Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands Highlights

The scenic settings are as magnificent as any on Earth

Cetaceans seen on these passages range from the striking Hourglass Dolphin to the mighty Blue whale

This is a true once-in-a-lifetime epic adventure

South Georgia’s rugged beauty and vast Penguin colonies

Venture to the tip of this icy and most remote continent amongst icebergs and pack ice

Marvel at nesting Albatrosses

Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands Gallery


HOW DO I GET TO ANTARCTICA

Most travel is by sea on a cruise from the ports of Ushuaia (Argentina) or Punta Arenas (Chile) to the Antarctic Peninsula. Some travellers depart from Tasmania or New Zealand, voyaging across the Ross Sea. There are also options by air to temporary land-based camps.

WHICH ROUTE SHOULD I DO

For your first visit to Antarctica we would strongly recommend putting time aside and embarking on a circuit that includes the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. The first of these destinations break the journey at sea and offer sensational wildlife. The Falklands includes spectacular colonies of Southern Rockhopper Penguin and Black-browed Albatross and in terms of wildlife South Georgia rivals even the white continent itself. This is a 3 week trip. We do offer shorter “Antarctica express” trips for those who really don’t have the time.

WHAT TYPE OF BOAT SHOULD I GO ON

Ideally you want to be on a category 1 expedition vessel (13-200 passengers) – this gives you the comfort not afforded by small sailing vessels, but a broad range of possible landing sites (larger ships are more limited in their landing sites, and those with more than 500 passengers are not allowed to land at all).

WHY DON’T I NEED A VISA

Antarctica does not have a government and is not owned by any country, therefore no visa is required. However, it is managed through the Antarctic Treaty originally signed by 12 nations (now including 48). The treaty designates the entire continent as a “natural reserve devoted to peace and science”. Thankfully this means that there is a ban on military use, disposing of radioactive waste materials, and any kind of nuclear testing. Under the treaty, tourism is considered to be a legitimate activity. You might need a visa for the country you are embarking from – usually Argentina or Chile.

IS IT DANGEROUS

No, however the remote location, ice and unpredictable weather is a logistical challenge. That is why we only work with experienced and knowledgeable boats, who are able to provide the trip of a lifetime, whilst also keeping you safe and promoting environmentally responsible travel.


Our Featured Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands Destinations

South Georgia

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Described as the “Alps of the South Atlantic”, South Georgia is the diamond of the string of islands visited on our epic 3 week expedition to Antarctica, and surpasses even the white continent itself in terms of wildlife. South Georgia’s glacier-sculpted fjords and mountain-framed valleys serve as a spectacular backdrop to the world’s largest colonies of King Penguin.

Antarctica

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The reality is that Antarctica defies description, like an otherworldly dream that you fumble to provide a narrative for, knowing all at once that any attempt will be in vain. Demanding silence, it is a place that quite simply needs to be experienced to be understood, it cannot be framed by language.

FALKLAND ISLANDS

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This is the first stop on our epic 21 day Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica expedition and one of the reasons we recommend taking your time in getting to Antarctica (rather than the shorter “Antarctica express” trips which skip the Falklands and South Georgia)

VIEW ITINERARY

Mammals & Birds Species Checklist


When should I visit

The expedition season runs from late October through to early March and there are subtle differences depending on the time of year.

• There are fewer ships being early in the season and the landscape is at its most pristine with larger ice formations and more snow.
• This is mating season for birds, with courtship displays, nest building and egg tending; King Penguins will be laying eggs and can be seen shuffling around the South Georgia colony “carrying” eggs on their feet. This time of the year is also mating season for Southern Elephant Seals and Antarctic Fur Seals. Males arrive early in the season and fight for breeding grounds in preparation for the arrival of females.

• It is the height of the Austral Summer with plenty of sunlight but less snow.
• Penguin chicks are hatching. During December/January seal pups can be seen on the beaches of South Georgia but less adults (males that are unable to hold a territory return to sea and females return to sea once they have suckled their pups).
• Prices peak at this time of year.

• Whale sightings are at their peak in February and March.
• On March voyages there is a slight chance of viewing the Southern Lights.
• The later voyages have fewer ships.

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