Know before you go

Planning your trip

Arrival and departure

For Air-Cruises starting in Punta Arenas, arrival on Day 1 of the itinerary must be no later than 2 PM. Travellers who miss the arrival deadline will be considered “no-show”. Remember that scheduling tight connections is never wise when travelling to remote places. Protect your travel investment by building some buffer in your travel plans in case of problems with luggage delivery, flight delays etc. In case your flight into Punta Arenas is delayed for reasons beyond your control, Antarctica21 will do everything possible to accommodate your late arrival. However, Antarctica21 cannot assume any responsibility for any resulting complications, including your inability to join the expedition. For Antarctica Express Air-Cruises boarding in Ushuaia is between 3 PM and 4 PM. At 4 PM boarding will close.


Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned program. However, with this type of adventurous travel to Antarctica, changes to the itinerary may occur due to severe and unpredictable weather. We need to emphasize the fact that weather conditions are unpredictable and that safety is always the paramount concern on any Antarctic voyage. For this reason Antarctica21 reserves the right to change the itinerary described due to weather conditions or other factors beyond Antarctica21’s control without consulting the participants.

Baggage allowance

The maximum weight allowed on the flights to and from Antarctica is 20 kg (44 Lb.) per passenger, including hand luggage. For Classic Antarctica and Polar Circle Air-Cruises,
Excess luggage will be kept in custody in Punta Arenas and will be handed over to travellers upon their return from Antarctica. For Antarctica Express Air-Cruises, excess luggage will be disembarked at Port Williams and will be sent to Punta Arenas by air cargo at the traveller’s expense. It will be available for pick up in Punta Arenas upon the traveller’s return from Antarctica. The baggage weight limit is a technical requirement imposed by the flight operation. Unfortunately, it is not possible to purchase extra allowance.

Participation form

Participants are required to fill and sign an on-line Participation Form, and to return it to Antarctica21 at least 120 days prior to departure.

Medical insurance

Antarctica21 requires participants to be adequately covered by a medical insurance, including aero-medical evacuation from Antarctica.

Cancellation insurance

Antarctrica21 strongly urges participants to be adequately covered by trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Expedition language

The official expedition language of our Air-Cruises is English.

Possible flight delays and contingency plan

Flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions. While historically only a minority of flights have experienced a delay, you should be prepared for that possibility.

Travel Tips

  • Arriving by plane

    A number of national and international airlines land daily at Santiago's airport. Two national airlines connect the capital of Chile and Punta Arenas with several daily flights. The distance between Santiago and Punta Arenas is about 3,000 km and a direct flight takes about 3 and half hours.

    Arriving by land

    Punta Arenas is situated in the Chilean Patagonia where there are several border crossings between Chile and Argentina. Overland travel from El Calafate, Rio Gallegos, Rio Grande and Ushuaia is possible but takes a considerable amount of travel time. Punta Arenas can also be reached from Torres del Paine National Park (about 5 hours by car) and Puerto Natales (3 hours by car).

    Entering Chile

    Although citizens of most countries do not require a visa to enter Chile, the requirements change from time to time. We recommend that you double-check with your local Chilean consulate or embassy.

  • Arriving by plane

    A number of national and international airlines land daily at the Buenos Aires airport and several daily connections serve Ushuaia. The distance between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia is about 3,190 km and a direct flight takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes. The main Argentinean airline is Aerolineas Argentinas. Latam airline also operates in Argentina. Note that Buenos Aires has two airports that service Ushuaia; please double-check which airport your flight will leave from as they are on opposite sides of the city.

    Arriving by land

    Ushuaia lies on the southern shore of Tierra Del Fuego island, on the Beagle Channel, at the very end of the National Road n. 3 starting in Buenos Aires. This road links Ushuaia with other cities in Patagonia. Motor coach service between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas is available and takes approximately 10-12 hours, depending on border crossing.

    Entering Argentina

    Depending on your nationality, you may be required to pay a Reciprocity Fee to enter Argentina and/or to obtain an entry visa. The requirements change from time to time. We recommend that you double-check with your local Argentinean consulate or embassy.

Useful Tips

Suggested clothing
The average temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula area during the austral summer is about 0°C (32°F), although sometimes it may feel a little lower because of the wind chill factor. For this reason, it is best to wear several layers of light, warm clothing, with a windproof and waterproof jacket and pants as the outer layer. The suggested clothing for Antarctica is very similar to that recommended for skiing.

Expedition boots
As most landings in Antarctica are “wet landings”, the best footwear is knee-high waterproof boots. You will not need to carry them with you since Antarctica21 will provide you with a pair of thermal rubber boots before arriving in Antarctica.

UV protection
Good quality UV filtering sunglasses are essential. Glacier glasses have leather flaps at the sides to stop the light from passing through. Due to the high reflectance of UV radiation, you will also need good sun block lotion for your face (protection factor
30 and above) and lip balm.

To see the wildlife you should have a good pair of lightweight binoculars (the suggested magnification is 7x or 8x). If you are passionate about photography, do not forget a good zoom lens to shoot wildlife while avoiding close approaches. Also, take with you a good supply of memory cards and spare batteries since cold temperatures can reduce their life span.

Don’t forget
– Personal medications
– Backpack (with waterproof cover) to carry your belongings during shore excursions

Suggested Readings


What will the weather be like?

