Antarctica, the white continent at the bottom of the world, is a
truly breathtaking place. The icebergs with their glowing colours
and extraordinary sculpted shapes, the snow-covered mountains. All
quite alien, and all quite amazingly beautiful.
Layers of thermal clothing are essential, with plenty of pairs
of dry socks, gloves and mittens, as well as waterproofs and rubber
boots (many ships supply these, and brightly coloured parkas -
check in advance what will be supplied by the ship).
Counter-intuitively, plenty of suncream is essential, and take all
the camera equipment you could possibly need with you - remember,
there is nowhere to buy anything locally!
Antarctica cruises leave from Ushuaia, at the southernmost tip
of South America, but UK visitors should fly into Buenos Aires for
at least one night. The shorter flight to Ushuaia lands in time for
an afternoon embarkation, and the start of your voyage across the
Drake Passage. This can be calm, but the likelihood is that you
will experience rough weather in at least one direction. Poor
sailors should simply take to their beds - the destination is worth
The season runs from November to March and what you'll see
through this period varies. For stunning, pristine snowy and icy
landscapes visit between November and mid-December, before the
summer thaw has truly taken effect. On the longer itineraries in
December to January, you will see penguin chicks and also seal pups
in South Georgia and February and March are the best months to spot
a wide variety of whales.