Antarctica is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places to visit and definingly a bucket-list worthy vacation destination. There are so many amazing things to do that picking what you should really do could be a challenge, the list below is to give you an idea of amazing things to do that people who have visited frequently suggest, and a couple reasons to give them a try!
Camping in Antarctica:
Antarctica is a beautiful place that nearly 30,000 people visit each year. Of those, only about 20,000 people set foot on the continent, and of those, only a few dare CAMP on it. Camping in Antarctica is no easy or comfortable task, but the few who have done it say it is an experience like no other.
Camping in Antarctica is a great way to become one with nature, see the stars in the most open and darkest climate possible, get amazing photos, and have the experience of a lifetime. It is typically a short trip being that you cannot bring food or drink other than water. Most excursions drop you off around 8pm and pick you up around 5am.
Things you need for your camping trip:
- Bivy Sack
- A Bivy Sack (formally known as a Bivouac Sack) is a lightweight, windproof, waterproof sleeping sack that is used for extreme conditions such as this.
- Foam pad
- You need this to set between your Bivy Sack and the snow to create a warmer layer.
- Waterproof clothing, pants, jacket, and boots especially
- Thermal socks and underwear
- Camera equipment
- Waist bucket
Things you CANNOT bring:
- Drink other than water
Things you CANNOT do:
- Go to the bathroom – please use the bathroom on the ship before disembarking to explore.
Swim at Deception Bay:
Deception Bay is an abandoned whaling station littered with old buildings, shells of boats, and old whaling equipment making it a historical area while also being a great place to take a “Polar Plunge” as it has the warmest water on the continent. The reason for this being that it is located at the caldera of an active volcano. It also has natural hot springs that you can enjoy, being in a bathing suit surrounded by glaciers is an experience that many cannot say they have enjoyed.
Deception bay is also the home of the largest chinstrap penguin colony. The chinstrap penguins there are extremely curious and it is an amazing opportunity for a close up penguin photo-op.
Investigate Antarctic Waters Up-Close and Personal in a Zodiac Boat:
Zodiac boats are a fantastic way to travel around Antarctica off the ship and gives you an opportunity to get up close and personal in a way that staying on the ship can’t give you. A Zodiac is a very stable, inflatable boat that can carry 16 passengers at a time. The boat is so stable because it has a low center of gravity that allows it to navigate in many different conditions safely. These boats are perfect for traveling around Antarctic waters because of this and allow you to take spontaneous trips off of the main boat when you see anything interesting in the water. Manned by an experienced driver, you can just sit back and relax while experiencing Antarctica in a very up-close and personal way!
Vernadsky Research Station
Science AND vodka?! Count us in.
The Vernadsky Research Station is one of 75 active research stations on the continent located on the Galindez Island. When you visit, you can get a tour from one of the scientists that live there. The scientists there will tell you about the important work that they are doing such as studying ecology, glaciology, biology, meteorology, physics, and seismology. This station is even the station that discovered the hole in the ozone layer!
After this, you can visit the Faraday Bar, the southernmost bar in the world! At this bar, they distil their own vodka and ladies can even trade in their bra for three free shots.
Hang With the Penguins!
Seeing penguins is an almost guaranteed part of any Antarctica visit if you step on the continent and a tourist favorite. Penguins in Antarctica are extremely curious and have no land predators so they are very confident and will quite literally walk right up to you with makes it a surreal experience no zoo could ever give you!
There are six types of penguins you can encounter in Antarctica:
Climb Mount Vinson
This particular event requires a strong mountaineering background, but if you have that, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Mount Vinson is Antarctica’s tallest mountain at 16,050 feet and one of the world’s seven summits. The climb is a 14-day expedition at minimum and only about 1,200 people have taken on this challenge and I would say none have regretted it.
Experience Antarctic Wildlife:
Antarctica offers an experience to encounter an abundance of wildlife such as penguins, whales, and seals. Penguins in Antarctica have no fear of humans as they have no land predators making them confident and curious to meet people. The best place to encounter whales and seals would be to visit their breeding grounds, most expeditions will have this on their itinerary as well giving you the best chance to see Antarctic wildlife.
Whale watching is a wonder to see in the Antartic. Being one of the major hubs for whale hunting back in the day, it is a beautiful sight to see these magnificent abundant creatures in the wild today. Of the many species you can see, two of the most interesting are the Minke and Humpback. Minke are some of the most common species to see while in Antarctica and are very curious so they are known to commonly approach boats making a once-in a life time experience that much more surreal. Humpbacks are known for quite literally jumping out of the water making for a fantastic show if you have the chance to see it. Most cruises will travel through breeding grounds giving tourists the opportunity to witness these massive and breathtaking creatures of the sea.
Whales can be seen year-round, but February and March are the peak months for whale sightings in Antarctica. The most popular places that you can visit to see the whales include Wilhelmina Bay and the Lemaire Channel. Wilhelmina bay is also referred to as “Whale-mina Bay” because of how frequently people see whales there while the Lemaire Channel is also referred to as the “Kodak Gap” as it is a breathtaking photo-op as well.
Species of whales that you may encounter:
- Orca whales
- Blue whales
- Minke whales
- Sperm whales
- Sei whales
- Fin whales
- Right whales
- Humpback whales
Sea kayaking is one of the most intimate ways to explore Antarctica and is recommended by all who have done it. Kayaking in Antarctica allows you to see penguins, whales, and seals more intimately and if you are lucky you might even be visited by a curious whale up close making for an unmatched photo-op.
While there is an abundance of amazing things to do on your visit to Antarctica, if you do even a few of the thigs on this list, you are set to have an unforgettable trip.
Interested in traveling to Antarctica? Reach out to our team! We’d love to help you with any questions you may have, or assist you with booking your cruise.