How To Get To Antarctica

A Guide To Visiting Antarctica

Can I Visit Antarctica?

Many people ask if it is possible to visit Antarctica. And the answer is most definitely yes!

One hundred years ago, getting to Antarctica was only possible if you were a seasoned polar explorer. But a lot has changed today, and it is now easier to get to Antarctica than at any other point in history.  

There are several ways to get to Antarctica: arriving there by expedition ship, by flying or by combining a flight and expedition cruise known as Fly and Cruise expeditions. With a diverse range of modern expedition ships, there has never been a better time to visit the world’s seventh and least explored continent.

Ways To Get To Antarctica

Due to its stunningly remote location, visiting Antarctica is only possible as part of a prearranged expedition unless you are a scientist or researcher. There are three main ways you can get to Antarctica; Expedition Cruise, Fly and Cruise Expedition or Fly To Antarctica.

Expedition Cruises

The easiest and most common way to get to Antarctica is on an expedition cruise. Expedition cruises take place on purpose-built, ice-strengthened ships with expert guide teams. The ships are equipped with Zodiacs for shore landings and excursions. A significant advantage of an expedition cruise is that you can explore multiple places along the coast where most wildlife is found. Expedition cruises depart from South America or New Zealand. 

Fly To Antarctica and Join an Expedition Cruise

If you like the idea of an expedition cruise to explore Antarctica but would like to avoid the idea of a sea crossing, it is possible to fly to Antarctica and join an expedition cruise. Fly and sail cruises offer travelers a faster way to explore Antarctica and depart from Chile in South America. 

Fly to Antarctica

It is possible to fly to Antarctica and stay at a luxury camp. Flights to Antarctica offer the opportunity to explore rarely visited places in Antarctica's interior, including the South Pole. Several activities are offered, including ice caving, mountaineering, and seeing a remote colony of Emperor Penguins. Antarctica flights depart from Cape Town in South Africa or Punta Arenas in Chile.

Antarctica Cruises

Iceberg in antarctica
Ushuaia - Ushuaia
Feb 21 2025 - Mar 03 2025
10 Nights

Price from per person

£10,400
Small Ship
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Jan 14 - Jan 21 2025
7 Nights

Price from per person

£10,792
Guest hiking in snow on a luxury cruise to Antarctic Peninsula
Door To Door
Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams
Dec 12 - Dec 22 2025
10 Nights

Price from per person

£13,500

Choose Your Preferred Way To Get To Antarctica

Antarctic Peninsula Expedition Cruises From South America

The most common way to get to Antarctica is on an expedition cruise departing from South America and sailing across the Drake Passage to reach the 7th continent. 

The main gateway port for Antarctica is Ushuia in Argentina, which is served by regular flights to Buenos Aires for international connections. Puerto Williams in Chile is another departure port for Antarctica cruises used by select luxury operators. It is connected to Santiago by private charter flights included in the cruise. 

Expert Tip: Crossing the Drake passage takes approximately two days each way. On a 10-day luxury Antarctica cruise, you can expect to spend six days exploring Antarctica and four days at sea. Crossing the Drake Passage, whilst sometimes rough, is an exciting part of the adventure and offers wildlife-watching opportunities. Nothing quite beats sighting the snowy land of Antarctica for the first time.

Antarctic Peninsula Fly and Cruise Expeditions from Chile

It is possible to fly to Antarctica from Chile and join an expedition cruise in Antarctica. This option cuts out the crossing of the Drake Passage in both directions and allows guests to step aboard their ship on King George Island in Antarctica. A typical fly-and-cruise expedition to Antarctica lasts six days. Flights are on a private charter plane and are included in the cost of a cruise.

Expert Tip: Fly and cruise expeditions to Antarctica are ideal for guests who have a short time window or would prefer to avoid crossing the potentially rough waters of the Drake Passage. However, they carry more risk of delays, and there is a limited choice of ships and itineraries with this option, which book out well in advance.

Expedition Cruises Via South Georgia and The Falkland Islands

For wildlife lovers and explorers looking for a more extended voyage, choose an expedition cruise that visits the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands on the same journey. These cruises typically take upwards of 16 days and depart from either Ushuaia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile. Depending on your chosen route and the time of year, cruises sail from South Georgia to the Antarctic Peninsula earlier and from Antarctica to South Georgia later in the season.

Expert Tip: To maximise the time you spend in each location, we recommend a voyage of 18 days to visit each destination. We recommend a ship with excellent amenities so you can relax during the added sea days of these voyages.

