Why Go To Antarctica?
If Antarctica isn't already atop your bucket list, it should be. Antarctica is that final frontier that promises epic adventures and for most of us, this is just once in our lifetime. Although few have gone, it has never been easier to travel here and people are beginning to realize that. Experiencing Antarctica before it comes even more accessible is a very good reason to go. Of course, there are many other reasons and one of the biggest is that it's the closest many of us will ever get to feeling as if we are on another planet because the landscapes are out of this world! If you are considering a trip to Antarctica, there are several aspects to this trip that should be considered.
Many cruising expeditions will leave from Ushuaia, Argentina. Still other departure points include such places as the Falkland Islands or New Zealand. It is even possible to fly directly there from Buenos Aires, Punta Arenas, and Cape Town. There are several expedition ships and yachts to choose from with varying fares and levels of accommodation. Most of the operators will offer an elevated experience that includes enriching opportunities that are both educational and inspirational — led by scientists and other experts. Many also provide professional photographers to assist you in getting those amazing images you have dreamed about capturing. The inclusions in your journey are another important consideration.
The stars of the show in Antarctica are, of course, the wildlife and icebergs. If you have something particular in mind that you want to see, choosing the right time to go is essential and not all cruises offer stepping foot on land in Antarctica — you will want to ensure that this is a feature that is included if you had this in mind. An Antarctica trip is also a fairly social trip where you will be sharing your adventures with others, so the size of groups may be a factor as well.
For our clients, to ensure you get the experience you want, we will provide you with everything you need to know to make educated decisions about logistics and operators for your expedition to this incredible destination. Antarctica adventures require preparation so, booking well in advance is strongly advised.
Antarctica's wildlife is amazing and it's likely the number one reason many people go to Antarctica. You will likely see whales, seals, and penguins and hopefully, will become an expert in identifying the different species. On an Antarctic expedition cruise, you are in luck because you will have a shot at seeing eight of the seventeen species of penguins in the world and in their natural habitat. When you think of penguins, it is most likely the Emperor penguin that you envision and the only place you can see them is Antarctica and they are very elusive. They are the largest of penguins, and are typically found in the Ross Sea and Weddell regions. Sightings are most likely to happen at Snow Hill Island. Not all trips offer this in their itineraries and they are no guarantees. The Adélie penguin is also exclusive to Antarctica. These are much smaller penguins and their population is the highest in the region, your chances are good with them. The other penguins you might see are found both in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands like South Georgia or Macquarie Island.
You will most likely see seals as there are six different species in the waters around Antarctica. There are just five in Antarctica proper, including the Crabeater seals which is an odd name for an animal that doesn't actually eat crabs. Whale watching will likely become a favorite past time if it isn't already one. There are six species of whales in Antarctic waters, including the awe-inspiring Killer whales, the show-offs known as Humpback whales, and the world's largest, the Blue whale and some months are better than others to view them.
Of course, there are other animals you might come across and learning about all of them and their habits is truly special, especially when you are viewing them where they should be, in nature.
There is no doubt you trip to Antarctica would be filled with one incredible experience after another. Regardless to the time of year, if you choose cruising to or from Ushuaia, you will experience some of the most treacherous waters on our planet. The notorious Drake Passage is well known for its more than choppy waters. Fortunately, advanced ship construction, GPS, and weather-monitoring technologies now make this crossing possible without the fears that explorers before you once had. The seas are rough, but if you are prepared, you might make it through without getting seasick!
Okay, we are pretty sure you weren't thinking about going swimming while you were in Antarctica, but it is actually a popular thing to do for a couple of seconds. Most people do this at Deception Bay, because the waters are slightly warmer than other waters in and around Antarctica. The bay is deceptive because it is actually a flooded caldera inside an active volcano. Let's just hope you don't get a send off to the moon from here! If you do you take the polar plunge into a volcano, you will have certainly made the most of your adventure and earned your bragging rights.
Travel like you mean it and go camping in Antarctica! Many cruise expeditions offer the opportunity to stay overnight on land in Antarctica and this would certainly be a once in a lifetime event for most people. All gear is provided and set up for you, so you can enjoy yourself and have the most incredible opportunity to see things from a different perspective. For photographers, this is the best way to ensure you are getting your light and to get creative. Of course, no trip to Antarctica would be complete without taking a Zodiac out or going kayaking out to explore the surreal ice-scapes and view the marine life in at eye level. Almost any trip provider would make these excursions available to you. Hiking and shore-based walking is possible for cruises that provide for land-based activities. There are a wealth of other activities for skilled enthusiasts like polar diving, mountaineering, and skiing. If you prefer your adventure no less exhilarating from the comfort of a helicopter, there's that too!
When To Go
For leisure purposes, there are a just a few operators that begin trips from mid-October, but most will start in November and run through April which is considered the season for visiting Antarctica. Before determining your when to go, you need to think about your why. What features are important to see? Time of year makes a big difference. Questions like how much time you have and of course, your budget are also factors in when you should go. These are not inexpensive adventures, and booking a year or more in advance is the norm. Not to say you can't find a last-minute trip, just keep this in mind if you have specific things you want from your trip.
Unless you are perfectly happy with going with the flow and taking what you can get with a trip, a bit of thoughtful planning goes a long way for ensuring you get the experience you want. Fortunately, if you choose to work with us, we have your back and have already done all of the homework for you. We provide our clients with more than enough information to choose the trip that is right for you based on your goals and what you want to see and participate in.
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