Antarctica Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know Now

December 17, 2022 • Todd Smith
The latest travel guidelines and requirements for travel through Chile, Argentina and going by small cruise ships. Antarctica is waiting to be discovered, allow our experts to help get you there.
woman in black sits inside inflatable skiff with views of white Antarctica landscape and ocean filled with icebergs

Cruises are operating and we’re into a busy Antarctica 2023-2024 season. Select Antarctica cruise lines still require vaccination and testing, but there are no current Argentina entry requirements or Chile entry requirements. Read on to learn about Antarctica now.

IN THIS POST – Antarctica Travel Restrictions:
Antarctica Now
Argentina Travel Restrictions
Chile Travel Restrictions
Chile & Argentina Now
Current Cruise COVID Requirements
Cancelled Antarctica Cruises
Pre-Trip Advice
More Antarctica Travel Resources

Important Note: If you are an AdventureSmith booked client, please contact your Adventure Specialist for the most up-to-date and detailed info. If you want to book a cruise to Antarctica, please contact us. If you simply want advice, please use the comments section below. This post on Antarctica travel restrictions was last updated on 1/9/2024 and is subject to change without notice.


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Antarctica Now

Is Antarctica restricted? No, the Antarctica travel ban was lifted, Antarctica is open and Antarctic cruising is happening normally. However, travelers should always be prepared for changes. Availability can be tighter with consolidated or altered departures. Port countries may implement new restrictions if needed. And some ship operators and scientific bases have maintained their Antarctica travel restrictions.

We recommend all travelers consider Travel insurance. See our Antarctica travel guide for advice on the best travel insurance for Antarctica. Note that supplemental medical evacuation insurance is required on most Antarctica cruises.

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

Argentina Travel Restrictions

Effective September 14, 2022 Argentina travel restrictions have all been removed. 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. However, Argentina entry requirements have changed frequently in the past due to epidemiological circumstances. Travelers should check for Argentina travel restrictions before arriving. For more details visit the US State Department or the US Embassy in Argentina.

Chile Travel Restrictions

Effective May 10, 2023 all Chile COVID travel restrictions have been lifted. COVID testing and travel insurance is no longer required, but our experts highly recommend traveling with health insurance that has coverage for SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19). For more details visit the U.S. State Department or Chile Travel.

Chile & Argentina Now

Travelers transiting through Argentina or Chile should be mindful of a few COVID protocols upon arrival and while traveling. Masks are required inside medical facilities. Observe signage regarding physical distancing. Keep two meter distance from others. Inter-city/state travel restrictions may reappear, requiring local permits to enter or transit. In Argentina, a nationwide curfew may be reinstated per a change in the epidemiological situation.

A female traveler in sunglasses and a blue jacket leans against the railing of a ship in Antarctica with the calm ocean and white-capped mountains behind her


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Current Cruise COVID Requirements

Most Antarctica cruise lines no longer have COVID requirements, meaning most options are cruises that don’t require a vaccine. However, that can always change and AdventureSmith travelers will be kept informed. Here are current policies for the operators we work with (subject to change without notice):

  • 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.

Cancelled Antarctica Cruises

In recent seasons, some operators were forced to leave travelers with their Antarctica cruise cancelled. Other operators had to consolidate ships and departures. However, with more experience operating Antarctica cruises post-pandemic, operators are now delivering more dependable departures. If you find yourself with an Antarctica cruise cancelled, then we recommend working with your cruise line or booking agency to reschedule your cruise or request a refund, based on the options presented by your cruise operator. If you have had your Antarctica cruise cancelled and you are seeking to book a new cruise with true experts, contact us.

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.  

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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.

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  • cindy says:

    Are there any non smoking cruises?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your question Cindy. Most Antarctica cruise ships do allow smoking but it is very restricted and typically only permitted on one deck at the stern (back end) of the ship. This way smoke goes out to sea and doesn’t bother guests. It is forbidden to either throw cigarette butts overboard or smoke on shore in Antarctica. We hope this helps you enjoy a smoke-free expedition. If you are interested in booking please contact us.

