A cold and rainy day in Prague was the perfect excuse to take a break from being a tourist and do some much needed traveling planning. The last 2.5 months of exploring Europe have been incredible, but I recently noticed that I am getting antsy. The off season here in Europe has been a welcome change with less crowds, cheaper prices, and cooler weather. Alas, my traveling soul needs to move. So the question was…where now? Well….
I am off to ARGENTINA!!!!!
South America was always a rough idea in my RTW plans and I had thought that if I went there at all, it would be before I came home. Well considering my return is in just a few short months, it was now or never! Once I settled on going to South America, the next question became, where to start? Contrary to Europe where you can cross through 3-4 countries in a 15 hour span, the countries in South America are HUGE. So, I needed to make a smart decision. I had considered Ecuador and trying to get to the Galapagos Islands. Then, I thought about Peru and hiking to Machu Picchu. But, the other day it hit me — it had to be Argentina.
Fabulous Buenos Aires, the majestic Iguazu Falls, the impressive peaks in Patagonia….I could go on about all the amazing things Argentina offers to a traveler, but the real reason I settled on Argentina? Antarctica 🙂
Nearly all of the cruise ships bound for Antarctica leave from the southernmost point in Argentina, Ushuaia. Cruises are only able to cross the waters between Argentina and Antarctica during the Antarctic summer during the months of November – March.
As I am sure you can imagine, a cruise to Antarctica is not cheap. There are several ships and options available, all offered at various prices. The cheapest start around $7,000 (10-11 days, more people, less personalized) and can go upwards of $25,000 (less people, longer trips, and smaller boats)! Although going to Antarctica would be an epic experience, frankly, I am not willing to pay this much.
Snag a last minute deal!
Just like any cruise ship, once they reach a minimum number of guests, they are headed to their destination no matter what. But yet, they may not be full. A few weeks before the cruises are set to depart, the ships begin to offer hefty discounts in hopes of filling their empty cabins. The catch is usually that people have to be flexible to be able to jump on a ship within a couple weeks notice. It is not something that is easy for most people with planned vacations. But, it is perfect for me!
I have been in contact with a recommended company that the cruises ships use to spread the word about their last minute deals. It works really well because I do not need to go all the way to Ushuaia in order to get one of these deals. They will email me as they come available and if I decide to book one, I can then catch a flight to Ushuaia.
I was made aware that the cheapest trips (i.e., $7,000 trip) typically do not go on sale. The tickets that do are usually more expensive to start and then will be discounted heavily. So, I will have to see what comes and make a decision as to whether it is something I am willing to splurge on, or if it just doesn’t make good financial sense.
If I am not able to get on a ship to Antarctica, then I plan to go crazy exploring Argentina! It will be their summer so I cannot wait to fill my day with hiking in Patagonia, taking tango lessons, exploring the north, and gorging myself on steak and red wine!
I really think it is a win-win situation. If I am lucky enough to get on a cruise to Antarctica, it would be nothing short of incredible. But, I am looking forward to being back in warm weather and to be surrounded by the beauty of nature and the mountains. Just thinking about it, makes me smile 🙂
So, who is joining me??
Photo Credit #1: Wallpaperswide.com