The Best Team
When you venture into the untouched wilds of the Arctic and Antarctic, you need a great team around you. And we have the greatest. You’ll join elite guides trained at Quark Academy—which surpasses every standard imaginable for safety and preparedness in the Polar Regions—and interact directly with world-class polar experts. Our philosophy? The team that explores together, discovers more together.
We Take You Deeper
Quark Expeditions goes where others simply can’t. Or won’t. But our expert guides’ abilities to read unknown terrain means where there’s a will, there’s a way—and that way could be by kayak, Zodiac boat, helicopter, or even hot air balloon. In an environment so unpredictable, it pays to have a few backup plans. We don’t just expect the unexpected, we embrace it.
Most Innovative Itineraries
We’ve been pioneering new types of expeditions into the Polar Regions for over 30 years now. We not only offer the most itineraries, but the most varied as well. Regardless of where you venture, you can explore culture, wildlife, science, physical activity, and more. To put it simply: More places to explore, more ways to explore them.
The Most Adventure Activites
Every voyage starts on a ship, but the real adventure happens off-ship. In the polar wilds, we camp, kayak, mountain bike, hike and fly by helicopter to remote locations. We paddleboard on icy waters, and rise above the polar landscape in hot air balloons. With the most adventure options available, how you experience the Polar Regions is entirely up to you.
When it comes to polar expeditions, you’re only as good as where your ships can take you. And our diverse fleet of small polar vessels, which includes icebreakers and expedition ships, can take you to places larger ships can’t navigate. Equally key is our fleet of Zodiac boats, which let us make landfall where others are not able. Trust us: when you travel all the way to the edge of the world, you’ll want to reach out and touch it too.
Our Expedition History
Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, the cofounders of Quark Expeditions, took the first group of commercial travelers to the North Pole In 1991. That inaugural, game-changing expedition—the first-ever tourism transit of the Northeast Passage—set Quark Expeditions on a course that would put us at the forefront of polar exploration.
We have the most professional and passionate team of Expedition Leaders in the world, who bring a wide range of experience to every adventure. Some have degrees in marine biology, political science, others have trained as medics, biologists, park rangers, outdoor educators and lawyers.
The perfect polar expedition doesn't just happen. It takes a team of talented, knowledgeable and experienced professionals to bring it all together. Our Expedition Team is comprised of seasoned veterans with rich backgrounds in marine biology, history, glaciology, geology and more.
With the launch of Quark Academy in 2017, Quark Expeditions became the first polar expedition company to institute its own proprietary polar training program. The underlying goal was to establish standard levels of training and safety that surpassed anything else offered in the industry—for the ultimate benefit of our guests and for the protection of the polar regions we visit.
Embarking on a polar expedition with Quark is as much fun as any other vacation. And, it can also be a fascinating, enriching learning experience. Because the world is still learning about the Earth’s Polar Regions, it’s important for us to be able to provide an accurate picture of these areas, and its wildlife, to our guests.
Let us take you on an active adventure high up in the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll be part of an intimate group of adventurers to board one of Ultramarine’s two twin–engine helicopters for a trekking excursion in an area only safely accessed by air.
Imagine soaring over the polar regions from the comfort of a helicopter and enjoying the most astounding aerial views imaginable of the frozen Antarctic Ocean, of snow-capped ice ridges, massive crevices, and of melt pools ranging from cerulean to deep, spectacular turquoise.
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is an accessible activity in one of the most inaccessible parts of the world. No experience is required. Quark Expeditions staff will make every effort to make sure you´re not only safe and comfortable but most of all, that you have a wonderful ride.
Ice Sheet Experience
Ascend high above the cascading coastal glaciers onto the immense polar plateau of the Greenland Ice Sheet (the second-largest ice mass in the world) and take in the immensity of this overwhelming landscape.
Camping with Quark Expeditions is an unforgettable experience. After dinner onboard, you'll be escorted ashore by Zodiac to camp out on the snow for the night in your ready-to-roll bivy sack (tents can be used upon request). Once you decide on your spot, you set up camp and enjoy the peace as the night unfolds
Sea kayaking is offered on all of our departures and you require no previous experience to enjoy this activity. Our sea kayaks are the ideal means by which to get some good exercise and explore the cliffs and shores of the various visitor sites.
Because of their wide base and tail fins, Standup Paddleboarding boards are quite stable, enabling participants – after a bit of practice – to stop staring at their feet and admire the surrounding scenery. Imagine seeing Gentoo penguins gliding below you, or making eye contact with a Weddell seal lying on a piece of ice as you paddle by.
Zodiacs take you places that ships can’t access, allowing you to reach remote shorelines, explore shallow inlets and search for unique wildlife.
Our Polar Promise
Quark Expeditions is profoundly committed to environmentally responsible tourism. Protecting the places we visit is necessary to ensure we can continue to introduce travelers to the spectacular beauty of the polar wilderness.
Thousands of penguins compete with whales, seals and other Antarctic wildlife for your attention, while your camera captures towering icebergs, snow-capped mountain peaks and mammoth glaciers. Such are the unrivalled wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, Snow Hill and Patagonia.
Our expeditions to the Arctic—one of the most unexplored domains on the planet—feature the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland and Svalbard, where visitors witness polar bears, whales, reindeer, walruses and migratory birds, and learn first-hand about rich Indigenous cultures and their history.
Get inspired by first-hand accounts of experiential polar travel as guests embrace immersive experiences such as heli-hiking, kayaking, community visits, expert-led photography walks, iceberg viewing, family bonding on Zodiac tours and more. Discover why exclusive experiences with the Quark Expeditions team enable guests to create memories to last a lifetime!
Know Before You Go
Get expert tips on the best ways to prepare for your polar voyage. Our team—the best in the industry—tell you what (and how) to pack, the best photography gear to bring, necessary visas and travel documents, plus we address questions about the best times to see the Northern Lights, the differences between penguin species, as well as where (and when) to see polar bears.
Get the scoop on our newest polar itineraries, innovative off-ship adventure options, our one-of-a-kind helicopter adventures, guest experts, plus special offers and promotions, expedition team announcements, sustainability updates and more.
Polar Learning Channel
Discover the wonders of the Polar Regions—from the science behind the Northern Lights to the feeding habits of penguins—on Quark Expeditions’ polar education hub. Enjoy exclusive access to expert-hosted webinars, videos, blogs and expert content. Your polar education starts here!
Never miss one of our expert-hosted Webinars! Each month, one of the Quark Expeditions team—sometimes with a special guest—facilitates a live webinar about a specific aspect of polar travel. Subjects range from season previews, penguin science, adventure options, glaciology, new itineraries, inaugural voyages and more.
Enhance your voyage to the Arctic or Antarctic by learning all you can about wildlife before your trip! Learn all about polar bears (who are excellent swimmers), the different kinds of penguins (and their unique personalities), where to see whales, how to photograph birds in the polar wilderness, and all about walruses, seals, albatrosses, reindeer, muskoxen, puffins, wildlife conservation and more.