I have traveled to over 50 countries on seven continents, more than half of which were visited solo. I love traveling, being outdoors, and hiking. I hope to inspire others to travel and explore further, even if that means going alone.
Hey, I'm Ashley!
Antarctica’s extreme climates make it an unlikely destination for your average traveler. However, those who venture there are rewarded by the most beautiful glacier-filled vistas.
The Antarctic cruise season typically runs from November to March, with each month offering its own unique advantages. From November to December, Antarctica is covered in ice and penguins begin to lay their eggs. If you visit December to late-February, you’ll be able to see the penguins hatch. Mid-February to March is the most ideal time to see whales, as they migrate to the region during this period.
You can take the Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent expedition with Quark Expeditions which is perfect for first-time explorers. Choose the longer option that adds in the flight from Buenos Aires if you want to ensure no chance of missing the boat in Ushuaia!
Quark Expeditions offers a wide range of journeys around Antarctica. Each expedition is designed to showcase the best of what this incredible continent has to offer.
Check out this post for everything to pack for a trip to Antarctica.
With the help of expert guides provided by your tour operator, you’ll be able to experience all this polar region has to offer. From visiting historic sites, to observing penguins and whales, to paddling glacial waters, I would highly recommend adding all of these to your expedition!
Make sure you purchase these excursions well in advance of your trip or even at booking. They do sell out!
Hiking on Antarctica can be a challenging and physically demanding experience, but it is also incredibly rewarding. With guides highly experienced in mountaineering, you’ll get to trek across snow-covered glaciers while observing penguins along the way.
Not only do you get on the Antarctic mainland, but you get to go farther inland than everyone else. You’ll also be in a group of only about 10-15 people!
There are a lot of articles about not getting on the mainland with certain tours. It’s never guaranteed (weather and accessibility often being the cause), but I had no problem of this with Quark Expeditions. I was on land every day that we weren’t traveling through the Drake Passage.
For those looking for a truly immersive experience, camping on Antarctica is a must-do adventure. Whether you’re an experienced camper or simply looking for a new challenge, this activity is open to all travelers.
I specifically chose Quark Expeditions because they offered a camping option. Unfortunately, due to weather it was unsafe to camp, but hoping one day to have another chance to do this!
Kayaking or paddling in Antarctica offers a chance to experience the beauty of the continent from a different vantage point. From paddling through serene bays to navigating the quiet coastline, you’ll be able to see the beautiful landscape up close.
I only recommend sea kayaking for those that are experienced in kayaking, but if you’re not, paddling is a great choice. On my padding excursion, I even had the opportunity to see an old whaleboat shipwrecked on the shore.
For both excursions you will be provided with gloves as well as a dry suit and life jacket, in the event you were to go over board.
For those looking for a thrilling experience, the Polar Plunge is a must-do adventure. This daring challenge involves jumping into the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean. You’ll surely get both a rush of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment.
You will wait in line at a lower deck of the boat with a robe on over your swimsuit. Right before its your turn to jump, you will need to wait for a minute or so in the freezing cold. I thought getting out was actually the worst part. You will be trying to reach the person waiting with your robe as soon as possible.
The Polar Plunge can definitely be shocking, so for safety measures, you will have a rope around you. Even so, the jump is not recommended for some with certain medical conditions.
Take a break and join one of the twice-daily zodiac cruises to explore Antarctica. These cruises should be included with your tour. They will be the best way to see what Antarctica has to offer if you’re on a smaller budget. If you can though, I would highly recommend purchasing the other excursions I have mentioned to supplement the zodiac cruises.
Zodiac boats are small, inflatable boats that allow for easier navigation through the icy waters surrounding Antarctica. Each tour is led by an experienced guide who is well-versed in the local geography and wildlife. These tours allow visitors to get more up close and personal with the continent and it ice formations as well as its wildlife.
You will be provided with more chances to spot seals and whales, while adorable penguins await your visit on land. The zodiac cruises are split to where half the cruise sails on the zodiac boats while the other half explores on land.
Antarctica is a truly special place. Try participating in all of these exhilarating activities to get a full experience the continent’s wonder!
April 9, 2023