Antarctica might not be the easiest place to reach, but it's definitely worth the extended effort. If you're planning on visiting this last great frontier, you'll have to get to Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand first, which will likely be a considerable endeavor for most. Once you arrive in one of these destinations, you'll either hop on a plane or board a cruise ship. Antarctica travel is expensive on the whole, and if you plan on flying, you'll have to pay extra. Tourism to Antarctica revolves mostly around the cruise industry, and there is a growing amount of Antarctica cruises to choose from.
Antarctica vacations have never been more approachable, and while tourism numbers are up, a relatively few number of travelers make it here every year. This has a lot to do with the costs and the travel time. Word is quickly getting out when it comes to everything that Antarctica travel has to offer, however, and those who are fortunate enough to enjoy it usually have nothing but good things to report. It's usually the oft-rough seas of the Southern Ocean that are the only cause for complaint. The trip across Drake Passage is usually enough to have you reaching for your motion sickness medicine. Antarctica is the southernmost continent in the world, and it is also the driest, the windiest, and the coldest. As such, you can expect to encounter some unfavorable cruising conditions at some point during your trip. Thankfully, the ships that are used for Antarctica cruises are equipped to handle rough seas, not to mention the icy waters that surround the mainland.
Antarctica is a polar desert that is almost entirely covered in snow and ice. At some points, the thickness of the ice here can be more than 9,000 feet, so if you plan on doing some trekking, you won't often be walking on dirt. There are some fascinating dry valleys on the mainland, and they are essentially the only continental spots where ice and snow are not present. Fantastic glaciers, rugged mountains, and majestic glaciers characterize most of the landscape, which is stark, yet breathtaking. You can get your fill of stunning pictures on trips to Antarctica, and you'll do especially well to head to places such as Paradise Harbor and the Lemaire Channel if you want to get some amazing snapshots.
More people are looking into tourism to Antarctica for a reason. In addition to a breathtaking landscape, this non-commercialized land boasts extraordinary wildlife. Not only can you view penguins on Antarctica vacations, but you can also spot seals and whales with frequency. A number of sea birds also pay the continent a visit when the weather warms up. It's never hot in Antarctica, but things do warm up considerably from November to March. This is the only season for tourism to Antarctica, as it coincides with summer in the southern hemisphere.
You don't want to be in Antarctica in the wintertime, unless you are a research scientist who has the option of staying inside a warm research station. Only about 1,000 scientists call Antarctica home come winter, and they are the continent's only inhabitants, save for the small amount of animals that stick around. Many seals and penguins head north as winter approaches in Antarctica, as the howling winds, the lack of sunlight, and the brutally cold temperatures aren't exactly conducive to sustaining life.
Life can be hard in Antarctica, but thanks to the fact that most of the Antarctica cruise ships offer some good amenities, tourists can stay comfortable. You're encouraged to get off the boat at some point on Antarctica vacations, even if you have an amenity-filled cabin. The tour options are always increasing, and it's always a good thing to actually set foot on land. Even if you don't set foot on the mainland, you're encouraged to do so on some of the area islands. Tourism to Antarctica is very much tied to tourism in the Falkland Islands, and chances are good that your cruise will at least stop in the South Shetland Islands at some point. There's more to Antarctica travel than you might think, so start looking into your own Antarctic getaway today, and see for yourself just how rewarding a trip here can be.