Your comprehensive travel guide to Antarctica- All in one place!
The things to do in Antarctica are some of the most unique things to do in the world. There aren’t many places where you can sit at arm’s length from a penguin, see some of the largest ice burgs in the world, and freeze your bum off at the same time. Although most cruise ships go during the summer months, it isn’t as cold as you would expect in Antarctica.
The differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic are stark. The Arctic is a large ocean surrounded by land. Antarctica is a large continent surrounded by an even larger ocean. Antarctica is big. At 14,245,000 square kilometres it is the fifth largest continent and getting on to twice the size of Australia and 1½ times the area of the US. Antarctica is a roughly circular continent with a long finger of land reaching out to South America as if trying to stay connected to the rest of Gondawana as it drifted away. Two major indentations in the coast are ice-infested seas, studded with icebergs encased in the frozen sea. At the head of these bays are ice shelves and the glaciers that feed them, leading into the heart of a vast frozen land. “The Antarctic” encapsulates the continental land of Antarctica and the surrounding barrier of cold stormy ocean.
With Antarctica lacking any permanent residents, there is no unique culture here, but visitors can learn more about the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration by visiting the former whaling station at South Georgia. The site features a museum and remarkably well-preserved, abandoned expedition huts of Scott on Ross Island to get an idea of the conditions experienced by early explorers.
Antarctica's population is comprised mainly of the scientific research staff. The number of residents varies, from around 1100 in the harsh Antarctic winter to around 4,400 in the milder summer months of October to February, plus an additional staff of 1,000 in the nearby waters.
Antarctica has no indigenous inhabitants, only permanent and summer-only staff at its many research stations. Along with the 1,100 to 4,400 research staff, there is usually an additional 1,000 personnel, including ship's crew and scientists performing on-board research in the waters of the treaty region of Antarctica.