How To Get To Antarctica

Photo of a penguin

The best way to get to Antarctica is either by ship or plane from the southern tip of South America. 

  • Tourist ships depart all summer from Ushuaia, Argentina, and take roughly 48 hours to reach Antarctica. 
  • The second option is a 2 hour flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, to King George Island where you board a ship. 

Being one of the world’s driest, coldest and windiest places on earth, getting to Antarctica was, until about 20 years ago, an extremely risky business.

However, thanks to a rise in tourism , getting to Antarctica has never been easier, although it’s still no simple matter as the weather waits for no man. Last year over 50,000 people visited Antarctica. 

Antarctica is still the toughest landmass on earth to reach. You’ll need a permit and you also need to make sure you strictly follow the Antarctic Conservation Act laid down by the Antarctica Treaty. This act works to protect the pristine ecosystem from human harm.

Cruise or Fly? 

Taking a ship from Ushuaia is by far the most popular way to visit Antarctica. Flying from Punta Arenas avoids the infamous Drake Passage and is a great option for people with less time. Below we discuss both options. 

To enquire about visiting this amazing continent, please use this form .

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Image of a cruise ship

Most tourists get to Antarctica by boat, supported by a tour operator. In the 2019/20 season there were roughly 50 expedition ships operating tourist trips to Antarctica. 

This is the most economical and environmentally friendly way of seeing the White Continent as it involves zero infrastructure being built on land. 

Antarctica cruise operators will usually take car of all the logistics from permits to itinerary and will charge anywhere between $5,500 to upwards of $25,000 depending on your schedule.

South America Ports

Most Antarctica cruises depart from South America, in particular from the port city of Ushuaia in Argentina. The city itself is well worth visiting and most tour operators will build in an extra day to explore the city before your departure. Over 90% of all Antarctica cruises depart from Ushuaia.

Other departure ports in South America include Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Occasionally cruises will leave from Punta Arenas in Chile, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Puerto Madryn in Argentina, however, these departures are far rarer.

Journeys to the Antarctic peninsula from Ushuaia take about 2-3 days. Your Antarctica cruise may be delayed because of weather, especially as you’ll be crossing the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage is infamous for its rough seas and you’ll certainly thank your operator for delaying the tour if the weather is inclement.

For anyone living in America, Europe or Africa, South America is the best departure point for your Antarctica trip. Flight costs to Ushuaia from Europe and America are quite expensive and it is often worth checking how expensive it is to book a flight to Buenos Aires and then take a separate internal flight to Ushuaia.

Another potential option which we have done before is to fly into Buenos Aires and then take a road trip down the coast of Argentina to Ushuaia. This is a long journey, however, if you time it right at the end of the season you can stop at Valdes on your way down and view Killer Whales  coming ashore to grab seals of the beach (an unmissable sight!).

ross sea cruise

New Zealand and Australian Ports

The most popular departure point in New Zealand is Invercargill and in Australia it’s Hobart. Cruises from these ports are far less frequent than in South America and take considerably longer. Because of their position on the eastern side of Antarctica, crossings take roughly 7 days depending on weather.

Your Antarctica cruise journey will often be broken up with various stops at remote islands such as Macquarie Island and the Auckland and Campbell Islands. These islands are rich in wildlife and provide some great  photography  opportunities. Often cruises leaving from either New Zealand or Australia will return to another port and you’ll have to make your way back to your original departure point. Because of the longer distance, tours from the Eastern side generally take in the region of 4 weeks and are usually more expensive because of this.

It’s important to note that trips leaving from New Zealand and Australia are generally much more rugged and wild affairs. The seas you cross will be rougher, and the climate on the eastern side of Antarctica is colder and more windy. Therefore, although closer than South America, people living in New Zealand and Australasia should consider what they want from their Antarctica experience. Whilst the biggest icebergs in the world are in Eastern Antarctica, there is more wildlife on the Peninsula.

Antarctica circle cruise

Types of Cruise Ships

Choosing the right cruise ship is very important and will impact how you experience Antarctica. Ship sizes will vary significantly and understanding what size ship you want will make your Antarctica journey all the more enjoyable. Ship sizes range from 45 passengers to over 500!

Larger ships are generally better appointed and have a more luxurious feel. Large Antarctica cruise ships are also more sturdy when crossing the Drake Passage and, if you suffer from sea sickness , a large ship is probably the way to go.

However, smaller ships often have much more landing opportunities as bigger ships will be restricted to certain larger landing points. The largest ships of all are not even allowed to land at all. Smaller ships also mean smaller queues. Often there will be a rota to go ashore and you’ll find yourself waiting hours to go on-shore, this is not the case on small cruise boats.

Small yachts are another option, however, this is a more specialist option and is not common for tourists. There are a number of registered yacht tours and most leave from Ushuaia. Yacht tours have great versatility in terms of landing locations, however, they are far more susceptible to rough seas and cost in the region of a US$1,000 per day.

Please make sure that your operator is a member of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) . Also research how well-informed your guide will be and the standard of on-board lectures available. For information on how to choose the right Antarctica cruise, please see our detailed article .

View of Antarctica from a plane

If you want to witness the vast interior of Antarctica then you’ll need to fly as cruise ships generally stick to the peninsula area. Therefore, if you fancy skiing to the South Pole or climbing Vinson Massif (the highest peak in Antarctica), you’ll need to fly. There are no airports in Antarctica, instead, there are makeshift landing strips that can be opened upon request.

There are three options when traveling to Antarctica by plane. The first option is a ‘fly-over’ – a single day option. The second is a standard fly-in, and the third is what is known as a ‘fly-cruise’. All three options have their positive and negative points and are explored in detail in the sections below.

A fly-over is the most straight forward way of viewing Antarctica and involves simply taking a chartered flight over the continent on a day trip. This is a great option if you’re the less adventurous type and wish to see the White Continent from the comfort of a nice leather plane seat. The other benefit of course is time. Fly-overs take less than a day and you won’t have to take 2 weeks out of your work schedule like you would for a cruise.

Fly-over operators will usually provide an Antarctica expert who will give talks on the plane as you are served your food and drink. However, whilst a fly-over is definitely the easiest, quickest and most comfortable way of seeing Antarctica, you won’t have the opportunity to get up and close with the incredible landscape and wildlife that is unique to the continent.

The only departure point for fly-overs is now Australia. Flights operate from Melbourne, Sydney and, occasionally, Perth. Flights are not common and in high season will depart every one or two weeks. Because of this, you will need to book early to avoid disappointment. Depending on your seat, fly-overs cost anywhere from a US$900 – US$7,500 for a 12 hour round trip on a Boeing 747. Please see for full details and bookings.

travel route to antarctica

No commercial flights operate to Antarctica, therefore, you’ll have to book with a private charter operator. Fly-ins are the only way for tourists to reach the vast sole of Antarctica and a great option for adventurers looking to do some serious hiking, camping , skiing or climbing in a pristine landscape.

Fly-ins are rare and less than 500 people a year travel to the vast interior. The huge bonus of this is seeing a wilderness few on earth can claim to have seen. A truly unforgettable highlight is getting the chance to see Emperor Penguins !

Depending on your operator, you’ll have the option to spend 5 night camping among an Emperor Penguin colony! Although possible, it is far more unlikely see these elusive creatures on a peninsula cruise.

Flying to the interior also gives you the chance to achieve the South Pole, either by trekking, skiing or small plane. Flying in is also a good option for people who want to avoid the rough Drake Passage crossing. If you’re very susceptible to sea sickness then this might be a serious option to consider.

Flights depart from a number of countries including Argentina, Chile, Australia and South Africa. Where you want to go will depend very much on where you should depart from. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, is Antarctic Logistics Centre International who fly to the Russian research base of Novolazareskaya (known as Novo air base). Adventure Network International fly to Antarctica and depart from Punta Arenas, Chile. Flights land at the popular Union Glacier – a small base where they begin their guided expeditions.

Ticket prices vary, but a flight expedition will cost in excess of US$30,000, and far more if you want to visit the South Pole or climb Vinson Massif. Please note that flights to Antarctica are far less frequent than normal flights and often delayed because of weather conditions and you will need to be flexible in your planning times.

travel route to antarctica

Fly-Cruise Options

The last option (and most popular) is a great idea for people short of time or anyone looking to avoid the Rough seas but still see the Antarctic Peninsula. Fly-cruise options have been around for a while now and give you the option to fly to King George Island and then join a cruise ship for the peninsula section before returning via plane again to the mainland.

Most fly-cruises leave from Punta Arenas, Chile and take roughly 2 hours to reach King George Island at the tip of the peninsula.

Once you arrive at the landing base, you are transferred onto a Antarctic cruise ship which then sails down the peninsula. This allows people who are short of time to cut out at least 4 extra days that would otherwise be spent cruising across the Drake Passage.

Although the Drake Passage is an experience in itself, it is quite rough and might want to be avoided by people who are put off by the thought of constant motion. The seas around the peninsula are generally much calmer and the boat will be far more manageable for people with sea sickness tendencies.

Like standard cruises, you’ll get every chance to go ashore and get up close and personal with some of the amazing wildlife on offer. Fly-cruises don’t come cheap though and you should expect to pay in the region of US$10,000 – $15,000 for a two-week trip.


There is no right or wrong way of reaching the White Continent. It all depends on what experience you’re searching for and how much you’re willing to pay for that experience. Standard cruises are by far the most popular way of reaching Antarctica.

However, for people with a tighter budget, a fly-over may be the only option. The vast interior of Antarctica is without doubt an experience of a lifetime, but you’ll need to be adventurous and spend a lot of money.

Fly-cruises are also great, especially for people with slightly less time as you don’t lose anything in the way of wildlife watching. In the end, the most important thing is to see the beautiful continent and all it has to offer. If you would like us to put you in contact with our preferred operator then please use this form .

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To enquire about visiting Antarctica, please use this form .

Antarctica Guide do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice . If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist please complete the form.

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If you would like to know more about how to get to Antarctica please leave a comment below and we will endeavor to get back to you within 24 hours! Alternatively, please see our FAQ page here . If you would like to get a cruise quote, please use this form.

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Tags: Antarctica travel, How to get to Antarctica, getting to Antarctica, Travelling to Antarctica, best way to get to Antarctica

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How to get to Antarctica: 5 Routes to Take

An Antarctic trip is far less treacherous a prospect than it was in the past. Read on to find out what is your best option to get to Antarctica.

  • ~ mins read

Antarctica has been a fascinating destination for travelers ever since famous explorers, Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott explored it first, and rightly so. A largely uninhabitable region, 98% of Antarctica is covered in ice so thick it plunges to an average depth of 1.9 km. It is also the coldest place on earth and has one of the highest elevations. It is thus not surprising that it is only inhabited by some 5000 people, mainly scientists, who have been known to take up residence in the region at different times of the year. And if you want to join the scientists (for a short period of time) at Antarctica it is possible. An Antarctica trip is far less treacherous a prospect than it was in the past. Modern-day travelers have the options to fly or cruise to Antarctica from different places in the world. Read on to find out all how you can get to Antarctica.

How to travel to Antarctica: Fly or cruise?

The decision whether to fly or travel to Antarctica by cruise ship depends on three things: how much time you have, what you wish to see and how much money you would like to spend. Read below for quick facts about the different travel options.

When to go to Antarctica

1. Cruise to Antarctica

  • This is the most popular way to see Antarctica.
  • A cruise can take anywhere from ten days to three weeks.
  • There are various routes to take depending on where you wish to depart from.
  • There are smaller and larger cruise ships traveling to Antarctica, each of which has benefits and drawbacks (discussed in detail below).
  • Traveling by ship is also the most environmentally friendly option. Not only does it negate the need for the construction of permanent dwellings and other infrastructure on the continent, but it also has a lower carbon footprint than air travel.

2.  Fly to Antarctica

  • These days, flying to Antarctica is becoming increasingly popular.
  • There is no commercial airport in Antarctica.
  • Arriving by plane involves the use of private air travel and can be rather limited.
  • Hop on a jet from Cape Town and spend as much as eight days or as few as 12 hours in Antarctica.
  • Fly over Antarctica as part of a sightseeing tour.

3. Fly-cruise option

  • You could opt for a fly-cruise option which shortens the trip’s overall length and bypasses the dreaded Drake Passage.
  • The option allows you to experience both flying and cruising to Antarctica.

A map on how to get to Antarctica

Popular routes to Antarctica

There are many starting points for a journey Antarctica. Here are the most popular routes to Antarctica, with different start points, pathways, and modes of transportation. 

1. Ship Cruise from Argentina

Getting to Antarctica

Although there are other South American ports such as Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands offering departures for Antarctic cruises, departing from Ushuaia is by far the most popular route to take when going to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is situated closer to the Antarctic peninsula than other departure points, hence less time is spent travelling to Antarctica and more time is spent on the peninsula. The most scenic of all Antarctic regions, the Antarctic peninsula is a mountainous area where one will see icebergs, glaciers and abundant wildlife.

