Travel to Antarctica is undoubtedly a trip of a lifetime as Lorraine Kelly is finding out on the trip that we have arranged for her. Lorraine is onboard Hebridean Sky on a special voyage that is tracing Shackleton’s epic journey. If you’ve always dreamt of an Antarctic Adventure here are some of the basics to get you started;
Antarctica is the frozen planet. It is a continent; but unlike anywhere else on earth. It is the 5th largest continent in the world; twice the size of Australia, but 98% of it is covered in a layer of ice a mile thick.
Because of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959; Antarctica is a place without borders or frontiers; you won’t need your passport to visit Antarctica. An international agreement has designated Antarctica a precious place to be left undisturbed; a ‘peaceful, fee and demilitarized zone of international cooperation and research’. Nobody permanently lives in Antarctica though around 1000 international scientists brave the harsh winter there each year in specially built research stations.
Antarctica covers the South Pole and is at the southernmost part of the earth. It is nearest to South America 620 miles away compared with 4,359 miles to Australia. Between the Antarctic Peninsular and South America there is a string of small islands. Of these, only the tiny Falkland Islands are inhabited.
The vast majority of visitors travel to Antarctica on a cruise from South America. Antarctic Cruise ships have strengthened hulls to withstand encounters with icebergs and are incredibly sturdy. They need to be to cross the rough seas of the Draké Passage between the Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans.
It is possible to fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to the Antarctic Peninsular; there you join your cruise ship for a slightly shorter Antarctic fly-cruise. If you have around US$50, 000 you can even fly to the Antarctic interior and go right to the South Pole. From Australia, Quantas offer over-flights so you can see the great white continent from the air.
The likelihood is, though, that for a trip to Antarctica, you will travel there on an expedition cruise ship from the small Argentine town of Ushuaia.
There are numerous daily flights to Ushuaia from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
The summer in Antarctica lasts from mid November to mid March with December to January being the warmest and most popular. Outside of that time, temperatures drop, daylight is short and conditions are extreme.
Early bird savings or last minute deals are the most common types of offers. You need to book very early to take advantage of most special offers, sometimes up to a year in advance. Last minute deals can offer great savings but you will have much less of a choice of boat and dates.
We are currently including a complementary night in a Buenos Aires hotel for all Antarctica bookings. Get in touch to start planning your Antarctica Adventure.