5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica in December

  1. The start of summer - up to 22 hours of daylight and sunnier days means more time for exploring
  2. The density of wildlife is increasing - penguin rookeries are at full capacity, while seal and whale sightings become common
  3. Penguin chicks begin to hatch, first in the Falklands, and then from mid-December on the Peninsula
  4. December marks the arrival back in Antarctic waters of hungry humpback whales from tropical waters
  5. Access to the landing sites becomes easier in December and breakup of ice allows wider exploration
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Swoop says

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.

Our Top Trips in December

Antarctica at Christmas

A fantastic time to visit the 7th continent, for a guaranteed white Christmas! Enjoy festive hosting onboard your expedition vessel, as well as plenty of wildlife sightings to keep your experience magical. The weather is excellent in the festive time period, and with penguin chicks beginning to hatch, you'll certainly have lots of photographs to treasure your time at the end of the world. 

Camping in the snow, Antarctica

Overnight Camping in Antarctica

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What our customers think of Antarctica in December

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Most memorable moment was seeing penguins for the first time as we were on the mountaineering walk. Chinstrap penguins - they were so close! 🥰 Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sarah Gillett - Switzerland

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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.

Travelled: December 2017

Deidre - New York

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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!

Travelled: December 2017

Lori - Texas

It’s hard to articulate feeling like you went back in time - ice ages ago - and are given this new lens on how to behave and appreciate as you grow and move on with the days you get on this planet. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Paolina Xocco - USA

My three most memorable zodiac cruises were seeing the most gorgeous ice I could ever imagine, having our staff give us an encounter with krill and watching the seal swimming not far from our boat, looking directly at us whenever his/her head came above the waterline. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Linda Nolte - USA

It is a jam-packed day with 2 outings each day, you wake up in a different location and during lunch you're moving again. Was it cold? Yes but it was so worth it! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Chelsea Davis - USA

The feeding humpback whales encounter was spectacular. Seeing the three difference types of penguins in such close proximity was amazing. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Mohit Kallianpur - USA

Antarctica was impressive with all its splendour...its vastness, whiteness. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Gordon Pickering - USA

Cruising around the peninsula made me feel like a small child in some magical world. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2021

Sheila Porter - USA

You have this idea that you’re going to freeze to death before you go but that’s not the case. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Donald Emeigh - United States Of America

The wildlife was more than I could have ever dreamed. The first day we were surrounded by over 20 + humpback whales breaching and feeding in Fournier bay. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Katie Salva - United States Of America

Getting to see so much unique wildlife up close was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, aside from the amazing landscapes. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Mark Jongewaard - United States Of America

The wildlife and landscapes are amazing! The kill of the seal by a group of Orcas was the highlight of the entire trip. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Laina Ho - Canada

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!

Travelled: December 2017

Tish & Obadiah - Massachusetts

Have recommended Swoop to all our friends; more than happy with your service before, after and during our trip.

Travelled: December 2017

Pauline - Australia

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.

Travelled: November 2017

David & Jill - UK

The landscape was beautiful. I wanted to go early in the season to see white - snow, icebergs, clear landings. And I definitely saw that!

Travelled: December 2016

Angie - Minnesota


Know which year you want to travel?

If you know when you want to explore the White Continent you can find your perfect trip on our specially dedicated year pages:

Alternatively you can browse the December trips for each year in the carousels below.

Antarctica Cruises December 2023

Antarctica Cruises December 2024

Antarctic Travel in December: FAQs

  • What's the weather like in Antarctica in December?

    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:

    These regions experience the mildest climate in Antarctica, further inland and at higher elevations, the weather is far more extreme.

  • What wildlife can I see in Antarctica in December?

    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.

  • Is it cheaper to visit Antarctica in December?

    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.

  • Can I fly to Antarctica in December?

    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.

  • What additional activities are available?

    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.

Still unsure about when to travel?

Antarctica in November

Viewing Antarctica from the expedition ship's bow

In November Antarctica opens its arms to the season's first visitors. You'll not only enjoy the excitement of walking on virgin snow, but you'll also appreciate its beauty as you …

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Antarctica in January

Emperor penguin & chick, South Georgia - Antarctica trip cost

January is the peak of the Antarctic summer, so you'll enjoy magical 20+ hours of sunlight each day.  These extra daylight hours gives you more time each day to explore,…

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Antarctica in February

Majestic iceberg in the Crystal Sound, Polar Circle, Antarctica

February's the time for sailing all the way to the Polar Circle, the Sun's rays through December and January having weakened the pack ice significantly enough to allow for …

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Antarctica in March

Taking a Zodiac ride to Pleneau Bay, Antarctica, in March

March marks the end of the travel season to Antarctica. You'll be able to enjoy the mesmerising colours of blooming green and pink algae against the water and ice, as well as …

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Undecided on When to Travel?

Read Swoop's guide on choosing the best month and year for you, with advice on how to plan your perfect Antarctic voyage.

Help me choose when to travel

Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?



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



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



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

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