Travel Tips for Visiting Antarctica
A trip to Antarctica is truly a special experience and everyone who heads to our most southerly continent comes away with a different and unique outcome. There are many different items you’ll need to consider when planning your trip to Antarctica. Here are a few things to start thinking about when it comes to connecting the details of your future adventure.
1. Choose the Trip That’s Right for You.
Planning your trip of a lifetime down to Antarctica may seem like a daunting task – there’s so much to research, organize, and eventually book, you might not know where to start! Step number one is calling up a tour operator (as it’s pretty tough and unreasonable to get down there on your own). Your Travel Professional will help you narrow down what type of excursion is best for you by asking you a few of the following questions. Do you prefer wildlife (if so, what type) or landscapes? (Don’t worry, at any time of the five-month tourist season, you’ll see both – there are just “best times” for viewing one or the other). What type of excursion are you looking for, and if you’re looking to be active, what kind of activities are you looking to do? Snowshoeing, trekking, photography, mountaineering, camping, kayaking, diving, and a good ol’ fashioned polar plunge are all activities available in Antarctica. How many days would you like to (or would your budget like you to) travel for? 10 days? 30 days? 90 days? What’s the best time frame for you to travel in? November, January, March?…Obviously, there will be many more questions to answer to figure out the perfect trip for you, but this is a good place to start!
2. Flights, Visas and Fees – Oh My!
You may be wondering where a cruise even starts the journey down to Antarctica. Most cruises (including the ones we offer) leave from the southernmost tip of South America on Tierra del Fuego, from a town called Ushuaia, Argentina. Others depart from Punta Arenas, Chile and Montevideo, Uruguay. Regardless of where you depart from, you’ll want to check your local Consulate to see if you’ll need a visa to travel to your host city. Many visas you can apply for online ahead of time. You’ll also want to check to see if there are any “hidden fees” you’ll need to pay for, such as the Reciprocity tax in Argentina, port and tax fees or fuel surcharges on the cruise ship, or transfer fees (to/from your airport/hotel/port).
3. Understand the Health and Safety Issues
Currently no vaccinations are required to enter Antarctica but the Center for Disease Control recommends updating basic vaccinations, such as the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine. Check with your physician for other recommended vaccines based on your health history and itinerary. You should be fit and in good health for your journey south. Medical treatment on board the ship is basic and spread out among all passengers. Check with your insurance provider to make sure you’re covered for medical emergencies – if something were to happen, it would be a long, expensive trip to a medical facility in another country!