If you are planning travel to Antarctica, our experts have compiled everything you need to know about Antarctica travel restrictions and COVID-19 in Antarctica.

Cruises have resumed and we’re looking forward to a busy Antarctica 2023-2024 season

Antarctica cruise lines have implemented COVID vaccinations and testing requirements. There are no longer requirements concerning gateway cities, and therefore no current Argentina entry requirements or Chile entry requirements.

Below we outline the situation with Antarctica travel restrictions and offer our advice for booked travelers or those considering travel to Antarctica during COVID.

This information was updated on 6/2/2023. Please note that Antarctica travel restrictions are subject to change without notice. We update this page frequently as travel restrictions and entry requirements are announced.

Female traveler wearing a black jacket holds camera and sits inside a zodiac boat cruising through floating Antarctica icebergs.
Photo by: Adventure Specialist Andrew Browning

IN THIS POST – Antarctica Travel Restrictions:
Can You Travel to Antarctica?
COVID In Antarctica
Antarctica Travel Restrictions
Argentina Entry Requirements
Chile Entry Requirements
Cruise Vaccination & Testing Requirements
Travel Insurance & Flex Booking Policies
Cancelled Antarctica Cruises
Antarctica Cruise COVID Protocols
Can You Travel To Antarctica During COVID?
More Antarctica Travel Resources

Important Note: If you are an AdventureSmith booked client and you have a question please contact your Adventure Specialist for the most up-to-date and detailed information on Antarctica travel requirements. If you interested in booking a cruise to Antarctica please contact us. If you are simply seeking advice please use the comments at the bottom of this post to ask a question.

Can You Travel to Antarctica Now?

Yes, Antarctica is open for travel. The Antarctica travel ban has been lifted and Antarctica cruises are operating. If you are wondering if you can travel to Antarctica now, the answer is yes. 

Last season some operators consolidated departures aboard fewer ships. Others altered embarkation ports or cruise dates. Travelers should be prepared for changes. The good news is that the Antarctica travel ban is over, and cruises are now operating in Antarctica.

COVID in Antarctica

Due to its remote location and small population of researchers, Antarctica was the last continent affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first cases of COVID in Antarctica were reported at the Chilean research base in December 2020.

Entry requirements icon: A clipboard, pencil and check boxes on a piece of paper.

Antarctica Travel Restrictions

Antarctica itself does not have any COVID travel restrictions or entry requirements. However, since tours access the region from Argentina and Chile, travelers must abide by the restrictions of those countries. Furthermore virtually all travel operators and scientific bases have implemented some travel restrictions and entry requirements.

During the pandemic travel restrictions imposed by Argentina and Chile resulted in a de facto Antarctica travel ban. Now that these countries are open to travelers, with no current restrictions, travel to Antarctica has resumed. 

Because most travelers to Antarctica get there through Chile and Argentina, we focus on these entry points in this post. Learn more about how to get to Antarctica.

Argentina Entry Requirements

Argentina COVID travel restrictions have been eased considerably since the height of the pandemic. Argentina has removed most vaccination and testing requirements to enter the country. Effective September 14, 2022 Argentina has removed all COVID related travel restrictions. COVID testing, a health declaration form and travel insurance are no longer required. For most travelers a valid passport is all that is required to enter Argentina.

Note that Argentina entry requirements have changed frequently in the past due to epidemiological circumstances. Travelers should check frequently before arriving in Argentina for the latest updates. For more details visit the US State Department or the US Embassy in Argentina.

We recommend all travelers consider Travel insurance and supplemental medical evacuation insurance is required on most Antarctica cruises.

Argentina COVID Protocols

In addition to the Argentina entry requirements, expect the following COVID protocols upon arrival and while traveling:  

  • Masks are optional nationwide but may be required in some public spaces including hospitals, restaurants, hotels, public transportation and passenger vehicles.
  • Observe signage regarding physical distancing. Keep two meter distance from others. 
  • A nationwide curfew has been lifted but cities and departments are on high alert and may be subject to curfew depending on the epidemiological situation.
  • Restrictions on intercity or interstate travel have been lifted. Individual provinces may require additional local permits to enter or transit.

Chile Entry Requirements

Chile travel restrictions and entry requirements are subject to frequent changes by authorities. We do our best to keep this post updated with the latest information. Effective May 10, 2023 all Chile entry requirements have been lifted. However, it is highly recommended to travel with health insurance that has coverage for SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19). Note that proof of insurance may be required by your cruise or tour operator.