Ross Sea Expedition Cruises From New Zealand

Explore the less visited side of Antarctica on a Ross Sea expedition from New Zealand. The Ross Sea is known for its gigantic icebergs, Emperor Penguins and the huts of famous explorers Scott and Shackleton. It takes around seven days to reach Antarctica from New Zealand, and Ross sea expedition cruises start at 22 days in length due to the longer sea passages. 

Expert tip: For animal lovers, choose an itinerary that includes a stop at Macquarie Island, a remote and seldom visited island between New Zealand and Antarctica, known for its abundant wildlife.

Antarctica Semi Circumnavigation from New Zealand To Argentina

On one of these epic voyages, visit the Ross Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. Sail from New Zealand along the most remote coasts of Antarctica between the Ross Sea and the Peninsula and then up to South America. These voyages are Antarctica's most extended expedition cruises and typically last 28 days.

Expert tip: For the true explorer, choose an Antarctica icebreaker cruise that will allow you to experience previously unexplored places.

Fly to Antarctica From South Africa or Chile

These specialist expeditions involve flying to Antarctica and landing on a remote ice runway. It is then possible to spend several days at an isolated luxury camp to soak in the true wilderness of the interior of Antarctica and undertake adventure activities. Flights to Antarctica depart from Chile and South Africa and are included in an expedition on a charter plane. It is not possible to reach Antarctica on a regular airline. 

Expert tip: Flights to Antarctica only take place between November and January. Due to the short season and limited places, we recommend booking well in advance.

Fly to the South Pole From South Africa or Chile

Only a handful of explorers make it to the South Pole each year, making it one of the least visited places on Earth. Flying to the South Pole is possible as part of a weeklong expedition. Flights depart from Cape Town and arrive at a base camp on the Antarctic continent. Guests await a weather window and fly in a smaller aircraft to the Geographic South Pole in this genuinely once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

Expert tip: Very few flights to the South Pole each year take place on specialist aircraft. Places are in demand and can often sell out a year in advance. We recommend an expedition of one week to ensure a long enough window to reach the South Pole.

Getting to Antarctica Travel Tips

Research Which Month To Travel To Antarctica

Each month offers something different in Antarctica from the early season in late October and early November, when you will witness Antarctica as it emerges from the winter. Choose December and January for the most extended daylight hours and when wildlife is most active. Choose February for a longer-length expedition to visit the polar circle and March for the best whale watching. To find out more, please see our guide, When to Visit Antarctica.  

Choose your preferred option: Ship, Plane or Fly and Cruise

Our Travel Experience Team is here to advise you on the right way to get to Antarctica, with lots of first-hand expertise to help match your preferences. We can discuss the different options and explain how to get to Antarctica.

Choose Your Itinerary

With various itineraries on offer, we will provide advice to help you choose your preferred voyage and talk you through the options available. We will then match your preferences to our portfolio of expeditions for your selected dates and explain the differences between each voyage.

Choose Your Ship

A great selection of small modern expedition cruise ships is on offer in Antarctica. We will explain the differences between each ship and operator to help you choose a ship that is the right fit for you.

Reserve Your Trip In Advance

Antarctica cruises and fly cruise expeditions are in high demand for the top ships. We recommend planning your expedition well in advance to secure your preferred option. We also cater for last-minute reservations. We recommend contacting us, and we can search for any last-minute itineraries for you. 

To take the next step in planning your expedition, please get in touch with our Travel Experience Team.

How To Get To Antarctica From Anywhere In The World 

It is possible to get to Antarctica from anywhere in the world. The first step is to reach the departure port for expedition cruises or the departure airport for flights. 

Ushuaia in Argentina is the main departure port for Antarctica expedition cruises, and Punta Arenas in Chile is the main departure airport for flight and cruise expeditions and Antarctica flights. Other departure ports include Porto Williams in Chile (charter flights are included as part of the expedition from Santiago in Chile).

Many luxury expedition cruises have some flight legs included.  Our Travel Experience Team is here to help you plan every aspect of your journey and can assist with flight bookings to help you find the best route and connections. 

How To Get To Antarctica From The UK

To get to Antarctica from the UK, you will first need to reach Ushuaia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile for Antarctica Peninsula Cruises and fly cruise expeditions, or New Zealand for Ross Sea cruises and Antarctica semi-circumnavigations.

