Despite being one of the most remote parts of the planet, Antarctica is getting many tourists. In 2019, over 56,000 tourists saw the South Pole destination, typically via cruise ship.
Going on an expedition cruise to Antarctica is your chance to kill two birds with one stone. Sailing across the sea to sightsee and appreciate the place is always a good idea. Also, the itineraries aren't set in stone because of the weather, wildlife, sea, and ice conditions. If you're the type to wing things, it's the perfect trip for you!
If you're planning to visit Antarctica, here are some activities waiting for you there:
1. Camping on the Ice
What better way to enjoy nature than being immersed in it? Although it is not fit for everybody because of the sub-zero temperatures, camping in Antarctica will be an unforgettable experience. Some tours may offer tents, but it depends on the travelers if they prefer a waterproof sleeping bag with a thermal mat instead.
However, take note that while you're there, especially when camping, don't be too loud. Even though Antarctica is a wintry and cold desert-scape, it isn't as quiet as you'd think. You will hear glaciers cracking and splashing into the sea. Whales will blow air out, and penguins will squawk and slap.
Nevertheless, try to respect the place by keeping your volume down. Let the loudness of the site remain natural. Tell your kids on the way to do the same, so they don't disturb the wildlife.
2. Exploring Deception Island
Deception Island is an active volcano, where tourists can find the only thermal spa available in Antarctica. Remember though that, unlike other tourist spots, the rules in Antarctica are very strict, so you will need to have a guide. You can't go exploring your Antarctic destination without a guide. If you like this type of guided exploration, you will enjoy the trip.
Because Antarctica is not a country, no government or local population can watch over it. It means that its land, ice, and sea can be abused or misused by its visitors. Its vulnerability is one cause behind the strict rules and protection over the continent.
Also, don't walk on the vegetation if you find any. Examples of vegetation found in this wintry landscape are moss and lichens. They are the food source of sea birds, penguins, seals, whales, and fish.
3. Stopping by Trinity Church
Marvel at this tiny Russian Orthodox Church situated on King George Island. It is the Southernmost Eastern Orthodox Church on the Earth. Aside from it being the first outcrop after the Drake Passage, King George Island is home to many research facilities and sits in the northern part of Antarctica. It can be visited through Punta Arenas.
4. Going Scuba Diving
Drive to the clear waters and go see the corals, icebergs, and marine life underwater. You may even get to swim with some walruses, penguins, or seals while you're on your journey. You can't just jump the waters though, anyone who wants to scuba dive needs at least dry-suit training and an Open Water Certification with 20 dives logged in.
5. Kayaking With Whales
Take the peace of Antarctica's pristine white to a new level. Kayaking on the water with whales, orcas, and seals is an experience you shouldn't miss out on.
6. Watching the Wildlife
The wildlife in Antarctica is unique and highly specialized for the area. There, you will see seals, orcas, and many penguins. Do not forget to respect the wildlife when you go to see them.
However, there will be specific places where tourists can only go. You will also be reminded a lot to stay 15 feet away from the penguins and penguins highways. If you want good shots, bring a decent camera with long-distance lenses.
7. Visiting a Research Facility
Did you know that building a research base in Antarctica could cost as much as $100 million? Touring one of the dozens of scientific facilities scattered on Antarctica is an interesting experience. You will also get to see how their research is done. A famous station is the Vernadsky Research Base, where the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer was made.
8. Admiring Blood Falls
Mixing iron oxide and saltwater, the Blood Falls runs from Taylor Glacier to West Lake Bonney. Its reddish deposit was discovered in 1911 after being a near-century mystery. The crimson color spilling to pure white snow is a remarkable sight.
9. Voyaging With a Zodiac
Cruise ships can only fit through wide spaces. To be able to discover more of Antarctica's narrow places, ride on an inflatable boat that can navigate through icebergs and mountains.
10. Taking the Polar Plunge
The Antarctica Polar Plunge is a challenge you have to try. All you have to do is to jump off an inflatable zodiac boat and into the icy waters of the Antarctic. Alternatively, you could sprint along a pebbled beach until you're dunked on the freezing shore.
Many people see it as a "rite of passage" that all visitors must experience. For others, it is an once-in-a-lifetime and adrenaline-charged experience. Whether it is for the challenge or the memories, don't let it pass you by.
Antarctica's Waiting For You
Although there may be many things you will want to do on this ice-covered haven, keep in mind that you won't be able to. Know what you want to do the most and prioritize it on your list, follow the rules, and appreciate the wonders of nature with Antarctica.
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