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
Our Top Trips in December
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
Antarctica in December
Antarctica Cruises - December
Antarctica Cruises December 2017
The penguin rookeries are fully populated and in full swing by December, while humpbacks are starting to arrive and seals are sighted more regularly.
Antarctica Cruises December 2018
Sunny days and blue skies are common in December, while +20 hours of daylight help maximise the time you have to explore and help break up the ice.
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 General Manager
FAQs: Antarctic Travel in December
December is typically marked by sunshine and blue skies with increasingly longer days of daylight, however this is Antarctica and the odd whiteout can still occur.
- Antarctic Peninsula: 30 degrees F (-1 degrees C)
- South Georgia: 41 degrees F (5 degrees C)
- The Falklands: 46 degrees F (8 degrees C)
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.
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) traveling 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 snow shoeing up to Christmas, but can become challenging after that.