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Top Trip Memories

  • Stepping out of your Zodiac and setting foot on the world’s most remote continent, something only a tiny percentage of people worldwide can claim.
  • Watching mesmerized while chinstrap or Gentoo penguin chicks chase after their parents (or any adult penguin), begging for food.
  • Spotting a humpback or minke whale breaching a few hundred yards from the deck of your ship.
  • Marveling at the aggressive tactics of elephant seals and fur seals during mating season on South Georgia Island.
  • Kayaking through near-frozen waters, making sure to steer clear of passing icebergs.
  • Visiting one of the Antarctic research bases staffed by scientists from around the world.
  • Training your lens on an albatross as it soars overhead while en route to Antarctica.
  • Trekking, skiing or just going for a walk across a vast white landscape.
  • Standing on your ship’s deck after dark, basking in the solitude of the world’s last wilderness.
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Tour Tips

  • The shortest (and most popular) sea crossing to Antarctica goes from Ushaia, Argentina, to the Antarctic Peninsula, via the often (but not always) tumultuous Drake’s Passage.
  • The Drake’s Passage crossing may take from 24 to 48 hours, and seasickness is common -- though waters in Antarctica itself are generally calm.
  • Some Antarctica tours leave from AustraliaNew Zealand or South Africa and visit the Ross Sea area, on the other side of the continent from the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • While most Antarctica tours go by ship, you can also fly in and/or out via the South Shetland Islands to shorten your trip and/or avoid Drake’s Passage.
  • Antarctica tours can be as short as a few days or as long as three weeks or more. Figure at least 10 to 12 days to complete a typical tour by ship.
  • Some Antarctica tours – primarily those that fly into the interior -- offer adventurous options such as camping, skiing, mountaineering, and trekking.
  • Other adventurous options include visits to emperor penguin colonies and the geographic South Pole. Kayaking and SCUBA diving may be available along the coasts.
  • While any trip to Antarctica is an adventurous trip, you don’t have to rough it. Some ships come with five-star amenities, while some land-tour operators offer luxury tent camping.
  • Cruise ships that carry more than 500 passengers are not allowed to make landings, so to set foot on Antarctica itself, you need to take a smaller vessel.
  • Generally speaking, the smaller your ship’s passenger load, the less time you’ll have to wait to go ashore, because ships are limited to landing 100 passengers at a time.
  • Some tours offer visits to the scientific research stations that are run by a number of different countries, including the United States and Great Britain.
  • There are no “cheap” trips to Antarctica, but look for value such as included airfare, helicopter flights into the interior, and gratuities for the crew.
  • Prices vary considerably by length of trip, cabin, ship amenities, month of travel and other factors.
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Antarctica Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5



59 Reviews

  • Excellent 49
  • Great 9
  • Average 1
  • Disappointing 0
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
  • Guide
  • Activities
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Meals

Tour Reviews

February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
from start till end this trip was amazing!
Everything went smoothly, from the pre-tour info, to information at the hotel and the logistics of the domestic flights and checking in on the boat. It felt very safe, especially for a woman travelling alone.
The crew on board was excellent! I loved the way every guide had his own ‘field of expertise’ which covered everything you wanted to know (and things you didn’t know you wanted to know ;-)).
The Staff was extremely helpful, happy, smiling and overall serviceminded. It was a pleasure!
Overall the program on board made sure that you almost didn’t have an idle moment, which for me was amazing! And the logistics of getting nearly 200 passengers into zodiacs 10 at the time, went so incredible easy, they crew are really professional and know how to make your experience the best possible.
I can highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to explore the magic of Antarctica.
Antarctica itself surprised in more ways than one – I was expecting rough weather through the Drake passage, but instead we had calm seas and smooth sailing, so we reached Antarctica half a day early, and had our first zodiac trip before sceduled! The amazing weather stayed with us for the rest of the trip, so amazing blue skies and sun every day was really a treat!
The wildlife was every were! Once we reached the continent, every time we looked out, we had penguins on almost every iceberg floating by the ship or a whale showing off in the water close by. And the landings on Antarctica itself, with seals lying around and thousands of penguins all around you, just doing what penguins do was so serene and magical. We even had an afternoon where around 50 Orcas were gathering and swimming around the boat for almost 3 hours, so we could just observe.
In the zodiacs we got to experience icebergs calving, get close up with leopard seals floating by on an iceflake, and even had some curious humpback whales, so close to the zodiac that we could almost touch them. Not to mention the beautifull icebergs and surroundings that would take your breath away for sure!

