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How to Travel to Antarctica
From the United States

Antarctic Cruise and Adventure Travel With Cool Antarctica and Ice Tracks

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Regions:  Antarctic Peninsula | South Georgia | South Shetland Islands | Falkland Islands

10-24 day Peninsula trips leaving South America from USD$8,050
30 to 35 day cruises leaving Australia or New Zealand from USD$23,000

  Travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica can be reached from the USA via Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America or from New Zealand (less frequently Australia). There are many more South American departures, the distance is closer, shorter trips are available and you can fly or sail, New Zealand departures are to the deep South.

Most trips to Antarctica are cruises or fly-cruise trips that leave from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina or the airport at Punta Arenas in Chile visiting the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands of the (largely undersea) Scotia Arc (fig 2). This stretches east from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego (South America), through South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and back to the west again through the South Orkney Islands before joining the northernmost tip of the Peninsula.

A smaller number of trips leave from Australia or New Zealand and visit the eastern region of Antarctica, sailing time is about 6-7 days there and the same back again. These trips are longer and therefore more expensive, they usually leave from Invercargill, New Zealand or less frequently from Hobart, Australia, sometimes leaving from one and returning to the other on alternate trips.

trips to antarctica from usa

Fig 1. Trips to the Antarctic leaving from the USA most commonly leave from the southern most tip of South America and visit the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands.

1 - New York, USA    2 - Dallas Tx, USA
3 - Miami Fl, USA    4 - Ushuaia, Argentina
5 - Antarctic Peninsula

Distances miles / km
1, New York - 4, Ushuaia, Argentina 6,615 / 10,646
2, Dallas - 4, Ushuaia, Argentina 6,290 / 10,124
3, Miami - 4, Ushuaia, Argentina 5,617 / 9,040
1, New York - Hobart, Australia 10,335 / 16,633
1, New York - Invercargill, NZ 9,382 / 15,099

        1 - Ushuaia, Argentina    2 - Punta Arenas, Chile
        3 - Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas    4 - South Georgia
        5 - South Shetland Islands    6 - Antarctic Peninsula

Fig 2. Trips to the Peninsula region of Antarctica. The majority of trips visit the Peninsula 6 and nearby islands such as the South Shetlands 5. Longer trips may also take in the Falkland Islands 3 and / or South Georgia 4 and possibly some other landings en route.

Cruises most commonly go down the western side of the Peninsula as they are less likely to encounter problematic sea ice that is more likely found on the Eastern side in the Weddell Sea.

Distances miles / km
1, Ushuaia - 3, Falklands 480 / 770
1, Ushuaia - 4, South Georgia 1,255 / 2,020
1, Ushuaia - 5, South Shetlands 610  / 980
1, Ushuaia - Peninsula tip 724 / 1,165
2, Punta Arenas - Peninsula tip 870 / 1,395
Peninsula top to bottom 765 / 1,230
Peninsula top to Antarctic Circle 280 / 450

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements

  Travel to the Ross Sea / Commonwealth Bay Region - Eastern Antarctica

        R - Ross Ice Shelf     1 - Hobart - Australia
        2 - Invercargill / Port of Bluff - New Zealand
        3 - Macquarie Island    4 - Commonwealth Bay
        5 - Cape Adare    6 - McMurdo / Scott bases

Fig 3. Trips to the more remote Eastern side of Antarctica usually leave from Australia and New Zealand often Invercargill / Port of Bluff in New Zealand 2, Invercargill has the airport, Bluff, 30km away by road has a deep-water port. Less commonly trips may leave/return from Hobart, Australia 1, and Dunedin, New Zealand (about 180 km / 110 miles from Invercargill).

The trip may depart and return to the same port or leave from one and return to another in either direction. It takes about seven days sailing to reach Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand, the journey there and back is usually broken up with visits to the wildlife rich Macquarie Island 3 and others such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands that lie between Macquarie and New Zealand.

Once having reached Antarctica trips usually spend their time either in the Commonwealth Bay area 4 or the Ross Sea region between Cape Adare 5 and McMurdo 6 with possibly a short trip along the front of the Ross Ice Shelf R

Distances km / miles
1, Hobart - 4, Commonwealth Bay 2640 / 1640
2, Invercargill - 4, Commonwealth Bay 2760 / 1720
1, Hobart - 3, Macquarie Island 1500 / 940
2, Invercargill - 3, Macquarie Island 1110 / 690
4, Commonwealth Bay - 5, Cape Adare 1300 / 805
5, Cape Adare - 6, McMurdo 760 / 470

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements

Antarctic Peninsula - Sample Cruises - 2019 / 2020

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Antarctica Cruise - Discovering the 7th Continent South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin Rookeries, Lemaire Channel Optional kayaking, and camping $7,895 -
Antarctica Cruise - The Peninsula Classic Antarctica, pristine scenery, classic sites of scientific and historic interest, experienced naturalist guides. Optional kayaking and camping $7,895 -
Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise Fly over the Drake Passage in both directions, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Wildlife, Scenery, Ice Optional kayaking and snowshoeing $11,395 - $21,495 8

Antarctica Ross Sea Region - Sample Cruises - 2019 / 2020

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
The Ross Sea Region - In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton Explore the Ross Sea, Historic Huts, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo base. Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell Islands $23,000 -

South Georgia / Falkland Islands / Antarctica - Sample Cruises - 2019 / 2020

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands Vast Colonies of King Penguins, Breathtaking Scenery, Historic sites, optional kayaking $25,950 -
Antarctica and South Georgia and the Falklands Vast Colonies of King Penguins, Breathtaking Scenery, Historic sites, Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins $14,070 - $26,890 20

* Prices are based per person, the lowest price is usually for triple occupancy in a basic cabin, the highest for double occupancy in the best available suite.

Options may be at additional cost and are usually booked when the cruise is booked - it may be too late once the cruise has started.


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2020 - 2021 Season
Departures from late October 2020 to early March 2021

133 trips - unique combinations of ship + itinerary

30 ships - 50 to 530 passenger capacity

281 departures

$4,795 to $99,990, twin cabins from $5,210 per person

6 to 35 days

gentoo penguins

ice berg, antarctica

Picture credit: Top banner - Cuverville island, courtesy of Grant C. used under CC BY-SA 2.0 licence