Few people travel to Antarctica, so there are many surprises for those who dare! Here are the ten most unexpected things about visiting this white continent.
1. Clear skies abound.
Antarctica is cold–no question about that. However, this does not mean rain or snow most of the time. Antarctica has more clear days than cloudy ones in most regions. Antarctica is actually the driest continent on the globe! Clear skies are perfect for seeing the sunlight dance across the ice, or watching the Southern Lights at night.
2. No one has to sacrifice comfort.
While people associate Antarctica with ice and extreme conditions, there are tour companies that offer a comfortable and even luxurious experience. There is no need to sleep in an army tent nor to shiver at night.
3. There is immense diversity.
Many visitors to Antarctica expect to find penguins and not a lot else. In fact, there is a huge variety of flora and fauna on this continent, both on land and in the water.
4. Tourism is not bad for the continent.
Many people believe that tourism is bad for the fragile environment of Antarctica. However, all tourist expeditions to Antarctica must register and prove that they will have no impact on the ecosystem. This makes Antarctica one of the lowest impact vacation destinations available.
5. There is plenty to see.
While there is plenty of snow and ice, there is also a lot to see on this continent. From peaks rising out of the ocean to penguins frolicking on the ice, there are many new sights to be beheld–many of which will not be seen by anyone else you know. In addition, there is kayaking, skiing, and a range of winter sports.
Sunset in Atarctica
6. Bring the sunscreen.
Bring sunglasses as well, because Antarctica has higher UV levels than most other places on earth and there are not a lot of natural sources of shade.
7. The wildlife is not afraid of humans.
Many of the species of penguins, for example, have no natural predators on land and thus are not afraid at all. Penguins may waddle right up to human visitors, although they tend to ignore people most of the time.
8. You can swim!
Many days in Antarctica rise above freezing temperatures. While the water is incredibly cold, you can often get in it and even splash around a bit.
9. Antarctica is incredibly safe.
Many people think of Antarctica as a dangerous place to visit, when in actuality the opposite is true. With no permanent residents, the continent is filled mainly with carefully screened scientists and the occasional adventurer. Modern technology makes it easy to explore Antarctica in a safe manner while still experiencing all that the area has to offer.
Penguins in Antarctica
10. Adventure is a tradition.
Traveling to Antarctica is not a modern invention, but rather a tradition among global adventurers. Scientists and explorers have been taking cruises and other chartered trips to this southernmost continent since the 1920s. However, only a select handful of people actually choose to visit this rare and untouched paradise.
Traveling to Antarctica is a once in a lifetime opportunity. While it is different from many other vacation locales, these differences make an Antarctic vacation a unique and enthralling experience.