The Arctic Peninsula, which stretches in the direction of South America, is the coldest, driest, most desolate uninhabited continent on Earth. It is visited by only scientists and adventure travelers. Well over 90% of Antarctica is covered with ice and surrounded completely by water. On most 2018 Antarctica cruises, you would depart Ushuaia, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile one of three ways:
- Small Expedition Ship
- Luxury Ship, or...
- Fly/Cruise Combination
Some Antarctica expeditions include camping in Antarctica, kayaking in Antarctica, whale watching in Antarctica, and wildlife viewing. If you are cruising from Ushuaia or Punta Arenas, you'll be cruising the Drake Passage or Mar de Hoces (Sea of Hoces), named after Francisco de Hoces who was a Spanish sailor who during the Loaisa Expedition in 1526 was said to precede Sir Francis Drake's expedition by over 50 years. The Drake Passage, which historians in both Argentina and Chile believe should be renamed Mar de Hoces is a 600 mile wide tumultuous body of water lying between Cape Horn and Antarctica. Some consider the voyage to be a rite of passage into Antarctica due predominantly to what is known as The Drake Shake, named after the rough seas caused by the unpredictable weather patterns. The Drake Passage Crossing takes approximately 48 hours and that's if you're traveling through favorable conditions.
Landing Rights are required in order to step foot onto Antarctica... Antarctica Tour operators and cruise lines that offer Antarctica alike must be members of IAATO (International Association Antarctica Tour Operators), companies that are committed in supporting and preserving Antarctica. There are a total of fifty travel companies that are currently IAATO Members that provide 2018 trips to Antarctica.
Traveling to Antarctica can run a pretty penny, actually, tens of thousands of pennies, which is why it's important to know that there is much to be saved when knowing where to look...