For many people, the mention of Antarctica instantly conjures up images of a vast frozen tundra covered in ice and snow. But by now, do those misplaced assumptions do justice to the wonders of the 7th Continent and all it has to offer: glaciers, icebergs, penguins, whales, walruses, and other incredible wildlife.
Quark Expeditions guests take in their Antarctic surroundings from the deck of their polar vessel. Photo: Quark Expeditions
Antarctica is one of the most strikingly beautiful places on the planet. Polar adventurers will be enthralled by the sight of the sun reflected off the snow-covered mountains; the beauty of fjords and grottos carved the mainland, and the array of wildlife. You can discover these experiences along with some of the other hidden treasures you might not know about Antarctica.
What is there to see and do in Antarctica?
Quark Expeditions' team of guides includes wildlife experts and penguinologists, who know where, when and
how to maximize penguin viewing opportunities . Photo: Acacia Johnson
There are plenty of items to check off your bucket list by embarking on a voyage to Antarctica. While you can hike and trek across the frozen tundra that covers much of the mainland, there are many other locations and things to both see and experience on your journey.
For example, you can travel into the Errera Channel and visit Cuverville Island, home to a large population of Gentoo penguins. You can sail through the Lemaire Channel and photograph vistas of ice and a ruggedly beautiful shoreline. And then there's the glorious palette of colors during the twilight hours that can transform the Antarctic landscape into some of the most memorable tableaux.
There are also nearby islands that provide new opportunities for adventure. The South Shetland Islands are often one of the first stops during a voyage to Antarctica. Among this small archipelago are the famed King George Island and Elephant Island, both of which provide chances to view seals, penguins, and other wildlife playing in their natural habitats.
Best time to go to Antarctica
Antarctica, on the southern tip of the world, is one of the most beautiful destinations to visit, but of course, you want to determine what is the best time to go to Antarctica. It all depends on the time of year that you embark on your voyage. And that also means traveling to Antarctica with an operator who can get you there—and one that has polar vessels that can navigate the powerful waves, strong winds, and icy shorelines that are difficult for other ships.
If you want to know how to join an expedition to Antarctica, the best time to go is during the late spring until the early fall. Since this is in the southern hemisphere, this time of year runs from October through March. If you're located in the northern hemisphere, make sure you take the time of year into account when booking your adventure. The summer in the north is winter in the south, and vice versa.
What to expect on an expedition to Antarctica
Don't feel like you're going to be cooped up on board your ship on an expedition to Antarctica. At Quark Expeditions, you can expect to go ashore or out for a Zodiac cruise at least once every day, if not twice. We want you to be able to explore off-ship as often as possible, and experience all that your Antarctic expedition has to offer.
You'll have the choice to do as many boundary-pushing activities as you like. You can kayak through the sea channels around Antarctica, join a helicopter-supported trekking excursion, or even join a guided walk during a shore landing with an expert guide (trained in safety) to view penguins, whales, walruses, and birds.
Quark Expeditions guests fully immerse themselves in the Antarctic environment during an
off-ship excursion. Photo: Sam Crimmin
You can expect lots of engagement onboard the ship. Quark Expeditions' guests can expect a roster of world-respected polar experts to deliver presentations on all manner of subjects, including penguinology, glaciology, polar history, ornithology, botany, and other polar-related subjects.
How to join an expedition to Antarctica
On an expedition with Quark Expeditions, you can enjoy direct access to all of the guides and polar experts throughout the voyage—and not just during excursions. Unlike many other expedition companies, our crew will join guests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The person who drove your Zodiac in the morning, and who guided you through a penguin viewing walk, could quite likely be sitting next to you at dinner. That polar authority on icebergs and glaciers could even join you for an early morning breakfast. And the wealth of information you gain during those intimate encounters can amplify your overall expedition experience.
With so many off-ship activities, you can customize your Antarctic expedition to suit your specific passions and desired levels of activity. Expect to see the unexpected, including a chance to visit a rookery of 200,000 penguins! We won't just take you off the beaten path; our polar guides will take you to where there are no paths at all. If you want to feel immersed in the Antarctic experience, our adventurers are your best path forward.
An elephant seal pup and Quark Expeditions guests are mutually curious about each other. Photo: Acacia Johnson
Expedition cruise to Antarctica
So how to join an expedition to Antarctica that promises an adventure to remember? If you're pressed for time or have a limited vacation, we recommend that you consider booking a voyage such as Antarctic Express: Fly The Drake. This is an 8-day voyage that begins with a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to the famed King George Island in the South Shetland Islands archipelago.
Once you arrive on the island, you'll disembark the plane and board your cruise ship to begin sailing across the Antarctic Peninsula. You'll navigate through the Lemaire Channel and come across those picturesque moments at the height of your journey. You can also join a Zodiac cruise to explore more of the channels surrounding the mainland or participate in a hiking excursion geared to your level of experience. Who knows, you may even channel enough bravery to take the polar plunge in the waters of the Antarctic!