There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Antarctica. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
There are no telephone or other communication services in Antarctica. Satellite telephone and postal facilities exist only at established research stations. It would be very difficult to obtain outside assistance in the event of an emergency.
Research stations and scientific expeditions are fully dedicated to scientific research and, with rare exceptions, have no capacity to provide support of any kind to tourists or casual travellers. Independent travellers must be fully self-sufficient from the time that they leave the departure country until their return.
Other than a privately run base on the interior ice that caters to mountaineering-type expeditions, there are no tourist facilities on land. Various tourism companies can arrange excursions to the continent. The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) publishes a list of its members, which is available at:
Any travel that is not part of an international scientific expedition or organized through a recognized tour operator is strongly discouraged because of its potential harmful impact on the environment and the lack of emergency facilities.
A Canadian passport and/or visas may be required for travel through the country or countries that you transit en route to and from Antarctica. Please refer to the separate Travel Advice for those countries.
Travellers on Canadian expeditions, Canadian vessels and those operating Canadian aircraft need a permit to be in the Antarctic, except when granted permission from another party to the Madrid Protocol or in the case of an emergency. There is no fee associated with processing a permit to travel to the Antarctic.
Detailed information about permit applications and application forms are available from Environment Canada's Environment Canada’s Protecting the Antarctic website.
Environment Canada Head, Marine Pollution and Shipping Environmental Protection Operations Directorate Place Vincent Massey 351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 17th Floor Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3 Tel.: 819-956-1313 Fax: 819-953-0913 Email: Antarctique-Antarctic@ec.gc.ca
There are no organized or stand-by search and rescue or emergency evacuation facilities in Antarctica. Costs for search and rescue (or for the evacuation of private parties) will generally be charged to the party.
Ensure that you have equipment and clothing that meet Antarctic standards.
The Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection (Madrid Protocol), adopted in 1991 by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties, designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. Several areas have ecological, scientific, historical or other value and are afforded special protection. It is forbidden to bring any non-native species into Antarctica. This includes poultry, pet dogs, pet cats and household plants. It is also prohibited to take or harmfully interfere with Antarctic wildlife except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.
The Madrid Protocol came into force in 1998 and was ratified by 30 countries. Under the Madrid Protocol, parties are required to regulate the activities of expeditions organized in or proceeding from their territory to the Antarctic, as well as the activities of their vessels, aircraft and Antarctic stations.
Canada ratified the Madrid Protocol in December 2003, and developed the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act and its supporting regulation to implement the Protocol in Canada. In so doing, the Canadian government oversees the activities of its citizens in the Antarctic, and provides the means to address potential future environmental risks in the Antarctic.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest (on average) and windiest continent, with 99 percent of its area covered by a permanent ice sheet. Weather conditions are severe and can vary.
Register your travel plans
There is no resident Canadian government office in Antarctica. Canadians visiting Antarctica for longer than three months should advise Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa of their travel plans prior to leaving.
For emergency assistance, contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
AddressServicesMay provide limited passport assistance