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Antarctica Travel Guide

For those south-bound explorers seeking expert insight into how to plan and enrich their expedition, or increase their knowledge of what wonders and wildlife lie in wait for them in Antarctica, our travel specialists have fastidiously penned their polar knowledge for your perusal below.

We do hope this considerable—and hopefully comprehensive—compendium of Antarctic travel guides inspires and informs you in equal measure, but should you have any outstanding questions or concerns at all, our agents are always on hand and eager to help.

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  • Geography

Antarctica's Glaciers: Thwaites ‘Doomsday', Beardmore & More

Antarctica is Earth’s greatest ice realm, with roughly 98 percent of the continent’s land area swamped in ice. Here’s where the cryosphere, the planet’s frozen realm, attains its maximum extent, harkening back […]
A NASA representation of what Antarctica would look like without ice
  • Geography

Antarctica Without Ice: Is There Land Under Antarctica?

Some 98 percent of Antarctica is cloaked in ice. Here lie the largest and thickest ice sheets on Earth, representing 90 percent of the planet’s ice volume binding up some 70 percent […]
The Onyx River flows through the Wright Valley, Antarctica
  • Geography

The Lakes & Rivers Of Antarctica: Lake Vostok, Onyx River & More

Water in its frozen forms—snow and, especially, ice—dominates Antarctica. This is the White Continent after all, with all but a tiny fraction of the land surface covered by ice. But what about […]
  • Geography

Antarctica Iceberg Guide: An A23a - Z

The Antarctic is the world’s greatest iceberg playground, bar none. After all, Antarctica lays claim to some 90 percent of all the ice on Earth, so it should come as no surprise […]
NASA satellite image of Don Juan Pond, Antarctica
  • Geography

Don Juan Pond, Antarctica: The Saltiest Body Of Water On Earth

Some of Antarctica’s most extraordinary sights lie within the series of barren, breathtaking glens within the Transantarctic Mountains known as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Among the very driest landscapes on Earth, these […]
Snow dunes
  • Geography

Sastrugi: The Windswept Snow Dunes Of Antarctica

Antarctica is a wonderland of snow and ice formations. This is, after all, where Earth’s cryosphere—its frozen realm—finds its greatest and grandest dominion. There are many beautiful, dramatic, even outright bizarre frigid […]
Vinson Massif, Antarctica
  • Geography

What Is Antarctica? A Desert, Country, Continent...?

Antarctica: most back-of-beyond, most mysterious, most otherworldly corner of the Earth (not counting, we suppose, the depths of the ocean). What is Antarctica, anyhow? You probably have at least a vague notion […]
A man stands in an icy realm
  • Geography

How Cold Is Antarctica & What Is The Coldest Place On Earth?

How cold does it get in Antarctica? Very cold. Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth, after all. That said, there’s a bit more climatic variation in the Antarctic that you might […]
Antarctica's King George Research Station
  • Geography

Do People Live In Antarctica? Population, Cities & Houses

Antarctica is the most remote continent on Earth and boasts its harshest climate. Although it’s a wonderful, even downright transformative place to visit as a summer tourist, it would seem a challenging […]
Timezones are tricky concepts in Antarctica
  • Geography

What Time Is It In Antarctica? Time Zones & Time Travel At The South Pole

What time is it in Antarctica? Does Antarctica have time zones in the first place? And—just to get 100% more “out there”—was a parallel universe where time runs in reverse discovered near […]
Antarctica's size changes seasonally due to sea ice.
  • Geography

How Big Is Antarctica? Size Comparison & Seasonal Changes

The short answer: very big—even bigger at certain times of the year—but bizzarely not quite as large as a lot of people imagine given the White Continent’s portrayal on many world maps. […]
The Bouvet Island Lifeboat
  • Trivia

Antarctica's Greatest Mysteries & Hidden Secrets Revealed

Antarctica’s remoteness and extremeness pretty much lend themselves to flights of imagination and conspiracy theories. After all, none of Planet Earth’s terra firma is left so barely explored as the White Continent’s. […]
Lora Koenig, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, blocks the sun for a better view of a spectacular sundog on Dec. 17, 2010
  • Geography

