PREPARE FOR YOUR
Before you embark on the journey of a lifetime, take a look at our tips and suggestions to ensure you enjoy your expedition to the fullest and with your health, comfort and well-being in mind.
To travel to Antarctica, you should be in relatively good health. It’s not necessary to be at peak, athletic levels of physical fitness, but there is physical activity when on shore. The onboard crew will provide a brief tutorial for proper use of the equipment that will also help determine your physical ability to operate it safely and properly. We highly recommend that you receive confirmation from your doctor regarding your fitness to travel to Antarctica.
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
You do require a valid passport when entering the countries from where your Antarctic journey begins and ends. Check with the Department of State Travel for specific visa and passport requirements for the ports you are traveling through. Make sure your passport is active for at least 6 months after your travels are complete and that it has enough blank pages for the necessary stamps.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU GO
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS – Antarctica is a delicate ecosystem and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure it remains pristine. That means doing your best not to bring in foreign particles to the environment. One of the ways you can do this is by avoiding use of products with microplastics. Many bath amenities such as exfoliants, facial scrubs, and body washes contain these tiny beads that are not a natural part of the environment. Even after washing the product away, some of them can still cling to your skin and become embedded in your clothing, which can then fall off when stepping on shore. If you’ve ever been to national parks, you may be acquainted with their environmental regulations. When you visit an ecosystem, many of those microbes and organisms can stay stuck to your clothes and shoes, so it’s best practice not to use those same articles of clothing when visiting another sensitive environment. The same concept can be applied to visiting Antarctica. Make sure not to pack clothes and shoes that you’ve worn in the past within other fragile ecosystems, such as caves, to avoid cross contamination of natural environments. Please refer to our ‘What to Pack’ section for a detailed list.
WHAT TO PACK
During the height of Antarctica summer (October to February), temperatures often reach between 30-and-40- degrees Fahrenheit. It’s much more pleasant than many would think for a destination known for glaciers and icebergs. But in certain areas, it can still become chilly (due to how windy it can be!) so, it’s important to layer up when heading out on a polar expedition. The below is a dress recommendation to help keep you comfortable throughout your expedition. Some regions may require fewer layers.
It’s recommended you bring leggings or thermal underwear for warmth and to control moisture. Thin socks and tops are also best for comfort and easier movement. We recommend basic long johns, leggings and thermal underwear for warmth and moisture control, with enough to switch between day to day as you see fit. Fabrics such as merino wool, fleece, Capilene and synthetic blends like polyester or acrylic work best.
Consider a combination of light-to-mid-weight layers for optimized warmth with minimal bulk. We recommend insulation layers of thick socks, long johns and shirts and glove liners. Choose these layers based on weather conditions and your personal comfort level.
To keep you dry and protected from the elements, we recommend waterproof pants and sweater or protective shirts. We also suggest a windbreaker or a similar style jacket.
As you make it to the shores of Antarctic regions, you’ll be provided with waterproof knee boots to step off the tender or Zodiacs for some landings. You will also receive a complimentary parka provided by Atlas, but feel free to bring your own coat.
TOP LAYERS & ACCESSORIES
To protect the face and neck, we recommend a scarf or neck gaiter and to keep your head warm a knit wool cap and/or jacket with a hood to cover up. For your hands, we suggest waterproof gloves or mittens. While it may be cold and icy, the sun is still shining, so it’s recommended you pack sunscreen (without oxybenzone for environmental protection) and lip balm, as well as polarized sunglasses.
DON’T PACK A PEST
Keeping Antarctica pristine is our ultimate goal. So, it’s important to know what to pack/not pack. You might be surprised what you can bring from home if not careful.
WHAT TO WEAR ON BOARD
When spending time aboard our yachts, you can keep it casual, as they are climate controlled for comfort. We recommend the following attire.
