Flights to Antarctica
Excited about seeing Antarctica but apprehensive about crossing the infamous 'Drake Passage' by ship? Our local operators have designed 'Fly and Cruise' trips, allowing you to fly from Chile straight to King George Island in Antarctica, reducing the Drake Passage crossing from 2 days, to 2 hours.
Find the right Antarctic Fly and Cruise trip for you, from Short tours, tours that Cross the Polar Circle or South Georgia & the Falkland tours.
Alternatively, see our guide to Flights to Antarctica from UK.
Fly and Cruise Antarctica
Fly and Cruise programmes are a great way to make the most of your precious time on the Great White Continent; spending 4-15 days exploring its islands, zipping amongst ice bergs in Zodiac boats and getting out onto the ice, all without 2-4 extra days at sea. Or, if you're a group of 6, short on time and can't find any dates that fit, you could charter a flight to Antarctica and spend 2 days exploring part of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctica is a long way away and in a part of the world where few people will return. Because of this people often choose to maximise their time by combining their Fly and Cruise trip to Antarctica with a week or so in the remote wilderness of Patagonia, enjoying day hikes into the mountains, kayaking on pristine rivers or relaxing at a secluded mountain lodge with a glass of Malbec in hand. If you'd like to find out more about combing your Antarctic cruise with Patagonia, don't forget to visit our Patagonia Holidays page.
Alternatively, if you're simply looking for a traditional cruise that sets sail from and returns to Ushuaia, see our Antarctic cruises page.
Fly and Cruise Antarctic Tours from 4-8 days
If you only have 5 days (or want to combine a visit to Antarctica with Patagonia) then this is a great option. You sail out from Ushuaia, cross the Drake ...
See the best of the Antarctic Peninsula in just 7 days, by flying over the Drake Passage there and back. You'll spend 4 whole days in the Antarctic, cruising the ...
In 7 days see the best of the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula; Paradise Bay, Cuverville & Deception Islands and Port lockroy, before crossing the Lemaire Channel at 65 ...
Longer Fly & Cruise Tours Across the Polar Circle
Fly to and from Antarctica and see the highlights in just 9 days. This is an exciting itinerary, small & intimate ship with an experienced company. Plus, flights to and ...
This expedition gets you deep into Antarctica by flying you over the Drake Passage (on either the outward or return leg, depending on the departure date). It's also possible to ...
Fly and Cruise to South Georgia & the Falklands
This fantastic cruise takes you to some of Antarctica's most beautiful spots including Deception Island and Brown Bluff, home to thousands of penguins. You'll also visit more unusual spots; the ...
On this 17-day trip you fly from Santiago to join the ship in Port Stanley (The Falkland Islands). You'll spend 2 days there before cruising to the South Georgia islands ...
Choose from either a 17-day Fly & Cruise or a 20-day journey that will take you to some of Antarctica's most remote spots; the Weddell Sea, Elephant Island, South Orkney ...
Flights to Antarctica - Your Questions Answered
Where does the flight to Antarctica depart?
Fly and cruise flights to Antarctica depart from the Chilean town of Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia. It's from here that you'll catch a charter flight along with the other passengers on your cruise. The flight takes approximately 2 hours and lands at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Station landing strip, on King George Island in Antarctica.
Are flights included in the trip price?
Yes, all internal flights mentioned in the itinerary are included in the cost of the trip. This does not include any other internal flights in Patagonia or longhaul flights to and from the UK. However, we partner with a Latin American Flights Specialist who can certainly help with your remaining internal and longhaul flights, just get in touch.
Please note that although most of the Fly and Cruise programmes include return flights to Antarctica, some are designed with only one flight, giving you the chance to experience the adventure of the Drake Passage either on the way out or on the return voyage. Just like our regular Antarctic cruises, this type of cruise sets sail from/or docks in Argentina at the port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.
What type of plane will it be?
We work with 4 Fly and Cruise operators, each of which uses the Chilean airline DAP to transport its passengers to and from Antarctica. DAP takes more than 1000 passengers to Antarctica a year and has a small flotilla of planes to do this. The company's planes include a BAE 146 with capacity for 99, Twin Otter DHC-6, Beechcraft and Cessna 402.
What is the Drake Passage and what makes it 'infamous?'
The Drake Passage is the body of water between the tip of Patagonia (Cape Horn) and the South Shetland Islands. It's a haven for wildlife, especially whales and seabirds, so for some people this makes it a must. It is also the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet, and it is this convergence, as well as the strong Antarctic Circumpolar Current, that causes huge upswellings, or 'Waves of Terror', often reaching heights of 15 metres. So it's not suprising that you need a strong stomach and internal fortitude to make it to Antarctica in one piece. After all, this is the roughest stretch of ocean in the world...
How much does it cost?
The price of Fly and Cruise trips varies depending on the length of the cruise but prices range from £2,771 for 5 days in Anatrctic to £10,307 for 20 days in Antarctica. Each Fly and Cruise option includes internal flights to and from Antarctica, as stated in the itinerary, which means you only need to book your long haul flights.
