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Emperor Penguins Expedition

Camp on the sea ice with thousands of Emperor Penguins

If you have ever seen ‘March of the Penguins’ then you will have a clear appreciation of how spectacular Emperor Penguins are. To visit a large remote colony of thousands of penguins and their young chicks is one of the greatest and most exclusive wildlife experiences on the planet.

During this expedition on the Antarctic continent, you will visit the Gould Bay Emperor Penguin colony on the remote coast of the Weddell sea. A small camp is set up on the ice, only a short walk from the colony. The 24-hour daylight offers plenty of time to visit and photograph the majestic penguins and their chicks against a spectacular backdrop of ice and snow. The Emperors are totally unafraid of humans and will sometimes come within a few meters of you. A very impressive encounter as they can easily reach 100 cm in length and weigh up to 45 kg. Your safety and the protection of wildlife are top priorities and we make every effort not to disturb the penguins.

Immerse yourself in the noise, the smell, commotion and the sheer beauty of this special place. It will not disappoint you!


We advise you to arrive in Punta Arenas (Chile) at least two full days prior to your scheduled Antarctic flight in order to fully prepare yourself for the upcoming expedition. These days also allow a buffer for flight and luggage delays, should your travels to Chile not go as scheduled.

Day 1 | Fly to Antarctica

After a few days in Punta Arenas it’s time to take off! At the airport, you board the chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. The route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth mountains. You land on a naturally occurring blue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps on the Antarctic continent! Specially-adapted vans will take you and your luggage to the base camp where the expedition staff will provide a welcome tour and show you to your tent.

On most expeditions you will get to enjoy a few days at Union Glacier before you fly to the Emperor Penguin colony. 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.

Day 2 | Explore Union Glacier Basecamp

There’s a wide range of excursions for you to enjoy at Union Glacier. Take a ride in one of the polar vehicles to the dramatic marble mountain ‘Elephant’s Head’, overlooking the blue-ice runway. 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. Another stunning location is Drake Icefall, this impressive icefall is shaped into huge blue-ice waves by the strong winds coming from the south pole. Another incredible piece of art by nature is Charles Peak Windscoop, a sparkling turquoise corridor which is also carved by the wind. It’s is a prime place to try ice climbing. The Beach at Rossman Cove is yet another spectacular place for blue-ice photography and panoramic views! Take cross-country skis with you or a picnic lunch and enjoy Antarctica’s version of an afternoon at the beach.

At the base camp you have a variety of activities for all abilities. Go for a tour on skis or take a fat-tire bike for a spin around the groomed 10km loop around camp. Or simply enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or a fun game at the camp’s library. In the evenings, there are regular lectures and films tailored to your experience.

Day 3-6 | Visit the Emperor Penguins at Gould Bay

As soon as weather conditions permit, you will fly to the Emperor Penguin colony. The flight takes about 4 hours, travelling north-eastward over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Berkner island. The plane lands on the sea ice where the staff has prepared a field camp 1-2 mi (2-3 km) from the colony. The field camp manager will give you a tour of the camp and review safety procedures for walking to and from the colony. This will be your home for the next few days!

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of the Emperors. It’s an experience only few people will ever get to have! Walk to the colony with the experienced field guides to photograph penguins, seals, and seabirds. The 24-hour daylight allows us to adapt our schedule to the best weather and lighting for photography. Small sleds and walking poles are provided and can help transport your camera equipment between the field camp and the colony. The expedition guides are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the wildlife and their unique adaptations to the Antarctic environment.

It’s our main priority 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.

The number of days spent at the Emperor Penguin colony may vary due to weather, sea ice, and flight conditions.

Day 7-9 | Return to Union Glacier and Flight back to Chile

Return to Union Glacier

The field staff will stay in close contact with Union Glacier camp to identify the best ‘weather window’ for your return flight. 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.

Flight back to Punta Arenas

When weather and runway conditions permit, the aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Members of the staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.

We recommend booking your flight home one week after your return flight from Antarctica. 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. When it is time for your flight home, the staff will provide transportation from your hotel to the Punta Arenas airport.


Dates & Rates

Emperor Penguins Expedition

Camp on the sea ice with Emperor Penguins
Dates and duration
26 Nov - 04 Dec 2024 9 days
n/a 70 passengers

From $ 60900 per person
More info

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