When to travel to Antarctica

With exceptionally cold winters, no sunlight and treacherous winds during April to September, the only time accessible for humans to explore the last great wilderness of Antarctica is during the warmer months of late October to March. This is when the sea ice starts to melt, allowing ships to cruise through its pristine waters. Each month has its own unique highlights so deciding on the best time to go on an expedition cruise is all dependent on what you want to see.


Cruise to Antarctica at the start of the season to see untouched snowy landscapes along with colossal sized icebergs and dazzling icescapes at their most pristine. For wildlife lovers, Antarctica offers plenty of excitement and activity at this time of the year. Elephant seals are breeding, Minke, southern right and humpback whales are starting to return and Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins are coming ashore to begin their nesting. Female king penguins are also starting to lay their eggs in November with males departing to hunt for fish for their unborn chicks. This is also a great time to see Antarctic sea birds soar through the sky including petrels, skuas and albatross. Across the Falkland Islands, spring wildflowers are in bloom such as the Pale Maiden, putting on dazzling displays. This is also a great time for photographers with incredible candyfloss pink and golden orange sunsets set against a backdrop of glistening icebergs. Be sure to wrap up warm as temperatures are still very cold at this time of year averaging 2-3 degrees Celsius.


December to January

December marks the beginning of peak season to visit Antarctica, with temperatures often rising to 8-10 degrees Celsius during the day. Penguin chicks are hatching on the peninsula, seal pups crowd the beaches of South Georgia and whale sightings are becoming more frequent from mid-December. Penguin parents are kept busy returning to and from the sea to feed their hungry chicks and fend off Skua birds from snatching their young. This is a great time for photographers to capture the Antarctic twilight with Antarctica basked in 20 to 24 hours of sunlight, whist history buffs can visit historic huts and bases. As this is peak season, we recommend booking your Antarctica cruise well in advance.

Antarctica Seals

February to March

As late summer arrives in Antarctica, temperatures remain warm, but start to cool again moving into March as the days begin to get shorter and darker. Whale watching is at its best with migrating whale pods begin to converge and get their final fill of krill and then begin their journey north. Whale sightings can include humpback, southern right, minke, sperm, orca and blue whales. On land, penguin chicks start to fledge and adult penguins begin to leave the Antarctic shores. Fur seals cover the beaches of both the peninsula and islands, whilst younger seals are at their most playful and inquisitive. For those wanting to follow in the footsteps of early explorers and cross the Antarctic Circle, this is also a good time of the year to do so, before the continent plunges into the darkness of winter.

antarctica whales

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2020 - 2022 Antarctica and the Americas brochure