Travel Tales of Argentina

Posted on 06/24/2021 Tips & Recommendations

Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse 2021 – A Booking Guide

Since 2019, we are living in a period of astronomical wonders! In 2020 we witnessed a total solar eclipse from Patagonia in Argentina. The Solar Eclipse Trip 2020 was an amazing experience that we put together exclusively for eclipse chasers. This year, Argentina leads the eclipse trips one more time since the next will be seen from…. Antarctica!

Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost province of Patagonia is the nearest piece of land to the Antarctica Península. There is no other place on Earth closer to the White Península, which is also considered the farthest continent of the planet. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, and from its port departs most of the Antarctic cruises. Traveling to Tierra del Fuego, you’ll be only 620 miles away from Antártica!

On December 4th, 2021 the moon will fully cover the sun and the icy landscapes will showcase a sepia tone filter. The Ocean’s Endeavour, an ice-strengthened expedition vessel, beautifully conditioned for 200 passengers, will depart from Ushuaia and explore Antarctica in a 15-day adventure trip. As awesome as this may sound, get ready for such a trip can be challenging! We prepared a booking guide with 5 points you should include in your checklist before booking this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

Why do I need a booking guide to travel to Antarctica?

Because it is not a regular trip, and you need to start thinking about booking waaaay in advance, especially since the Covid-19 up brake affected traveling in all possible ways. This means the reduction of flying dates and accommodations and unexpected fluctuations on the opening and closing of country borders.

Get trusty insights about the travel agency you are hiring

The best when talking about off-the-beaten-path travel experiences is to book locally. Today, many people navigate social media to check out the reputation of a product or a brand. The most valuable content you can find is the reviews from other travelers. In social media, if a former traveler takes an active part of the brand’s community, and leaves comments or supports different content, this would probably mean that they enjoy the travel experience with that agency. 

However, social media is not the place to find the most important information for you, which is other travelers’ reviews. Tripadvisor is the most famous platform to rank and review hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies on the web.

It is also important when booking in advance and from a long distance, to take your time and navigate the website of the travel agency you choose. Evaluate the look and feel of the available communication channels, and try the first contact with a travel agent just to see if they are responding in time or if they are out of business (on the network’s wide ocean, it can happen…). 

When navigating the website of your chosen travel agency, take a quick look at the institutional pages (about us, our values, etc) and search for reputable sites linked to the content of the agency. The most famous organizations who partner with the agency are, the most reputed this agency probably is in the business. It is useful also to check some world travel contests to see if your selected agency is in the top positions.

Study about Antarctica 

In most cases when we travel we want to disconnect from our daily life. We connect traveling with leisure and fun, rather than learning and studying. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of knowledge, especially when visiting a rare destination like Antarctica.

For example, do you know that Eskimos can identify many more tones of white than people living on other continents? Or, do you know there is a type of Orca whale that can swing side by side with seals because they feed on other animals? Let’s say that Antarctica will showcase a brand new world, and the more you learn about it before departing, the better. You won’t miss any detail of the ice and wildlife exploration, while others who just jumped into the vessel unaware of the destination surely will.


Ask about the crew and the services of the vessel

It is important to remember before booking the Antarctic total solar eclipse 2021 that you will be traveling safely but still visiting a widely unexplored location. Thus, it is crucial that you have the most professional team going with you. The Ocean’s Endeavour features the highest expedition staff passengers ratio in Antarctica, which is 1 staff for every 8 travelers. 

You should also check that the vessel has enough zodiac boats in order to have all the crew sailing at the same time while enjoying an Antarctic expedition. Different methods to minimize queuing especially during pandemics should be in place too. The Ocean’s Endeavour for instance has two gangways for this purpose and a large fleet of zodiacs.

Ask about the activities you can do inside and outside the vessel 

Fourteen days can be a lot of time to spend inside the jacuzzi (which you must definitely try…). It is important in order to have a full experience on the White Continent that you schedule the activities you are willing to do and the days you want to rest, or just staying in the boat going to the gym or reading in one of its many common areas. 

Most of the tours scheduled in the Antarctic total solar eclipse trip are expeditions to islands around the península, walks on the snow, and also photo safaris to spot wildlife. These activities are not especially demanding and are suitable for all ages. However, if you think you would rather enjoy views from the deck, it will be interesting to ask about the different viewing spots the vessel has. 

For those who are into the adventure expeditions, be sure to ask if the vessel you will be traveling in has a mudroom, the transitional place between outdoors and inner life on the boat. Here you can dress up according to the expeditions (clothing is especially important when you are enduring freezing, under 32 F,  weather), grab the specific gear, and change wet or muddy clothing when you return. 

It won’t be a bad idea either to verify with your chosen travel agency if technical equipment (gore-tex suits, boots, or special gloves) are included, available to rent for the day, or if you need to include gear costs on your traveling budget. 

How will be organized the day of the solar eclipse

This will be the highlight of a trip which is already a milestone in itself! It is very important that you get notified of the schedule on the 4th of December. Eclipses last really few and you don’t want to miss it because you should have gone to the toilet before the show!

Things you should ask your travel agent about this day:

  • From where you will be seeing the eclipse (land, deck or sea)
  • If they will provide glasses to see the eclipse.
  • If there is going to be any special device to have a close experience of the astronomical phenomenons, a.k.a, a telescope.
  • It will be useful to know if there will be some specialists on board who can offer technical explanations of what will happen and point out specific details during the eclipse that you may be missing out on. The Ocean’s Endeavours crew counts with experts on the history, geology, and ecology of the Antarctic ecosystem.
  • If you’re not taking any special photo equipment with you, you can ask if they are offering a photo shouting service on board.

Last but not least it will be important to book with confidence but also with an agency that cares about sustainable ways of traveling, and works with local entrepreneurs that want to take care of their home. The Ocean’s Endeavour for example takes different measures to minimize the impact of their trips to Antarctica. The ecosystems are very fragile and it is our duty to support traveling agencies that care about minimizing carbon footprint, chooses to buy sustainable seafood products, use reusable plastic onboard and eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

Do you need more help? Contact us, and one of our travel agents will answer within 24 hours.

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