An integral part of most Antarctic cruises, the South Shetland Islands let you explore the northernmost islands of the Antarctic Peninsula including Elephant, Livingston, Deception Island & King George Island where you'll cruise past massive icebergs, jagged mountains, and incredible wildlife like penguin rookeries, elephant seals and whales. King George Island is the most highly populated area of Antarctica as many research stations are based here, and Antarctica's principal airport that receives flights from Punta Arenas, Chile is here making it the embarkation and disembarkation point for Antarctica Fly-Cruise trips. Deception Island is perhaps the most famous attraction, being an active volcano resulting in natural beachfront hot springs waiting for those who dare to take the polar plunge!
10 Best South Shetland Islands Cruises for 2023-2024
Even its name is shrowded in mystery. Upon first approaching Deception Island, it's hard to see what's so deceptive about it. It looks similar to the other mountain islands in the region that jut out of the sea.
But turn around the bend and suddenly a slot in the mountain opens up and as our zodiac enters into a narrow opening. We enter into the caldera of an active volcano! The volcano last erupted 1969 and still heats parts of the island resulting in a natural hot springs waiting for those who dare to take the polar plunge!
If you dig the sand away from the shore, you release hot water. Then you have to dig channels to allow the freezing cold ocean water and mix the perfect water temperature.