Everything you need to know to plan the perfect Antarctica trip!
- Most Popular Itinerary
- Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island
- Polar Circle
- Adventure Activities
- Cheapest Option
- Luxury Options
The Antarctica season is November-March.
They depart from Ushuaia, Argentina except for the Fly/Cruise trips, which depart from Punta Arenas, Chile, and the Ross Sea, which departs from New Zealand.
Most Popular Itinerary
The most common itinerary is the 10-Day Antarctic Peninsula Expedition. You will spend 4-5 days exploring the Antarctica continent. It takes 2 days each way to cross the Drake Passage. Depending on the departure date, this may be a 10 or 11 day trip.
Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island
If you have the time, the 19-Day Antarctica, South Georgia, and Falklands Expedition is the ultimate way to explore the Antarctic region. These islands offer culture, history (including whaling, Shackleton), King and gentoo penguins, birding (albatross), elephant and fur seals, dramatic scenery,
If you want to cross the Antarctica Circle at 66°30′ South and spend a little longer in Antarctica, the 12-Day Antarctica Polar Circle is a great option.
All ships will offer zodiac excursions and hiking as part of the itinerary, but certain ships/itineraries will offer more active adventure activities. Typically, these activities are an extra price, but the 12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica includes the activities in the trip price.
Adventure activities include:
- Sea Kayaking – Most ships and itineraries will offer this activity. Some may offer a once-per-trip option so that you can just try it out, or they may offer a kayaking-everyday-intensive option. The extra cost ranges $295/person-$1100/person.
- Ice Camping – Spend the night on Antarctica! Only select ships/itineraries will offer this. The extra price ranges $295-350/person.
- Snowshoeing – Most ships will offer some snowshoes for people to use on a walking excursion for free. Some will offer an extended snowshoeing option for an extra cost.
- Mountaineering – This will be a more strenuous hiking activity with crampons and ropes.
- Stand Up Paddleboarding – Two ships offer this at an additional cost ($295/person).
- Photography – All ships/itineraries will have photography experts on board. However, certain departures will have an extra focus on photography.
If you do not want to sail across the Drake Passage (2 days of sailing each way), there is an option to fly to King George Island and start the expedition from there on the 8-Day Antarctica Fly/Cruise. Two ships offer this itinerary all season, and two ships offer this on select departures. These depart from Punta Arenas, Chile.
Helicopters offer the ability to get into areas that the ships cannot — the Emperor Penguin rookeries, for example. They also offer an amazing vantage point over the vast landscape. The 11-Day Emperor Penguin Voyage in the Weddell Sea is one example of a helicopter itinerary. The Ultramarine includes 1 helicopter ride in every itinerary with extra rides and trekking available for an extra cost.
Here are some ways to find the cheapest prices:
- A Quad cabin, sharing with other people, is the cheapest. Next is a triple cabin, next is a double/twin with a porthole.
- Early and late season departures.
- Shorter itineraries – There is even a 7-Day Antarctica Express where you spend just 1 day in Antarctica. We don’t recommend it, but if you just want to check it off your Bucket List and are short on time, this is an option.
- Special discounts are offered now and then, so take advantage of them!
There are a few luxury all-suite, all-balcony ships. Alternatively, you can book a suite on a regular ship. Not all ships have suites.
You can see penguins all season. Baby penguins typically hatch in Jan-Feb. There are also penguin-specific departures.
You can see whales all season. The peak time is typically Feb-Mar.