If seeing the rugged beauty of Antarctica sounds like a great vacation, then Elephant Island Port is a great place to visit. The landscape prominently features glaciers and cliffs. While the climate is cold and windy, the scenery is very impressive. Elephant Island was discovered in 1916 as part of an expedition led by Ernest Shackleton. They arrived on this island after one of their ships was lost. Most tourists who visit this area arrive as part of a Falklands or South Georgia Island cruise. Cruise passengers at the Elephant Island port of call are rarely taken ashore. If you want a closer look at the scenery, most medium-sized and small ships will allow you to get a little closer on a zodiac boat. Larger ships generally just pass by.
Elephant Island doesn't have human settlements, so there are no stores or shopping centers.
Things to See
Antarctic cruises offer a very different experience, and a cruise to Elephant Island is no exception. These cruises are more ideal for those who prefer encounters with nature over numerous shopping, dining, and excursion options. You're sure to be impressed with both the scenery and wildlife.
The main thing to do when visiting Elephant Island is to take pictures. On some cruises, passengers can be taken on short rides in zodiac boats to get a closer look at the scenery and hopefully, some wildlife. This is often dependent on the weather, which can be somewhat unpredictable. The island itself is not very hospitable to humans, so being able to land right on the island shouldn't be expected. Icebergs, many of them quite large, float around in the sea. Some have been known to reach 100 feet in length! The island has some rugged, rocky cliffs and a mountain range that remains covered with snow all year. Glaciers here are most impressive, and the Endurance Glacier is said to be the largest.
The island's harsh environment makes it ideal for three animal species seldom seen elsewhere. These are the elephant seal, which is the island's namesake, the Gentoo penguin, and the chinstrap penguin. It's not uncommon to see numerous animals of both kinds on the island's shores at any time. The penguins are even known to sun themselves on top of the icebergs. The peak times for seeing cute, fluffy penguin chicks are from early December to mid-January. This is summer in the Antarctic. Other bird species and whales might also be spotted.
Be sure to bring good boots, a parka, and wear warm clothing when venturing out by boat, as temperatures are very cold even in the summer. Also, be sure to have a waterproof cover and bag for any camera equipment. This is definitely an activity for those with strong cold tolerance.
Restaurants and Bars
There are no restaurants or bars on Elephant Island. As most tourists are simply taken for relatively short boat rides off the coast, you'll be dining on your ship.