Solo Travel in Antarctica
Types of Girls about the Globe (GatGs) – Nature GatG, Winter adventure GatG, Wildlife GatG
Antarctica Travel For Solos
If you are planning a solo trip to Antarctica you won’t be alone here as you need to join a tour to Antarctica to see the continent. It isn't the kind of destination that you can go to solo so you’ll be guaranteed company with a small group on an Antarctica cruise if you decide to visit.
Home to the South Pole, tourism in Antarctica is increasing and with so many tour companies going there, this icy continent is more accessible than ever with plenty of Antarctica activity to keep you entertained. Below is our Solo travel guide to Antarctica to help you plan your trip.
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- Why Go on an Antarctica Holiday?
- Things To Do in Antarctica
- How To Get To Antarctica
- Antarctica Cruise From South America
- How Much Does it Cost to Go to Antarctica?
- Plan Your Trip to Antarctica
- Best Companies For Antarctica Tours
- Travel Insurance For Antarctica
- How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Antarctica
- Antarctica MS Expedition Cruise
Why Go On An Antarctica Holiday?
Antarctica is not usually the destination you’ll see at the top of most people’s bucket list. As the most southern continent, Antarctica is not a destination that is that easily accessible to travellers. Being the coldest continent on Earth doesn’t really sell itself as a tourist destination.
There is no Antarctica city, just research stations with a tiny population and although Antarctica tourism is increasing Antarctica remains barely touched by it and is abundant in stunning scenery and wildlife. You can even Antarctica camp under the stars waking up to beautiful icebergs and spotting seals and penguins.
The majority of your time in Antarctica may be spent at sea as only a small number of people are permitted to land at any time so you may only be on the continent for a few hours each day. Sightseeing by air is an option when you arrive but it does cost a small fortune.
If you want to go somewhere that hardly any (or even none) of your family or friends have been, choose Antarctica. Visit between November to March when the midnight sun appears,
Things To Do in Antarctica
See the active volcano in Antarctica – As one of the most untouched places on Earth, you may think that there's not much to do in Antarctica but amongst the Antarctica ice, this continent is also home to the world’s southernmost active volcano. Mount Erebus is an active volcano in Antarctica and is one of four volcanoes that form Ross Island.
Although it is not the highest, it is one of the most impressive. Observation Hill gives a great viewpoint of Mt. Erebus and with Antarctica thought to be one of the most volcanic regions in the world, there are still a number of undiscovered volcanoes below its frozen surfaces.
Spot the penguins – One of the best activities in Antarctica is spotting the animal life on Antarctica. The continent is home to thousands of chinstrap penguins (100,000 to be exact) which you can see at Baily Head and plenty of Emperor Penguins which you are guaranteed to see. You can also see penguins in the South Shetland Islands.
Whale watching – Whale watching is one of the adventures in Antarctica too. During the summer in Antarctica, you’ll find many whale species including Humpback, Minke and Orcas in the surrounding waters.
Bath in a hot spring – Deception Island is a volcanic island with a natural harbour and an active volcano. When you need some warmth head for the hot springs here. Seeing volcanic ash on top of ice glaciers is a very unique experience.
See the other cruise ships – Anver Island is where the cruise ships to Antarctica stop at Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay.
Take a helicopter ride – Once you get there, you could take a helicopter ride for an aerial view of Antarctica and an even more breathtaking view of icebergs, wildlife and volcanoes.
Send a postcard – If you’ve ever wanted to send a postcard from a cool destination, you can send one from the post box at Port Locker Museum. Although there are no Antarctica cities, this is one of the most popular Antarctic tourist attractions.
See the ‘Kodak Gap’ – Marvel at another of the tourist attractions in Antarctica; the sheer cliffs blocked by icebergs known as “Kodak Gap.” This spectacular landscape in the Lemaire Channel is one of the top places to visit in Antarctica.
Spot blue icebergs – See the blue icebergs at Harbour's Head that fall of the glacier and are a stunning blue hue. If you're there at the right time you may even see a seal or two!