Austral summer weather in Antarctica means mostly mild temperatures. You can expect cold, sunny days and brisk winds, which may turn into stormy weather and even a few snow flurries or snow. You should be prepared for quick changes in weather conditions.

What should I pack?

It is important to pack layers. Wicking fabric is highly recommended for the base layer with a waterproof exterior layer. This will ensure you stay dry and warm during your time off the ship. On board, you can dress casually, and remember to pack anti-slip shoes as the deck can get a little wet. A detailed packing list is provided upon booking

Do I need travel insurance?

It is mandatory that each passenger has travel insurance that covers emergency medical attention, including emergency medical evacuation. This is essential because our expeditions are carried out in places where advanced medical services do not exist.

Is there an infirmary on board?

Our ship has a small, well-equipped infirmary for the attention of minor medical problems and is under the care of a licensed medical doctor. Serious emergencies require evacuation to medical centres in South America that are better equipped, which requires a very costly air evacuation procedure. This is why we ask our passengers to have an insurance policy that covers emergency medical evacuation.

Are there any baggage restrictions for the trip?

The airline allows a maximum luggage weight of 20 kg (44 Lb.) per person, including hand luggage. This weight limitation is related to a technical requirement of the flight operation. For trips starting and ending in Punta Arenas, any excess baggage may be left at the hotel where it will be stored free of charge. Because of the space limitation on the aircraft, we recommend you bring either a canvas duffle bag or a backpack with a waterproof cover.

What about my airline schedules, especially after the voyage to Antarctica?

Since quick changes in weather may mean delays in getting back to Punta Arenas from Antarctica, we strongly recommend that you keep your airline reservations as flexible as possible. You should book your ongoing flight from Punta Arenas either in the evening of the last day of your program, at the earliest.

What level of physical activity is expected during the trip?

Getting on and off the ship requires full mobility. You don’t need to be very agile but you do need to be able to walk and manage stairs independently, as well as to lift your legs over the pontoons of the Zodiacs to embark and disembark. Walks on the beach or further inland, with some low hill climbing, are available. You should be reasonably fit to be able to enjoy those activities but it will always be up to you how far you choose to walk. Physical activity will never be imposed and you can set your own pace.

What kind of meals can I expect onboard?

We are privileged to have a group of international chefs prepare a delicious selection of different cuisines throughout your trip. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions. Please note: the kitchen will not be able to accommodate Kosher or vegan requests.

Do you accommodate special diets?

Dietary requests must be made on the Participation Form you receive after your booking confirmation. This information will be passed along to our staff so they can accommodate your needs while on your voyage. Note: due to the nature of our expeditions and the kitchens onboard the ships, Kosher and vegan meals cannot be accommodated.

If I suffer from a serious illness, should I inform you?

Yes. In the Participation Form you will be asked to tell us all about your health problems, either past or present, including allergies, etc. This will allow our onboard doctor to be aware of the medical needs of each one of our passengers, and allow him or her to be better prepared.

What means of communication are there onboard?

While we hope you are able to disconnect from the outside world to enjoy your voyage to the fullest, we understand this is not always possible. We have a satellite telephone and Internet services on board, available at an additional charge to guests. Please note that due to the nature of our expedition and the location we travel, services will not be to the standard you are used to at home, and as such, you should expect slow or delayed services at best.

How do I pay for services and merchandise I purchase on board?

Charges can be applied to your shipboard account. On the eve of the last day of your voyage, you will be asked to pay any outstanding expenses with a credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Are gratuities expected?

Although not mandatory, gratuities are always appreciated. The staff and crew aboard each voyage work tirelessly to ensure you have the best experience possible. Tipping is a personal decision and the amount is at your discretion. All gratuities will be distributed among the staff and crew accordingly. You have the option of contributing in cash or charging to your shipboard account at the end of your voyage.

Will lectures be provided during the voyage?

Your Expedition Staff will deliver several interesting lectures and presentations during the voyage in order to give you as much information about the places, history and wildlife of Antarctica. This will help enhance your appreciation of this magnificent place.

What drinks are included with meals?

Wine, beer, juice and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board our ships are included, as well as coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccino, water and snacks throughout the expedition. Note: beverages purchased at the ship’s bar as well as not-included beverage purchased in the dining room are at a charge.

What about safety?

Your safety is our main concern. You will be provided with a mandatory safety session before departing on your voyage. You will be shown where the life jackets are, as well as the safety boats in case of an emergency evacuation. During rough weather, do not walk in large, open areas and be sure to use handrails both outside and inside the vessel. Always use door handles and never hold doors by their frames, as a sudden movement may prove very dangerous. Always turn on the lights upon entering your cabin in case items have moved around. Use non-slip shoes when on deck, as it can be slippery at times.

Can I smoke on board?

Smoking is only allowed on board ship in very limited designated smoking areas outside. Smoking is not allowed anywhere else on board the ship, including in your cabin. Please never throw anything overboard, including cigarette butts or ashes. It is imperative we respect the environment and leave it as untouched as possible.

What happens if the weather changes suddenly?

Because of the nature and location of our expeditions, we are always prepared for sudden changes in weather. All excursions and other activities are structured taking this into consideration, and there is always a contingency plan in place.

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