Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Deception Island is located in the Southern Ocean just off the southeastern South Sandwich Islands and to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula across the Bransfield Strait. It is a large water-filled caldera (a collapsed volcano forming Port Foster) of an active volcano that last erupted from 1967 to 1970. The areas that are reasonably accessible are not as rich in wildlife as other sub-Antarctic Islands because of the relatively warm waters of Whaler's Bay, the usual anchorage of visiting ships, which are warmed by subterranean vents.

The only way to get to Deception Island is as part of a cruise/tour of Antarctica and the surrounding sub-Antarctic Islands. This is a result of the international Antarctic Treaty signed in 1961, which limits commercial and tourist activities in Antarctica and surrounding sub-Antarctic Islands to protect this unique, remote, and relatively untouched part of the earth. A number of companies provide access at a variably substantial cost, including National Geographic (Lindblad), Quark, and Hurtigruten.

Visiting Deception Island provides a unique opportunity to see a geologically active area on the world's most remote continent amid its peculiar and expressive wildlife—much of its species unaccustomed to human interaction. The complex caldera geology is the result of the creation and collapse of the volcano, and visitors are rewarded by broad vistas of the caldera walls and a handful of chinstrap penguins and leopard seals—not to mention fresh air. Depending on the tour provider, tours of the island's old whaling facility and an opportunity to swim in volcanically warmed waters are also available.

Although this is a cruise with planned and regulated activities, it is an adventure experience. To optimize your experience of this kind of expedition cruising you must have a significant level of personal fitness. A professional medical certification of that fitness was required before ship departure.

Deception Island is an excellent stopping point. Part of the adventure of all trips to the Antarctic (and I suspect to the Arctic as well) is the need for flexibility, in destinations, activities, and expectations. Regardless of the dictates of weather, a visit to the island is well worth doing and sufficiently compelling to return to again!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open from

November 18 to March 18


Extraordinary scenery and geology. Caldera of an active volcano.


Access is difficult. Expensive. Requires a guiding service.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Historically significant
Geologically significant
Guided tours
Big vistas
Bird watching
Whale watching



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