Adventure activities in Antarctica



A trip to Antarctica is like a visit to another planet. The unbelievable landscapes and abundance of wildlife present endless things to look at, photograph, and admire. To experience the continent with all of your senses, take advantage of some of the many adventure activities that are available when on a polar cruise. There is no better time to do the exhilarating than when enclosed by a breathtaking environment. An active trip is the perfect way to really make your visit one that you’ll remember for a lifetime. With long days and guides on hand to help you explore your interests, you should have a chance to try at least one adventure activity. 


Kayaking is a relaxing activity that rewards you by getting up close to the landscape. Some previous experience is encouraged as the currents and waves can be quite strong. Paddling around shards of ice, you will be in the company of swimming penguins, seals resting on floes, and whales floating below. While exploring by zodiac will be common on your trip, there is something to be said for the silent and solitary nature of setting out and navigating the sea on your own.



This is a true bucket list experience: Sleep underneath the stars of the Southern Hemisphere on the ice! You will have the perspective that many explorers did before you, looking up at the skies that helped them navigate to this far corner of the world. Antarctica is lucky enough to not have any dangerous predators, such as polar bears, to disturb you. Ships will provide all gear and equipment to make sure you’re comfortable. A worthy night away from the boat that will certainly be one of your most memorable moments in Antarctica.  




When it comes to hiking, there is something for people of all fitness levels in Antarctica. Whether it is a flat route along the shore, or one that climbs to higher elevations to take in the view, putting a foot to the continent and wandering through rarely touched terrain gives you an intimate look at the flora and fauna. 



At certain times of year, usually earlier in the season, snowshoeing is the only recommended way to explore the frozen landscape. Snowshoeing excursions can be anywhere from two hours to treks that last most of the day. While it does not take a high level of fitness to snowshoe, you will want to dress in layers that you can remove as you warm up. Ships that offer this activity will have suggested routes and provide the snowshoes to attach to your boots. 



It’s hard to not be astonished by the mountains that tower across the Antarctic Peninsula. For those who are in very good shape, it is possible to scale the peaks with a small group. Not only does this afford climbers incredible views from the mountaintops, but they also get close to parts of Antarctica that few people have seen before. Ships that offer this activity will supply the equipment, and may even allow you to camp out overnight as part of your trek. 



Brrrr! It might sound like an absurd proposition, but taking a polar plunge is sure to be one of your favorite stories to tell about your time in Antarctica. To be clear, the water will be very cold and come as a shock. You likely won’t want to stay in for long, and will head for the on-board Jacuzzi moments after you complete your dip, but this is one activity that gives you automatic bragging rights.  



If you really want to get in the water, scuba diving is one of the most fascinating experiences you can have in Antarctica. Diving here allows you to see the life going on under the surface, including the enormous majority of icebergs and the diverse aquatic creatures in this part of the world. This one is not for everyone: you will need to be certified as well as have some experience with cold-water diving before being allowed to take the plunge. 



A select few luxury ships give you the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of Antarctica. With helicopter tours, you are able to see the true expanse of the landscape, as well as access some sites that are more remote or less easily accessible. Care is given so that the helicopters are kept at a safe distance and don’t interfere with the wildlife or startle the animals.  


Which adventure experience do you want to include on your trip? The possibilities are nearly as endless as the Antarctic horizon. Even if you’re not an adrenaline junkie, there are tranquil ways to explore the landscape beyond the ship. Along with on-board lectures, many ships offer workshops in topics such as photography and citizen science to keep you stimulated while on board. 

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