Have you ever wanted to be the one to say that you have actually observed polar animals in their native habitat? In order to do this you need to come to Antarctica. Being Earth’s most southern continent, Antarctica is considered, on average, the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on earth. But due to many natural wonders found there, it can contain some of the most beautiful scenery untouched by man found anywhere else in the world.
Even with all of the snow, Antarctica is actually a desert, averaging only 8 inches of rain per year. There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people a year stay at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted animals and plants survive there. These would include seals, penguins, many types of algae, and tundra vegetation, certain varieties that can be found nowhere else in the world. These life forms provide tourists a reason to visit this desolate continent. There are helicopter tours that will take you to the habitat of Emperor Penguins, whale watching tours that if you’re lucky, will allow you view one or more of the eight different species of whales that migrate there, and hiking tours that will allow you to see the variety of Antarctic seals.
Since 1957, small-scale “expedition tourism” has existed in Antarctica. Travel is mostly done by small or medium ships, focusing on specific scenic locations with observational concentrations of Antarctic wildlife. A total of 37,506 tourists visited during the 2006–07 Austral summer. The number is predicted to increase to over 80,000 by 2010.
So for something different, a little more adventurous, come visit Antarctica, and have that once in a lifetime experience.