Solo Travel in Antarctica
Types of Girl about the Globes (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 see the continent. Antarctica isn't the kind of destination that you can go to solo so you’ll be guaranteed company with a small group if you decide to visit. Tourism to Antartica is increasing and now with so many tour companies going there, this icy continent is more accessible than ever.
- Why Go on an Antarctica Vacation?
- 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 an Antarctica Cruise
- Travel Insurance For Antarctica
- How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Antarctica
- A Solo Antarctica Experience
Why Go on an Antarctica Vacation?
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 are no cities here, just research stations with a tiny population and although tourism is increasing Antartica remains barely touched by it and is abundant in stunning scenery and wildlife. You can even 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 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 a volcano – As one of the most untouched places on Earth, you may not think that there is that much to do in Antarctica so this may surprise you. Home to the South Pole, Antarctica is also home to the world’s southernmost active volcano. Mount Erebus is one of four volcanoes that forms Ross Island and although it’s 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 – 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 at the South Shetland Islands.
Whale watching – Whale watching is one of the highlights 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 stop at Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay.
Take a helicopter ride – Once you get there, you could take a helicopter ride for 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, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions here.
See the ‘Kodak Gap’ – Marvel at the sheer cliffs blocked by icebergs known as “Kodak Gap.” This spectacular landscape in the Lemaire Channel is one of the top places to see.
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 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, there’s a Lenin bust which faces Moscow but it is known at 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. Cruises from here 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 flights into one of these two destinations to start your cruise (or combine it with a South American trip).
Antarctica Cruise From South America
The only way to see this continent is on a cruise and if you can survive the seas you will be one of the lucky ones to have visited this breathtaking place. Drake Passage is known as one of the world’s roughest seas so take plenty of sea sickness tablets if you suffer from travel sickness.
Ships 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 are generally able to get you closer to the nature. Sailboats offer voyages from South America where you can get involved and help support private expeditions.
You need to allow more than one week for a cruise, but if you have longer to spare 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. Cruises cost 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 a cruise. Flights to Antarctica are only operated by private operators so you won't be able to take a commercial flight such as Latam there for example.
2 Weeks: Argentina to Antarctica – Ushuaia, embark across 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 an Antarctica Cruise
There are several companies that offer trips to Antartica. You may find that some can also book your flight for you too. Here are our recommended companies for an Antarctica cruise:
G Adventures – Adventure tours to Antarctica. G Adventures offer various Antarctica trips 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 trip is guaranteed to be a small group and is not physically challenging. Read Chantelle's Antarctica review of her trip here.
Hurtigruten – Antarctica voyages. Hurtigruten are a well-known cruise company offering worldwide cruises. To Antarctica they offer expedition cruises from 13 to 23 days including Yankee Harbour, the Lemaire Channel, Stonington Island and Antarctic Sound. Prices start from £4948 and go up to £10,000 which includes the Falklands, and South Georgia.
Oceanwide Expeditions – Offers discovery cruises to Antarctica – Basecamp where you can snowshoe, kayak, hike and go mountaineering. 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 country would claim this piece of land as their own. Today, Antarctica 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 making an impact on the environment.
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.
How to be a conscious traveller
- 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 Antartica 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 solo Antarctica experience.