If you have a bucket list of countries you’d like to visit, then a trip to Antarctica should definitely be on it! This is the coldest and southernmost continent, and for many people, this turns out to be a sacred destination. A visit to Antarctica helps you feel like you’re a trailblazer, since it’s the final frontier! As Anthony Powell, director and star of “A Year on Ice” puts it, “It truly is the pristine wilderness left on the planet. The air is incredibly crisp and clean, skies are clear and free of light pollution, letting you see more stars than you can imagine.”
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you should visit Antarctica — and a few things you should know before you arrive.
1. Summer in Antarctica means higher temperatures — and a sun that stays in the sky 24 hours a day for four months. This allows travelers to witness a sun that never dips under the horizon.
2. A summertime visit to Antarctica means exploring with a tour. This means you don’t have to worry about trying to plan your own way around this continent, but can leave the planning to the tour company and focus on enjoying your day to day. Many cruises and tours leave from Ushuaia, Argentina.
3. The great thing about visiting Antarctica is coming away feeling like you’ve truly accomplished something. Because it is a place of extremes, you are not there for a typical holiday. You will experience an environment that will leave you feeling like you’ve overcome challenges. Whether you try something truly exhilarating (like cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, or sledding) or slightly more tame (like photographing the surrounding beauty or trying your hand at kayaking), you’re bound to have the adventure of a lifetime.
4. If you are looking for adventure, many cruises and tours offer what’s come to be known as a rite of passage: the polar plunge. You can experience this icy dip — basically a quick plunge, lasting only a few seconds — right off the side of the ship. Your polar plunge won’t last long, since Antarctic waters can quickly cause hypothermia, and once you’re done, warm goodies await you back on the ship.
5. Another less extreme pastime is whale watching — just imagine standing out on deck watching a pod of six whales feeding! Lemaire Channel is a great destination for whale spotting and glacier photography. These activities are especially popular during the migratory period (summer to fall months on the Southern Hemisphere), and you might even spot other wildlife, too.
6. Heading to Antarctica doesn’t mean that you can’t mail postcards. Really. Port Lockroy was the first British base camp and has served as a post office and a living museum. So, if you’d like, you can send a postcard to your loved ones from the most remote continent on the planet.
7. If you’re hankering for an off-the-beaten-path trip, Antarctica is a great place to visit. It’s a remote destination that will mostly consist of you and your shipmates. You may meet scientists who are there for an extended period of time. Antarctica doesn’t even have an indigenous population that has ever lived there, so you will be visiting a destination that is vastly empty.
8. Since Antarctica is virtually uninhabited, the penguins have no fear of humans at all. And not only are they confident, but they are also extremely curious. A visit to Antarctica is your chance to get up close and personal with these flightless birds.
9. Antarctica’s icebergs are like nothing you’ve ever seen. I’ve been to Chile’s Grey Glacier, Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, and the Vatnajokull in Iceland, but nothing will compare to these floating structures that will loom in front of you in all shapes and sizes. You’ll be amazed at the sight of dozens of icebergs surrounding you on all sides.
10. A visit to Antarctica will guarantee you photos unlike any you’ve shot before. Even if you are only a casual photographer, Antarctica will provide you the opportunity to capture wildlife like penguins and whales, as well as utterly captivating and empty landscapes. This is one country where you will not have to fight hordes of tourist buses to take photographs.
11. Antarctica is also one of the most exciting places in the world as it’s a prime destination for anyone studying climate change. It’s also a coveted destination for astronomers. The air is clear, the weather is stable, and there is no light pollution — making the southernmost continent one of the best places in the world to study the sky. This provides scientists the opportunity to look at what’s happening, but it also gives us casual stargazers the chance to see the night sky in a completely different way.
For more information on how you can visit Antarctica, visit Acanela Expeditions and get ready for a spectacular trip of a lifetime.
Written by Preethi Chandrasekhar