Updated: Jan 19
They say nothing worth having comes easy.
I could not agree with this statement more than when I experienced it first-hand on my journey to the White Continent.
Antarctica may be one of the most remote places on Earth, yet it has been one of the top places on my bucket list for over 10 years.
I was always intrigued by the landscapes and knew that I wanted to experience it someday. I never expected it to happen just yet, because of many factors; the number one being the cost.
As Antarctica is one of the hardest destinations to get to (it takes about 2 days to get through the Drake passage!), the cost is relatively high, with trips starting from $8,000 USD. But, it all depends on how you want to experience the continent and when/where you book. Some companies offer last-minute deals, with prices as low as $4,999 USD (or less!).
Here are 3 reasons why you need to add Antarctica to your list:
1. It's a one-of-a-kind experience!
Don't expect to see any other human beings, unless you come across another ship nearby and see people on it. Chances are, you may just see wildlife the entire time you are there and only the people who are on your ship. Antarctica is alienated. One of the main reasons I pushed myself to go is because I wasn't sure when I would get the chance again. I feel that there may be a time in the future that we would no longer be allowed to enter (given that there are already so many rules in place to ensure the environment stays protected due to global warming). See the sights now if you can and when you can. It is unlike anywhere else on Earth.
You can expect to see icebergs, whales, seals, penguins, and a lot of different species of birds. Someone told me, "Why would you go there? You've been to Alaska, you've already seen the same thing there!" I shook my head and said, "You wouldn't understand unless you go see it for yourself. Antarctica is a whole new world and it cannot even be compared to Alaska."
2. Marvel at the wildlife and the landscapes!
I personally think that Antarctica is one of the best places for photography. The picture-perfect opportunities are endless in Antarctica. However, even if you put the camera down and want to enjoy the moment, you will not want to look away from the beauty that surrounds you. I strongly recommend getting a room with a balcony if you can.
Whether you unexpectedly spot a whale, see penguins swimming by or on land, or pass by an iceberg, you'll be mesmerized. It left me speechless every time I'd see an iceberg (especially when we went up close), as the details in each one and what made them so different from each other were fascinating.
One of the highlights of the trip was listening to the sounds of the wildlife around. We could hear the seal snoring and breathing as we were waiting on the pebble beach for our zodiac to arrive. We can hear the penguins gawking every time a skua bird would approach their nest in an attempt to steal their chick. These are the sounds of Antarctica.
3. Became part of the story!
An adventure to Antarctica also makes you an ambassador for the White Continent, given that there is only a small percentage of people that get to get a taste of this stunning place. One visit is enough to see why it is so important to keep Antarctica protected and do our part in ensuring we leave no trace behind.
The continent is untouched, which makes it even more magical and special. You won't find any shops or homes. There are a few research bases we came across, but that's about it. Yet, no sign of human life anywhere. There are people who come down to stay for a while, for research purposes, but that's about it. Nobody really settles there. The animals are free to roam and are even given priority over humans. For example, if you are hiking and you come across a penguin highway, you should not walk on it, instead, you find an alternate route. If you are walking and a penguin passes by, you need to stop and let it pass (while ensuring you also keep your distance).
The list goes on and while I could sit here all day and write about hundreds of other reasons why you need to plan a visit soon, I'll leave you with my top 3 reasons. Let me know if that is enough to get you to add Antarctica to your bucket list.