Antarctica is the final frontier in travel and the ultimate bucket list destination for many intrepid explorers. Despite its remote setting, traveling to the South Pole is a possibility that might be easier than you think. Here are 7 things to know before you travel to Antarctica.
- The best way to visit our southernmost continent is as part of a live-aboard cruise. Expedition vessels typically depart from and conclude at Ushuaia, Argentina. You will need to factor in your flight to the relevant meeting point on top of your cruise package. Alternatively, you can fly from Punta Arenas, Chile, to King George Island and start your exploration from there.
- Polar routes navigate you through dramatic stretches of open water before you are invited to disembark and explore the scenery, nature, and communities of the polar region. South Georgia is the location of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave as well as remarkable flora that blooms during the summer months. Both South Georgia and the Falkland Islands beam a spotlight on the biological diversity, with an abundance of penguins, albatross, seals, and birdlife. The South Shetland Island comprises a cluster of research stations and museums as well as the volcanic Deception Island and Penguin Island, a hit with fans of the waddling birds!
- Antarctic cruises include a crossing of the Drake Passage, rumored to be the roughest stretch of sea on the planet. This is due to the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Seas. While you might want to keep a seasickness remedy to hand, modern expedition vessels are equipped with stabilizing technology to keep the queasiness at bay.
- You will be on and off the boat throughout your Polar exploration, with opportunities to get closer to the ice and wildlife via Zodiac, sea kayak, stand-up paddleboard, on foot, and even helicopter and seaplane. Subject to when you visit, there is the opportunity to spend a night camping on the glacial mass, an experience that you will never forget. You can even accept the challenge of the Polar Plunge: a daunting dive into the icy waters.
- It is possible to visit Antarctica during the South Hemisphere summer (November to March) when the weather is at its mildest. If you want to see the last of the winter snow, the arrival of wildflowers, and the courtship of penguins, book your trip between November and mid-December. Later December through January opens up the possibility to camp on the ice under the midnight sun, with the chance to encounter seal pups. The end of January sees the arrival of penguin hatchlings while February and March is the best time for whale watching.
- Antarctica cruise vessels are purpose-built for the harsh climate and conditions and offer 5-star luxury experiences to guarantee the safety and comfort of passengers. Guest rooms and suites are equipped with private bathrooms and balconies so that you can experience uninterrupted views in peace. Besides restaurants and communal lounges, certain vessels feature spas and heated pools (a popular alternative to the Polar Plunge!).
- What about the cold? Rest assured that your cruise vessel will be thoroughly heated and you will be provided with a custom expedition jacket to ensure you stay toasty and warm throughout your adventure.
Contact me when you are ready to book your trip of a lifetime to Antarctica.