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

Solar Eclipse 2021

If there is anything that could arouse more awe and mystery than travelling to the southernmost continent, it may just be experiencing a solar eclipse take place over the vast white wilderness. An extraordinary event that will next occur again in 75 years, on the morning of 4th December 2021 the moon will completely cover the sun, bestowing viewers in Antarctica with a surreal few minutes of total darkness. Our solar eclipse itineraries have been carefully planned to ensure you reach the path of totality, at exactly the right time.

Sunset over icebergs, Antarctica
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What our customers think

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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.

Deidre New York December 2017

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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!

Lori Texas December 2017

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

Pauline Australia December 2017

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 2021

Antarctica Cruises December 2022

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 with fluffy chick, South Georgia, Antarctica

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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With over 50 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.

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