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February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was one of the most amazing trips we have ever done. The scenery was breathtaking. The crew and expedition team were cheerful, helpful and knowledgeable. The kayaking with penguins and whales popping up feet away was fabulous.
When a humpback whale popped up 10 feet away from our kayaks and just meandered around us for a while.

Solan was wonderful. He has the most calm, funny and inclusive way about him. His voice for the early morning wake up calls is like velvet.

Go! Sign up for the kayaking or some other adventure options. Be flexible. Take loads of camera memory cards and batteries.

This is probably the most expensive trip we have ever undertaken and we have travelled a lot. It was worth every penny. We are now looking at doing one of the Arctic adventure trips.

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February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
An amazing experience: history in the Falklands; huge penguin colonies in South Georgia and beautiful ice and whales in Antarctica. I had high expectations before the trip but they were exceeded in every area. An unforgettable experience.
Close encounters with whales; the sound of ice calving from glaciers and ice bergs popping; BBQ on deck surrounded by the beauty of Antarctica.

It's warm on the ship - take some t-shirts and cooler clothes and maybe something a little dressier for dinner on the last night.

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Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia

February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
It was the most wonderful experience and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Sheer excitement.
There was more than one inspirational moment and I couldn't choose between standing amongst thousands and thousands of penguins and/or seals, or the sheer beauty of the Antarctica's ice bergs floating by.

The expedition leader of this cruise - as well as his crew - was absolutely fantastic, knowledgeable, helpful, and I couldn't imagine having a better leader.

Just relax and enjoy and see a part of the world you have never seen before.

It was the most unique experience of all my travels. Simply unforgettable and worth every single penny. A trip of a lifetime.

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Fabulous Trip on a Great Ship

Audience with “Kings”

January 2017
Poseidon Expeditions
Recommend: Yes
I hadn't heard of Poseidon when I found the company while searching for trips to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. However, I was reassured by reviews I found online and I am very glad that I trusted what I read. The pre-cruise administration from Natalia was efficient and helpful. The pre-cruise hotel was beautiful with great views. Our cabin was the best we have had on any of our small boat cruises. It was, however, the expedition staff and crew who made the whole trip so wonderful.

Forward planning meant that we were able to avoid storms around Falklands and South Georgia by reversing the itinerary to visit Antarctica first. This was an inspired decision as we had a calm crossing of the Drake Passage, reasonable weather at the start to excellent weather from day three. Every evening there was a recap meeting where we were fully apprised of the itinerary for the next day. Weather, winds and swell were all detailed and the decisions for the next day's landings fully explained. The captain was involved in the decisions and his extensive experience in the region helped our wonderful expedition leader, Jonathan Zaccaria, to make great decisions as to where to land. So good was the planning that we were able to make all but one landing throughout the 19 days, including every important stop planned from the wildlife point of view. This included seeing the fantastic king penguins at St Andrews Bay on South Georgia, where, only the previous week, one person we had spoken to said her cruise was unable to land anyone because of the wind and swell.

The ship's staff in every area could not do enough for us. This included our cabin man, the bar and kitchen staff, and the expedition staff, who managed the numerous zodiacs so brilliantly on the landings.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that I would recommend Poseidon to anyone on this performance and we are looking at going again on another of their cruises.
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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies

Classic Itineraries

Antarctica Cruise in 1 Week

Day 1, Punta Arenas: Start your journey in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Day 2, King George Island: Fly to King George Island (this saves you the treacherous journey through dreaded Drake Passage). Tour the Frei Chilean Base and Bellingshausen Russian Base before taking a Zodiac to embark your cruise vessel.

Day 3-6, Antarctic Peninsula: You’ll spend the next three days exploring the mysterious, harsh yet beautiful landscape of Antarctica, The White Continent. Have your camera ready for shots of penguins, albatross, and seals, as well as the incredible formations of ice, fiords, glaciers, and floating icebergs. Enter into the water in a Zodiac for up close viewings, cruise the Lemaire Channel, and visit Port Lockroy.

Day 7, King George Island: Return to King George Island for your flight back to Chile.

See All Antarctica Cruises in One Week

Antarctica Cruise in 2 Weeks

Day 1, Ushuaia: Enjoy a day to explore Ushuaia, Argentina. Do some shopping, or walk around the nearby National Park. Set sail through the Beagle Channel in the evening.

Day 2-3, Drake Passage: Drake Passage can be a notoriously rough crossing. If you get sea sick, prepare accordingly with as many precautions as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for whales!

