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Flights to Antarctica

Established over ten years ago, flying to Antarctica is now a tried & tested and increasingly popular way to access Antarctica, particularly if you are either short on time or concerned about the potentially rough sea crossing.

The 'Fly & Cruise' concept is exactly as it sounds. Firstly you'll fly across the infamous waters of the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island, just off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Once here, you'll then embark your ship and begin cruising along the Peninsula's coastline - getting up close and personal with penguins and seals, weaving between icebergs and setting foot onto the Great White Continent itself - before flying back.

Flying to Antarctica offers the significant benefits of reaching Antarctica in under 2 hours instead of 2 days by sea and having to endure the potentially treacherous Drake Passage.


Fly & Cruise Map


Fly & Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula  

Trip of Lifetime Air-Cruise

Fly to & from Antarctica with an experienced Fly & Cruise specialist. Enjoy 4 full days on the Peninsula getting up close to the ...

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8 days


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Fly and Cruise Across the Polar Circle  

66 Degrees South Fly Cruise

Flying there & back, enjoy 6 days on the Peninsula as you cross the Circle with a highly experienced Fly & Cruise specialist. You’ll ...

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10 days


Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Sailing one way & flying the other, you’ll enjoy 6 days to explore the Peninsula. For adventurous spirits seeking a small & expeditionary ship. ...

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10 days


Fly & Cruise Polar Circle

Aboard a larger, mid-sized vessel you’ll spend 6 days on the Peninsula soaking up the stunning scenery & wildlife. Flights across the Drake Passage ...

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10 days


Fly & Cruise with the Falklands  

Fly, Cruise, Fly: Falklands & Antarctica

Fly out to the Falklands and then sail south, enjoying high levels of service whilst spotting the marine mammals and seabirds that patrol the ...

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11 days


Fly, Cruise, Fly: Antarctica & Falklands

Fly out to Antarctica for 2 days on the Peninsula and 3 days exploring the Weddell Sea & Antarctic Sound. For the adventurous, camping ...

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12 days


Fly & Cruise with South Georgia  

Fly & Cruise: South Georgia

Flying in from Punta Arenas (Chile) to the Falklands, you'll enjoy 7 whole days to immerse yourself in the wildlife of South Georgia. Explore ...

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14 days


Fly, Cruise, Fly: Falklands & South Georgia

Spend 8 whole days on the windswept wildlife haven of South Georgia. You’ll fly between Punta Arenas (Chile) and Port Stanley (Falklands), so you ...

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15 days


Fly, Sail, Fly: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands

Short on time, but want to see all the wildlife? With this trip you'll fly to Antarctica for 4 days on the Peninsula; sail ...

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17 days


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Fly One Way, Cruise the Other  

South Georgia, Falklands & Antarctica Cruise

Flying into (or out of) the Falklands, you’ll save 2 days of sailing & enjoy more time on wind-swept South Georgia (4 days) and ...

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17 days


Christmas Peninsula Voyage

Celebrate Christmas from aboard a small & intimate ship. Sail the Drake for 5 days on the Peninsula getting close to wonderful wildlife and ...

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11 days


New Year in Antarctica

Bring in the New Year in Style with 6 days discovering the delights of the Antarctic Peninsula via zodiac boats and camping (incl.). Optional ...

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11 days


Antarctic Cruise, Fly Out

Aboard a mid-sized vessel you’ll sail out from Ushuaia for 4 days on the Antarctic Peninsula. This voyage allows time for exploring the South ...

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10 days


Express Tour of Antarctica

If you’ve only got a few days (or want to combine a visit to Antarctica with Patagonia) then this is a great option. You’ll ...

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6 days


Fly-and-Cruise trips to Antarctica - Your Questions Answered

How does it work?

This infamous body of water is located between the tip of Patagonia (Cape Horn) and the South Shetland Islands and is the point at which the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans meet, causing a great swell known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The current causes huge upswellings, or 'Waves of Terror', often reaching heights of 15 metres that for some people produce serious sea sickness. However, the roughest stretch of ocean in the world is also a haven for a variety of seabirds and whales and so make it a great place for wildlife spotting if you can stomach it.

All Fly and cruise trips to Antarctica start in the Chilean town of Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia. You can reach Punta Arenas by flying to Santiago and then south to Punta Arenas with LAN.

Once in Punta Arenas, all passengers stay overnight at the same hotel before being woken early the next morning for their flight to Antarctica. The charter flight takes approximately 2 hours and goes from Punta Arenas airport direct to the Chilean Eduardo Frei Station on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands (close to the Antarctic Peninsula). Once on King George Island you take a 30 minute walk to the ship and start your adventure in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Trips that cruise one way to Antarctica start in the Argentinian town of Ushuaia in southern Patagonia and fly back from the Chilean Eduardo Frei Station to Punta Arenas.

