What options come to your mind when picturing your trip to Antarctica? How is the best way to get to Antarctica?
Tip #3 Choose a Small Expedition Cruise
Most people visit Antarctica on a cruise ship. The IAATO lists all the operators cruising in the area, and while this includes some of the large, mainstream cruise lines. I would strongly recommend opting for one of the smaller expedition ships carrying between 50 and 200 passengers.
They may not be as fast or luxurious as the larger vessels and you won’t find casinos or themed dining on board. But they all provide reasonable levels of comfort and are much more likely to have ice-hardened hulls and a captain and crew with specialist knowledge of polar regions. Most have expert naturalists and polar historians on board, who give talks and lead frequent shore trips and Zodiac dinghy tours (weather permitting). This is when you get a real feel for the landscape and can see (and photograph) the wildlife close up.
Larger ships with more than 500 passengers are not allowed to land passengers in Antarctic waters so you can only view the landscape from the ship. While this might be a sensible option for anyone with restricted mobility, who would have difficulty getting into and out of a Zodiac dinghy, it does mean you miss the essence of this great ice wilderness.
While most people find the daily shore excursions and Zodiac rides fulfilling enough, there are cruises that offer the option of kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering or cross-country skiing. And on some expeditions’ cruises passengers are given the opportunity to dive and snorkel.
3 DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET TO ANTARCTICA …
1- Expedition Cruise to Antarctica from Ushuaia/ Punta Arenas
Most cruises leave from Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile and take about two days to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. This is the first and most common way to get to Antarctica.
It ’s recommended to spend at least 1 night in Ushuaia/Punta Arenas prior to the cruise as there can often be delays to flights heading there and the cruise ships won’t wait around for you!
The standard Classic cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula will generally take 10-12 days but the longer trips which also include the Falkland Islands and South Georgia will last up to 22 days so depending on the cruise you have chosen will deter the overall length of your trip.
2- Fly/Cruise to Antarctica from Punta Arenas in Chile.
A classic shortcut for the queasy If you’re pushed for time or don’t want to court seasickness on the Drake Passage, you can now fly to the South Shetland Islands and join a cruise from there. Most flights run from Punta Arenas in southern Chile to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands (1.5hrs).
You can choose to fly one way (making the trip around seven days long) or both (as few as five); once you’ve embarked, you’ll get all the highlights of the classic Antarctic Peninsula tour.
The fly-cruise options can vary in length from 6 to 16 days and it’s usually worth adding a night in Punta Arenas at the end of the trip in case of any delays on the flight coming back. It’s possible to fly up to Santiago and connect with your flight home on the same day but its recommended to break the journey up with at least 1 night in Santiago.
3- Antarctica Cruise from Ushuaia to Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand.
The third and the most spectacular Antarctic journey ever! is to embark in Ushuaia, sail to Antarctica and end your trip in New Zealand (Bluff).
These cruises will generally last 33 days allow you to explore the eastern side of Antarctica which the other cruises are generally not able to offer.
Depending on ice conditions and the cruise itinerary, including helicopters, You will explore the Antarctic Peninsula and cross the Polar Circle, you will reach Ross Sea, Macquarie Island, and Campbell Island.
This Cruise is a very exclusive option that departs only every 2/3 years. Next departure is on january 13th 2020.
If you’re planning a long trip to Antarctica, we can help you design your itinerary. We can help you choose the best Cruise company according to your preferences and budget, the best Route, arrange flights and transfers, and a pre and post cruise trip around South America.
Take a look at our suggested itinerary for Antarctica.
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