Last updated May 17, 2021
If you're looking to disconnect and you're a fan of cold weather, Antarctica might just be the place for you. Almost twice the size of Australia, Antarctica offers a dream destination for adventurers looking to go off the grid for a while. The continent's natural beauty is something everyone should experience. Traveling to Antarctica can be magical but what are the entry requirements for Antarctica? Let's take a look.
Is travel insurance mandatory in Antarctica?
Yes. Currently, travel medical coverage is required for all visitors to Antarctica. The amount of coverage depends on your itinerary. Make sure you have the necessary coverage for Antarctica before you leave your home country.
COVID-19 in Antarctica
Due to the continent's remoteness, the first COVID-19 outbreak didn't hit Antarctica until December of 2020. The amount of cases is incredibly low, but the CDC still suggests that all travelers to Antarctica should be fully vaccinated before making travel plans.
If you have to visit the country, consider Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance so that you may recoup some of your costs if you need to cancel, postpone or cut short your original travel plans for any reason, including COVID-19-related concerns.
If travel is a must, here are some precautions to take:
Before you travel:
- Get tested with a viral test 1 to 3 days before your trip
- If you were exposed to COVID-19, are sick, or test positive for the disease, do not travel
- Follow all entry requirements for Antarctica and be sure you have all required documentation
- Wear a mask
- Practice social distancing protocols
- Wash your hands often
- Be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around her
After you travel:
- Get tested 3 to 5 days after you return to your home country
- Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days
- If you don't get tested, it's best to self-quarantine for at least 10 days
Traveling from the United States:
- If you have a return flight to the U.S., you must get a viral test in Antarctica no more than 3 days before your flight, and the test results have to be negative
- Keep your test results on hand in case you're asked for them
- Follow all United States guidelines and airline protocols
Health & safety
With such a low human population year-round, crime is quite rare. The major safety threat comes from the severely low temperatures and harsh winds. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest place on the planet so you'll want to make sure you pack appropriately.
Due to the sun reflecting off the snow, the sunlight can cause injury to the eyes and skin. Make sure you take precautions.
Because the continent is so isolated, it may not have the resources needed should you suffer a medical event there. When you choose a healthcare plan, make sure it includes emergency medical evacuation coverage for Antarctica. In addition to Atlas International, Patriot International and Patriot Platinum International all offer some coverage for emergency medical evacuation under qualifying circumstances.
Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before your trip. Here are some common vaccination requirements for Antarctica.
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A Typhoid
- Hepatitis B
Once the Covid-19 vaccines are more widely distributed, vaccination may be required prior to departing your country of origin. For the most up-to-date information on vaccinations and other health requirements contact the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Visas & documentation
A lot of visas require travel insurance. So confirm your specific visa requirements prior to your departure. Antarctica has no permanent residents and the continent consists of research stations and field camps. As no country owns Antarctica, no visa is required for entry. However, the Antarctic Treaty's Protocol on Environmental Protection requires that citizens from participating countries (this includes the U.S., Canada, the EU and Australia) to get permission before departing for Antarctica.