Travel to Antarctica
Among the continents in the world, Antarctica ranks fifth in size. Travel to Antarctica is suitable for tourists seeking adventure. The continent has no cities but research centers are present, inhabited by scientists. It is in reality a desert concealed by huge packs of ice. The research facilities are for scientific studies and have no concerns about the tourism industry of Antarctica.
It is astounding to note that the continent has no plants, reptiles, mammals or polar bears. The shores of Antarctica are the dwelling place of migratory birds, penguins, numerous types of fish and whales. The region has no snowfall and limited rainfall.
If you intend to visit Antarctica, it is possible only during the summer season, which is from November to March. This is the period when the ice melts and daytime lasts for 24 hours. Winter season forbids visit to the continent as the land is extremely frozen and darkness persists for 24 hours.
Visiting Antarctica is through sea transport, land voyage and scenic flights. International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators is in-charge of the travel to this continent. At present, the organization has approximately 80 member agencies.
Military planes commonly facilitate travel to Antarctica through aerial route, but there are occasional commercial flights to the continent. Antarctica has about 28 landing terminals without the usual smooth runway. In addition, there are about 37 Arctic Base equipped with helipads. Therefore, passengers should expect to carry their own baggage and take charge of their belongings.
Aerial tour is the most affordable means of visiting Antarctica. Experts suggest Ushuaia, Argentina as your port of exit since there are great discounts available there during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere.
Your travel entails the following preparations:
- Read more about the travel to Antarctica so you will know what to expect. Equip yourself with what is necessary for your travel.
- Check if your tour operator is an authorized member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).
- You should prepare warm and waterproof clothes that comprises of hoods, gloves, pants, thermal underwear and boots. Use sunglasses and sun blocks to protect your skin from exposure to sunlight.
- The continent has no food stores; hence, you should bring your own supply or pre-arrange it with your travel provider.
- Bring binoculars and camera with lenses that you can zoom. Your backpacks should be water repellant.
- Take along medicines for seasickness because of the rough sea waterway you may encounter during the journey.
- Passengers should anticipate sleeping on their cruise ship or tents, as there are no hotels in the area for visitors. Likewise, the research bases will not accommodate travelers inside their facilities.
- Travel to Antarctica is a dangerous journey and it is possible to encounter injuries or death. The threat of hurricanes, storms and extreme temperatures are dreadful. Vaccinations are not required for travel to Antarctica. However, visitors are highly encouraged to assess their physical ability to withstand the perils of the voyage. Hospitals are very distant and it will take days to get medical attention. Therefore, persons with illnesses should not risk their health. The in-house physicians at the Arctic Stations and cruise ships have inadequate resources to handle serious and life-threatening incidents. Likewise, search-and-rescue operations are very limited.
- Maintain a safe distance from the wildlife present in the area. Do not leave trash, instead bring it along with you. Statistics show that the number of people who travel to Antarctica have increased. Therefore, the region is now more susceptible to pollution, garbage and contamination. Furthermore, never carve anything on rocks and other formations you will see on the continent. You may take pictures of the surroundings, but you cannot get any form of materials from the area.
- Antarctica is not governed by any nation, and so the laws of your country of origin will guide your behavior while on tour.
Tourist Destinations in Antarctica
When you travel to Antarctica, the following are the travel attractions to see:
- South Shetland Islands at the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the favorite places regularly visited by travelers. The magnificent sceneries include Aitcho Island, Half Moon Island, Hannah Point, hot spring located at the Deception Island, the Polish Arctowski Research Center and Uruguay’s Artigas Station.
- Anver Island is one of the most frequent destinations you should not miss when you travel to Antarctica. Attractions include United States Palmer Station and museums at Cuverville Island and Port Lockroy. Currently, Neko Harbor and Paradise Bay are the two ships on cruise that stops at these areas.
- Ross Sea or the Antarctic Peninsula is accessible via cruise ship that embarks from New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Chile. The breathtaking sceneries are in the area of Transantarctic Mountain Chain and Ross Island.
- South Pole is home to a permanent research facility. The most remote area in the Southern Pole is tremendously difficult to reach. It has an abandoned Soviet Union station that retains a golden record book for visitors.
- Mount Erebus is an active volcanic landform at the southernmost portion of the continent.
- McMurdo Sound is close to Ross and stations United States’ McMurdo Base and New Zealand’s Scott Research facility.
- Mawson’s Hut is at Cape Denison, named after Sir Douglas Mawson, the only survivor of a failed Australian Expedition.
Your travel to Antarctica needs a significant amount of money. Some of the travel opportunities to the continent are as follows:
Respective governments of the countries that established their bases in the Arctic region hire competent workers. This includes scientists to conduct studies of the environment and general staff to sustain the operations of the stations. They have an increased demand for healthcare providers and engineers with substantial work experience.
- Invited Professionals:
Some experts in the field of Journalism and Arts are invited to conduct reports.
- Undergraduate Program:
Research studies for the proficient undergraduates are available every year. The application is rigid and a small number of applicants qualify for the study.
If you plan to travel to Antarctica, you should have money, guts and physical capacity. The trip is very challenging, but the rewards of enjoying the pristine beauty of the environment are insurmountable. Keep in mind that maximum precautions and sufficient knowledge are essential to your trip.
Travel to Antarctica: The Icy Adventure
Has the thought of you traveling down Southermost part of the world crossed your mind? When people think about vacations, they normally opt for the tropical islands or the snow white skiing peaks. Why not go extreme and head on down to the deep south – Antartica. When you think about your travel to Antarctica, images of icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales will come to mind. It’s truly a cool, literally and figuratively, way to spend your vacation.