  • Angie says:

    Hurtigruten also still require vaccination.

    It would be really helpful if you could list those cruise lines who DONT require it.
    Thank you.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Angie. We have chosen to list only the Antarctica cruise lines that are among our curated selection of small Antarctica expedition cruises. Since the vast majority have dropped requirements, we have found it easier to list the few operators who still have requirements in effect.

      Our specialists are the most well-versed on these vetted options, and keep our traveling clients individually in the loop on them. We would urge you to ask your booking agent or operator for specifics regarding your trip.

  • Y Loubscher says:

    I just need to comment on this website and on an excellently written article. You have by far the best and most detailed info available. You might just become my new travel agent. Well done!

  • H. McCorkindale says:

    What about SilverSea Silver Endeavor cruise? What is their policy?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hello, at this time Silversea requires all crew and guests aged 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers are not required to test prior to boarding.

  • Teri S says:

    Can you show proof of Covid antibodies instead of getting a booster?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Teri, thanks for your question. Argentina currently has no entry requirements and an individual operator will not accept proof of antibodies in lieu of a booster shot.

  • Chris says:

    Hi. I heard tourists can no longer take photos while kneeling, siting or laying on their stomach. Also no tripods, monopods etc. Have you heard of these new regulations? Thank you.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Chris – great question. Yes, IAATO has made updates to their Biosecurity Procedures for the 2022-2023 Antarctica cruise season to include the following: “No sitting, kneeling, or lying down on the ground or snow, or leaving any equipment on the ground or snow, close to animal activity or fecal matter (e.g., within a minimum of 10m of nests or breeding adults, wildlife transit pathways, haul out sites).”

      These additional protocols are in response to Avian Influenza and are mandatory for all IAATO Operators and their staff operating in Antarctica. They are also likely to evolve as more information and guidance regarding (HPAI) H5N1 becomes available. You can learn more about the new protocols and read the press release here. IAATO 2022-23 Biosecurity Protocols Regarding Avian Influenza.

  • Mary says:

    We hear of strict vaccine requirements for passengers but there’s no transparency about vaccine status of the entire crew.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Mary,
      All of the operators and ships we partner with require the crew to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding.
      Please see the Antarctica Cruise Vaccination & Testing Requirements above where we specifically detail the vaccination policy that our polar partners have for their crews. AdventureSmith provides peace of mind because we have personally vetted, and hand selected each partner operator and are clear when sharing their policies. If you are interested in booking an Antarctica trip, please contact us.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I have a COVID-related question… Are there PCR testing facilities in Ushuaia for foreign visitors needing a negative test result before returning home? If so, are these clinics likely to be open over the Christmas weekend of December 24 & 25 for testing?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hello. At this time there are no COVID-19 testing options at the Ushuaia airport (USH). There is a clinic in Ushuaia that can provide testing. Find contact info and hours on their Facebook page.

      Some of the expedition ships operating in Antarctica can offer COVID-19 testing aboard the ship prior to disembarkation. Availability and pricing varies by ship so check with your Antarctica travel operator. Another good option is to test in Buenos Aires before returning to the US. Rapid antigen testing centers are available in Argentina’s Ezeiza (EZE) and Aeroparque (AEP) airports. Results in 30 minutes are handy for departing travelers.

      We hope this helps and have an amazing trip to Ushuaia!

  • Robin says:

    For citizens of countries that are not exempt from an Argentinian Visa, but residing in USA, is there provision in place to get a visiting visa or an ETA?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Robin,
      Thank you for reaching out. Without knowing your country of citizenship it is difficult to offer specific advice. However, it is our understanding that Argentina will be issuing visas for international travelers that require them beginning on November 1, 2021. To learn if a visa is required visit Argentina Migrations’ official page or your countries’ consulate. In the United States, visa services can answer detailed questions and expedite applications for visas to Argentina. Please note that the information on this page is purely informational and intended to help cruise guests prepare for Antarctica cruises. Good luck with your visa application and please keep us posted if you learn that visas are not available for your country.

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