South Georgia Tours

South Georgia is a remote yet magical island, exquisite in its beauty and virtually unspoilt by man. It is adorned with emerald green bays, blue glacier ice and formidable snow covered peaks. South Georgia travel will expose you to one of the world’s greatest wildlife areas - the “Galapagos of the South”. Home to over 30 million breeding birds, thousands of seals, the introduced Norwegian reindeer, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on this planet - the island teems with life. South Georgia is also home to the macaroni penguin not often seen on the Peninsula and one of the very few places where you can see the nesting sites of the wandering albatross, a bird that boasts the largest wingspan of any bird in the world.
 
If the spectacular wildlife is not enough of a drawcard, South Georgia travel will bring you to a part of the Antarctic that is steeped in history. The island was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-17 Trans-Antarctica Expedition in the Endurance, one of the most incredible adventure stories and most heroic survival stories of all times. South Georgia was once the centre of the whaling industry and an Antarctica cruise to this part of the Southern Ocean will give you the opportunity to see the relics and remains of abandoned whaling stations and to visit the grave of the intrepid explorer, Shackleton.
 
With the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet, a captivating history and ruggedly beautiful terrain, the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is one of the jewels in the Southern Ocean’s crown. Why not discover it on an Antarctica cruise to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula? 
 

From the very first contact with Chimu, I had a great experience. Everything about the trip far exceeded any of my expectations. Besides the fact that Antarctica is the most amazing place on Earth, the trip itself was phenomenal. To the food, service, crew, expertise of the expedition team, everything was fantastic. I would highly recommend Chimu to friends and family. - Dani D

Read Reviews (Avg 4.9 ★)
 
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Featured South Georgia Trips & Deals

Book by 31 Jul

 Now is the time to tick Antarctica off your bucket list, for a limited period we are offering a number of fantastic specials on Antarctica cruises for the 2017/18 season. Don't miss out!

POPULAR  From 19,500

Cruise to the wild areas of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia plus explore the icy limits of Antarctica.

POPULAR  From 18,050

Cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands on this Exclusive Chimu Adventures departure aboard the luxury Sea Spirit. 

South Georgia Tours

19 NIGHTS From 12,130

The MV Ushuaia is an ice-reinforced ex-research vessel, offering some of the best value trips to Antarctica. Book now for the experience of a lifetime.

Articles On South Georgia

South Georgia: World’s Most Epic Hikes

Posted on Fri, 23 Sep 2016

The South Georgia traverse is rated as one of the world’s most epic hikes and is right up there with the likes of the Mt Fuji ascent in Japan, the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru and the amazing Continental Divide Trail, which runs through no less than 5 US states. Yet among all these illustrious feats of physical prowess, the …

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How to See Antarctica’s Seal Species

Posted on Sat, 10 Sep 2016

There are five Antarctica True Seal Species. True seals differ from fur seals (or eared seals) mostly because of the different way they swim. Fur seals swim with their fore flippers and use their rear flippers to steer. True Seals on the other hand steer with their fore flippers and swim with their rear flippers. As a result fur seals have much …

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South Georgia -The Travel Destination you Never Think Of

Posted on Tue, 23 Aug 2016

South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands may not be a travel destination you think of often, but it is a place of snow capped peaks and toddling penguins that will captivate you with its rugged beauty and test the limits of your adventure. It sits 800 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands, and more than half of the main island …

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Ten reasons to include South Georgia in your Antarctica Cruise

Posted on Mon, 25 Jul 2016

Anyone in the know about Antarctica Cruises will tell you that you “must” include this small sub-Antarctic island, known as South Georgia, in your Antarctica Cruise itinerary. But, if you’ve undertaken an even cursory glance through pricing for these sorts of Antarctica trips you would have found that they can be considerably more expensive that your shorter, 11 day, meat …

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Falkland, South Georgia and Antarctica- A trip of a lifetime!

Posted on Wed, 15 Oct 2014

Being the first passengers this season to go down to Antarctica was indeed a very special feeling! We boarded the MV Ushuaia mid October in Stanley on the Falkland Islands and went off to South Georgia.