Top 10 Antarctica Phenomena That Must Be Seen To Be Believed

The astonishing polar realm of Antarctica seems to specialize in astonishing sights. Traveling here feels like entering another world entirely, and all the more so when you luck out with glimpses of […]
Images of the ningen, an Antarctic creature of Japanese Folklore
  • Trivia

The Truth About Antarctica: Common Myths & Legends Debunked

Given how vast, unpopulated, and (even today) little-known Antarctica is, it’s not really surprising that the White Continent boasts its own veil of myth, legend, and superstition—not to mention plenty of more […]
Algae on ice at Pleneau Island, Antarctica
  • Geography

Why Is The Snow Antarctica Turning Green, Red & Pink? Algae!

What color is snow? White, of course—next question! But hold on: Not all snow is that classic white hue, and we’re not just talking about those dirty, sooty, rather dreary snowbanks that […]
Pyramids in Antarctica
  • Geography

Were Pyramids Really Discovered in Antarctica?

Depending on the sorts of sites you frequent on the Internet, you may have caught wind of a rather head-spinning idea: the possible existence of manmade pyramids in ice-locked, almost wholly uninhabited […]
Antarctica's Blood Falls oozes its crimson waters
  • Geography

Antarctica Blood Falls' Red Water Explained

There are many striking, even head-spinning sights in Antarctica: from fantastically shaped icebergs and towering ice cliffs to 10,000-foot-plus black peaks rising out of frozen nothingness. Few are quite so arresting, however, […]
Mawsons Hut In Antarctica
  • History

Scott's, Shackleton's & Mawson's Huts In Antarctica & Their Amazing Contents

Of all the relatively few (compared to other continents) human structures found in Antarctica, including the research stations and bases that thrum along with scientific activity, none quite so captivate the imagination […]
Port Lockroy Panorama
  • History

Top 9 Historical Places & Monuments In Antarctica To Visit

Antarctica may not boast millennia of human occupation or indigenous culture like some parts of the world, but it certainly boasts some heraldic and fascinating history. While dazzling and primal natural scenery […]
The Dome Base at the Amudsen-Scott South Pole Station
  • Trivia

Research Stations In Antarctica: Top 8 Antarctic Bases

Although it’s the only continent on Earth without a native or permanent human population, Antarctica does indeed host people—a relative handful, mind you—all year round at Antarctic bases. Its many wide-scattered research […]
Little America IV camp at the Bay of Whales in Antarctica, 1946–1947
  • History

Little America In Antarctica, Admiral Richard E. Byrd & Operation Highjump

Little America ranks among the defining placenames in the grand log of Antarctic exploration. It’s a moniker that was applied to a series of research bases established on the Ross Ice Shelf […]
The Antarctic Snow Cruiser as it appeared on August 16, 1940, immediately after emerging from its winter berth (seen at left), in Antarctica, near the Bay of Whales.
  • History

The Antarctic Snow Cruiser & Other Lost Antarctic Vehicles

The White Continent isn’t easy on vehicles. That’s probably pretty obvious: We’re talking an astonishingly remote polar landmass at the bottom of the world, hundreds of miles from the nearest continent, almost […]
  • History

Antarctica's Bay of Whales & Its Place In History

First explored in 1842 by Sir James Clark Ross, the Bay of Whales represents—or represented, depending on whether or not you think it still exists—one of the great geographic and historical landmarks […]
Statue on the rocky island
  • History

Shackleton Endurance Expedition & Voyage Of The James Caird

Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition did not achieve close to what it set out to accomplish. Yet it stands firmly as one of the greatest survival and seafaring stories in history, […]
Ice berg in the South Pole
  • History
  • Trivia

Amundsen & Scott: The Race To The South Pole & Its Discovery

Along with Ernest Shackleton’s nearly unbelievable Endurance voyage, the Amundsen and Scott race to the South Pole is the most iconic story in the annals of Antarctic exploration. Indeed, it’s one of […]
Large ice berg and rocky island
  • History

