In the early 2000s, a group of friends in Punta Arenas, Chile came together to develop a new model of Antarctic tourism, one that would provide an alternative to the traditional navigation from South America across the stormy waters of the Drake Passage.
Their idea involved combining air and sea transportation: flying over the expansive ocean to deliver travellers to a waiting ship in Antarctica. This would avoid the difficult and uncomfortable navigation across the Drake Passage, while also reducing the total duration of the trip by four days. Like any fledgling project and given its uniqueness, the idea was received by the industry with some skepticism. Despite these hesitations, in November 2003 ANTARCTICA XXI began operation of its first air-cruise. A De Havilland Dash-7 aircraft left from Punta Arenas and landed at the Lt. Marsh Airfield on King George Island, Antarctica. There, clients boarded M/V Grigoriy Mikheev and spent six days visiting the South Shetland Islands, crossing the Bransfield Strait, and sailing along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
More than a decade later, ANTARCTICA XXI now offers over 20 air-cruise departures each season aboard two different ice-class expedition vessels.
Thanks to their tireless expedition staff and superior service, ANTARCTICA XXI offers the most extensive suite of Antarctic air-cruises in the world. ANTARCTICA XXI is proud of this achievement and continues to improve their services with each passing year. As the leading boutique Antarctic tour operator, they are constantly striving to innovate and develop their environmentally-responsible expeditions to the bottom of the world.
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