For Ushuaia Departures

From the UK, you will first fly to Buenos Aires. Direct flights from London take around 14 hours. Alternatively, you can fly from London via other major European hubs such as Frankfurt, Paris and Madrid to Buenos Aires. This option, whilst longer due to the transfer time, will offer you an excellent choice of dates and can be more cost-effective.

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights by Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia, which take around 3 hours and 40 minutes. Please note that some flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia depart from the domestic airport (AEP). If you choose this option, you must leave enough time to transfer from the international airport (EZE). 

For Punta Arenas Departures

You will first need to fly from the UK to Santiago in Chile. British Airways has direct flights from London, which take 14 hours and 45 minutes. There are also options to fly via Madrid, which takes longer, can offer a more excellent range of dates, and is more cost-effective.

From Santiago, there are regular flights by LATAM to Punta Arenas, which take 3 hours and 25 minutes.  

For New Zealand Departures

You need to fly from the UK to Auckland in New Zealand and then take a connecting flight to Christchurch on the South Island. Air New Zealand and British Airways offer flights to New Zealand with stopovers in South East Asia.

How To Get To Antarctica From The USA

To get to Antarctica from the USA, you will first need to reach Ushuaia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile for Antarctica Peninsula Cruises and fly cruise expeditions, or New Zealand for Ross Sea cruises and Antarctica semi-circumnavigations.

For Ushuaia Departures

From the USA, you will first fly to Buenos Aires. It is possible to fly directly from major American hubs, including New York, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta and Houston. Delta Airlines and American Airlines have frequent daily direct flights.

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights by Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia, which take around 3 hours and 40 minutes. Please note that some flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia depart from the domestic airport (AEP). If you choose this option, you must leave enough time to transfer from the international airport (EZE).

For Punta Arenas Departures

You will first need to fly from the USA to Santiago in Chile. Santiago has direct daily flights from Atlanta, New York, Miami and Houston, with connecting flights from all other major American cities, including Los Angeles.

From Santiago, there are regular flights by LATAM to Punta Arenas, which take 3 hours and 25 minutes.

For New Zealand Departures

You need to fly from the USA to Auckland in New Zealand and then take a connecting flight to Christchurch on the South Island. There are direct flights from the USA to Auckland from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Dallas by Air New Zealand and Delta Airlines.

How To Get To Antarctica From Europe

To get to Antarctica from Europe, you will first need to reach Ushuaia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile for Antarctica Peninsula Cruises and fly cruise expeditions, or New Zealand for Ross Sea cruises and Antarctica semi-circumnavigations.

For Ushuaia Departures

From Europe, you will first fly to Buenos Aires. There are several options to pass directly to Buenos Aires from major European hubs, including Madrid, which has the most frequent connections and has direct flights to Buenos Aires with Air Europa, Iberia and Aerolíneas Argentinas, Frankfurt in Germany with Lufthansa, Amsterdam with KLM and Paris with Air France.

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights by Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia, which take around 3 hours and 40 minutes. Please note that some flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia depart from the domestic airport (AEP). If you choose this option, you must leave enough time to transfer from the international airport (EZE).

For Punta Arenas Departures

From Europe, you will first need to fly to Santiago in Chile. LATAM and Iberia offer direct flights to Santiago from Madrid. Air France offers direct flights from Paris to Santiago.

From Santiago, there are regular flights by LATAM to Punta Arenas, which take 3 hours and 25 minutes.

For New Zealand Departures

From Europe, you must fly to Auckland in New Zealand and then take a connecting flight to Christchurch on the South Island.

How To Get To Antarctica From Canada

To get to Antarctica from Canada, you will first need to reach Ushuaia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile for Antarctica Peninsula Cruises and fly cruise expeditions, or New Zealand for Ross Sea cruises and Antarctica semi-circumnavigations.

For Ushuaia Departures

From Canada, you will first fly to Buenos Aires. There are currently no direct flights between Canada and Buenos Aires. The fastest option is with Air Canada from Toronto to Buenos Aires, with a short stopover in Sao Paulo. Alternatively, United Airlines has a flight from Montreal with a stopover in Houston.

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights by Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia, which take around 3 hours and 40 minutes. Please note that some flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia depart from the domestic airport (AEP). If you choose this option, you must leave enough time to transfer from the international airport (EZE).

For Punta Arenas Departures

From Canada, you will first need to fly to Santiago in Chile. Santiago has direct flights from Toronto by Air Canada, which offers the fastest option. A cheaper option is to fly via the United States as there are more frequent connections.

