How to get to Antarctica | A South America Travel Expert Explains!
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How to get to Antarctica | A South America Travel Expert Explains!

4 min read

Jun 4, 2018


By Gabe Scalise

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Figuring out how to get to Antarctica can be daunting. 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 to Antarctica? The first step in figuring out how to get to Antarctica is to get some background on the many ways that it is possible to travel to Antarctica. In general, there are 2 primary ways to get to Antarctica.


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, Buenos Aires or Santiago, but there are many other connecting cities. We typically do not recommend trying to arrive to these destinations unless you are already in the Southern Areas of Chile or Argentina.

Crossing the Drake Passage

The first and by far the most popular way of how to get to Antarctica is on a commercial cruise departing from Ushuaia, Argentina. These Antarctica cruises offer shore visits, land excursions, boat excursions, and more! This is typically the most cost effective way to travel to Antarctica but it also 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. offers a classic commercial cruise tour to Antarctica titled the Best Antarctica Ushuaia Cruise! This classic Antarctica cruise takes care of all your worries in 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 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 Antarctica tours in the world because we can offer the highest standard of quality to all the Antarctica Tour Operators. Our tours include:

  • 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

how to get to antarctica fly

Fly 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. How far is Antarctica from South America when doing a fly-cruise? This short 2 hour flight is the quickest way to get to Antarctica and embark on your cruise. This is more costly than crossing the Drake but many people feel it’s worth it. When researching how to get to Antarctica, 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. Our experience as South America and Antarctica Travel Experts know that you need to get the most value from your trip to South America and wasting days at sea is not for everyone. In another blog post on our website, we made a case for skipping the Drake Passage and flying directly to Antarctica. 

Some of the huge PROS of doing this are:

  • You have more time in Antarctica
  • You can avoid boats and the chance of getting seasick!
  • You get a perspective while getting to Antarctica that very few people get the chance to see.

That being said, some of the CONS of flying to Antarctica are:

  • Potential flight delays due to weather
  • Cost

As you can see, it totally depends on what type of traveler you to exactly answer the question of how to get to Antarctica. Our team has done multiple trips to Antarctica, both by crossing the Drake and flying as well as different itineraries of varying lengths. This question of how would you get to Antarctica is something our  South America Experts can help you decide, and lucky for you, we are always eager to help guests plan their dream trip to The White Continent.

To Summarize

In conclusion, when answering the question of how to get to Antarctica, many variables need to be taken into account. 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 to Antarctica with you! Please contact us to get started. We can also create a custom tour that include other highlights of South America.  The sky is the limit!


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