Major Tourist Attractions: South Pole
Antarctica is undoubtedly one of the world's most adventurous destinations. It is a vast, frozen continent which was only first visited by humans less than 200 years ago. Even now there is no permanent human settlement. A few dozen scientific research stations comprise the only human inhabitants, though intrepid travelers can still find their way down.
Antarctica is far from empty. Its shores team with marine mammals, from playful seals to massive whales. Even more plentiful are Antarctica's birds. Walking amongst a penguin breeding colony is undoubtedly one of the great highlights of any Antarctic adventure.
Most visitors will arrive on a cruise ship departing from Ushuaia in Argentina. More adventurous travelers might consider crewing on a private sailboat that is heading to the peninsula. (Ask around at the sailboat dock in Ushuaia.) Currently there are more than 40 ships carrying between 6 and 500 passengers that can get your feet onto Antarctic soil. Extended itineraries may include visits to South Georgia or the Falklands where the wildlife watching is also stupendous.
Antarctica has no government but its policies are established by an international Antarctic Treaty joined by nearly 50 nations. It is truly one of the last frontiers on the planet and is high on the list of dream destinations for many a world-traveler.
Here are a few of the incredible adventures that Antarctic explorers can look forward to:
- Wander through a gentoo penguin colony and feel like the only human on the planet.
- Climb into an ice cave and enter a world of crystal blue ice.
- Visit the "southernmost bar in the world" at the Ukranian base where they make their own vodka.
- Sit in the hot spring water that seeps off the beach at volcanic Deception Island.
- Watch a humpback whale leap completely out of the water (breach) next to your zodiac.
- Learn the difference between icebergs, bergy bits, growlers, and brash ice.
- Get your passport stamped at the post office in Port Lockroy, the British base.
- Keep your eyes peeled for an Arctic Tern which migrate all the way from the top of the planet every year.
- Cool your cocktail with a floating piece of ice that is thousands of years old.
- Cross the dreaded Drake Passage, some of the world's roughest seas, on your way from South America.
- Dive into the icy cold Antarctic water and get out again as quick as you can.
- Listen to the loud belching of elephant seals as they molt on a stony beach.
- Marvel at the green snow, an algae that lives directly on the ice.
- Listen to the thunderous crack of glacial ice calving into the sea.
- Spy one of Antarctica's top predators, the leopard seal, as it yawns on a floating piece of ice.
- Slide down an icy hill on your butt at Brown Station.
- Listen for the songs of whales through the hull of your ship.
Address: Does not maintain an embassy here.
For travel assistance please see:
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