Explorers House opens its doors as the first private club for Antarctica21’s polar expeditions

Explorers House opens its doors as the first private club for Antarctica21’s polar expeditions

Exclusive private retreat in cultural heritage building in Punta Arenas inspires guests bound for the icy Antarctica wilderness with spirit of adventure.

Punta Arenas – 9 January 2024: Antarctica21, the company that operates Fly & Cruise Expeditions to Antarctica, has announced the opening of its new venue, Explorers House in Punta Arenas, a port town in the south of Chilean Patagonia and the gateway to Antarctic journeys. Explorers House is the first of its kind and has been designed to welcome Antarctica21’s guests, providing exclusive services and amenities to enjoy and to prepare them before embarking on the unique small ship expeditions.

For two decades, Antarctica21 has been flying travellers to Antarctica, skipping the often-turbulent two-day Drake Passage crossing and exploring the Peninsula on boutique ships.  Explorers House provides a space for the start of a journey to one of the most remote and untouched places on earth.

Designed with the feel of a private member’s club, Explorers House is a space that encapsulates the spirit of Antarctica21’s expeditions.  It provides an elegant lounge and bar with a restaurant serving international and Chilean cuisine, and space for up to 200 guests over two floors. The venue also includes a library with over 100 specialist polar travel and nature books, a garden area, and a shop exclusively for guests. A theatre-style presentation room will host welcome talks and briefing sessions covering subjects such as science, the environment, and the history of polar exploration.

The venue opened its doors to welcome its first ship guests on 14th December 2023. The official opening was attended by local dignitaries from Punta Arenas as well as Jaime Vásquez, Co-founder and President of Antarctica21: “As Antarctica21 grew, we began thinking of a space in Punta Arenas where we could welcome our guests in a way that matched the feeling and elegance they would experience on our ships in Antarctica.”

“We are delighted to have been able to develop and design this special place of our own and to have the opportunity to build on the cultural heritage of the region. This unique, visionary venue will enhance the adventures of Antarctica21’s travellers bound for the icy wilderness of Antarctica.”

Explorers House provides an exclusive welcome space for Antarctica21’s guests in Punta Arenas where, during the busy Austral summer, travellers compete for hotels and restaurants in the area. They will also enjoy the same service quality they receive aboard the company’s Magellan Explorerand Ocean Nova ships.

Explorers House has been designed in a heritage building previously used as a warehouse to process and export Patagonian wool and leather from local ranchers in the early 1900’s.  It was fully restored by prestigious and renowned Chilean architect Pedro Kovacic with interiors designed by Enrique Concha, who has also been involved in designing Antarctica21’s expedition vessel, Magellan Explorer. Architect Pedro Kovacic furthers Antarctica21’s commitment to sustainability by incorporating rainwater harvesting and a solar panel system for underfloor heating, in addition to upcycling much of the original wooden structure of the building.

Andrea Tellez, Manager at Antarctica21’s Explorers House said: “We have always dreamed of establishing a base in Punta Arenas. Our main goal is for our guests to feel at home and be inspired with the spirit of adventure and exploration as they prepare for their journey. It is a cosy retreat and a contemporary refuge from the wilds of Chilean Patagonia for guests to enjoy as they await their expedition.”

Explorers House is located a five-minute walk from the main plaza in the historic centre of Punta Arenas. It also hosts the Antarctic Time Tunnel, a development project of Antarctica21’s Foundation. The Foundation undertakes activities in support of science, art, conservation, and education, contributing to the creation and awareness of Antarctic knowledge.

Established and built by a consortium of local people, Antarctica21 offers air-cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula and sea voyages to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and Antarctica for fewer than 100 guests onboard Ocean Nova and Magellan Explorer and is the only Antarctic operator based locally with a team in place all year round.

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About Antarctica21

Founded 20 years ago in Punta Arenas, Chile, Antarctica21 pioneered air-cruise expeditions to Antarctica, combining a two-hour flight to Antarctica with a small ship expedition along the Peninsula. They now offer the most extensive suite of Antarctic air-cruises in the world, as well as sea voyages to the Falklands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia & Antarctica.

Two small expedition vessels for fewer than 100-guests, Ocean Nova and Magellan Explorer, offer travellers the luxury of more time to explore with fast and efficient disembarkation.

All voyages are led by a dedicated team including international Antarctic pilots, experienced sea captains, expert polar guides, academics and seasoned travel professionals.

Antarctica21 offers four Air-Cruise itineraries: 8-day Classic Antarctica with frequent departures from November through to March, a 10-day Polar Circle expedition sailing further to the Antarctic Circle, a 17-day Antarctica & South Georgia expedition, and a 6-day Antarctica Express, a more affordable introduction to Antarctica.

Fly-cruise expeditions include a short flight from Punta Arenas, Chile over the infamous Drake Passage to King George Island on the South Shetland Islands, where guests board their expedition ship.

Sea voyages range from nine to 20 days and visit Patagonia, the Chilean Fjords, Falklands (Malvinas), South Georgia and Antarctica.

In 2021 Antarctica21 established the Antarctica21 Foundation as a vehicle for participation in a variety of programs focused on Antarctica.  The foundation undertakes activities in support of science, art, conservation, and education, contributing to the creation and awareness of Antarctic knowledge.

One of the Foundation’s current projects, the Antarctic Time Tunnel is located at the newly launched Explorer’s House and presents the natural and cultural history of Antarctica. Other projects include; Onboard Science, Photography book, and Green Energy, a pilot project to evaluate the possible use of green hydrogen as an energy source for Antarctic bases.


About the Author

Founding director of toucanmoon, Debra has many years’ experience in the travel industry and has held director-level positions in several high-profile international companies.

View all posts by Debra Taylor

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