Antarctica: A Guide to Visiting

A small group of penguins are in the foreground on snow. In the background is the ocean with icebergs scattered throughout and a cruise ship. On the left hand side, there is language that reads 'February 2023, Antarctica: A Guide to Visiting'.

Antarctica – the Great White Continent. It’s so wild to me that I was able to visit. I’m still processing the entire trip. This was the biggest trip of my life, in terms of pricing, packing, and planning. In this guide to visiting Antarctica, I’m sharing everything from how I booked my trip, to pricing, to what to pack, and everything in-between! I hope this serves as guide to help you adequately prepare for your own trip to the Great White Continent!

I tried to think about everything I wanted to know prior to my trip and compile it into this post (hence why it might be all over the place haha). As much as I wanted to make this a one-stop shop, that would make the post soooo long. So I’ll have a separate post for a detailed packing list which will include links, and another post that shares what a typical day onboard on the ship looks like. In the meantime, enjoy the information I pulled together from my experience and please recognize that everyone’s Antarctica expedition will look different based on so many varying factors.

How Did I Book My Trip?

A large group of people on the back of a cruise ship posing for a picture holding an orange/yellow sign that reads 'Follow the Fro Tours'. The background is the Antarctic Ocean and snow covered mountains.


First things first. Everyone is curious to know how I even booked a trip to Antarctica. That’s a fair question, as the continent wasn’t even on my radar – at least not this early into my travelling career. But when a travel opportunity comes knocking, I’m usually opening the door. Enter Kesi of Kesi To and Fro. We had been following each other on Instagram for awhile and gotten to know each other, so when she announced she was hosting a group trip to Antarctica I knew I had to join. She sent me all the information and connected me with the travel agent working with our group. Kesi is planning to host another trip to Antarctica, so make sure to follow her and join her email list if that’s something you’re interested in.

Other Ways to Book the Trip

A group of people dressed in penguin onesies posing for a picture on the back of a cruise ship.

Maybe Kesi’s tour isn’t for you and that’s okay. There are other ways to book a trip to Antarctica. You can book directly with companies who offer cruises or expeditions to Antarctica. Just a quick Google search led me down a rabbit role of various companies offering the adventure and although all are a pretty penny, they range on price points. Make sure to read all that is included in the cost and choose the option that is best suited for you.

This trip is by no means a trip for those faint of funds. As you can imagine, travelling to Antarctica requires a lot of manpower and resources so it does come with a hefty price tag. Antarctic expeditions typically range anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000+ USD, depending on how you’re getting there, the company you’re going with, the duration of the trip, and lots of other factors. And this is usually just for booking the trip itself – the price doesn’t typically include flight to/from the departure/arrival port. Thankfully Kesi was able to get our group a discounted rate, which is how I was able to make this trip happen.

Chile, Antarctica, & Argentina Itinerary

A landscape shot of Antarctica mountains covered in snow and a still ocean. There are gray clouds in the sky.


Although I extended my trip before and after the Antarctica portion, it’s obviously not necessary to do this. I figured I was already down there, so I might as well explore to maximize my time. Below you’ll find a rough outline of my itinerary:

DateActivity
Oct. 28, 2022Flight from Atlanta to Punta Arenas
Oct. 29, 2022Land in Punta Arenas; One night in Hotel Cabo de Hornos
Oct. 30, 2022Viator: Transfer to Puerto Natales
Oct. 31, 2022Viator: Torres Del Paines National Park
Nov. 1, 2022Viator: Navigation Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
Nov. 2, 2022Viator: Transfer to Punta Arenas + Intrepid Meet & Greet
Nov. 3, 2022Board Ocean Endeavor to Antarctica
Nov. 4, 2022Sea Day: Drake Passage
Nov. 5, 2022Sea Day: Drake Passage
Nov. 6, 2022Telefon Bay at Deception Island; Snowshoeing
Nov. 7, 2022Wilhelmina Bay + Portal Point
Nov. 8, 2022Joule Point (Port Lockroy) + Damoy Point; Ice Camping
Nov. 9, 2022Paradise Harbor + Android Bay + Errera Channel; Polar Plunge
Nov. 10, 2022Fournier Bay + Melchior Islands
Nov. 11, 2022Sea Day: Drake Passage
Nov. 12, 2022Sea Day: Drake Passage
Nov. 13, 2022Arrive to Ushuaia, Argentina + Fly to Buenos Aires
Nov. 14, 2022Explore Buenos Aires
Nov. 15, 2022Day Trip to Colonia, Uruguay
Nov. 16, 2022Explore Buenos Aires + Head Home

Lodging

The cruise ship with a large snow covered mountain in the background. The Antarctic Ocean is in the foreground. The sky is white and overcast.


