To visit Antarctica is to experience a unique and beautiful wilderness. It is the world’s largest ice sheet covering over 14 million square kilometres. Despite the challenging conditions it is remarkably rich in wildlife. Several species of penguins gather in huge numbers, Humpback whales, Orcas and seals can also be witnessed. There are over 45 species of sea birds including Albatross. Not to mention the magnificent scenery; enormous towering ice bergs and cliffs together with almost 24 hours of daylight create breathtaking photography opportunities. If you have longer you can include South Georgia and the Falkland islands to follow in the footsteps of Shackleton and other brave explorers of the past. If you have less time consider flying to the peninsula. However you decide to visit Antarctica take with you your sense of adventure and be prepared to be flexible as weather conditions mean itineraries sometimes have to be adapted.
Dramatic, wild landscapes and wildlife are the main draw but the feeling of being somewhere so untamed and remote is undoubtedly what makes Antarctica the experience of a lifetime
To visit Antarctica you will need to travel through the south of either Argentina or Chile. This can fit in nicely with a visit to Patagonia.
If you are embarking at Ushuaia spend some time exploring Tierra del Fuego National Park. There is great hiking to suit all levels of fitness.
Head to Chile’s wine region for a couple of days of relaxation and warmth after all that ice. Or explore Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls for a dose of tropical heat and a jaw-dropping sight of a different kind.
The season runs from October to March during the Austral summer. In the early season (October and November) there’s a quietness to Antarctica as the ice begins to break up and there’s alot of fresh snow. It’s a good time to see courtship displays as penguins and other birds return to breed. December and January are high season and with nearly 24 hours of daylight it’s a popular time with photographers. Penguins are hatching. Whale watching is best in the late season and the penguins are reaching adulthood.
USD and Euro are accepted on most ships
No visa is required to visit Antarctica but as you access it from Chile or Argentina check with your consulate about entry requirements to those countries.
GMT -3 hours
To visit Antarctica you need to go from either Ushuaia (Argentina) or Punta Arenas (Chile). There are now direct flights to Santiago as well as Buenos Aires with British Airways from London. Other airlines fly via Europe or the USA.
There are many options for boats, dates, itineraries and trip length for Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland islands. Most leave from either Ushuaia in Argentina, or Punta Arenas in Chile so work well with Patagonia if you’re able to add on some additional time on land.
Join this 11 day expedition to feel the magic of the South Shetland islands and Antarctic Peninsula for yourself. Wake up to see huge icebergs reflected in a calm morning sea, experience the sounds and smells of a penguin rookery and watch whales passing by.
It pays to plan and book ahead. Some cruise operators offer good deals on early bookings. Ask us for the best deals.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a ship for your Antarctic cruise. Departure dates, comfort level, itinerary and cruise length are all important factors. Ask us to help you find the right one for you.
A small boat delivering big adventures. MS Expedition feels like a home from home in the remote southern waters of the globe.
Voyage to Antarctica in comfort with fantastic guides, fine dining and a feeling of camaderie
It’s worth planning to visit Antarctica early as many operators have special offers for early bird bookings. Ask us for current special offers.
This really was the holiday of a lifetime and thanks to expedition leader Hannah and her fantastic team was it was a magical experience. The scenery and wildlife were breathtaking and the history of polar exportation, and my hero Sir Ernest Shackleton in particular was vividly, brought to life. To be able to follow his journey and pay my respects to him at his graveside in South Georgia was very emotional and something I will never forget.
Lorraine traveled on Hebridean Sky. Find out more here.