Emperor Penguin Exclusive Expedition 2026

This is an exclusive trip with a maximum of 7 participants

Antarctica is the most remote destination on the planet with an abundance of wildlife, gigantic icebergs the size of cities, and majestic mountain ranges. This exclusive expedition to the world’s Southernmost Emperor Penguin Colony at Gould Bay on the remote coast of the Weddell Sea is life changing. During the Austral winter, the Emperor Penguins journey to the interior of Antarctica where they establish their colonies. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of a bustling emperor penguin colony as you camp on the same sea ice where thousands of birds come to raise and feed their young.

Date: November 2026

Duration: 9 days (allow 3 days buffer either side)

Start and finish: Punta Arenas, Chile

Costs: $62,500 USD (all inclusive)

Deposit: $5,000 USD (Non refundable)

Activities: Wildlife, landscape, Camping, Tundra buggy, Glacier hikes

Prerequisite: As this is an expedition and conditions in the interior of Antarctica can be extreme, a good level of fitness is required and endurance for cold conditions.


  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • All meals and drinks during the expedition
  • Guiding services from our trip leader and expedition experts
  • Exploring the landscape surrounded by icebergs and an abundance of wildlife
  • All local excursions at Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica
  • Transport to and from the camps in Antarctica
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Round trip flight to Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica from Punta Arenas
  • Round trip flight to Gould Bay Emperor Penguin Camp from Union Glacier, Antarctica
  • Tented accommodation in Antarctica
  • Celebration event and Certificate of Achievement
  • Checked luggage up to 66 lb (30 kg)


  • International or domestic flights to/from Punta Arenas
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Visa, passport, and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in the itinerary
  • Airport transfers outside of Punta Arenas
  • Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
  • Personal equipment and clothing
  • Expenses incurred due to delays
  • Satellite phone charges

If you are interested in joining this special expedition then contact us directly to apply to be a part of this unique experience. 

Union Glacier Camp (Base Camp)

At 79 degrees South, you will find yourself deep in the Antarctic desert. Here you will experience life in one of the biggest tent camps on the continent. A typical day at Union Glacier Camp starts with a briefing after breakfast where you’ll meet with your guide. Depending on weather conditions, you may go out for an overland outing to one of the magnificent local areas like Elephant’s Head or the Windscoop, you will get the opportunity to attend daily lectures about the White Continent and its colourful history, or explore the ice on fat tyre bike or cross country skis. There is never a dull moment at Union Glacier Camp.

As soon as weather conditions permit, we will fly to the Emperor Penguin colony. The flight takes about 4 hours, traveling north-eastward over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Berkner Island where we may stop to refuel if necessary. The flight is done by Twin Otter or Basler DC3 aircraft.
We land on sea ice where our staff has prepared a field camp 2-3 km from the colony.


  • Arrival Day Punta Arenas
  • Chile Pre-departure Days Gear check. Flight Check-in and Baggage Drop-off, Welcome and Safety Briefing
  • Day 1 Fly to Antarctica
  • Day 2 Explore Union Glacier Camp
  • Day 3 Fly to Emperor Colony
  • Day 4-6 Live with the Emperors
  • Day 7 Return to Union Glacier Camp
  • Day 8 Explore Union Glacier Camp
  • Day 9 Return to Chile
  • Flexible Departure Day Fly Home


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

Activity Levels

Moderate—walking up to 6-8 km each day on uneven snow and ice.

Wildlife Viewing

Emperor Penguins, Adélie Penguins, Weddell Seals, South Polar Skua, Snow Petrels, and Antarctic Petrels

Life at the Emperor Penguin Camp

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of the colony. Walk to the colony with our experienced field guides to photograph penguins, seals, 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.

Our staff will make sure you are well looked after while staying out on the sea ice. We share our meals in the common dining tent and you will have the opportunity to learn more about the emperor penguins by talking to our penguin expert at the camp.


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. It can be a good idea to bring a sleeping mask as the sun never sets.

Sledging to the colony

The Emperor Penguin Camp is approximately 2-3 kilometers walk from the main Emperor Penguin colony. We walk across the frozen sea ice pulling small sleds behind us with our camera equipment, spare clothing, water bottles, pee bottle etc. Sleds and walking poles will be provided for you at the Emperor Penguin Camp.

Emperor Penguin Colony

Map (Union Glacier & Gould Bay)

Trip Leader – Scott Portelli

Antarctic Trip leader, wildlife, nature photographer 

Scott Portelli is an international award winning wildlife, nature and underwater photographer and is regarded as a leading professional in his field. Scott has spent thousands of hours in remote locations across the globe filming and photographing nature, wildlife, the underwater environment and wild places.

Some of his recent accolades include:

GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2024 – 1st place winner in the Mammals Category

HIPA 2023 – 1st place winner in “Diversity” Portfolio Category

Highly commended at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the year in London in both 2016 & 2022,

Winner in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2021, and has previously been awarded winner in the animal behaviour category in 2017 and 2019

1st  Place Winner as part of a team representing Australia at the World Photographic Cup 2021.

Winner at the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2021  in the Other Animals category.

Winner in the Human & Oceans category at the Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year awards 2021

Winner at Travel Photographer of the Year 2015 & 2018 and runner up in the landscape category in 2020.

National winner of the Sony World Photography awards 2016

Scott has spent over a decade working in the polar regions with a focus on Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic areas producing a unique portfolio of fine art photography that showcases the intricate environment and its intriguing inhabitants. Working in extreme conditions, Scott’s photography provides a rarely seen glimpse above and below the surface in some of the harshest places on the planet.


Important Information

Weather Delay Advisory

All itineraries are subject to change based on weather and flight conditions. Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled itinerary and flights will depart as soon as weather and runway conditions permit. Our staff will provide you with regular updates in the event of a delay.
Please understand that delays are common in Antarctic travel. For this reason we advise you not to plan any important meetings, functions, or other trips for at least one week following your scheduled return from Antarctica. We strongly suggest that you purchase a full-fare, flexible airline ticket that easily permits date changes without penalty.

Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy

Please review our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation policy

Download Liability Waiver

For more information contact us through the website or directly via email at scott@scottportelli.com or +61 (0)402124453

Check out our FAQs for more information.