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By Sandra Walser
Tours to Antarctica are among the most breath-taking wildlife holidays on earth. A visit to this remote ‘Great White Continent’, sailing serenely past majestic icebergs and abundant wildlife, make Antarctica holidays the pinnacle of adventure travel.
This frozen, desert continent is replete with gleaming ice formations and glaciers and is home to the greatest concentration of wildlife on earth. Down here, at the bottom of the world, you’ll share this pristine environment with penguins, seals, whales and a multitude of birds who seek the clean air and waters of the south pole.
From the moment you arrive, immerse yourself in the sounds of whale song and glaciers cracking while staring into the deep blues and inky depths of the seas. There are a variety of activities to enjoy on land, from camping to snowshoeing, sea kayaking and skiing. And for the hardy, there is even mountaineering. This is an area perfect for photography and to connect with the natural world in its most innocent and simple form.
All our Antarctica tours are led by experts in their fields. They give in-depth explanations about the wildlife you see, as you pass towering cliffs, beaches and floating ice sculptures. The topography is also immense. Antarctica is 14 million square kilometres in size, with much of it covered in permanent ice. Some parts are, actually, up to 2km thick.
During the Austral summer (Nov-Mar), the ice melts enough to allow boats to access the Peninsula. Every cruise is different with sea and ice conditions providing unique backdrops, adding to the adventure. There are daily lectures from experts during all Antarctica tours, deepening your understanding and enjoyment of this once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
Antarctic fur seals, humpback whales and wandering albatrosses are but a few of the animals you can encounter. A plethora of penguins from king, rockhopper and chinstrap penguins (there are seven species in total) await your arrival.
Many sea birds make Antarctica their home and you can spot skuas, petrels and terns. From the seal family, there are leopard seals, elephant and crabeater seals. The lucky may spot killer whales (orcas) and blue whales too.
The first polar explorers – the iconic names of Shackleton, Scott and more – arrived to the 7th continent in the 19th century. You follow the tracks of these pioneers on modern cruise ships which feature creature comforts in the cabins plus observations decks, loungers and more.
Most Antarctica tours involve sailing over the infamous Drake Passage. Measuring around 1,000km / 600 miles in length, the Drake Passage stretches between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands.
For those who may wish to avoid potential seasickness during the crossing, there is an option to fly/cruise directly to Antarctica. Alternatively, there are longer cruises that sail east and take in famous landmarks such as the Falkland Islands and South Georgia before heading south.
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We had a fantastic trip: I think the variety of activities – Buenos Aires, the Iguassu Falls, the walking, and then the Antarctic expedition – made the 5 weeks all the more enjoyable.
Thank you to you and the Andean Trails team for putting our holiday together for us. We had a great time.
J. Lavery, Australia, 2012
» Patagonia Eco-camp Trekking Tour
The cruise was great - fantastic organisation, very professional staff and all very interesting. We can’t recommend the cruise highly enough but it was not full – about 90 on board out of a possible 120. We were tempted to go on to Antarctica!
D. Rowell, UK, 2010
» Beagle Channel and Cape Horn Cruise
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