• Home
  • Blog
  • The Seven Best Things to Do in Antarctica

The Seven Best Things to Do in Antarctica

by Oceanwide Expeditions Blog

Unless you’re a scientist, there’s no such thing as a means-to-an-end trip to Antarctica. Merely being there is reason enough to make the journey - even, we would wager, for most scientists who travel to Antarctica solely for research.
Antarctic Peninsula

Seven essential Antarctic adventures

Unless you’re a scientist, there’s no such thing as a means-to-an-end trip to Antarctica.

Merely being there is reason enough to make the journey - even, we wager, for most scientists who travel to Antarctica solely for research. Still, there are numerous things you can do to maximize your Antarctic experience.

Here are seven of our time-tested selections.

1. Cross the Antarctic gateway: the Drake Passage

Let’s start with a no-brainer.

As most Antarctica cruises require you to sail the Drake Passage (crossing from Argentina to the Antarctic Continent), this is the one part of this list that is generally unavoidable.

This is a good thing. While sailing the Drake, you’ll see a voluminous cast of seabirds not possible for those who fly to Antarctica.

You’ll also win a sense of accomplishment, having undergone the Antarctic “rite of passage.”

For those of you prone to seasickness, your Drake Passage crossing may require a few meds and an optimistic mindset. For all other, you’ll be happy to know this expansive waterway is the most traveled sea route in the history of Antarctic discovery.

So stock your pills, read your Shackleton, and do not go gentle into that blue dawn.

2. Watch Antarctic whales from a ship or Zodiac

Humpback, minke, blue, orca, sei, fin… The list goes on.

Boating to, from, and around Antarctica (whether in an ice-strengthened vessel or Zodiac) will give you the chance to spot several species of whale. As evidence, check out our extensive supply of whale-watching cruises.

The question now is, will you bring a decent camera and finely tuned photography skills to Antarctica to preserve the moment in pictures?

Remember, time and tide wait for no one. And neither do whales.

3. Kayak Antarctica’s crystalline bays

If you’re craving close contact with icebergs, ice floes, and icy Antarctic seas, nothing delivers these better than kayaking – except maybe a scuba diving, but we’ll cover that later.

If you’re not quite ready for the plunge, however, try a kayak. It’s warmer.

Our veteran guides will show you around the polar seas, where you’ll get views of Antarctica only enjoyed by a few lucky travelers and the more curious marine mammals. Soak up the silence, breathe the bracing air, and glide by the power of your own arms.

4. Make pals with a few hundred penguins

More so even than whales, Antarctica is famed for its prime penguin population.

Just about everywhere you go there, penguins are usually not far away. And some places have these flightless birds in spades, supporting breeding colonies that number in the thousands.

In fact, we have Antarctica trips neatly categorized by the penguin species you’re likely to encounter: gentoos, Adélies, kings, chinstraps, you get the idea.

5. Camp under the Southern Hemisphere stars

Remember that part about reading Shackleton? Antarctic camping lets you live like Shackleton.

Actually, Shackleton had it much worse most of the time. But hey, we’re selling expedition cruises, not torture simulations. When you camp with us, you’ll have as much comfort as a snow dugout and mummy bag can afford.

And just watch that Southern Cross twinkle in the polar sky…

6. Soar over the Antarctic sea and snow in a helicopter

Why just walk when you can also sail, why just sail when you can also fly?

On select Antarctica voyages, such as some of our Weddell and Ross Sea cruises, you can survey the far southern icescapes from a seabird’s-eye-view.

Join one of our helicopter groups and let our pilots astound you with soaring aerial sweeps of the Antarctic wilderness. If you think it looks amazing standing along its shoreline, you won’t believe how it looks several hundred meters above it.

7. Take the true polar plunge: Antarctica scuba diving

Kayaking is great, camping is a blast, but there are few activities that divide the certified snow fiend from the ordinary Antarctic traveler so completely as polar scuba diving.

And not just anyone can do it, at least not without a lot of practice.

Due to their inherent difficulty, we require you to have logged at least 30 dry-suit cold-water dives before joining our dive programs. If you have this documentation, good on you! Suit up, strap in, and see a whole new world of Antarctic colors and creatures.

If not, keep diving and tell us the moment you’re ready. We have a number of thrilling Antarctica dive voyages you’ll find well worth the wait.  

Our dive masters (who represent a combined 200 years of experience) will vouch.

Love this article? Share your appreciation:

Related cruises

Antarctic Peninsula – Polar Circle, Deep South Discovery and whale watching voyage
Up to 1900 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula – Polar Circle, Deep South Discovery and whale watching voyage

Whale watching voyage

OTL33-19. This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise will take you further south of Antarctica, crossing the Polar Circe. This expedition cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to hike, and...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

18 Mar - 31 Mar, 2019

Price:

10200 USD 8300 USD 1900 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula - Whale Watching Voyage
Up to 1150 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula - Whale Watching Voyage

In search for the giants of the seas

PLA31-19. The 'Classic Antarctic' route. This cruise delivers you to wondrous landscapes found in one of the harshest environments on Earth. The great star-actors of Antarctica are the penguins and in total seven species could appear before your very own eyes.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

22 Mar - 31 Mar, 2019

Price:

8600 USD 7450 USD 1150 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands
Up to 1450 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Classic Antarctica including Deception Island

PLA22-18. This Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife. Come say hello to whales, seals, and thousands of penguins.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

23 Nov - 3 Dec, 2018

Price:

on request

Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp

The best activity voyage in Antarctica

OTL24-18. The Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Ortelius cruise offers you a myriad of ways to explore and enjoy the Antarctic Region. This expedition allows you to hike, snowshoe, kayak, go mountaineering, and even camp out under the Southern Polar skies.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

28 Nov - 9 Dec, 2018

Price:

9650 USD

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Classic Antarctica including Deception Island

OTL25-19. This Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife. Come say hello to whales, seals, and thousands of penguins.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

9 Dec - 18 Dec, 2018

Price:

on request