There was a time when visiting Antarctica by boat meant hunkering down in cramped conditions on the back of a research vessel or, at best, being stuck on a Southern Hemisphere cruise with hundreds of other people, with no freedom to design your itinerary. With few explorer yachts available for charter, many travellers struggled to make the journey on their own, often missing out on the breathtaking White Continent.
Luckily, luxury yacht charters Antarctica are much more widely available today, with more and more explorer vessels being built. This means one thing: it’s time to start planning your trip!
Nothing quite compares to the pristine waters, glittering icebergs and incredible sea life of this untouched landscape, and simply cruising through this unique seascape will be an mesmerizing experience. However, for the ultimate Antarctica experience, be sure to include these seven amazing activities in your itinerary. You won’t regret it…
1. Feel small next to iceberg skyscrapers
Cruise through the flawless waters of the Antarctic Sound and feel the sheer magnitude of the colossal icebergs floating by. The breathtaking variety of skyscraper-size bergs towering over your yacht will remind you of the universe’s magnificence.
2. See rare and majestic wildlife
The Southern Hemisphere is full of mysterious creatures that you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else. Voyage south from Snow Hill Island for a rare chance to see Emperor penguins on passing ice floats. In the Gerlache Strait, an incredible variety of native whales will greet you as you sail past; watch out circles of bubbles on the water as the humpbacks come to the surface.
3. Visit a live volcanic island
Volcanic Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands is actually one of the safest harbours for an Antarctic yacht charter, thanks to its C-shaped lagoon, formed when the volcano erupted in the 1960s. Active holidaymakers can hike to the top of near-600-metre peaks for awe-astounding views, whilst those craving relaxation can swim in the warm waters heated by the island’s volcanic activity. Either way, you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4. Kayak through basaltic rocks
The towering, ice-capped volcanic cliff of Brown Bluff has to be seen to believed. Formed by volcanic eruptions within a glacier, with a cliff face of rocks that were once part of a huge volcano, take a kayak tour around its unique landmass to see the best of this million-year old volcano.
5. Be blown away by one of the world’s most beautiful harbours
Andvord Bay’s Neko Harbour has it all; resident penguins nesting around the ex-Argentinian refuge hut located there, striking views of rugged mountain-top peaks, visiting whales and castle icebergs popping their heads up to say hello. All you can do is try to drink in as much beauty as possible while you’re there.
6. Traverse an ice-packed labyrinth
If the weather allows for it, take a trip through the narrow channel of the Gullet, where icey labyrinths await. Although difficult to traverse it’s definitely worth the trip, providing a shortcut the alluring Marguerite Bay. Don’t miss the dramatic fjord there, or the friendly elephant seal colony on Jenny Island, located in the northern part of the bay.
7. Hike an 1,050-metre glacier
For many people on a Antarctic yacht charter, the first port of call is to the Argentinian city of Ushuaia, and with good reason. The southernmost city in the world, nicknamed ‘The End of the World’ by visitors, this windswept resort town offers unmissable glacial views and experiences. Ride a chairlift up the 1,050-metre Martial Glacier behind the city and hike back down, or indulge yourself with a private helicopter tour that will take you directly to the top of the glacier. Take a tender out to the secluded Pia Glacier on the Chilean Patagonia coast to see great chunks of light-blue ice carving directly into the water. Be mesmerised by the glacier’s extreme beauty.
So there we have it: seven truly incredible things to do on an Antarctic yacht charter. Once you’ve completed this adventure you will likely be craving further exploration, so check out other yacht charters to treasured lands for more inspiration. Where will you go next?