The Antarctic peninsula is most easily accessed by travelling from South America. Cruises from South America can be as short as 6 days and would usually include the South Shetland islands. Longer trips offer the opportunity to visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

There are a variety of cruises, departing Ushuaia, to Antarctica. Cruise types, dates and itineraries are varied and there is plenty of availability.

  • Duration: 6 to 24 days
  • Cost: Between USD 6,000 and USD 25,000
  • Good to know: If you are travelling to South America as part of your Antarctic tour, make the most of your trip by visiting some incredible South American destinations. Some suggestions are, the Galapagos Islands , Rio de Janeiro and Machu Picchu .

You can also find cruise tours that start from Ushuaia and takes you through Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands and other interesting destinations.

2. Fly-cruise from Chile

Fly-cruising to Antarctica

In order to reach the Antarctic peninsula, the Drake Passage must be crossed. It takes two days to cross the Drake Passage by ship, and rough seas may be encountered depending on the weather. However, it is possible to avoid the Drake Passage crossing by choosing a fly-cruise package. This involves flying to King George Island, where you will join a cruise before returning by plane to the mainland. This gives you an opportunity to cruise along the western peninsula where waters are calmer. You can also go ashore to experience the same sightseeing and wildlife opportunities as you would with a longer cruise.

  • Duration: 8 days
  • Cost: Between USD 10,000 and USD 15,000
  • Good to know: If you have limited time and do not wish to spend more time on a ship than is necessary, then the fly-cruise option is ideal.

3. Ship cruise from Australia  or New Zealand

More of an expedition than a cruise, you are unlikely to encounter other vessels or people, apart from your shipmates. You will see huge icebergs, Mount Erebus (an active volcano), the Ross Shelf, emperor penguins, scientific bases and the sites of historic 20th century Antarctic expeditions. If you are looking for a feeling of vast openness, isolation and remoteness, this is the trip to take!

Visiting Antarctica from Hobart in Australia or Invercargill, Port of Bluff or Dunedin in   New Zealand involves an eastern approach, via the Ross sea, as well as a visit to the Eastern Antarctic shore. It takes about 7 days to reach Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand. The trip normally includes stops at wildlife-rich islands such as Macquarie Island, Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands. Because it takes longer to reach the peninsula from the east than it does from the west, the trip can take anywhere from 26 to 30 days and tends to be more pricey.

There are also fewer vessels departing from Australia or New Zealand, and thus less choice with regard to dates and itineraries.

  • Duration: 26 to 30 days
  • Cost: USD 16,000 and USD 30,000
  • Good to know: Vessels departing from New Zealand and Australia are smaller and carry no more than 50 passengers. These trips are rare and should be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.

4. Flying-in from South Africa or Chile

Cape Town in South Africa

Flying to Antarctica is quite rare, with fewer than 500 people per year choosing this option. The key motivating factors for flying to Antarctica include reaching the South Pole, exploring the Antarctic interior (which is not accessible by ship) and spending extended time with penguins.

The flying season is short (December to February) and there are no scheduled flights. Flights need to be specially booked or chartered through a specialized tour operator, such as those based in Punta Arenas , Chile and Cape Town , South Africa.

Departing Punta Arenas, the flight from Chile is a mere 4 hours by private Jet. You will land on an ice runway and make camp at Union Glacier Camp. Spend a day acclimatizing through light activities and take another flight to the geographic South Pole on day 3. Return to Union Glacier Camp where you will spend a further two days exploring and taking in the landscape. Tours can be switched up with other highlights such as a visit to the penguin colony.

There are three types of trips available from Cape Town to Antarctica. You can opt to stay for 8 days, 4 days or as little as a single day. The longer 4 and 8-day trips involve landing at an airstrip in Queen Maud Land and staying in a luxury tented camp which accommodates only twelve people at a time. Travel does not get more exclusive than this!

  • Duration: 1 to 10 days
  • Cost: USD 15,000 to USD 84,000
  • Good to know: This type of trip includes bragging rights such as skiing at the South Pole, sleeping in an igloo and camping with emperor penguins.

Here are some more tours to Antarctica from Punta Arenas .

5.   Flying over Antarctica — departing from Chile

For those with money to burn and an appetite for the truly outlandish, Antarctica can be seen from the comfort of a private aircraft.

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Cost: USD 6,000
  • Good to know: For a few thousand dollars more you can opt to land at the South Pole for a longer, more interactive experience.

Choosing a Cruise liner

The type of cruise liner or expedition vessel you choose may be one of the most important decisions you will make regarding an Antarctica cruise . The vessel size will impact the type of journey you have. Ships range from carriers accommodating between 50 and 500 passengers. Large cruise liners are sturdier and passengers are less susceptible to motion sickness. They are also often more spacious, better furnished and offer on-board entertainment.

Smaller vessels on the other hand can access more ports and have shorter disembarkation queues. It is important to ensure that the operator you choose is a member of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO).

When to go and what to pack

Antarctica in Spring

Antarctica is often described as a frozen desert because it receives so little rainfall (10 cm per year). While the landscape is barren, it is nevertheless breathtakingly beautiful. The glaciers are a wonder to behold as is the spectacular wildlife. There are penguins, seals and whales to be seen in Antarctica. A camera and a good pair of binoculars are great to have when travelling to Antarctica.

The best time to visit Antarctica is during summer i.e. between November and March. While the region remains cold, temperatures vary between 5° C (41° F) and 15° C (59° F). It is important to dress for the weather. Thermal underclothes, knee-length waterproof boots and pants as well as a good jacket are essential items to pack.

Sunburn is a genuine concern when visiting Antarctica because ultraviolet rays are reflected off the snow. During the summer months, you can generally expect between 16 and 24 hours of sunlight each day. There are times of the year, such as midsummers day, when Antarctica receives 24 hours of continuous sunlight.

Finally, if you’re taking the cruise option, it is important to carry anti-nausea medication as seasickness is a common problem for ocean travellers.

Travel tips

  • Since no country can lay claim to Antarctica, no visas are required. You will however need to apply for a permit to travel to Antarctica. This can usually be arranged through your tour operator.
  • Activities, such as snorkelling, kayaking and skiing often cost extra and must also be arranged with your tour operator up-front.

Many well-travelled voyagers consider Antarctica to be the seventh continent and as such the final destination to check off their bucket lists. With the many travel options available, deciding how to get to Antarctica may require some careful consideration. Whether you choose to fly or cruise, a trip to Antarctica promises to be as otherworldly an experience as one is likely to encounter.

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Clare Wilson | 22 January 2019

8 ways to antarctica.

Cruise from Argentina or New Zealand, fly across the Drake Passage or head straight for the South Pole. Clare Wilson shows you numerous and adventurous ways of how to get to Antarctica...

1. The Classic Western Peninsula voyage

Penguins climb a rock on Half Moon Island (Shutterstock)

Penguins climb a rock on Half Moon Island (Shutterstock)

The classic route, one of the most affordable ways in, and the best for beginners...

This spellbinding journey begins and ends in the southernmost city in the world – Ushuaia, in Argentina. Passengers embark late in the afternoon and spend the next two days crossing the Drake Passage – which may be blessedly placid (the ‘Drake Lake’) or not (the ‘Drake Shake’).

First stop is the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago of about 20 islands extending more than 500km from, and lying roughly parallel to, the Antarctic Peninsula. Popular stops include King George Island, Half Moon Island and the flooded caldera of Deception Island. You’ll see your first enormous penguin rookeries, land on beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and have time to observe wallowing elephant seals.

Next, the ship heads across to the Antarctic Peninsula, a mountainous wilderness the length of New Zealand. There are several days to experience the Peninsula’s magic: highlights include the Lemaire Channel, Plèneau Bay, Neko Harbour, Paradise Harbour and Port Lockroy. Wildlife is here in abundance: as well as penguins, seals and Antarctic birds, there’s also a good chance of seeing humpback and minke whales.

Depending on your trip, there may be opportunities for camping on the seventh continent, kayaking, diving, climbing, photography or even a ‘polar plunge’ for the brave. There’s also more ice and breathtaking scenery than it’s possible to imagine, and usually at least one visit to a working scientific station.

It’s another two-day crossing of the Drake on the return voyage, including rounding Cape Horn. And then you can start downloading your many memory cards…

Route:  Ushuaia – Drake Passage – South Shetland Islands – Antarctic Peninsula – Drake Passage – Ushuaia How long?  8-14 days depending on boat/package

2. Cross the Antarctic Circle

Cruising through the icebergs and mountains of Antarctica (Shutterstock)

Cruising through the icebergs and mountains of Antarctica (Shutterstock)

Join just a handful of intrepid souls who have been further than 66° south...

Curiously, most Antarctic cruises don’t actually cross the Antarctic Circle, which lies on a latitude around 66° south of the equator and defines the area that receives at least one day a year of 24-hour daylight. But towards the end of the austral summer, when the sea ice at the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula melts, you can give it a try, weather permitting.

This itinerary gives you an extra couple of days on the Western Peninsula, and the chance to see explorers’ huts and massive ice formations in areas visited by very few voyagers. Then there’s the added thrill of potentially crossing the Antarctic Circle line – an achievement that bestows some enjoyable bragging rights – plus there are all the highlights of the classic Antarctic Peninsula route: shore excursions, overnight camping and sea kayaking.

Route:  Further south down the western Antarctic Peninsula How long?  11-14 days 

3. Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands

Penguins at the water's edge in the Falklands (Shutterstock)

Penguins at the water's edge in the Falklands (Shutterstock)

Combine the Antarctic with the wildlife hotspots and history of the Falklands and South Georgia...

Departing from Ushuaia or, occasionally, Buenos Aires, your first port of call on this itinerary is the Falkland Islands. Explore one of the world’s most isolated capitals, Port Stanley and the western side of the archipelago, where penguins and albatrosses nest in profusion among tufts of tussock grass.

South Georgia, the next stop, is an extraordinary place – for some, it even tops Antarctica proper. The uninhabited 170km-long island is one of the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries on the planet, a breeding ground for around 5 million seals and over 60 million breeding birds.

Most visits include Grytviken, home to an abandoned whaling station, a wonderful museum and the graves of explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Wild. St Andrews Bay or Salisbury Plain are also must-sees; here, breathtaking colonies of colourful king penguins crowd the beaches.

Leaving South Georgia, some trips then include visits to the South Orkney Islands on the way to the South Shetlands. From there you’ll cruise on along the Antarctic Peninsula, experiencing the same sights as the classic route. Between calving bergs and breaching whales, the return crossing of the Drake is bound to come too quickly.

Route:  Ushuaia – Falkland Islands – South Georgia – South Shetlands – Antarctic Peninsula – Drake Passage – Ushuaia How long?  18-21 days

4. The Ross Sea from New Zealand

Sir Earnest Shackleton's hut on Ross Island (Shutterstock)

Sir Earnest Shackleton's hut on Ross Island (Shutterstock)

A frontier feel, Heroic Era history and the towering Ross Ice Shelf...

Only a handful of ships per year head south from New Zealand or Australia to the Ross Sea – if you’re after an adventure, this is it. The voyage takes a month, and the exact itinerary will vary considerably according to conditions. Seas, winds and the cold are much stronger here than they are around the Antarctic Peninsula.

En route to Antarctica, ships typically call in at several sub-Antarctic islands, although there are long days at sea between landings. First stop is often the pristine Snares Islands (home to an endemic penguin), followed by Macquarie Island, Campbell Island and the Auckland Islands.

Macquarie has 100,000 seals (mainly southern elephant) and around four million penguins (including the only breeding colony of royal penguins). Campbell has almost the entire world population of southern royal albatrosses, as well as a Sitka spruce, planted over a century ago and dubbed the ‘world’s loneliest tree’.

Known as the ‘Gateway to the South Pole,’ the Ross Sea region is where Antarctic explorers of the Heroic Age made history. Their wooden huts still stand on Ross Island: Scott’s at Hut Point and Cape Evans; Shackleton’s at Cape Royds.

There may be a visit to New Zealand’s Scott Base and the US McMurdo Station, or helicopter flights into the other-worldly Dry Valleys and over the Ross Ice Shelf. Any excursions will depend on the ship and, crucially, the weather. But, overall, you’ll be rewarded with a journey like no other.

Route:  Bluff (South Island, NZ) – The Snares – Auckland Islands – Macquarie Island – Antarctica’s Ross Sea region – Campbell Island – Bluff How long?  27-32 days

5. The Weddell Sea & eastern Peninsula

Kayaking near a humpback whale tail in the Weddell Sea (Shutterstock)

Kayaking near a humpback whale tail in the Weddell Sea (Shutterstock)

 Emperor penguins, whale's tails and truly mighty icebergs...

