How can I get to Antarctica cheaply from Argentina?
January 3, 2010 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone traveled to Antarctica from Argentina? I'm trying to find a cheap way to get there via Buenos Aires.
posted by brokekid to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There is no cheap way to get to Antarctica. Full stop.

The reasons it's expensive are: a) permits are expensive, a cost the tour operators pass on to you; b) provisioning is expensive; c) maintaining boats and other equipment is expensive; d) the level of expertise you want in a staff (and need to get a permit) is expensive.

The only Argentine tour provider who offers cruises to Antarctica is, as far as I know, RipioTurismo. Another company that is generally said to have affordable rates is the Canadian company Gap Adventures.

I think it's going to set you back at least $5,000 US for the cruise alone, even if you go at the cheapest time (March, IIRC) and find the best deal. Obviously getting from BA to Ushuaia, accommodations, cold-weather gear, etc., will be extra.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:18 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

The cheapest way to get to Antarctica is to get a job there on one of the stations (or with one of the tour operators). But as a tourist, no, Sidhedevil has it - there's no cheap way to do it.
posted by rtha at 3:04 PM on January 3, 2010

Seconding everything sidhedevil says, but our experience getting from BA to Ushuaia (we did not go to Antarctica but did see where the ships set sail from- Ushuaia is worth a trip itself btw) was that it was cheaper to book in BA and pay in cheap Argentine Pesos (even cheaper now than in 2004 when we were there) than to have booked the flight (on Aerolineas) from home (Canada). Otherwise, it's not like there are competing companies for the trip to Antarctica. And you don't WANT "cheap" when the consequences of cutting corners is certain death.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:09 PM on January 3, 2010

Response by poster: I should clarify. I would like to find a cruise that's cheaper than the $10,000+ packages I've been finding.
posted by brokekid at 4:14 PM on January 3, 2010

It's a helluva long way from BA to Ushuaia. The easiest way to get there is through Aerolinas Argentina, but rates for flights for foreigners are much more expensive than if you're a local. You can possibly try booking a last minute departure on a cruise ship from one of the booking agencies in Ushuaia, but the risk is that you get there and don't find a cruise in your price range during the time you're there.

Cheap + Antarctica = does not compute.

So in other words, it's not easy to do anything cheap when it comes to Antarctica.
posted by HeyAllie at 5:27 PM on January 3, 2010

As another person who wants to go, besides the safety, etc., factor in the price, consider the variations in service. This is a CRUISE, albeit to a less pleasant climate than most. You are also paying for your time on-shore (icebergs, penguins, etc.), comfort of accommodations, and size of boat. When you are looking at 5-digit prices, you get more time off the boat, in smaller groups, with better cabins.

The Argentine peso price-cut may be worth looking into, and is definitely worthwhile for going BA-Ushuaia. I have also been told that Ushuaia is a fantastic visit on its own (I flew back from GIG with a ton of people returning from Antarctic trips, and had the same question you did).
posted by whatzit at 7:54 PM on January 3, 2010

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