The northernmost stretch of land attached to the main body of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, is where most visitors take their first steps on the continent, leaving their footprints in the snow. With stunning scenery, twinkling snowy peaks and dramatic ice cliffs plunging into the sea, here is where you’ll experience the true Antarctica.
Weather permitting, your Antarctic cruise should allow for at least two trips out from the ship per day on zodiacs, where you’ll come ashore and explore the white continent. On the mainland, you’ll encounter gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, Adélie penguins, Weddell seals, crabeater seals and leopard seals, whilst, in the surrounding waters, you’ll catch glimpses of orca pods, as well as minke and humpback whales.
Although desolate Antarctica is the world’s driest desert, there is a plethora of things to see and do here. Cruise the idyllic Lemaire Channel, which has serene waters as still as a lake, populated by floating icebergs. Plèneau Bay is an eerie iceberg graveyard, where giant bergs run aground after getting swept up in stormy seas, ending their journey from the mainland, travelling as far as the Ross Ice Shelf. In Neko Harbour, you’ll marvel at dramatic glaciers, whilst a visit to Paradise Bay means gentoo penguin meetings and colossal whale bones left over from the whaling era of the 1920s.
Get up close and personal with the endemic wildlife of this region and explore the peninsula’s surrounding waters with an Antarctic kayaking excursion. This activity is led when the weather permits by experienced and skilled professionals, allowing you to skim the icy surface of the Antarctic coastline, observing the breathtaking scenery from the same vantage point as the continent’s animals.
If you’re feeling really bold, retrace the steps of Antarctica’s pioneering explorers by leaving the cruise ship and camping overnight. An Antarctica camping experience is a truly unique adventure, where you can fall asleep to the sounds of heaving ice and the crisp ocean air – a complete immersion in nature.
Be sure to bring twice as much camera memory as you think you’ll need, as a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula is a feast for the senses, filled with incredible photo opportunities.