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Overview

The coldest, windiest, driest, highest (by average elevation) continent on the planet lives up to these and other superlatives: most awe-inspiring, most hard to get to. Fueled by heroic Antarctic tales (must read: The Worst Journey in the World), and dreams of penguins, most travelers approach the southern continent by cruise ship from South America, cross the notorious Drake Passage to explore the Palmer Peninsula. There, you enter a wildlife paradise: many species of seals, birds, whales. Savor the smell and noise of a penguin colony. The big, arched glaciers at Neko Harbor, the caldera of Deception Island, and the iceberg-rimmed Lemaire ...

The coldest, windiest, driest, highest (by average elevation) continent on the planet lives up to these and other superlatives: most awe-inspiring, most hard to get to. Fueled by heroic Antarctic tales (must read: The Worst Journey in the World), and dreams of penguins, most travelers approach the southern continent by cruise ship from South America, cross the notorious Drake Passage to explore the Palmer Peninsula. There, you enter a wildlife paradise: many species of seals, birds, whales. Savor the smell and noise of a penguin colony. The big, arched glaciers at Neko Harbor, the caldera of Deception Island, and the iceberg-rimmed Lemaire Channel are unforgettable. A peek into the Weddell Sea at the fields of tabular glaciers is one-of-a-kind. Cruises offer everything from kayaking to zodiac rides to a polar plunge or a breath-taking helicopter ride. Ships also leave from Australia and New Zealand to visit the Ross Sea region. There, you’ll have views of the fascinating Dry Valleys; a visit to some of the historic huts brings forth the ghosts of the past. For athletic travelers: ski the final degree (sixty miles) to the South Pole. For a different view of the ice, look for a job at one of the US Antarctic stations.

Susan Fox Rogers
About the Expert

Susan Fox Rogers is the editor of eleven books including Antarctica: Life on the Ice and Alaska Passages: 20 Voices from Above the 54th Parallel. She traveled to Antarctica for six weeks in 2005 on a National Science Foundation award for writers and artists.

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Susan Fox Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Austral summer — Christmas/New Year holiday season.