Antarctica Travel Guide
What to Do
Apart from its stunning sights and views, there are so many other activities you can enjoy while in Antarctica. Make sure to try out these fun activities while in the White Continent:
1) Watch penguins, birds, and more!
Treat your eyes to Antarctica’s brimming wildlife by joining a safari tour of the continent’s flora-filled areas. For the best views, make sure to spend some time at the Dawson-Lambton Glacier.
2) Go kayaking or rafting.
Get to visit the narrow straits of the continent by hopping off your cruise ship and getting on board a kayak on an inflatable raft. This trip will give you spectacular views of Antarctica in areas where your commercial sea vessel can’t penetrate.
3) Watch the Aurora Australis dominate the Antarctic sky.
Think that the Aurora Borealis is a sight to behold? Well then, your perception will change once you see Antarctica’s famed Aurora Astralis. This dazzling display of light occurs in clear night skies, but since Antarctica is not conducive to visitors during the winter months, the best time to catch this light show is during the late weeks of March.
4) Climb mountains.
Everest might be considered the hardest peak to climb, but Antarctica’s extreme temperatures make it one of the hardest places to go mountain climbing. However, if you are up to the task, then make sure to make your mark at the continent’s highest peak: Mount Vinson.
5) Go cross-country skiing.
Again, if you have the endurance and determination to visit Antarctica’s South Pole (and maybe see if Santa actually lives there,) then you can join a two to three-week skiing expedition to the region.
Best Cruise Ships for Your Antarctica Trip
As it has been mentioned, the continent is devoid of hotels, inns and B&Bs for interested tourists. But if you are interested in spending a few days in Antarctica, then your best choice for accommodations is that which cruise ships can provide you.
There are a total of 50 cruise companies that provide tours to the continent, so choosing the best one can be tricky. To save you the headache of choosing the wrong ship, here are the top 5 companies as recommended by Antarctic tourists:
1) Silver Explorer
Travel to Antarctica as if you are checked in the posh Four Seasons hotel by scoring a slot in the marvelous Silver Explorer cruise ship. Apart from its beautiful public areas, delicious food and excellent service, the Silver Explorer is well-known for its 66 cabins – all decked with ocean views, some with balconies even. Its small size – it can only carry 132 passengers – make it perfect for those who wish to bask in the views of straits and channels that big commercial liners cannot get into.
2) National Geographic Explorer Endeavour
For an immersive and educational experience of Antarctica, hop on board the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship, a 148-passenger vessel courtesy of the Lindblad Company. Apart from enjoying an adventurous expedition headed by experienced leaders, this cruise ship gives you the spoils of life with its 81 ocean-view rooms. With the sumptuous Scandinavian and Pan-European offerings, dining at the NatGeo Explorer is just as magical as your looming Antarctic experience. And, during your downtime, you can always visit its humongous library, which is probably the biggest you can find in any cruise ship.
3) Ioffe and Vavilov
Although the Ioffe and Vavilov is a former Russian research vessel, it is a great choice for individuals who prefer small cruise ships. Like big cruise lines, Ioffe and Vavilov is complete with all the amenities you can expect to enjoy a luxurious trip. It also comes with observation decks and inflatable racks, for those who want to visit the places where the ship cannot access. Enjoy the views of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as South Georgia, Falkland Islands and South Shetland Islands, as long as the weather permits it.
4) Explorer II
Small vessels usually have to brave rolling waves, and if these make you queasy easily, then make sure to go aboard a bigger one, such as the Explorer II. Although it can carry a total of 300 passengers, it limits the headcount to 198 for everyone else’s pleasure. Apart from its complete amenities, something that sets it apart is its design. With its polished wood and brass designs, the Explorer II can make you feel right at home, as if you are vacationing in your country house.
5) Le Boreal
If you are coming from France or Canada, or if you can speak French fluently, then Le Boreal is your top choice. This French cruise ship is just like its people – sleek, modern, and sophisticated. It can carry up to 264 passengers, all of whom can enjoy fantastic views with its ocean view rooms.
Despite its cold and harsh environment, Antarctica boasts vistas and natural treasures that you will not want to miss in your lifetime. So if you have some money to spare for this truly adventurous trip, make sure to visit Antarctica at least once in your life!