Antarctica is beyond the boundaries of civilization, beyond the limits of imagination and — for most practical vacationers — beyond the realm of possibility. It's more as an abstract collage of penguins, glaciers and icebergs than it does actual terra firma. Therefore it remains the ultimate bucket list daydream to anyone with insatiable wanderlust. But here’s a little secret this mysterious continent keeps well guarded: it’s way easier to get here than you imagine. In fact, there are so many manageable, cost-effective options to access this part of the world, you can pick yours based upon the type of adventurer you are.
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Antarctica is one of the world’s largest wildlife colonies. Some rookeries contain upwards of 100,000 birds, typically overrun with the regions most popular species: King and Adelie Penguins. “For many birders and nature enthusiasts, Antarctica is the ‘holy grail’ of natural places,” says Brian Sullivan, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “It is forbidding in its harsh climate and austere landscape, yet powerfully alluring in its outright wildness.”
- 2. For The Family
This can prove to be tricky if you are taking the family on a lengthy voyage at sea, particularly if you have small children in tow. Currently, no Antarctic cruise-liner offers designated childcare on board. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave the little ones at home. Aurora Expeditions encourages young ones to be involved. Also, they offer multiple educational seminars intended to promote awareness and excitement for scientific exploration. Icebergs and orcas floating by in the background from a far more compelling argument than what you’d find in a typical classroom.
3.It's Environmentally Conscious
Of course, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you ought to. “When it comes to fragile ecosystem then Antarctica is the one," warns naturalist Christina Garcia, who has never made the voyage. “By visiting we are pitting it’s wildlife and plants at risk.”
To allay these concerns, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) was formed in 1991. Today it includes more than 100 members, all of which adhere to restrictions designed to minimize any lasting effect on the continent. But since there is no government in this part of the world, enforcement is self-regulated. Some operators seem to take it more seriously than others.