Antarctica's 10 Most Famous Shipwrecks

From the notoriously tempestuous seas of the Drake Passage to the roving icebergs, shifting pack ice, stormy conditions, and sheer remoteness of the Southern Ocean, Antarctic waters have been a treacherous realm […]
Closeup of an elephant seal
  • History
  • Wildlife

A History of Fur & Elephant Seal Hunting In Antarctica

From penguin-gobbling leopard seals and bellowing “beachmaster” elephant-seal bulls, to the fuzzy pups of Ross, Weddell, and crabeater seals, the pinnipeds of the Antarctic rank among the region’s most charismatic wildlife. Whatever […]
Mother and baby whale underwater
  • History
  • Wildlife

Antarctica's Whaling History & Abandoned Whaling Stations

The chance to see great whales such as blues, fins, sperm whales, and humpbacks—not to mention the smaller minke whale, orcas, and dolphins—is a major draw for travelers to Antarctica. However, it […]
Antarctica meteorites view from the air
  • Trivia
  • History

The Antarctic Treaty System, Its Signatories & Significance

There’s no other place in the world quite like Antarctica—and not just from an ecological or geophysical standpoint. This enormous continent is under the purview of no single country or government, and […]
Cruise ship in the background, penguin in the front
  • Trivia
  • History

Antarctica Tourism, The Role Of IAATO & Responsible Travel

Antarctica stands icy and glistening at the bottom of the planet as a truly special travel destination—and an increasingly popular one. As farflung as the Earth’s landmasses come, it remains a place […]
Deception Island Bay view
  • Trivia
  • History
  • Geography

How Antarctica, Its Islands & Places Got Their Names

Most corners of the globe boast indigenous names for landmarks, or many, many centuries of names imposed by colonizing and occupying cultures. Antarctica, which lacks a native human population, has no such […]
Antarctica image from cosmos
  • Geography
  • Trivia

Who Owns Antarctica? Antarctic Territories & Country Claims

Who owns Antarctica? Well, nobody, technically. This fifth-biggest continent is managed through the system of international cooperation established in 1959 by the innovative Antarctic Treaty. This system reserves Antarctica—a condominium over which […]
Rainbow in the Southern Ocean
  • Trivia

The 10 Antarctic Churches & Religions Of Antarctica

Those who’ve visited Antarctica can attest to the power of this wildest and least-trammeled of continents in evoking deep-rooted awe: a sense of the sublime that can manifest as an almost religious […]
Very large group of penguins on the ice
  • Tips

How To Find The Best Antarctica Travel Insurance For You

Travel insurance is not just important when visiting Antarctica due to its extreme isolation, conditions, and the considerable costs associated, but some levels of coverage—especially with regards emergency evacuation, repatriation, and medical […]
Flag with sky in the background
  • Trivia
  • History

The Flags Of Antarctica: True South, Territory & Treaty

A visitor to Antarctica may see any number of flags whipping about in that fierce polar wind, depending on where they travel. The seemingly stale subject of flags—unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool vexillophile, […]
Snow covered landscape
  • Wildlife
  • History

The Prehistory & Fossils Of Antarctica

Antarctica’s fossil record speaks to vanished ages when the White Continent supported much greater diversity of terrestrial life—and a climate radically different from today’s ice-cap frigidity. From fossilized leaves to the petrified […]
Moss with morning dew
  • Wildlife

Antarctic Plants: Pearlwort, Hair Grass & Palm Trees?

