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The best time to visit Antarctica on an expedition cruise is between late October and late March — indeed, this is the only time when such travel is possible. These are the summer months in the southern hemisphere, with temperatures in Antarctica ranging from 39°F-46°F.

This is also the calmest time of year to take on the infamous Drake Passage — the two-day sea crossing to get to and from Antarctica.

There are some variations in what you might see, with luck playing a large part, but whenever you go, it will be the trip of a lifetime.

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Antarctica Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
South Georgia 7°C 103mm 8°C 147mm 7°C 152mm 4°C 162mm 2°C 169mm 1°C 151mm 0°C 145mm 1°C 145mm 2°C 142mm 4°C 111mm 6°C 102mm 6°C 92mm

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Antarctica

Gentoo penguins

Visiting Antarctica in December - January

High summer in Antarctica. Days are long, the temperatures are at their ‘warmest’ and the penguins, seals and seabirds are active everywhere. Christmas and New Year is a very busy time for Antarctica cruise travel, so if you wish to travel at this time please plan well in advance.

Humpback whale

Visiting Antarctica in February - March

These are the best months to see whales such as humpback, sperm and orca. Fledgling penguin chicks can be seen and sea birds are still abundant.

Antarctica

Visiting Antarctica in April - September

Winter in Antarctica - stormy seas, freezing temperatures and no possible way to visit.

Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

Visiting Antarctica in October

Some cruises start to operate in late October, and the advantage of being a guest on one of the first trips of the season is seeing the start of the courting and mating season of the penguins of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Down near the Antarctic Peninsula you will need to push your way past the winter sea ice.

Gentoo penguins, Antarctica

Visiting Antarctica in November

This time of year sees the winter ice further break up into stunning icebergs and sculptures. Wildlife courtship rituals continue, including male seals establishing their breeding beaches, and wildflowers are in bloom in South Georgia and the Falklands.

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to Antarctica, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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