The South Shetlands are a rugged, heavily-glaciated chain of four island groups and dozens of islets hugging the Antarctic Peninsula, providing a sheltered sea passage defined by towers of black rock. Names evoke the experiences and imagination of the early explorers – Deception and Desolation Islands, the Watchtower, and Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s expedition was stranded for 135 days.
Visitors include chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and Adélie penguins; giant petrels, Wilson’s and black-bellied storm petrels, brown and south polar skuas, Cape pigeons, Antarctic terns, blue-eyed shags, Dominican gulls, elephant, fur, leopard and crab-eater seals; humpback, minke and orca (killer) whales offshore.
Holidays South Shetland Islands
Visit the untamed wilderness of the South Shetland Islands on an expedition cruise with Journey Latin America.
Antarctic Peninsula: Fly and cruise
(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Expedition cruising in Antarctica
Explore Antarctica’s heritage
Whale watching in Antarctica
Wildlife watching in Antarctica
Where to go when - our guide to South Shetland Islands
The weather in South Shetland Islands is wide and varied
You’ll spot an abundance of wildlife from the chain of rugged black rocks and glaciated islands hugging the Antarctic Peninsula. Chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and Adélie penguins make their nests here in November, with chicks hatching from December and fledging in February. Elephant, fur, leopard and crab-eater seals also raise their young here, with pups appearing in December. Off-shore you’ll spot humpback, minke and orca (killer) whales, particularly later in the season February - Machr. January is the warmest month, reaching 1.5°C.View our South Shetland Islands weather guide
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Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.