How to Get to Antarctica
picture of the cover of a sample tour itinerary

Download itinerary

  • Get This Itinerary Now! 📬
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
Adventure Tours

How to Get to Antarctica

5 min read

Jun 4, 2018


By Gabe Scalise

Share This Post

Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:33 am

How Do You Get to Antarctica?

The best way to get to Antarctica is by plane or by cruise, typically from the southernmost part of the continent. Depending on the type of Antarctica tour, you can depart from either the southern part of Argentina or Chile. Then come the questions – do you leave from Chile or Argentina? Should you skip the Drake Passage & fly from Punta Arenas? How far is Antarctica from South America? What is the best or easiest way to get there? Read on to learn how to get to Antarctica!

Fly to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas

Ushuaia town from distance with backdrop of mountains

To begin your journey to Antarctica, you first need to get to Ushuaia, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile. The easiest way to do this is by flight from the capital cities. For example, after a few days on a tour of Buenos Aires or a tour of Santiago, take a flight to either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.

We usually recommend adding at least a day in either city, so that you can visit some of the attractions they have to offer, for example, a day tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, or a city tour in Punta Arenas.

There are other connecting cities, though, for the easiest and best Antarctica trip, we recommend traveling from southern Chile and or Argentina to get to Antarctica.

Get to Antarctica by Cruise

Antarctica cruise deck and passengers

The first and by far the most popular way to get to Antarctica is on a commercial Ushuaia Argentina cruise. These Antarctica cruises offer shore visits, land excursions, boat excursions, and more! This is typically the most cost-effective way to travel. The downfall is that it takes the longest to get there. How far is Antarctica from South America when doing a cruise? Crossing the Drake Passage can take anywhere from 2-4 days depending on the weather.

This is an adventure in its own right, and many people are interested in getting to experience crossing one of the world’s most famous and legendary parts of the ocean. This can only be done with the cruises leaving from Ushuaia towards Antarctica.

The other major advantage of the cruise leaving from Ushuaia is that some of them include other important south Atlantic islands, as the Falklands (Malvinas), South Georgia, and the South Shetland Islands.

Recommended Antarctica Cruise from Argentina offers a classic commercial cruise tour to Antarctica titled the Best Antarctica Ushuaia Cruise! This classic cruise takes care of all your worries about how to get to Antarctica by departing directly from Ushuaia, Argentina. Highlights along with this 14-day, 11-day, or 8-days Antarctica cruise include the Beagle Channel & Mackinlay Pass, Drake Passage, South Shetland, the Antarctic Peninsula, and of course Petermann Island, where you will get up close and personal with the gentoo penguins colony. Our cruise tours to the ‘White Continent’ are the best tours in the world because we can offer the highest standard of quality to all the Antarctica tour operators. Our tours include the following.

  • Voyage aboard the polar vessel Ushuaia.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee, and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • All transfers
  • English-speaking guides

Reach Antarctica by a Fly Cruise

helicopter ready for landing on Antarctica cruise

The second most popular way of how to get to Antarctica is by embarking on a fly-cruise which includes a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile. This short 2-hour flight is the quickest way to Antarctica and embark on your cruise. This is more costly than crossing the Drake but it is the best choice for anyone not used to boats or several days long cruises. Also, it is great for people wanting to include Antarctica as another destination on a comprehensive South America tour.

When researching this topic, one of the key issues can be time because most people want to include other parts of South America in their itinerary.

We know this better than anyone as we plan trips from 7-days to 3 months all through the continent of Antarctica, including Argentina, Patagonia, and Chile. In another blog post on our website, we made a case for skipping the Drake Passage and flying directly to Antarctica.

After flying into Antarctica, you will board a cruise that will visit the area and give you a wide range of experiences ashore.

Pros of a Fly Cruise

  • You have more time to explore
  • You can avoid boats and the chance of getting seasick!

Cons of a Fly Cruise

  • Potential flight delays due to weather
  • Cost

Recommended Fly Cruise from Chile

Antarctica XXI is the pioneer company offering Air Cruises in Antarctica. With a variety of itineraries from short Antarctica visits to longer trips including the South Atlantic Islands.

Our team has done multiple trips, both by crossing the Drake and flying. We are always eager to help guests plan their dream trip to the white continent.

Contact Us an Expert Travel Consultant

Because a trip to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you should weigh your options carefully. We’d love to discuss the best way for you to get there with you! Please contact us to get started. We can also create a custom tour that includes other highlights of South America.  The sky is the limit!

Plan Your Trip to
the Galápagos
the Amazon
Machu Picchu
Create Your Own Custom Tour

Click your preferences: Destinations & Activities. Be as specific or general as you like - or click Help Me Decide! We'll spice it with hidden gems & personal tips to create your perfect trip.

Choose Amazon destinations (optional)
Choose destinations (optional)
Choose Bolivia destinations (optional)
Choose Brazil destinations (opt)
Choose Chile destinations (opt)
Choose Colombia & Panama destinations (optional)
Choose Ecuador & Galapagos destinations (optional)
Choose Paraguay & Uruguay destinations (optional)
Choose Patagonia & Antarctica destinations (optional)
Choose Peru destinations (optional)
Choose Guianas destinations (optional)
Choose Interests
Choose activities
What category of accommodation?

You can choose more than one!

When would you like to go?
How many travelers?
age groups
age groups
Review my trip summary





Highly recommended - Phone: We ❤️ to talk! A brief chat with your personal Travel Consultant helps us create your perfect trip!

Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:33 am

Hooray! Thanks for Sharing!

If you have an additional 30 seconds we’d love to learn more about you…

Custom Tour Request Popup

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • One Moment Please

    We are matching your tour idea with the right Travel Consultant
    who will be in touch shortly.
    Thank you for your request!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.