Destinations

Antarctica FAQs

ANSWERS FOR YOUR ANTARCTICA QUESTIONS

Antarctica is a mystical land, with unique wildlife and stunning landscapes, from the Antarctic Peninsula itself, to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Find out everything you need to know about a holiday in Antarctica below with our new frequently asked questions section. If what you are looking for isn't there, then please call us or send us an email and we will be happy to help.

  • Can I dive in Antarctica?

    Diving in Antarctica is such a unique experience and nothing like the bright corals of the tropics!

    As well as ice and that unforgettable deep blue, there is lots of interesting marine life, such as sea-hedgehogs, shrubby horse-tails, sea butterflies and jellyfish, and you may even get the opportunity to snorkel or dive with leopard seals, fur seals and penguins.

    We do offer diving in Antarctica on some of our trips, but to take part you must be advances and experienced in a dry suit, as well as cold water diving. During dive trips we will usually aim for one or two dives per day alongside other activities, but this will depend on weather and ice conditions.

  • How long are shore excursions?

    The aim on most expeditions is for about 2 shore excursions per day, weather permitting.

    Each of these excursions will last about 2 or 3 hours, this, again, is weather permitting. The key to all our polar expeditions, whether north or south, is flexibility. You have to be aware that it is possible for the weather conditions to prevent any excursions on that particular day – but it’s all part of the experience!

  • Is Antarctica good for families?

    Antarctica can be a magical experience for the entire family. The landscapes are fascinating and the wildlife adorable and a trip here can be very educational.

    That being said, it is very important that you discuss your family’s requirements with us prior to booking as some departures may not be suitable for your family.

    Children must be mature enough not to spoil the experience for anyone else, and to enjoy it and understand it for themselves. Some travel times on the ship will be long and few ships provide activities for children. You must also remember that it gets very cold and there are limited medical facilities on-board.

  • Is seasickness common?

    A majority of Antarctica itineraries will cross the notorious Drake Passage.

    Drake Passage is renowned for having rough seas and can bring on sea sickness. The ships we use are stable, but we recommend that you bring the usual seasickness medication with you for the voyage. You will be spending a lot of time on-board some kind of water vessel, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

  • What is there to do in Antarctica?

    Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife and experiences on earth.

    Have a read below to find out some of our favourite Antarctic experiences.

    Spend time with penguins

    The most popular thing to do is spend time with the penguins; you can walk among massive colonies and even see penguin chicks if you go at the right time of year. There are 6 different penguin species found across Antarctica, from the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, to the Antarctic Peninsula itself.

    Zodiac Exploration

    Cuising in a zodiac, a small boat with room for 8 – 12 guests, means you can explore some of Antarctica’s most narrow passages and get up close to some incredible icebergs. This is also a great way to spot seals and sea lions. Zofdiacs are often used to get you from your expedition ship to the land for walking activities as well.

    Swimming at Deception Bay

    Deception Bay is a prime site for swimming in Antarctica. This site, actually the caldera of a volcano, is generally warmer and you can find the world’s largest chin strap penguin colony here.

    Diving & Snorkelling

    As you can imagine, diving or snorkelling in Antarctica is unlike doing it anywhere else in the world. To dive you must be qualified and experienced in cold water diving. No fears if you are not qualified, you can snorkel the icy clear waters instead. As well as some incredible marine life, sometimes you can even dive or snorkel with fur seals, the icebergs and landscapes look equally as impressive from under the water.

    Kayaking & Camping

    Within the safer locations, both of these activities are available on certain itineraries. Kayaking offers a more personal encounter with the Antarctic land, rather than being in a zodiac with 7 – 11 other people. Camping allows you to really get involved with the area, sleeping out in the true icy wilderness among the amazing wildlife.

    Photography & Natural Beauty

    Antarctica is home to some of the most outstanding beauty you will see, perfect for photography. Places such as the Lemai Channel, where the ice=strewn mountain and icebergs reflect perfectly in calm waters will give you some of the best photos of your trip. Of course, the wildlife is great for photographing too. Specialist photo tours may also be available where on-board mentors will spend time with you, improving your technique through one-to-one help and workshops, ensuring you get the best shots possible during your trip.

    Send yourself a postcard

    Unbelievably there are post offices in Antarctica. The post office and museum at Port Lockroy sits among a big penguin colony and stunning icebergs. From here you can post yourself or a loved one a postcard, don’t expect it to be there when you return though as it can take about 3 months to arrive.

    Ski-trekking in South Georgia

    This adventure for true explorers follows the historic footsteps of Shackleton across the island from 1916. Along with mountain guides you will attempt to traverse South Georgia, unsupported and self-sufficient. This ski-trek covers between 40 and 50 kilometres.

    Find out more on wildlife in Antarctica.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    Accommodation in Antarctica will usually be on an expedition ship, but we do specialist departures where you can actually camp on the peninsula.

    Please click here for more details on accommodation in Antarctica.

  • What wildlife can I see in Antarctica?

    As you move south, further from the equator, the wildlife becomes more sparse as the conditions become too harsh for many to adapt to.

    In Antarctica we find these amazing species that have adapted to live in such dry, cold and windy terrain. Animals such as seals and penguins rely on the sea to support them; it’s usually warmer than the land. Land-living plants and animals are all small and close to the ground to avoid the bitter wind chill.  Read on for the wildlife species found in Antarctica and use reference at the bottom of the page to see where you can find them:

    There are 6 species on penguin in Antarctica; Emperor, King, chinstrap, Adelie, Gentoo and macaroni. Each of which it is possible to see during your time in Antarctica, depending on your itinerary.  Other birds include 5 species of albatross, lots of petrels, gulls and terns, as well as cormorants, shags and geese. There are lots of whale species as well; from baleen species such as humpback, minke, blue, southern right, sei and fin to toothed whales, including orca, southern bottlenose, sperm, Peale’s dolphin,  Commerson’s dolphin, and dusky dolphin. There are also leopard, Antarctic fur, elephant, crabeater, Weddell and South American fur seals as well as the South American sea lion.

    The aforementioned wildlife is found across the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, some are pelagic. 

  • when's the best time to go to Antarctica?

    We operate our Antarctica safaris within the austral summer, between late October and March.

    Find out when is the best time to go to Antarctica.

    October


    Rarely itineraries will allow you to head out a bit earlier in the season. October present great photography opportunities, as the ice isn’t breaking up properly yet and you may be able to get that elusive shot of a king penguin on the snow. From October to December, penguins build ‘highways’ where they waddle up and down from the sea to their nests.

    November

    This is the courting season for seabirds and penguins. At this time it is spring and the wild flowers on the Falkland Islands are in bloom and the ice breaking up to form mystical ice-shapes. This is known to be the best time to view penguin rookeries and icebergs.

    December & January

    On South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, the first penguin and seal pups are born around this time and it is getting better for whale watching. At this time the snow is retreating and rocks become exposed.

    February & March

    This is peak whale-watching season as they return to feed. The penguins are starting to fledge (develop wing feathers large enough for flight) at this time, getting ready for the winter ahead. This is a great time to watch the mishaps of young penguins as they shuffle around not to dissimilar to mini Charlie Chaplins.

    For more details, head to our Antarctica when to go page.

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