Antarctica is by far the least visited continent, and also one of the most coveted by world travelers. Of course, there’s a reason why not everyone travels here, and it’s not just because of the often inhospitable climate.
The costs alone can be enough to turn people off to the trip, which is why it’s important to map out your budget long before you set off. While there is some degree of variance with this trip, in terms of costs, the margins are much slimmer.
This is because you can’t exactly get away with sleeping on a park bench to save costs while you’re there.
To make it easier for you, we’ve outlined some of the key costs you’ll need to know, including accommodation, transportation, and dining. We’re here to ensure that you won’t be left with sticker shock when booking our trip.
Let us be your guide!
Average Trip to Antarctica Cost in 2024
The average cost for two people for a one-week trip to Antarctica will cost around $8,000:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $750 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,250 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $1,000
- Transportation: $500
- Total Cost: $8,000
Typically, visitors won’t stay in Antarctica. There are no real hotels or restaurants because there is no permanent population on the continent. Those who ‘live’ there are only staying for a set period of time, typically dictated by a research grant.
Instead, the vast majority of visitors take cruise ships from various parts of the world and then enjoy excursions courtesy of the cruise ship, where they’ll get to enjoy the wildlife and scenery before heading back to luxury accommodations on water.
Antarctica Trip Cost: Average by Item
There is one lodging center in Antarctica: White Desert. It’s $62,500 to rent out for just 5 days. (It’s also impossible to rent out by night.) There’s also Union Glacier Camp, which is only accessible by air.
This camp is nothing more than tents, but its costs are a package deal. For about $30,000 for 5 days, your activities, meals, and transportation are all included.
If you’re looking for more modest accommodations, such as tents or pods, you should know that these are pretty much only available to the professionals who make their home here.
If you don’t quite have the money for the big hotels, you’re better off taking a cruise from either Ushuaia, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile.
If you want to spend the most time on the continent, we recommend Ushuaia because it’s closer. Cruises offer a variety of perks if you’re looking to save money on your trip to Antarctica.
Not only is there competition in the market, with companies like G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and Oceanwide Expeditions competing for your business, it’s also solves the question of what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to get around.
Cut costs by choosing a shorter cruise or look for sales throughout the year.
The biggest downside of this form of accommodation is undoubtedly the rough water. The Drake Passage takes four full days to sail and it can get hit by unpredictable waves.
It’s not possible to fly to Antarctica unless you have a private charter plane. This can cost you anywhere from $30,000 to $195,000, which would put most people out of the running.
If you want to fly, it may be better to book an all-inclusive at a camp that can cut the costs by sending you along with several other passengers.
If you’re looking to fly to Ushuaia, the most expensive months are January, February, and March, while the cheapest month is September. Of course, the best time to fly to Antarctica is between November and March.
You can expect to pay around $900 round-trip during the low-season and up to $1,600 during the high season. If you’re flying to Punta Arenas, high season is between May and July, and low season is between November and March.
In this way, you might be better choosing Chile as your jumping off point if you want to spend part of your time in the country and save a little money on flight costs.
The prices range from around $1,000 to fly during the low season to about $1,200 for flying during the high season. Your flight costs will depend on everything from the airline you’re flying from to the seat you choose.
If you have more time than money, you may not mind the longer journey from Chile, depending on the cruise you take, if you would prefer to cut your flight costs as much as possible.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
It’s somewhat difficult to save money on food and drinks, because the vast majority of people in Antarctica will be there on a package tour.
The best way to cut cost in this respect is to find the cheapest cruise available for your travel dates. Flying to Argentina and then hopping on the cruise immediately will at least save you hotel costs in Ushuaia.
From there, your food and drinks will be included on the cruise and you can choose the excursions that fit your travel needs. In terms of costs for cruises, there are a few that come in under $6,000 for 10-day departures.
For this price, you get a standard cabin, and an expedition to the continent. See the penguins, seals, and whales, and learn more about its secrets with the help of onboard lecturers and expert guides.
