Journey to the ends of the world: What is interesting about Antarctica and is it possible to get there a tourist
Some 30 years ago, a trip to Antarctica seemed unrealistic. Only scientists and staff of scientific stations could go there, and the selection was such that the chances of visiting the icy continent was almost zero.
But times have changed and now tourists can travel almost anywhere. But, as usual, there are nuances.
Can everyone want to visit Antarctica?
Yes! However, Antarctica today is a region with strictly controlled tourism. This means that you can get here only with the help of travel agencies with a special license. First of all it is connected with high enough risk of such trips.
Currently, all tourist routes are controlled by the organization IAATO. It ensures that every person on the mainland will be under the constant supervision of a guide and return home in one piece. The company also makes sure that tourists do not litter Antarctica or harm themselves or others during the trip.
How to get to Antarctica?
Today there are only two ways to get to the white continent: by cruise ship and by plane. These are completely different types of tourism, with their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Journey on a cruise liner
The most budget-friendly option, suitable for those who just want to see Antarctica without too much extreme. The liner passes along the coast of the mainland, with views of the glaciers.
Such a trip lasts from a week to a month and costs from $7,000. During the tour you can scuba dive in the icy water, appreciate the beauty of the continent, admire penguins and whales, see several nearby islands and take beautiful pictures against the icy continent.
Advantages: you will travel in comfortable conditions with all the comforts, you will not have to sleep in tents and try freeze-dried food, you will not encounter mountain sickness.
Disadvantages: you will only see the continent from afar, so you will never actually visit Antarctica.
- Travelling by Airplane
This tour is suitable only for experienced and prepared tourists, because it involves a complete immersion in the atmosphere of the continent. Such pleasure will cost no less than $ 40,000, and if you add another visit to the South Pole, you will need to pay from $ 130,000.
Such a cost is justified, because the trip includes a very heavy and long flight on a special plane, you must always be with a team of professionals, you settle in a prepared tent with heating, given transportation, skis and all necessary equipment, near medics and rescue workers, without whom it is possible to die. And add to all this a high risk of meeting with wild animals and frequent snowstorms. Therefore, the guides that will accompany you also risk their lives, for which they are well paid.
Advantages: you will see the continent in all its beauty, have an incredible experience and emotions that you will not find anywhere else.
Disadvantages: the high cost of the tour, being tied to guides and camp, difficult conditions on the mainland.
What to see in Antarctica?
Tourists usually do not know that Antarctica has anything other than glaciers and the South Pole. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to them when they see the following incredible locations.
- Drake Strait
Almost all Antarctica tours by cruise ships pass through this strait. It is the shortest route to the continent.
The passage through the strait lasts a full two days. All this time there is stormy weather with high waves and strong winds. This scares the tourists, but not the ship's crew, who are used to such "vagaries" of the Drake. It is truly dangerous here only at the end of March. At this time, tour operators do not organize trips, as they can turn into flooding of the entire liner.
Interestingly, the strait combines cold and warm currents of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This creates good conditions for a large number of fish and marine mammals. In particular, you can see whales, dolphins, penguins. And you will be constantly flying above you different birds, which almost anywhere else can not be seen.
- Deception Island
The most famous of the Shetland Islands was once famous for giant whaling. But fortunately, the catching of these marine mammals is now strictly controlled by world legislation, so the place now attracts only scientists and tourists.
Deception, when viewed from above, resembles a horseshoe. It is this shape that made it a good shelter from storms and hurricanes. That's probably why penguins liked it so much. It is also one of the few places on the mainland where there are geothermal springs. You can even swim in them, and afterwards walk barefoot on the warm volcanic sand, which has a rich black color.
- Port Lacroix
Perhaps the most famous place among tourists. After World War II, the British military base was located here, and in 1962 it was turned into the Antarctic Museum. There are exhibitions devoted to the exploration of the continent and famous expeditions.
And it is on Lacroix that the only souvenir shop on the mainland operates, where, in addition to magnets, cups and other standard trinkets, there are pieces of meteorites and fossilized plants and insects.
Tourists can also find the world's southernmost post office in the port. It was first set up for expedition members who spent months to years in Antarctica. It was the only way to contact family. Now this function is performed by satellite communication, and the office has become a kind of attraction. However, about 70,000 letters are sent from here every year.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL told about the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
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