A story lies behind the name, “Drake Passage”. At the end of the 16th century, several ships made their way through the Strait of Magellan. But only one ship survived the odds, which was the ship of Sir Francis Drake.

Hence the name ‘Drake Passage’ was given to the connection between the two great oceans.

Drake Passage


High waves is a common feature

Mar de Hoces is another name for the Drake Passage. Millions of years ago the passage did not exist. However, when the passage came into existence, Antarctica changed from a warm land to a frozen landscape.

If you are an adventurous type, we understand that you cannot wait to get on a ship and challenge the rough sea. The fun you will have onboard a ship in the Drake Passage is worth the difficulty of the journey.


The gap between the tip of South America & Antartica’s tail is the Drake Passage

Be Prepared

Covering the 830 km of roaring waters is not a small feat. You will need to prepare well before you get to the sea. The swell of waves can be 2-3 meters on an average day.

Thus, you shouldn’t eat much or anything unsavory. If you do, you will end up vomiting with an upset stomach.

Drake passage_Antarctica_Ocean_high waves_PD

Beagle Channel is easy sailing compared to the rest of your journey. You should try to get sound sleep. Doing so will help you with the days ahead. Do avoid high-level ships. The higher you go, the worse the swaying of the ship becomes.

Traveling through the unpredictable waves, you can sight the gorgeous aquatic life. Albatross are flying over your deck, giving you a good augury for the future.

Dolphins jumping in the midst of crystal blue waters and penguins trotting around the snow-laden land, you can’t see that in any other corner of the world.

How To Get Here

If Antarctica is your final destination, a journey via the Drake Passage is a bucket list item for many adventurers. It is best to fly to Ushuaia and then look for ships sailing for Antarctica with available spots.

Alternatively, you can pre-plan your entire trip and book a cruise in advance. Both options has their merits. You will likely spend more if you are booking everything beforehand (and online). That said, if you first fly to Ushuaia, you are spending more time on the ground and therefore spending money on hotels and food with no guarantee that you will find a cheap vessel with cheap tickets.

Therefore, depending on which resource you are trying to maximize (time vs money), you can choose your option accordingly.

The Journey

The crossing of Drake Passage usually takes a day and a half, depending on the ship’s speed and the weather conditions. The waves are not always ferocious. That said, keep in mind that this part of the sea is one of the roughest water anywhere on Planet Earth.

Generally speaking (from safety perspective), most ships will leave Ushuaia port early in the morning and spend a full day and a half at sea. You will likely make your first landing in Antarctica the following day in the afternoon.

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December 8, 2016 12:59 pm Published by

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