The greatest threats to visitors are posed by the weather but can be avoided with some precautions (see packing list). Most common are frostbite, dehydration due to the very dry climate, eye damage from reflected sunlight and sunburn.
Seasickness depends on the individual and on the weather conditions on your particular trip. Be prepared to get seasick and ask your doctor for travel sickness medication, especially when you have suffered from seasickness before. In the beginning and the end of your journey you will have to cross the Drake Passage (when you do not take a flight to overcome this). The Drake Passage can be very rough, but when you are luck it can also be calm, the so-called “Drake Lake”.
Antarctica requires no visa, but valid passports and possibly visa may be required for Chile or Argentina depending on where you start and end your trip. Please check their requirements.
The ships vary in number of passengers the cabin type and their itineraries. It depends on your preferences to chose a smaller ship or a larger one. For any questions about a particular itinerary or ship, please contact our sales agent. Remember that weather and ice are important factors, which the crew constantly has to take into consideration. Itineraries can change accordingly.
Every trip to Antarctica, by plane or by ship leaves from a port on the Southern Hemisphere. All itineraries offered from Antarctica Discover leave from South America, either by flight from Punta Arenas in Chile or by boat from Ushuaia in Argentina.
Ushuaia is a popular port for cruise ships to Antarctica because it is with its 1000km distance to the Antarctic Peninsula the closest port to the peninsula. Between Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula lies the Drake Passage, which needs to be passed. During the passage it becomes clear how isolated the continent is. On the way it will be possible to see first a few icebergs, coming closer to the south they are increasing in number and size until Antarctica can be seen. Fortunate visitors may experience the passage with quiet waters but it can also be rough.
When leaving from Punta Arenas, a flight will be taken to reach King George Island. There are itineraries with both ways by flight or only the return flight to skip the Drake Passage.
Note: Before boarding the cruise in Ushuaia or the flight in Punta Arenas it is necessary to book a hotel for at least a night, but plan enough time to avoid any problems with missed or delayed flights to not risk your presence to the departure of the ship. We offer also many extensions to discover South America before or after the Antarctica trip. Contact us for information, or visit our other websites.
The tourist season in Antarctica is very short due to the severe winters, which extend the ice surrounding the coastline for about 1000km, making it impossible to navigate in the waters. Moreover, the experience would be limited due to darkness and extreme temperatures.
That is why the season in which tourists can enjoy the Antarctic is only four months long. From end of November, which is early summer, the pack ice is breaking up and birds and penguins are courting and mating. December to January are the summer months and this is the time when penguins are hatching eggs and feeding their chicks. To that time, the temperatures are warmer and the sunlight lasts for up to 20 hours per day. In February, late summer, whale sighting is best and the penguin chicks are already a bit grown up. Cruises are generally less crowded towards the end of the season, which means less waiting for zodiacs and station tours.