5 Reasons to Visit the Antarctic Peninsula
- Ludicrously beautiful, the Peninsula has some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of Antarctica
- Home to the greatest collection of Antarctic wildlife, a veritable menagerie of penguins, seals and whales
- The most accessible and popular part of Antarctica to visit from Patagonia, with the widest choice of voyages and ships
- Traverse ice-choked channels by zodiacs, experience the cacophony of penguin rookeries, camp out on the Continent
- Visit the Peninsula's highlights - Deception Island, Port Lockroy, Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel to name but a few
What Our Customers Think
My highlight was landing on the continent in Paradise Bay and going to Deception Island. We repeatedly said we felt like we were on an ocean safari, we saw so much wildlife every day.
Barbara California March 2017
Lemaire Channel was spectacular even though we had to turn around at the end due to iceberg blocking the way. Saw so many whales - fin, humpback, and orca.
Nathalie California March 2017
Seeing astounding small blue crevasses among the vast white background, watching sea-ice form, witnessing icebergs calving and crashing into the sea, unexpectedly coming across lush green algae and blue copper staining on the rocks are all experiences that we will never forget.
Graham and Angela, UK March 2017
Absolutely superb...genuinely spectacular. In terms of a destination, nothing else comes anywhere near.
Liz & Anthony, London December 2015
Antarctica in perfect weather was the absolute highlight. Undoubtedly one of the best experiences in my travels!
James, UK December 2015
The ultimate Antarctic adventure, this trip is specifically for the active traveler. Spend 5-6 days kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snowshoeing, all included in the price. A medium-sized expeditionary ship acts as your floating ‘basecamp’. Great value for money backed…
Geared for the adventurous traveler, this extended 13-day November departure makes the most of the pristine springtime snow conditions. Backcountry ski touring, snowshoeing and a unique overnight 2-day kayaking trip are all available while photographers will enjoy the soft light…
Combining great value and consistently high customer feedback, this popular 11-day voyage is a perennial favourite, and justly so. You’ll spend 4-5 full days exploring Antarctica, sailing aboard a small 88-passenger vessel renowned for its friendly Latino staff and delicious…
With only one sailing in March, this competitively priced 10-day voyage provides 4 whole days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Traveling aboard a small, highly manoeuvrable 68-passenger ship ensures your time will be maximised, particularly if you opt for kayaking or…
Spending 5 full days exploring Antarctica, this voyage is recommended for travelers seeking a very stable ship with less than 100 passengers onboard. Additional benefits include a wide range of complimentary activities and a large expeditionary team, which ensures small…
Fly & Cruise
Luxury & Fine Dining
Sail to The White Continent aboard the most luxurious ship currently available. Unsurpassed comfort and true 5* service are this operator’s hallmarks. From the discreetly attentive Filipino staff, Relais & Chateaux cuisine and 24/7 butler service to the beautifully appointed…
Traveling aboard a state-of-the-art small ship and accompanied by unparalleled onboard expertise, expeditionary cruising doesn’t get much better. Regular 12-day departures throughout the season and a choice of two outstanding ships renowned for their comfort, enhanced safety features and spirit…
Travelling aboard a modern, luxury, custom built expedition ship offering balconied cabins, excellent amenities, speed through the water and outstanding food, all you’ve got to do is sit back and enjoy the adventure. The all-inclusive price provides very good value…
Comfort & Adventure
Travelling aboard this modern 137-passenger ship with its 360-degree observation lounge and spacious cabins, spend 4 full days exploring Antarctica’s extraordinary icebergs and wildlife. Optional camping and kayaking, while Ushuaia hotel accommodation and a parka jacket are included in the…
This classic Peninsula trip stands out for its generously proportioned cabins, value for money and stylish 110-passenger ship. Spend 5-6 days experiencing Antarctica’s highlights, with optional camping and kayaking. Complimentary hotel stay in Ushuaia and a parka jacket are nice…
Sailing to Antarctica: What do I need to know?
In Wilhelmina Bay a humpback twice the length of the zodiac swam directly beneath us. It then exhaled so close I got a mouthful of shrimp-infused whale 'blow'. It's a taste you don't forget!
John Newby Polar Specialist
The Antarctic Peninsula: Your Questions Answered
Regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Antarctic Peninsula lies just a short two day journey by boat from the toe of Patagonia, across the narrow neck of the infamous Drake Passage.