Welcome to the Peninsula’s wild side! After embarking from Ushuaia and spending two days crossing the Drake Passage, your ship will cross over to the less-visited east of the Antarctic Peninsula: the Weddell Sea. This icy wilderness is home to dramatic tabular icebergs and ice floes, as well as huge colonies of penguins. Expect to see Adélie, chinstrap and gentoos, as well as fur, leopard and Weddell seals – not to mention humpback, minke and orca whales, plus sea birds galore.

Among the many highlights is a visit to Paulet Island, at the tip of the Peninsula, where some 200,000 Adélie penguins nest. These endearing creatures were memorably described by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in his classic The Worst Journey in the World:

"They are extraordinarily like children, these little people of the Antarctic world, either like children or like old men, full of their own importance."

There may also be land excursions to research stations such as the Argentine research station Esperanza, at Hope Bay, before returning to Ushuaia.

Weather and ice conditions change fast in the Weddell Sea; in 2009 the (now retired) icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov made news when it was stuck in ice for nearly a week, with a BBC Frozen Planet film crew on board.

Route : Ushuaia – Drake Passage – Antarctic Sound – Weddell Sea – Antarctic Peninsula – South Shetland Islands – Drake Passage – Ushuaia How long?  11-14 days

6. Fly to Antarctica – and on to the Pole

Few people have set eyes on the stunning landscape of the South Pole (Shutterstock)

Few people have set eyes on the stunning landscape of the South Pole (Shutterstock)

Getting to the South Pole has serious bragging rights...

100 years on from Amundsen and Scott’s epic race to the South Pole, you can now fly there. Two private companies have seasonal tented camps on Antarctica, reached by plane, and used as bases for climbers, scientists and well-heeled visitors. From the camps, weather permitting, you can fly on to the South Pole proper.

Adventure Network International runs the Union Glacier Camp, the only fully privately operated camp on the continent. Lying at the foot of the Antarctic Peninsula, near 4,892m Mount Vinson (Antarctica’s highest point), the camp consists of relatively luxurious pod tents. Activity options here include cross-country skiing, hiking, climbing and fatbiking, as well as lectures and photography. You fly in from Punta Arenas, Chile, on an Ilyushin jet, and land on a natural blue-ice runway. It’s a five-hour flight from Union to the Geographic South Pole, where you can spend three or four hours.

The other operator is South Africa-based White Desert, whose Whichaway Camp is in Queen Maud Land, and reached by flying from Cape Town. Again, you can fly on to the Pole, visit the Amundsen-Scott research station, and revel in being somewhere only a handful have ever reached.

Route:  Fly in from Cape Town, South Africa, or Punta Arenas, Chile How long?  1-8 days

7. The semi-circumnavigation

Tristan da Cunha is the remotest inhabited island in the world (Shutterstock)

Tristan da Cunha is the remotest inhabited island in the world (Shutterstock)

The ultimate expedition...

If you’re looking for a truly epic voyage, and don’t mind many long days at sea, you can sail to three continents in one trip. This ‘semi-circumnavigation’ can be done on a handful of ships, between Argentina and New Zealand (and the reverse) or Argentina and South Africa.

The Argentina/New Zealand route, between Ushuaia and Bluff, takes around 32 days. After crossing the Drake Passage, you’ll explore the Antarctic Peninsula before crossing the Polar Circle and heading to the seldom-visited Peter I Island. Next you’ll sail the Amundsen Sea, cruise along the Ross Ice Shelf and explore the Ross Sea (including Ross Island, to see Scott and Shackleton’s preserved wooden huts).

From there you’ll head north, visiting Cape Adare and the sub-Antarctic Balleny and Macquarie islands before arriving in New Zealand.

The Ushuaia-Cape Town voyage visits the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, the Weddell Sea and South Georgia before hitting open ocean. It then calls at Tristan da Cunha, the world’s remotest inhabited island, before finally docking in Cape Town.

Route:  Ushuaia-NZ or Ushuaia-Cape Town How long?  32-52 days (depending on route/ship)

8. Flying over the Drake

A plane flying over the South Shetland Islands (Shutterstock)

A plane flying over the South Shetland Islands (Shutterstock)

For those short on time...

A classic shortcut for the queasy If you’re pushed for time or don’t want to court seasickness on the Drake Passage, you can now fly to the South Shetland Islands and join a cruise from there. Most flights run from Punta Arenas in southern Chile to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands (1.5hrs).

You can choose to fly one way (making the trip around seven days long) or both (as few as five); once you’ve embarked, you’ll get all the highlights of the classic Antarctic Peninsula tour.

The Expert View 

travel route to antarctica

“It’s all about the boat. If your holiday is a ‘cruise’ gauged by shopping, shuffleboard and two sittings at dinner, opt for the 500-berth gin palaces. But if you’re after a real expedition, look for a small ship. The Antarctic treaty says no more than 100 per landing, so if there are fewer than that on your ship, you can go ashore every time. It must be designed for these waters, with a proper ice rating, and there should be at least one staff member to every five passengers.”

— Paul Goldstein  

The independent traveller’s view...

travel route to antarctica

“We organised our trip last-minute in Ushuaia, through a local agency. It depends on the season if there are any spots left and how much you pay, but we got 60% off our booking this way. There’s more availability early and late in the season. Don’t forget to explore the Ushuaia area, too. There are lots of day trips: you can visit the national park, cruise the Beagle Channel, visit Penguin Island, trek up to the lagoons in the mountains and walk on some of the glaciers.”

— Tim Carryer (visited Antarctica on an round the world trip)

Highlights of Antarctica...

A massive colony of kind penguins during breeding season (Shutterstock)

A massive colony of kind penguins during breeding season (Shutterstock)

travel route to antarctica

1. Grytvyken, South Georgia

One of the best museums on earth, extolling the legacies of Shackleton, whaling and the Falklands War, plus rare albatross nesting sites, king penguins and excellent walking.

2. Paradise Harbour, Western Peninsula

A large gentoo colony, a spectacular walk above the Argentine station and a bay choked with ice-blue bergs with a percussion of groaning glaciers behind.

travel route to antarctica

3. Neko Harbour, Western Peninsula

Vies with Paradise as the most beautiful and accessible on the peninsula. Rimmed by towering mountains and glaciers, bountiful penguin colonies and superb for cetaceans.

4. Paulet Island, Eastern Peninsula

Needs the right ice-strengthened ship to get here but a remarkable rookery of 150,000 Adélie penguins makes this prime avian real estate, especially early in the season when the bergs are breathtaking.

travel route to antarctica

5. Gold Harbour, Salisbury Plain or St Andrews Bay

The three massive penguin rookeries of South Georgia – two million kings can’t be wrong. Perhaps the finest wildlife spectacle in the world.

6. Lemaire Channel

A remarkably beautiful navigation, bisecting huge cliffs and mountains, up a channel choked with glacial ice with a million crab-eater seals looking on.

travel route to antarctica

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How to get to Antarctica

Home > Blog > Antarctica > How to get to Antarctica

Last updated on July 29 th , 2023

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Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest ( Antarctica is a desert! ) and most remote continent on earth. Hidden beneath an enormous ice sheet, it was the last continent on earth to be discovered by humans, so it’s no surprise that it can feel impossibly distant. The good news is that Antarctica may be more accessible than you think. In fact, it’s never been easier for adventurous travellers to experience its unforgettable ice and wonderful wildlife .

How do you get to Antarctica?

No matter where you call home, the easiest way to get to Antarctica is from the southern tip of South America. There are two common departure points for Antarctica: Ushuaia, Argentina and Punta Arenas, Chile, both located in the Patagonian region and among the most southern towns on the planet.

Expeditions beginning in Ushuaia will usually involve sailing across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula or sailing to the Subantarctic Islands of the Falklands or South Georgia, before continuing to Antarctica.

From Punta Arenas, passengers can have the unique experience of flying to Antarctica – or more specifically to King George Island – on a charter flight arranged specifically for their expedition.

Getting to Ushuaia, Argentina

The most common route to Ushuaia is via Buenos Aries, the capital of Argentina. International flights will arrive at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), also known as Ministro Pistarini International Airport. It is Argentina’s main international gateway and is located 22 km or 14 mi from the city centre of Buenos Aires. The airport is open 24 hours for late night travellers or those hoping to catch some shuteye in a quiet corner before boarding their next flight. 

If this is your initial arrival into Argentina, be ready to go through customs before connecting to an onward flight or leaving the terminal for adventures in the city.

Catching an immediate domestic flight to Ushuaia (USH)? You’ll want to check screens throughout the terminal for the departure gate and make your way to the Domestic Sector. Flights to Ushuaia take around 3 hours and 40 minutes and are available on a few different carriers, Areolinas Argentinas being the most common.

If you’ve decided to enjoy a stopover in Buenos Aries you’ll be able to catch a local bus from Terminal B in front of parking lot E1, or find a taxi at an official taxi stand.

Pro Tip: Buenos Aires has a second major airport, Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (AEP), located close to downtown Buenos Aires and about 30 km or 19 mi away from EZE. It is a hub for domestic flights and some South American routes. If you’re planning a stopover in Buenos Aires, you may find it more convenient to fly to/from Ushuaia via AEP. If you’re catching an international connection at EZE, give yourself plenty of time for a taxi or bus ride between airports.

3 things not to miss in Buenos Aires

  • Stroll through El Caminito in the La Boca neighbourhood, one of the city’s most colourful and iconic areas with cobblestone streets and brightly painted buildings.
  • Tour La Bombonera football stadium, one of the most emblematic stadiums in the world, with its unique shape and history of legendary players.
  • Visit Plaza De Mayo and Casa Rosada. The recognisable ‘pink house’ is the Presidential Palace and Office of the President of Argentina. It has been central in Argentina’s history and made famous in the movie and play ‘Evita’.

Ushuaia to Antarctica by Ship

Upon arrival in Ushuaia, make your way to your joining hotel. If confirmed in advance, an airport transfer may be included in your itinerary. You’ll have time to relax, go for a walk and meet up with other excited expeditioners at the pre-departure briefing.

At the briefing you’ll be given instructions about embarkation the next day as you’ll be meeting the ship at the port in Ushuaia.

Finally, when the day arrives to step aboard your ship bound for Antarctica, you’ll be given directions to your stateroom where you can settle in before an onboard briefing and mandatory safety drill, before setting sail.

From the Beagle Channel you will strike out across the famed Drake Passage, a 1,000 km (600 mi) ocean crossing between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula . You’ll usually spend between a day and a half to two days at sea, depending on conditions, which is a great opportunity to spot majestic  seabirds  soaring around the ship.  Little by little, you’ll start to recognise sea ice, icebergs and snow-covered mountains in the distance. You have arrived and the adventure has just begun.

Getting to Punta Arenas, Chile

The main international gateway to Chile is the capital of Santiago, a cosmopolitan city surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. With a population of over 5.5 million, Santiago is worth a stop over.

Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) is the third busiest airport in South America. It’s comprised of two large terminals for international and domestic flights separated by a long outdoor walkway. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to go through customs and walk to the domestic terminal for onward travel.

Domestic flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas (PUQ) will typically take about 3 hours and 30 minutes. LATAM is the main carrier throughout Chile.

For travellers interested in spending a day or two in Santiago, you can catch an airport bus from international terminal at exit 5. If a private taxi or shared shuttle is more your style, look for official counters once your leave the customs area.

Did you know? There is an airport hotel located outside SCL, between the international and domestic terminals. Simply exit the terminal and walk to the centrally located building. This is a convenient option to get some sleep, enjoy a quick visit to the city and even a dip in the pool before your connecting flight.

3 Must-do activities in Santiago

  • Ride the funicular at Metropolitan Park to the top of San Cristobal Hill for one of the  best views in the city.
  • Stroll through Plaza de Armas in the city centre for a taste of history and some people watching. Built in 1541, the Plaza has been the centre of politics and religion for centuries.
  • Check out Santiago’s Museo Chileno de Arts Precolombino for some of the region’s best sculptures, jewellery and artefacts. A great option to escape rain or high temperatures.

Punta Arenas to Antarctica by Air

Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, make your way to your joining hotel. A small and very walkable town, it’s possible to complete a self-guided walking tour in a few hours. Check out the waterfront for seabirds, or head uphill to get a view over the town and the Strait of Magellan. Meet up with other passengers in the evening for your important pre-departure briefing.

The charter flights to Antarctica are very dependent on good weather. We’ll be landing on a basic gravel runway, so pilots require a clear view to navigate.  The threat of bad weather in the region can in some rare cases delay flights to the frozen continent. Please read our   contingency plans   for Fly/Sail, Sail/Fly and Fly/Fly expeditions.

