Patagonia and other adventure travel destinations

What To Expect on a Cruise from Ushuaia to Antarctica

Exploring the very southernmost extremities of the globe by cruising to Antarctica is a dream that many adventurous travelers entertain. For those able to turn this incredible trip into reality, it’s important to have an idea of the conditions and activities you will likely experience on your cruise. Most ships take the route from Ushuaia to Antarctica and so we’ve put together this short guide about what you can expect and how you can plan for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Antarctica.

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Animals, animals and more animals

ushuaia to antarcticaIt’s no wonder that animal lovers are utterly captivated by the idea of cruising from Ushuaia to Antarctica: this region of the world is heaving with unique wildlife. From King penguin rookeries and elephant seal colonies on South Georgia to an abundance of whales in the waters at the Antarctic Convergence, you’re guaranteed to come across marine animals at every turn.


What to bring:

  • A camera.
  • Extra memory cards.
  • Additional batteries and a charger as batteries can quickly lose energy in cold weather.
  • A tripod for steadying your camera when taking wildlife shots.
  • Binoculars for close-up viewing of wildlife.


Cold weather

The mildest weather in Antarctica is experienced in January and February, although this still means you’ll be lucky if temperatures hit above 32°F (freezing) during the day. If taking an excursion by Zodiac, visiting wildlife colonies or hiking, it’s essential that you pack clothing suited to this extreme climate.

What to bring:

  • A selection of insulating layers to keep you warm, including long underwear, a fleece and a down parka.
  • Water-resistant gloves, a hat with ear flaps and a scarf for wind protection.
  • Waterproof rain pants and a sturdy waterproof and windproof jacket.
  • Lotions and lip balms to restore your skin after exposure to the cold air.


Activities on the ice and in the water

ushuaia to antarcticaDepending on your itinerary, options for hiking or other even more extreme activities will be available. Glacier trekking over the dense blue of tightly-packed Antarctic ice is a popular activity, but kayaking through the silent waters of the Shetland Islands as you navigate huge icebergs takes adventure to a new level. For those with a strong constitution and a penchant for unique memories, a dip in the frigid waters of Deception Bay will invigorate the senses and is an experience that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

What to bring:

  • Rubber boots or waterproof walking boots for hiking along the ice. These can generally be loaned from the ship but it’s important to confirm this when booking your cruise.
  • Woolen or thermal socks will keep your feet toasty in your boots.
  • A lightweight and waterproof backpack for excursions onto the ice.
  • A bathing suit for brave souls who fancy a dip into Antarctica’s freezing waters!


Bright sunshine

It is stunning when the sun does come up over Antarctica, but it can leave you squinting uncomfortably if you don’t have the right gear. As with skiing or other activities in the snow, it’s essential to bring the correct equipment for protecting you from the sun and avoiding unpleasant sunburn.

What to bring:

  • High SPF sunblock for your face and lips.
  • Ski goggles or polarized sunglasses with UV protection.


Stormy seas from Ushuaia to Antarctica

It might be the conventional initiation for any adventurer travelling from Ushuaia to Antarctica, but sailing through the waters south of Cape Horn along the Drake Passage can be less than a pleasant experience. Plagued by the high-speed westerlies known as the “screaming sixties”, waters here are stormy and have resulted in a nasty dose of seasickness for many a cruise ship passenger.

What to bring:

  • Sea sickness medication as a precaution.

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