Antarctica Travel Information
What to Wear
Dress on board is usually informal. Plan to bring comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. Bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton. When packing, we suggest that you do not weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear. Select informal, practical attire that can be worn in layers. The most important item that you will need to bring on your voyage is a parka. It may be possible to rent gear before the expedition depending on your itinerary, but the quantity and quality of gear varies greatly depending on the demand.
Upon arrival in Ushuaia (or other departure point - refer to your itinerary), you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. We have provided local contact details in the accompanying information but if you have any problems please call our 24-hour UK telephone number on +44 (0)7887 637 628.
Expedition ships vary, however we only use the most intimate and comfortable. They will rarely be overly luxurious, but they are exactly what you need to explore the most remote regions of the south. Ice-strengthened and large enough to be stable, yet small enough to feel intimate.
This will depend on your chosen expedition ship. There will not always be laundry facilities on-board, check with us prior to departure.
One of the main focuses of your expedition is the wildlife. The south is harsh and the summer’s brief. These brief summers happen to be the only time the animals can reproduce and prepare for the long winters, and coincides with peak visiting season. Make sure you always watch your step and keep to established paths whenever possible, don’t startle the wildlife and avoid trampling on plants. Always listen to your guide and stay with the group. This is for your safety. We also ask that you do not collect natural souvenirs or litter, you must also ensure that you don’t reintroduce any new species by ensuring your boots are washed and there are no seeds in packaging or clothing etc.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting. Keep a minimum distance of 5 meters (15 feet) from all wildlife.
Food & Water
You meals will be provided for you on board your expedition ship. Food will usually come second to wildlife sightings, so if there is something especially amazing that needs to be explored, you will usually do that first. Vegetarians and other special dietary requirements can usually be catered for easily, you must let us know in advance.
Each expedition ship has a different means of communication. Some have satellite phones, others will provide you with your own email address on board so you can stay in touch with loved ones. We will send you the details of your specific ship prior to your departure.
Antarctica is 3 hours (-3) behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Hours of daylight in Antarctica vary to the extreme depending on the time of year. Darkness peaks in Antarctica during the winter month of June, with a total daylight time of just 4 hours and 31 minutes 19th -21st June, whilst daylight peaks during the summer in December, rising to a high of 20 hours and 35 minutes 19th – 21st December.
The electricity supply varies between ships and you will be sent specific details prior to your departure.
The local currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso. Currency is denominated in notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-peso. Coins are in denominations of 5 centavo, 10 centavo, 25 and 50 centavos; there is also a 1 peso coin. The currency used upon your expedition ship may be different, you will be sent these details prior to your departure. The currency used on board is the US Dollar ($), Euros are also accepted.
We recommend that you change your money upon arrival or at home before departing, it is more difficult to change money whilst travelling.
Never keep all of your cash in the same place, keep it in different pockets and split it up between different bags.
It is a good idea to bring cash or a credit card as back up. Most major credit and debit cards, such as Visa / Mastercard are accepted by hotels & expedition ships – however cash is preferred in supermarkets and shops. You will be sent further details prior to your departure according to your chosen ship.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. Whilst we are happy to advise you on your visa requirements, please ensure these are organised well in advance of your travels as they are your responsibility.
In the UK the Argentinian Embassy is located at 25 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QD
Tel: 0207 591 5500
Open Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm
In the USA the Argentinian Embassy is located at 2720 34th Street NW, Washington, D.C 20008
Tel: (202) 333 6000
Open Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm
All of our local operators conform to local safety regulations. If you at any time feel that this is not the case please do not hesitate to contact us.
Know Before You Go is an ongoing campaign from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help Brits stay safe abroad, however in our opinion it has useful information for all nationalities. The campaign was launched in 2001 to promote these key messages:
Get adequate travel insurance
Check the FCO’s country travel advise
Visit your GP as soon as possible before travelling
Check your passport is in good condition and valid, and you have all necessary visas
Make copies of important documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site
Tell someone where you are going and leave emergency contact details with them
Take enough money and have access to emergency funds
We suggest that you go to www.gov.uk/browse/abroad to get up to date information on your specific destination and important travel tips before you travel.
Go to: https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/ for relevant and important travel tips to plan your trip abroad.
Incidents are extremely rare, but common sense precautions need to be taken as with any destination abroad. We would recommend taking taxis when travelling at night and not flashing expensive photographic equipment and jewellery around. Do not flaunt money and always use safes when provided at hotels/lodges. If in doubt please ask your guide.
For latest travel advice please contact us, at our UK office, or alternatively use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Health & Medical
Always seek medical advice before travelling; please consult your GP or Doctor who will be able to advise you on required vaccinations.
In the UK we recommended visiting the ‘Fit for Travel’ website.
In the USA we suggest consulting CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) - http://www.cdc.gov/
In case of an emergency, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician (to be given our doctor on board, as well as for any medical authorities in case of an emergency) stating any health problems and dosage requirements. International health regulations do not currently require any inoculations for the countries that you will visit on our voyages to the Antarctic. We suggest that you confer with your own physician to be sure your routine immunizations, such as tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A, are up-to-date before travelling. Older travellers, in particular, may wish to consider preventive measures against influenza and pneumonia.
Medical services are not readily available. All travellers to Antarctica will be required to complete a medical form in advance of travel to ensure they are medically fit for travel to such a remote destination. Expedition ships will have a small infirmary with basic equipment. It is essential you have appropriate travel insurance with adequate medical cover, air repatriation with a 24-hour contact telephone number for emergencies. Securing the necessary travel insurance for your safari is your own responsibility.
It is a condition of booking that all clients must have, and must demonstrate to the company prior to their departure, adequate insurance for the duration of the tour.
Proof of the following items of insurance is required on booking; cancellation or curtailment of your trip, medical expenses, repatriation, loss of luggage, personal injury, adventure activities such as white-water rafting, tracking wild animals, theft of personal belongings.
Please report any theft, trip disruption immediately to your guide during your trip and also in writing to Natural World Safaris immediately on return to your home country.
Many ships will not allow smoking aboard.
Your main means of transport will be your expedition ship and the speed of your journey will depend on the weather and wildlife.
Antarctica is the coldest place on earth, being right in the south means it gets very little sun and a lot of the sun it does get is reflected back into space by the snow. Between October and March, the weather is more palettable, with temperatures ranging from about -6 to +10 degrees.
Please refrain from photography of military personnel, military installations and airports. Always ask for permission when taking photos of local people or alternatively ask your guide for advice. For photographing wildlife a zoom lens of 300mm or more is highly recommended.
Ensure you check all your equipment before departure and bring extra batteries with you. We recommend you bring twice as many memory cards as you think you’ll need. Bring a tripod, however we also recommend bringing a bean bad for steadier shots on-board your expedition ship.
Tips & Gratuities
Tips are discretionary, but we recommend about US$10-15 per person per day spent on-board. Tipping is, of course, a personal choice, so the amount is just a guideline.
Charitable Giving & Community Projects
We recommend as part of our responsible travel policy that you do not give money or gifts directly to local people. We have links with local projects/schools that would appreciate your support. Please ask your guide for further details. If you would like to contribute to these donations of clothing, pens and pencils are greatly appreciated.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists the flight, accommodation, car hire and/or other services that are financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. Company Name: Natural World Safaris Ltd. ATOL Number 9826. For more information please visit their website: http://www.caa.co.uk/atol-protection/
As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Natural World Safaris Ltd has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Natural World Safaris Ltd.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
The ABTOT number is 5127.