At the pre-departure briefing, you’ll get some very specific details about the flights, airport transfers and the potential for any schedule changes as we seek the best weather window.  The next day, follow instructions from the team to navigate to the airport on a charter shuttle. Once there, you’ll check in for the charter flight with your fellow expeditioners. Next stop King George Island (KGI)! After a short 1 hour, 45 minute flight and a hearty array of snacks, our skilled pilots will make a landing on the lunar landscape that is King George Island. A quick shuttle to the shore and a fleet of Zodiacs will whisk you off to your small expedition ship. You’re now just a short cruise away from visiting your first penguin colony and perhaps setting foot on the long-anticipated 7 th continent.

Can you sail to Antarctica from Australia other locations?

There are five cities known as Antarctic gateways, with Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina being the most popular for tourism purposes. Other locations like Cape Town in South Africa, Hobart in Australia and Christchurch in New Zealand are mostly used to support Antarctic research and national Antarctic programs, with less emphasis on tourism, and with good reason! An expedition from Hobart or Christchurch, for example, will take 10-14 days to cross the Southern Ocean to the white continent, compared 1.5 days from Ushuaia. When planning a vacation and considering their comfort and interests, most visitors prefer the faster South American route.

Now that you’ve learned about where your Antarctic adventure will start, take a look at the different expeditions available from Ushuaia and Punta Arenas. Or, for those wanting to try it all, fly in one direction and sail the opposite with itineraries labelled Fly/Sail and Sail/Fly.

Departing or Arriving Ushuaia

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How to Visit Antarctica

From how to get there to what to pack, here's what you need to know about visiting Antarctica.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a lifelong traveler and veteran journalist who has visited more than 50 countries across six continents. Her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal , Departures , TripSavvy , and other publications.

travel route to antarctica

There is at least one place left on earth where you really can disconnect: Antarctica.

There is no mobile phone service. There are no town squares, no restaurants, and no tourist traps. The local "airports" are really just ice or gravel landing strips.

Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia and mostly covered with a thick sheet of ice. It's one of the most remote destinations in the world and the trip of a lifetime for many travelers. It's also easier to travel to Antarctica than one might think.

Lars-Eric Lindblad first took a group of 57 visitors to Antarctica in 1966. "At that time it was more or less like accomplishing a moon landing," his son Sven-Olof Lindblad said. "In those days, we were not as prepared as we are now. There were no satellite ice charts. You were not that different navigationally from the early explorers."

Even now it can be hard to really understand Antarctica. It is the coldest and windiest place on earth and, by some measures, the driest. It has no currency of its own. It is a desert with no trees, no bushes, and no permanent residents. More meteorites are found in Antarctica than in any other place in the world.

"Antarctica is about the wildest place you can go on the planet," Lindblad said.

It's also an increasingly popular place to visit. According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators , tourism more than doubled from 2010 to 2020.

"The conversation around climate change has elevated people's interest and created a sense of urgency," Lindblad said.

The Best Times to Go to Antarctica

The Antarctic travel season lasts from November through March, the Antarctic summer. Temperatures are often below freezing at this time of year, especially in the continent's interior, but they can reach as high as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best time for penguin spotting is late December or early January. Wait too long and previously pristine penguin colonies get dirty and smelly, said Nik Horncastle , a regional specialist with Audley Travel. For peak whale watching, try February or March.

Other activities, including snowshoeing, kayaking, skiing, camping, snorkeling, diving, and visits to historic sites from earlier expeditions, can be experienced throughout the season.

How to Get to Antarctica

One of the more common routes to Antarctica is by ship via Ushuaia, a city at the southern tip of Argentina. Several companies, including Hurtigruten Expeditions , Quark Expeditions , and Lindblad's namesake Lindblad Expeditions , specialize in Antarctic and polar cruising, offering journeys that range in length from just over a week to a full month and beyond.

On board, expect to mingle with scientists, naturalists, historians, and underwater specialists. "The onboard experience is a conversation around where you are and what does this place mean," Lindblad said. Internet service via satellite is available but comes with a hefty price tag.

Antarctica is one place where smaller boats offer a big advantage. "We don't recommend a boat over 200 people," Horncastle said. "Big boats can only stop at a few sites."

That said, if you want to visit Antarctica on a traditional cruise line, many major carriers can get you there — often on vessels that adhere to that fewer-than-200-guests rule of thumb. Some more affordable lines, like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean , stick to "cruise-only" itineraries, which sail along the Antarctic coast (and offer great views in the process) but don't allow disembarkation on the continent. A number of others, though, from Viking Cruises and Disney Cruise Line to Ponant and Silversea , take passengers right into the Antarctic interior, thanks to on-shore excursions and ships with icebreaker capabilities.

Booking an Antarctica Expedition

Expect to spend between $6,000 and $50,000 to visit Antarctica, depending on the length of the trip and the level of luxury you seek.

"It's an expensive trip," Horncastle said — but there are options if you're traveling on a budget.

Intrepid Travel and G Adventures both specialize in affordable trips to Antarctica, and neither requires single supplements for solo travelers. If you don't feel the need to set foot on the continent, you can also opt for a sightseeing flight. These flights, which cut costs by flying over Antarctica without stopping there, are available from most major cities in Australia at prices that start around $1,200 per person.

To both fly over and step onto the continent, Antarctica21 combines a two-hour flight from Chile with cruises that passengers can board in Antarctica. While this option doesn't give visitors the chance to cruise the famous Drake Passage, it does save time and minimize the risk of seasickness.

"The Drake Passage is a crossing full of unpredictable conditions," said Antarctica21's Francesco Contini. "When the crossing is rough, passengers tend to be not very comfortable."

Packing List for Antarctica

  • Knee-high waterproof boots
  • Waterproof pants
  • A warm parka
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Warm base layers
  • Extra socks
  • A tight-fitting beanie
  • A warm scarf
  • A camera and lenses
  • Seasickness medication

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Antarctica Cruise Itinerary: Choosing Your Route

travel route to antarctica

Choosing Your Route To Antarctica

Antarctica has to be experienced to be believed. This pristine and tranquil paradise, largely untouched by humans, is home to a plethora of wildlife, living on land, in the sea and gracing the skies. Wildfoot offers many Antarctica cruise itineraries and here we break them down for you. 

There are many routes to consider when you are planning an expedition cruise to this destination. How do you know which route is the right choice for you?

Your decision may simply depend on your budget or how much time you can commit. It may also be about the type of wildlife, the wilderness or the activities you’d like to experience on your Antarctica itinerary. Here, Wildfoot Travel’s Dave Cheetham details the different routes on offer and runs through the pros, cons and the cost of the options.

travel route to antarctica

Which Antarctica Cruise Itinerary Should I Choose?

There are many routes to consider when planning a trip to this region.

Your decision may simply depend on your budget, and how much time you can commit. But it may also be about the kind of wildlife, wilderness or the activities you would like to experience.

Expeditions range from 9 to 32 days in length and are all vessel based. The vast majority of these expeditions embark from Ushuaia, the southernmost port in Argentina.

Before we run through your options, I should point out that the prices mentioned in this video are ‘expedition only’. They do not include flights or accommodation on land, are based on the lowest grade quad or triple cabin-spaces and are always subject to availability and to change.

If you are travelling alone, we can usually arrange same-gender shared-cabins which help to keep the cost down. Or you can opt for ‘sole occupancy’, taking a cabin to yourself which usually comes with an additional 50% supplement.

Twin cabins, higher grade cabins or suites are available but you should expect to pay more. Our travel advisors are always happy to help you get an accurate quote for your perfect Antarctica itinerary.

So, with the small print out of the way, here are the routes you can consider, in order of popularity.

travel route to antarctica

The Antarctic Peninsula

The most popular expedition route, often referred to as the classic route, can take between 9 and 13 Days. The first, and last, two-and-a-half-days are spent crossing The Drake Passage to Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands.

This is an excellent choice for those who only have 2–3 weeks available including travel. You should expect to pay between £4,000 and £6,000.

travel route to antarctica

Paradise Bay

A superb destination, easily reached on a zodiac, this bay is dominated by some of the most fascinating ice features you will see. Icebergs that have been set free from the glacier at the harbour’s head provide a backdrop of stunning formations and in the foreground penguins, and seals can be spotted on the many ice floes that surround you. Horns, terns, petrels, cormorants, and even whales can also be seen here.

Paulet Island

A magnificent island, this circular rock may only be 1 mile in diameter, but with a volcanic cone that towers 1100 feet high, it is a sight to behold. Famous not only for its huge number of Adelie penguins, Paulet Island is also home to the historic hut that sheltered the survivors of a failed Nordenskjöld expedition in 1903. 

Port Lockroy

This natural harbour can be reached via the Neumayer Channel. The buildings here were originally built by the British in 1944 but since 1996 have been used by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust where they have an interesting museum.

Petermann Island

Another volcanic island, this one rises 500 feet above sea level and has a permanent ice cap that covers more than half it. Home to Adelies and gentoos, the island was first discovered by a French expedition in 1909. You will also see skuas here and Wilson’s storm petrels too. For anyone wanting to stretch their legs, a hike to the top is always an option. 

Lemaire Channel

Budding photographers will love getting snap happy along this most beautiful of straits. Discovered on a German expedition in the 1870s, the channel was first crossed by a Belgium explorer by the name of Adrian de Gerlache. It takes about an hour to sail the 7 miles, and the beauty reveals itself to be even more spectacular as each minute passes.

travel route to antarctica

The Shackleton Route

Following Shackelton’s historic route will take between 20 and 24 days. This fascinating Antarctica cruise itinerary also takes in South Georgia and The Falklands.

It must be considered that this expedition demands a longer commitment and is suitable for those with a little more time to spare. Prices start at just over £8000 and rise up to a little over £11,000 in peak season.

travel route to antarctica

King Haakon Bay

On the south coast of Georgia a trip down this long and narrow inlet is an exciting addition to this tour. Relatively undiscovered and still to be mapped fully, this stretch of water remains somewhat uncharted. Home to a delightful array of seabirds, you may also have the opportunity to step on land and walk among fur seals, king penguins and elephant seals too.

Shackleton’s Waterfall

Ernest Henry Shackleton gave his name to many features of the Antarctic and rightly so. His epic trip across South Georgia in May 1916 ended in what is now known as Shackleton Valley, a valley at which the Shackleton Waterfall cascades at its head. 

Shackleton’s Grave

It seems fitting that given Shackleton visited South Georgia many times on his expeditions of the Antarctic that he be buried here. In fact, it was on this island that he completed one of his most famous polar treks. The grave sits at the abandoned whale station of Grytviken. When you visit, the tradition is to make a toast to the explorer (with a whiskey if you have any!)

Stromness Whaling Station

Named after the Orkney town in Scotland by the whalers that first used this place, this is the location that Shackleton finally got to where he could get help after his ship, the Endurance, sank in the Weddell Sea. The Norwegian station manager offered him sanctuary here after his ordeal. Originally run as a whaling station from 1907 to 1931, then a ship repair yard before being left to ruin in 1961, today all of the buildings and machinery make for an interesting visit.

travel route to antarctica

Crossing The Circle

This wonderful Antarctica trip takes around 14 days. Exploring the more remote areas and reaching the actual Antarctic Circle is a dream come true for most of our passengers. The rich wildlife and glorious scenery make this a very special trip indeed.

You should expect to pay between £6500 and £8000 for this slightly longer expedition.

travel route to antarctica

Often overlooked by visitors in the past, this port is now a hub of activity. Although most people will bypass the town itself, it is definitely worth an hour or two’s exploration. Historically important, its museum was once a prison for serious offenders, many of whom were key in the construction of Ushuaia. The railway, built by the prisoners, was aptly named Tren del Fin del Mundo. 

Beagle Channel

The channel in which Ushuaia lies is one of three routes that link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the tip of South America. Thanks to the expedition on the ship that gave the channel its name, the stretch of water has been mapped and makes for a beautiful part of any Antarctica itinerary. It was on the Royal Navy Beagle’s second voyage that Charles Darwin joined and played a significant role in the surveying. 

Midnight Sun

The phenomenon of the midnight sun is one of the most wonderful things you’ll experience on an Antarctica cruise itinerary. Hard to imagine that there is no night, but during the summer, the sun stays above the horizon 24 hours a day (thanks to the seasonal tilt of the Earth that favours the sun in the Arctic and Antarctic summer) and there is no sunrise or sunset. The constant daylight offers plentiful extra photo opportunities. 

Weddell Seals

These beautiful creatures always seem very happy to share their space with visitors when they are relaxing on the beaches. Of course, we would never go too close, but we can get close enough to enjoy their company and get some great pics too. After a brief decline in numbers thanks to commercial sealing, they are now one of the most abundant species in Antarctica (and one of the largest too, growing up to 3.3m long). They are very good divers and it is incredible to note that they have been recorded diving to depths of 2000ft for up to an hour at any one time! One thing is for sure, you will become very familiar with these beauties no matter which Antarctica cruise itinerary you choose.

travel route to antarctica

Fly The Drake Cruise

Distilling the experience down to a neat 6 to 8 days, this option is a good choice for those who would prefer not to sail across the infamous Drake Passage, or for those who are simply more time-sensitive. Fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, where you will pick up the cruise vessel.