What is the Drake Passage & why do I want to avoid it?

This infamous body of water is located between the tip of Patagonia (Cape Horn) and the South Shetland Islands and is the point at which the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans meet, causing a great swell known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The current causes huge upswellings, or 'Waves of Terror', at times reaching heights of 15 metres that for some people produce serious sea sickness.

However, the roughest stretch of ocean in the world is also a haven for a variety of seabirds and whales and so make it a great place for wildlife spotting if you can stomach it.

What can I expect to see and do?

Humpback Whale SpottingPrepare yourself for the biggest icebergs you've ever seen, Weddell Seals lounging on blue ice floes and penguins waddling up and down huge ice-covered mountains bringing food back and forth to the rookery. You'll spend several hours a day getting up close to Chinstraps, Adelie and Gentoos and hop straight into the Zodiacs if there's a pod of whales nearby.

Itineraries are flexible up to a point, and the expedition leaders will plan each day as they go according to weather conditions. Trips in the Antarctic Peninsula could include sailing through the Gerlache Strait, famed for its spectacular icebergs in all their strange blueish forms, the Lemaire Channel, a narrow strait which leads down and across the Antarctic Circle and Deception Island, a volcanic island where you can bathe in the warm-ish waters. You can even take part in the Polar Plunge, a spine tinglingly cold experience involving jumping into waters of 0 degrees.

Slightly longer trips aim to cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees south venturing to some of the more secluded spots of Marguerite Bay and Petermann Island. If you're looking to explore further afield, you can venture out to the Falklands or South Georgia Islands where you'll really see and abundance of wildlife.

It largely depends on the time of year that you visit, and our Which Month? calendar at the top right of this page will help you decide when to visit if, for example, you're keen to see penguin chicks hatching, fluffy baby seal pups or large whale pods.

When should I book my trip?

Demand for fly-and-cruise trips is high and they often get booked up well in advance. For the full choice of cabins and departure dates, we strongly advise you get in touch and start the planning process early.

We can also provisionally hold a cabin on your behalf for several days whilst you make up your mind. Most people book their cruise around 12-18 months in advance, before availability really starts tightening up.

Will the weather affect my trip?

Adelie PenguinThrough careful planning and years of experience, our partners are able to estimate that the chances of a flight to Antarctica suffering a delay are low, at about 10%. However, on voyages to such a remote part of the world where the climate is constantly changing, there is no real way of predicting the weather, although it's fair to say that from November to February it will be warmer and brighter than from March to October.

We therefore strongly suggest allowing at least two days either side of your trip for contingency. This way if you are unable to fly back from Antarctica to Punta Arenas due to bad weather, you will not miss your internal or international flight. In the event that you're unable to depart from Punta Arenas for Antarctica, our partner would put into practice their contingency plan so that alternative wildlife activities would be provided in Punta Arenas. Please note that the team will do all that they can to get you to and from Antarctica on time.

What if I'm travelling alone?


Solo travellers are welcome on board all Antarctica Fly and Cruise trips. We'd be happy to help you with these arrangements if you decide to go ahead with a cruise by yourself.

On some trips, there is the option of a single cabin, though these will be more expensive. Your other option is to either share a cabin with someone of the same sex, or have a twin cabin to yourself and pay a single occupancy cabin rate of between 1.5 and 1.7 times the rate based on two persons sharing a standard twin cabin.

What type of plane will it be?

A typical plane for the crossingThe planes used by all our Fly and Cruise partners are operated by DAP, a Chilean airline that takes more than 1000 passengers to Antarctica per year. The company's planes include a BAE 146 with capacity for 99, Twin Otter DHC-6, Beechcraft and Cessna 402.

In the unlikely event that there is too much ice on the runway on King George Island, you may have the opportunity to fly on a
C-130 Hercules plane, which is able to land on ice.

What's the luggage allowance?

Travelling to Antarctica by plane definitely requires light packing! The luggage allowance is 20kg per passenger including hand luggage. This is due to the fact that you'll be flying on a small, lightweight plane, designed to get you across the Drake Passage as quickly as possible. If you're worried about the luggage restriction, please be assured that you'll be provided with an extensive kit list to help with your packing well in advance of the trip and you will be able to safely leave your luggage with the operator and it will be returned to you at the airport or on your return to the hotel in Punta Arenas.

How much does it cost?

A Fly and Cruise trip in a triple cabin costs $10,795 USD per person on this 8-day voyage.  This price includes:

  • Your return flights from Punta Arenas to King George Island in Antarctica
  • Daily guided excursions in Zodiac boats and 2-3 hour explorations on the ice
  • Accommodation in a comfortable, modern twin shared cabin
  • Themed lectures from your expert expedition leaders whilst on board
  • All meals (international cuisine) and an open bar (on most cruises) 
  • Hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas
  • Airport-hotel transfers

You will need only to book your international domestic flight to and from Punta Arenas separately. We can help you book these if you'd like - take a look at our advice on how to get to Antarctica in the meantime.