While you could be forgiven for thinking of the White Continent as nothing but a barren, ice-locked wilderness, there is in fact plantlife down here: albeit plantlife of quite low diversity and […]
Group of penguin chicks on white
  • Wildlife

The 7 Penguin Species Of Antarctica & The Sub-Antarctic

There’s simply no more iconic Antarctic animal than the penguin. Indeed, this flightless seabird could be said to share laurels with the polar bear as the most widely recognized flag bearers of […]
Skua preparing for attack
  • Wildlife

Antarctic Birds: A Guide To Bird Watching In Antarctica

Birds are among the most visible and widely distributed animal life enlivening a typical Antarctic getaway. From the albatrosses and petrels of the Drake Passage to the emperor penguins of the Ross […]
Young Leopard Seal - underwater photo
  • Wildlife

Antarctic Pinnipeds: The 6 Seal Species Of Antarctica

Among the stars of the Antarctic wildlife show are those whiskered, flippered, dewy-eyed seals that draw oohs and aahs from the rookery beaches of South Georgia to the ice floes of the […]
Small see-through krill underwater
  • Wildlife

Antarctic Fish & Crustaceans: Toothfish, Icefish, Krill & Other Species

Those cruising to Antarctica, whether from South America across the Drake Passage or from Australian or New Zealand ports, get to experience one of the planet’s most unique, pristine, and productive marine […]
Elephant seal
  • Tips

Do You Need A Passport, Visa Or Permit To Go To Antarctica?

Traveling to the bottom of the world may seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward, despite Antarctica’s extreme remoteness. The chance to see the last great terrestrial wilderness on Earth—not just pristine […]
Mother and a young whale under the water
  • Wildlife

Antarctica's Whales & Dolphins: 12 Cetaceans You May See

Antarctica is one of the finest destinations in the world for whale-watching. The immensely productive waters of the Southern Ocean, famous for their huge population of krill, draw both baleen and toothed […]
Cityscape of Falklands
  • Trivia

Languages of Antarctica

Unique among the globe’s continents, Antarctica lacks an indigenous human population. The White Continent proper wasn’t even definitively visited by people until the 19th century. It goes without saying, then, that there’s […]
Aerial view of a small settlement in Antarctica
  • Trivia

Antarctica Culture, Traditions & Celebrations

When it comes to its human heritage, Antarctica is young, very young—a fresh-faced infant, essentially. People didn’t clap eyes on the White Continent until the first half of the 1800s, and didn’t […]
Young penguin chicks with Christmas decorations
  • Trivia

Christmas & New Year In Antarctica

Why not do something truly special for Christmas or New Year’s this time around, and spend it at the bottom of the world? These holidays fall right in the middle of prime […]
Penguin looking down on the ground
  • Tips

Do You Need Your Appendix Or Wisdom Teeth Out To Go To Antarctica?

There’s no place on Earth—well, no place on its terra firma, anyhow—so remote as Antarctica. Being so far from anywhere, and almost wholly undeveloped, a medical emergency down here can be decidedly […]
Southern Ocean Islands
  • Geography

The Southern Ocean & Seas Of Antarctica

The Southern Ocean, sometimes called the Antarctic Ocean, is that great marine realm encircling Antarctica. Captain James Cook was the first to name it: In February 1775, musing about an as-yet unconfirmed […]
  • Tips

How Much Does It Cost To Go To Antarctica?

Can you put a price on a trip to Antarctica, one of the most profound and authentic experiential adventures you’ll have in your entire life? It turns out “Yes”. While many consider […]
Cruise ship in Antarctica
  • Tips

Modes Of Travel & Transportation In Antarctica

Given we’re talking about the coldest, driest, windiest, and most remote continent in the world, getting around Antarctica is a different proposition than just about anyplace else. As more and more tourists […]
Ships bow bell
  • Tips

A Day In Antarctica: What to Expect On An Antarctic Cruise

Voyages to polar seas are different from other sorts of travel, and even seasoned ‘cruisers’ are likely to have some misconceptions about what life aboard an Antarctica cruise is like, as expedition […]
Lady posing for photo in Antarctica
  • Tips

Antarctica Cruise Packing List: What (& What Not) To Bring

Expeditions to extreme climates and remote destinations require careful planning, none more so than Antarctica, and knowing what to pack for a trip to the End of the World is an essential […]
Penguin Colony walking in one file
  • Wildlife

The Antarctic Ecosystem: Food Web & Food Chains

Cruise-goers to Antarctica experience some of the most astonishing and pristine land- and seascapes in the world—and some of the most incredible wildlife spectacles anywhere! That superlative physical environment and its inhabitant […]
Elephant seal
  • Wildlife

Antarctica Animals & Wildlife: List & Visitor's Guide

Antarctica might seem to present a highly forbidding habitat for animals—and, indeed, it does, when it comes to the landmass of the frozen continent itself. Yet the ocean that surrounds it is […]
Guides startion in Antarctica
  • Tips

Antarctica Money: Currency, Banks & ATMs?