An express 6-day Antarctica trip can be available for as little as £3,700 and you should expect to pay up to £9,000 for a longer 9-day fly-cruise.

travel route to antarctica

The Weddell Sea 

Taking 11 days, the Weddell Sea Expedition’s main draw is a chance to see the elusive emperor Penguin.

The usual price tag for this trip is about £6,600 but it is definitely worth considering choosing a vessel which offers helicopter access to improve your chances of reaching the penguin colonies. This upgraded experience will take the cost up to somewhere around £9,200.

travel route to antarctica

Discovered by the British sealer James Weddell, in 1823 this stretch of water reaches far south into the Antarctic and is therefore very cold. The waters of the Weddell Sea have been described as some of the clearest on earth and are even said to be on a par with distilled water. Humpbacks, orcas and minke whales make this place their home, as do leopard, Weddell and crabeater seals, so whale watching and seal spotting are an everyday pastime. There are more than 100,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins here which nest on Paulet Island and in recent times a colony of emperor Penguins has also been found on Snowhill Island. 

The Epic Ross Sea

Considered the ultimate Antarctica trip for most passengers and taking between 30 and 32 days this one-way trip comes with two options. You can choose to embark from New Zealand and disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina or take the trip in reverse and disembark in New Zealand. The price starts at £22,800 and is rarely the choice of first-time travellers to cold weather destinations.

The “Last Ocean” on Earth

Known as the ‘Serengeti of the Antarctic’ this pristine stretch of ocean that spans 598,000 square miles is now heavily protected by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Lying south of New Zealand the Ross Sea, also known as the ‘Last Ocean’ is one of the few places on earth largely untouched by humans. Its waters provide a thriving ecosystem of around 16,000 species that is maintained by the density of nutrients that support it. 

This ocean is so important for many of the species that make the Antarctic their home, with intact communities of crabeater seals, orcas, minke whales, Adelie penguins and more. So far the waters have escaped the pressures of fishing and shipping despite threats of fishermen looking for new waters to work. Today 432,000 square miles of the protected area is completely free from fishing. The remaining part of the protected area will allow toothfish fishing in a specially designated zone.

A Pick of Our Favourite Itineraries

Antarctica, patagonia & falklands special.

travel route to antarctica

This mighty cruise itinerary is a classic, taking in South America, Patagonia, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica and combining the perfect mix of wildlife and adventure. From the historic highlights of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego to the natural wonders of the Antarctic peninsula, you will explore the hidden bays by zodiac and step foot on the White Continent itself to get up close and personal to the penguins and seals.

Classic Fly/Cruise

travel route to antarctica

Ideal for anyone who has limited time to spend in the region, this trip misses out the crossing of the Drake Passage. Flying from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island in the South Shetlands, you make your way back by sea through the stunning waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. Days are spent exploring the fjords by zodiac vessel or even by kayak. You can always head onland and immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery while enjoying a snowshoeing or hiking expedition.

Crossing the Antarctic Circle

travel route to antarctica

One of our most spectacular Antarctic cruise itineraries, this one offers the opportunity to cross the Antarctic Circle, an experience that will round off the trip in style! Spending days soaking up the magnificent tranquillity of this incredible region and photographing the towering icebergs that provide your daily backdrop, you will also have the chance to enjoy penguin and seal spotting and regular zodiac excursions that are included in the price.

Extended Antarctic Explorer with Helicopters

travel route to antarctica

Discover this magnificent continent from a whole new perspective – by air! Not only is a helicopter trip exciting in itself, to experience it while flying over this beautiful region is extra special, especially when it includes a landing at historical Cape Horn and the off the beaten track Diego Ramírez Islands. Also taking in a cruise through the Drake Passage, this remarkable Antarctica cruise itinerary has it all.

There you have it – all the routes you have to choose from. If you’d like to discuss any of the trips in more detail, feel free to give us a call. One of our expert team members will be at the other end of the phone to answer any questions you have. We are a company with a passion for travel in this stunning part of our world and our dedicated specialists are on hand to help you choose the Antarctica itinerary that is perfect for you. We thrive on adventure and are dedicated to providing extraordinary travel experiences to those who have a desire to travel the less trodden paths of our world.

Our commitment to wildlife conservation as well as environment protection sets us apart from our competitors so if you are keen to leave behind nothing but footprints when you are on your next adventure, book with Wildfoot Travel and you can rest assured that we have it covered. We are proud of our tight ties with several conservation organisations and work closely with charities such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Save the Albatross and South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project, among many others.

In the next video in this series, I’ll be unveiling a few top tips to help you get the best value from your Antarctica trip. Make sure you don’t miss it.

WILDFOOT Wildlife & Adventure Specialist

Lines are open from 9am -5.30pm Monday - Friday

travel route to antarctica

Simon Rowland Senior Travel Expert

 Antarctica | Journey to the South Pole: How to Travel to Antarctica

Journey to the South Pole: How to Travel to Antarctica

How to Travel to Antarctica is a question that sparks curiosity and adventure in many.

Visiting Antarctica , a continent that has seen few human footprints, is an exciting prospect.

Yet, traveling to Antarctica may seem daunting. After all, it's not your everyday vacation destination!

But here’s some good news: with careful planning and preparation, this dream journey can become a reality.

You might be wondering how feasible it really is for you to explore the icy wilderness of Antarctica?

Fret not! This guide will show you exactly how to travel to Antarctica , making what seems impossible entirely possible!  

Exploring Antarctica: An Overview

Unraveling the geography, diving into history, planning your trip to antarctica.

  • Choosing The Best Time To Visit
  • Deciding On Your Travel Style
  • Selecting A Suitable Route For Your Journey

Embarking on the Adventure: Cruising to Antarctica

Cruise types: finding your perfect fit, your cruise experience unveiled, selecting your ideal journey, flying to antarctica, the fly-cruise option: a quick route to adventure, a few things to keep in mind when flying, luxury air cruises: soaring over the ice cap, what to do in antarctica, penguin safari and wildlife watching, kayaking and camping trips.

  • Camping on Antartctica

Your Night Under The Stars

Tents and equipment, where to stay in antarctica, luxury lodges: comfort amidst ice, cruise ship cabins: your floating home, camping on ice floes: an unforgettable experience, making your trip memorable, capturing memories with photography, antarctica photography workshop, photography workshops led by experts, packing your gear for polar conditions, dive into adventure activities, faqs in relation to how to travel to antarctica, how to travel to antarctica, can i legally go to antarctica, how to visit antarctica responsibly.

Travelers visiting Antarctica penguins

Learn how to travel to Antarctica , from planning your trip, choosing accommodations to exciting activities. Dive in now.

The enigmatic allure of Antarctica lies in its untouched, pristine beauty. The continent is a land of extremes - it's the coldest, driest, and windiest place on the planet. No other place on earth is like it.

Antarctica showcases breathtaking landscapes that are unparalleled anywhere else on earth. From towering icebergs dotting the Antarctic Peninsula to vast expanses of sea ice surrounding it, nature has sculpted masterpieces here.

Beyond mainland Antarctica lie remote islands like Diego Ramirez and Snow Hill Island - each offering unique exploration opportunities during your visit to this icy wonderland.

Your journey through time begins with tales from early expeditions by pioneers such as Roald Amundsen, which provide intriguing insights into human endurance against harsh conditions while visiting Antarctica. Read more about these explorers' adventures here.

Penguin Safari Epic: A Must-Do Activity

Penguins at South Georgia

Remember, though; always respect wildlife and the environment since our small actions can have a significant impact on fragile ecosystems.

If photography interests you, then gear up for some spectacular shots. Penguin photography offers travelers an opportunity to capture thousands of penguins from several species in their natural habitat - a rare treat indeed.

  • Embark on an extraordinary expedition to the South Pole, where the awe-inspiring Antarctic spring takes hold and blankets everything in a serene hush. This incredible adventure may take you beyond the mainland to explore the remote southernmost regions such as the south shetland Islands, south Georgia via the legendary Elephant, a route that was once fiercely pursued by numerous explorers including the legendary Shackleton.

So get ready... an unforgettable voyage filled with awe-inspiring vistas beckons

Key Takeaway:

Traveling to Antarctica offers a unique, awe-inspiring experience. From its untouched landscapes and historical tales of endurance to photography opportunities with penguins and respecting fragile ecosystems - it's an adventure like no other. So gear up for this unforgettable voyage.

Woman visiting Antarctica with adventure gear

If you're thinking of venturing to Antarctica, there are several elements that require careful thought. From choosing the best time for your trip to deciding on how you want to travel and explore - every detail matters.

The following guide will help make planning this epic journey easier while ensuring a memorable experience in the Antarctic wilderness.

1. Choosing The Best Time To Visit

Your adventure begins with selecting when exactly you wish to set foot on this icy continent. Summer months from November through March provide milder weather conditions, making it an ideal period for most tourists who prefer up-close encounters with seals, penguins, and whales amidst temperatures reaching 20 degrees Fahrenheit at times.

If, however, witnessing the wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn or experiencing sea ice adventures is what excites you more, then consider off-peak seasons. But do prepare yourself mentally for colder climates and possible changes in plans due to harsher environmental conditions.

2. Deciding On Your Travel Style

travel route to antarctica

You must also decide how exactly you would like t o navigate around the vast expanses of Antarctica's pristine landscapes , depending upon personal preferences towards luxury experiences versus thrill-seeking adventures. This might involve kayaking amongst icebergs under the pure Antarctic silence offered by companies such as Quark Expeditions, known for their unique adventure activities and small ships .

Luxury lovers can opt for upscale expedition ships that typically carry less than 200 passengers, offering gourmet dining options, comfortable accommodations, and panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. Whereas those seeking something different may choose to embark on journeys involving camping trips and other exciting outdoor pursuits instead.

3. Selecting A Suitable Route For Your Journey

A popular route starts in Buenos Aires , where travelers disembark from expedition vessels bound for Ushuaia, Argentina's southern tip, before crossing the Drake Passage and heading towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Perhaps even further south if they've opted for longer voyages, encompassing visits to Diego Ramirez and the Antarctic Express Snow Hill Emperor Penguin Quest destinations. All of this is dependent upon prevailing sea conditions and the duration of the planned stay, respectively.

An alternative choice if you are looking for ultimate luxury could be charter a private expedition yacht.

Key Takeaway: 

Planning your Antarctic journey involves careful decision-making. Choose the best time to visit, considering wildlife encounters and weather conditions. Decide on your travel style - luxury or adventure-filled experiences. Finally, select a suitable route that aligns with your desired destinations and trip duration.

The allure of visiting Antarctica is undeniable. The epic high antarctic adventure south pole bound beckons with its icy landscapes and unique wildlife. But how do you get there? One immersive way to explore this remote part of the world is through an expedition cruise.

Ocean Endeavour ship in Antarctica - Chimu Adventures

Different strokes for different folks - that's true even when it comes to cruising in Antarctica . Whether your heart beats faster at spotting leopard seals, school's of orca, whales or penguin colonies during Antarctic photography sessions or if you're intrigued by historical routes like the route of Shackleton, there's something for everyone.

  • Penguin Safari Epic: This type focuses heavily on wildlife encounters, perfect for animal lovers wanting unforgettable experiences such as adding on South Georgia and the Falklands.
  • Historical Exploration: These journeys trace paths charted by early explorers while sharing their stories along these historic routes.

An expedition cruise isn't just about getting from point A to B; it offers pure Antarctic silence surrounds where sea conditions become unpredictable but wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn begins. Expedition ships typically carry between 50-200 passengers, allowing them closer access into narrower channels amidst sea ice which larger vessels cannot navigate through safely due to potential iceberg collisions.

Your travel style should guide your choice - are you seeking serenity amid stunning glacial vistas or adrenaline-pumping adventures like kayaking amongst floating ice formations? Perhaps camping under starlit skies appeals more?

Antarctica, a land of pure Antarctic silence that surrounds you with its breathtaking beauty and the wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn begins. It's an ultimate icy adventure towards the south pole where one can experience sea ice like nowhere else on earth. But how does one get there? While many opt for cruises from Ushuaia in Argentina , flying directly into Antarctica is another exciting option especially for those who prefer speed over sailing.

If battling sea conditions isn't your idea of fun or if time is pressing, then why not consider a fly-cruise package ? These expeditions take off from Punta Arenas in Chile crossing Drake Passage by air before landing at King George Island located amidst South Shetland Islands. From here embarkation onto expedition ships typically carry travelers further southwards.

This approach significantly cuts down travel time allowing more days spent exploring mesmerizing landscapes filled with penguin safari epic adventures and a myriad of whale watching photography opportunities.

