Back to Antarctica at last!
We had a successful but challenging 2021 – 2022 Antarctica season, and it was amazing to get back down to our beloved White Continent! Ship operators, governments, local providers, and all stakeholders worked very hard to deliver safe and life-changing experiences in Antarctica in the face of the Omicron variant of COVID.
While we do not yet know what protocols and regulations will be for the upcoming 2022 – 2023 Antarctica, we do have current regulations and some lessons learned from the previous season to share with you.
Current Regulations & Protocols:
- To enter Argentina, you fill out a sworn statement within 48 hours of entering the country. No testing is currently required for entry.
- Complete vaccination is required for all Antarctic expedition vessels
- Most ships carried out a rapid antigen test the day before or day of embarkation on all passengers.
- Onboard there were mask requirements in public areas for the first 3 days or more
- Some onboard testing during the voyage and a required rapid antigen test for disembarkation in Ushuaia
Lessons Learned & Recommendations for Travel
- Get boosted before you travel!
- Plan to minimize social engagements the week before you depart to ensure you can make the trip! Most travelers who tested positive brought COVID with them from home
- Book a comprehensive travel insurance plan for your time away from home
- Keep up to date on governments regulations and protocols
- Reserve flexible airline tickets if possible
Below are some of the most common questions we are getting, with honest and the most up-to-date answers we have.(Updated April 2022)
Will I be required to have a COVID vaccine?
Yes. To enter Argentina and to embark on any Antarctica voyage, you will need to show proof of full vaccination at least 14 days before your trip departs.
Will I need to be tested for COVID?
Yes, you will need to provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of traveling for entry into Argentina.
Some ship operators will do an additional test before embarkation.
All cruise ship passengers will be required to take a rapid test within 48 hours of disembarkation in Ushuaia and show this negative test to disembark.
What happens if I can’t travel due to COVID restrictions?
At FreeStyle we work with more than 10 different ship operators who have different COVID policies. While the fine print varies, all have the same option: If you are unable to travel due to government restrictions, COVID-related medical reasons, or restrictions on the ship itself, the company will re-book you on a future Antarctic voyage within the next two years.
There are a limited number of companies offering refunds, but the majority are offering peace of mind to rebook and travel at a later date.
Wondering more about booking policies? Contact us!
How will entry into Argentina work?
You will need to fill out an online Affidavit within 48 hours of traveling. Link can be found here: https://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/home.php
You will upload vaccine proof, negative PCR test and travel insurance with COVID coverage into this document.
How is the COVID situation in Ushuaia (the port of departure for most Antarctica trips)?
Ushuaia and the province of Tierra del Fuego have more than 92% of all adult residents are fully vaccinated. We have been receiving national tourists since December 2020 with clear protocols and managed the summer season very well.
Are masks required in Ushuaia?
Yes and no. In April 2022, Ushuaia began to roll back mask mandates in shops. At this point, it is up to each business owner as to whether masks are required in all shops and restaurants. Masks are still required on public transport, airplanes and in medical settings.
Will masks and social distancing be required on trips?
This will depend on each ship and operating company, however we assume there will be limits to the number of people in certain spaces onboard to reduce crowding. Travelers may have to wear masks inside the ship during briefings or times where there will be close contact with others.
Will Staff & Crew be vaccinated?
Yes. All staff and crew to be vaccinated onboard Antarctic vessels and will be tested regularly.
What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 during the trip?
During the 2021- 2022 season, there were positive cases onboard vessels, but fortunately most were asymptomatic or very mild. Travelers who test positive are placed in quarantine cabins to carry out their quarantine with medical oversight and room service for meals.
Have more questions? Send us a message! We can’t guarantee we will have the answer, but we will work to get you a response as best we can!
Remember that the public health situation is changing all the time, so these answers will likely change before you travel. We will update you as we know more.