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How to get to Antarctica?

Aspiring travellers to the wild continent have scratched their heads at the common question, how do you physically get to Antarctica?

Let’s face it, for a long time Antarctica was open to an exclusive club, you were either a risk taking explorer or set up base there as a researcher.  The bottom line is Antarctica was only open to a few who were lucky enough to set foot on its icy treks.

Nowadays, Antarctica is as accessible as ever and considered the ultimate bucket list destination for the seasoned traveller but how do you get there?

Cruise from New Zealand to Antarctica

Many are not aware that you can actually get to Antarctica from New Zealand. Begin your Antarctic cruise in Bluff, New Zealand visiting areas such as East Antarctica and the Ross Sea. Since these areas are less visited by tourists they can offer an entirely different experience than those departures out of Ushuaia. Due to the distance this particular itinerary covers expect a few more days at sea.

Charter a private expedition ship or luxury yacht

For travel agencies or businesses looking for their next Incentive group destination, why not consider chartering a private expedition ship or luxury yacht?  Here at SATO we have access to a range of Antarctic vessels and we can organise everything from flights, transfers and pre or post land tours for your incentive group.

Pictured: On board the luxurious Le Boreal. Photo credit Philip Plisson

Fly to South America and take a cruise from Argentina or fly from Chile

By far, the most affordable and accessible way to get to Antarctica for Australians and New Zealanders is to fly to South America. By flying to South America, visitors  increase their travelling options. Best of all, this option is affordable. You also get to visit South America, one of the greatest continents on the planet – in our biased opinion!

Once in South America there are a few ways of getting to Antarctica. You can fly internally to Ushuaia, Argentina, where you will embark your ship. You can also fly express from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island or fly to the Falkland Islands from Santiago.

Cruise from Ushuaia

Around 90% of visitors to Antarctica begin their journeys in Ushuaia, Argentina. For some it’s a no brainer choosing Ushuaia as their starting point. Quite simply, it offers more choices of itineraries, more frequent departures and generally less time at sea and more time on exploring on land. Typically, itineraries from Ushuaia will take you to ‘Classic Antarctica’ visiting the most popular sites such as Neko harbour, Deception Island and the Lemaire Channel.

There are also options for more comprehensive itineraries such as the Antarctic Circle, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. For the adventurous heart, consider sea kayaking within reach of whales or stargaze while camping on ice under the clearest night sky. These are just some of the activities offered depending on which vessel you sail with. Get in touch with us to secure your spot as these activities have limited availability and spots fill well in advance.

Pictured: View of the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia

Fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island or from Santiago, Chile to the Falkland Islands

If you’re time poor or want to avoid the choppy waves of the infamous Drake Passage, taking a charter flight from Punta Arenas or Santiago might be your best option. The time saved by flying over the Drake Passage maximises your opportunities to explore Antarctica.

There are so many variations to the express-cruise itineraries that wrapping your head around this aspect of the Antarctic journey can be quite confusing. It can be even overwhelming considering different cruises may or may not include internal flights, transfers or pre or post hotel accommodation. Let us take the guess work out of organising your Antarctic trip, we can even organise your extended stay in many parts of our wonderful continent!

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