While opting to visit Antarctica by air might seem appealing initially, remember it has its own set of challenges too. Weather patterns are unpredictable causing potential delays, so flexibility becomes key when choosing this mode of transport.

Besides, weight restrictions could limit what gear you bring along, something to consider if you have loads of video and photography equipment.

If luxury experiences define your voyages, then perhaps an air cruise would suit better. With operators offering flights out of Australia, these tours provide panoramic views over vast snow-covered expanses meeting the horizon where Snow Hill Emperor Penguins' quest territory starts unfolding beneath. Imagine experiencing all this without even setting foot on icy terrain?

While Antarctica's beauty is breathtaking, getting there requires careful planning. You can fly directly or opt for a fly-cruise package from Chile, cutting down travel time. However, unpredictable weather and weight restrictions may pose challenges. For luxury voyages, consider air cruises out of Australia.

Antarctica, the last frontier of true adventure. But what exactly can you do on this icy continent? Let's explore some thrilling activities that await.

If wildlife watching is your thing, then prepare for an epic experience with endless penguin encounters. Get up close to different species of penguins, seals, and various birdlife native to Antarctica. 

You can also spot several species of whales during these expeditions. The unique ecosystem here will leave nature enthusiasts spellbound.

Sea Kayaking in Antarctica

Crank up your adrenaline levels by kayaking through icebergs or camping under southern stars amidst sea ice. These are not just mere adventures but rather transformative experiences that push boundaries while ensuring safety at all times due to changing sea conditions. Voyagers Travel , among others, offer such adventure options polar exploration style.

Camping On Antarctica

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep under the stars in one of the most remote places on Earth? Well, visiting Antarctica and camping there is an experience that will exceed your wildest dreams. It's a journey into pure Antarctic silence surrounds where a wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn begins.

Expedition ships typically carry all necessary equipment and provisions needed for this unique expedition.

A night spent camping in Antarctica is unlike any other outdoor experience. As darkness falls over the icy landscape, you'll find yourself surrounded by towering glaciers and sparkling ice formations. A blanket of countless stars covers the sky above as penguins and their colonies sleep nearby.

The mats and sleeping bags used during our Antarctica nights on the ice are designed specifically for extreme weather conditions with heavy-duty material to protect against harsh winds and low temperatures. For comfort, we provide insulated sleeping bags rated for sub-zero temperatures along with foam pads to insulate from cold ground beneath.

Ready for an icy adventure? Plan your trip to Antarctica. From Penguin Safaris and wildlife watching, to kayaking among icebergs or camping under southern stars. #TravelAntarctica Click to Tweet

Your Antarctic adventure doesn't stop at the end of each day. In fact, where you lay your head to rest is a crucial part of this unique travel experience.

If luxury accommodation is more your style, then fear not. Even amidst the icy wilderness of Antarctica, there are options that cater to those who prefer their adventures with a side serving of comfort and class.

A standout option for high-end lodgings includes eco-friendly camps offering heated dome tents complete with plush beds and private bathrooms - an oasis amid pure Antarctic silence surrounds you. And let's not forget about food; these places serve gourmet meals that could give any fine dining establishment in Buenos Aires a run for its money.

Cabin on board the Ocean Endeavour - Chimu Adventures

Sailing into the Antarctic circle or exploring the Wedell sea on expedition ships typically carry all types sea conditions experiences right from wildlife viewing to iceberg sightings. But when it comes time to unwind after a day full of exploration, cruise ship cabins offer cozy retreats ranging from basic bunk rooms up till suites featuring balconies overlooking majestic ice landscapes.

Renowned polar voyages operators like Albatross Expeditions and Aurora Expeditions provide comfortable accommodations catering various travel styles while ensuring personalized service during your ultimate south pole journey due to smaller passenger numbers compared larger cruise lines.

The thrill-seekers among us might be enticed by another type of lodging entirely - camping out under the stars on vast expanses known as 'ice floes'. This truly immersive experience offered by many tour operators lets travelers fully immerse themselves into polar exploration. It's nothing short than waking up surrounded by snow hills possibly seeing curious penguins nearby.

Remember though regardless wherever choose stay visiting Antarctica important always respect pristine environment follow guidelines set forth organizations promoting responsible tourism.

Antarctica offers a range of unique accommodations to enhance your polar adventure. Choose from luxury lodges with gourmet meals, cozy cruise ship cabins that navigate icy landscapes, or the thrilling experience of camping on ice floes under starlit skies.

When you visit Antarctica, it's not just about the destination but also how to make your journey unforgettable. Here are some tips on photography and more.

A picture is worth a thousand words - especially when that photo captures the moment where pure Antarctic silence surrounds you or records an epic adventure sailing by Shackleton's infamous Elephant island. You might consider investing in top-notch camera gear before embarking, in many cases an iphone will do. Several photos included here have been taken with a smart phone.

If you're looking to embark on the ultimate adventure to the southern latitudes amongst penguins and schools of beluga, minke and even blue whales, there's no better place than Antarctica. The breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife make it a paradise for photography enthusiasts.

The journey usually begins from Ushuaia , where you will board one of the ice strengthened expedition ships. These ships typically carry travelers across the Beagle channel, onwards through the Drake passage and take base at the Antarctic peninsula. This is an experience in itself as pure Antarctic silence surrounds you while traversing through icebergs and witnessing sea conditions unlike anywhere else on earth.

Photographer in Antarcitca

The workshops are led by experts renowned wildlife photographers, who have extensive knowledge about snow and ice, finding the proper light, penguin sightings, taking pictures from zodiacs of whales and leopard seals and in general uplifting your game in photography among other things. These trips usually include the use of forward-facing zodiacs that provide comfort while ensuring that nothing obstructs your view when taking pictures or simply soaking in the beauty around.

In terms of gear required for this trip, remember that weather conditions can be extreme, so pack accordingly! Waterproof jackets and trousers are essential, along with warm clothing layers underneath, because the wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn begins during these months, which can get quite chilly!

Beyond enjoying the wonderfully powerful Antarctic autumn begins scenery around you, participating actively in various travel style activities available enhances the overall experience dramatically. Imagine taking the polar plunge while your fellow ship mates cheer you on, a dip into the icy waters will for sure awaken your senses.

Journaling Your Journey

The act of journaling offers another intimate way to remember visiting Antarctica; whether jotting down daily observations regarding changing sea conditions over time or personal reflections stirred up due to its exciting passage through the Drake to the unique location far away from regular life pressures back home.

To make your Antarctic journey truly unforgettable, invest in quality photography gear, collect unique souvenirs during the voyage, participate actively in adventure activities like kayaking or camping amidst glaciers and penguins. Additionally, journaling can offer a personal touch to your polar exploration experience.

Travelers typically reach Antarctica via cruise ships from Ushuaia, Argentina. Some also opt for direct flights.

Absolutely. However, you must book a trip with a tour operator that complies with the Antarctic Treaty System's regulations and obtain necessary permits. Our reservations team at Voyagers Travel can help you make the right choice.

To protect its pristine environment, follow guidelines like not disturbing wildlife or leaving waste behind during your visit.

Visist Antarctica with Us

Embarking on a journey to the South Pole is indeed an adventure of a lifetime.

From understanding Antarctica's unique geography and wildlife, planning your trip meticulously, choosing between cruising or flying - every step matters.

You've learned about the exciting activities that await you in this icy wilderness. Sightseeing tours, wildlife watching, kayaking, or even camping on ice floes!

The accommodation options are diverse too; luxury lodges for comfort lovers or camping sites for true adventurers.

Making your trip memorable with photography tips and other ideas has also been covered.

All these elements come together to answer one intriguing question: How to Travel to Antarctica?

It's time to make your Antarctic dreams come true! With Voyagers Travel Company by your side, we ensure a tailor-made travel program focusing on cruises in Antarctica along with other thrilling destinations like the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon River basin . Ready for an unforgettable journey? Visit us at Voyagers Travel , let's make it happen!

Check our Antarctica Cruises:

  • Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent plus Cape Horn & Diego Ramirez
  • Christmas In Antarctica
  • South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari
  • Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle

Andre Robles

Can You Go to Antarctica? Yes! Here's How to Get There

Among the first questions prospective polar travelers consider “ Can you visit Antarctica? ” Yes, you can visit Antarctica, being mindful of any Antarctica travel restrictions . We’ll show you how.

The next question is “ How to get to Antarctica? ” The answer is not as difficult as it seems. The best way to get to Antarctica is to cruise or fly. Cruises to Antarctica depart from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Flights to Antarctica depart from Chile.

This post outlines everything you need to know to get to Antarctica. Our travel experts answer common questions about how to get to Antarctica, with a focus on Antarctica cruises from Argentina and Antarctica flights from Chile.

IN THIS POST – HOW TO GET TO ANTARCTICA Can You go to Antarctica? 10 Reasons to Visit Antarctica Get to Antarctica by Ship Flights to Antarctica Get to Antarctica From Your Home Passport & Visa Requirements The Best Way to Get to Antarctica More Resources

Can You Go To Antarctica?

Yes, you can visit Antarctica. In fact, Antarctica has never been more accessible to travelers.

Do you need permission to go to Antarctica? Travelers do not need permission to go to Antarctica, but tourism operators must hold a valid permit. First, a bit of background on why it is legal to visit Antarctica.

Antarctica is not a country. The continent is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which preserves it for peaceful and scientific use. The treaty and related agreements ensure that all human activity is carefully managed and planned, including environmentally sensitive tourism. As of 2023 the treaty has 56 signatory parties. 

Tourism operators in Antarctica submit stringent permit applications annually. If their planned activities meet all criteria, they are authorized and granted a permit. Traveling with an authorized operator means your permit has been secured for you.

travel route to antarctica

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Do you need a visa to visit Antarctica? Because no country owns Antarctica, a visa is not required to travel there.

How many tourists visit Antarctica each year?   During the 2021-22 season, more than 23,000 travelers landed on the Antarctic continent. Will you be next?

Two black and white penguins stand on shore as a futuristic and modern looking white Antarctica cruise ship navigates the ocean past them.

10 Reasons to Visit Antarctica Now

Before we cover how to get to there, we’d like to outline why you should visit Antarctica. The cost to travel to Antarctica is significant, so many travelers ask us, “ Is it worth it to travel to Antarctica? ” Yes, Antarctica is worth the price.

Antarctica is absolutely amazing and unlike any other travel experience on earth. Extraordinary experiences await including spectacular scenery, incredible wildlife, gripping history and personal enlightenment.

A visit to Antarctica emphasizes how special our planet is. It will instill a desire to protect the environment. Going to Antarctica is a life changing adventure. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should travel to antarctica. 

  • Penguins – Over 15 types of penguins live in Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands. They are a joy to watch. Walk among penguin colonies, witness them torpedo through the water and travel over “penguin highways.”  
  • Whales & Wildlife – There are 10 species of whales in Antarctica including humpback, blue, fin and orca whales. Seas and sea lions haul on the ice and lounge on beaches. Wildlife and whale watching in Antarctica are a highlight of any visit.
  • Ice, Glaciers & Icebergs – Antarctica is over 97% covered in ice. Ice sheets cover the contentment and glaciers spill into the sea along the coast. Massive tabular icebergs inspire awe and sculpted blue icebergs will fill your camera’s memory card.   
  • Birds & Birdwatching – Antarctica is a hotspot for birdwatching. You will see unique birds found nowhere else in the world. Birdwatchers can find 5 species of albatross, 10 species of petrel and several skuas, shags and prions among others.
  • Ultimate Adventure – Simply going to Antarctica, the most remote continent on earth, is an adventure. Actively explore up close with expert naturalist guides. Get off the vessel everyday hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, mountaineering, skiing, snowshoeing and even scuba diving. Learn all the things to do in Antarctica .
  • Spectacular Scenery – Pack your camera for pristine mountains, dramatic cliffs, massive glaciers, unusual iceberg formations and an expansive landscape. Long Austral summer days with extended sunrises and sunsets create prime photo opportunities. Professional photographers travel onboard to help you make the most of every shot.
  • Follow in the Footsteps of Explorers – Antarctica has a rich history of exploration by hearty adventurers. They went by dog sled and tall ship. You can go in comfort aboard specialty ships designed for polar cruising. Experience historic sites like Grytviken, where Shackleton is buried. Then return to a hot shower and gourmet meal. 
  • Experience the Extremes – What is so special about Antarctica? Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, iciest and driest continent on earth. These conditions make for a true expedition. Feel the cold and enjoy the sun when it shines. Learn the best time to visit Antarctica .
  • Learn About Climate Change in Antarctica – Climate change is affecting Antarctica and its ecosystems. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the planet. Most Antarctica voyages will tackle this topic head on educating travelers about how Antarctica is affected by climate change and how it serves as a laboratory for research.  Rather than take a doomsday approach to see it before it’s gone, we hope you will visit and fall in love. Only when you love a place are you motivated to protect it.
  • Bragging Rights – Many people go to Antarctica because it is a bucket list destination. Some want to check the 7 th Continent off their travel list. However very few actually go to Antarctica. Whatever your reason, if you go to Antarctica, you’ll be part of a select cadre and have bragging rights among your friends.

