What If We…Go to Antarctica? Knowmad Travelers Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary with Antarctica and Patagonia Exploration

Raft floats through cave in Antarctica on an Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

As with most beginnings to an amazing adventure, this custom Antarctica and Patagonia exploration for two couples began with that tantalizing question: “What if we…?” After having to postpone their trip during Covid, Joe, Bev, Mike, and Claudia wrote to their Knowmad Operations Specialist with the email subject line starting out with “What If,” and ending in them asking what it would take to re-book their Patagonia trip to include Antarctica as well.

Knowmad Antarctica Trip Specialist Krista Erdahl gladly worked on this exciting addition to the friends’ original itinerary to help find the best Antarctica trip for them. The process involved a custom planning call with the travelers to factor in their date availability, ensure the cruise embarkation & disembarkation ports would align with the rest of their itinerary in Patagonia, and understand their particular wishes for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

 

Up close with a penguin colony on Knowmad traveler's Antarctica and Patagonia exploration

 

In this case, Joe, Bev, Mike & Claudia already had the bones of a trip outline to work with from their previously postponed Patagonia trip. However, for most travelers seeking to experience the magnificent continent of Antarctica, choosing the right voyage is usually where you would begin. Then, once you have selected which Antarctica expedition is the best fit for you, the rest of the fun of how to take an Antarctica trip and build out a full Argentina, Chile & Antarctica odyssey continues.

We were able to get a deeper look into how these four friends and Knowmad Trip Specialist Krista put together this incredible Antarctica and Patagonia exploration. Read on to see what they had to say about why they wanted to include Antarctica, what stood out to them from their trip, and how this amazing 50th anniversary celebration became a truly special experience for these four friends!

 

Knowmad Travlers pose in Torres del Paine National Park during their Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

Knowmad: Before you rebooked your trip, Antarctica had not been a part of it. When rebooking, what inspired you to go to Antarctica and what did you want to get out of the trip?

Mike: Claudia and I had often dreamed of a “someday” trip to the Antarctic [region]. Our agreement with Joe and Bev was to follow them wherever they wished for their 50th wedding anniversary as they had done for us earlier on our 50th…[and] the Antarctic [region] sounded like a grand adventure. Our little foursome contacted [Knowmad] and the rest is history… Claudia and I were looking forward to the pure adventure of it all. Walking among the penguins and other wildlife was, in Claudia’s words, “a dream come true”.

Knowmad: What was one of your favorite recommendations or suggestions from Knowmad and why?

Mike: From the many hotels in Patagonia, you recommended Tierra Patagonia which turned out to be terrific beyond expectations – not just the facilities, but the excursions they offered and the guides they provided. From the multiple ships which offer cruises to Antarctica, you worked with Quark. They provided a cruise which was filled to overflowing with experienced and wise shipboard personnel and guides.

Knowmad: What were you looking forward to with this Knowmad Antarctica and patagonia exploration?

Mike: We were looking forward to stepping into a part of the world absolutely foreign to our previous experiences. Neither Claudia nor I had ever been to South America and were looking forward to being immersed in a new culture. The Antarctic [region] provided the fulfillment of a long-held dream for us and made it possible for us to have the privilege of visiting all seven continents.

Knowmad: Was there anything about antarctica and patagonia that surprised you? A highlight from the exploration that you will always remember?

Photo of 4,000 year old paintings at Torres Del Paine National Park taken during an Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

Mike:

  • The biggest surprise of the trip for me was that…Krista and other folks at Knowmad had put together an absolutely seamless trip plan for our little foursome. From plane tickets to drivers, guides and destinations, there was always a sense that every detail had been anticipated and addressed. And you did it all with what seemed to us to be infinite patience on your part as we peppered you with questions and concerns leading up to our departure.
  • The beauty and uniqueness of Tierra Patagonia Lodge. I had expected a rustic hotel in the middle of the national park. What we walked into was nothing less than mind-blowing.
  • The warmth of the people. Everywhere we went we found ourselves amidst folks who were kind, open, and filled with a joy of life which they shared with us.
  • A final hope which was fulfilled was to step into a portion of this world which remains absolutely wild, untamed, and abounding in natural beauty and wildlife. Then, add to that the privilege of seeing handprints and drawings on a Patagonian rock overhang dating back more than 4,000 years and I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.

 

Joe:

  • For many people with whom I spoke about our Antarctica experience, their thinking of this region of the globe was of a giant, flat, snow-covered iceberg…Our photos of the wildlife in mountains, rocky terrain and the Southern Ocean is startling to their idea of Antarctica.
  • Not one of the 8 international trips that Bev and I have made in the last 15 years has ever had the detail of travel itinerary, accommodations, or logistical support at each step in the journey. This happened when Knowmad Adventures was enlisted to give us a 50th anniversary journey of a lifetime!
Four travelers take a picture on their Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

Is an Antarctica and Patagonia exploration on your bucket list? Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: we help you navigate the different voyage options, itineraries, and surrounding travel plans to coordinate Antarctica and Patagonia exploration for a holistic, seamless, and safe experience, all at a guaranteed best value. Reach out to our Trip Specialists at 612-315-2894 or [email protected] to begin planning your trip today!

50th Anniversary Antarctica and Patagonia Exploration:

DAY 1  USA – Santiago
You will take an overnight flight from the U.S., arriving in Santiago the following morning.

