
  • Walking shoes*
  • Socks (Warm, high wool or similar socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet)
  • Waterproof & Windproof jacket
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof pants/trousers
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts / fleece
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Scarf and/or neck gaiter
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves or mittens (Thin polypropylene gloves under warm outer gloves is a good combination)
  • Headtorch/Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre (1 Quart) x1
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Daypack/Rucksack 25 litres
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep rucksack contents dry)
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Small daypack
  • Warm jacket (down)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, and plasters (band-aids). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Warm Ski pants
  • Shorts
  • Spare gloves
  • Wet wipes
  • Travel clothes
  • Camera (in a dry bag), film/memory cards, batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Seasickness remedy
  • Snowshoeing Equipment:
  • Snowshoes are provided. You can make use of the supplied rubber boots to attach the snowshoes to or you may wish to wear waterproof ankle height walking boots
  • Waterproof ankle height walking boots & gaitors (see note above)
  • Walking poles
  • Mountaineering Equipment:

    Please ensure your rucksack/backpack has straps to tie snowshoes to when not in use.

  • Mountaineering boots (B2 Min)
  • Gaitors
  • Walking poles
  • Suitable additional clothing: Down jacket / mountain gloves / balaclava / salopettes / socks etc
  • *Helmet, Ice-axe, Crampons (with anti-balling plates fitted), Climbing harness, Karabiners
  • Camping & Mountaineering:

    Pee bottle: e.g. a wide opening Nalgene bottle (special adaptors for ladies are available).

* Notes

Rubber boots / Wellington boots:

  • Complimentary waterproof boots are supplied for the following sizes:
  • Men’s USA size 8-14 / UK size 7 to 13 ½ / Europe 41 to 48 ½
  • Women’s USA size 3 to 9 / UK size 1 to 6 ½ / Europe 33 to 40
  • If you have different feet sizes to these you should bring your own rubber boots. These should be rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knee with a strong, ridged non-skid sole.

Mountaineering Boots:

You need to take a pair of warm and reasonably substantial mountain boots that are sufficiently rigid to be securely fitted with crampons. The B2 (semi-rigid) boot rating is appropriate.

Crampons, ice axe, helmet and harness with karabiner are all provided along with all ropes and snow shovels etc. If you wish to take your own crampons, helmet, ice axe and harness you are welcome, but it is not necessary.

Walking shoes - There is the opportunity to sightsee around Ushuaia. If you intend to make the most of these opportunities, you should make sure that you take suitable footwear.

If you are interested in the polar diving option please call the office for details of personal equipment required.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Argentina

UK passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

For USA passport holders there is a $160 fee to enter the country from any entry point – land, sea or plane and is valid for 10 years. It is required that fees are paid online PRIOR to arrival. For further details please visit

Transit via USA

You will require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is USD$14 and you should apply for it at

NOTE: This is required if you are transiting through the USA

Transit via Brazil

US passport holders must obtain a Brazilian visa prior to arrival if they will be in Brazil for more than 6 hours.

Transit via Canada

From 15 March 2016

All citizens (except for USA citizens) will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any Canada-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is CAD$7 and you should apply for it at

NOTE: This is required if you are transiting through Canada

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Some of the optional activities require basic experience and equipment (see above in main section).

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Along the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures as high as 15°C (59°F) have been recorded, though during the Antarctic summer temperatures are typically between 0 and 2°C (32 and 36°F). The wind will be a significant moderating factor and you must come prepared for ‘real feel’ temperatures as low as -20°C (-5°F) . The Antarctic is technically classed as a dessert averaging 166 mm (6.5 in) of precipitation per year. Although you are unlikely to experience any precipitation storms can and do occur.

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