5 reasons to snorkel in Antarctica

  • Only two ships offer this activity, so you'll be one of just a select number of people who have snorkelled in Antarctica’s pristine waters 
  • Interacting with curious wildlife is possible – some snorkellers have spotted penguins torpedoing through the water and watched the antics of playful seals up close
  • Whether snorkelling near a blue-tinged iceberg field or around the shipwreck-strewn shoreline of an Antarctic island, you get to explore another world
  • Spot unusual marine life, such as isopods, sea slugs and nudibranchs – half of Antarctica’s underwater creatures can’t be witnessed anywhere else on Earth
  • It’s the only way to experience life under the surface of the 7th Continent without the technical challenges involved in scuba diving

How does snorkelling in Antarctica work?

A small selection of Antarctic cruises allow you to opt for polar snorkelling as an additional activity. If you sign up for this adventurous programme, you’ll get the chance to enter the water daily, as long as weather and ice conditions hold up.

At the beginning of your voyage, highly trained polar guides with more than 20 years’ experience will give you a safety briefing.

Each time the ship makes a landing in Antarctica, your expedition team will scout out the most optimal place for snorkelling. Before setting out, you’ll dress in your provided gear, including a drysuit that keeps out water and doubles up as a flotation device. Next, your guides will check your kit before you enter a zodiac rib boat and travel to the ideal spot for some exhilarating snorkelling. 

A snorkeller comes up for air in the Antarctic
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What our customers loved about snorkelling in Antarctica

I had so much fun. I never felt unsafe; I am a scuba diver. Guides Eddie, Pete, and Edwin made the event a lot of fun, as did the snorkelers!!!!! We had a blast. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2024

Debra Sharkey - USA

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

It was beautiful. The snorkel staff were absolutely incredible. We felt extremely safe and well cared for because they were all such experts and absolute badasses. We didn’t go on every single snorkel outing because sometimes we wanted to spend more time at a landing site instead. But we did get to see amazing things when we went, like a penguin swimming underwater. I’d recommend going at least once to anyone. Our snorkel group also became like family. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Patti Shelton - 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:

Typical Antarctic snorkelling conditions

Ice and visibility can shift daily, leaving you with crystal-clear waters or an ethereal haze. This unpredictability only adds to the thrill of exploring Antarctica’s underwater wonderland. The flora and fauna life is just as variable – possibilities range from delicate sea butterflies to towering kelp walls.

Just like any excursion in Antarctic, if you embrace an expeditioner's mindset and go with the flow, you're almost guaranteed an unforgettable experience. 

Snorkellers snorkel 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 to Antarctica in just two hours, then sails back across the Drake Passage, maximising both expediency and experience. Spend 5 to 7 days exploring Antarctica on a small, purpose-built expedition ship, with kayaking…

  • 9-13 Days
  • $17,895
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 aboard one of the newest additions to the polar fleet, a state-of-the-art expedition vessel combining adventure with comfort. As well as being limited to only 132 passengers, there’s also a wide range of optional activities on…

  • 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. A maximum of just 132 passengers, with spacious cabins, state-of-the-art technology and…

  • 13-14 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. You’ll travel on board one of the most exciting new polar ships with spacious cabins, state-of-the-art technology and optional…

  • 19-25 Days
  • $22,595
Active Antarctic Adventure

Ideal for active travellers with an adventurous spirit. The voyage cost includes the chance to kayak past sculptural icebergs and spend a night open-air camping in Antarctica. Dip below the surface with a unique snorkelling activity and snowshoe past waddling…

  • 15 Days
  • $16,995

Planning your Antarctic snorkelling trip

When to go

You can go snorkelling in Antarctica from late November to early March. Keen to see penguins porpoising through the sea? It's much more likely during high season, around December. 

How much to pay

Snorkelling in Antarctica is charged as an optional extra and costs around $640 to $800 per person on top of your fee for the cruise. The exact price depends on your choice of ship and voyage length. 

The exception is if you book the Active Antarctic Adventure trip, where a snorkelling session is included in the price. 

Snorkelling in Paradise Harbour, Antarctica
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Heather says

“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

Snorkeller with a camera smiles at camera, Antarctica

What to pack for snorkelling in Antarctica 

Warm clothes are necessary under your drysuit, so you’ll need to pack the following kit for snorkelling in Antarctica: 

  • Thermals
  • Salopettes
  • A fleece
  • A puffer jacket 

Some snorkellers like to bring their own mask if they have one that fits particularly well, although one will be provided for you on board the ship. 

You’ll also be loaned: 

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

The drysuit is designed to keep water out, while the neoprene boots, hood and gloves are not waterproof but help to extend your warmth.  

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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's a chilly place to cut your teeth, so some snorkelling experience is recommended. However, it isn’t mandatory: you'll be given all the training and equipment you need. 

How to book

Just two ships in the polar fleet offer Antarctic snorkelling and the activity is typically capped at around 10 participants, so it’s best to organise a trip at least a year in advance to guarantee your spot. 

When to book

When you book a cruise with one of our polar experts at Swoop, let them know you'd also like to go snorkelling in Antarctica. They’ll discuss the different voyages available that offer this activity. Please do get in touch with us for more information. 

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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.

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Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?

1
Listen

Listen

We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.

2
Match

Match

Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.

3
Reserve

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We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

With over 100 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.

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