If we’re honest, Antarctica isn’t really a place that’s on many people’s bucket list. What’s there in Antarctica anyway? Isn’t it just snow, ice, and rocks? Truth is, there’s more to the White Continent than meets the eye. Connect with your inner explorer spirit, and let’s uncover the eight reasons to visit Antarctica!
1. Its remoteness
Perhaps the biggest draw for most travellers that visit Antarctica is how remote it really is. And it’s huge – to come close to its land size, you would have to combine Mexico and the US! When you visit Antarctica, it’s just you, your shipmates, the scientists you come across, and fellow travellers. You’re essentially somewhere where there is no indigenious population. In fact, evidence suggests that no one has ever stepped foot in Antarctica until the last couple of centuries!
2. It’s easier to access than you think
The land’s remoteness might give you that impression that it is inaccessible. That couldn’t be further from the truth! All you have to do is get to Argentina or Chile.
Most Antarctic voyages depart from Ushuaia in Argentina, a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Buenos Aires. All throughout the summer, there are expedition vessels that head for the southern wilderness. These voyages traverse the infamous Drake Passage, a 1,000 kilometer body of water between South America and Antarctica. Depending on the weather gods, this crossing can be literally smooth sailing, or as turbulent as a doll in the washing machine. On calm days, the voyage is a prime opportunity to spot some iconic wildlife.
Travellers who’d rather not go through Drake Passage can fly out of Punta Arenas in Chile, directly to an airstrip adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula. From here, you’ll board an expedition ship and arrive in Antarctica, just a few hours after departing Punta Arenas!
3. The beautiful landscape
If you ask anyone that’s been to Antarctica, they’ll tell you that the landscape is out of this world. Indeed, there is nowhere else on earth like it. In many ways, the continent is almost alien! No trees, no plants, just ice, water, snow and rocks. Anyone who has ever dreamt of traveling through space to an uninhabited world can experience that right here on earth, no spaceship needed. Antarctica is our alien landscape right at home.
4. Penguins, penguins, penguins
Antarctica has not just one, or two, but seven species of penguins. No matter the species, these cute critters are a joy to witness. Watch them swim expertly through the water while fishing, waddle in a line, and slide down hills on their bellies! Antarctica penguins add an adorable and comedic spark to the dramatic landscape of Antarctica.
5. Other stunning wildlife
Contrary to what many people think, Antarctica is actually filled with life. Apart from penguins, there are different species of whales that swim the Antarctic waters, including killer whales, minke and humpbacks. There are also leopard seals, elephant seals, Weddell seals and ross seals lounging about on the shore. The skies are also never a bore, as the fish in the area draws in lively flocks of birds. If you’ve ever dreamt of being a Nat Geo or Animal Planet photographer, visit Antarctica and all its animal inhabitants.
6. Try out unique activities
Antarctica is not a destination where you just sit and observe life as it passes you by. You can expect activities like hiking, kayaking, see stunning glaciers and walk amongst penguin colonies. If you’re especially brave, try doing a polar plunge and take a dip in the frigid waters! At night, you can camp on the ice under a cozy blanket and watch the twinkling stars with no light pollution, or learn about our skies at a research station.
7. Disconnect from the world
No, there is no cellphone reception in Antarctica. This means that your trip will truly be a chance to disconnect. It’s a great opportunity to go back to basics. Really get to know your fellow travellers over face-to-face conversations, read some books, get some adequate sleep. Most importantly, really connect with Mother Nature and the beautiful land that is Antarctica.
8. It is an educational experience
All else aside, a trip to Antarctica is an educational experience. You can expect to learn from scientists and professionals that’ve situated themselves here. We all know that climate change is affecting our globe, and Antarctica is no exception. Here, you can really see the effects of global warming, and spread that information to your friends and family. The truth is, Antarctica will not be the same in the near future. And to us, that’s the most important reason why a visit to Antarctica should be done sooner rather than later.