If you are wondering when you should go to Antarctica, it depends on what your intentions are for the trip. If you are going on vacation to simply explore the wildlife and scenery, you should go in the summer. If you are going to research, you will likely be there year-round and will experience the most extreme climate on planet Earth. Either way, you should know what it will be like when you go to help you prepare both physically and mentally for the world of the Antarctic. Our goal is to help you decide when you should book your trip, and what you will be getting yourself into depending on which month you visit!

Because of its location at the South Pole, Antarctica only has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Summer is the season during which cruises and excursions take place while winter is the harshest climate on Earth and only researchers are there during this time because the conditions are too harsh for flights or cruises. 

Summer (October – March)

Late October – November

If you choose to go to Antarctica during October, you will be one of the first visitors of the season!

Weather:
This will be the coldest time to take your cruise trip. Temperatures on the coast average 5 F (highest) and -10 F (lowest). Please keep in mind these are temperatures on the coast and further inland you go, the colder it will be. Daylight in October averages 14-17 hours, increasing to 18-20 hours in November. 

What you will see:
October through November is the absolute best time to go if iceberg scenery is important to you. It is the best time to see Antarctica’s fresh snow and clear ice carry over from the wintertime. In South Georgia, the mountaintops are still capped with snow allowing for amazing photography opportunities. This is also the best time to go if you want to see breeding elephant seals!

December – January

Weather:
These two months are the most popular times to travel to Antarctica as it is they are the warmest months. Daylight lasts 24 hours, temperatures start rising in December and in January they can break 32 F or higher in some areas. 

What you will see:
Penguin chicks have just hatched! You will be able to get off the ship and get up close to these little guys in the Antarctic Peninsula. During this time, the parents go out to search for food so the penguin chicks huddle together until their parents return. Watch closely and you may get to see the little babies running to reunite with their parents. This is also the time of the year in which newborn seal pups can be seen out on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. January is also the first opportunity at accessing the Ross Sea. You will be able to start seeing whales, another reason people love going during this time because you get a wide variety of experiences.

February – March

February is considered the last month of “high summer” in Antarctica meaning prices are at a premium when compared to March which usually has lower prices.

Weather:
Since this is late summertime in Antarctica, the average temperatures are still warm in February, but begin dropping in March. In February, the average temperatures are 34 F in the Antarctic Peninsula, 45 F in South Georgia, and 46 F in the Falklands.

What you will see:
If seeing wildlife is at the top of your to-do list during your trip, February is the time to go. During the most active wildlife month, you will get to see penguin chicks begin to develop wing feathers that are large enough for flight, meaning you will see them take their first attempt at swimming. You will also get to see their parents go diving for food for their babies, meaning leopard seals are out searching for prey. February and March are also the best times to see many whales including humpback, minke, and orca. If going to South Georgia during this time, you will see king penguins start laying their eggs which means you will also see the most birds here.

As the sun is out almost 24 hours a day, it melts some of the ice sheets allowing access to the Ross Sea which you may not get during any other time of the year. This is also the best time for Antarctic Circle crossing.

Winter (April – September)

During the winter, there is 24 hours of darkness. After the last ship leaves and the last flight takes off back to South America, anyone who is still in Antarctica is not leaving until October/November. If you do decide to stay in Antarctica during this time, please make sure you are mentally prepared as depression is a common side effect of the darkness as there is a Vitamin D deficiency. 

Weather:
Early July is the heart of winter in Antarctica and temperatures actually get below -100 F, 50 degrees past the temperature at which gasoline freezes. Some researchers join the 300 Club by heating themselves in a 200 degree sauna and then running out into the -100 degrees Antarctic air. In 1983, the coldest temperature ever was recorded in Vostok (-89.6 C or -129.28 F). if you take into consideration the high altitude levels averaging 6600-8000 ft (the average for other continents is 2300-2600 ft), the conditions become much worse than you originally thought. 

What you will see:
There are 3 U.S. research stations in Antarctica: the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, McMurdo Station on Ross Island, and Palmer Station on Anvers Island. In April, you will see gradual darkening of the sky so every day you will see more stars than you did the day before. If you are an astronomer, this would be exposure you would never get anywhere else! The moon during this time is out 24/7 so some say you can even see it change phases. 

Many people know of Antarctica, but most do not realize you can travel to Antarctica with your friends, your family, or by yourself! This trip can be a reality on your bucket list and does not have to be just a dream. The biggest question is, can you travel to Antarctica? The answer is YES! Let me tell you how! There are numerous Antarctica tour packages to choose from, have a look or let us help you look at the options that are the best for you! Our phone number is listed on our home page, as well as at the bottom of every page.

Flying To Antarctica

Flying to Antarctica is possible, but it is less common and more expensive than standard cruise options.

We offer 3 flight options:

  1. Fly both ways – from South America to Antarctica & back
  2. Fly to Antarctica & cruise back
  3. Cruise to Antarctica & fly back

There is only one company that flies directly to the south pole, and they charge about $93,000 USD per person. This is not a trip for the average traveler. It is more common to fly to South America or South Africa, and then catch a cruise to Antarctica. This is also more affordable for most travelers. 

We find that travelers interested in flying to Antarctica are interested for a few reasons.

  1.  You get to view Antarctica from the sky! It is incredibly beautiful and a bucket-list item for many. 
  2.  Some passengers experience sea-sickness while sailing through the Drake Passage. This section of the journey is the first 2 days of cruising, and the last 2 days. The Drake Passage is notorious for causing motion sickness in susceptible travelers, and it can be avoided completely by flying.
  3.  Flying not only saves you from sea-sickness during part of your cruise, it also gets you to the seventh continent much quicker. Instead of reaching the continent in a few days, you will arrive in a few hours (2-3).

