How to get to Antarctica

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Due to the position of Antarctica at the end of continent Earth, reaching Antarctica involves a long mission

The part of the continent you want to visit, and your budget, will influence the decision to choose to travel by plane or by boat. Whichever option you decide on, the trip will be worth it!


The most widely used and cheapest way to get to Antarctica is by boat or there are even sailboats that leave from the lower end of South America, be it Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile.

Boat trip to Antarctica

Flights to Antarctica are few and expensive, for this reason most tourists decide to sail to Antarctica.

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There are a considerable number of reputed tour operators that take passenger trips to Antarctica, making adventure more accessible than flying.

It’s also one of the greenest ways to see the White Continent, and since no infrastructure is needed on land, ships can visit many destinations easily.

Another benefit of sailing to Antarctica is that there are more departure dates (the air travel season is mainly from December to February due to the weather).

This will be one of the most epic trips of your life. The views and the feeling of being in open water is truly memorable.

Departures from Ushuaia to Antarctica

The best, fastest and cheapest way to get there to Antarctica by boat is to leave from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina

This is because more than 90% of all ships bound for Antarctica depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, and the tip of South America is geographically quite close to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Basically 1,000 kilometers away. About 2 days of boat trip from Ushuaia to Antarctica.

There are very few direct international flights to Ushuaia, so it is best to fly to Buenos Aires and then take a connecting domestic flight to the city at the end of the world.

But Ushuaia is not the only South American starting point for trips to Antarctica!

There are also other ports, such as:

  • Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands
  • Punta Arenas in Chile
  • Buenos Aires in Argentina
  • Santiago in Chile

The trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia is approximately 2 days, and you will have the opportunity to cross the Drake Passage, one of the most infamous ocean channels on the planet. Since the boat tends to move a lot sometimes if you have bad luck it can move on its axis of rotation up to 30 degrees.

But do not panic, you will have to take medicine against seasickness, and you will be entertained with all the lectures on board prepared for the crossing. In addition, seasickness is very democratic, affecting the entire passenger and even the captain who has to sleep in the highest cabin and the one that is furthest from the axis of rotation of the ship, which makes it move more.

Departures from New Zealand and Australia

Although there are far fewer opportunities for normal passengers to travel to Antarctica from New Zealand or Australia, it is sometimes possible. The most popular port of departure in New Zealand is Invercargill, and in Australia it is Hobart. But these trips take much longer to complete, you are usually on average from one to two months on board.

Due to the vast expanse of ocean between the countries and Antarctica, ships often make many stops in remote locations such as Auckland and Macquarie Islands. The advantage of this is that the islands have incredible wildlife and beautiful landscapes, and once you arrive in Antarctica you will have the opportunity to see a part of the continent that hardly anyone will ever see.

But a word of warning: a trip to Antarctica from New Zealand or Australia goes through rough seas.

By plane

Yes, you can afford to fly to Antarctica! The most popular route for airlines heading to Antarctica is to fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island in the extreme north of the peninsula, and upon arrival board your ship for further exploration.

Flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica

One of the biggest benefits of flying to Antarctica is avoiding the Drake Passage, since you substantially reduce travel time and dizziness.

But on the other hand, Antarctica has a very changeable climate so flying to Antarctica is not an easy task.

Leaving from the Ushuaia or Punta Arenas Airport is simple, but landing at the Chilean Frey base is the opposite of easy.

The flight can easily be delayed or postponed due to weather issues, but there have even been cases where you take off from Punta Arenas with favorable weather but conditions change at the time of travel and the plane is forced to return to the Chilean continental airport.

But flying is, of course, a faster and more comfortable option than sailing.

Although flights will increase the price of your trip by 40% or more

The flying season is very short, starting in December and lasting until February.