- Light shirts and pants
- Non-slip, closed toe shoes
- Waterproof jacket or windbreaker (for enjoying Water’s Edge or the top-most deck)
- In the evenings, comfortable winter attire for evening dining. Casual relaxation in slacks or skirts, with sweaters or jackets optional
A: Every Antarctica expedition includes complimentary private charter jet service between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
A: Every Antarctica expedition includes a FREE parka and vest (yours to keep!) and FREE use of knee boots throughout the voyage. Our yachts also have a mud room for changing before you head out to your next exhilarating challenge.
A: This is a pristine destination with a fragile ecosystem, so it’s important to remember to be a responsible explorer, including being mindful of packing clean gear, not taking anything from shore, and following the instructions on board for properly decontaminating your footwear and clothing. For a complete guide on what to do to be a conscious traveler, check out the IAATO “Don’t Pack a Pest” pamphlet.
A: From October to the beginning of December you’ll see the land covered in snow all way to the edge of the water, which means you’ll likely see penguins as they make their highways to the water. During these months, you may also have the chance to see penguins, seabirds and shags courting and laying their eggs.
December through February there’s less snow, exposing the rocky peaks for a more rugged landscape. This is also the best time to see penguin chicks hatch. From mid-February to March you’ll have the best chances of catching sight of whales as they return to the peninsula to feed and watch for penguins molting.
A: During Antarctica summer, temperatures tend to stay in 40-degree Fahrenheit range, so it’s important to pack properly to keep warm.
A: The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) does not allow the use of drones, quadcopters, UAVs, and other such hardware for recreational purposes from the yacht, during scheduled landings, or on excursions. Furthermore, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands government has banned the use of such recreational technologies in their territories.
A: Yes! Our brand-new yachts are Polar Category C and Ice Class 1B, purpose-built for remote navigation. As our expeditions take place during Antarctica’s summer, there will be mild ice conditions and more open water, which is what our categorizations allow our yachts to navigate. With these polar code categorizations, we offer safety and stability.
A: To travel to Antarctica with Atlas Ocean Voyages, it’s not necessary to be at peak, athletic levels of physical fitness. You can take it easy or be as active as you want on shore. As you are journeying to the most remote part of the world, we encourage you to check in with your doctor if you would like peace of mind. And if you have pre-existing conditions that may require medical attention, we ask that you notify Atlas before your sailing.
A: While we aim to make our voyages inclusive for all guests, Antarctica is a destination that presents challenging elements. Our Antarctica journeys also use Zodiacs to transport guests between shore and yacht, so if you have a disability that does not easily allow for such transportation, we cannot serve you well for an Antarctica expedition at this time.
A: Zodiacs are highly buoyant rubber boats built with inflatable hulls with several air-filled compartments for optimum floatation. Our polar-class yachts are equipped with custom-designed Zodiacs, complete with reinforced bow chests. Trained staff and crew members drive and operate the Zodiacs when taking you to your Antarctic adventures in the water and on shore. Please make sure to always follow their careful instructions when embarking and disembarking from the Zodiac.
A: Atlas is pleased to provide a set of binoculars in every suite and stateroom for you to use freely for your wildlife viewing adventures.
A: Antarctica is a paradise for animal lovers with plenty of wildlife. You’ll see various species of penguins, seals, birds, and whales. Check out our “Wild Antarctica” page to discover what you may see.
A: Atlas Ocean Voyages provides every guest with FREE use of knee boots for wet landings.
A: To help preserve the beauty and environment of Antarctica, your expedition leader will guide you every step of the way. This way, you experience your journey to the fullest while leaving only footprints behind. Before you head to shore, your expedition team will brief you on conservation and best practices for exploring the land. It’s important to follow their instructions.
A: We believe in being prepared so you can fully enjoy your Antarctica experience. Please check out our “What to Pack” page to see what you should know before embarking on your journey.
A: Our world-class expedition team consists of expedition leaders, guest lecturers, photographers and scientists — experts in their fields — who will guide and educate you through your Antarctica journey. They’ll help you experience the continent to the fullest while doing what it takes to maintain the pristine environment. Their knowledge and passion will make your Antarctica voyage unforgettably extraordinary.
A: Atlas is pleased to offer accommodations for children age eight years and older – accompanied at all times throughout the voyage – for our Antarctica expeditions.