At the very bottom of our planet, the white continent of Antarctica challenges travelers to break away from their sunny beach vacations to experience something truly unique. Sea birds and penguins, whales, and sea lions prove that life can exist - and flourish! - in these extreme climates. When you make your expedition to Antarctica, you join a privileged and small group of people who have dared to embark on this journey.
Cruises to Antarctica depart from either Ushuaia, Argentina, Invercargill, New Zealand, or Punta Arena, Chile. Accessible only by expedition ships, some of the most popular destinations on a visit to Antarctica are:
The climax of many Antarctica expeditions is the journey across the Antarctic Peninsula. You’re sure to see penguins in the hundreds at rookeries and humpback whales favoring certain spots along the coast. In addition to plenty of wildlife viewing and glacier trekking, you will also visit research stations and see some of the latest science and experiments being conducted here. A few top spots to visit on the Antarctic Peninsula are:
The Weddel Sea
- Wilhelmina Bay
- Lemaire Channel
- Penola Channel
- Neumayer Channel
- Half Moon Island
- Neko Harbor
- Paradise Harbor
- Poland’s Arctowksi Research Base
- Ukraine’s Vernadskiy Base
- Historic Port Lockroy and Wordie House bases of the United Kingdom
The Weddel Sea is located in the Arctic Peninsula. In 1956 a few scientific bases were established here and since, have been trying to study the environment around the Weddel Sea which can be an intriguing reason to visit. Wildlife flourishes here as there are about 800,000 Weddel seals which are a docile species and thus easy to observe, a lot of leopard seals- a non-docile species, and at least one emperor penguin colony has been discovered here.
South Shetland Islands (including King George Island)
Punctuated by impressive fjords and giant icebergs, acquaint yourself with the southern sea as you search for whales majestically breaching the water, seabirds soaring overhead looking for their next meal, penguins diving for fish, and lazily lounging seals and sea lions.
The Ross Sea
Many trips to the Ross Sea start in Invercargill, New Zeland, and take you to one of the most remote places on Earth. The Ross Sea has an extremely long history because it used to have explorers and traders coming through constantly. The observable history includes extremely old huts the explorers and traders used to stay in along the Ross Ice Shelf. Additionally, there are loads of wildlife here including, many opportunities for whale sightings, chances to visit penguin rookeries, and opportunities to explore seal colonies. The landscape surrounding the Ross Sea is ideal for photographers as it’s a beautiful barren white with wildlife surrounding it.
The Drake Passage
The vast ocean that spans from Cape Horn in South America to the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica is named after the 16th century English privateer Sir Francis Drake. While cruising this waterway, you will surely notice the drop in temperature as you enter the Southern Ocean, where the Antarctic waters join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Keep an eye out for seabirds and whales as you journey across the frigid waters as they’re commonly spotted in these parts.
South Georgia Island
With only about 30 human residents living on South Georgia Island, wildlife vastly outnumbers humans. Wildlife here includes fur seals, penguins, elephant seals, albatross, and whales. Additionally, hiking is a fantastic activity here, although it’s cold, that won’t matter when you reach the top of a mountain with picturesque views of snowcapped mountains all around you.
Although not technically in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands are very close and Adventure Life offers many trips that combine the Falkland Island cruises with Antarctica cruises. The highlight of the Falkland Islands is bird watching, there are over 200 species of birds on this island including two-thirds of the world’s black-browed albatross. Additionally, you can take a trip to Sea Lion Island
to see the herds of sea lions that congregate here and stay in luxury in one of the few hotels this far south of South America.
If you’re interested in embarking on an adventure to the top destinations in Antarctica or just want more information, don’t hesitate to contact our travel experts