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South Georgia Reviews

All Chimu Adventures' clients are given the opportunity to review their trip once they return home. These reviews are administered by a third party and as such are unfiltered by Chimu Adventures.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pinktarctic paradise A big thank you for putting such an amazing group together. This trip was a life long ambition for me and it is a trip I will never forget. From our wonderful host, Greg to Alex our expedition leader, this trip was just incredible. Not only did I experience one of the world's last great wilderness' but our intimate encounters with wildlife is something I will treasure forever. I feel truly blessed. Chimu Adventures should be applauded for the wonderful work they do in Latin America with charities and this fundraising adventure testifies what an amazing company they are. I will have no hesitation to book with them again, and will be telling everyone I know the same!
Date published: 2015-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Images of Antarctica trip Just returned from an incredible trip to Antarctica onboard the MV Ushuaia. Wow. The trip to was impeccable from start to finish. We had some incredible landings, and saw any absolute abundance of wildlife. Our host, Craig Deuchar of Chimu was delightful, and went well put of his way to assist everyone aboard. A big well done to him. Despite one awful person on the trip - quote possibly one of the rudest, unlikeable people I have met who refused to embrace the experience and other passengers, we all had a wonderful trip. All in no small let due to Craig! Our onboard auction was wonderful too!
Date published: 2016-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best place we have ever been! Words cannot sum up how amazing this destination is. Everything ran impeccably, and the service aboard the MV Ushuaia was simply fantastic. Craig, our Chimu host was wonderful, and went out of his way to make sure everyone aboard had a great time. His service and interest in everyone was outstanding, and they way he dealt with one particularly nasty passenger aboard is to be commended. I would not hesitate to recommend Chimu Adventures to anyone. Thanks for an amazing trip. From Colombia, to Guatemala, Argentina, Chile and our Antarctica cruise - everything ran smoothly, and we commend you!
Date published: 2016-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Antarctica My trip on the MV Sea Spirit was everything I had hoped for and more. The expedition staff and hotel staff were flawless. The passengers well traveled and a great range of ages, I have made many lifelong friends on the trip! Of course, the bird life, marine life, mammals, penguins and landscapes are incredible. I am still unable to put into words how jaw droppingly beautiful and exciting it was to set foot on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. I would highly recommend a trip to the area to anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of animals and photography.
Date published: 2015-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Antarctic Peninsula - Each Day was a Feast Reflecting back, I was so glad Jason Dudson changed our ships. All gear for the snow and ice was included in the new one, so not having to hire gear and being able to make changes onboard ship was a relief. The friendliness of everyone on board made for a great trip. Photos & videos were shared and returned to us as a slide show before we disembarked. So many memories and I've barely touched the surface with the checking out of files.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly beautiful place I had a very firm picture of what I expected Antarctica to be like, and it exceeded all my wildest dreams! What surprised me most was the variety, so many different weather conditions which helped make places just a few miles apart seem vastly different. We were also given such a variety of ways to experience Antarctica, through wildlife sighting, camping, zodiac rides, hiking, historical places, scientific seminars... never time to get bored, rarely even time to write a diary! The ship (Sea Adventurer) was comfortable and practical - the library and the bridge became 2 of my favourite places. The food on board was great quality and very plentiful and the staff were helpful and friendly across the board. I cannot recommend this highly enough!
Date published: 2015-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Adventure of a lifetime! We had an amazing experience on this trip; it was truly the adventure of a lifetime. Craig Deuchar from Chimu was super helpful and informative, both with our booking and throughout the trip, and the expedition staff were enthusiastic, professional, knowledgeable, and responsive to the Antarctic conditions and the needs of the passengers. It was so awesome making landings and getting up close to the icebergs, whales, penguins, and seals, and I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who is considering a trip to Antarctica. It was worth every cent!
Date published: 2016-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Antactic. A once in a lifetime experience. All pickups and tours organised by Chimu were on time and well organised. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for LAN Airlines. Only 2 of our flights were on time. One flight was double booked, causing problems catching a connecting flight. On another occasion the aircraft needed to be unloaded and changed and this particular flight was the one taking us to Ushuaia to meet the boat. However the trip to the Antarctic made up for all LAN,s failings. The ships crew and expedition staff were extremely helpful, professional and very knowledgable and ensured safety of passengers at all times. Nothing was a problem. The scenery and wildlife can only be described a spectacular. It is impossible to take a bad photograph.
Date published: 2016-04-14
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Country Information

WHEN TO GO TO SOUTH GEORGIA

The weather in South Georgia can be quite variable, with rain and snow possible at any time of the year. The only time for South Georgia travel is during the southern hemisphere’s summer. The main season runs from mid-October to end-February, when the average temperature at sea level is around 7.5°C. Early in the season, elephant and fur seals establish their breeding territories and the spring wildflowers are blooming. From late October to November elephant seals are actively courting. South Georgia’s king penguins lay their eggs in November and king penguin chicks from the previous season can be seen in the rookeries. Seal pups are present on the beaches in December and January and from mid-December to January the first penguin chicks emerge and fur seals breed. By February the young fur seals are quite playful and penguin colonies are active.