The accommodation for the majority of my trip was the cruise ship; however, it was necessary to stay in hotels or hostels throughout the other parts of our trip. The hotel the night before we boarded was included in our cruise cost, so make sure to check that when you decide to book your trip.

  • Hotel Cabo de Hornos (Punta Arenas, Chile): We paid to stay here one night before our Viator tour because this is the hotel we would be coming back to the night before the cruise.
  • Hotel Costausralis (Puerto Natales, Chile): This hotel was included in our tour price and we stayed there three nights. Not sure what the price is, but breakfast was included with our stay and we were walking distance from downtown. The view from our room was also incredible.
  • Milhouse Hostel (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Someone in our group recommend it and we booked it without looking at other nearby options. They have the option to include transportation when booking. Breakfast is not included, but they have events throughout the week and discounted prices for nearby attractions/activities.
  • Circus Hostel & Hotel (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Although I didn’t personally stay here as this is where my friends moved to the day I flew out, I was able to see the rooms and general area and it looked really nice. I believe breakfast is included and they also have a pool!

The Drake Passage

A white snow covered mountain with the Antarctic Ocean in the foreground.

At the time, I did not realize how truly blessed we were with the Drake Passage experience that we had. I had heard horror stories of the water passage, so I was fully prepared to be spending all the time we were crossing it in my room, on my bed, in the fetal position.

Much to my surprise, it was definitely felt but not to the point where I got seasick. I will note, I started taking Dramamine a few days prior to boarding the ship and I took a pill each morning. Many passengers were using the ear patches to battle sicknesses as well. There were a literally only a handful of people (to my knowledge) that didn’t use any meds and didn’t get seasick. But most people who did use the meds did not experience seasickness. There is also a doctor on board who can assist should you need help.

My friend who went about two weeks after me did not have the same experience. Instead of the Drake Lake (relatively peaceful crossing), she had the Drake Shake (very volatile crossing). Her crossing was actually so bad, the cruise ship had to turn back and try again another day. So be mindful that although the captain does his/her best to make the crossing as smooth as possible, it’s not always able to come to fruition.

Temperatures

A landscape shot of snow covered land, the Antarctic Ocean, and several people in the background to the left of the image.


Antarctica was not as cold as I thought it was going to be. Not to say it wasn’t cold, but I was expecting it to be in the high negatives. Thankfully that was not the case. I’m pretty sure it only got below zero when the wind was blowing. But with our layers, it was definitely manageable, and at times we even got hot. It’s also good to remember that the boat won’t be as cold as outside obviously, so pack clothes for when you’re on the ship. For example, I wish I packed more short sleeve t-shirts and one more pair of shorts.

What to Pack

Larissa smiling mouth open at the camera with her arm extended out, pointing at Deception Island. She is wearing a purple puffy jacket and a green beanie. She has binoculars hanging around her neck.


This section deserves its own separate post, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll share a list of the specific items I purchased, making sure to note how I would pack knowing what I know now. Although I only packed a carryon, I still felt like I overpacked. There were some items I definitely could have left at home, but honestly, I had never met anyone who had been to Antarctica and I’m not a cold weather type of gal so I thought, better to be over prepared than under.

In this post, I’m sharing a general list of the items that were necessary for me on this trip:

Clothing Items:

  • Thermal Top x 1
  • Thermal Bottoms x 2
  • Short Sleeve Shirts x 3
  • Long Sleeve Shirts x 2
  • Jacket x 2
  • Shorts x 2
  • Leggings x 2
  • Ski Pants / Waterproof Pants [mandatory]
  • Waterproof Gloves x 2
  • Wool Socks x 2
  • Regular Socks x 3
  • Beanie x 2
  • Swimsuit [for polar plunge, sauna, hot tub, and pool]

Shoes:

  • Shoes with good traction (for walking around the boat)
  • Hiking boots (only if planning to hike before/after Antarctica)
  • Flip flops (for walking around your cabin)

Random:

  • Hothands
  • Dry Bag
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses with UV Protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Seasickness Medicine

Available Activities

Larissa is standing in snowshoes, wearing ski pants, a large blue jacket, and a gray speckled beanie. There is a mountain behind her that is black and white in color. There are hiking sticks in the foreground.