 

DAY 2  Santiago

Upon arrival in Santiago, you will be met by your Knowmad Adventures guide and taken to your centrally located accommodations. As you will likely arrive before standard check-in time, enjoy the common spaces at your accommodations or store your luggage with the hotel concierge as you explore the area until your room is ready. Later today, you will be met by your guide for an exploration of Santiago, featuring the city’s most important historic and cultural sites. Your exploration may include La Moneda (the Presidential Palace), the majestic architecture of the governmental buildings, and the pedestrian streets, such as Huérfanos and Ahumada. Perhaps also pass urban parks, such as the Parque Forestal or Santa Lucía Hill. Enjoy sightseeing and people watching in this city that has been bustling with life from colonial times to present day. At the end of your excursion you can choose to continue exploring the city independently or be dropped off at your accommodations.

 

DAY 3  Santiago – Punta Arenas – Torres del Paine National Park

This morning you will be met at your accommodations and transferred to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Punta Arenas (Spanish-speaking driver only). Upon arrival you will be met by a Tierra representative outside baggage claim holding a Tierra sign and taken on the approximately 4-hour scenic drive through Puerto Natales and onward to Torres del Paine National Park (shared guest transfer). On your first day at Tierra Patagonia, as well as each day of your stay, you will be able to peruse the many excursion options available through the lodge and decide what you would most enjoy doing that day. All excursions take place in small groups of Tierra guests accompanied by your bilingual guides. After your excursions, relax at the lodge’s spa, pool, and enjoy delicious wines and cuisine to finish off your day.

View of the horns at Torres Del Paine National Park on Knowmad traveler's Antarctica and Patagonia exploration. View of lobby at Tierra Patagonia lodge on Knowmad traveler's Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

DAY 4  Patagonia
Enjoy your adventures as you choose from the wide range of excursions available. Activities can include half-day and full-day hiking experiences at all levels of difficulty, horseback riding alongside local gauchos, and other opportunities to explore the gorgeous scenery in Torres del Paine National Park.

  • Tierra Patagonia
Knowmad travelers pose for a picture with a Patagonian gaucho on their Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

DAYs 5 & 6 Patagonia
Continue enjoying your adventures throughout the region and your stay at Tierra Patagonia.

  • Tierra Patagonia

 

DAY 7 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile – El Calafate, Argentina

Today you will be taken by Tierra staff on the approximately 4-hour drive across Cerro Castillo (Chilean/Argentinian border) onward to Calafate, Argentina (shared guest transfer). Sit back and enjoy the rolling grasslands and classic Patagonian landscapes on the scenic ride. Upon arrival at your accommodations, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure

 

DAY 8 El Calafate – Ushuaia

Today you will be met at your accommodations and transferred to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Ushuaia (Spanish-speaking driver only). Upon arrival at Ushuaia, you will be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures guide and transferred to your accommodations. Spend the rest of the day independently exploring Argentina’s southernmost city, or relaxing at your leisure at your accommodations.

 

DAY 9 Ushuaia

Enjoy the day at your leisure to experience the activities and natural beauty that Ushuaia has to offer. Your itinerary with Quark officially begins today.

  • Albatross Hotel

 

DAY 10 Ushuaia – Cruise Embarkation

Today, you will have some time at leisure in between important meeting times for your cruise embarkation. This morning you will gather with Quark representatives to present a copy of your vaccination record document. Your luggage will be transferred to the ship. Quark staff will check your vaccination record and request that you complete a health affidavit. This afternoon, head to the parking lot meeting point where buses with Quark Expedition signs at front will be waiting to take you to the ship. Have your passport ready as it will be collected by ship staff upon embarkation. Once your ship has embarked, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart, as the next land you see will be the Antarctic

Knowmad Adventures traveler snaps a shot of a sunset over the ocean on their Antarctica and Patagonia exploration.

 

DAYs 11 & 12 Drake Passage

The unpredictable and exciting Drake Passage is an adventure in itself. While being well taken care of by the expert onboard staff and leaders, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the ocean, take pictures of seabirds swooping around the ship, and get to know your expedition team and fellow travelers.

  • Ocean Diamond

 

DAYs 13 – 16  South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Once the Drake Passage is left in the wake and the South Shetland Islands come into view, your Antarctic adventure truly begins. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. On every visit to Antarctica, you can witness something new or unexpected, which means your expedition will be unlike any other, a unique, personal experience. Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of the team’s mind, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you hike snowy pathways to vantage points offering panoramic views of your surroundings. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and the next you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear. Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes—such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles—become indelible memories. Each day will be different, carefully crafted by your expedition team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.

  • Ocean Diamond
Knowmad traveler's hike along rocky terrain during their Antarctica and Patagonia exploration

 

DAYs 17 & 18  Drake Passage

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides a final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Southern Ocean air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your expedition team, and celebrate the experiences you’ve shared exploring the remarkable world of Antarctica.

  • Ocean Diamond

 

DAY 19  Cruise Disembarkation – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires

Today, your cruise will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning. After breakfast you will disembark the ship and will be transferred (shared group transfer) to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be met by your Knowmad Adventures guide and transferred to your independently arranged hotel to spend the rest of the evening at your leisure

  • Buenos Aires Hotel (Accommodations arranged by travelers independently)

 

DAY 20  Buenos Aires – USA

Enjoy the day at your leisure to explore, shop, eat, and enjoy Buenos Aires. Later in the day you’ll be met at your accommodations by a Spanish-speaking driver and transferred to the airport in accordance with your overnight, international flight home.

 

DAY 21  Arrive home.

 

Ready to plan your own Antarctica and Patagonia exploration? Reach out to our Trip Specialists at 612-315-2894 or [email protected] to begin planning your trip today!

 

Adiós,
Carmen

Knowmad Adventures Travel - CarmenCarmen is an Operations Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to crafting specialized custom, private trips to South America. Carmen has lived in three countries, spent some time backpacking in Europe and Central America, and studied Spanish, Italian, and Greek. She loves to explore languages, new places, and all the ways in which people can share their stories, and is excited to help travelers add to their own story with their next adventure!

 

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