December 2023 - Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond has partnered with Quark Expeditions to expand their operations to a fourth continent. Together, the partners have created A Taste of the Wild Life; A Masterclass with Kris Tompkins. Brought to you by andBeyond and Quark Expeditions, with Kris Tompkins, the 18-night land and sea adventure gives travelers an intimate glimpse into what is being done to protect the exceptional landscapes and wildlife inhabitants of Chile and Argentina, as well as the Antarctic Circle. The trip also offers an opportunity to gain first-person insight into the events described in the documentary A Wild Life, which tells the story of Kris and Douglas Tompkins and the contributions that they have made towards nature conservation in South America.
The trip will be accompanied by Kristine (Kris) McDivitt Tompkins, president and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation, an American conservationist, and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. Kris and her late husband Douglas Tompkins have protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation and its partners, making them among the most successful national park-orientated philanthropists in history. Throughout the trip, Kris will share personal stories of the work that has gone into protecting and rewilding large swathes of the Patagonian wilderness. These will include a presentation on the efforts involved in the creation of a national park. There will also be a screening of the Wild Life documentary, followed by a Q&A session with Kris on her story.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with other organizations that reflect our own values,” says Pedro Barraza, andBeyond Managing Director South America. “andBeyond has a long-standing relationship with Kris Tompkins and her teams, with our conservation experts from Africa having provided advice and support to both Rewilding Chile and Rewilding Argentina in preparation for their wildlife reintroduction projects. We also relish the opportunity to partner with Quark Expeditions, whose Polar Promise principles reflect our own motto of Care of Land, Wildlife and People.”
“This new partnership aligns perfectly with our commitment to go responsibly in all that we do,” says Thomas Lennartz, Vice President of Sales and Client Experience at Quark Expeditions. “We look forward to working with andBeyond to deliver awe-inspiring guest experiences in Patagonia and Antarctica, and Kris Tompkins’ expertise will be an incredible complement to the best expedition team in the industry.”
The Masterclass itinerary kicks off in Chilean Patagonia at the Torres del Paine National Park, where travelers will immerse themselves in the work being done by the Cerro Guido Foundation to reintroduce and protect Chile’s most endangered species. Staying at the historic Estancia Cerra Guido, guests can not only learn the way of the land from local gaucho, who care for the farm’s livestock, but will have the unique opportunity for a first-hand glimpse of the conservation work being done to preserve the area’s rich flora and fauna. Accompanied by expert puma researchers and trackers, they will immerse themselves in activities that form part of this groundbreaking project.
Those keen to learn more about the surrounding landscapes can also opt for a scenic overland excursion through Torres del Paine. Those in search of more physical activity can explore the region on horseback or spend the day fishing, while history buffs will enjoy the opportunity to tour an authentic Patagonian ranch, discovering ways of life and traditions that go back hundreds of years.
Leaving Patagonia, the itinerary continues to Cabo Froward (Cape Froward), where travelers can explore the mountains, glaciers and forest of this exceptional landscape, as well as enjoy a taste of the rich and vibrant culture of Punta Arenas. Travelling on to Ushuaia, the erstwhile explorers are introduced to the Ultramarine, a vessel specifically built for exploration of the polar regions. Departing via the Beagle Channel, travelers will have the opportunity to photograph the area’s beautiful landscapes and sea birds before heading into the vastness of the Southern Ocean. Over the next three days there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the facilities offered by the ship and join in captivating presentations on photography, wildlife, glaciology, and history. Explorers can while away the time by planning which of the included activities they would prefer to try first, from sightseeing from a scenic flight above the vessel to Zodiac cruises, hiking among some of the world’s most untouched landscapes, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and more.
As guests finally come close to landfall on the Antarctic Peninsula, Zodiac boats will whisk them away to explore majestic bays and channels, exploring penguin rookeries, scanning the horizon for humpback and minke whale, or keeping an eye out for leopard seals. Travelers can select from a vast array of additional adventures, all under the oversight of the dedicated Expedition Team, and drink in the magic that surrounds them, from crackling iceberg and glaciers to isolated research stations and vast, pristine expanses. Should conditions be conducive, the group will cross the Antarctic Circle and witness the midnight sun casting its ethereal glow on the icy landscape.
Heading back across the Drake Passage, guests will enjoy some time to reflect on their once-in-a-lifetime experiences and on the new understanding of this largely unknown and unexplored region. There will also be plenty of opportunity to listen to more enthralling stories shared by Kris and the Expedition Team on board the vessel.
A Taste of the Wild Life: A Masterclass with Kris Tompkins runs from 25 February to 15 March 2025, and is available at a cost of USD 34,400 per person sharing with a minimum of eight guests and with a maximum of 14 guests. The itinerary cost includes a group contribution of USD 10,000 made in support of the Tompkins Conservation Project Fund at Re:Wild. For more information visit andBeyond.com or speak to your preferred travel provider.