Seeing Antarctica with your own two eyes is a bucket list moment for many people around the world. The isolated, enchanting environment draws many explorers looking to replicate a part of Ernest Shackleton’s adventure to the South Pole.
As there are no permanent residents in Antarctica, there is usually only one way in and out of the frozen desert. However, to see Antarctica in all its frozen glory, there are a couple of avenues for would-be adventurers: a solo cruise over the Drake Passage, a fly/sail voyage and flying one way to Antarctica.
In this article, we run through the pros and cons of each to help you decide how you will travel to Antarctica on your next trip.
Cruising to Antarctica across the Drake Passage
If you are looking for a truly intimate journey to Antarctica, there is no better option than cruising the Drake Passage. Many Aurora Expeditions set off from the small Chilean town of Puerto Williams venturing out into the open Drake Passage. The body of water between Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean can be rough, but very few people can say they have travelled these historic waters.
Of course, a consequence of this type of expedition is that those who are prone to seasickness or don’t enjoy the open ocean may not enjoy cruising across the passage. While the Polar Pioneer is decked out with comfortable accommodation, this journey is not for everyone.
Getting to Antarctica doesn’t have to be solely via a cruise, there can be a flight element to the journey. There are several Aurora Expeditions that bypass one leg of the cruise and instead see explorers fly into Falkland Islands and King George Island. From the air, it is possible to get an idea of the true isolated nature of the Sub Antarctic, witnessing the white caps of the waves with the sporadic seabird.
Of course, while explorers still get to see the Antarctic from on board a ship closer to the continent, there is always the chance that moments of whales, birds and other animals are missed on the way across the Drake Passage. Additionally, the threat of bad weather in the region could, in some rare cases, delay progress to the frozen tundra.
Flying one way to Antarctica
Another possibility is by flying direct to Antarctica on a fly-by adventure. A number of companies offer this possibility as a day-trip with explorers remaining in the plane as they fly over important areas of Antarctica. While it is possible to see some of the stunning environment, there are many downsides by choosing this option.
Firstly, you don’t get to experience the true side of Antarctica the penguins, seals, petrels and other wildlife that call this place home. There is also no possibility to see the size of massive icebergs up close, dominating the harsh landscape. Lastly, there is something very special after breathing in the cool air of the Antarctic, an experience felt no where else in the world.
If you like to learn more about possible ways to explore Antarctica, check out our brochures and download your own Antarctica Expedition guide.