Antarctica can be reached by boat or plane. The Drake Passage takes 48 hours to sail from the point of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula. It takes two hours to fly to Antarctica. Each year, over 54,000 travelers make the trek, with approximately 50 expedition vessels traversing Antarctic waters each season.
The majority of visitors to Antarctica arrive by air, with most flights going to and from South Africa. There are three main airports in Antarctica: Argentina's Viedma Airport, which is near Antartica's southernmost city of Mar del Plata; Australia's Casey Airfield, on the west side of the continent at Rawson Island; and Italy's Charrúa Airport, on the east coast at Terra Nova Bay.
No, you cannot visit Antarctica by plane. But that doesn't stop people from trying! A few adventurous souls have made it onto the ice via paraglide, but these trips were not officially sanctioned by any agency.
Antarctic Flights: Antarctica in a Day You may fly to Antarctica and explore the region in as little as one day. Instead of traversing the Drake Passage by ship from South America to Antarctica, which takes around 50 hours, you may fly the distance, avoiding 500 miles of potentially turbulent water.
The first flight to Antarctica took place in 1955, and since then hundreds of flights have flown thousands of people to all seven continents, but only one country has claimed sovereignty over Antarctica - France. It held this claim until 1945 when it gave up its interests to become a member of the United Nations. Since then, no country has claimed sovereignty over the frozen continent, so it remains under UN administration.
In 2009, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on Antarctica's ice sheet. The Chinese mission aimed to test technology that could be used for future missions to Mars. In 2013, the United States launched its own mission to study the effects of climate change in Antarctica. This was the third such mission, following Russia's Vostok and India's Chandrayan projects in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
People have been interested in Antarctica since early explorers discovered strange creatures living in the sea or on islands surrounding the continent. Later scientists began to study Antarctica itself, looking at how it and other parts of the world are changing due to human activity.
48-hour period By boat, it takes 48 hours to reach the Antarctic Peninsula, but just 2 hours by plane. It takes around 36 hours to sail from Ushuaia to the Falkland Islands, and another day to go to South Georgia Island. So, a 5-day trip ends up taking 7 days to get to all three islands.
The journey from Ushuaia down the Beagle Channel and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the world's most challenging sailing races. The multiday event is known as the Transantarctic Race. Teams of two sailors race against the clock to complete the shortest distance between two points on Earth: from Ushuaia to Antarctica via the Cape of Good Hope. The first team to arrive wins.
It's a rough race with heavy winds and large waves; temperatures can drop below -40 degrees F and rise above 0 degrees F. Sailors are required to wear many layers of clothing to keep warm and protect themselves from the elements. Food supplies and water tanks are critical for the survival of the crew members during these months-long trips.
The route is divided into five stages: Ushuaia to the Falklands, the Falklands to South Georgia, South Georgia to the Weddell Sea, the Weddell Sea to Antarctica, and Antarctica. Each stage has its own rules regarding time, speed, and course direction.
It is possible to travel to Antarctica from Southern Chile before sailing on your cruise, which is growing more common. The advantages in terms of time saved and the certainty of avoiding the Drake Passage are undeniably enticing. Because of this flying cruise option, you can spend more time enjoying rather than traveling.
The first thing you should know is that there are two ways to get to Antarctica by plane: one direct and one via South America's southern continent, Patagonia.
If you take the direct route, you will have to cross the Pacific Ocean to reach Antarctica. You can do this by boarding a flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand, with Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com). From there, you will need to change planes for the final stretch to the Antarctic Peninsula. In order to do this, you will have to connect through Santiago de Chile at Antofagasta International Airport. A total trip duration of about 11 hours allows you to see part of Chile, Argentina, and Australia along the way.
The second option takes you via South America's southernmost province, Santa Cruz. You can board a flight from Buenos Aires to Cordoba with Austral Airlines (www.aerolineas.com.au/austral) and then take a bus or drive the remaining 400 kilometers (250 miles) to Villa La Angostura.
However, the most direct route to Antarctica is straightforward. You just need to get to Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile. Both cities are cosmopolitan, having international airports and regular flights to the rest of the globe. Antarctica is reached by water on voyages starting from Ushuaia, Argentina. The journey takes about five days.
You can see parts of Antarctica from both Argentina and Chile. In fact, Argentina claims all of Antarctica except for South Africa's southernmost province, Cape Town.
Argentina borders Chile and has close relations with Brazil. However, politics between these countries is often volatile, so it's best not to travel there if you cannot afford the risk of being stranded without money or help from government agencies.
Chile is a stable democracy that receives a large number of tourists each year. It shares land borders with Peru and Bolivia as well as having the Pacific Ocean to itself. Travelers to Chile usually go through customs at its border with Peru. Driving in Chile is on the left side of the road.
In conclusion, Argentina and Chile can be visited together as a single trip or separately. If you decide to visit them separately, then Argentina is the more affordable option. They both have beautiful scenery and unique cultures that will certainly appeal to travelers of all ages.