Antarctica Tours

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Antarctica tours are available with many different arrangements to many different locations. Unless a dedicated sailor picks up a yacht in San Diego that is scheduled to sail to southern territory, most visitors fly into Santiago, Chile, then fly on to various spots from which to start their Antarctica tours. Some visitors who are pressed for time fly directly to the Antarctica Peninsula. By cutting out the lengthy transportation time, they can then spend their remaining days exploring the peninsula and surrounding waters.

A common plan is to combine flying with Antarctica cruises, either aboard liners or yachts specially built to withstand the icy sea conditions on Southern Ocean cruises. The Antarctica travel season runs from about mid-December to mid-March, which is shorter than sailing seasons in other parts of the southern waters because of the harsher weather. This is summer in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are the reverse of those in the United States, which is in the northern hemisphere.

Antarctica Tours on Steel Yachts

Conditions are so rigorous in the waters of these southern regions that steel and aluminum yachts are used to navigate near Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego, and South Georgia. Their design is sturdy and some have retractable keels. Equally important, their captains and crews are experienced sailors, used to navigating in these areas.

Given the intricate coastlines of southern Chile and the islands scattered throughout Antarctica and the South Atlantic, yachts are ideal vessels in which to view scenery and wildlife close up. Passenger liners on Antarctica tours are restricted to the open ocean and ice-free waters a significant distance from shore. Yachts, on the other hand, can sail into coves, inlets, and fjords for a sheltered and leisurely sidetrip.

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