Hiking & Snowshoeing in Antarctica

Hiking and snowshoeing in Antarctica are both fun and cost effective ways to see more of this glittering continent, and a great workout to boot. They’re open to everyone with a good level of fitness and typically don’t carry any extra cost. No prior snowshoeing experience is required.

While hiking excursions are offered throughout the Antarctic season, snowshoeing is at its best in November and December when the snow cover is heaviest. At this time snowshoeing can actually be the preferred way to get around, and has less impact on local wildlife.

How does it work?

Hiking & Snowshoeing in Antarctica

Both hiking and snowshoeing are group activities, led by expert mountain guides. You’ll be ferried to shore as a group at the beginning of the excursion, from where your guide will dictate the route. Excursions typically last 2-3 hours in duration, but will be judged on general fitness levels of the group.

The mountainous topography of the Peninsula limits the chance for longer hikes everyday, however popular hiking places like Deception Island and Orne Harbour mean they are possible. South Georgia actually offers better walking opportunities, of which the most famous is the final leg of Shackleton’s historic journey trek from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.

Snowshoeing is an easy (and sometimes necessary) way of exploring the coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula - just strap them on and go! It’s not technically challenging and with a few pointers from your guide, most people quickly get the hang of them. Snowshoes are provided and will be issued to you once onshore; walking poles are also available on some ships.

How much does it cost?

The great thing about hiking using ‘shanks pony’ is that it doesn’t cost you anything. Plus, snowshoeing on many ships is an optional activity which doesn’t attract an additional cost.

When hiking/ snowshoeing is charged as an additional cost, expect to pay around $200 per person.

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Swoop says

Technically undemanding and definitely worth the extra physical effort for the views alone, hiking and snowshoeing in Antarctica are fantastic low-cost, optional activities. Make sure you pack your camera!

Voyages with Hiking & Snowshoeing

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What our customers think of Hiking & Snowshoeing in Antarctica

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Whenever we went out, I always felt extremely safe and happy, whether that be in zodiacs, kayaking, mountaineering or snow shoeing. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sarah Gillett - Switzerland

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I really enjoyed the amount of time I spent walking around amongst the penguins, seals and birds. There were times where I would just sit on a rock (or in the snow!), close my eyes, and absorb everything. I'll never forget the feeling of the first time I stepped on land and saw the penguins. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2017

Christine & Rollence Patugan - United States Of America

Can highly recommend Swoop. And can add only one solid suggestion: Skip bringing hiking poles if traveling with Polar Latitudes. They have them. They’re unpleasant to pack. And for sure, casual clothing (jeans) would have been good to have with. I went solely with all my outdoor gear; tees and jeans would have been nice. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Mary Boyle Anderson - United States Of America

We especially enjoyed the snowshoeing/trekking and were glad that we signed up early. It made many of the excursions very special for us. Every day had a memorable landscape or wildlife experience. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Cary Poropatich - United States Of America

It lived up to our expectations. The trip was the right choice as the activities were perfect for our needs. I would highly recommend for those that would like to feel what Antarctica is about. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Josie & Carmen Castro - Canada

The highlights for me were the whaling station at Grytviken and Shackleton's grave, and being able to hike the ridges above our landing sites. In regard to the wildlife, the vast quantity of wildlife, and how close you are to it, leaves you speechless. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2018

James Jarman - United States Of America

The reservation team has done a great job, they are patient and answered a lot of questions from me. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2017

Feng Zheng - China


Hiking & Snowshoeing: FAQs

  • How fit do I need to be?

    To be able to enjoy, rather than struggle and hold the group up, you need to be in good physical fitness.

  • Are there any age limitations?

    Apart from a possible minimum age limit on some ships, there’s no age limit - it's very much open to everyone who would like to.

  • Can I go off on my own?

    The answer is definitely ‘No’ - Antarctica presents special challenges and in the interests of safety, hiking and snowshoeing operate only as group excursions led by experienced mountain guides and independent exploring is not possible.

What else happens on an Expeditionary Cruise?

Read Swoop’s Guide to find out more about what you’ll do on an Antarctic cruise.

Find Out More

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