Last updated 2020

For centuries, Antarctic exploration has been limited to the hardiest of adventurers. Even today, most visitors to the continent are there in scientific and research capacities, with around one thousand intrepid souls spending the entire winter there, cut-off from the outside world.

But you don’t have to be an intrepid explorer or marine biologist to visit Antarctica. There is an ever-increasing demand for recreational travel to the White Continent. And where there’s consumer demand there is, inevitably, choice. You can cruise there onboard a luxury ship or on a re-fitted research vessel. You can depart from South America or Australia/New Zealand. You can even fly.

The variety of options and the range of trip logistics can make your head spin. That’s why we created this guide — an introduction to the main trip types and, most importantly, how to visit the continent safely and responsibly.

Burgeoning tourism is the latest of many environmental challenges facing this pristine but vulnerable continent. Fortunately, diligent leadership by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) means that all member tour operators (and their passengers) are bound by strict rules that help protect the continent and its ecosystems.

As this guide explains, visiting Antarctica is a unique and special privilege. Do it right and you’ll become a lifelong ambassador for the continent. Tread lightly, learn from what you see, and spread the conservation message far and wide. Welcome to Antarctica!

Authors
Katie Coakley, Amanda Lynnes, Mikołaj Golachowski
Editors
Karam Filfilan
Destinations Destinations
Antarctica

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