5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica in January

  1. It is the height of summer on the Peninsula with temperatures rising to 60 F / 15 C and the weather is generally stable
  2. Penguin chicks are at their fluffiest and making strong demands on their busy parents for food
  3. The opening up of the ice allows the season’s first Polar Circle voyages to reach 66 degrees south
  4. Humpback whales are very focused on gorging on krill after their long commute from the tropics
  5. The ice in the Ross Sea opens up allowing a short window to access the historic huts of Shackleton & Scott
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Swoop says

There is a price premium if you choose to travel in January, but for the favourable weather conditions and off-the-scale wildlife encounters we think it's well worth the investment. You will need to book early.

Our Top Trips in January

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What our customers think of Antarctica in January

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We were extremely lucky with the weather.. we got to do everything thing we were supposed to. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Susan Tinkler - Australia

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I could not have asked for better service than Swoop provided. You answered all my questions and concerns and provided me with all trip details and requirements.

Travelled: January 2018

Al & Natalia - Florida

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Excursions were the highlights of the trip. I can't point a finger to any of them saying that one was the best. They were all fantastic!

Travelled: January 2018

Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth - Florida

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For me, the highlight was crossing the Antarctic circle. Unbelievable landscapes and wildlife.

Travelled: January 2018

Tony & Penny - Mississippi

The last night we dropped anchor in a sun lit bay and had the BBQ outdoors on deck, we were able to reflect on an amazing expedition, with the friends we'd made and then some humpbacks turned up and showed us their tails reflecting the setting sun - magic. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Rick Greer - UK

My expectations about the wildlife in Antarctica were blown away! We saw colonies of Adelie, gentoo, and chinstrap penguins. There was a whale sighting just about every day. We mainly found humpbacks, but saw a few minke whales and one afternoon we ran into a pod of killer whales! They must have been hunting or potentially practicing because we saw a group of humpbacks in the crowd and many seabirds checking out the scene. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Maricela Alaniz - USA

The diversity and the quantity of wildlife was amazing. We got great pictures. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Deepak Nanda - United States Of America

The sheer beauty of Antarctica was totally off the charts amazing, it was nothing like I had ever experienced. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

John Cox - United States Of America

The trip was amazing. Michael particularly liked the whales that were diving within 10-15 feet of our zodiac; my favorite was seeing all the penguins and, in particular, the chicks.

Travelled: January 2018

Joan & Michael - New Jersey

January to my way of thinking is the best time to go, penguins with their chicks, lots of seals and whales. The surprise was the adventure itself: how fantastic it was.

Travelled: January 2018

Pat & Alex - Australia

I believe that there is nowhere else like Antarctica. The penguins and seals are so cute, and we saw many of them. It was my first time seeing a whale this closely. The zodiac cruising allowed us to explore Antartica in depth and detail. We saw a lot of fantastic icebergs and wildlife. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2017

Feng Zheng - China


Listen to Molly's expert advice

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 January trips in the carousel below.

Antarctica Cruises January 2024

Antarctica Cruises January 2025

Antarctic Travel in January: FAQs

  • What is the weather like in Antarctica in January?

    It's the height of summer in Antarctica with temperatures averaging 43 degrees F / 6 degrees C and the weather is generally stable, with plenty of sunshine and blue skies.

    Average temperatures across the continent:

  • What wildlife can I see in Antarctica in January?

    January is a very active month for wildlife in Antarctica. The fluffy, mega cute penguin chicks are growing rapidly and parents are taking it in turns to go out to sea to fish for their ever demanding offspring. Observe the comical "feeding chases" as the hungry chicks chase their parents along the shoreline for more food.

    Whales are seen this month in increasing numbers, particularly humpback and minke, but also orcas who are very impressive if you catch them hunting.

  • Is it more expensive to visit Antarctica in January?

    January is 'high season' and the busiest month in Antarctica. The weather and wildlife are arguably at their best, and it's a very popular time for those travellers who live in the Northern Hemisphere to take a holiday, which means you need to book early (12-18 months in advance).

    As such there is an approximately 20-25% premium for choosing to travel at this time, over shoulder season rates.

  • Can I fly to Antarctica in January?

    Yes, charter flights from Punta Arenas in Chile to Antarctica begin in early December and operate through to mid-February.

  • Which 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.

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 December

Viewing humpback whales off the Melchior Islands, Antarctica

The summer sun bathes the continent in 20-24 hours of daylight in December, making it a popular time to visit. It's also a busy time for the penguin rookeries as the chicks begin …

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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.