5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica in February
- The penguin chicks are now very active and curious, chasing both parents for food as soon as they return from fishing trips
- It's peak whale spotting season as all migrating pods have now made it down to Antarctica's rich waters
- February is the perfect month to reach the Polar Circle, now that the ice has receded to its maximum extent
- The moulting stage begins for the adult penguins, while the chicks are fledging and learning to swim in the shallows
- The focus of the Humpback whales now changes, becoming more inquisitive now they’ve sated their appetite
We love February for the frenzy of wildlife activity - crecheing chicks, predating leopard seals & copious whales - before the onset of winter. It's also arguably the best time to try to reach the Polar Circle.
Antarctica in February
What our customers think
I wasn't sure which month to visit Antarctica, in the end I picked February and I know I made the right choice. It was late in their summer so we had better access for the many excursions on land and the overall weather was excellent. Between the whale sightings, penguin chicks still in their nests and the incredible landscape, February easily is the best time to go.
Jeff, Arizona February 2017
The experience was fantastic, all and more than we had hoped for!! The highlight was the enormity of the scale of the peninsular and the pristine, untouched solitude of the environment. The landscape was overwhelming and all encompassing, with a grandeur that we had not expected.
Sue, Gavan & Jenni, Australia February 2018
It was an incredible and awe-inspiring place. The place met my expectations and the encounters there exceeded my expectations.
Kushal, UAE March 2018
The Antarctic is more magical south of the circle in February and March. Definitely worth it. Our ship [The Expedition] was the first to get through 'The Gullet', a narrow short cut with lots of sea ice, in seven years.
Sandra & Keith, UK March 2018
Antarctica Cruises - February
Antarctica Cruises February 2019
February is prime time for both whale sightings, particularly in Wilhelmina Bay, and heading south to the Polar Circle.
Antarctica Cruises February 2020
The wildlife takes centre stage in February - think hungry penguin chicks, marauding leopard seals and humpback whales gorging on krill.
Witnessing a pod of orcas clinically hunting down a group of beleaguered fur seals, alongside kayaking with a slumbering 40 tonne humpback whale, are just two of my own personal highlights from Antarctica in February.
Alex Mudd Polar Specialist
Antarctic Travel in February: FAQs
February is Antarctica's most active wildlife month - in the rookeries, the penguin chicks are growing up fast making strong demands on their parents for food.
As they become larger and more resistant to the predations of greedy skuas, the urgency on the part of their parents to provide enough food will mean they are left on their own while both parents go out to sea to fish. This steady stream of dutiful parent penguins entering and exiting the water means leopard seals are often seen predating along the ice edge.
From late February, young penguin chicks start fledging and learning to swim in the shallows. February and March are also the best months for whale sightings in Antarctica, in particular humpback, minke and orca. The humpback whales tend to be very focused on feeding at this stage.
On South Georgia, the main bulk of the king penguins will start laying their eggs in February/March, which means that there is the maximum number of birds in the rookeries at this time.
February, like late December and January, is technically classed as 'high season' which carries a premium over the lower shoulder season pricing in November and March. However in our opinion the better wildlife encounters and more stable weather during this period is well worth the extra investment.
Flights to Antarctica only operate through to mid-February, after which the airfield at Frei Base on King Georgia Island (South Shetland Islands) closes due to the onset of winter and won't re-open until 1st December.
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.