The stunning images of white ice and the wild ocean that most people see is not the exact representation of Antarctica as it has various other aspects. The various tourism companies have organised a body called the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators for managing trips to this continent. They obtain a permit before conducting a trip to Antarctica and also take special measures to ensure safety and environmental responsibility for the travellers. The number of tourists in this frozen continent is on the rise with close to 50,000 travellers in a year at present. So if you are planning a trip to this majestic location, here are some of the best options you can choose from.
The Western Peninsula Voyage
This classic trip starts from Ushuaia, in Argentina and is one of the best choices for a first time visitor. The route then follows a route across the Drake Passage and passes through the King George Island, Half Moon Island and the Deception Island. The ship finally moves into the Antarctic Peninsula and the fascinating beauty of the region unfolds. There is also plenty of wildlife that can be seen around and these includes the penguins, seals and Antarctic birds.
Beyond The Antarctic Peninsula
Most people do not head beyond the peninsula but during summer, the ice melts and some intrepid travellers take this route. This opens of views to breath-taking ice formations and explorer’s huts from the past. If the weather permits, you can also cross the Antarctic Circle and enjoy a sessions of shore excursions, overnight camping and sea kayaking.
Antarctica With South Georgia And The Falklands
The trip takes you to the isolated Falkland Islands that presents a rugged beauty. The next stop is the extraordinary island of South Georgia which is considered as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the planet. You can observe millions of seals and birds during the breeding season on this island. From this island, the trip follows the classical route and heads to the Antarctic Peninsula to offer some of the grand views of the continent.
Across The Ross Sea
Crossing the Ross Sea from New Zealand or Australia is one of the most adventurous ways of visiting the Antarctic. The route passes through multiple scenic islands like the Snares Islands, Macquarie Island, Campbell Island and finally the Auckland Islands. This is the route that has been made famous by legendary explorers like Scott and Shackleton and their huts can still be viewed in Ross Island. The weather is a major factor in this long trip but it provides stunning views of Antarctica like no other trip.
The Weddell Sea & Eastern Peninsula
This trip starts from Ushuaia and takes you across the Antarctic Peninsula to the Weddell Sea. Dramatic icy landscapes and vast colonies of Emperor penguins make the views around the region stunning. Apart from the sea birds and whales, you can also watch the Adelie penguins in Paulet Island. Activities like kayaking and land expeditions can also be a part of this journey.
Flying To The South Pole
Two adventure companies have permanent camps in the Antarctic from where one can take another flight to the South Pole, making this is a great choice for travellers who are short of time. One of the camps is located near the 4,892 meter high Mount Vinson. The other activities offered are cross-country skiing, hiking, climbing and photography. The second camp is located in Queen Maud Land and from there you can visit the Amundsen-Scott research station in the South Pole. You can start your journey from Punta Arenas, Chile or from Cape Town for these two camps respectively.
These are some of the best options for visiting this fascinating continent for a lifetime experience.