Antarctica travel advice
A visit to Antarctica is an astonishing trip of a lifetime, the expedition cruises are educational and challenging like no other, and a journey of this magnitude needs to be perfectly planned.
This is where Audley comes in, our specialists can guide you through the myriad of options, giving advice based on their own first-hand knowledge. We appreciate the subtle differences in the vessels and the cruise itineraries, and can advise on the pros and cons of travelling to Antarctica from South America (the easiest access point to Antarctica), Australasia or South Africa. We can also arrange tailor-made tours of these continents to combine with your Antarctic cruise.
Cruise operators and vessels
We recommend a small selection of expedition vessels for Antarctic cruising. They all depart from Ushuaia (other than the Antarctica xxi fly-cruise, which leaves from Punta Arenas in Chile). The cruise companies operate a selection of trips ranging from the typical classic Antarctica cruises that usually last about 10 days to trips of up to 20 days which take in the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Some operators include an (optional) night’s camping, bathing in self-dug thermal pools and sea-kayaking, or operate special cruises with themes such as photography.
Tipping for good service is an accepted fact. Boat operators will suggest around US$12 per passenger per day. However, this is anonymous (an envelope is provided at the end of the voyage) and entirely at your own discretion.
Currency and money
For trips to Argentina and Chile take US dollars which can easily be changed down to Chilean or Argentinian pesos at airports, hotels or bureaux de change. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted and can be used in ATMs in the bigger towns and cities. Aboard the ship a tab system will operate which must be settled at the end of the trip. The ships will accept US$, Argentinian pesos or credit/debit cards.
In 1991 seven private tour operators formed IAATO, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, in recognition of the potential environmental impact that more than 20,000 tourists a year could have on Antarctica. Their aim is "practice and promote the highest possible standards of travel in this remote, wild and delicate region of the world." In 2005, 69 operators are voluntary members of IAATO.
IAATO guidelines will be followed throughout your visit and include regulations regarding numbers of passengers allowed on shore at any one time and approved distances for wildlife-watching. For more information please see www.iaato.org
Camera batteries will run down much more quickly in the cold weather. Take a spare with you on your landings and recharge the spare in your cabin.
Pack a hairdryer if it is important to you. Ships do not generally have them.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to Antarctica
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Antarctica.