Although Antarctica may seem like a cold, sparse and unwelcoming continent to the uninitiated, it is actually one of the most diverse, interesting and strikingly beautiful places on planet Earth.
From its thriving wildlife and breath-taking scenery, through to its status as an adventure playground for those fond of snowmobiles and sledges, the most southern continent offers a different kind of experience for each type of traveller.
And with more opportunities to get to there than ever before, here are just a few reasons why this should be the year you visit Antarctica.
Why This Should Be The Year You Visit Antarctica
For Close Up Wildlife Encounters
Although a harsh and unforgiving environment, with the right outerwear and protective accessories equipped, Antarctica is a stunning destination with an abundance of varied wildlife to get up close to.
The first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Antarctica’s wildlife is penguins. From the long-tailed Gentoo penguin, through to the waddling Adélie penguin’s and of course the distinct Emperor species, Antarctica is the home of the penguin.
Off-land, you’re more likely to catch a glimpse of the humpback whale, as it leaps out of the ocean, or the lean, muscular leopard seal. Either way, Antarctica is a place like no other for wildlife lovers.
Even though Antarctica is seeing more tourism every year, animals here still have no fear of close contact with humans. If anything, they were mildly curious about our presence, but honestly, for the most part, they didn’t seem to care.
Humpback Whales swim within 100 meters of your boats, and penguins will probably walk over your toes! Who knows if this type of close proximity to wildlife will remain unregulated in the future, so you should definitely consider traveling to Antarctica now!
Journey to an Unexplored Frontier
As the South Pole, Antarctica is officially the furthest continent at one edge of the planet, and its location, coupled with its climate, means that it’s not normally the first choice for travellers, holidaymakers and even adventurers.
Just by the very fact that you’re going to Antarctica, means that you’re getting to bear witness to somewhere beyond the realms of typical travel.
Treat Yourself to a Luxury Cruise Like No Other
A growing number of cruise lines now operate ultra-luxury voyages to the continent, and Scenic Eclipse have recently joined them. Scenic Eclipse is a 6-star luxury cruise adventure, operating worldwide, but with a specific focus on Arctic and Antarctica cruises.
Their luxury cruises to the polar regions are an amazing combination of ultra-luxurious, premium surroundings and thrilling adventure in extreme locations.
One minute you could be exploring Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures via submarine, helicopter or Zodiac, the next you could be unwinding in one of Scenic Eclipse’s Spa Suites and indulging with your favourite drink, brought to you by one of their on board private butlers.
Now that’s next level luxury!
The Scenery Won’t Look This Way Forever
Just look at it. Sheer, white mountains reaching up towards the sky. Clear, crisp, shimmering turquoise waters that blend into deep, darker shades. Vast, open landscapes that seem to exist forever.
Antarctica is an extraordinary continent and to see for yourself is to truly believe it. But with climate change a tangible issue, and shockingly, icebergs the size of small countries breaking away from the continent, the landscape of Antarctica is being adversely affected by rising temperatures more than anywhere else on the planet.
Carbon dioxide levels are higher today than they’ve ever been, and Antarctica is becoming rapidly warmer. In fact, some temperatures have been recorded at above 17°C, which is a just about acceptable if you were after a Mediterranean beach temperature!
Zodiacs, snowmobiles, sledges; whatever your vehicle of choice, the region is prime terrain for adventure sports.
If you’ve got a taste for adrenaline, excitement and speed, then you can engage in a number of activities, such as hiking and sledding, or even exploring the South Pole ice tunnels (a network of underground passages built for scientists, engineers and researchers working there).
Braving the Drake Passage is in itself an adventure, an infamously rough patch of sea on the approach to Antarctica (Read this post if you need to know how to deal with motion sickness while traveling).
It’s said that you’ll either experience the Drake Lake, or the Drake Shake, the former describing conditions when the passage is calm, the latter meaning you may be plowing through up to 13 meter waves!
With environmental groups continually advocating for less human presence in Antarctica, who knows how many land based activities will be available to tourists in the future.
Another reason to travel to Antarctica now.
Truly Unique Photo Opportunities
If you have an eye for your surroundings and a tendency to carry a camera wherever you go, Antarctica will provide you with an unrivalled canvas and unlimited inspiration to draw from.
Though part of the excitement in photographing Antarctica is coming home with photographs that not many other people have seen.
Destinations like Paris, and Rome, have been photographed to death, and everybody has a shot of the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum. But if you’re driven by capturing images that the rest of the world hasn’t taken yet, Antarctica is a fabulous place to be.
Tourism is, however, taking off, so as more and more people visit Antarctica, your photos will perhaps become less unique. So travel now!
All photos in this post were taken by ourselves.
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