There are a variety of excursions to choose from. The Antarctica landings are included in the price, but if you’re looking to camp, snowshoe, or kayak, that’s going to be an additional cost. On the Ocean Endeavor, we had the following options to choose from and the ones with the asterisk are the ones I ended up doing:

ActivityCost
Day Paddle $250
Ice Camping*$399
Photography Program $1099
Sea Kayaking Program$1099
Snowshoeing*$150

Price

Larissa is holding an Antarctica flag while standing feet deep in the snow. Her neck warmer is covering her mouth and she has a gray ear warmer headband on.

Lastly, the much anticipated section on price. As I previously stated, this trip is definitely not cheap. In my mind, I was spending about $10,000 in total for the entire trip, but you can see that I went a bit over in the price breakdown below. At the end of the day though, I’m not mad at it because it was the experience of a lifetime and some spend just that much, if not more, just booking the Antartica portion. It also helped that everything was paid for across time so it never left like too heavy of a lift at any one time.

ItemPrice
Cabin (Twin, Porthole Cabin)$6,716.00
Fuel Surcharge$540.00
Travel Insurance$75.18
Antarctica Gear from REI + Amazon$935.95
Flight (Atlanta, Georgia to Punta Arenas, Chile)$418.10
Viator Tour: 4 Days Trip to Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine National Park$990.00
Hiking Boots + Rain Jacket Purchase in Puerto Natales$227.61
Ocean Endeavor Cruise Final Bill (Excursions, Shop, Drinks, Etc.)$1,414.50
Flight (Ushuaia, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina)$185.00
Transportation from EZE Airport to Milhouse Hostel$33.00
Milhouse Hostel in Buenos Aires $108.00
Colonia Express (Uruguay Ferry)$94.63
Flight (Buenos Aires, Argentina to Atlanta, Georgia)$544.56
Total (not including food, drinks, Uber)$12,282.53

Recap of the Antartica Guide

Larissa is standing with her arm extending out, pointing to penguins. She is smiling and wearing a large blue jacket with a yellow hood.

Antarctica was a trip of a lifetime. What made is such an incredible experience was by far the group of people I was able to go with, but also being one of the first people in two years to visit the continent. We saw whales, seals, penguins, and seabirds. We learned the difference between glaciers and icebergs while seeing them with our own two eyes. This trip is one I will remember for the rest of my life, not only because it was such a unique experience, but also because of the lifelong friends I found along the way.

It’s hard to try and put into words this experience, and I’m sure I may have missed some things you may be wondering about. If that’s the case and you have additional questions about Antarctica or need me to clarify anything, let me know in the comments!

As always, thank you for reading and supporting Life with Larissa! I appreciate it more than you know. And don’t forget – a separate packing list post is coming soon. Make sure you’re subscribed to this blog and/or following on Instagram to know when it’s published.

8 thoughts on “Antarctica: A Guide to Visiting”

  1. Fascinating! I’ve always been curious about visiting Antarctica but never looked into it. This was a helpful starting point to learn about it.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read! When the opportunity presented itself, I was thinking, how does one even visit Antarctica?! I hope you get the chance to go!

    1. Haha that’s fair! I will say, it was warmer than I thought it was going to be (still cold though). Even though cold temps are not my forte, I’m really glad I went!

  2. That is a lovely and pretty detailed blog that will be very handy for any traveller. I will definitely bookmark it to use when I plan a trip to Antarctica .. you should definitely share it with a bigger community of travel lovers by sharing it on TrovenTrip.com 😊

  3. I love this, this is truly big bucket list for me. I still can’t believe you did it and relatively affordable for Antarctica. I have to do this trip and it was great how you outlined everything. Thank you for putting this together

    1. It was a big bucket list item for me as well; I just didn’t realize it! I honestly hadn’t even considered visiting Antarctica, nor did I realize you could, when the opportunity came. Thanks for taking the time to read and hope it helps with future planning! You’re going to have an amazing time when you do go 🙂

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