It’s the final frontier and its wild beauty is the stuff of legend, as is its capacity for adventure. Encounter whales, seals and penguins by the thousands. Cruise past icebergs, gaze into a midnight sunset and feel the crunch of ice under your boots as you walk where few have ever stepped. Antarctica must truly be seen to be believed.

Antarctica Tours & Travel

Articles on Antarctica

Ask The Experts: The Planet D’s guide to Polar travel (Q&A)

Posted on Thu, 26 Mar 2015

Deb and Dave, collectively known as The Planet D, are kind of a big deal in the travel blogging circuit. They’ve been to over 100 countries on all seven continents […]

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Why more young travellers are heading to Antarctica than ever before (and why you should too)

Posted on Mon, 19 Jan 2015

An entire generation of travellers is exploring more of the world than their parents and grandparents combined. And that generation should visit Antarctica next.

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How Antarctica challenged and changed me

Posted on Wed, 17 Dec 2014

Last month, I embarked on what would become the greatest adventure of my life. This adventure took me to the coldest, highest, windiest, driest place on earth. It took me to Antarctica.

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Shackleton’s centenary: what does it mean to survive?

Posted on Thu, 7 Aug 2014

As we count down the days to the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton setting off on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-16 I find myself considering what it was that compelled him to go, enabled him to survive and motivated me to follow him 100 years later?

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About Antarctica

At a glance

Capital city: n/a
Population: 1,000-5,000 (seasonal)
Language: n/a
Currency: USD
Time zone: (GMT-03:00) Buenos Aires
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code: n/a

Best time to visit Antarctica

Antarctica has a strict summer window for visitors. In winter the ice pack extends out and darkness closes in almost 24 hours a day. With mid-year temperatures reaching down to -50 degrees Celsius, even the most outgoing adventurer would think twice. In summer, the sun is out most of the day and temperatures can reach a heady 2 degrees C. This is the ideal time to spot penguin chicks hatching, whales migrating and seals frolicking.

Antarctica weather chart

Geography and environment

As the world’s highest, driest and coldest continent, it’s no surprise that Antarctica is the only one to have no permanent human population. This vast wilderness is covered with an ice sheet 4 km thick, broken only by mountain ranges and ice streams. Despite the huge amount of frozen water (90% of the world’s ice is here), Antarctica is a desert and conditions are harsh. Antarctica’s nearest neighbours are across the Southern Ocean, past icebergs and whales, in Argentina, Chile and New Zealand. It’s a long way to go for a cup of sugar.

Top Picks

Top 5 Antarctic Experiences

1. Take a Walk

Words can’t describe the feeling of setting foot on the Antarctic Peninsula. Surrounded by ice and knowing that you’re walking where only a handful of people have ever gone before is simply incredible.

2. Whale of a Time

The Antarctic summer is peak whale watching time in the Southern Ocean. Eight species head to the krill-rich waters to feast. It’s not uncommon to see massive blue whales breeching, orcas hunting seals or pods of humpbacks playing.

3. Penguin Encounters

It’s thought that 20 million penguins live in the Antarctic region, and if you find yourself in the midst of a colony, you’ll feel like every single one of them is there with you.

4. Zodiac Cruising

Zodiac is by far the best way to get close to all Antarctica has to offer. Enjoy almost daily landings on beaches, zip around icebergs, get close to whales, or land near a colony of penguins.

5. Polar Plunge

Entertain the resident Gentoo penguins by stripping down to your swimwear and taking a dip in the bracing waters of Neko Harbour. It might be the shortest swim you ever take, but the bragging rights will last a lifetime.

FAQs on Antarctica

No specific visa is required to enter Antarctica beyond the requirements of the country your trip departs from - most likely Argentina or Chile.
Yes, a laundry service at a reasonable cost is included on every ship.
The menu changes every day. Breakfast is buffet style. Lunch often features a buffet. Dinner is plated service, with a choice of three main dishes. A vegetarian choice is always offered. Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is provided every day. Fresh pastries arrive warm from the oven for early birds about 6am.
With luck you’ll go ashore most days once we reach the Antarctic. You’ll have the opportunity to go on zodiac excursions to research stations, penguin colonies, pebble beaches and around icebergs. However, we operate under IAATO guidelines that limit the number of travellers and expedition staff allowed ashore during each landing. No more than 100 people can be ashore at any one time, and in some locations that number is 50. None of our Antarctic vessels carry more than 128 travellers.
Pick a spot no closer than 5 metres (15 feet) from the penguins. Sit or kneel - you're making yourself smaller, therefore less threatening. Wait quietly, with your camera ready to take some incredible photographs. Penguins are curious. They may come to you.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

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From New Zealand?

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From Canada?

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From US?

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From UK?

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The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
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Responsible Travel

Antarctica Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while on holiday in Antarctica.

Top responsible travel tips for Antarctica

1. Don’t use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.

2. Don’t feed, touch, or handle birds or seals or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.

3. Don’t damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.

4. Don’t use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.

5. Don’t bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic, such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats, or house plants.

6. Know the location of areas that have been afforded special protection and observe any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.

7. Don’t damage, remove, or destroy historic sites or monuments or any artifacts associated with them.

8. Don’t interfere with scientific research facilities or equipment.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible VoyageAlfred Lansing
Mawson's Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever WrittenLennard Bickel
An Adventurer's Guide to Antarctica and the Subantarctic IslandsMarilyn J. Landis