Tourism in Antarctica
Why take a trip to Antarctica? Antarctica has been the goal of explorers in recent times. I find that amazing, that the South Pole was only reached in my grandfather's lifetime! That the region of the coast where I did my first winter (the Windmill Islands) was not seen until my father life time! I was in the first 1000 people to see the night sky at the South Pole! It is still one of the most difficult places on the face of the planet to travel to. It remains the destination for extreme adventurers pushing the limits of human endurance. And yet it is in the reach of all of us if we work hard and save for an extra special trip.
There are a wide range of options for tourists wanting to go to Antarctica. There are 3 things that will shape your trip to Antarctica.
1. Your preferred method of transport to Antarctica.
2. What you want to do in Antarctica.
3. How much you want to spend.
An important consideration is that you want to make sure that your visit to Antarctica has no negative impacts on the environment. In recent years most operators have emphasized their concern for the environment. However, how can you be sure. Maybe checking that the operator is a member in good standing with the IAATO is a starting point.
I'll write follow on blog entries about 3 types of Antarctic adventures you can undertake.
1. Sea Travel and Cruise Ships Most people travel to Antarctica by sea. Cruise ships offer the most affordable way of reaching Antarctica and stepping foot on the frozen land. There is a wide variety of ways of getting to Antarctica by sea ranging from large cruise ships to small sail boats.
2. Air Travel and Over Flights A very economical way of seeing Antarctic is with an Antarctic over flight. The commitment is not much more than a normal international commercial flight. While you do not get to step foot on Antarctica you get amazing views first hand. If you want to go to the South Pole, or other inland locations, then you will also have to take a flight. But this requires a different level of commitment both physical and financial.
3. Extreme Adventures Antarctica still challenges extreme adventurers with the ultimate in human endurance trips. The range of extreme Antarctic adventures is only limited by your imaginations. I've met some of the most physically and mentally strong people in the world at the South Pole, and people who have flown a small single engined helicopter, flown hot air balloons, or driven a heavily customized mini van there. These people are unbelievably inspirational, and we should all be glad that they exist to remind us what is possible.
Photo credits: Darryn Schneider.