How to get to South Georgia Island from anywhere in the world

One of the most appealing reasons to visit South Georgia Island is its remote, faraway location in the Southern Ocean. Over 900 miles away from its closest populated neighbour the Falkland Islands, South Georgia is one of the most remote islands on Earth, and home to quantities of wildlife not seen elsewhere. 

Due to its remote location and no airport reaching South Georgia takes some dedication. The only way to travel to South Georgia is via the sea. 

Expedition Cruise

The easiest way to get to South Georgia is on an expedition cruise departing from the Falkland Islands or Ushuaia in Argentina and sailing via Antarctica.

Expedition cruises run from November until the middle of March which is South Georgia’s summer season. There are no expedition cruises during the winter season which runs from April until September.

The sailing time to reach South Georgia Island is approximately 2.5 days sailing from Stanley in the Falkland Islands or 3 days from the Antarctic Peninsula.

For those looking to see Antarctica and South Georgia many operators offer a combined itinerary in the region of 21 days that visits the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. 

The disadvantage of a combined itinerary is that often this will only give travellers a 2-3 day weather window to land on South Georgia. Due to it’s changeable weather it may only be possible to land on some of the days leaving travellers with very limited time to explore South Georgia.

For travellers looking to truly experience South Georgia and visit as many landing sites as possible we recommend a South Georgia only expedition departing from the Falkland Islands. Consider our 15-day South Georgia Wildlife and Photography expedition onboard Polar Pioneer with just 48 guests.

Private Expedition

It is possible to reach South Georgia on a private expedition on either a sailing yacht or expedition motor vessel from the Falkland Islands. To see our private expeditions please see here.  

Other ways to reach South Georgia

The only other way to reach South Georgia is if you work there. South Georgia Heritage Trust employ seasonal volunteers in the museum in Grytviken. The British Antarctic Survey have a base at King Edward Point close to Grytviken. Staff arrive the island via supply or maritime authority vessel usually from the Falkland Islands.

South Georgia Travel Tips

  • Choose a ship with 50 guests or under. Many of South Georgia’s landing sites are restricted by group size. Some landing sites such as Prion Island only allow 50 guests to land. Other key sites such as Grytviken only allow 100 guests at a time. If you are on a ship with 300 other people it means you will be grouped and waiting a lot to spend time ashore. 
  • Choose a longer length voyage to see multiple landing sites on South Georgia. Often the weather can be interchangeable and there may be days when a landing isn’t possible. If you only have a 2-3 day weather window it won’t be enough to truly experience the island. 
  • Choose an operator with knowledgable wildlife guides. Our expedition team has decades of experience with South Georgia.

Consider our 15-day in-depth Wildlife and Photography Expedition to South Georgia with just 48 guests offering up to 9 days to explore. 

Arriving In South Georgia

On arrival in South Georgia don’t expect to step off your cruise ship and on to dry land. There are no docks for expedition ships in South Georgia. Expedition cruise ships are kitted out with Zodiacs to make shore landings which often include remote beaches and rocky bays. The perfect way to explore! 

How to Travel Around South Georgia

South Georgia has no roads and the only way to truly experience it is from an expedition cruise that explores the coastline. Due to its mountainous and glaciated terrain many places are only accessible via the sea.

On an expedition cruise shore landings are made on a daily basis at sites of interest. South Georgia has many fascinating places to visit including Saint Andrew’s Bay, home to 400,000 King Penguins, the former whaling station of Grytviken, and the stunning Drygalski Fjord on the South of the Island. 

It is possible to undertake hikes on South Georgia and in good weather we like to hike the final few miles of Shackleton’s famous crossing of South Georgia from Fortunna Bay to the former whaling station at Stromness.

How to Get to South Georgia from the Falkland Islands

To reach South Georgia from the Falkland Islands the only option is by sea on a sailing passage of 967 miles.

Our South Georgia expeditions depart from the port of Stanley in the Falkland Islands and sail across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia.

To reach the Falkland Islands there are two options to fly there.

