Antarctic Peninsula

The most accessible part of the continent, the beautiful Antarctic Peninsula extends a welcoming arm north toward South America’s Tierra del Fuego as if beckoning visitors. And intrepid travelers do come, for the Antarctic Peninsula, the warmest part of the continent (facetiously called the ‘Banana Belt’) is Antarctica’s major breeding ground for seabirds, seals and penguins.

With its dramatic landscapes of steep snow-covered peaks, often plunging straight into the sea, and with narrow iceberg-studded channels weaving between countless islands and the mountainous mainland, the Peninsula also offers some of Antarctica’s most stunning scenery.

In recent decades, tourist landings have concentrated on sites along the western coast of the central Peninsula; relatively few ships of any sort visit the Weddell Sea, on the Peninsula’s eastern side. It has, indeed, earned its reputation as an ice-choked ship-eater. Shackleton’s Endurance is only the most famous example of the half-dozen vessels crushed there.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Antarctic Peninsula.