The Ocean NovaSome Fly & Cruise trips also give you the option to kayak, hike, climb or camp in Antarctica, and the cost varies depending on the operator. Some operators include these activities in their trip price, but most charge an additional surcharge for your guides and equipment which can range from $350 - $1,250 depending on the excursion. For rates please see the Additional Charges info box as you visit each of the above trips. Please be aware that you will probably be required to take out travel insurance for climbing and kayaking excursions.

Although on a per day basis, a Fly and Cruise option is more expensive than a standard Antarctic cruise, it certainly has its advantages. It's one of the quickest ways of seeing all that Antarctica has to offer in just 5 - 9 days, something which a traditional Antarctic cruise just can't offer. And to top it off, it means cutting out around 4 days of cruising in open waters, thus giving you a more comfortable journey to and from Antarctica, avoiding potential sea-sickness. 

Feeling inspired & ready to start planning?

Alex AntarcticaStart planning your Antarctic adventure with Alex, who's been specialising in Antarctica for over ten years.

Talk to an Antarctic expert >>

He understands how crucial it is to choose exactly the right trip and is experienced at guiding polar travellers through the maze of options to the perfect voyage.

Still researching?  Do read our:
   10 questions to ask before you book
   Advice on when to go to Antarctica
   Choosing the right Antarctic ship

Which month?


Summer is in full swing with penguin chicks hatching all fluffy and grey, you'll see them earlier in the South Shetland Islands and later in the month to the south of the Peninsula. In January watch out for:

- Fur and leopard seal pups getting bigger, sticking close to their mums on the beaches.

- Penguin colonies are a hive of activity, with parents finding as much food as possible for their young, fending off giant Skua birds that prey on baby penguins.

Find out more about visiting Antarctica in January


February is still summertime and the continuously receding ice means that ice breakers can explore further south, visiting the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea. Expect to see:

- Young penguin chicks are starting to get strong and big and can be seen huddling in 'penguin creches'. 

- The concentration of fur seals increases

- February is prime time for whale watching with a variety of breeds feeding in the Antarctic Peninsula

Find out more about visiting Antarctica in February


By March, Autumn is well and truly here. The days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to drop as the sun sinks below the southern horizon. Extensive walks into the South Shetland Islands are possible as although you may experience some winter frost during the night, snow cover is at its minimum.

- Young penguins are now in a state of adolescence and are interested and inquisitive in visitors

- Adult penguins are molting, making them look strangely shabby! They spend a lot of their time teaching their young to go to sea

- Whale watching is still very good at this time of year and there's a high chance you'll get near to lots of them

Find out more about visiting Antarctica in March


November is springtime in Antarctica, and as the ice begins to break and melt thanks to the sun's energy, Antarctica gets a burst of life - with plankton blooming on the ice and krill swelling in abundance. After a long, dark winter, Antartica's creatures make the most of the spring to fatten up before darkness strikes again. In November you'll see:

- Crabeater seals (born between September and November)

- Penguin courting rituals, nest building and stone stealing

- Penguin, petrel and comorant eggs are laid in November

- Elephant alpha seals aggressively guarding their harems on the beach until December

- Seals lounging on many icebergs

- Minke, Southern right whales and humpbacks arriving to feed

Find out more about visiting Antarctica in November


We're in early summer now, and many animals are being born, parents are searching for food for their young, and the variety of wildlife that can be seen on the icebergs, ice cliffs and Antarctic beaches is extraordinary. You'll see:

- whales feeding in Antarctica's food rich waters

- Petrel and comorant eggs are still hatching

- Penguin eggs start to hatch at the end of December in South Shetland Islands

- Days are lengthening so you should be getting near to 24 hours of daylight

Find out more about visiting Antarctica in December

Antarctic Cruises

We'll help you find your cruise style according to your appetite for adventure:

Skip the Drake Passage with cruises that include flights to Antarctica

The standard Antarctic Peninsula in 9-12 days

Abundant wildlife of Falklands & South Georgia

Go further south - The Antarctic Circle

Travel in style with Luxury Antarctic Cruise   

Antarctic kayaking & campingwith Active cruises

About Swoop

We help all kinds of travellers find the best way to explore Antarctica. As well as mountaineering guides and expedition leaders we work with 8 different expedition vessels offering over 80 Antarctic Cruises each season. We use our knowledge and contacts to help you find the best Antarctic Cruise for your dates, budget and appetite for adventure.

>> How can we help you?

Your Antarctic Cruise Style

We'll help you find your cruise style according to your appetite for adventure:

Visit our Antarctic Cruise Guide here.