Emperor Penguins – November/December 2025


Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Gould Bay
Emperor Penguin Colony on the remote coast of the Weddell Sea.
Camp on the same sea ice where thousands of birds come to raise
and feed their young. Photograph majestic emperors and their
chicks against a spectacular backdrop of ice cliffs, pressure ridges,
and icebergs. Fall asleep to a chorus of trumpeting calls and wake to
find curious penguins outside your tent.

Our remote field camp offers you unparalleled access to the
emperors, as you witness their amazing adaptations to the Antarctic
environment alongside our expert guides.

Known as the gateway to Antarctica, all of our flights depart from the Chilean city of Punta Arenas.

We ask you to arrive in Punta Arenas at least three nights prior to your trip start date, to allow time to complete the pre-departure process. This also provides a buffer for flight and luggage delays should your travels to Chile not go as planned. We do not hold Antarctic flights for delayed passengers or luggage.

We will be waiting for you in the terminal when you arrive at Punta Arenas airport and will transport you to your hotel. The following day, you will have an individual Gear Check at your hotel, where we will review the personal clothing and equipment you will need in Antarctica. If you have requested any rental items, they will be issued from our warehouse.

The day before your Antarctic flight there is a Welcome and Safety Briefing in the ALE Office. Here we will explain the flight dispatch process, review environmental and safety procedures for your stay in Antarctica, and provide the latest weather updates.

DAY 1 - Fly to Antarctcia

At the Punta Arenas airport, you will check-in for your flight, pass through normal Airport Security then board our chartered jet for the 4 hour flight to Antarctica. Our route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. We land on a naturally occurring blueice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps in Antarctica.

Climb aboard one of our specially-adapted vans
for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to our main camp.
Our friendly staff will provide a welcome tour of
camp and show you to your tent.

Day 2 - Explore Union Glacier

Guests usually enjoy a few days at Union Glacier as part of their experience. A typical day starts with breakfast, then a meeting with your guide to discuss the day’s options and choose an activity tailored to the weather and the group’s interests. Excursions may include any of the following destinations and activities:

Elephant’s Head;
Ride in one of our wheeled vehicles to this dramatic marble buttress overlooking the blueice runway. Beautiful ice formations and moraines offer endless opportunities for photographers to capture close-up frozen formations or wide angle glacial landscapes. Hikers can trek up to the base of Elephant’s Head or all the way to the top of Rhodes Bluff for panoramic views of Union Glacier and the Heritage Range.

Rhodes Bluff and Fossil Garden;
Geology lovers will be delighted to explore this hotspot for ichnofossils. Our experienced guides can help you navigate by GPS to known trace fossils or accompany you on a mission to discover new ones.

Buchanan Hills;
Board our one-of-a-kind Tucker Bus, a custom designed tracked vehicle, for the scenic drive to the remote Buchanan Hills. You’ll arrive at a high pass that offers expansive views of Union Glacier as it flows into Constellation Inlet. Higgins Nunatak pokes through the ice, like an atoll in a frozen ocean. For the fit and adventurous, there are two easy hiking routes that require no prior experience and grant you the rare opportunity to summit a peak in the heart of Antarctica.

Drake Icefall;
Named in the 1960s after geologist Benjamin Drake IV, this impressive icefall tumbles off the
polar plateau into Union Glacier. Winds from the South Pole carve huge waves into the blue-ice and polish the surface into a high shine.

Charles Windscoop;
Discover the power of wind on ice as you wander through a sparkling turquoise corridor. If you’re truly adventurous, this is a prime place to try ice climbing with one of our experienced guides. For the less vertically inclined, you can rock hunt to your heart’s content. Just remember to leave them in place, as nothing may be removed from Antarctica.

The Beach at Rossman Cove;
Another spectacular setting for photography and panoramic views! Head out on cross-country skis and enjoy Antarctica’s version of a glacial beach getaway. If you’d prefer to stay closer to camp, we have a variety of activities for all abilities. You can check out a pair of cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike and take a spin around our groomed 10k loop or you can enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or fun game in our camp library. Lectures and films tailored to your experience round out our camp activities. Before you depart for the colony, we will review the Emperor Penguin Colony Visitor Guidelines.

Day 3 to 6

Over the next days, you will immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of the colony. Walk to the colony with our experienced field guides to photograph penguins and seabirds. We provide small sleds and walking poles to help transport your camera equipment between camp and the colony. The sea ice generally provides a hard surface to walk on.

We do not wish to disturb wildlife at all and strictly follow Emperor Penguin Colony Visitor Guidelines. These include keeping a minimum distance of 17 ft (5 m) from all wildlife,
including seals. We also have enhanced biosecurity procedures to minimize the chance of introducing avian influenza (HPAI). Our guides are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the wildlife and their unique adaptations to the Antarctic environment.

24-hour daylight allows us to adapt our schedule to the best weather and lighting for photography.While our guides are happy to accommodate individual requests, please discuss your wisheswith them in advance so they can tailor the camp schedule to include meals and sleep for everyone.

Day 7 to 8 - Explore Union Glacier

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 event and receive a certificate to commemorate your Emperor Penguins Experience in Antarctica.

Day 9 - Return to Chile

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

Additional info

Possible severe storms with temperatures down to -25°F (-32°C).

Moderate—walking up to 5 mi (8 km) each day on uneven snow and ice.

Emperor Penguins, Adélie Penguins, South Polar Skua, Snow Petrels, and Antarctic Petrels.

• Airport transfers in Punta Arenas, Chile
• Round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas
• Round trip flight to Gould Bay Emperor Penguin colony from Union Glacier, Antarctica
• Meals and tented accommodation in Antarctica
• Antarctic guides
• Celebration event and Certificate of Achievement
• Checked luggage up to 66 lb (30 kg)

• Insurance coverage—personal, medical, evacuation, or otherwise
• Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas
• Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
• Additional flights within Antarctica
• Personal equipment and clothing
• Expenses incurred due to delays
• Luggage over 66 lb (30 kg)
• Satellite phone charges


You will be sleeping in lightweight mountaineering tents designed to withstand Antarctic
conditions. These tents are low to the ground and you will not be able to stand up in them;
however, they are relatively roomy. We provide padded sleeping mats and pillows to use with your sleeping bag.

Our field toilets are surprisingly comfortable and private. We clean them regularly and provide hand sanitizer in each. When at the colony, you will need to use pee bottles and toilet bags to collect your waste as nothing can be left behind. There are no showers at our Emperor Penguin Camp. We recommend bringing Wet Wipes or one of our staff can show you how to take a “Snow Shower,” if you are feeling brave.

Meals are prepared by one of our highly skilled chefs and can include breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, and oatmeal; lunches of warm soups, cold meats and cheeses; afternoon snacks; and fantastic evening meals. Beverages include hot drinks, juice, beer and wine. Meal times are flexible, so you can photograph and explore when the lighting and mood are just right.

Limited charging facilities are available at the Emperor Penguin Camp and two types of outlets are available: USB and 120V A/C (North American Type A or B plugs).

Our field guides all hold advanced first aid certification, are trained in emergency response
protocols, and carry comprehensive first aid kits. Additional support is available from our
medics at Union Glacier Camp.