This is the most easily accessed part of Antarctica and as a result of this and the Peninsula's scenic beauty and extraordinary menagerie of wildlife, it's also the most popular.
The majority of cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula set sail from the Argentine port city of Ushuaia, which you can fly to direct from Buenos Aires (3hr 40min duration) - both LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas run several flights per day. After a night in Ushuaia you embark your Antarctic ship and head out along the sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel. On reaching open seas, the crossing to Antarctica takes around two days, although this will very much be influenced by weather conditions. As you get closer to Antarctica, icebergs drifting north out of the Weddell Sea will start to be sighted. Most cruises first reach the South Shetland Islands, which are part of Antarctica but lie 75 miles west of the Peninsula (this is where the landing strip is on King George Island for those flying direct from Punta Arenas).
These Antarctica voyages are typically 10 to 12 days in duration, giving you 4-5 actual days in Antarctica exploring. Some itineraries include a night's hotel accommodation in Ushuaia prior to embarkation on Day 2.
In short, prepare for sensory overload. Traveling along the western side of the Peninsula, by day you'll take to rubber zodiacs to cruise amongst towering icebergs, visit vast penguin rookeries and cruise ice floes for wildlife; whilst at night you'll anchor up in a quiet bay ready for the next day's adventure.
Your days in Antarctica are busy with an early start followed by breakfast and then into the zodiacs for your first landing of the day. Landings take two forms - either wet (wear waterproofs) or dry landings, which your expeditionary staff will prepare you for and accompany you during. Landings typically visit one of the many penguin rookeries which dot this whole area, providing ample opportunity to enjoy the clownish antics of penguins.
Returning to the ship after 2-3 hours of exploring, a hot drink is much appreciated. Lunch is then served. The ship may re-position before a second landing in the afternoon when you might undertake a zodiac cruise amongst vast grounded icebergs, or perhaps patrol the ice edge for basking seals (particularly Crabeater, Fur and Weddell). It's then back to the ship for a shower followed by a well-deserved drink with which to share stories with your fellow travellers of all you've seen and done during the day. The discussion continues over dinner, followed by a good night's sleep.
Yes, definitely. Your expeditionary staff are a crucial part of your Antarctic experience, accompanying you throughout and providing not only set lectures during your voyage, but also information and context during actual landings. They're always on hand to answer any questions and are a mine of information on all related subjects. Each member of the expeditionary team is an expert in their respective field, many having spent literally years in Antarctica. They report to the expeditionary leader, who along with the ship's captain is responsible for the whole voyage.
On arrival in Antarctica, a Peninsula cruise typically begins by exploring the South Shetland Islands, including Half Moon Bay, Deception Island and Livingston Island. From there you might continue on to Hope Bay and the Antarctic Sound (filled with tabular icebergs) before heading south along the Gerlache Strait and through the Lemaire Channel to Paradise Bay.
Ultimately your actual route will be heavily influenced by the weather and ice conditions, and where the expeditionary leader and captain decide will provide you with the best landing sites, which is why no two Antarctic cruises are ever the same. This flexibility is a key feature of any Antarctic cruise and is very much all part of the adventure.
Cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula operate between late October and the end of March, with departures throughout providing quite a wide choice of when to visit. There isn't particularly a 'best time' to visit Antarctica as each month has its own characteristics and nuances. High season is late December to early February when days are long, the weather the most stable and wildlife most active. However the spring time (late October and November) has much to offer with heavier ice and the chance of being one of the first down to Antarctica for that year; while March is excellent for whales and the softer light often preferred by Photographers. Find out more about when to go to Antarctica.
A classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise sailing from Ushuaia typically costs from around $6,000 USD to over $30,000 USD per person based on a Twin cabin and depending on the size of ship, category of cabin and comfort level of your ship which you decide upon, and the month in which you travel. If you prefer to fly to Antarctica, you pay a premium for this, with prices from around $11,600 USD per person based on a Twin cabin for a similar amount of time in Antarctica.
The sooner the better. Typically you should be looking to book your Antarctic trip at least 12-18 months in advance to be confident of securing your first choice of ship, voyage date and cabin. Many people are surprised by this, being used to booking their holidays with a far shorter lead in time, however Antarctic is different and with a finite amount of cabins and boats, those booking late will find their choice significantly reduced from those who plan ahead.
The peninsula is actually a continuation of The Andes, which makes the scenery amazing. The Lemaire Channel is only half a mile wide and the peaks rise straight up out of the water on either side as you sail down it.