Many would sniff at the idea of visiting the coldest continent on the planet, however over 37,000 people are expected to migrate to Antarctica this year during their vacation time. The travel season, which extends from November to March ever year, provides travelers with incredible winter visuals, adventures, and a sneak peak at natural wildlife in their own habitat; creating an extraordinary vacation experience like none-other. In fact, there are people out there who are eager to visit and explore the vast amount of land that Antarctica has to offer, equaling approximately the size of the United States and Mexico combined. In fact as the Canadian Press details the continent is preparing for an estimated 10 percent increase in tourism for 2015, compared to last year.
Whether one would enjoy taking in the views of sweet penguins and seals as they frolic about, reach the top of Mount Vinson’s (Antarctica’s highest point at 16,050 feet), or partake in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of icy water scuba diving; there is much to see for those who wish to experience something different from their usual and predictable vacation destinations. Some travel via plane or ship to the Antarctic Peninsula, from southern Argentina and Chile; while the more popular choice is to arrive to the Ross Sea through a 10 day long cruise which is accessible from New Zealand or Australia. Regardless of how you get there, ensuring you pack correctly for the trip is vital. Experts recommend: water-proof hiking boots, winter clothes that can be layered (including t-shirts, sweaters, and long underwear), a winter jacket, plenty of toques, scarf or neck warmer, water-proof winter gloves, strong sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher, and sunglasses with UV ray protection.
While the trip may be for the adventurous at heart, it is also for those with deep pockets. According to Superyachts.com, a traveller visiting Antarctica for a week can charter a 114-foot yacht for approximately $53,000; and the larger model (a 460-footer) goes for a cool $1 million during that same time period. For those with less expensive tastes, a 14-day trip on the National Geographic Explorer ship runs from $12,000 to $24,000. You can also visit the continent via the Antarctica XXI package which will provide plane and cruise ship travel for six nights, starting at $10,000. It’s important to note that this package leaves southern Chile, and does not include the air fare to that country.
Vacationing to Antarctica might soon become a travel trend. The cold continent has caught the attention of the celebrity world, with Bill Gates, Prince Harry, and heavy-metal band Metallica all visiting Antarctica to see and take in the many attractions this destination has to offer.