To excite you even more, you might want to get to know a bit more about Antarctica’s geography. Antarctica is the most Southern part of the Earth, overlying the “South Pole.” It is the fifth largest continent in the world. It is also the coldest and driest continent on Earth and has the highest average elevation. Don’t be fooled, Antarctica is a desert, mostly covered by seawater and huge sheets, shelves, and packs of ice. There is little snowfall, and even less rain. This continent is barely touched by humans, but its land boasts of breath-taking sceneries.
Several countries claimed parts of Antarctica but since it is governed by the 1958 Antarctic Treaty, it has established the continent as a peaceful and cooperative international research zone. This is the reason why it is barely touched by humans. There are no cities, but there are about two dozen research stations with a total population ranging from 1000-4000 depending on the time of the year. These are maintained for scientific purposes only and they do not provide any official support for tourism.
There are ways to privately travel to Antarctica:
- By riding commercial sea voyages with shore visits,
- Specially mounted land expeditions,
- Sightseeing by air
About 80 companies belong to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, a membership organization that regulates non-research travel to the region.
Antarctica is only accessible during the austral summer season from November to March, wherein the sea ice melts enough to allow access. During winter, the sea is impassable. Keep those months in mind if you really plan to travel to Antarctica.
Listed below are the places you can go to when you travel to Antarctica and spend a few days enjoying the scenery:
The Wave-y Ride to Drake Passage
For you to travel to Antarctica, you must first go through the Drake Passage. The ship you and your fellow passengers will be riding is called an ice strengthened ship. The ships offer a couple of travels to the continent (usually the Antarctic Peninsula) or Antarctic Islands (e.g., Aitcho Island, Deception Island) for each day over the course of a week. The views are sure to be scenes you have not seen anywhere before and your experience there will be memorable for sure.
Drake Passage has waves that easily reach the height of about 30 feet, but the question is not whether you can survive through the whole journey, but if you or anyone can avoid the seasickness it often brings. If you are lucky, the weather will be in your favor and your travel will be waveless.
Arriving at the South Shetland Islands
From the Drake Passage, you will be at bay at the South Shetland Islands that is located at the north of Antarctica. These islands stand as a gateway to the continent and are a frequent stop for tourists. Hiking there is a good way to see the amazing view of the place. You will also be able to see wildlife there. There will be penguins wobbling nearby, seals sunbathing, and seabirds circling overhead.
In the South Shetland Islands, you will also find Deception Bay/Island which was created by a volcano. You can wear your swimsuit and take a swim in the Arctic waters. Before you start thinking about freezing in the waters, you would be happy to know that there is warm, volcanic soil in Deception Island that makes the water warmer. You can wade into the warm shore or dig up some volcanic soil, then soak into steaming hot water to relax.
Whale Watching in Lemaire Channel
It may be difficult to travel to Lemaire Channel due to the shifting winds. It may be blocked by icebergs, but if you’re lucky, then you are in for a once in a lifetime chance to see the beauty within the channel. The snow-capped mountains that reflect the calm waters and bring the mountains even closer of the Antarctic will make you have the best photos of your whole trip. As your boat navigates the tricky channel, you really won’t be able to take your eyes off of the surroundings. There will also be humpback whales that often escort boats through the channel. This is one trip you should not miss or forget to do.
Another attraction is that you can ride smaller vessels called zodiacs that can take you to smaller passageways. They are small and can navigate through those icebergs with ease.
Send a Postcard from Antarctica with Icy Love
Electronic mail might be all the buzz nowadays, but how cool would it be to be able to get postmarked postcard from your travel to Antarctica when you get home? Send postcards to your friends and relatives too. At Port Lockroy, you can have your postcard dated and addressed, and stamped with an official penguin that says “Port Lockroy, Antartica. 6449’S, 6329W.” The place is located in a massive penguin colony and pretty icebergs. Aside from being a post office, Port Lockroy also serves as a museum. The building commemorates those who risked their lives for science and exploration years ago and it educates its viewers about recent discoveries.
Wildlife and Camping
Your travel to Antarctica will not be complete without camping out in the cold. The outdoors is everything there is. For the adventurous type, they can go kayaking to explore the icebergs and shorelines up close. There are wonders that can be seen and heard while doing so. The best place to see and be with penguins would be Paradise Bay. The penguins love to slide around and splash in the water. These animals aren’t used to humans but they aren’t scared of us either way. They might even run up to you and circle around your feet. Other than penguins, there are also leopard and weddle seals that relax on the shore after a meal or just waiting for penguins to walk within their reach. These animals aren’t as friendly as penguins so it is better to stay away from them.
And if you want to go camping, well, you have to dig your sleeping area to shield yourself from the wind and snow. Carefully place a thin sleeping pad and mummy sleeping bag on top of your “hole.” Your night may consist of roars of seals and a sun that never sleeps, but it is one of the best camping experiences that you may never forget.
Other Places to Visit:
There are many other places to visit like Observation Hill that is located at McMurdo Station. You will have to go trekking first before you can reach it, but the view is stunning. You can also view the Ross Ice Shelf and Mt. Erebus; this can be the perfect place for you to reflect.
Don’t forget about the South Pole. Traveling via helicopter is the best way to reach this point.
The only thing you have to worry about your planned travel to Antarctica may be the time you are going to travel and your budget. But one thing is for sure; this is one adventure you are never, ever, going to regret (and forget) doing.
More articles and videos about Travel To Antarctica:
Below are some videos we made or articles we got from Internet. All of them is good, informatic and helpful for you and your journey to Antarctica.