How to Visit Antarctica
Antarctica is the fifth largest and Southern most continent, overlying the "South Pole". It is governed by the 1958 Antarctic treaty, though several countries have laid claim to various portions it. This treaty establishes the continent as a peaceful and cooperative international research zone. Being so harsh and remote, it has scarcely been touched by humans, boasts breathtaking scenery, and just a scattering of scientific bases and a "permanent" population of scientists numbering only a few thousand.
The best way to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes and animals of Antarctica is on a special cruise ship. These trips vary, but are typically between one and three weeks long. You can take various routes to the Peninsula depending on where you are departing from.
Cruise vs Air-Cruise from South America to Antarctica
We recommend a combined air and cruise trip to maximize the amount of time you spend exploring Antarctica and minimize travel time. You can take a flight one or both ways to the Antarctica continent. This is also a great option for people prone to sea sickness.
Antarctica can be reached by boat from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. From Ushuaia it takes 2 days, crossing the Drake Passage, known for its violent seas. Alternately, you can take a 2-hour flight from Punta Arenas, Chile.
Time permitting, you can use the time you save to explore more of South America. For example, a visit to the Torres del Paine National Park, located near Punta Arenas, combines beautifully with a Antarctic Air-Cruise.
There are a variety of ship sizes, ranging from around 45 passengers to 280 passengers. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. In general, the larger the ship the more comfortable, but the less opportunity you will get to land on Antarctica yourself and see things up-close. Smaller ships allow for more time on shore because tourist guidelines limit landings of tour groups to 100 people. When larger ships visit, they must organize travelers in groups that take turns.
We recommend a smaller boat like the Ocean Nova and Hebridean Sky for a more personalized experience and to maximize your exploration time.