With the green travel practice of ecotourism rapidly gaining ground, few destinations offer as much to the environmentally conscious explorer as Antarctica. Home of the world’s South Pole and all but completely uninhabited by man, the southern continent remains the world’s centre of adventure and an increasingly popular target for those with a slightly different approach to global travel.
But as appealing as an Antarctic holiday may seem, accessing the southern continent tends to be an expensive and highly uncomfortable endeavour. While flights to regions of the Arctic remain fairly affordable, access to Antarctica is limited to that provided by a group of military airplanes and tour ship operators. Prices for basic shared tour boat packages begin at approximately $3,995.
Alongside the expense, however, is a holiday opportunity that’s as unique as they come. The typical tour will bring visitors up to the Antarctic Peninsula shoreline, with small groups departing for days on the ice and, weather permitting, a chance to camp alongside the continent’s penguin colonies. On the higher end of the price scale, skiing and trekking missions to the South Pole are also available.
The majority of cruise ships depart from Chile’s southern tip – Cape Horn – and travel through the rough and unrelenting Drake Passage. Visitors have reported severe seasickness and other illnesses due to the rough travel conditions, although a number of travel operators offer ‘luxury’ packages for those willing to spend slightly more money. If you’re seasick, it’s no doubt a worthwhile purchase.
For those intrepid enough to seek out the earth’s southern continent, it’s unlikely that you’ll return home disappointed. With an estimated 25,000 visitors throughout the year, Antarctica remains one of the world’s most remote and unique travel spots. Take the camera, the clothes, and always keep your adventurous attitude at the ready.