Antarctica is not a country; no nation controls this great white wilderness. As such, that means there’s no official currency of Antarctica. So how does commerce go down on board White Continent-bound […]
Polar Bear on ice aerial view
  • Wildlife

Do Polar Bears Live In Antarctica?

Do polar bears live in Antarctica? No! That settles that matter, right? Well, actually, the absence of polar bears from the southern polar realm offers an interesting exploration of biogeography and the […]
Snow covered volcano top with smoke coming out of the crater
  • Geography

The Volcanoes Of Antarctica: Active & Abundant

Icebergs, penguins, the blank white void of the South Pole, sure, but volcanoes likely aren’t the first thing to come to mind for your average person when it comes to Antarctica. Yet […]
Leopard seal and penguins in the background
  • Wildlife

Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals In Antarctica

Let’s be clear: The odds of being attacked by an animal on a typical tourist visit to Antarctica are vanishingly small, unless perhaps you count defensive dive-bombs from a seabird whose nest […]
Underwater ice and an island in the back
  • Trivia
  • Geography
  • Wildlife

9 Strange Scientific Discoveries In Antarctica Under The Ice

By the standards of the modern world, Antarctica is as untouched as a landmass gets, and also as extreme, representing the globe’s grandest ice-cap realm. It’s also rather enormous—the fifth-biggest continent—and boasts […]
  • History

Famous Antarctic Explorers: From Shackleton To A Robot?

The last continent to be discovered, Antarctica has, without question, seen some of the most famous and remarkable exploits of modern exploration of anyplace on Earth. Here, science and adventure continue to […]
  • Trivia

Threats To Antarctica: Climate Change, Fishing & Tourism

The gigantic, staggeringly remote, essentially uninhabited, almost entirely ice-bound continent of Antarctica might seem as secure as a landmass can be on Planet Earth. Yet even the bottom of the world is […]
Zodiak in the heavy snow fall
  • Geography

Antarctica Weather: Climate, Seasons, Winds & Temperatures

Antarctica’s cold—everybody knows that. But the ins-and-outs of Antarctica’s climate are fascinating to parse out, given just how extreme it is. Indeed, getting even a little taste for the polar weather—albeit, for […]
Sea swell in the morning sun
  • Tips

How Dangerous Is The Drake Passage? Should I Fly Or Cruise?

The most popular way to see Antarctica involves embarking from Ushuaia, Argentina for the magnificent, wildlife-thronged Antarctic Peninsula. And there’s no more notorious part of this once-in-a-lifetime sail than the Drake Passage. […]
Ice shelf of the Ross Sea
  • Tips

Is Antarctica Safe? Dangers To Travelers & How To Avoid Them

On the surface of things, Antarctica is a pretty forbidding place: the coldest of the continents by far, and also the windiest and driest, and almost—for the average person, anyway—incomprehensibly remote. Vast […]
  • Tips

Antarctica: The Best White Wedding Or Honeymoon Destination?

Antarctica may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a wedding or a honeymoon, but the White Continent actually offers a superb destination for lovebirds: an utterly unique […]
Kids playing in Antarctica
  • Tips

Children In Antarctica: Should I Go To Antarctica With Kids?

