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08 March 2021

How do you get to Antarctica?

With 56,000 tourists visiting from 2018 to 2019, Antarctica is an obscure place of attraction. Whether you’re going there to gaze upon Emperor Penguins or bask in the breathtaking scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula, there’s a question that’s been bugging some people: how do you get there?

Fortunately, it’s not impossible to get there. In this article, we’ll share different ways how to go to Antarctica, what Antarctica trip packages you can avail of, and what else there is when you visit Antarctica.

Getting to Antarctica

Antarctica is extremely remote. You can set sail to the continent from the southern part of South America or take a flight from Australia. Luckily, it’s not as risky as the 1800s where survival is not a guarantee.

One could choose to sail on an Icebreaking ship or fly in from one of the many bordering countries.

By Ship

Sailing to Antarctica is still the most popular option if you want to get to the place and witness the Antarctic Peninsula.

From South America

Departing from the port city Ushuaia, Argentina in South America, you can reach Antarctica within around 2 to 3 days with the help of Antarctica tour operators. You may also depart from ports in South America like Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Travelling by cruise ship is considered the safest and most economical option as it doesn’t involve building infrastructures on the land. On an Antarctica cruise, you’ll cross at the infamous Drake Passage, or also known as “The Drake Lake”, which is famous for its rough weather experience.

From Australia or New Zealand

If you travel to Antarctica from New Zealand or Australia, you can take Antarctic cruises from Invercargill, New Zealand, and Hobart, Australia. This route is usually colder, rougher, and takes longer, around 7 days, compared to the South American crossings. Nevertheless, you get to witness magnificent icebergs, snowy beaches, and abundant wildlife.

Antarctica Cruise Options

There are wide options available for an Artic cruise such as the following:

  • Antarctic Peninsula & South
  • Shetland Islands
  • South Georgia, The Falkland Islands & Antarctica
  • Polar Circle
  • Weddell Sea
  • Ross Sea
  • Visit South Georgia Island
  • Southern Ocean

Ship Type

There are a wide variety of cruise ships and each type will affect your overall experience when

you visit Antarctica. Depending on your Antarctic expeditions, Ships sailing to Antarctic waters usually range from 45 to 500 passengers.

Big Ships

A bigger expedition ship gives a more luxurious feel and is sturdier, which you need when crossing

the Southern Ocean — particularly the wavy Drake Passage.

Small Ships

On the other hand, smaller ships have greater landing opportunities as larger ships are prohibited to land on certain ports. There are also queueing instances of ships for Antarctica cruises.


Lastly, an uncommon option for Antarctica cruises is thru small yachts, which means easy

queuing but at an exponential cost.

By Plane

You have three options when going to Antarctica by plane: fly-over, fly-in, and fly-cruise.

1. Fly-over

This is the most straightforward option because it only involves riding a chartered plane and observing the White Continent comfortably above.


If you’re not the adventurous type and don’t have much time to spare, this could be a great option for you. In less than a day, you’ll finish touring Antarctica. You won’t even pass the Drake passage!


The downside, however, is that you’ll miss the opportunity to witness Antarctica in the flesh and be mesmerized by its magical landscapes. Also, fly-overs are available only from Australia at the moment, particularly from Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth.

2. Fly-in

Since there are no commercial flights to Antarctica, booking a private charter operator is the

only option. This method lets you land in the heart of Antarctica. You may want to ask your local university if they have any antarctic expeditions in their schedule.


For the adventurers who wish to land in the core of Antarctica and experience the wild nature, this would be the ideal option. The fly-in option lets you behold the wilderness of Antarctica, which only a few have witnessed. If you’re truly lucky, you can see a colony of Emperor Penguins!

If you want to avoid seasickness when passing the infamous Drake passage, this might be the better way. You can choose from departure points including Chile, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa.


Prices vary but expect it to be more expensive, especially if you want to include the South Pole in your itinerary.

3. Fly-cruise

The fly-cruise option for Antarctica cruises is the most famous option among the three. It involves flying to King George Island, then riding a cruise ship to sail down the Antarctic Peninsula.


In this way, you can cut 4 days from the usual Antarctica trips, which are usually spent sailing through the Drake Passage. Like the usual Antarctica cruise, you can witness its stunning wildlife and icy bays up close in the Antarctic Peninsula.


It’s lesser than the fly-in option but still pricier.


Visiting Antarctica is something many people can only dream about and it’s up to you on what Antarctic trip or mode of transportation to take. Every method has its own peculiar set of experiences.

Regardless of your ride, whether by sea or air, enjoy every bit of your travel to Antarctica.


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