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Penguin on Ushuaia beach; cruises to Antarctica

Scenic Cruises to Antarctica

Antarctica is the last truly wild place on earth. It has no vegetation; no ancient civilization; no politics, no economy, no culture. Scenic cruises to Antarctica can be more accurately described as expeditions, an inquisitive travel into “no man’s land”, more than an acquisitive holiday to get away from the stresses of modern life. But if close contact with nature far away from the usual tourist crowd defines what your holidays are all about, then Antarctic cruises are bound to satisfy your hankering for nature, and then some.

Cruises to Antarctica from Buenos Aires

Scenic cruises to the Antarctic jump off from Buenos Aires in South America as part of round-the-horn cruises via the infamous Cape Horn, which includes a visit to the port of Ushuaia in Argentina, the most southern city in the world; as well as stops in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, a former whaling port, which is home to Magellanic Penguins, which nest in small burrows and Southern Rockhopper penquins that bound up steep rocks with both feet together!  At Puerto Madryn on the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina, there is a major wildlife sanctuary, home to massive numbers of penguins, whales and sea elephants, as well as rheas (large flightless bird like an emu), guanacos (similar to a lama) and maras (large relative of the guinea pig).  At the end of the tour cruising Antarctica, stop at Montevideo in Uruguay, a modern city in the heart of cattle country; before returning to Buenos Aires.

Schollaert Chanel, Antarctica

Cruise through the Schollaert Channel and possibly view some of the local Minke Whales and Humpback Whales that cruise the channel. See chinstrap penguins and Gentoo penguins, and leopard seals in their natural environment. At Paradise Bay be amazed by the numerous massive bluish white icebergs floating in the sapphire seas and bottomless fjords.  

Elephant Island, Antarctica

You will see Elephant Island, an ice covered rocky island that was named after the numerous elephant seals on its rocky beaches. Here Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endeavour made camp; when the Endeavour was trapped by the ice in the Weddell Sea on the 1914 polar expedition. After Shackleton sailed to South Georgia in an open lifeboat with 5 of his men; the remaining party were rescued some 4½ months later.

Antarctica cruises, regardless of the size of vessel you sail in, always have to navigate the tricky crossing at Cape Horn, so it is crucial to fortify yourself against sea sickness before the trip and during. It is also essential to dress for a variety of weather conditions even if you go at the height of the Antarctic summer, which starts from November and ends in March. Rain, sleet, snow and temperatures below zero are not unusual, as skies can be blue one day and change the next.

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