5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica in December
- The start of summer - up to 22 hours of daylight and sunnier days means more time for exploring
- The density of wildlife is increasing - penguin rookeries are at full capacity, while seal and whale sightings become common
- Penguin chicks begin to hatch, first in the Falklands, and then from mid-December on the Peninsula
- December marks the arrival back in Antarctic waters of hungry humpback whales from tropical waters
- Access to the landing sites becomes easier in December and breakup of ice allows wider exploration
Antarctica in December
Our Top Trips in December
The ultimate Antarctic adventure, this trip is specifically for the active traveller. Spend 6 days kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snowshoeing, all included in the price. A medium-sized expedition ship acts as your floating ‘basecamp’. Great value for money backed…
For those who like to have their cake and eat it, early December is a great time to travel. Warmer weather, long days to explore and maximum wildlife encounters, but at lower Shoulder Season pricing.
Antarctica in December 2016 with John from Swoop
What our customers think
Mind blowing, once-in-a-lifetime trip. I would go back in a heartbeat. It far exceeded any expectations I had and I absolutely fell in love.
Deidre New York December 2017
It exceeded our expectations and I would recommend it to everyone wanting to go visit Antarctica. We had a really wonderful time. So glad we flew!
Lori Texas December 2017
The wildlife and landscapes are amazing! The kill of the seal by a group of Orcas was the highlight of the entire trip.
Laina Ho Canada December 2018
Fantastic experience, would recommend to anyone interested in wildlife and the history of the area. Great informal atmosphere with no cocktail parties. Expedition staff were generally excellent.
David & Jill UK November 2017
Have recommended Swoop to all our friends; more than happy with your service before, after and during our trip.
Pauline Australia December 2017
The landscape was beautiful. I wanted to go early in the season to see white - snow, icebergs, clear landings. And I definitely saw that!
Angie Minnesota December 2016
We had an absolutely amazing honeymoon in Antarctica. One I'm sure we'll never forget. Highlight was the wildlife and the staff; we learned so much and had so much fun. I would definitely recommend including South Georgia/Falklands for those people that can afford the time and budget. Thanks for all your help!
Tish & Obadiah Massachusetts December 2017
Its action stations in the penguin rookeries in December with the chicks about to hatch. Peek into the nests or listen out for the 'keening' sound they make - it's like looking for Christmas presents.
Alex Mudd Polar Specialist
Antarctic Travel in December: FAQs
December is typically marked by sunshine and blue skies with increasing hours of daylight. Temperatures are reaching their warmest, as the height of the summer sets in. Glaciers calve, whales return from the tropics, and research activity increases. However, this is Antarctica and the odd whiteout can still occur. You'll want to bring warm clothing and base layers, with the following average daily temperatures:
- Antarctic Peninsula: 30 degrees F (-1 degrees C)
- South Georgia: 41 degrees F (5 degrees C)
- The Falklands: 46 degrees F (8 degrees C)
These regions experience the mildest climate in Antarctica, further inland and at higher elevations, the weather is far more extreme.
By December the penguin rookeries are at full capacity and the birds are busy incubating their precious eggs. Hatching time differs on the Antarctic Peninsula between the three penguin species, and also different geographical location, but the later in December the better chances you have of seeing newly hatched chicks and hearing the particular 'keening' noise they make.
Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals are commonly sighted in December in good numbers, typically hauled up on ice floes. Find out more about Antarctic wildlife by visiting our dedicated page.
The key thing to note in December is that around mid-month (it differs between boat operators) the pricing steps up as high season begins. Those aware of this price watershed and who are flexible on dates can benefit from the best of both worlds: (a) travelling in the first two weeks of December under high season conditions, and (b) but at the lower shoulder season pricing.
'High season' is reflective of the better weather, more plentiful wildlife, longer days for exploring and sheer popularity, and runs from mid-December through to late February.
Yes, charter flights from Punta Arenas in Chile to Antarctica begin in early December when the Chilean airfield on King George Island resumes operations. Flights operate through to mid-February.
With the arrival of high summer, the opening up of the ice allows kayakers to cover more ground, while +21 hours of daylight a day provides an interesting experience for overnight campers out on the ice.
Snow conditions are usually good enough for snowshoeing up to Christmas, but can become challenging after that.
Antarctica Cruises - December
Antarctica Cruises December 2019
By December, the Antarctic summer is in full swing. Long days for exploring, hatching penguin chicks and the return of humpbacks all mark the beginning of High Season.
Antarctica Cruises December 2020
Join the increasing numbers of penguins, seals and whales enjoying the region's long sunny days and summer warmth.
Antarctica Cruises December 2021
It's high summer and the penguin rookeries are fully populated and in full swing, while humpbacks are starting to arrive and seals are sighted more regularly.