For even better deals, you should travel during what’s known as the ‘shoulder’ months, meaning November or March (because they’re outside of the most ideal weather).
Despite these ships being relatively small, companies will offer last-minute discounts or early-booking specials. Please note that your itinerary is always subject to change based on weather conditions.
It may not be possible to visit certain areas, though you can expect the cruise line to provide alternative sights, locations, and activities when this occurs. Please note that every cruise line will take different approaches to showing you the sights.
Some may include helicopters to help search for wildlife. Others might have passengers hike or kayak.
While saving costs is important on this trip, consider what types of activities you’ll want to do while you’re on the continent. Typically this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so sometimes it makes sense to splurge.
The best way to get around the continent will be via a tour guide, and this is true regardless of whether you take a cruise or a plane to Antarctica.
There are no public transportation vehicles or rental car facilities available. Not only will a professional be able to point out the more dangerous areas, they can also show you some of the sights that may not be as readily accessible.
If you want to kayak or scuba dive as a way to see the sights, make sure you’re fully aware of how these excursions work through the cruise company.
In addition, find out what you’ll do instead if the waters are too rough to row or dive. If you’re going to see the marine life up close and personal on a scuba dive, you’ll want to be prepared for what happens if the weather doesn’t go your way.
You can also choose to hike, snowshoe, or mountaineer if you’d prefer to stay on land. You don’t necessarily need any experience, though you will need to be in good physical shape.
Excursion costs will vary depending on the cruise company. You might spend anywhere from $650 – $760 per person, per day, though some companies will do all-inclusive packages.
Things to Consider
Here are a few more tips when you’re planning your trip:
- Antarctica may be cold, but it’s not always freezing. (In fact, in 1982, it hit nearly 70° F.) It’s unpredictable, so layer up so you have enough to keep you warm without overheating.
- It’s not always smooth sailing. Cruise lines won’t tell you this but the seas are more than a little bumpy. Sea sickness medication can really help.
- Your camera batteries will die faster in the cold, so if you’re planning on taking a professional camera, make sure you bring extras.
- It is possible to find last minute deals, but in general, you’re better off booking early. The cruise ships, particularly the most affordable ones, have a tendency to book up fast.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Antarctica like?
Antarctica is like a very cold dessert. It doesn’t really rain or snow, and the snow does fall has been transformed into glaciers and icebergs. There are no trees, only things like moss and algae because it can handle the cold.
What kinds of wildlife can I see in Antarctica?
The most common wildlife are penguins, which can be viewed in flocks of up to 500,000. If you want to see a specific species, such as a Macaroni or Rockhopper, it will depend on when you visit and the route you take. You may also see orcas, blue whales, sperm whales, or leopard seals.
Where’s the best place to stay in Antarctica?
The White Desert camp is as close to a luxury hotel in Antarctica. Most people will visit the continent via cruise ship and then go back to their comfortable cabins and amenities on the ship after they’ve explored it all.
What are the most well-known sights in Antarctica?
Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula, Elephant Island, Paradise Bay, and Lemaire Channel are just a few of the well-known sights. Because every tour group will offer its own itinerary, it’s important to check into where you’ll be going and what you’ll see when you get there before choosing the best company.
How many people live in Antarctica?
There is no way to live permanently in Antarctica. However, at any given time, there might be up to 10,000 people living on the continent, depending on the number of research groups who have been given clearance for a temporary stay.
Are there stores in Antarctica?
There are a few souvenir shops around Antarctica, largely set up for the researchers who live there. Depending on the time of year you travel and the location you’re in, you may be able to find a few gifts for family and friends.
So, What Is the Average Cost for an Antarctica Trip?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$750 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost for a trip to Antarctica will likely run over $8,000, though this will include your flights to and from Argentina or Chile.
The best way to save is to look for cruise ship deals and flight deals, so you’re able to get there without breaking the bank. So what are you waiting for — book this once-in-a-lifetime trip today!