Day 1


Depart from the U.S.
Your overnight flight to Buenos Aires leaves in the evening.
Day 2


Main Trip Starts

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, neighborhood walk around the Reconquista Garden HotelWhen we arrived in the morning, an OAT representative met us at the Buenos Aires airport and escorted us to our hotel. We relaxed until mid-afternoon, and then joined a short orientation walk in the neighborhood around the hotel.

We all got better acquainted at the evening’s Welcome Dinner, hosted by our Trip Leader, Gaston McKay, at a traditional Argentinean steakhouse.

  Accommodations: Reconquista Garden Hotel 011-54-11-5219-4500
  Meals: 1D
Day 3


Buenos Aires/City Tour and Optional Tango Show

After breakfast, we set off on a tour of Buenos Aires, an elegant mixture of Spanish colonial architecture and several traditional European styles. We saw the monument-filled Avenida 9 de Julio and the Plaza de Mayo, where many buildings important to Argentine history stand. We’ll also visited the colorful La Boca district as well as Recoleta with its elegant homes, fashionable restaurants and shops, and famous cemetery where Eva Peron is buried.

Argentine leather goods are famous for both their quality and price, and our tour finished in one of the best leather shops in town. We learned about the different types of leather to be found in Argentina—and how to distinguish the different qualities. Afterwards, we were invited to a local jeweler to appreciate the national stone of Argentina, rhodocrosite, or Inca Rose, found in no other country. Lunch was included after the tour.

Our afternoon was free. This evening, we enjoyed an optional dinner and tango show. We learned why Argentineans feel such passion for their national dance. This optional outing included dinner.

  Accommodations: Reconquista Garden Hotel 011-54-11-5219-4500
  Meals: 1B, 1L
Buenos Aires City Tour
Dinner & Tango Show
Day 4


Flight to Ushuaia

After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and boarded a flight to Ushuaia (oosh-'why-uh) on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the far southern Argentina. Known as the “City at the End of the World” (aka "the end of the world and the beginning of everything"), Ushuaia is a former penal colony whose name is a Yámana Indian word for “bay that stretches into the sunset.” Today, it’s a small but busy port with a frontier atmosphere. The snow-capped Andes rise on one side of town, while the magnificent Beagle Channel extends from the other.

We took a walking tour that included the Museo del Fin del Mundo. In the Indian museum we learned about the strange customs of the Yámanas, an indigenous tribe who chose to grease their bodies rather than wear clothes and who warmed themselves with fires in their canoes. We spent the night in a hotel; dining there for lunch, and at one of the many great restaurants specializing in Patagonian lamb and the local king crab. See for good shots of many of the things we saw in Tierra del Fuego.

  Accommodations: Albatros Hotel 011-54-02901-423-206
  Meals: 1B
Ushuaia Walking Tour
Day 5


Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego/Embark Antarctic Cruise Ship

After breakfast, we enjoyed an included tour of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. This is Argentina’s only coastal national park, remarkable for its remote location, raging winds, and rugged landscape. This wild park protects unique flora and fauna including the guanaco (a type of Andean camelid similar to the llama), Austral parakeets, and the Fuegian fox. After the visit to the park, we enjoy a traditional Argentine asado (barbecue) lunch.

In the late afternoon, we embark our Antarctic cruise ship, the M/V Orlova. Our cruise begins with a thrilling passage through the scenic Beagle Channel as we head east for the storied Drake Passage. On board, we meet our Expedition Team, an enthusiastic group of explorers, researchers, and naturalists, many of whom return to the Antarctic every year. At this initial session, they’ll preview our journey, outlining the course our ship will follow and detailing the stunning sights that lie ahead. Then, as we travel, they’ll become our steady companions, teaching us about all aspects of our voyage.

All meals are included while we cruise aboard the Orlova.

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
 Meals: 1B, 1L, 1D
Embark late afternoon
Day 6


Cruise Drake Passage and South Shetland Islands

We spend the first three full days of our journey crossing the Drake Passage, named after the 16th-century English navigator Sir Francis Drake and confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. During much of this part of the trip, our ship is likely to be accompanied by albatrosses—including the magnificent Wandering Albatross—along with an impressive variety of other seabirds. We have a good chance of spotting whales and dolphins; many different species have been encountered in these rich waters over the years. We also cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar waters sink beneath the warmer waters of the more temperate zones.

(NOTE: This is frequently a rough passage, and you may be required to stay in your cabin when sea conditions are bad. It’s a safe voyage, but it can be uncomfortable and restrictive.)

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
 Meals: 1B, 1L, 1D
Day 7


Drake Passage and the South Shetland Islands

When we sight land for the first time in two days (probably in the late afternoon), we know we have reached the South Shetland Islands. This impressive group of islands, lying to the north and roughly parallel to the Antarctic Peninsula, is a haven for wildlife. We visit vast penguin rookeries, land on beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals, and observe wallowing southern elephant seals. We also hope to visit one of the many research bases in the archipelago and look for either of Antarctica’s only two flowering plants, Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis), which thrive here during the short southern summer.

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
 Meals: 2B, 2L, 2D
Day 8


Drake Passage and the South Shetland Islands

A highlight of our visit to the South Shetlands will be sailing through a narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island.

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
 Meals: 2B, 2L, 2D
Days 9-10

11.25 - 11.26.2006

Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula

Day 9:

From the South Shetlands, we continue south to the Antarctic Peninsula, the most readily accessible part of the White Continent and home to some of its best wildlife and scenery. We have plenty of time to experience the special magic of this awe-inspiring wilderness of snow, ice, waterways, and mountains, and we can expect to see a wide variety of Antarctic wildlife. Enormous rookeries of gentoo, chinstrap, and adélie penguins; blue-eyed shags; kelp gulls; cape petrels; snowy sheathbills; and Antarctic terns are just some of the many birds found here in abundance. We are also likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals. Depending on the season, we may also encounter orcas, humpback whales, and Minke whales at close range.

