Travel to Antarctica
Often the final continent for travelers to visit, the great white continent provides one of the last rugged, unspoiled, and naturally beautiful destinations to visit. But unlike most other places, you can’t just hop over here and grab an Airbnb. Well, not yet anyway, but for now, travelers can visit Antarctica via boat or plane, the former being the most common and cost-effective.
What was once unthinkable for most people has recently started to get more and more accessible- a (fairly) cheap trip to Antarctica!
Keep reading for general information about a trip to Antarctica, as well as my personal trip report.
How much does a trip to Antarctica cost?
The short answer is: it varies. Fares start around 4 or 5 thousand dollars (USD) and can go up to over $50,000!
I paid a little over $9,000 USD for a private room on an 11 day trip starting in Punta Arenas, Chile and ending in Ushuaia, Argentina. 5 days in Antarctic territory were included, which was honestly enough for one trip. Your days are absolutely jam-packed with activities when you are at the continent, and by the end you will be ready to rest for a few days on your trip back.
What is included on an Antarctic Voyage?Again, it varies, but mine (and most) will include your room and full board, with regular shore excursions included. Alcohol, some activities like camping and kayaking, and extras from the gift shop will carry extra fees.
How Long Is the trip to Antarctica?Depends, it can range from 8 to 25 days, some are even longer! Some people will even fly for a day trip, but those are EXTREMELY expensive.
What is the Wildlife like in Antarctica?
AMAZING!!! Every voyage will have a different experience, and it will depend on your landing sites, route, as well as the time of year. My trip had penguins galore, several types of birds, different types of seals, and humpback whales. The whales were so curious that they kept coming close to our group doing the polar plunge!
Is it cold in Antarctica?
Yes… and no. The temperature in Antarctica is of course freezing (and way below freezing) but since you can only visit from the months of November to March, if you are coming from the Northern Hemisphere it probably won’t seem too bad. That being said, you will want to make sure to pack wisely for freezing temps, so be sure to read the packing suggestions for Antarctica.
My Antarctica Trip
Took place in November 2022, the inaugural Antarctica trip with Intrepid Travel. The trip was unlike anything I had ever done, and though I never thought I would ever step foot on my 7th continent, I was fortunate enough to find such a great deal on this trip.
My Solo Trip To Antarctica
Preparation Before The Trip:
Before I left for the voyage, I wanted to be prepared. I brought everything they had suggested on the packing list, including waterproof pants (I brought thin snow pants and they worked PERFECTLY), several layers, gloves and hats. In addition, I made sure to bring a few extra things that I think made a huge difference. If you are planning on camping overnight on the continent, make sure to bring a large water bottle than can hold hot water. Fill the bottle and keep it in your sleeping bag to help keep you warm throughout the night!
In addition, make sure to bring your full skincare routine on the boat. The weather is extremely dry and can be very windy, in addition to the extreme sun you will be under for most if not all of the trip. Whatever amount of sunscreen you think you need- bring double. And be sure to hydrate and moisturize!
You can always buy more of the essential items on your ship but they will be EXPENSIVE so bring enough with you. Also, bring enough clothes to last you for the trip- the ship will offer laundry service but it will be insanely overpriced. Some people on my ship had been encouraged to just bring a carry-on and do laundry on board, and they really regretted it.
Food On An Antarctic Voyage
You aren’t roughing it, regardless of which type of expedition you choose. Even the cheapest options will still have fantastic food options on board. I also wouldn’t bring snacks unless you really need them between meals. Each night, we were presented with a full, all-you-can-eat menu, with choices like filet mignon, a variety of pastas, cakes and ice creams, cheese platters, and more. Lunch and breakfast were both buffets with cuisines from all over the globe. Coffee and tea with cookies were also available 24/7 on my voyage in the main lobby area.
Drinking in Antarctica
You can’t bring beverages onto the continent, but you CAN enjoy them on the ship. Although it was certainly fun to see what the “drink of the day” was, the bar is actually the part of this trip where they could have improved a lot. On my cruise, there was one tiny bar on the whole boat. While there was another, much larger one, on an upstairs deck, that one was never in use. The tiny bar had just one actual bartender and a few helpers here and there that didn’t actually seem to know how to make drinks. So unless you wanted a glass of wine or a beer, you had to stand in a long line and hope that the actual bartender was making your cocktail.
The ship had advertised a policy that you could not bring your own alcohol on board, but I realized that they hadn’t actually checked the bags (or didn’t care) for anyone’s personal stash of drinks. Several people brought their own bottles with them, and considering the price difference between wine on land and on the ship (about $3 USD for a great bottle in Chile vs $30-$40 or more for a bottle of average wine on the ship) and I really regret not even trying to bring something with me. For all I know, they ended up enforcing this rule on later voyages, but on my trip they certainly didn’t.