Antarctica is exceptionally remote and it takes time to get there. Your two main considerations should be which part of the continent to visit and whether to arrive by ship or plane. Whatever you decide, the journey will be part of your adventure. How to Get to Antarctica? Let’s discover it!.
The 98% of visitors approach Antarctica via the tip of South America: departing from Punta Arenas in Chile or from Ushuaia in Argentina.
Traditionally sailing was the only way to reach Antarctica and it still remains the most common route for over 90% of visitors. However, it’s now also possible via a short 2-hour charter flight that will save you a lot of time crossing the Drake Passage.
Why is so expensive?
So you’ve decided you like the idea of a trip to Antarctica, but before you get too excited you want a sound understanding of the likely costs involved. Visiting Antarctica does not come cheaply, as you will know if you’ve done a bit of research.
We explain you some of the reasons why a cruise to the Antarctica results very expensive:
Most vessels have strengthened hulls and are able to navigate very rough and icy seas. Only a limited number exist that can travel in the region. Low supply + high demand = expensive costs
Ice-class ships use more fuel, which generally costs more in South America’s southern ports. And because Antarctica has no ports where the vessels can resupply, they must carry everything on board.
Thanks to the rough waters of the Drake Passage, these ships undergo a lot of wear and tear. Plus keeping all those Zodiacs in peak condition takes time and money.
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators requires at least one guide for every 20 passengers on land, and expedition staff tends to be highly educated—many have doctorates.
When to travel
You can only visit the area during the Antarctic summer, from November to March. Prices are cheaper at the beginning and end of the season, but there is less to see in the way of wildlife.
From mid to late December penguin chicks start to hatch on the Antarctic Peninsula, and in January you can watch the feeding frenzy. By February, penguin colonies are busy, noisy and smelly as the young penguins begin their moult; February to early March is the best time to see whales, and a good number of fur seals. By mid March most penguin colonies are emptying as the birds return to the sea.