Is the White Continent suitable for kids? Absolutely! Family getaways to Antarctica can be among the most magical and defining of all your shared travel experiences, without question. But this most remote […]
  • Tips

Antarctica Food: What To Eat On The White Continent

Sure, food isn’t necessarily top-of-mind when envisioning your Antarctica getaway, given the once-in-a-lifetime scenery and wildlife you’re anticipating. And maybe if you do spare a thought as to your diet on an […]
Seals swimming with the Vinson Massif in the background
  • Tips

Top 10 Antarctica Landmarks, Wonders & Attractions To See

From the cliffs, icebergs, and ice-shelf ramparts of the coast to the unbelievably wild depths of its Polar Plateau, Antarctica presents one of the most utterly extraordinary landscapes on Earth with natural […]
  • Tips

Antarctica Hotels: The 10 Best Places To Stay In Antarctica

There’s more than one way to see (and do) the White Continent. Upscale sightseeing, in-depth ecotourism, hardcore outdoor adventure, and combinations thereof, offered across a wide range of itineraries and modes of […]
Researches walking in Antarctica
  • Tips

Antarctica Activities: Top 15 Things To Do In Antarctica

The White Continent is definitely bucket-list territory for many travelers. The opportunity to see firsthand the most pristine and remote continent in the world—and all of the associated polar wildlife and scenery—is […]
Amundsen's expedition team stand at the South Pole in December 1911
  • History

History of Antarctica Exploration & Expedition Timeline

No continent is more remote or lesser-known than Antarctica. And unlike the others, the White Continent lacks a native human population, and was genuinely discovered—without the sketchy colonial undertones of that overused […]
Sketch drawn of the first landing on Antarctica by the Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink (c.1895)
  • History

Who Discovered Antarctica & When? First Sightings & Landings

For many centuries, cartographers and geographers speculated about the existence of a huge continent in the far south of the Southern Hemisphere: a Terra Australis Incognita, which was presumed to essentially balance […]
An island covered in snow
  • Tips

Can You Go To Antarctica? Yes! Here's How To Visit

The fact that Antarctica is so remote and so pristine leads many people to assume this greatest terrestrial wilderness left on Earth is off-limits to tourism. So, can you travel to Antarctica? […]
  • Tips

Optional Adventure Activities On Antarctica Cruises

Simply stepping foot on the ‘Seventh Continent’, Antarctica, and indeed the epic odyssey getting to this fabled icy realm is often ample enough adventure for most visitors. But for those intrepid few […]
Aerial view of a cruise ship
  • Tips

Antarctica Cruise Ships: Which Expedition Vessel Is Best?

There are now over 70 Antarctica cruise ships sailing across the Southern Ocean to the wondrous White Continent, a number that has been steadily increasing each year due to the gaining popularity […]
  • Geography

The Most Inhospitable Travel Destinations That People Are Still Keen To Visit

Antarctica, a location that attracts travelers from all around the world to its freezing temperatures, limited amenities and rough terrain. But despite these conditions, people are very, very keen to visit the […]
Sunset in Antarctica seen from the cruise ship
  • Tips

Antarctica Cruise Routes: Which Itinerary is Best For You?

It wasn’t long ago that visiting Antarctica was one of the most demanding and restricted destinations in the world: a place hard to reach and hard to survive upon arrival, with limited […]
Penguin hopping out of the water
  • Tips

Why Visit Antarctica? Top 10 Reasons To Go

For many, the call of Antarctica—the White Continent—is strong, clear, and irresistible. Perhaps, though, you’re not entirely sure if this remotest of Earth’s landmasses is worth the effort to visit. Well, we’re […]
Icebergs reflecting in the water
  • Tips
  • Wildlife

Best Time To Visit Antarctica: Wildlife & Weather By Month

For a good chunk of the year—the roughly six months of the austral winter—Antarctica is utterly frigid, storm-wracked, and dark. Some hardy scientists tough out this most unforgiving global manifestation of wintertime, […]
Cruise ship in the bay near South Pole
  • Tips
  • Geography

8 Best Places To Visit In Antarctica

Given the White Continent accounts for some 5.5 million square miles—not counting the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands many consider equal draws—it’s not necessarily an easy matter neatly defining the top places to […]
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