Search in La Ruta Natural

You can search the content of your interest in La Ruta Natural page here.


South Shetland Islands

Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands

The Shetland Islands are a volcanic archipelago located 800 kilometres off Ushuaia and 120 kilometres from the Antarctic Peninsula, between the Drake Passage and the Bransfield Strait

Cruise ships to Antarctica leave from the port of Ushuaia, where flights arrive from Buenos Aires and other cities of the country. The tourist season in Antarctica is from November to March (end of southern spring and summer).

What to see
Deception Island

Rather than an island, in fact it is the caldera of a U-shape volcano, which is still active and has geothermal activity. It is also one of the most popular tourist spots in the trips to Antarctica. As a result of geothermal activity, you can bathe in the hot water pools formed at the beach.

Some time ago, it was a large factory dedicated to the indiscriminate hunting of seals and whales; some abandoned facilities and old ships still remain and can be seen during the disembarkation. 

It has black sand beaches, scarce but interesting flora, and several species of sea birds that breed on the island and the largest colony of chinstrap penguins in Baily Head. 


Livingston Island

It is located between Snow Island and Greenwich Island, 20 km south from Deception Island. It is the second largest island from South Shetland. Its shore is high and inaccessible. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins can be usually seen there and, sometimes, macaroni penguins, which stand out for their orange crest. You can also spot elephant seals and several bird species, like petrels and snowy sheathbills.


Aitcho Island

Located between Greenwich and Robert islands, Aitcho Island is a good place from where to watch the colonies of chinstrap and gentoo penguins, the Weddell seal and a variety of birds, like petrels.

How to get there and move around

Ushuaia (the capital city of Tierra del Fuego) is the closest city to the White Continent. The vast majority of cruise companies that go to Antarctica depart from its port. The days before or after the expedition are a good opportunity to get to know the city and the island of Tierra del Fuego.


Where to stay

Before and after cruises, in Ushuaia.

Most of the itineraries last between 10 and 12 days (classic Antarctica) and allow you to get to know the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, but there are also other circuits, longer and with more stops, such as Antarctica via the Malvinas and South Georgia Islands, the Antarctic Polar Circle Crossing and the Weddell Sea Circuit.

Cruise ships have different designs. The smaller or specialized ships carry zodiacs on board that allow disembarking during the journey, while on the larger ships you stay on the cruise for the entire trip. There are different levels of service offered on board. In addition, some companies offer non-conventional extra activities such as kayaking, diving, trekking, camping, helicopter flights or snorkelling. 

More information

Find other must-sees of the Route of Antarctica