Antarctica: planning the trip of a lifetime – Lonely Planet

An aerial view of Antarctica. Weddell Sea is t...

An aerial view of Antarctica. Weddell Sea is the ‘bay’ in the top left corner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED article from Lonely Planet. Check it out!

Antarctica: planning the trip of a lifetime – Lonely Planet.

Whilst Antarctica is a highly desirable travel destination for those that adore spectacular scenery and wildlife, as this article clearly demonstrates, this sort of holiday is either a once in the lifetime trip, or the preserve of the wealthy.

Any thoughts?


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5 responses

  1. Pingback: How to choose a South Pacific island – Lonely Planet « Dr Alf's Blog

  2. It is possible to explore some of the Antarctic provinces for much less than the you’d expect. Flights to Punta Arenas from Europe, via Santiago Chile are a fraction of the cost of a full Antarctic cruise. From there you can explore the wilds of Patagonia, the incredible scenery of The Torres Del Paine, the Magellan Strait and Tierra Del Fuego, crossing into Argentina and all the way down to Ushuaia. You can even go one step further and cross the Beagle Channel to the last inhabited island before Cape Horn, Isla Navarino, Chillie. The entire region is packed full of wildlife, everything you’d hope to see in Antarctica and more!
    The best option is to hire a car in Punta Arenas if your budget allows and explore as you please. However buses do serve the key destinations and must see bits of this wild tip of South America. If you are prepared to haggle, it may even be possible to grab a last minute berth on a cruise ship heading down to Antarctica itself from either Punta Arenas or Ushuaia for a fraction of the pre booked cost. Even if you don’t, you won’t regret it as the spectacular region has so much more to offer than the experience of bumping shoulders with rich, elderly American Tourists on the Antarctic cruises. You still get to see ice bergs, glaciers, seals, and penguins but so much more besides; Andean Red Fox, Guanaco, Nando, Condor, Beaver, flamingo, Kia, dolphins and whales to name just a few. The exceptionally lucky may even glimpse the rare Puma!
    It’s within the reach of backpackers on a round the world ticket with plenty of budget accommodation and food available. There is a reasonable range of alternatives in between to suit most budgets. I’d say it can be done for close to the cost of a full Disney package holiday if you’re prepared to organise your own itinerary.
    It certainly ticks all the trip of a lifetime boxes and I’d argue its even better than expensive cruise ship offerings!
    A grasp of basic Spanish would be very useful as not much English is spoken, but you can get by with phrase books etc if like me, you really can’t get the hang of the lingo! Crossing borders between Chile and Argentina can be very tedious with military check points either side of a “no-mans land” to negotiate. No hassle, just tedious bureaucracy! It’s not a wealthy region and 5 star food and accommodation is equivalent to 3 stars at best. Vegetables are scarce and typically tinned, vegetarians will struggle! However, meat and wine they do exceptionally well and portions are typically huge!
    This region is truly spectacular, extremely varied, chocked full of exotic wildlife and with friendly and hospitable people.
    It really should be on your “bucket list”!
    Another option for the adventurous would be to join The British Antarctic Survey organisation and be paid to live and work at their various bases inside the Antarctic circle. Would especially suit science or engineering graduates!
    My father was based on Deception Island in the 1960’s and was present when the “dormant” volcano erupted in 1967 forcing the team to be evacuated! Deception island is now on the cruise ship schedules with visitors putting ashore to explore the old base and remains of an earlier whaling station. Some even bathe in pools of hot water on the beech from the still active volcano.
    An interview with my father including original film footage of the Deception Island eruption can be found here;
    A children’s book of the story and events is also available;

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