Day 4, Bransfield Strait: Make your way to the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Shetland Islands on the way, and stopping for your first step onto Antarctic soil.

Day 5-10, Antarctic Peninsula: Kayak among icebergs, observe penguins, and walk through stunning snowscapes. Visit the historic base at Port Lockroy and send a postcard from the only post office on Antarctica. Weather permitting you may cruise through Lemaire Channel or experience the stunning views of Paradise Bay. You may also have the chance to visit an active scientific research station.

Day 11-12, Drake Passage: Sail once again through Drake Passage

Day 13, Ushuaia: Arrive back in Argentina and end your journey.

See All Antarctica Cruises in Two Weeks

Antarctica and Beyond in 3 Weeks

Day 1, Montevideo: Take a walking tour of this city, the capital of Uruguay. Get ready to set sail on your Antarctic adventure!

Day 2-4, Sail to Falkland Islands: Wildlife spotting - dolphins and whales.

Day 5-6, Falkland Islands: Go ashore to meet the local inhabitants. Learn about the history of the Falklands, and spot the incredible and many bird species.

Day 7-12, South Georgia: Head toward South Georgia Island, an important fixture in exploration history, as well as a once prosperous whaling industry. Follow the footsteps of James Cook. Visit Shackleton’s grave, and old whaling stations. Observe King Penguins, elephant seal, fur seals, and hundreds of bird species.

Day 13-15, Scotia Sea: Elephant Island, keep an eye out for whales!

Day 16-20, Drakes Passage: Head back to South America through the oft treacherous Drake Passage. A lot of time to reflect on the incredible experience!

See All Antarctica Cruises in Three Weeks

Antarctica Trips & Tour Advice

Ever since Lars-Eric Lindblad built the first expedition-style cruise ship to take passengers to visit Antarctica in 1969, adventurous travelers have aspired to follow in their wake. Today about 40 vessels – mostly expedition-style vessels but some yachts as well -- make the run to the White Continent, leaving primarily from Argentina or the Falkland Islands, carrying as few as six and as many as 500 passengers.

Most of the Antarctic-bound ships, though, carry fewer than 100 passengers. Visitors go in search of the last real wilderness on earth, whose sole permanent residents are penguins, whales, seals, albatrosses and other abundant marine and bird life. Besides the stunning array of wildlife, you’ll see glaciers, snow-covered mountains, icebergs, and, on some tours, historic sites (such as early Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s huts) and perhaps one of the 20 scientific research stations that have welcomed visitors since 1969.

Antarctic Peninsula

The most common destinations on sea tours leaving from South America are the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Falkland Islands -- all havens for wildlife. (The latter two are not part of Antarctica.) The primary destination in Antarctica itself is the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts up from the rest of the mainland and is closest to South America. A few icebreakers challenge the often frozen Weddell Sea in search of emperor penguins to the peninsula’s east. And some ships make the journey from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to the Ross Sea on the other side of the continent; emperor penguin colonies are accessible from there by helicopter.

While some 100 tourist sites have seen landings in Antarctica over the years, fewer than 10 receive the bulk of the visitors. Port Lockroy, site of the British Antarctic Survey, is the most visited site, drawing more than 10,000 visitors per year. Passengers board Zodiacs (rubberized rafts) to go ashore, with most ships making one to three landings per day on the mainland.

Protecting the Ecosystem

Strict standards Antarctic tour operators must follow strict environmental protection guidelines mandated by the international Antarctic Treaty as well as the voluntary guidelines of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO); all itineraries must be approved in advance so they don’t harm the wildlife or the fragile ecosystem.

The Antarctic tourist season runs from late October or early November to March or early April, the summer months when the waters off Antarctica are comparatively ice free. The earlier months bring penguin and elephant seal courtship rituals, while the later months see the birth of penguin chicks and seal pups. By March the adult penguins are mostly headed out to sea, but whale and seal sightings increase. December and January bring the most daylight hours, prime time for photographers.

With so many variables in itineraries, vessels, levels of luxury, price, and trip lengths to wrestle with, it makes sense to let Stride help you sort through all the possibilities. And sooner than you may think, you can experience the same wonders that have captivated polar explorers for more than a century. 

Related Guides


Antarctica and the Arctic

Local Attraction:  

Port Lockroy, Drake Passage, Deception Island, Beagle Channel, Antarctic Peninsula and Many More

Top Activities:      

Wildlife Sightseeing, Expedition Cruises & Zodiac Cruises

Similar Destinations:                    

Arctic, Alaska

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