The Peninsula also has a remarkable history; during the voyage, our expedition staff will regale us with tales of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. As you watch from the ship’s bridge or deck ship while we thread our way along the continent, you will certainly feel the same thrill of excitement those early explorers sensed.

Day 10:

Sailing around the Peninsula’s northern tip, we hope to navigate the Antarctic Sound, often called “iceberg alley” because of the huge tabular icebergs that drift north from the Antarctic continent. Weather permitting; we plan to land on Paulet Island to see its vast adélie penguin rookeries. We also hope to cruise through the appropriately named Paradise Harbor, or nearby Neko Harbor, where glaciers fill the calm waters with a mind-boggling vista of icebergs. This is where we anticipate setting foot on the Antarctic continent itself.

At Port Lockroy, we visit a former British scientific station. Built secretly during World War II, it was recently renovated to serve as one of the world’s most isolated and intriguing museums. The station also acts as a post office, and we will have a unique opportunity to send postcards home and buy some of the souvenirs they sell here.

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
 Meals: 2B, 2L, 2D
Day 11


Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula

If they are not choked with pack ice and icebergs, we plan to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways in the world: the Neumayer and Lemaire channels, narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. We may also sail south of the Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island, where adélie and gentoo penguins, skuas, and blue-eyed shags nest close to the landing site.

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
  Meals: 1B, 1L, 1D
Days 12-14

11.28 - 11.30.2006

Cruise the Drake Passage

Leaving Antarctica, we head north across the Drake Passage on our way back to Ushuaia. As we cruise, you can watch for birds and whales, enjoy some final lectures by our expedition staff, and relax and reflect upon your adventures.

(NOTE: This is frequently a rough passage, and you may be required to stay in your cabin when sea conditions are bad. It’s a safe voyage, but it can be uncomfortable and restrictive.)

  Accommodations: M/V Lyubov Orlova 011-871-763-935-432/fax 434
  Meals: 1B, 1L, 1D
Day 15


Disembark in Ushuaia, Fly to Buenos Aires

We disembark the ship after breakfast, and board our coach for a scenic drive. We then return to town for a visit of the Presidio Museum, located at the site of the former prison. This museum has interesting exhibits on Antarctica, the maritime history of the area, and the political prisoners who were held here.

After the tour, we will stop in town where you’ll have lunch on your own and perhaps do some last-minute shopping. In the afternoon, your Trip Leader accompanies you on a flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, where you arrive in the early evening. Transfer to your hotel; dinner is on your own.

  Accommodations: Reconquista Garden Hotel 011-54-11-5219-4500
 Meals: 1B
Post-Trip Iguassu Falls, Argentina
Day 16


Fly to Iguassu Falls, Tour Argentinean Side

After breakfast, we fly to Iguassu Falls. Please plan to pack a small bag for our two-night stay at Iguassu Falls and store the rest of your luggage at your Buenos Aires hotel, where you can retrieve it before your return to the U.S. (At Iguassu Falls, you won’t need the warm clothing that you packed for the Antarctic portion of the trip. Also note that, since the hotel in Buenos Aires is the same one where you stay at the beginning of the trip, you could store a bag with summer clothing at this hotel during the time when you travel to Antarctica).

Located on the Argentina-Brazil border, the falls at Iguassu are among the world’s most impressive sights—twice as high as Niagara Falls and 65 feet wider. We spend the bulk of the afternoon on a guided walk along the Argentinean side. Here the falls can be approached, viewed, felt, and experienced from a number of angles. While some say that the lower falls circuit is the most beautiful thousand-yard walk in the world, a far more dramatic walk is higher up, along the Garganta del Diablo (“Devil’s Throat”), where the water plunges 230 feet into a roiling cauldron. With the spray flying up to 50 feet above your head and rainbows dancing in it, the view here can only be described as breathtaking! Our hotel is located within the Iguassu Falls National Park, within sight of these colossal waterworks. We dined in the hotel: excellent food, wine & service.

  Accommodations: Bourbon Cataratas Resort 011-55-45-529-0123
 Meals: 1B
Day 17


Iguassu Falls, Tour Brazilian Side

After breakfast today, we’ll visit the falls. Here we can, if we dare, get right under the water. A stone path leads to several platforms with fine views from different angles. You get close enough to the thundering torrents to feel the spray again, and you may glimpse the park’s resident coatis (pointy-nosed raccoons).

Today we’ll also get a look at more of the Parana River that feeds the falls. Thirty-two hundred miles long, it is second only to the Amazon in the vastness of the area it drains. We also see the point where the three countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet. Then, after an included lunch of traditional Brazilian barbecue—spicy, succulent skewers of beef, lamb, pork, and sausage—we tour the massive Itaipu Dam, the largest hydroelectric project in the world. We dined at the hotel, then with three others we attended a wonderful show at the Plaza Foz, treated to VIP seats at a choice table in front of the stage (dinner theater) where we sipped our drinks as we watched.

  Accommodations: Bourbon Cataratas Resort 011-55-45-529-0123
 Meals: 1B 1L
Day 18


Leave Iguassu Falls; Fly to Buenos Aires, then Home

Spend this morning pursuing your own activities.

This afternoon, we fly to Buenos Aires, you collect your luggage at the hotel, and you transfer to the airport to board an overnight flight back to the U.S.

  Accommodations: Reconquista Garden Hotel 011-54-11-5219-4500
 Meals: 1B
Day 19


End of Trip
Arrive in U.S.

You arrive in the U.S. this morning, and continue on connecting flights as needed to return home.