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Avoiding footprints

Most tourists visit Antarctica between November and March when the sea-ice has melted and there are long hours of daylight.

Welcome visitors?

Some tourists are lucky enough to take part in an overland adventure or even cross-country skiing to the South Pole. While others pay for a private yacht or a chartered flight over Antarctica. But most of the continent’s visitors travel on a cruise ship that can carry up to 500 passengers. Starting from a port like Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina, these cruise ships sail to the Antarctica Peninsula, stopping off at various attractions.

Like every visitor to Antarctica, tourists have to be extremely careful not to damage the fragile wilderness. The countries of the Antarctic Treaty have agreed guidelines for visitors to Antarctica, which aim to ensure that people follow the strict environmental rules governing activities in Antarctica. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), of which the vast majority of Antarctic tour operators are members, work to ensure that these guidelines are followed carefully to ensure that tourism activities in Antarctica do not impact on the environment.

Tourists kayaking
Tourists on cruise ship, Paradise Bay. © MarcAndreLeTourneux /

Visit some popular stops on the Antarctic Peninsula…