WEATHER IN SOUTH GEORGIA

The weather in South Georgia can be quite variable as the island experiences a cold Oceanic climate, classified as a polar climate. Sun can quickly be followed by violent storms, with rain and snow possible at any time of the year. The average maximum summer temperature at sea level is around 7.5°C dropping to 0°C in winter but average temperatures vary widely depending on the exact location in the region. Winter minimum temperatures are typically between -5°C and -10°C. South Georgia receives an annual precipitation of 1,500 millimetres mainly falling as snow or sleet, possible during any month. Westerly winds blow intermittently throughout the year, giving the sheltered eastern side of the island a more pleasant climate. The highest recorded temperature was 28.8°C, at Grytviken on the eastern side, whereas Bird Island on the western side has only recorded a maximum of 14.5°C. The eastern side is subjected to colder winter temperatures, with Grytviken recording -19.4°C. The seas surrounding South Georgia are cold year round due to the proximity of the Antarctic Current. Although the waters usually remain free of pack ice in winter, thin ice may form in sheltered bays and icebergs are common. Sea temperatures rise to around 4°C in early April, dropping to 0°C in late August.

WILDLIFE IN SOUTH GEORGIA

South Georgia has the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet. It lies in the midst of a vast marine eco-system, with penguins, seals and other wildlife fishing across areas that cover thousands of kilometres before returning to the region. More than 30 million birds nest and rear their chicks in South Georgia. The island is home to around half the world’s population of macaroni penguins, grey-headed albatrosses, northern giant petrels, white-chinned petrels, Antarctic prions and southern elephant seals and most of the world’s population of Antarctic fur seals. King penguins number in their hundreds of thousands. Birds: Over 80 species of birds have been recorded in South Georgia, with over 30 species breeding on the island, the majority being sea birds. The South Georgia pipit is the only endemic bird on the island. Amongst the breeding birds are macaroni, king, gentoo and chinstrap penguins; wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and light-mantled sooty albatrosses; Antarctic and fairy prions; blue, Cape, snow and Wilson storm petrels, South Georgia shags, yellow-billed sheathbills and speckled teals. Whales & Dolphins: Amongst the whales found in the region are blue, southern right, sei, fin, humpback, killer (orca) and southern bottlenose. Hourglass dolphins frequent South Georgia’s waters. Seals: Antarctic fur, elephant, leopard and Weddell seals are found in South Georgia. The southern elephant seal and Antarctic fur seal breed in significant numbers on the island’s beaches and leopard seals can be seen all year around.

CULTURE AND CUSTOMS IN SOUTH GEORGIA

There are no native inhabitants in South Georgia, but there is an average population of 30 people who are not considered to be permanent residents. There is a small settlement at Grytviken with South Georgia’s government administrative centre and fisheries research facility being located at King Edward Point. The British Antarctic Survey operates two bases in South Georgia at King Edward Point and Bird Island, permanently manned by scientists and support staff. Bird Island’s year round complement of British Antarctic Survey personnel undertake long-term monitoring of seabirds and marine mammals.

TOURISM AND SUSTAINABILITY

Antarctica tourism has existed since 1957 and is subject to the Antarctic Treaty and Environmental Protocol and self-regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Due to the concern of the potential adverse effect on the environment and ecosystems caused by the influx of tourists, there are now strict landing limits and closed or restricted zones on the more frequently visited sites. South Georgia operates a Tourism Management Policy whose primary objective is to enable visitor access, whilst ensuring the continued protection of the Territory’s unique environment, including its flora, fauna and cultural heritage. This is achieved by managing all visitor landings and ensuring that all visitors adhere to legally enforced guidelines that include the following: Do not disturb mammals or birds and always maintain a respectful distance Stay on the edge of animal groups, approaching slowly and quietly. Do not use flash photography and retreat immediately if wildlife shows any sign of being disturbed Never disturb seals in breeding colonies or territorial seals Do not offer food to any animal Always rigorously adhere to all biosecurity measures Be alert whilst ashore, in particular in the tussock grass, to avoid stumbling on a fur seal or a nesting bird, or causing damage to seabird burrows Do not touch or attempt to touch any animals

GEOGRAPHY OF SOUTH GEORGIA

South Georgia is a collection of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, situated nearly 1,400 kilometres southeast of the Falkland Islands. The group is made up of the main South Georgia Island and surrounding islands including Bird Island, Welcome Islands and Cooper Island. The main island of South Georgia is approximately 170 kilometres long and between 2 and 40 kilometres wide, occupying an area of 3,755 square kilometres, more than half of which is permanently covered with ice. The island is mountainous with 11 peaks rising above 2,000 metres. Mt Paget rises to 2,934 metres and is the highest point on the island The largest glacier is Fortuna Glacier

