Are you an adventure seeker looking for an unforgettable voyage through breathtaking landscapes? Antarctica, the great White Continent, should be on your radar. Retrace the journey of early explorers with a modern take on arctic exploration. This part of the world may have been isolated from everyday travelers for many years, but nowadays, is accessible to tourists by cruise ships.
Ever wonder what an iceberg looks like from close up, or what kinds of animals live in the polar ice? Step into another world with unbelievable scenery and unique wildlife that are undisturbed by human contact. Although the journey to reach Antarctica may be long and demanding, keep in mind that adventures are never easy. This destination is worth it all!
Best Time to Visit Antarctica
November to late March is austral summer and the cruising season in Antarctica. During November, the penguins and sea birds have their courting season. This is a great time to view the spring ice formations. Between December and January, visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia to witness the first seal pups and penguin chicks being born! For the best sightings of whales and penguin chicks, visit Antarctica during February and March.
Must See Sites
Among the highlights, the Antarctic Peninsula boasts jagged mountain peaks, icebergs, and glaciers. Plan to stop by Port Lockroy, the British Antarctic Survey Base, accessed through the Neumayer Channel’s awe-inspiring mountains. Interested in visiting the place where the Antarctica continent’s first baby was born? Hope Bay is the place! Keep your cameras in hand when you pass through the Lemaire Channel, which runs between the Antarctic Peninsula and Booth Island. The stunning and photogenic views are well worth the difficult passage between steep cliffs. Experience the iconic beauty of Antarctica’s landscape and wildlife at Paradise Harbour. Here, you can view penguins, seals, cormorants, petrels, and whales in their natural habitats.
This long, narrow stretch of land is a fascinating island covered with glaciers and snowfields during mid-summer. Known for having the world’s most prolific wildlife, the majestic landscape of South Georgia makes you wonder how nature has the power to create such a rugged and awe-inspiring place. Be sure to keep a lookout for the fur seals, birds, king penguins, and albatrosses. Half a million king penguins call South Georgia home!
Located 300 miles east of Argentina, the Falkland islands are only a short island hop away from South Georgia! Although the Falklands have about 700 islands, the East and West Falkland islands are the two main islands in terms of land size and sights. The settlement of Stanley on East Falkland hosts a population of about 2,000 people. To learn about the 1982 conflict, historical artifacts, and wildlife species, take some time to explore the Falkland Islands Museum.
In addition to the East and West Falklands, Carcass island is a place worthwhile visiting. Giant elephant seals lay on sandy beaches, tiny tussac birds occupy the blue skies, and penguins shuffle across the grasslands. Both rockhopper penguins and king penguins call Carcass island home. Don’t miss Volunteer Point to see a colony of king penguins, the second largest penguin species in the world.
Deception island, known as the island of fire and ice, offers a blend of ash-covered volcanic slopes and ice-covered glaciers. Ever think about bringing a swimsuit to Antarctica? Well, swimming here is possible! Experience the thermal hot springs of Deception Island. This isn’t a polar bear plunge. The island’s volcanic crater creates geothermal heat that warms the waters to bathwater temperatures, so that you can feel the heat despite the chilly air. The island’s unique horseshoe shape opens to the sea, making it one of the few places on the planet where ships can sail into the center of an active volcano.
Other highlights of Antarctica include:
- Paradise Bay: West side of Antarctica
- The South Shetland Islands: King George Island, Livingstone Island, Elephant Island (and Deception Island)
- Drake Passage
- Bird Watching: Pelagic birds (albatross, shearwater, petrel, fulmar) and with coastal birds (cormorant, sheathbills, tern, and skua)
- Whale Watching: Humpback, Orca, blue, minke, and sperm whales
- Penguin Watching:Watch them swim, dive off icebergs, and interact with their colonies
Whether you choose to sail on a small, medium, or large size expedition vessel, take your time to research the variety of travel options. Ensure that there is a specialist guiding the cruise, so that you can enrich your experience while you are on land and from the water. Keep in mind that smaller ships often disembark more often and in more remote places that large cruise ships cannot reach. However, smaller ships may not have as great amenities and facilities as the larger ones.
Visit Antarctica to enjoy one of the most breathtaking places in the world. The region is still full of life with many rare species and wildlife found nowhere else on Earth. Cross Antarctica off of your bucket list and plan your adventure full of awe-inspiring, enriching, and unforgettable wonders.