South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI)
A visit to the South Georgia Islands is typically combined with a cruise of the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. The South Sandwich Islands are even more remote and are rarely visited by cruise ships. Travelers to the Georgia Islands will get to see large king penguin and elephant seal colonies, the remnants of the island’s once prosperous whaling industry, and Ernest Shackelton’s grave.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are one of the most remote places in the world.
- The island’s main attraction is the wide diversity of marine life.
- No one lives on the islands except for a handful of scientific researchers.
How to Get There
The South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are only accessible by sea; there are no airstrips on the islands. Most visitors arrive by cruise ship or yacht, but standard Antarctic cruises do not typically visit these islands.
When to Get There
Cruises to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands only operate during the Antarctic summer, which runs from November through March. December and January are the most popular months due to more favorable weather and long daylight hours. February and March are the best months for whale-watching.
Visiting Ernest Shackelton’s Grave
Famed Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackelton, who amazingly survived after losing his ship to the ice during an attempt to make the first land crossing of Antarctica, is buried at the small whalers’ cemetery in Grytviken. Shackelton died unexpectedly of a heart attack just off the coast of South Georgia in 1922 and was buried there at the request of his wife. It is a tradition for visitors to toast his grave with his favorite drink, whisky.