Reasons to go

  • Discover Antarctica as part of a small, exclusive kayaking team
  • One of the best ways to see curious wildlife, from whales passing a metre beneath you, to penguins porpoising beside your paddles
  • Maximise your time off-ship by getting closer to your surroundings for longer
  • Explore at your own pace, with your guide's help to interpret the icescape

Kayaking in Antarctica

What our customers think

Kayaking in Antarctica

How does it work?

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If you're part of the kayaking program, you'll be offered kayaking excursions as much as conditions allow, up to twice a day, and you can choose to take part in as many or as few as you like.

While the rest of the ship takes zodiacs out to landing sites, you'll typically set off a little earlier and paddle for 2-3 hours out to the landing site. You'll arrive to the landing site a little later, which means you can explore with fewer people around, but will have less time on land. For many, that's more than compensated for by the experience of paddling around bergy bits to get there!

What are the conditions like?

The waters around the Antarctic Peninsula are very protected, so more often than not conditions are perfect for paddling. Think glassy surface, clear waters, wildlife swimming under and around your kayak, and getting closer to icebergs than you'd thought was possible.

This is still Antarctica, and weather and ice conditions can change daily, so staying flexible is key (and very much all part of the adventure). Your kayaking guides are experienced and safety oriented, and you'll be kept informed as they monitor the surroundings. 

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Swoop Says

What does it cost?

Costs vary from $695 - $1,050 per person, depending on which ship you join. While this may seem high compared with the more modest price for camping, bear in mind that you only camp once, but could be out kayaking every day. The more often join the kayaking excursions the more value you’ll get. 

If you only want to experience kayaking in Antarctica once, alongside a wide range of other activities which are all included in the voyage price, then consider the Antarctic Basecamp Adventure, a voyage packed with included adventurous activities.

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John says

Antarctic Voyages with kayaking

Kayaking in Antarctica: FAQs

  • What happens if I fall in?

    Togged out in a drysuit and wearing a buoyancy aid you’re in little danger and typically people get straight back into their kayak with the help of the support zodiac.

  • Will it be single or double kayaks?

    Double kayaks are preferred over single kayaks as they are more stable. If you're traveling alone, your guide will assign you a kayaking partner. Anyone wishing to have their own kayak will have to demonstrate their competency first, and it’s at the kayaking guide’s discretion.

  • Can my partner & I ‘share’ one kayaking place?

    Unfortunately this isn’t possible for a few practical reasons:

    • Your kayaking kit will be selected to your size
    • The kayak will also be set up to your own specifications
    • Anyone joining the party half way through won’t have received the safety briefs
    • Only people who sign up for kayaking can undertake this activity
  • Is there kayaking in South Georgia?

    For those people undertaking a longer voyage with South Georgia, kayaking is available but isn’t as widely offered as kayaking in Antarctica. The kayaking here is also more challenging and weather more of a factor.

  • Do I need experience?

    Sea kayaking in Antarctica is open to anyone with an adventurous spirit, basic paddling skills and the ability to get themselves in and out of the cockpit of a kayak. You don't need to be super experienced, but you should have paddled before as this isn't a 'beginner's course'.

  • What kit is provided?

    In most occasions, you'll be provided with a full dry suit, neoprene boots, a waterproof dry bag, 'pogies' (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle) and a life vest. You need to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, a warm hat and layers for under your suit.

    When on the move, you may get warmer than you thought, so leave some extra layers on the safety zodiac boat to wear once you get onto shore.

More Adventure Activities in Antarctica

Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?

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With over 50 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.

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