HISTORY OF SOUTH GEORGIA
  •   The island of South Georgia was first sighted by London merchant Antoine de la Roche in 1675

  • Captain James Cook circumnavigated the island and made the first landing in 1775, claiming South Georgia for the UK and naming it “Isle of Georgia” after King George III

  • Norwegian, Carl Anton Larsen, established the first land-based whaling station and first permanent habitation at Grytviken in 1904

  • The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the South Sandwich Islands in 1908

  • South Georgia was a base for whaling and sealing industries throughout the 20th century

  • In April 1916, Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition became stranded on Elephant Island, 1,300 kms southwest of South Georgia

  • 0n 10th May 1916, Shackleton plus 5 of his men landed at King Haakon Bay on South Georgia, Shackleton, Crean and Worsely then trekking across the island to reach help at Stromness whaling station

  • Whaling and sealing operations ceased in the 1960’s and the whaling stations were abandoned

  • The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied the island

  • The territory of "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" was formed in 1985

FOOD AND DRINK IN SOUTH GEORGIA

Food on board cruise and expedition ships is of a very high standard - plentiful, tasty and nutritious. Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet style, with dinners generally served to your table and featuring 3 and sometimes 4 courses. The range of food is diverse with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of excellent dishes. Beverages such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate are included whereas soft drinks and alcohol must be paid for. Most ships have very well stocked bars and a good selection of wines.

FURTHER READING
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

  • Shackleton’s Epic: Recreating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival by Tim Jarvis

  • An Unsung Hero: The Remarkable Story of Tom Crean by Michael Smith

  • Shackleton by Margery & James Fisher

  • The Quest for Frank Wild by Angie Butler

  • South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton

  • Antarctic Oasis: Under the Spell of South Georgia by Tim & Pauline Carr

Frequently Asked Questions

What money do they use in South Georgia ?

The official currency of South Georgia is the pound sterling (GBP).

What language do they speak in the South Georgia?

English is the official language of South Georgia as it is a British Overseas Territory.

Do I need to be fit to go to South Georgia ?

A high level of fitness is not necessary for Antarctica cruises to South Georgia, but you need to be in good health as although there is generally a doctor on board the ships, you are a long way from any other medical assistance. The majority of activities are focused around shore excursions and zodiac cruising and so you need to be agile and able-bodied enough to climb into and out of the inflatable zodiacs from both the ship and the shore. On shore landings you may need to negotiate uneven and slippery ground. Shore excursions generally involve some walking.

Is it safe to travel in South Georgia?

 All of our tours are 100% tried and tested to ensure that when you travel with us, you are doing so in a controlled and safe environment with trained experts. We consistently monitor weather conditions and will always provide you with the best possible adventure without risk of injury to you or the vessel. While some landings and activities may need to be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather, every effort is made to have a contingency plan should such conditions become a reality during your expedition. Chimu have been the experts in Antarctic travel for well over 10 years and use our vast experience and knowledge when picking the vessels we sell to provide you with an adventure that is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Note:

  • Extreme care should be taken in the proximity of seals (especially those in breeding colonies) and particularly fur seals from November to January, when they can be extremely aggressive

  • The buildings and jetties of the old whaling stations at Leith, Stromness, Husvik and Prince Olav Harbour are in a dangerous state of disrepair and so it is forbidden to approach within 200 metres

Do I need a visa to travel to South Georgia?

A visa is not required to visit South Georgia but all visitors must be in possession of a valid passport. All passports must be presented to the Government Officer (Immigration Officer) on arrival at Grytviken. If your Antarctica cruise is departing from an Argentinian port such as Ushuaia, no pre-arranged visa is required to enter Argentina by citizens of the UK, Australia, Ireland, European Union, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the USA. Other nationalities should check with your closest Argentinean embassy or consulate. Australian, Canadian and USA citizens must pay a "reciprocity fee" to enter Argentina. This is not a visa, but a fee based on the fees that Argentinean citizens pay for visas to these countries. The fee must be paid online and in advance for arrival at all airports.

How long will I spend in South Georgia ?

Most Antarctica cruises that include South Georgia on their way to or from the Antarctic Peninsula, spend 3 to 5 days exploring South Georgia. Those cruises that feature South Georgia travel only typically spend at least 7 or 8 days in the region. Possible landing sites and excursions include Elsehul Bay, Salisbury Plain, Prion Island, Fortuna Bay, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Drygalski Fjord, Cumberland Bay and the old whaling stations at Stromness, Leith, Husvik and Grytviken.