See the buildings – From an abandoned whaling station on Deception Island to the red and black buildings at the Heritage site of Port Lockroy, the buildings are definitely worth seeing.
Scuba dive! – If you're feeling brave you can even scuba dive here, or if you prefer not to get wet then experience an Antarctica kayak amongst the beautiful landscape instead.
Take amazing photography – Antarctica is an ideal destination to test your photography skills. With so much wildlife and glaciers to photograph you'll be in your element.
Climb the highest peak – Vinson Massif is the highest peak on the continent.
See the Lenin bust – If you do get as far as the Southern pole of inaccessibility you'll see one of the tourist spots in Antarctica. A Lenin bust faces Moscow, but it is known as the hardest place to get to in the world.
How To Get To Antarctica
Antarctica Tours From Australia – Cruise ships depart from as far as Hobart and Bluff in Oceania. You can also depart from New Zealand but starting in Oceania can be more expensive as you have longer to reach the continent. Australia Antarctica tours can take you at least a week.
South America to Antarctica – This is the cheapest way to get to Antarctica due to the shorter distance between both continents. To get from Ushuaia to Antarctica, cruise ships depart from Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina. It may be worth looking at an Antarctica flight into one of these two destinations to start cruising Antarctica (or combine it with a South American trip).
Cruise Antarctica From South America
The only way to see this continent is on a cruise around Antarctica and if you can survive the seas you will be one of the lucky ones to have visited this breathtaking place. Drake Passage is the Antarctica crossing and is known as one of the world's roughest seas so take plenty of seasickness tablets if you suffer from travel sickness.
If you're unsure how to choose the best Antarctica cruise for you, Antarctica cruises range from smaller vessels with up to 100 passengers to those carrying over 1000 people and include guided hikes and sea kayaking. Choose from an expedition ship or a luxury ship. The smaller ships and Antarctica boats are generally able to get you closer to nature. Sailboats offer voyages from South America where you can get involved and help support private expeditions. You need to allow more than one for a cruise but if you have longer, you can always combine your trip with the South Shetland Islands or the Falkland Islands; a British archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Antarctica?
An Antarctica vacation isn't cheap after all this continent can be challenging to reach. It's not a backpacker's destination and can't really be done solo so you do need to pay for a trip to go there. It is expensive to visit but as a once in a lifetime experience it is definitely worth it. An Antarctica cruise cost starts from approximately $4,500 and can range up to more than $20,000.
The price really depends on what type of trip you are looking for. Maybe you want to have your own cabin or prefer more comfort. To keep the cost at the budget end you may find yourself sharing a cabin with another solo traveller.
You'll need to factor in extra expenses such as any activities that you may want to do and tips for your guide. One thing is for sure… visit Antarctica and you'll have memories of a lifetime.
Plan Your Trip to Antarctica
You need to allow more than one week for Antarctic cruising. Antarctica flights are only operated by private operators so you won't be able to take commercial flights to Antarctica (such as Latam for example).
2 Weeks: Argentina to Antarctica – Cruise from Ushuaia to Antarctica and embark across Antarctica through the Drake Passage, South Shetland Islands, Drake Passage, Ushuaia.
3 Weeks: Argentina/Falkland Islands/Antarctica – Montevideo, embark for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Shetland Islands, Ushuaia.
Best Companies For Antarctica Tours
There are several companies that offer tours of Antarctica. You may find that some can also book your flight for you too. Here are our recommended companies for an Antarctica tour:
G Adventures – Offer adventure tours in Antarctica and various trips to Antarctica from an 11 day Antarctica Classic from Ushuaia to Antarctica from £4599 to a 22 day trip including the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Each of their adventures in Antarctica is guaranteed to be a small group and is not physically challenging. Read a review of a solo's Antarctic adventures here.