Antarctica flight plane waits on the tarmac

Take An Antarctic Cruise

The most common way to travel to antarctica is to cruise from South America. Many Antarctica tour packages would start by flying into Buenos Aires (if traveling from the U.S. or Canada) and catching another flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. The reason you cannot travel straight there is because it is a smaller airport and not many airlines make direct flights from the U.S. 

From Argentina you will get aboard a cruise ship, size will depend on tour package chosen and how much you want to spend on your Antarctica trip. The cruise to Antarctica you choose will strongly depend on your adventure level and budget. Some Cruises only cost about $5,500 USD and others can get up to $25,000 USD. There are many more antarctica cruise options to choose from than there are flights, and this is a main reason as to why it remains the most popular way to travel to Antarctica! 

Antarctic cruise travelers watch the coastline

How Long Does It Take To Get There?

Once on the ship, it will take about two days at sea to reach the first portion of the Antarctic. This is when you will begin to see icebergs and ice caps, how you always envisioned. Although sailing to the south pole may seem time consuming and a lot of work, it remains the most adventurous way to travel. Encountering 40 foot swells while sailing there can make the trip that much more fun. Your travel guide will navigate you through the entire cruise, and make sure to provide you with any sight seeing during your time at sea! They make sure not to let you miss any important detail of your Antarctica trip, or get too bored at sea. Cruises also have experts aboard who give many talks about local wildlife, geology, and history! There is plenty to see and do aboard your cruise ship while you wait to reach the snowy banks of the continent.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about how you can travel to Antarctica, please contact us and use our team as a resource! The Polar Holidays team has a decade of polar travel experience, especially to and from Antarctica, and would love to assist you in planning your trip. We are happy to speak over the phone with you, or you can send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Happy traveling!

A solo trip to Antarctica can be one of life’s most fascinating and memorable experiences. The frozen continent remains one of the world’s underexplored frontiers, with so much to experience. Still, only a small fraction of people will ever see and explore it.

The sublime, wind-scarred ice sheets, the abundant marine life, and the stark contrasts between the dark, cold ocean and the blinding white snow. These, as well as remnants left by the early explorers like Ernest Shackleton, are unforgettable. 

Why Antarctica?

Antarctica is not often the first place people think of when researching destinations for their vacation. However, as one of the most unique continents on earth, a cruise to Antarctica provides an experience unlike any other. 

Antarctica is one of the continents that remains mostly untouched in its natural beauty. Tourism is increasing, but still on a very small scale, and most of it doesn’t interfere with the stunning scenery and wildlife. If you are wondering how big Antarctica is, with a surface area of 14 million square kilometres, it is massive. You’ll see the stars more brilliantly than ever due to the lack of light pollution. Below the skyline travellers will see beautiful icebergs, as well as seals and penguins of many species.

Penguin photographer sits in front of penguins

Only a small number of people are permitted to disembark in each area, and only for a few hours each day. You are unlikely to see people from other cruise ships, and will spend time viewing the continent from your cruise ship, as well as exploring on land.

Things to Do Solo on an Antarctica Cruise

Some of the best things to do as a solo traveller include:

antarctic travelers spot a whale

Antarctic Peninsula

What is it like to travel to Antarctica Solo?

Travelling alone on an Antarctica cruise can sound like an overwhelming experience. However, if you do choose to travel to Antarctica solo, you’ll be pleased to know arrangements are in place. You can either be matched with someone for no additional cost and share a cabin, or you can pay a single’s supplement. The reason for charging a single’s supplement is due to the need for a private cabin being more costly than finding one for a couple. 

Many of the activities available when you arrive are done as groups, so there will be plenty of people to meet and spend time with. There is camping, kayaking, swimming (the polar plunge), and even cross-country skiing. 

Mountaineering on Antarctica

If you choose a cruise, you will also have plenty of opportunities to meet other like-minded travellers who are just as interested in the continent of Antarctica as you are. There’s a good chance you will not be the only solo traveller on board. That just means even more opportunity to meet individuals in similar circumstances.

Finally, most cruise ships have an open seating policy at dinner – you can move around and converse with others as you like. It makes for a truly friendly atmosphere with everyone chatting and mingling.

Solo Travel Choices

Traveling solo in Antarctica is going to be one of the most exhilarating experiences – you will make new friends and see the pristine regions of Antarctica together.

What is important is that you come prepared. Do your research and choose the cruise or air travel plans that best suit the kind of experience you are looking for. An Antarctica flight can be expensive, so watch out for the best deals for solo travellers. 

Cruise Ship Types

The type of Antarctica cruise ship you choose can play a considerable role in the type of travel experience you end up with.

Luxury ships are bigger and have a much wider range of facilities and activities. However, they are also more costly and are not as focused on one type of activity. They also provide fewer activity adventures such as camping on Antarctica. Smaller ships will allow you more time on land. Therefore, you might want to consider something smaller for a more personal experience with the Antarctic.

The Ocean Diamond can hold up to 189 passengers

As a solo traveller, you can often opt to try for an expedition ship as well. These tend to hold only 50-100 passengers, allowing a more tight-knit experience. These expedition ships still have showers in the rooms, a small library and other amenities to make your Antarctica cruise comfortable.

Ocean Nova antarctic cruise ship

The Ocean Nova can hold up to 67 passengers