What you should know before visiting Antarctica

Prospective travelers often wonder if it is possible to visit Antarctica, and the answer is yes, you can visit Antarctica. In this post, we will guide you on how to get to Antarctica, and it is not as challenging as it may seem.

The most popular ways to reach this place are through cruising or flying. Cruises to Antarctica typically depart from Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand. On the other hand, flights to Antarctica usually depart from Chile.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about reaching Antarctica. Our team of travel experts will address common questions about accessing Antarctica, focusing on Antarctica cruises departing from Argentina and Antarctica flights departing from Chile.


Yes, it is possible to visit, and in recent years, the continent has become more accessible to travelers. However, it is important to note that while travelers do not need individual permission to go to Antarctica, tourism operators must hold valid permits to operate there. Here’s some information about the legality of visiting.

Antarctica is not a country but is protected under the Antarctic Treaty, which was established to preserve the continent for peaceful and scientific purposes. The treaty, along with related agreements, ensures that all human activities in Antarctica are carefully managed and regulated, including tourism, to protect the environment. Currently, there are 56 signatory parties to the Antarctic Treaty.

Tourism operators here are required to submit detailed permit applications annually. These applications undergo thorough review to ensure compliance with environmental guidelines and safety standards. If the planned activities meet all the criteria, the operator is authorized and granted a permit to conduct tourism activities. Therefore, when you choose to visit with an authorized operator, you can be assured that the necessary permits have been obtained on your behalf.


Before we delve into the details of how to get there, it’s worth highlighting the reasons why you should consider visiting this unique continent. Although traveling to Antarctica can be a significant investment, the experience is truly remarkable and unlike any other on Earth. Here are ten compelling reasons why visiting this place is worthwhile:

  1. Penguins: Antarctica is home to over 15 types of penguins, and observing these charismatic creatures is a joy. Walk among penguin colonies, witness their graceful swimming, and see them travel along “penguin highways.”
  2. Whales & Wildlife: Antarctica boasts a diverse range of wildlife, including 10 species of whales such as humpback, blue, fin, and orca whales. Seals and sea lions can be found lounging on beaches and hauling out on the ice. Wildlife and whale watching in Antarctica are unforgettable experiences.
  3. Ice, Glaciers & Icebergs: Over 97% of Antarctica is covered in ice. You’ll encounter vast ice sheets, glaciers spilling into the sea, and awe-inspiring tabular and sculpted blue icebergs that will fill your camera’s memory card.
  4. Birds & Birdwatching: is a haven for birdwatchers. You’ll have the opportunity to spot unique bird species found nowhere else in the world. Look out for albatross, petrels, skuas, shags, prions, and more.
  5. Ultimate Adventure: Visiting is an adventure. Expert naturalist guides will lead you in active exploration, allowing you to hike, kayak, paddleboard, camp, mountaineer, ski, snowshoe, and even scuba dive. There’s no shortage of activities to engage in.
  6. Spectacular Scenery: Pristine mountains, dramatic cliffs, massive glaciers, unusual iceberg formations, and vast landscapes make Antarctica a photographer’s dream. Capture the extended sunrises and sunsets during the long Austral summer days.
  7. Follow in the Footsteps of Explorers: Antarctica has a rich history of exploration, and you can experience it firsthand. From historic sites like Grytviken, where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried, to comfortable accommodations and gourmet meals on polar cruise ships, you can combine adventure with luxury.
  8. Experience the Extremes: Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, iciest, and driest continent on Earth. These extreme conditions create a true expedition experience. Feel the cold while appreciating the moments when the sun shines.
  9. Learn About Climate Change: Climate change is impacting its ecosystems, particularly the Antarctic Peninsula. Most Antarctica voyages include educational programs that address climate change and highlight the continent’s role as a research laboratory. By visiting, you can gain a deeper understanding of these critical issues and be motivated to protect the environment.
  10. Bragging Rights: Many people consider Antarctica a bucket-list destination and a milestone to check off their travel list. However, only a select few actually venture to Antarctica. By visiting, you’ll join a unique group and have the bragging rights to share your extraordinary experience with friends and family.

Antarctica offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness incredible wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and gain a newfound appreciation for the environment.


There are two primary methods to reach Antarctica: cruising and flying. Here’s a breakdown of each option:

  1. Cruising to Antarctica: The most popular and affordable way to reach Antarctica is by booking an Antarctica cruise. More than 90% of visitors to Antarctica travel by ship. Specially outfitted expedition ships operated by experienced companies are used to transport travelers to Antarctica. These ships are designed for polar conditions and offer comfortable accommodations and amenities.

When you book an Antarctica cruise, the tour operator takes care of all the necessary logistics, including permits, schedules, and itineraries. One of the highlights of an Antarctica cruise is the opportunity to make shore landings and participate in various activities on the continent. These activities may include guided hikes, kayaking, wildlife observation, and visiting scientific research stations. It’s important to research and choose a reputable cruise operator that aligns with your preferences and budget.

  1. Flying to Antarctica: Another option to reach Antarctica is by taking a flight. Flights typically depart from Punta Arenas in Chile. These flights are operated by a few specialized companies and are available during the Antarctic summer season. The flight takes you directly to an airstrip near the Antarctic Peninsula, where you can then explore the region on guided tours.

Flying to Antarctica provides a faster and more direct way to reach the continent, but it is usually more expensive compared to cruising. However, it offers a unique perspective and allows for a shorter overall trip duration.

Whether you choose to cruise or fly, it’s essential to plan your trip well in advance and ensure that you book with reputable operators who prioritize environmental sustainability and follow strict guidelines set forth by the Antarctic Treaty.