Intrepid Travel Antarctica – Intrepid are also a responsible travel company and similar to G Adventures. They offer camping, kayaking, snowshoeing and wildlife Antarctica trips. Intrepid Antarctica tours range from an 11 day Best of Antarctica tour from Punta Arenas, an Antarctic whale journey, to a 3-week trip encompassing South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Read our Intrepid Travel Reviews or click on the link below for all their tours.
Oceanwide Expeditions – Offers discovery cruises to Antarctica – Basecamp where you can release your Antarctica explorer and snowshoe, hike, go mountaineering, and enjoy some Antarctica kayaking. Cruises are for 11 days and cost approximately £7700.
Travel Insurance For Antarctica
Wherever you travel you need travel insurance but especially if you are planning a trip here. Taking part in adventure activities and being on a ship means that you need to be covered for medical cover at least.
For Antarctica travel insurance, I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover.
How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Antarctica
In 1959 the Antarctica treaty was signed to ensure that no one country would claim Antarctica country and this piece of land as their own. This was an important moment in Antarctica history and today the continent is home to research stations and wildlife.
But with so much in the news about climate change, you may be wondering how you can experience a visit here without the negative impacts of tourism in Antarctica.
Most tour companies have an expert on the region so a trip here will teach you more about the geology and the impact we are having including how ice is reducing. You’ll leave Antarctica wanting to change your environmental habits and reduce your impact.
Sustainable Tourism in Antarctica
- Don’t feed the wildlife and if you are photographing them, don’t use your flash.
- Listen to your guide about where you can go on shore excursions and don’t touch or step where you are advised not to.
- If you are given special boots to wear, wear them to help protect the ecosystem.
A Solo Antarctica Experience
Going to Antarctica is a big financial investment but it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You'll be talking about your Antarctica holidays for years to come but if you're still unsure about visiting this fascinating continent, you may be inspired by Chantelle who shares her amazing Antarctica journey and her MS Expedition Antarctica experience.
What animal life in Antarctica can I see? When you cruise Antarctica you’ll likely see various species of penguins including the Emperor penguin (the largest penguins), and an Antarctica bird such as the albatross, gull and blue-eyed cormorant. The most spectacular wildlife here is the whales of which you can find the Antarctica orca, blue whale, humpback, and minke. Then there’s the fur seals and leopard seals too. Plenty of animal life!
Is there an airport in Antarctica? Yes, there are several airports but not for the public travelling to Antarctica. The closest Antarctica airport is Punta Arenas International Airport in Chile.
What is the Antarctica capital? There is no capital of Antarctica. There are only research stations of which McMurdo is one of the most visited and is more like a small city.
Is there an Antarctica hotel? Accommodation in Antarctica doesn’t really exist. Any holidays to Antarctica will involve sleeping on a ship or in a tent but that doesn't mean that you have to forgo comfort if you choose a luxury Antarctica cruise with cabins that are just like hotel rooms.
Can I tour Antarctica solo? Antarctica vacations aren’t really like other vacations. You can’t just book a flight and turn up in Antarctica. Traveling in Antarctica is only really possible via a travel company and a cruise.
How many tourists visit Antarctica each year? It’s estimated that approximately 35,000 tourists pay a visit to Antarctica every year. Of that number, 90% of tourists in Antarctica travel from Ushuaia in Argentina.
Can you visit Antarctica any time of year? No, because of the cold Antarctica climate, touring Antarctica is generally only possible from the end of October to the end of March. This is also the crossing through Drake’s Passage is calmer.
How much does an Antarctica trip cost? An Antarctica cruise price can cost anything from £5,000 for 11 days, whereas a luxury Antarctica cruise will set you back £12,000 for a 16-day cruise for more comfort. Hebridean Sky is a luxury-expedition boat.
Intrepid Antarctica trips range from £5381 for an 11-day trip seeing the best of Antarctica from Puntas Arenas to a 21-day trip costing £13,996 that incorporates Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. G Adventures Antarctica tours start from £5,199 for a 13 day Antarctica Classic in Depth tour to £12,899 for a 21 day Spirit of Shackleton tour including South Georgia and the Falklands.
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