If you are looking to travel to Antarctica in 2014, you may find that many of the January through March departures are almost sold out. There is still some space for November and December 2014, and remember that you can also book Antarctica cruises and tours early for the 2015 season.
Antarctica tours operate November through March, when the ice has retreated, wildlife is abundant and the daylight hours are virtually endless. The wildlife of Antarctica has a lot to do during this short summer, penguins nest, chicks hatch and seals and whales make the most of abundant food stocks. Whether you visit at the beginning or end of the season there is always something to see.
In 1773, James Cook set out to explore this frozen continent and became the first man to cross the Antarctic Circle. During the next 200 years, explorers from many countries set out to discover the secrets held by this unique land. In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed so that this continent "shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes".
All Antarctica cruises begin in Argentina, 620 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. Weather and ice determine the schedules in this part of the world, with cruises taking place during the Antarctic summer, November to March, when there are up to twenty hours of sunlight each day. Even with this much sun, temperatures only range from 20 to 50 degrees. Cruises can vary in length, usually between 10 and 17 days, but all offer excellent presentations on this very special place and optional activities such as camping and kayaking.
Any time you go to this frozen wonderland, you will be amazed at the wildlife and beauty, but different months offer different sights. If you go in early spring, November and early December, you will be able to see penguins and sea birds acting out their courting rituals, Elephant and Fur seals establishing their breeding territories, and pack ice and giant icebergs just beginning to melt and break up.
Mid-summer, December and January, are the warmest months with the longest amount of daylight, great for photo opportunities at midnight. You will get to see the first penguin chicks emerge, Fur seals breeding, and seal pups playing. During late summer, February and March, whale sightings are at their best, including Orcas and Blue Whales, penguin chicks are beginning to become independent, and there are more Fur Seals on the Antarctic Peninsula than any other time.
The Shelter Islands are an amazing stop on any cruise. Here is Elephant Island, where members of Shackleton's expedition of 1915 were stranded for 135 days, and several islands are home to wildlife such as penguins, seals and birds. Deception Island is a must-see, not only because it is an active volcano and old whaling base, but because you will get a chance to swim in the Antarctic Ocean, somewhat heated by the volanic activity.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle puts you in a very elite club, as very few people ever get this far south, 66 degrees, 33.7 south. You will see some of the most amazing sights imaginable while navigating the Neumayer and Lemaire Channels. Here you will see high mountains and huge glaciers, millions of penguins, and Humpback and Orca whales. It is truly the trip of a lifetime
An Antarctica expedition is an unforgettable journey of discovery. Breathtaking floating castles of ice glistening in the warmth of the austral sun.. moments later they are a glow in an iridescent display of color. This immense wilderness is a fabulous place and a virtually pristine paradise for wildlife with incomparable scenery of mountains, snow and ice.
It is a privilege to visit the awe-inspiring land and experience the special magic that has lured explorers, adventurers and scientists for more than two centuries.
Few have experienced Antarctica, truly the last pristine region on earth and land like no other in the geography and history of the world. And fewer still have combined their journey to include her outer islands or the Chilean Fjords. Your days will be filled with unparalleled opportunities to observe this abundant wildlife filled land.
We only offer tours with companies that are a part of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. We have compiled a list of various Antarctica tour operators and cruise lines who specialize in traveling to Antarctica and categorized them by trip length to make your research easier.