How Much Is A Trip To Antarctica? Cost Of The South Pole

How Much Is A Trip To Antarctica?

If you’re looking to visit one of the most unique and untouched travel destinations, then Antarctica is the place to go. Whether your goal is to visit all seven continents, or you’re fascinated by the ice-capped landscapes of the South Pole, your question might be ‘how much is a trip to Antarctica?’. In this guide, we will answer that and give some tips on how to plan an expedition to the stunning land of frozen water.

There is a good reason for Antarctica to be called the land of extremes. It is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on Earth. Thanks to its remoteness and inhospitable weather conditions, there is hardly any development, nor hotels to stay at. When it comes to costs, that probably means it’s going to be an expensive trip.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you can expect to pay on average for a trip to this land at the end of the world. We’ll uncover your options for getting potential bargains and look at the cheapest times of year to go. Bon voyage!

How much does a trip to Antarctica cost?

Penguins in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

How much is a trip to Antarctica? Here, we’ll try to give as much detail as possible. However, since there is more than one way to explore the land of ice, the prices will vary significantly from trip to trip. There is no easy access to the secluded ice-capped continent, so be prepared to spend your dollars. Even though it might be pricey, it’s worth every penny. There’s simply no other place on Earth like this!

There are three different ways to visit the most southern continent:

  • Sea voyages  By far the most popular and the easiest way to visit Antarctica. You will spend your nights onboard a ship and days exploring the shores of the ice-cold continent. Most cruises depart from the Argentina’s southern city of Ushuaia. There are many companies out there that organize voyages to the world’s end. The prices depend on the length of your trip and the luxuriousness of the vessel. The average cost of a cruise to Antarctica is about $10,000. The most economical options available start from about $5,000, while the most luxury cruises can cost more than $20,000. 
  • Land expeditions – To explore Antarctica on foot will require major preparations. From the masses of equipment necessary to survive the harsh conditions to precise planning with consultation from experts, there is no easy way to organize a land expedition. It is sure to be a very costly venture. The upshot is that you would have a chance to explore this stunning place up close and personal.
  • Airplane sightseeing – One of the most incredible ways to see the coldest continent of all is from the air. It is also the quickest way to observe this hard-to-access land of ice. There are only a few flights a year with Qantas’ Dreamliner that go over Antarctica. You can fly from Sydney, Perth, or Brisbane and spend about 4 hours enjoying the beautiful landscape of the South Pole, with tickets starting at about $2,000. To fly into Antarctica and explore it from the ground, you will have to organize a private charter flight that could cost more than $30,000. There are currently no commercial flights into Antarctica.

Can you legally go to Antarctica?

boat in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

Since Antarctica doesn’t belong to anyone, there is no requirement for visas to enter. However, most people will need a special permit. Citizens of countries that signed the Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection (including the US, Canada, EU, Australia, and the UK) will need to apply for permission before their trip. So yes, it is legal to go to Antarctica, and anyone in good health can do it, but you might need to get some documentation before you set off. 

You can usually obtain a permit to Antarctica through your tour operator. However, if you’re planning a private expedition, you will need to acquire the necessary documents on your own and have them organized well in advance. 

What is the cheapest way to get to Antarctica?

If you’re planning a trip to Antarctica, you will most likely start your journey in Ushuaia, Argentina’s most southern city, since that is where most ships depart. Although you can usually find the best deals by booking your trip way in advance, there are other ways to save some money on this unforgettable journey.

This option may not be for everyone, especially those who like to have their trips planned well before going. However, choosing not to book and having some spontaneity may save you some dollars when organizing your cruise. Spend a few extra days in Ushuaia and seek out the last-minute deals, which can often sell for up to half the standard rate. Make sure to visit a few agencies to find the best bargains. All this can bring down the overall cost to something in the region of $4,000-$5,000 if you’re lucky.

Is it dangerous to go to Antarctica?

Adventure tourist in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

Although we would love to tempt you to visit the stunning continent of Antarctica, you should bear in mind that it is also a dangerous and harsh place. It’s a vast, desolate land with not many rescue operations going on. Don’t be tempted to wander away from your group when exploring here. There are many potential hazards that people could encounter if they do not keep safety in mind, not least of all the sub-zero temperatures.

But of course, there are ways to make your Antarctica visit a memorable experience free of stress and danger. Tour organizers with the proper accreditations should make sure that your trip is safe and unforgettable. They will have the necessary equipment and experienced guides that will help you explore Antarctica safely. Remember, though, you should only visit Antarctica if you’re fit and healthy. 

What is the cheapest month to go to Antarctica?

Antarctica is not an all-year destination and can only be accessed by travelers during the warmer months. The season for cruises starts in November and usually runs until March. The most popular time to visit is usually between December and February, when the weather is at its best. But, of course, visiting in peak times also means higher rates, so that isn’t the best if you’re looking for a budget option.  

The cheapest month to visit Antarctica is usually November. It is colder than the rest of the season, and the remaining ice renders some areas inaccessible. There will also be fewer visitors, which means better deals. But don’t worry, just because you might have to alter the itinerary, it doesn’t mean that November isn’t a great time to go. You will enjoy walking on virgin snow with only a few other humans around you. It is also the mating season for penguins and seals who are busy nest coupling and nest-building. In addition, unlike in the height of the summer, you will enjoy fantastic views when the sun sets.

How do I get permission to go to Antarctica?

Seal in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

Since there is no requirement to get a visa to enjoy the untamed lands of Antarctica, anyone can legally visit this snow-covered continent. However, most people will need to obtain a special permit that was designed to protect this desolate continent from the damaging impacts of human activity

Since the easiest and the most convenient way to visit Antarctica is by an organized sea voyage, most people will get their permits through tour operators. It is easy and hassle-free and shouldn’t take too much time. 

If you’re planning to organize a private expedition, you will need to apply for the permit to the Antarctica Treaty area yourself. You should contact your respective embassy to obtain the necessary documents that will allow you to travel. Citizens of the USA will need to fill a DS-4131 form and submit it to the Department of State at least three months before their travel dates.  

Can you do a day trip to Antarctica?

Iceberg in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

Antarctica is very remote, so it’s nigh on impossible to visit in only 24 hours. Most people will spend at least a week visiting the frozen continent, but that doesn’t mean a day trip to Antarctica is impossible. You won’t be able to set foot on this ice-capped land, but you will enjoy incredible bird’s-eye views of the mountain peaks and endless glaciers covering the most southern continent on Earth. So yes, it is possible to see parts of Antarctica in one day, but only if you choose to fly over. 

The only way to set foot on Antarctica during a day trip is by organizing a private jet. That option is very costly and won’t let you explore this vast continent for as long as it deserves. Since the journey by ship takes roughly 48 hours from Argentina, there is absolutely no way you could do a day trip without getting on a plane. 

How much is a trip to Antarctica?

Penguins in Antarctica
Photo by Envato Elements

To answer the question of how much is a trip to Antarctica is pretty easy: It is pricey. There is no way to get to the most remote continent on Earth on a tight budget. You should be prepared to spend around $10,000 to visit one of the most unique parts of this world. But that estimate is just an average price to pay for this unforgettable trip. Yep, the cost of Antarctician adventure could go well beyond $20,000 if you wished to explore more thoroughly.  

Although it isn’t the cheapest of holidays, there is no other place on Earth like Antarctica. From incredible mountain peaks to giant glaciers and endless masses of ice, the seventh continent is worth the high price. Visiting Antarctica is an unforgettable adventure that will provide you with incredible memories of unique landscapes, wildlife, and more.

Reece Toth

Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

View stories