King George Island

Where is it?

King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and lies 75 miles off the coast of Antarctica.

About King George Island

The island was first claimed by the British in 1819 and named after King George III, however the following years were turbulent with many disputes about who owned the island.  In some form or another, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, Poland, Russia, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Germany, Peru and the US all have a presence on the island. In so doing, these countries earn the status of a consultative party, or full member, of the Antarctic Treaty.

King George Island now serves as an aerodrome for flights to Antarctica, and is known as the unofficial capital of the continent because of the numerous research stations there. Aside from the scientific significance, the island is a haven for wildlife, and is home to many marine mammals such as Elephant, Weddell and Leopard seals, and colonies of Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins.

How to Visit:

Antarctic Peninsula cruises often start with a visit to King George Island as it is the first major outcrop of land after navigating the Drake Passage.

Fly-and-Cruise expeditions land / take off from the runway at King George. Fly across the famous Drake Passage from the town of Punta Arenas in southern Chilean Patagonia, saving 2-3 days of time at sea - an important consideration for those either short on time or avert to sea-travel. Travellers then board their cruise ship when in Antarctica, thereby sailing across the Drake only once.

Map of King George Island

Nearby landmarks

Trips that visit King George Island

Flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. All voyage routes take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time.

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Swoop says

Countries from all over the world share this tiny, craggy island at the end of the world, and rub shoulders in the name of science. It's a fascinating place to visit for a taste of life at the heart of Antarctic research.

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