For more details visit the U.S. State Department or Chile Travel.

Chile COVID Protocols

While Chile travel restrictions have been lifted, expect the following COVID protocols upon arrival and while traveling: 

  • Masks are no longer required, except inside medical facilities (clinics, hospitals, laboratories, etc.).
  • Observe signage regarding physical distancing. Keep two meter distance from others. 
  • Restrictions on intercity or interstate travel have been lifted. Individual provinces may require additional local permits to enter or transit.

Antarctica Cruise Operator Vaccination & Testing Requirements

Almost all Antarctica cruise lines have now dropped vaccination requirements for guests and crew. With the constantly changing nature of the pandemic, there are likely to be additional changes to vaccination and testing requirements.

The Antarctica experts at AdventureSmith Explorations strive to keep our clients well informed of the testing and vaccination requirements associated with their particular adventure. What follows are current individual operator policies (these are subject to change without notice):

Aurora Expeditions requires all guests to show proof of primary COVID vaccination series plus an additional booster dose. In addition, they require a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of boarding.

G Adventures requires all guests to show proof of primary COVID vaccination series.

Intrepid Travel requires all guests to show proof of primary COVID vaccination series plus an additional booster dose. In addition, they require a negative PCR test result on day of embarkation.

Advice Before You Leave Home

For two weeks prior to your departure, and during travel to your destination, we recommend you follow common sense protocols regarding masking and social distancing to avoid contact with COVID-19. Take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of exposure and follow all CDC guidelines. Even for trips and where a COVID-19 test is not required, we recommend you test 72 hours prior to departure and do not travel if you test positive.

Wear masks in airports and aboard airplanes.  Be careful in bars, restaurants and other crowded places that are higher risk. Arriving for your trip healthy will provide peace of mind and help you to enjoy your trip.  

Travel Insurance & COVID in Antarctica

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is typically required or included on most Antarctica cruises. Many travel insurance policies can provide coverage for trip cancellation if you or a traveling companion test positive for Coronavirus. We always recommend travelers to Antarctica purchase travel insurance, especially in today’s travel environment. See our Antarctica travel guide for advice on the best travel insurance for Antarctica.

Cancelled Antarctica Cruises

During the pandemic some operators have had to cancel Antarctica cruises. Others have consolidated ships and departures. As such, some travelers have found their Antarctica cruise cancelled. We recommend working with your cruise line or booking agency to reschedule your cruise or request a refund, based on the options presented by cruise operators. If you have had your Antarctica cruise cancelled and you are seeking to book a new cruise, contact us.

Antarctica Cruise COVID Protocols: What to Expect

Cruise operators are constantly updating their procedures and protocols to protect travelers, crew and locals. While these protocols continue to evolve, there are several things you can expect on an Antarctica cruise during COVID:

  • Vaccination requirements for Antarctica cruises
  • Pre-boarding mandatory health questionnaires
  • Additional COVID-19 tests (either rapid antigen or PCR) immediately prior to boarding
  • Chile and Argentina may again require proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test to enter. Be prepared for changes based on local conditions.
  • Adherence to local mask mandates and social distancing in Chile and Argentina
  • Strict COVID-19 management protocols (prevention & mitigation). See IAATO COVID-19 recommendations. Similar recommendations are likely for the upcoming season.
  • Possible reduced or eliminated visits to Antarctica research stations
An Antarctica traveler in a red parka holds a camera to take a photo of a small solo black penguin standing on the snow in front of them.
Photo by: Adventure Specialist Andrew Browning

Can You Travel to Antarctica During COVID?

Yes, you can travel to Antarctica during COVID. The upcoming Antarctica cruise season is operating.

Antarctica is a remote wilderness location where it is easy to socially distance and exposure is minimal. Antarctica travel restrictions, vaccine requirements, testing and protocols are intended to create safe conditions for Antarctica travelers.

If you are interested in booking Antarctica, do so with confidence and flexible booking policies. Be sure to protect your investment with travel insurance. It could be the best time ever to travel to Antarctica.

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If you have questions about Antarctica travel restrictions or are looking for advice, please use the comments below. We will answer your questions to make this Antarctica COVID travel update even better. If you are interested in booking a trip to Antarctica, please contact us. Thanks.