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Antarctica - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Antarctica.
Safety and security
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. Ensure that you have equipment and clothing that meet Antarctic standards. If you plan to visit Antarctica as an independent traveller, ensure to be self-sufficient from the time that you leave the departure country until your 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.
International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.
Any travel that is not part of an international scientific expedition nor organized through a recognized tour operator is strongly discouraged because of its potential harmful impact on the environment and the lack of emergency facilities.
Passport and visas
You may need a Canadian passport and/or a visa for the countries you transit as you travel en route to and from Antarctica. 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 (which protects the Antarctic’s environment) or in the case of an emergency. There is no fee associated with processing a permit to travel to the Antarctic.
Antarctic Environmental Protection Act: permits – Government of Canada
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- There are no updates at this time.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professionel about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- This territory has not stated its yellow fever vaccination certificate requirements.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Antarctica. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Antarctica, certain insects may carry and spread diseases.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with all animals as certain infections can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds and the flu.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
There are no organized nor stand-by search and rescue or emergency evacuation facilities in Antarctica. In case of emergency, you will be responsible for the costs of your search, rescue and evacuation.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
The Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection—the Madrid Protocol—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, including poultry, pet dogs/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 wasratified by Canada in 2003. In so doing, the Canadian government regulates the activities of expeditions of its citizens in the Antarctic.
Natural disasters and climate
Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest and windiest continent, with 99% of its area covered by a permanent ice sheet. Weather conditions are severe and can vary.
There is no centralized number to reach emergency services.
There is no Canadian government office in Antarctica. Canadians visiting Antarctica for longer than three months should advise Global Affairs 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.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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