From Santiago, there are regular flights by LATAM to Punta Arenas, which take 3 hours and 25 minutes.

For New Zealand Departures

From Canada, you must fly to Auckland in New Zealand and then take a connecting flight to Christchurch on the South Island. Air Canada offers a non-stop 14-hour flight from Vancouver to Auckland. It is also possible to reach New Zealand from Toronto and Montreal by flying via the United States.

How To Get To Antarctica From Australia

The easiest and quickest way to get to Antarctica from Australia is on an expedition cruise from New Zealand. Other options are to reach Antarctica from Ushuia in Argentina or Puerto Williams in Chile for Antarctica Peninsula Cruises and fly cruise expeditions.

For New Zealand Departures

From Australia, you need to fly to Christchurch in New Zealand. Qantas offers direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast.

For Ushuaia Departures

From Australia, you will first fly to Buenos Aires. There are currently no direct flights between Australia and Buenos Aires. The fastest option is to fly to Santiago in Chile directly from Sydney with LATAM. From Santiago, there are regular connecting flights to Buenos Aires.

From Buenos Aires, there are daily flights by Aerolineas Argentinas to Ushuaia, which take around 3 hours and 40 minutes. Please note that some flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia depart from the domestic airport (AEP). If you choose this option, you must leave enough time to transfer from the international airport (EZE).

For Punta Arenas Departures

From Australia, you will first need to fly to Santiago in Chile. Santiago has direct flights from Sydney by LATAM, which offers the fastest option. A cheaper option is to fly via New Zealand as there are more frequent connections.

From Santiago, there are regular flights by LATAM to Punta Arenas, which take 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of a luxury Antarctica cruise starts from £10,000 ($12,745, €11,629) per person for a ten-night cruise.

The cost of getting to Antarctica varies considerably and depends on several factors.

Length of Expedition

Excluding fly and cruise expeditions, the longer the voyage, the more expensive it tends to be.

Expedition Type

The entry cost to Antarctica is offered on expedition cruises from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Fly and Cruise expeditions are often more expensive due to the private charter flight, which is included in the overall trip cost.

Flying to Antarctica is the most expensive way to get there, with a flight to the South Pole costing up to  $100,000 (£78,455, €91,220) per person.

Ship

There are a variety of ships on offer. The overall number of guests, the luxuriousness of the ship and your choice of cabin will all affect the overall cost of getting to Antarctica.

Expert Tip: For the best expedition experience, we recommend a smaller ship size with no more than 200 guests. For guests looking to maximize their time outdoors or for wildlife lovers, we recommend a ship size of 120 – 140.

Dates

Dates also impact the cost of getting to Antarctica. Peak dates over Christmas and New Year tend to be more expensive. Trips either earlier or later in the season are a lower cost.

Our Travel Experience Team is here to help you plan your cruise to Antarctica and will assist you in finding the perfect expedition for your budget.

The most comfortable way to get to Antarctica is on a luxury flight and cruise expedition. This way of traveling to Antarctica saves you two days each way sailing across the Drake Passage, which can be rough at times. Instead, you fly from Punta Arenas directly to King George Island in Antarctica and embark your luxury ship there.

The fastest way to get to Antarctica is by flying as it cuts out the two-day sea crossing of the Drake Passage. For those short on time, it is possible to do a day trip by Plane to Antarctica or enjoy a 6-day luxury flight and cruise expedition.

The most common way to get to Antarctica is to take an expedition cruise from Ushuaia to Argentina.

You don’t need a visa to visit Antarctica as no country owns it. You will, however, need to make sure you meet the entry requirements of the country your expedition departs from and arrives at.

Our Travel Experience Team is happy to guide you with this.

By ship, it takes approximately two days to sail across the Drake Passage from South America to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. It takes about seven days from New Zealand to sail to the Ross Sea in Antarctica.

By Plane, it takes approximately 2 hours to get to Antarctica from Punta Arenas to King George Island, which is the route for fly and cruise expeditions.

The most luxurious way to experience Antarctica is either on a luxury Antarctica expedition cruise or on a luxury flying expedition to visit the South Pole.

Modern luxury expedition ships offer the highest comfort levels, with several small 5- and 6-star ships available. Each ship has private verandas, sumptuous suites, gourmet dining and a wide range of leisure facilities.

Do you need help planning your expedition?

Our friendly and knowledgeable Travel Experience Team is ready to assist you.

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