What our travelers say about their trips to Antarctica
Everyone Should Go To Antarctica!!
05/09/2013 by 2-time traveler Jenny H.
This tour was the best experience of my life. The tour length was perfect, getting a quick taste of Buenos Aries and the city of Ushuaia was an excellent way to start and end the tour. I enjoyed my time and meals in both these cities and really fell in love with Ushuaia...
I have traveled to many places in the world, but this expedition to Antarctica has topped them all !!! An amazing experience of exploring the White Continent with a distinguished, qualified group of experienced and educated biologists, scientists, and the crew of the MV Ushuaia...
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Travel tips for Antarctica trips
When to visit Antarctica
October to March marks the only time travelers can actually set off on trips to Antarctica. These are the continent's summer months, when winter ice begins to break apart as temperatures rise. This allows ships to pass through for the season, and the month of your visit impacts what you'll see on an Antarctica cruise.
Antarctica tours departing in November may be for you if you're hoping to see the many species of penguins that come ashore to nest. Plus, since November marks the tail-end of the continent's coldest season, you'll also see icebergs at their most spectacular before they start to break apart. But, visiting Antarctica at this time of year has its cons: sometimes patches of ice haven't melted enough for ships to make certain landings.
Hope to see penguin chicks and seal pups on your Antarctica trip? Then December through early February is the time to go! Penguins start to hatch and wildlife is plentiful during this time of year. The continent is at its warmest and enjoys over 20 hours of sunlight. Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular times to book a trip to Antarctica, so planning and booking early is the way to go.
If spotting whales in the wild is on your bucket list, opt for Antarctica tour packages that depart in March. You may experience muddier landings since March marks the end of the continent's warmest season, but you won't have to contend with as many ships. Note that by March, many species have started to head out to sea to hunt and fatten up for the winter, including the now-adolescent penguin chicks.
Where to go in Antarctica
There are so many stunning sites to see on the southernmost continent, and going on small group tours to Antarctica is the best way to get an up-close look at them. If you're planning a trip to Antarctica, you might have heard of the legendary Drake Passage. While this deep waterway is known for rough seas, getting a chance to see its epic beauty and learn about the major role it played in the trading business makes the passage more than worth it. Spot more natural beauty in Neko Harbor, which is lined with crevassed glaciers, and is where huge portions of icebergs often break off into the water during a phenomenon known as "calving."
Of course, wildlife could be considered one of the continent’s most compelling draws on all Antarctica group tours, and the South Shetland Islands are home to many of these amazing animals. Visit Deception Island to see the world's largest colony of chinstrap penguins, encounter Adélie penguins on King George Island, and keep an eye out for elephant seals on Livingston Island.
Another must-see on an Antarctica trip? Lemaire Channel, also known as the "Kodak Gap." This narrow, seven-mile strait runs between the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula and mountainous Booth Island, and is flanked by steep, icy cliffs. Just as stunning is Paradise Bay, a serene harbor where you have a good chance of spotting whales that swim close to the bay's placid surface—a highlight of all our Antarctica travel packages. Check out these surreal natural sites on our Antarctica Cruise and our Antarctica Cruise & Weddell Sea tour.
Packing tips for Antarctica
Packing can be tricky for any destination, but add in the icy waters and sub-zero temps you'll encounter while visiting Antarctica, and it takes tour preparation to a whole different level. When thinking about what you'll throw in your baggage, it's good to consider things you will wear, as well as helpful items you might use.
Tall rubber boots are necessary for wet landings in Antarctica, but there's no need to buy and bring a pair—the ship will provide them! Plus, if you happen to forget anything, you can pop into a gear rental store in Ushuaia, Argentina, before your ship disembarks to rent warm coats, pants, and more.
Packing layers made with the best fabrics for the weather is important on Antarctica guided tours. Wool, silk, and polypropylene are ideal—they keep your skin drier than cotton, so you’ll stay warmer.
There may be plenty of things to remember to bring when you're planning a trip to Antarctica, but you don't need to bother packing any formal clothes. Travelers opt for casual, warm clothing on the ship.
One of the best packing tips for tours to Antarctica? Bring lots of layers! That way, you're ready to embrace the day no matter what kind of weather it brings. Some handy items to layer include:
a thermal shirt and thermal pants
a fleece pullover and fleece pants
a fleece coat
a rain coat and rain pants.
Plenty of warm socks
a warm hat that covers your ears
a neck warmer or warm scarf
waterproof items like ski pants, a jacket, and gloves (gloves that can attach to your coat sleeves come in handy when you want to take them off to snap photos of the scenery!)
While the most important items to bring on Antarctica trips are warm clothing and a sense of adventure, here are a few helpful items to have in your bag so you can feel your best and enjoy every moment of your trip:
Even if you're not prone to seasickness, it's best to be prepared with Dramamine, wrist bands, or prescription patches for when the water gets rocky.
Bring SPF and lip balm with SPF, as well as polarized, wrap-around sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes against the sun's intense glare off the polar ice.
Don't forget your camera! You'll see so many breathtaking sites, and you won't want to miss the photo ops.
For an even closer look at wildlife, pack binoculars.
Bring a waterproof backpack to help you keep your camera and binoculars dry.
Plastic bags can come in handy as an extra layer of waterproof protection for valuables, especially when traveling on inflatable Zodiac boats.