The Top 8 Things to Do in Antarctica

This frozen continent at the end of the Earth has never been permanently occupied by man. It has no towns or villages, no habitation bar the odd research station or expedition hut; just grand, icy, unpredictable wilderness. While most people find the daily shore excursions and Zodiac rides fulfilling enough, there are cruises that offer many outdoor things to do in Antarctica.

things to do in antarctica bird watching

Bird watching in Antarctica

1- Polar diving Cruises

As if visiting Antarctica is not otherworldly enough, there is a whole other world for you to explore under the surface of the seas. Antarctic diving reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life will greet you! What will I see while on a diving cruise? Aiming for 1 or 2 dives per day (depending on weather and ice conditions) you will dive under shallow ice, down along walls, from the beach, or from a Zodiac. With numerous diving opportunities along your voyage, no two days will be like – a truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits!

Things to do in Antarctica

You’ll reach a maximum depth of 20 meters (60 feet). Diving under Polar waters is like no other dive – the combination of water, sunlight, and ice formations creates an ever-shifting spectacle of colors. Divers are often surprised by the diversity of wildlife they encounter underwater: a variety of starfish species, sea squirts, squat lobsters, different species of crab soft corals, anemones, peacock worms, dogfish, kelp walls, sea-snails, sea butterflies, multiple species of fish, shrubby horse-tails, jellyfish, sea-hedgehogs (urchins) You might even have the opportunity to dive with Fur Seals, Leopard Seals or Penguins.

Tip #4 not all cruises offer this type of activities, so be careful to choose the correct cruise/dates departures and to book really in advance because the availability is very limited!

Read More: 8 Essential things your need to know for your Antarctica Vacation.

2- Camping in the Ice

One of the most popular activities, camping offers you the unique opportunity to roll out your sleeping mat and wriggle into your thermal sleeping bag for a night on the ice – no camping experience necessary. Once you’ve settled in, prepare to witness the stunning beauty of the Antarctica night sky, as well as the sounds of ice cracking in the distance and wildlife carrying on their busy schedule around you. This is the activity for the ultimate bragging rights. Camping is available for free on selected expeditions. 

things to do in antarctica camping

Camping in Antarctica

3- Helicopter Tours

Some expeditions use helicopters to get even closer to the heart of untouched wildlife, allowing to set foot onto some of the world’s most remote landscapes. You will take a flight above the ice of the Weddell Sea or Ross Sea and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Antarctic wilderness.

4- Polar cruise kayaking

One of the best features of Polar Region cruises is that you’re never done the exploring. Even if you feel you’ve walked all over Antarctica, climbed every mountain, and said hello to every possible penguin, there’s still another whole world to explore – the water. Polar cruise kayaking is an amazing way to slip into the white and blue beauty of the quiet oceans around you. The amount of experience that we ask that you have depends on the cruise you choose some require no experience and others do ask that you have more experience

How Much is a trip to Antarctica

5- Skiing in Antarctica

Ski Touring offers keen adventurers a chance to take on some of the world’s most incredible slopes. Experienced skiers will have the chance to enjoy day-trips to traverse across remote, snow-capped peaks to descend into pristine bays filled with floating bergs, penguin rookeries or even a breaching whale!

things to do in antarctica skiing

6- Mountaineering

Looking to push yourself a little further on your Polar cruise? Mountaineering is the thing for you. In terms of physical fitness, you’re going to want to be in good enough shape that you’re up to the task of walking for four or more hours over fairly rugged terrain that includes hills. Most people can pick up snowshoeing almost immediately after the first hilariously fun awkward steps. So don’t worry if you don’t have prior snowshoeing experience. Guides reserve the right to refuse somebody a spot on a mountaineering trek if there are concerns about their health

7- Hiking

One of the best ways to Explore Antarctica is to take your way inland from the Polar shorelines with a wide variety of treks and hiking expeditions. Do you need to be experienced? For the basic walks, you just need to be in reasonably good shape and health. The hikes last usually somewhere between 2 and 6 hours. Keep in mind that there are no paths and that you will be traveling over fairly rugged terrain and will be taking on some hills. In the cruises, there are usually 1 to 3 different types of walks offered per landing ranging from a casual stroll to a challenging hike.

Read More: Visit Antarctica: A Complete Guide for planning your perfect trip to Antarctica

8- Photo Workshop

All expeditions offer fantastic photography experiences but some voyages have pro photographers and workshops on board who are happy to share their expertise with you. Go home with some new shutterbug knowledge and a mitt-full of fantastic photographs.

Read More: When is the best Time to Visit Antarctica

Of course, all these activities are not available in all cruises/departures, and one of the main advantages of working with a bespoke trip planner (whether us or another company) is that she or he can recommend the best Cruise to choose based on your personal interests and priorities. Check our suggested itinerary for Antarctica.