Snorkelling in Antarctica

Not many people can say they have snorkelled in Antarctica’s pristine waters, yet it is an activity designed for just about anybody. Polar snorkelling is perfect for experiencing what life is like under the surface of the 7th Continent – without the technical challenges involved in scuba diving. 

Guides will try to keep the snorkelling spots varied, but you might take a dip near a blue-tinged iceberg field or around the shipwreck-strewn shoreline of an Antarctic island. And all while keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife in the water. 

A snorkeller comes up for air in the Antarctic

A snorkeller comes up for air in the Antarctic

How does snorkelling in Antarctica work?

Two ships with multiple voyages currently offer polar snorkelling, so if you travel on these vessels, you should get the opportunity to enter the water daily as long as weather conditions hold up. 

Every time you make a landing, your Antarctic snorkelling guides will scout out the most optimal place for some underwater exploration. Before setting out, you will dress in your provided gear, including a drysuit that keeps out water, prolongs your warmth and doubles up as a flotation device.

Next, your experienced guides will brief you and check your kit before you enter a zodiac boat, travel to your snorkelling spot and enter the water. 

Snorkelling in Antarctica

Snorkelling amongst icebergs

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Heather says

“I wasn't sure what to expect from snorkelling in Antarctica, but I was blown away by the clarity of the water. The snorkelling team knew all the best places to explore, from swimming around icebergs to investigating whale bones. Occasionally, you're even met by porpoising penguins at eye height – a truly magical experience.”

Heather Moult Antarctica Sales Specialist

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What our customers think of Snorkelling in Antarctica

We would highly recommend snorkelling. For one, for each landing we got to snorkel and do the landing so we didn't miss anything. Two, our group was smaller so our zodiacs were less crowded. We also saw great stuff underwater - we played with a krill, saw an iceberg break off underwater, and saw penguins swimming. The guides (Birgitta, Thomas, and Richard) could not have been better! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Haley Schools - USA

10/10 - I cannot imagine a better overall experience, and the service aboard ship was OUTSTANDING! This built-for-purpose ship was incredible, and the snorkeling adventures were perfect for this explorer. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2023

Chuck Strawn - USA

The snorkelling option was well worth it and it was great being able to be one of the first groups of people to land. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

James Castleden - Hungary

Most memorable moment: snorkeling with the penguins Read the full review

Travelled: March 2022

Janet Davoli - United States Minor Outlying Islands

Edwin and Liz were great with the snorkeling team. It's tough seeing things underwater given the visibility and the speed with which the animals move but I did get some good videos of penguins swimming underwater. The two of them did a nice job maximizing our opportunities while keeping us safe. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Mark Golan - USA

The entire ship's staff was AMAZING. Peter (snorkel), Edwin (snorkel), and Jared (photography) stood out above all, but the entire staff was so friendly and helpful. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Andrea Ehrhardt - United States Of America

Review:

How much does it cost to snorkel in Antarctica?

Snorkelling in Antarctica is charged as an optional extra and costs around $640 to $800 per person.  

Snorkellers snorkel near an iceberg

Snorkelling near an iceberg

Antarctic Voyages With Snorkelling

Special Offers:Swoop has access to the widest range of offers and can help you find the right trip, cabin, & price.

Antarctic Fly & Sail Combination

A rare and popular voyage which flies one way and sails the other, maximising both expediency and experience. Spend 5-7 days exploring Antarctica on a small, newly-built expedition ship, with kayaking & snorkelling available. January - March…

  • 9-14 Days
  • $16,195
Fly & Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula

For maximum time in Antarctica with flights both ways, this trip really stands out. An extended fly & cruise voyage spending eight full days actually in Antarctica onboard a small, state-of-the-art expedition ship. Optional kayaking & polar…

  • 12 Days
  • $14,795
Immense Discovery: Falklands, South Georgia & the Peninsula

This fantastic trip covers all the must-see highlights of an extended Antarctic expedition. With 21 nights aboard, you will venture far south past vast icebergs to cross the Antarctic Circle before taking in jaw-dropping king penguin colonies in the wildlife…

  • 23 Days
  • $31,495
Antarctic Peninsula Explorer

Explore the White Continent onboard one of the newest additions to the Polar fleet, a state-of-the-art expedition vessel combining adventure with comfort. Limited to only 132 passengers, there’s also a wide range of optional adventure activities on this classic Antarctic…

  • 12-15 Days
  • $12,795
Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Spend 6 full days exploring Antarctica with the Polar Circle at 66 degrees south as your most southerly objective, on board one of the most exciting new vessels. With an average of just 132 passengers with spacious cabins, state-of-the-art technology…

  • 12-15 Days
  • $16,195
Discover South Georgia, Antarctica and Falklands

This voyage stands out by visiting the Antarctic Peninsula first and keeping the wonders of South Georgia for the second half. Plus you’ll be travelling on board one of the most exciting new Polar ships with spacious cabins, state-of-the-art technology…

  • 19-25 Days
  • $22,595
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Swoop says

With water temperatures ranging between -1.9°C and 5°C (28.6°F and 41°F) in Antarctica, it is a chilly place to cut your teeth, so some snorkelling experience is recommended. However, it isn’t mandatory: you will be given all the training and equipment you need. 

Snorkelling in Antarctica: FAQs

  • What kit do I need to snorkel in Antarctica?

    To snorkel in Antarctica, you will be provided with: 

    • A waterproof drysuit 
    • Neoprene boots, hood and gloves
    • Fins, snorkel and mask

    The drysuit is designed to keep water out, while the neoprene boots, hood and gloves are not waterproof but help to prolong your warmth. You will need to wear warm clothes under your drysuit – thermals, salopettes, a fleece and a puffer jacket are recommended – to help you stay in the water for longer. 

    You will need to bring warm layers to wear under your drysuit. Some snorkelers like to pack their own mask if they have one that fits particularly well. 

  • How long does a snorkelling session last?

    Snorkelers usually stay in the water for between 10 and 45 minutes. 

  • Is it safe to snorkel in Antarctica?

    Snorkelling in Antarctica is a strictly supervised activity. Guides will watch carefully as you take to the water, and a safety zodiac will be nearby for your peace of mind. Snorkellers will also receive an in-depth briefing from the experienced guides before setting out on the expedition.

    For added safety, the activity is restricted to guests aged 14 years old and over. 

  • Will I definitely see wildlife while snorkelling in Antarctica?

    You are much more likely to see penguins in the water during high season, around December, and some guests have had magical moments snorkelling with seals. However, as the movements of wild animals are unpredictable, encounters are not guaranteed. 

  • How cold is the water in Antarctica?

    Water temperatures range between -1.9°C and 5°C (28.6°F and 41°F) in Antarctica, so you will experience the cold. Your provided drysuit is less about keeping you warm and more about extending your comfort enough to stay in the water longer. 

  • Will I get a refund if I can’t snorkel because of bad weather?

    While guides will cancel a snorkelling trip if the conditions aren’t safe, daily opportunities are planned, so they should be able to find time to snorkel. 

More Adventures In Antarctica

Kayaking in Antarctica

Kayaking in Antarctica

Imagine the swish of water as it passes your hull or the clack of brash ice against your paddle blade. Skim past penguin rookeries and seals sleeping on passing ice floes.

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What happens on an Antarctic cruise?

Travelling to Antarctica is unlike any other trip you’ll ever take - it's like stepping into another world. Antarctic voyages are, by their very nature, active, you’ll get off the ship and explore the magnificent surroundings as often as possible, there’ll be a strong educational focus and adventure activities will even be an option.

Things to Do in Antarctica

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With over 150 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.

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