"Antarctica" Antarctica by toonsarah

Antarctica Travel Guide: 1,213 reviews and 2,921 photos

The Lemaire Channel

You can't just hop on a plane to the Antarctic! So while cruising might not be your cup of tea, for this "holiday of a lifetime" it's worth considering.

We chose a trip on one of the larger cruise ships - it may feel less close to nature, and you have to wait longer for your turn to go ashore, but on the other hand there's plenty to do on board while you wait, and the costs are considerably lower. And as this may well be the most expensive trip you'll go on, that's a major consideration.


Step on shore anywhere and you'll immediately be hit by the sound, sight and incredible smell of the penguins! They look just as great as they do on TV, but no nature programme can prepare you for that smell - although if you ate nothing but fish and spent most of the day standing in one spot, you might make your patch rather smelly too!

We were told by our guides to obey the 5 metre rule: don't go any closer than that to any wildlife (and 15 metres from a leopard seal). But no one's taught the penguins that rule, and they'll come close enough that you'll get some great shots. Some even posed for us!


Possibly the most amazing thing about the Antarctic is the colour of the icebergs. You thought ice was white, right? Wrong :)

The icebergs are streaked with all shades of blue and turquoise, as you can see from the photo. I never tired of watching them. They drift along quite slowly and looking very stable, then can suddenly flip on their side. We learnt that this is caused by the ice below the water line being gradually eroded and changing the balance.

It was also fun to watch the penguins sliding off them onto the sea. Quite a few times too we saw a leopard seal basking on the ice, looking much more benign than their fiercesome reputation would suggest.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Getting closer to nature than you ever thought possible
  • Cons:The cost!
  • In a nutshell:Dramatic scenery and incredibly cute penguins!
  • Last visit to Antarctica: Feb 2003
  • Intro Updated Dec 24, 2011
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Reviews (39)

Comments (39)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2014 at 5:10 AM

    Sarah got through quite a bit of your page tonight but bed calls so will return. Up to your usual high standard and lots of great photos.

  • goodfish's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    Wow - only took me 5 years to find these!? Great reviews and wonderful shots; hope The Husband and I are lucky enough to put Antarctica on our map someday.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 5, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      Thanks for stopping by these pages Kate - glad you enjoyed them. And I do hope you get to travel here one day!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    Hello, Sarah! It was very interesting to read about your great cruise! Thanks for sharing!)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    Well, cruising is definitely my cup of tea and this is definitely a wonderful page!! Going to Antartica via stops in South America remains near the top of my travel destinations wish list! Thanks for the wonderful view into your journey.

  • dplesko's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2012 at 4:19 AM

    This is great!

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    "Snowman" looks more like a snow-penguin. Saw nature show with penguins shooting out of the water at astonishing heights due to the speed they manage under water. Glad the whaling *mostly* has stopped. Wish the rest of it would as well.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    Hello, Sarah! It was great to be there! Such a wonderful voyage! Thanks for your detailed story! ><><><><

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    What a great holiday this was! a trip of a lifetime! Sounded like you had a fab time, and saw a lot of wildlife. Thanks for the great tour!

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    'Toon sister o' mine.... we need to talk about Antarctica. We are seriously thinking about doing this trip next December or January (14 mos away) There is so much to ask. :)

  • claude-andre's Profile Photo
    Oct 12, 2008 at 3:00 AM

    Nice photos and very informative tips. I would like to go there in the future, but I many other places are tempting me. Difficult choices..


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