Its a dream to make it to the white continent but with prices starting off at $3,000 its no wonder why only about 37,000 people made it to Antarctica last year. It is by no means a cheap adventure and that doesn’t include the costs of getting to the port where you leave.
Last minute Antarctica cruises are much cheaper than most will still run you back in the neighborhood of $3500 to $500 with flights included. If you have been dreaming of making it to Antarctica but find yourself short on the green stuff then worry no more!
I have an alternate trip for you where you can experience everything you will see in Antarctica on a similar scale in the country of Argentina. You will be traveling throughout Patagonia to the cities of Puerto Madryn & Ushuaia.
Don’t have 3 to 4 grand to spend on a last minute Antarctica cruise? No worries! Dont have 10-15 days to spend on a cruise to visit Antarctica? No worries! There are two cities in the vast country of Argentina that you can visit to get a similar (not exact) experience of visiting the 7th continent. I will not be responsible when you lie to your friends however. The main attractions in Antarctica are no secret:
- Swimming in Antarctic Waters
- Snow Capped Mountains
- Did I mention Penguins?
I introduce you ladies and gentlemen to the Penguin capital of Argentina that hosts the largest Magellan Penguin Colony in the world, Punta Tombo. Hosting nearly 1 million penguins every year, I actually prefer the penguins in Punta Tombo because they are less afraid of people in comparison to the penguins in Argentina. They will allow you to get inches away from them without even hesitating.
You can access the Punta Tombo penguins by flying into Trelew or Puerto Madryn (Argentina) and driving to the colony. Tours if you haven’t heard aren’t cool anymore. It is quite a drive away from both cities but it is well worth it. If you are like me and like to drive 100 mph (161 kmh) you will make it there in no time but plan 1.5 – 2 hours to arrive. Highly recommend that you arrive right when they open at 8am. Less tourists means more penguin activity and they usually are more active in the evening and in the early morning.
Now to complete the glaciers, crisp water, and snow capped mountains you should head to a city about 900 miles south west to where you have access to glaciers that are fed by the 3rd largest ice sheet in the world, El Calafate. I just came back from Calafate last weekend and I can tell you that parts of the surrounding area reminded me of Antarctica. You will also be able to see one of the most impressive sites in the world, the Perito Moreno Glacier. Its truly picturesque check out this picture (click here).
Make sure that you take the glacier cruise where they take you to see the many of the glaciers in the surrounding area. Glacier Upsala is where the magic happens, due to global warming, there is a massive iceberg field near the Upsala bay providing picturesque images of crisp blue iceburgs, snow capped mountains, and even greenish blue water.
If you are short on time you can do both cities in a full week 6 -7 days. You would need 2-3 days in Puerto Madryn and another 3-4 days in El Calafate. If you really want to do everything in Calafate you can also go to Torres del Paine on the Chilean side which is an amazing site to see.