Antarctica is without question one of the most spectacular places on earth and one of the most interesting things about it is that it is the most accessible inaccessible place on earth. I am sure you may have learnt about it at school and even at some point you probably did an Antarctica school project. The reality of visiting this remote place probably never even occurred to you, but it is possible and here is my tips for getting the most out of your next trip to Antarctica.
No country can lay claim to the continent and its surrounding islands and therefore you don’t need a visa to visit at all and it is free for anyone to go. Getting there is usually from the stunning resort town of Ushuaia in Argentina and you will no doubt take a cruise ship from here.
Go at the right time
This is always the hotly contested question for any good destination, but to be honest the best time to visit Antarctica is quite clear. The tourist season runs from November to March and after this time visiting the continent would not only be unpleasant, but nearly impossible. This is because of the lack of sun and extremely cold weather, and therefore tours do not run at all during this time. For those looking to go whale watching, February and March are the best times to go. If you are more into penguins and birds you can go after the mating season during December and January. Of course if you want the best of both world you should naturally go at the end of January and stay until early February.
Getting prepared for the weather is extremely important and is going to make your holiday not only possible but also much more pleasant. Remember how we talked about the weather above and how extreme the difference can be in summer months? You simply cannot just hope to have a good trip without good gear, because even the temperatures during the summer can be as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius. If you don’t own weatherproof clothing you should definitely invest in some, or ask your tour operator whether things like rubber boots and waterproof clothing are included in the cost of the tour.
For your typical holiday you only really think of basic travel insurance in case something happens. When you visit Antarctica and something goes wrong it can be very costly (tens of thousands of dollars) to get somebody evacuated to the closest hospital. Therefore it is important to ask your tour group if insurance for medical and evacuation expenses is included in the price of the tour. If it isn’t you may need to take it out yourself, but without doubt it is easiest to get a good tour group that includes this in the price.