Like all our regular Antarctica Cruises, Fly & Cruise trips are fully inclusive and allow you to zip along the Antarctic Peninsula in Zodiac boats, enjoy declicious food and wine, and get a good night's sleep in a comfortable cabin. Some Fly & Cruise trips also give you the option to kayak, hike or camp in Antarctica. You'll find that cruise operators sometimes include this in the price of the trip, whereas others charge an additional amount for support and maintenence of equipment. For rates please see the info box on each trip details page.
Is this more expensive than a regular cruise with no flights to Antarctica?
Although on a per day basis a fly and cruise option is more expensive, it certainly has its advantages. For lots of people, making the most of their hard earned precious holiday time is top of the priority list. With a fly and cruise trip you just get so much more out of each day because you don't spend anything like as much time in the Drake Passage.
For those of you on a whistlestop tour, this is also one of the quickest ways of seeing all that Antarctica has to offer in just 4 - 8 days, something which a traditional Antarctic cruise just can't offer. And to top it off, it definitely gives you a more comfortable journey, avoiding potential seasickness.
When Should I book?
We recommend booking as early as possible, even up to 1 year in advance. Often availability decreases or even gets fully booked within a month or so of realeasing departure dates. We work with over 8 ships, so if you get in touch early on, we should be able to find a cruise to suit your timeframe, appetite for adventure and budget.
What if I'm a solo traveller?
Solo travellers are welcome on board all Antarctica Fly and Cruise trips, but do have to pay a single occupancy cabin rate of between 1.5 and 1.7 times the rate based on two persons sharing a standard twin cabin. However, if they are prepared to share a cabin with someone of the same sex, the operator will usually endeavour to match them up with another solo traveller and thus avoid paying the single occpancy rate.
What will I see?
Just like a normal Antarctic cruise, you'll be able to choose from shorter Fly and Cruises that explore the North or South of the Antarctic Peninsula, cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees, or venture out to the Falklands or South Georgia Islands (known for their abundance of wildlife). It largely depends on the time of year that you visit, and our Which Month? calendar at the top right of this page will help you decide when to visit if, for example, you're keen to see penguin chicks hatching, fluffy baby seal pups or large whale pods.
During the summer months, Antarctica is bathed in 24 hours of daylight, so lots of time to enjoy yourself! You'll see giant tabular ice bergs, blue floating masses of ice and islands covered in rock and ice. Not to mention the thousands of penguins, Elephant Seals and whales that you'll come across.
What's the luggage allowance?
The luggage allowance on flights to Antarctica is 20kg per passenger and this includes hand luggage (bear in mind you'll be flying on a small plane). Although this may seem fairly strict, you shouldn't actually need to bring too much on board and will be provided with an extensive kit list to help you pack long before the trip.
If this trip is part of a longer holiday, you should be able to leave all the extra luggage you might have with the operator for safe keeping which will be given back to you at the airport on your return from Antarctica.
Map showing key landmarks for Antarctic Cruises
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Summer is in full swing with penguin chicks hatching all fluffy and grey, you'll see them earlier in the South Shetland Islands and later in the month to the south of the Peninsula. In January watch out for:
- Fur and leopard seal pups getting bigger, sticking close to their mums on the beaches.
- Penguin colonies are a hive of activity, with parents finding as much food as possible for their young, fending off giant Skua birds that prey on baby penguins.
February is still summertime and the continuously receding ice means that ice breakers can explore further south, visiting the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea. Expect to see:
- Young penguin chicks are starting to get strong and big and can be seen huddling in 'penguin creches'.
- The concentration of fur seals increases
- February is prime time for whale watching with a variety of breeds feeding in the Antarctic Peninsula
By March, Autumn is well and truly here. The days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to drop as the sun sinks below the southern horizon. Extensive walks into the South Shetland Islands are possible as although you may experience some winter frost during the night, snow cover is at its minimum.
- Young penguins are now in a state of adolescence and are interested and inquisitive in visitors
- Adult penguins are molting, making them look strangely shabby! They spend a lot of their time teaching their young to go to sea
- Whale watching is still very good at this time of year and there's a high chance you'll get near to lots of them
November is springtime in Antarctica, and as the ice begins to break and melt thanks to the sun's energy, Antarctica gets a burst of life - with plankton blooming on the ice and krill swelling in abundance. After a long, dark winter, Antartica's creatures make the most of the spring to fatten up before darkness strikes again. In November you'll see:
- Crabeater seals (born between September and November)
- Penguin courting rituals, nest building and stone stealing
- Penguin, petrel and comorant eggs are laid in November
- Elephant alpha seals aggressively guarding their harems on the beach until December
- Seals lounging on many icebergs
- Minke, Southern right whales and humpbacks arriving to feed
We're in early summer now, and many animals are being born, parents are searching for food for their young, and the variety of wildlife that can be seen on the icebergs, ice cliffs and Antarctic beaches is extraordinary. You'll see:
- whales feeding in Antarctica's food rich waters
- Petrel and comorant eggs are still hatching
- Penguin eggs start to hatch at the end of December in South Shetland Islands
- Days are lengthening so you should be getting near to 24 hours of daylight
Guide to Patagonia
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We help people organise adventure travel holidays in Patagonia, just Patagonia. Our exclusive focus on this incredible corner of world means that we've got the knowledge and the relationships to find just the right trip for everyone that we speak to. Patagonia is a vast region with all sorts of possibilities and we take real pleasure in helping people find the best adventure for their experience, dates, budget and appetite for adventure.