In Antarctica a male traveler wearing a blue parka kneels on the snow watching a group of black and white penguins with orange beaks.

How to Get to Antarctica

The two primary routes travelers use to get to Antarctica are cruising to Antarctica or flying to Antarctica. Below we present everything you need to know about each method. 

Get to Antarctica by Ship

The most common and most affordable way to get to Antarctica is to book an  Antarctica cruise . Over 90% of all visitors travel to Antarctica aboard a small ship. Learn more about the cost to go to Antarctica .

Specially outfitted operators run a fleet of purpose-built Antarctica expedition ships taking travelers to Antarctica. They take care of all the logistics from permits to schedules and itineraries. Shore landings and activities on the continent are an important part of the experience. See our tips on how to choose an Antarctic cruise .

Infographic depicting the steps taken in order to get to Antarctica by boat.

Cruise to Antarctica From South America

The distance from the tip of South America to Antarctica is about 600 miles. The countries closest to Antarctica are Argentina and Chile. Most of the travel to Antarctica occurs from these countries in South America.  Most cruises begin in Ushuaia, Argentina but some start in other port towns in Argentina and Chile. 

Cruises to Antarctica range from 10-24 Days.  Antarctica cruises from South America are popular because they access the most popular regions including the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands.   

Ushuaia to Antarctica Cruises

Ushuaia to Antarctica is the most popular cruise route. Ushuaia is 680 miles to Antarctica and the closest port making it the primary hub for cruises.

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in South America before Antarctica. It is in the Terra del Fuego province of Argentina and is generally recognized as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is well worth a visit. We recommend travelers going to Antarctica arrive a day or two early.

Ushuaia Antarctica cruises offer the largest variety of itinerary and ship options. The shortest and most affordable Ushuaia cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula. Some cruises from Ushuaia strive to reach farther south the Antarctic circle. More comprehensive Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia include South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. 

During the height of the season the port of Ushuaia can host 3-5 Antarctica expedition ships each day. Overall, there may be more than three dozen ships visiting Antarctica from Ushuaia each season. Don’t worry the ships coordinate schedules so ports and landing sites do not become overcrowded. This diverse fleet offers travelers the widest choice of ships, cabins and availability. 

Other Argentina to Antarctica Cruises

While most cruises begin in Ushuaia there are other routes from Argentina to Antarctica. Each year a handful of Argentina Antarctica cruises embark from Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. To reach Port Stanley travelers must fly from mainland Argentina, usually Buenos Aires.   

Chile to Antarctica Cruises

Chile is known for its cruises with flights to Antarctica. But there are some cruises from Chile to Antarctica each year. Chile Antarctica cruises typically embark in the southern Patagonia city of Punta Arenas. 

A Chile to Antarctic voyage will travel through the Chilean Fjords passing by Cape Horn before venturing into the Drake Passage. If you choose a Chilean Antarctic trip it is also possible to combine it with travel to Patagonia or a Chile vacation .

Cruises From Australia and New Zealand to Antarctica

Each year a handful of specialty cruises voyage from New Zealand and Australia to Antarctica. These are true expeditions and take longer than cruises from South America. Just crossing from New Zealand or Australia to Antarctica can take five days or more. The highlight of an Antarctica cruise from Australia or New Zealand is a visit to the Ross Sea. 

The most common embarkation ports for journeys from New Zealand to Antarctica are Invercargill and Dunedin. Cruises from Australia to Antarctica typically depart from Hobart, Tasmania.

Some Antarctica cruises depart from Australia, visit the White Continent, and then return to the same port. Others begin in South America and end in Australia, or reverse. Either way, these cruises are much longer than cruises from South America. Antarctic cruises from Australia and New Zealand range from 25-35 days.  

Voyages will visit sub-Antarctic islands such as Macquarie Island, the Auckland Islands or Campbell Islands. These remote outposts are rich in birdlife and wildlife. They serve to break up the longer ocean crossing.

A small expedition ship in Antarctica sailing through icebergs with the sun setting behind creating pink clouds.

How to Get to Antarctica by Boat FAQ’s

The Antarctic Peninsula lies just over 680 miles (1100 kilometers) from Ushuaia, Argentina in South America.

The Antarctic Circle is about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from Ushuaia, Argentina in South America. 

The voyage from Ushuaia to Antarctic takes about 48 hours by small ship. Antarctic Peninsula cruises will make this crossing each way. So, a typical 11-day cruise will include 4 days crossing at sea and 7 days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Most Antarctica cruises are 10-13 days. Some cruises are 14-20 days. The longest Antarctica cruise is 36 days long.

Most cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia, Argentina. Cruises also leave from Punta Arenas-Chile, Port Stanley-Argentina, Hobart-Australia, Dunedin -New Zealand.

The Antarctic continent is about 1650 miles (2655 kilometers) from Australia. The Ross Sea is about 2200 miles (3,500 kilometers) from Australia. 

The crossing from Australia to Antarctica can take up to 7 days depending on weather.

The Antarctic continent is about 1500 miles (2415 kilometers) from New Zealand. The Ross Sea is about 1800 miles (2900 kilometers) from New Zealand.

The crossing from New Zealand to Antarctica can take up to 5 days depending on weather.

The closest country to cruise to Antarctica is Argentina. 

You cannot see Antarctica from South America. Don’t laugh, people ask. 

Flights to Antarctica

Flying to Antarctica from Chile avoids crossing the infamous Drake Passage and makes the overall trip shorter. Antarctica air cruises are the second most popular way to get to Antarctica. 

Flights to Antarctica are a great option for travelers short on time or concerned about seasickness. A flight to Antarctica takes about two hours, saving two days of cruising. Since most cruises make the crossing twice, flying can shave four days off the overall travel time. Cruises with flights to Antarctica range from 7-17 days long. 

When considering cruises with flights to Antarctica, there are not as many options of ships and itineraries. The season for Antarctica flights is shorter, beginning in December and ending in February. There are not as many flight departures as standard cruises from South America.

Many trips with flights depart and return to the same location. Others will fly one way to or from the Antarctica Peninsula and cruise the other direction. Our experts are here to discuss the details of flights to Antarctica and help you choose the best Antarctic flight. 

There are no commercial flights to Antarctica.  Antarctica air cruise itineraries utilize one-way or round-trip flights from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Antarctica Peninsula where guests board a ship. Flights to Antarctica utilize the airstrip at the King George Island Antarctica airport. This landing site is associated with Chile’s Frei Station.

Infographic depicting the steps taken to get to Antarctica by airplane.

Fly to Antarctica from Chile

Punta Arenas, Chile, is the primary departure point for cruises with Antarctic flights. These trips fly over the Drake passage, landing on King George Island near the Antarctic Peninsula. Travelers then embark the ship in Antarctica.

Most trips will explore the Antarctic Peninsula, then fly back to Chile. Some venture further to Antarctic Circle, South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands. Some trips fly one way from Chile then cruise back or reverse. 

Antarctic Express Fly the Drake Cruise plane with passengers boarding the plane to Antarctica.

How to Fly to Antarctica FAQ’s

Yes, you can fly to Antarctica , but only in conjunction with an organized tour or cruise. There are no commercial flights to Antarctica.

There are no commercial airports in Antarctica. Flights to Antarctica utilize landing strips associated with scientific research stations.

The only way to fly to Antarctica is part of an organized tour or cruise. Flights with cruises depart from Chile.

The flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile is about 2 hours.

Travelers get around in Antarctica by small expedition ship. Travelers also get around via zodiacs, kayaks, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and trekking. 

The closest country to fly to Antarctica from is Chile.

No it is not possible to see Antarctica from Chile.

How to get to Antarctica from Your Home

Most cruises depart from Ushuaia, Argentina. Fly-and-cruise trips depart from Punta Arenas, Chile. There are no direct international flights into these ports, so most travelers must route flights through Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Santiago, Chile.

Below is our advice on how to get to Antarctica from your home, using these air travel hubs. Our specialists can assist with your flights to Antarctica.

travel route to antarctica

GET TO ANTARCTICA FROM YOUR HOME Get to Antarctica From the U.S.A. Get to Antarctica From Canada Get to Antarctica From Australia Get to Antarctica From New Zealand Get to Antarctica From the U.K. & Europe

How to Get to Antarctica From the United States

  • To Buenos Aires : To get to Antarctica on a cruise departing from Argentina, travelers need to fly from the USA to Buenos Aires. The most popular Antarctica flights from U.S.A. to Buenos Aires depart from New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Boston. From Buenos Aires fly to Ushuaia to board your ship. 
  • To Santiago : To fly to Antarctica from the USA, travelers first need to fly to Santiago, Chile. The most popular flight routes from the U.S.A. to Santiago, Chile, depart from Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Miami and New York. From Santiago fly to Punta Arenas to board your flight to Antarctica. 

How to Get to Antarctica From Canada

There are direct flights from Toronto to both Buenos Aires and Santiago, five days each week. From other regions in Canada, travelers may consider connecting through a gateway in the U.S.A.

How to Get to Antarctica From Australia

  • To Hobart: To get to Antarctica on a cruise departing from Australia you will need to travel to Hobart, Tasmania. Popular flight routes to Hobart depart from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
  • To Buenos Aires: To get to Antarctica from Australia on a cruise departing from Argentina, travelers need to fly to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Australia to Buenos Aires. Travelers going to Antarctica from Australia must consider connecting to Buenos Aires through Auckland, New Zealand, or through Santiago, Chile. From Buenos Aires fly to Ushuaia to board your ship.
  • To Santiago : To fly to Antarctica from Australia travelers will first need to fly to Santiago, Chile. Flights from Sydney, Australia, to Santiago, Chile, operate four days each week. From Santiago fly to Punta Arenas to catch your flight to Antarctica. 

How To Get to Antarctica From New Zealand

Most travelers from New Zealand will fly to South America to get to Antarctica from there. If you are on a specialty New Zealand cruise to Antarctica there are numerous options, depending on your departure port. See details below to get to Antarctica from New Zealand.

  • To Invercargill or Dunedin: To get to Antarctica on a cruise departing from New Zealand you will need to travel to either Invercargill or Dunedin. Travelers on New Zealand’s South Island may drive to their embarkation port. There are flights to Invercargill and Dunedin from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • To Buenos Aires : To get to Antarctica from New Zealand on a cruise departing from Argentina travelers need to fly to Buenos Aires. There are four direct flights each week from Auckland, New Zealand, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Buenos Aires fly to Ushuaia to board your ship.
  • To Santiago : To fly to Antarctica from New Zealand, travelers will first fly to Santiago, Chile. Flights from Auckland, New Zealand, to Santiago, Chile, operate four days each week. From Santiago fly to Punta Arenas to catch your flight to Antarctica. 

How To Get to Antarctica From the U.K. & Europe

  • To Buenos Aires : To get to Antarctica from the U.K. and Europe most travelers will first fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are numerous flights from Europe to Buenos Aires each day. Popular routes depart from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. From Buenos Aires fly to Ushuaia to board your ship.
  • To Santiago : To fly to Antarctica from the U.K. and Europe travelers will first fly to Santiago, Chile. There are numerous flights from Europe to Santiago each day. Popular routes depart from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Barcelona. From Santiago fly to Punta Arenas to catch your flight to Antarctica. 

How to Get to Antarctica From Argentina

To get to Antarctica from Argentina, travelers will first fly to Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina has two airports. International travelers will arrive at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE). Then connect from Buenos Aires to Uhsuaia. Flights to and from Ushuaia (USH) operate out of the Jorge Newbery Airpark domestic airport (AEP). So a transfer between airports in Buenos Aires is required.

We recommend the airport shuttle service, Manuel Tienda Leon. Find their colorful booths in the airport to book a transfer for about $30 USD. Shuttles depart every 30 minutes from the EZE arrival terminal.  A taxi can be arranged and may be quicker but more expensive. 

The opposite transfer is required on the return trip. We advise travelers to allow at least four hours between flights for this transfer and check in. Many travelers will consider a stopover in Buenos Aires as part of their Antarctica travel package.

How to Get to Antarctica from Chile

To get to Antarctica from Chile, travelers will first fly to Santiago. International travelers will arrive at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, also known as Santiago International Airport (SCL). Then connect from Santiago to Punta Arenas. Flights to and from Punta Arenas also depart from this airport making connections easy. Many travelers will consider a stopover in Santiago as part of their Antarctica plans.

A massive iceberg floats in the dark blue ocean, dwarfing the 6 level expedition ship and inflatable skiff boats around it.