LATAM Airlines

LATAM airlines operate a weekly flight on Saturday’s which departs Santiago in Chile (SCL) and makes a stop in Punta Arenas (PUQ) in the South of Chile before continuing on to Mount Pleasant Airport (MPN) on the Falkland Islands. 

We recommend this option for travellers that are looking to explore Patagonia before making their trip onwards to South Georgia. It is possible to join the flight in Punta Arenas and spend some time exploring the beautiful places in the surroundings which include Torres Del Paine national park. 

LATAM airlines also offer a weekly service to Mount Pleasant Airport from Sao Paulo in Brazil which offers a second option for travellers looking to experience a different part of South America.

Direct From the UK

The Ministry of Defence have a direct flight from the UK to the Falkland Islands which departs from the airbase at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The flight operates twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays and civilians are allowed to book tickets.

This option is often more expensive than flying with LATAM via South America.

To find out more about getting to the Falkland Islands please visit the Falkland Islands Tourism Board

How to Get to South Georgia from the UK and Europe

To get to South Georgia from the UK or Europe you first need to fly to the Falkland Islands or Ushuaia in Argentina to board an expedition vessel. 

Via the Falkland Islands

To reach the Falkland Islands from the UK there are two options.

Option 1 is to fly from London to Santiago in Chile. British Airways offer direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago that take just over 14 hours. It is also possible to fly via Madrid on Iberia Airways which can sometimes prove more cost effective, but adds a few hours more to the overall time.  

We recommend using Skyscanner to find the best airline prices and connections. 

Option 2 is to fly to the Falkland Islands directly onboard the MOD flight from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. This is the faster but more expensive option. Find out more here. This option will not be available on sky scanner and must be booked directly. 

Via Ushuaia

From the UK you first need to fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina. From Buenos Aires you can take a connecting flight to Ushuaia. Aerolineas Argentinas offer direct flights that take 3.5 hours.  

How to get to South Georgia from the USA

To get to South Georgia from the USA you first need to fly to the Falkland Islands or Ushuaia in Argentina to board an expedition vessel. 

Via the Falkland Islands

To reach the Falkland Islands from the USA you first need to fly to Santiago in Chile. 

LATAM offer direct flights from large American hubs such as New York, Miami, Dallas and Atlanta. 

From Santiago there is a LATAM flight via Punta Arenas to Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands. 

Via Ushuaia

From the USA you first need to fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina. Buenos Aires is well served by daily direct flights from major American cities such as Miami, New York, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. American Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas offer regular departures. 

From Buenos Aires you can take a connecting flight to Ushuaia. Aerolineas Argentinas offer direct flights that take 3.5 hours.  

We recommend using Skyscanner to find the best airline prices and connections.

How to get to South Georgia from the rest of the world 

To get to South Georgia from worldwide destinations you need to fly to either Santiago in Chile and take a connecting flight to the Falkland Islands. Our expeditions depart from Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

Alternatively if your South Georgia expedition cruise departs from Ushuaia, you need to fly from your home country to Buenos Aires and take a connecting flight to Ushuaia.   

How to get to South Georgia FAQ’s

How much does it cost to visit South Georgia?

The cost of an expedition cruise to visit South Georgia depends on the overall trip length and the type of cabin. As a rule of thumb the starting budget is around 1,000 Euros per person per day for an expedition cruise.

Our 15-day in-depth Wildlife and photography expedition to South Georgia with just 48 guests starts at $13,995. 

Do I need a visa to enter South Georgia?

You do not need a visa to visit South Georgia. A visit application is required but this will be taken care of on your behalf. 

How Long does it take to travel to South Georgia? 

It takes around 2.5 days travelling time to reach South Georgia from the Falkland Islands on an expedition vessel and around 3 days from the Antarctic Peninsula. It takes around twice the length of time on a sailing vessel. 

Is it possible to fly to South Georgia? 

It is not possible to fly to South Georgia is there is no airport or landing strip. The nearest airport is over 900 miles away on the Falkland Islands. 

Explore South Georgia Island