The Best Time To Visit Antarctica

When To Go And What You'll See

King penguins South Georgia island

The Antarctica cruise season runs from November through March, although there are occasionally trips as early as late-October. In our somewhat biased opinion, there's never a bad time to go! That said, you are more likely to see certain things at different times of the season. All trips take place during summertime in the southern hemisphere, when temperatures in Antarctica are at their mildest (usually in the 30s–40s Fahrenheit, roughly 0–4 Centigrade), and we are able to see the continent's extraordinary wildlife.

To help you decide when you might want to visit, here’s a brief overview of what you’ll see and experience throughout the Antarctica cruise season.

 

Early Season

Gentoo penguin with chick

November to mid-December

Photographers and nature enthusiasts hoping to see penguin courtship, penguin eggs hatching and tiny penguin chicks should consider going in the early season. The penguin rookeries are not yet covered in guano, making for excellent photo opportunities, and the small penguin chicks— well, there are few things more endearing than a penguin brooding and feeding its tiny chicks! This is also the time to see beautiful icebergs near the Antarctic Peninsula.

 

 

Mid-Season

Travelers enjoying a sunny day in Antarctica

Mid-December to Mid-February

Many consider this "prime season." While we might not say it's necessarily better than the early or the late season, you have a good chance of seeing a bit of everything when visiting in mid-season. Typically, this is when temperatures are the mildest in Antarctica. Receding ice opens more scenic channels. Experience 24 hours of daylight.  High demand for mid-season departures causes cabin prices to typically be higher than for other times of the season.

 

 

Late Season

A humpback whale spyhopping in Antarctic waters

Mid-February through March

If you love observing whales and seals, consider going in the late season. Whales can be seen in all seasons but late season is typically the best time to see them. The most commonly seen whale species are humpback, orca, fin and Antarctic minke. Penguin chicks are fledging during this time. With shorter days, sunrises and sunsets can be a colorful feature.

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