Last Updated on July 13, 2023
Looking to visiting Antartica sometime soon? Great, here we will share with you some very useful tips for planning a trip to Antartica. Check them out!
The land of icy peaks, endless ice sheets, blinding beauty, and an abundancе of wildlife – Antarctica is a one-of-a-kind place, which is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. If you have made up your mind about a trip to the continent of ice and penguins – our sincere congratulations, as you are about to have one of the best experiences ever. Antarctica isn’t just a regular place for a visit, in touristic terms, and the comfort of your trip will be based on a few fundamental items: duration of the journey, a place to start from, the season, and the vessel.
1. Duration of a trip
As Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Earth, getting there is already a getaway trip, not to mention the voyage itself. Therefore, the first thing to consider is the length of your vacation.
As Antarctica is located in the Southern Hemisphere, getting there can take at least two days, if the connecting flights are close in time. Besides, if you prefer cheaper flight options, you may spend hours in the waiting area, which will automatically take more time off the vacation. Overall, it may take a week, to go back and forth, with all the transfers and changes.
The second and most important part of timing is the Antarctica exploration. Typically it takes at least five full days; however, we highly recommend you apply for a trip longer than ten days, as it is the only way to experience the continent, try new activities, and actually understand that you are in Antarctica. If you go for fewer days, you will spend more time traveling from point A to point B, instead of enjoying the beauty of the icy continent.
2. A starting point
A starting point is where your Antarctica expeditions ship starts the voyage, or the plane takes off to bring you to the island. There are a few typical routes:
Sail from Ushuaia, Argentina – the choice of 90% of tourists, which will typically take 2 days to get to the Antarctic Peninsula. These two days will help you settle after tiring flights and busy airports, and get mentally and physically ready for big explorations. As a rule, the vessels cross the Drake Passage, a waterway between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands. It is famous for its legendary rough waters and stunning views.
Charters from Punta Arenas, Chile – a much faster choice for those who have a sensitive stomach. The flight will only take two hours, and you are on Antarctic Peninsula.
Sail from New Zealand – one of the longest and most expensive ways to Antarctica, as you need to cover a pretty long distance, which means more money and more time (approximately seven days one way).
We are all used to summertime for a vacation. And this idea will also work for Antarctica, with a bit of change. As it is situated in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer will last from November and lasts till March, and welcome you with rather comfortable temperatures ranging from -9°C to -0°C. Such a ‘balanced’ cold create a comfortable environment for awe-inspiring moments.
Therefore, when planning a long time off work, consider late autumn and winter as the best timing.
4. The ship
The sails to Antarctica promote an environmentally friendly attitude to our planet, thus, there are certain regulations regarding the sizes of the ship, and the number of people who are allowed to disembark.
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators allows four categories of transportation:
- C1 – traditional expedition ship, which can carry up to 200 passengers.
- C2 – a midsize ship carrying 201-500 passengers,
- CR – large vessels with more than 500 passengers,
- YA – typically private vessels, yachts, which can’t carry more than a dozen passengers.
The choice of a ship is essential in terms of the experiences you expect to try.
Larger ships may be significantly cheaper than the small ones, and they offer more stability, which is essential for those who are seasick, yet full of desire to visit Antarctica. Besides, there is a wider choice of activities onboard, which will make the whole stay more entertaining. Smaller ships can be the reason for sickness (which can be regulated by medication), yet, it offers a more comfortable and friendly atmosphere. While the choice may seem pretty obvious, there is the most important rule to consider.
According to the regulations of IAATO, only 100 passengers are allowed to disembark in one place. Therefore, by choosing a cheaper and bigger option, you will only be allowed to watch everything, being a passive observer of the continent. If you are planning on activities and more hands-on experiences, opt for a smaller cruise ship.
Antarctica is literally the bottom of the world and a unique place to visit. It is a haven of pristine and unspoiled nature, where people come as guests and appreciate the possibility to witness such beauty. Don’t shelve your dreams and life, embark on the Antarctica cruise ship and explore the wonders of our planet.