Once you set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, you are truly standing on the Earth’s southernmost continent. And while you’ll certainly be far, far away from the “real world,” the peninsula nonetheless provides the easiest access to the Antarctic mainland, typically from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina.
Here you’ll enter a dreamlike world of glacier-covered mountains, massive icebergs, and all the iconic wildlife of the South Pole. Cruises typically take passengers to various locations, some seen from the ship, some on land, and others involving trips in small inflatable zodiac boats.
Notable stop-offs include Hope Bay, where you can witness the ever-shifting shades of white and blue in giant icebergs. Then there’s the Lemaire Channel, perhaps the most beautiful part of the peninsula, where towering cliffs plunge straight down into the sea, and a scattering of small ice-encrusted islands dot the channel’s southern end.
One of the best wildlife-spotting areas is found at Paradise Harbor. From here you can explore by zodiac, passing calving icebergs and ice floes where leopard seals, Weddell seals, crabeater seals and huge southern elephant seals can be seen up close.
Other parts of the peninsula are home to penguin rookeries where you can see chinstrap penguins, gentoos, Adélie penguins and magnificent emperor penguins, their populations sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands. Various other bird species also call the peninsula home, including petrels, terns, snowy sheathbills and large south polar skuas. You might see some whales, too.
You can also encounter a particularly rare class of human if you visit one of the research stations on the peninsula, each typically operated by a specific nation. Meeting the men and women who work way out here, some of whom have spent the entire winter or even longer, is yet another unforgettable experience on the breathtakingly beautiful Antarctic Peninsula.
Recommended Antarctic Peninsula Tours
Other Places to Visit on an Antarctica Cruise