Established in 2001 with the goal of establishing an air bridge between Punta Arenas, Chile, and the Chilean Antarctic Station President Eduardo Frei Montalva on the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica21 (formerly Antarctica XXI) successfully operated the first Antarctica Air Cruise in 2003.
The enormous potential of this innovative concept was revealed and a new industry was born. Since that time several other operators have copied this idea but none have the experience of Antarctica21.
Antarctica21 & AdventureSmith Explorations
Shortly after the company’s launch, AdventureSmith Explorations established a relationship with Antarctica21, and over the years we have grown significantly together. Antarctica21 expedition leaders and executives have become close friends and we are proud to be associated with this pioneering company.
Early on, AdventureSmith Explorations founder and president Todd Smith recognized that Antarctica21 was doing it right. “This is greatly represented in the size of their ships,” says Todd. “They keep their numbers low so they can maintain excellent quality and experience, which is especially important when it comes to the logistics of an Antarctica Air Cruise. Nobody does it as well as they do.” They also have the added advantage of partnering with Aerovias DAP, the airline that flies to Antarctica, so they are nearly always at the front of the line.
Pragmatic Growth, Strategic Partnerships, Exceptional Leadership
The challenges of operating a fly and expedition cruise program in Antarctica are immense. A pragmatic growth policy ensured Antarctica21 proceeded cautiously while perfecting the various logistical aspects involved. Strategic partnerships with Aerovias DAP, international ship owners and the Chilean government provided a foundation for success. Antarctica21 was the first Chilean tour operator to become a full member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Antarctica21 has the right mix of strategic partnerships, operational experience and exceptional leadership that it takes to be at the forefront of expedition travel.
“Nobody does it as well as they do.” -Todd Smith
In 2019 Antarctica21 applied their extensive experience to design and build the Magellan Explorer. A new and modern expedition vessel custom built for Antarctic air cruises built to the latest Polar Code specifications. Limited to 73 guests for air cruises the ship is in keeping with their philosophy that smaller is better. The ship holds its own against any of the new fleet of expedition ships. She also has unseen capability, such as the ability to stay at sea for great lengths of time. Perfect for a ship where guests fly to reach her.
Antarctica21 Air Cruises
The unique concept of flying and cruising to Antarctica allows travelers the chance to visit Antarctica without suffering the difficulties presented by navigating the Drake Passage. Antarctica21 has created a travel program that joins the advantages of air and maritime transport in a unique and new combination. Over the years Antarctica21 has gained a reputation of professionalism and reliability and the company continues to be the leading operator in the world organizing air cruises to Antarctica. We are pleased to partner with Antarctica21 and look forward to the next phase of their evolution and growth in Antarctica travel.
View all our Antarctic cruises and our full list of the best Antarctica cruise lines.