Antarctica Passport & Visa Requirements

A visa or passport is not required to visit Antarctica. However, the country you pass through to get to Antarctica, such as Argentina, Chile, Australia or New Zealand will require a passport and may require a visa depending on your country of origin. Visas are not required in these countries for U.S. citizens. Your passport should be valid for 6 months after your travel dates, depending on your country of residency.

Countries that have signed the Antarctica Treaty including the U.S.A., Canada, E.U., New Zealand and Australia require that visitors from those countries need permission to visit Antarctica. This is typically provided through the tour operator. 

Argentina Visas – click here to learn if a visa is required to enter Argentina from your country. Chile Visas – click here to find your Chilean consulate. Contact your consulate to learn if a visa is required if a visa is required to enter Chile from your country. In the United States, visa services can answer detailed questions and expedite applications for visas to Argentina and Chile.

What is the Best Way to Get to Antarctica?

The best way to get to Antarctica is by  small ship cruise  across the Drake Passage, or by plane to meet your ship in Antarctica. There are no right or wrong ways to get to Antarctica. Your choice will depend on your personal preferences, schedule and budget. Regardless of how you get to Antarctica, it will be the trip of a lifetime.

Continue your research on how to travel to Antarctica using the links below, or sign up for the AdventureSmith newsletter to stay in the loop on Antarctica travel news and deals. Our experts are here to teach you how to visit Antarctica and to help you get there.

MORE ANTARCTICA RESOURCES : Antarctica Travel Guide Antarctica Cruises Luxury Antarctica Cruises Falkland Islands & South Georgia Cruises Cruises with Flights to Antarctica Best Time to Visit Antarctica Antarctica Cruise Cost Things to Do in Antarctica Places in Antarctica Antarctica Ships Best Antarctica Cruise Lines Antarctica Cruise Deals Antarctica Cruise Reviews

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I want to visit in Feb or March 2024. Please give me a price for 2 pax.

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Hi Smarajit, You’ve come to the right place. An Antarctica expert will be in contact with you shortly to discuss all your Antarctica cruise options.

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i want to package of antartica via cruise or by air with couple

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Hi Pradeep, We can certainly help! An Antarctica Specialist will be in touch direct shortly. In the meantime you can review more information about Cruises with Flights to Antarctica and Antarctica cruises in general.

Let Our Travelers Explain What Is So Special About Antarctica

The Antarctic cruise was something else; it was an unbelievable experience. The crew were superb. Thanks, AdventureSmith, for getting me into such a grand adventure. I have too many stories.

Antarctica is an out of the world experience. It is nothing like anywhere. Neither was there an experience like this before nor can there be similar one after.

I was blown away by the experience. Antarctica is truly a magical place. By far, the quality and variety of food beyond exceeded my expectations. Camping on land was incredible!!!

One of the best trips I have ever taken. You are only going to Antarctica once most likely, so you want to get it right. I felt like we really did and that was made possible by excellent guidance from Nick and excellent service from all involved on our travels. We were told National Geographic was second to none in terms of naturalist and that was very true. Antarctica was simply amazing. Nothing can compare and you simply have to see it to believe it.

The first time I stepped onto Antarctica, I just closed my eyes and tried to envision the globe and where I was on it at that very moment; definitely a wow moment and a wow trip! Since I prefer masses of wildlife to masses of humanity, I had a wonderful experience. Be prepared to be amazed!

The trip far, far, far, far, far, far exceeded our expectations. I had one "far" in the sentence when we left South Georgia Island after seeing 250,000 King Penguins at St. Andrews Point and added the second when we saw blue whales on two different days. The third "far" was added when we saw hundreds of whales for 6 hours along the iceberg, A68a...

The Antarctic cruise was something else; it was an unbelievable experience. The crew were superb. I have no negative impressions to relate. The scenes of Antarctica from the Professor Malchanov were breathtaking, not to mention in the landings on the peninsula and numerous islands. The gear (coat and rubber boots) was perfect; I never got cold. Penguins were encountered at just about every stop. We saw a couple of seals, too, and a few whales at sea. Those birds are incredibly photogenic and there must have been thousands of pictures taken by my fellow passengers. Thanks, AdventureSmith, for getting me into such a grand adventure. I have too many stories.

Featured in this Traveler Review

  • Antarctic Explorer

Overall trip experience was great, since it had an equal measure of all components-comfortable stay, good food, insights on the continent, well organised landings and great care taken by the expedition head and his team. All the landings were unique in their own way, had different elements of surprise every time. Whale watching from the ship-out of the world experience.  

Accommodations Review

Accommodations were convenient and well maintained. Only the camping tent could have been a little larger to accommodate two campers.

Crew & Guides Review

The enthusiasm and professionalism was par excellence. Alex the team leader was very knowledgeable about the continent and its various facets and his alertness and information got us more benefits from the trip. All others were equally competent and knowledgeable. Lyn, Osi, Gerard, Scott, Phil, Mike and others-each had so much energy and enthusiasm to share their knowledge, help and guide us that made your trip so memorable.  

AdventureSmith Explorations Review

All info was given in detail. There were regular emails from Nick which helped me a lot. The change in airline schedule was informed in advance so that alternates could be booked. The info about ground transport was also useful.

Traveler Advice

Antarctica is an out of the world experience. It is nothing like anywhere. Neither was there an experience like this before nor can there be similar one after. Anyone who like nature should visit it! Do not have any doubt or inhibition, everything will be smooth. Enjoy and soak in the experience as it seeps in!

  • Antarctic Peninsula Aboard Expedition
  • MS Expedition

I was blown away by the experience. Antarctica is truly a magical place and Oceanwide did an excellent job in showing it to me. The staff and crew were beyond helpful and enthusiastic about their work. By far, the quality and variety of food beyond exceeded my expectations. Safety was paramount and everyone was well taken care of. I would recommend this trip to anyone! Great variety of age, backgrounds, gender, country of origin, etc. on the boat. Everyone was friendly and talkative.

David (Expedition Leader) was very professional, informative, and friendly. He handled any situation that came up quickly and made prompt decisions. He kept everyone informed and had a positive attitude the whole time. The other staff that took us on expeditions was also wonderful (Mal, Koen, Julia, Owen, Werner, Alexis, Andreas, Regis, Daniel, and Trevor).

Itinerary Review

I enjoyed the adventure activities including camping, kayaking, and mountaineering. They allowed me to get close to nature and experience the environment first-hand. It felt like we stayed in the same place for so much of the trip and that was a bit of a disappointment. It would have been nice to see more of the peninsula and move along it each day rather than in the same area. Camping on land was incredible!!!

Meals Review

It was phenomenal! As noted previously, I was blown away by the food variety and quality.

I received great information from AdventureSmith. The only exception would be in regards to the Mountaineering activity. I was told I would need mountaineering boots for this but after purchasing them and getting on the boat, I found out I was not able to do the activity because I did not have prior experience mountaineering.

  • Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise

Please note: The primary ship(s) operating the mentioned itinerary can change from year to year, so the ship this guest cruised on may no longer be sailing this exact route.

The arrangements from start to finish were seamless. The staff for the pre-cruise tours as well as on the ship were simply fantastic. Great group of travelers on the ship - we enjoyed the adventurous spirit of all on board. One of the best trips I have ever taken. You are only going to Antarctica once most likely, so you want to get it right. I felt like we really did and that was made possible by excellent guidance from Nick and excellent service from all involved on our travels. We were told National Geographic was second to none in terms of naturalist and that was very true. Not only did we see the landscape and animals but we learned about them - and from people who love them and are experts in their field. That added a richness not possible otherwise.

The Mandarin hotel prior and the National Geographic Orion were exactly as I expected and met all our needs.

The meals on the ship were consistently incredible. The variety of fresh foods and beautiful presentation never got boring.

The pre-tour guide and driver were outstanding. Our guide went above and beyond to make our experience a good one and to give us insight into his country in addition to seeing 'the sights' - it was a true cultural experience which I wanted and appreciated. The National Geographic crew from top to bottom were fantastic.

Antarctica was simply amazing. Nothing can compare and you simply have to see it to believe it. We also enjoyed our day trip to Valpairaiso. The day trip and the drive over with a stop at a local winery gave us a good flavor for the region as well as a day to adjust and get ready for the next leg of the journey.

Nick helped us for more than a year to secure the trip, work on pre-tours and help with all preparations and questions - which were many. He was also professional and responsive and educational in preparing us for the trip. Just what I wanted from a travel agency. Expert advice from people who have been there and can match your wishes and travel style to the right fit for you.

Plan far ahead and research what the actual trip experience will be like. Find the fit that best suits your personality and travel style. Be flexible. The only challenge was a very late night flight out of Santiago to Dallas. The downtime on that final day proved to longer than I would have liked. I would recommend to future travelers that they spend the night in Santiago, taking a morning flight out the following day in order to ensure a less exhaustive end to the trip. Santiago city center is worth seeing but not particularly engaging - at least at the moment. The protests have very much disrupted the flow for tourists and the effects on the city with graffiti and boarded up sites around the city are painful to see.

  • National Geographic The White Continent
  • National Geographic Orion
  • Lindblad Expeditions

The first time I stepped onto Antarctica, I just closed my eyes and tried to envision the globe and where I was on it at that very moment; definitely a wow moment and a wow trip! Penguins, penguins, penguins, penguins, penguins! Gosh, I love them! South Georgia was fantastic. Since I prefer masses of wildlife to masses of humanity, I had a wonderful experience.

The M/S Plancius is a very nice clean ship with comfortable beds. I was impressed that they cleaned the windows many times during the voyage so that you always had a clear view from inside.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of our leaders and thought all were professional and enthusiastic. James Cresswell and Brent Houston were outstanding in their knowledge. 

Chris Harter at AdventureSmith was outstanding in answering my endless questions; also in general he was just a pleasure to talk to, easygoing and friendly.

Be prepared to be amazed!

  • Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

We particularly wanted to do this trip because of the abundance of wildlife we expected to encounter and selected this ship because they offered the kayaking experience. Overall, the weather was very good. Most people seemed like minded and were there for the adventurous experience.

They upgraded our cabin and we were very pleased with the amount of space and the amenities in the room. We appreciated the twin windows and being able to see humpbacks diving from our cabin. It was kept very clean and it was a treat to have our bed turned down with chocolates on the pillow each night.

We liked the variety and the quality of the food.  There was always something new to try.  The dining room staff was very professional and personable.

Solon was our Principal Trip Leader. He was incredibly professional and it seemed like he was constantly working to maximize the encounters with wildlife and scenery, taking advantage of all the weather opportunities and going to places that they don't often go. He worked very closely with the captain who was very accommodating and caring about us having a memorable voyage. Aymie and Andrew were our kayak guides. We went out to kayak 10 different times and were able to get to know both of them well. They worked hard to keep us safe and well informed. They made sure that we didn't miss out on any land excursions. We've had quite a few kayak guides over the years that we've paddled and we loved these two. Marla was the marine biologist aboard the ship. She was very enthusiastic and had a passion for marine mammals that was infectious. We loved listening to her presentations and looked forward to hearing her voice on the PA saying that there was another whale sighting. Colin, the geologist aboard the ship, was very knowledgeable and able to make difficult subjects understandable to the passengers.

The trip far, far, far, far, far, far exceeded our expectations.  I had one "far" in the sentence when we left South Georgia Island after seeing 250,000 King Penguins at St. Andrews Point and added the second when we saw blue whales on two different days. The third "far" was added when we saw hundreds of whales for 6 hours along the iceberg, A68a. I added another "far" when we kayaked for over an hour with humpbacks all around and another "far" when minke whales were all around the kayaks the next day. The last "far" was added the day we didn't paddle since a leopard seal was all around the kayaks and then an orca came close. We had so many incredible experiences that we could never experience all of them in the same trip again. The guides told us that the close encounters that we had didn't happen very often and that we were very lucky that they all happened on our trip. The only thing that we didn't like was portions of the Drake Passage when it was a tad rough, but that experience gives us something to talk about.

Transportation Review

We made our transportation arrangements through another travel agency.

Make sure that you take sea sickness meds. Take advantage of every opportunity to see wildlife.

  • Explorers & Kings

How To Go To Antarctica? On These Trips

Now that you know how to get to Antarctica, start browsing this selection of cruises and trips with Antarctica flights for your best way to get there. Contact our experts to learn more about how to get to Antarctica. We’re here to help with a free, personalized quote and planning advice for your polar expedition.

The Latin America Travel Company


What route options for there for antarctic cruises, map of the most popular antarctic cruise routes.

Antarctica route options map

More information on the various Antarctic Cruise routes

Antarctica route peninsular


Antarctica route falklands


Antarctica route south georgia


Antarctica route ross sea


Antarctica route weddell sea


Antarctica route south pole


Antarctic landscape illustration small


Antarctica travel advice route options


Antarctica travel advice pre and post cruise travel


Ready to cruise antarctica .

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