KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAntarctica is a picturesque and exotic destination that few travelers have the opportunity to visit; however, one-of-a-kind wildlife and incomparable scenery make this destination a favorite for those seeking an extraordinary adventure. Cheap tours to Antarctica can be difficult to find, so planning ahead and researching options are important factors when planning a trip.

Getting There

The most popular way to visit Antarctica is via cruise ship. Visitors will need to fly to one of several departure points which include Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Chile; or the Falkland Islands’ Port Stanley. When choosing a ship, it’s important to remember that the number of daily visitors to Antarctica are limited, so the smaller the ship size, the more time allotted for off-shore excursions. Direct tourist flights to base camp are available from cities in Australia, South Africa and Chile; however, air travel can be unpredictable as weather conditions can make it difficult to travel to and from Antarctica.

When to Visit

The best time to visit Antarctica is dependent on each traveler’s individual interests. Visitors wishing to see the wildlife should visit between late November and March. November is the best time for bird watching, and penguins are out in full force; seal pups and penguin chicks are born between December and January, and these months are popular for visitors wishing to see the arrival of new life in this frozen land. Not long after the baby animals arrive, whale sightings peak between February and March. Alternatively, visitors who are more interested in the fauna and ice formations should visit during the spring when wildflowers are in bloom and the warming temperatures form sculptural elements in the abundant ice.

South Georgia

A long and slender island in Antarctica, South Georgia boasts two scenic mountain ranges for visitors along with a dense population of wildlife. Visitors will find king penguins, macaroni penguins and seals inhabiting this island which is 75% covered by glaciers, ice and snow. St. Andrews Bay and surrounding beaches are home to the albatross. Another point of interest is the South Georgia Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the land and its wildlife.

Antarctic Peninsula

Many of the most visited points can be found on the Antarctic Peninsula including the scenic Lemaire Channel, a slim ocean passageway between the Peninsula and Booth Island surrounded by steep and stunning cliffs. The British Survey Base Port Lockroy which was once used as a whaling station is now home to an educational museum and is a designated historic site. Also found on the peninsula is Esperanza Base, a fascinating permanent settlement in this frozen environment.

Antarctica is one of the most isolated travel destinations in the world, and travelers to this picturesque land of snow and ice are rewarded with an unforgettable journey. Whether visiting for the wildlife, the history or simply for bragging rights, this unique destination has a lot to offer.