Antarctica

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Antarctica, the White Continent is like nowhere else. Normally witnessed through a TV screen, in person it dazzles more than can be believed…until seen with one own’s eyes. From crossing the infamous Drake Passage to sighting the vast white plains to exploring the rugged coasts, everyday in Antarctica is unforgettable.

Visiting Antarctica is generally done by ship leaving from Ushuaia, Argentina.  Trips range from 10-20 days, departing in December-March, following standard routes (Classic Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falklands, Antarctic Circle, Shackleton).

There are roughly 5 companies that run 12 ships regularly during the season, many of which are indistinguishable.  National Geographic is renowned for their superb guides and steep prices.  G Adventures serves younger backpackers.  Oceanwide Expeditions, which we went with, offers unique outdoors experiences and the best blend of expedition and luxury.

All companies offer last-minute discounts if you have a flexible schedule, but expect to pay $5000-10,000 per person depending on the voyage you choose.  Everyone we met that went, on every company, said that it was worth every dollar.

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DON’T MISS: Camping on Antarctica.  Companies provide gear to keep you warm through the night on the ice…a night you’ll never forget.
MUST SEE: Everything.  Spend as much time in the observation deck to spot whales, dolphins and incredible landscapes.

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TRIP PLANNING: It takes at least 14 days to visit Antarctica from North America, Europe or Australia as getting to Ushuaia requires at least one full day from major airports.  The cruises themselves last 10-20 days depending on journey, but the longer the better.  Choose a ship with less than 120 passengers so that everyone can do each landing, larger ships must land in shifts according to current regulations.
GETTING AROUND: While much time is spent on the ship, the highlights are from the Zodiacs, the rafts that take small groups up close to wildlife, icebergs and to Antarctica itself.

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COST PER DAY: $500-1500 per person, per day, depending on berth.  A double cabin lists for about $900 per person, per day, but last-minute deals (one month in advance) sold double cabins for as low as $500 per day.
KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: Book directly from the cruise company, not through a travel agent.  Travel agents commissions will be tacked onto your price and run anywhere from $800 to 20% of your cost.  If you learn what deals are being offered by agents contact the cruise company directly and they will often give you a lower price.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: Seasickness will probably happen on the Drake Crossing…but that’s part of the journey.
IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We would have booked one year in advance.  The prices one year out rival last minute deals, but ensure you can go when you want.
HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Oceanwide Expeditions, list of last-minute Antarctica Travel agents (contact for information, but book directly with the company)

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WE WERE THERE FOR: 10 days Classic Antarctic Peninsula
OUR HIGHLIGHT: Camping on Antarctica.  We really wanted to do the Plancius Basecamp, but it was booked.
WE REGRET MISSING: South Georgia Island, the “Galapagos of the Atlantic”.

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Interested in experiencing Antarctica yourself?  Click here for more trip ideas!

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  • Monywa
Best of Antarctica

Unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime, a bucket-list trip, such superlatives used to describe a trip to Antarctica fall short of the actual experience. See the best of the wildlife, landscapes and experiences in only 25 photos!

Best Antarctic Wildlife

Antarctica is home to some of the most unique and beautiful creatures on the planet. See for yourself some of the gorgeous wildlife here.

Best Antarctic Landscapes

The White Continent, Antarctica, is probably best known for it\'s vast white landscapes. See how it\'s so much more as you explore the best Antarctic landscapes.

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