The journey to the end of the world can be immersive and will leave you with the memories of a lifetime. Antarctica is a beautiful continent, yet harsh in its own way. The temperature and the wind chills will shake you down to your bones. But then again, that’s one of the things you want to experience, right?
The first and foremost thing Antarctica offers is stunning scenery. The wildlife is visually satisfying as well. But that isn’t everything there is to Antarctica. There are fun activities that you can take part in as well!
Surprised? Don’t be! Today, we’ll talk about the best things to do in Antarctica!
Kayaking, but with Whales
The Gerlache coastline has one of the cleanest bays in all of Antarctica. And cruising through this pristine water can be mentally as well as visually satisfying. Serenity will crush down on you when you’re surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers around you, a blue sky above, and a blue ocean below.
But there’s this one thing that differentiates kayaking here from anywhere in the world. Once you’ve rowed down a bit from the shore, you’ll be able to spot different types of whales. Humpback, orca, minke whales are most commonly found.
Sure, you’ve seen whales in Nat Geo and on the internet. Maybe, you’ve seen them in other places as well. But watching these spectacular beings in Antarctica while Kayaking is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. If you’re visiting Antarctica soon, make sure you take part in kayaking, one of the most peaceful things to do in Antarctica.
Hiking Down the Coastline
This is one of the first things you’d want to do once you’re in Antarctica. To be honest, it’s not just a single activity. Instead, it’s a single activity that leads to multiple other activities. These excursions are chosen by the Captains of the ships. And this hike takes the travelers to visit some prominent research stations, high vantage points that offer a beautiful and complete picture of Antarctica, seal, and penguin colonies that will dazzle you.
These activities aren’t limited to one or two shores. At every shore your cruise ship sets sail to, you can take a hike to find out the nearest landmarks. These trips offer a great opportunity for exploration and photography.
If you’re looking for a challenge, this is the activity to test your limits. The entire thing can be very tiring, that’s for sure. But it offers scenery that’s visually and mentally satisfying. On top of that, through this, you can reach places that would otherwise be impossible to reach.
You don’t need to be a professional to do this activity. On the other hand, because Antarctica isn’t that populated, you should try this out if you have previous experience. Although the journey is tiring, it’s not something you can’t finish.
Scuba Diving is undoubtedly one of the most challenging yet rewarding activities. If you don’t have the skills or previous experience, or even if you figure that you might panic underwater, this clearly isn’t for you. The first thing you’d need is the courage to try this out.
The temperature of the water will be freezing in this region. And as you might’ve seen in a lot of movies, falling in these waters without protective gear can lead to instant death. So, if you want to avoid freezing to death, you better get some equipment first.
Once you dive, all the preparations will seem to be worth it. In fact, you won’t even remember anything about the preparations you took. The aquatic world under sheets of ice will appear to be an alternate dimension that’s full of beauty, yet quite threatening. You might get to see diving penguins, a seal hunting for its prey, or weird sea creatures, such as an anti-freeze fish. There’s no limit to what you can experience. The sun will bounce off the sheet of ice, radiating iridescent rays of light to the world below.
Undoubtedly, Scuba Diving is one of the most enjoyable activities you can take part in when you’re in Antarctica. The diving time is set when the waters are the clearest, so you’ll face no problem there. If you have previous driving experience and the required skill set, then Scuba diving is a must-try for you. If you don’t, however, there are other activities that you can try out.
Want to know how scuba diving in icy cold water feels but lack the basic skill set to do so? The polar plunge is for you! The polar plunge is probably the most exciting, fun, and famous activity of Antarctica. So, what do you do here? Simple. You jump into icy cold water.
A polar plunge is usually taken from two spots. You can either take it from your ship, or from Deception island. But it’s recommended that you take the dive from a ship. You see, if you plan to take it from Deception Island, you can change your mind anytime while you’re running through the beach towards the ocean. The moment your feet are immersed in the water, your brain will signal you to stop right there and turn back.
Again, if you jump straight from the ship, it’ll be very quick, and you’ll be taken aboard before you know it. If you’re doing it from Deception island, you’ll have to immerse slowly, and it might get very painful.
All in all, if you’re visiting Antarctica or will be visiting soon, you should definitely put this activity at the top of your list!
Exploring Deception Island
Deception Island isn’t just another island in the heart of Antarctica. In the early 20th century, when whale hunting was at its peak, a lot of factories were set up on this island in order to process whale fat. The sailors and hunters made their houses on this island too.
The problem was, the island was hosting an active volcano. When a ban was put on whale hunting, the whaling industry was eroded. Later, scientists moved into the abandoned factories and turned them into research buildings. They inhabited the buildings the sailors left for them.
In 1960, the volcano erupted, and as a result, the entire island was destroyed with everything in it. If you go to Deception Island today, you’ll find charred buildings, large whale skeletons, and destroyed scientific research centers that are more or less surrounded by black coal.
Deception Island is a great place to visit if you’re visiting Antarctica for the first time. It’s important to note that it’s the only place in Antarctica that comes with a thermal spa, as there’s a volcano on that island. You can drown in the sand and enjoy the relaxing thermal spa when you’re visiting.
Blood falls is truly a sight to behold. Imagine a five-story waterfall, but the color of the water is blood red! The reason behind this beautiful anomaly is quite interesting. Tiny microbes packed with iron were frozen in the surrounding glaciers millions of years ago. They survived in that state with little to no oxygen.
Now, there’s a fissure in the glacier that allows the frozen water body to pour down like a waterfall gently. And the result is a sight that’s quite striking. After all, it does appear to be a waterfall of blood pouring down on the white snow below.
Zodiacs are strong rubber zippy boats that allow the tourists to explore the marine life of Antarctica. When you’re in Antarctica, you definitely need to have one of these tours. These boats come with motor power, so they’re pretty fast. This enables the boats to travel quickly between shores.
But Zodiacs aren’t only effective for touring. They’re also amazing for spotting the marine life of Antarctica. When you’re traveling on a Zodiac, you’re likely to come across diving penguins, hunting seals, or even singing whales.
When you’re in Antarctica, you’ll find multiple activity plans related to Zodiac rides. Each of these rides will take you to visit unique destinations with a focused purpose. There are rides that take you to spot whales; then, there are those that take the travelers close to penguin colonies.
Sleep Beneath the Stars
One of the most adventurous activities to do in Antarctica is camping. On a clear night, there are places that you can camp with a tent, or simply a sleeping bag. If you only take a sleeping bag, you can go to sleep with a sky full of stars above your head that night.
But you have to sacrifice one thing, and that’s the coziness and warmth of a home. Camping can be very difficult in sub-zero temperatures. It gets harder as you’ll be camping on the very surface of the ice.
So, you’ll need a thermal mat along with your sleeping bag, which will keep you warm to some degree. We also recommend that you take a tent with you. In case the temperature gets unbearable, you can huddle up in the tent, which will definitely be warmer than sleeping under the open sky.
Although it might get a bit perilous, sleeping under a sky full of stars is more than worth it. You’ll never regret making that decision! Make sure that you keep the temperatures of your body as well as the surroundings in check, though. If the weather takes a bad turn, it’s only wise that you leave as soon as possible.
Hang out with Penguins
What’s the point of visiting Antarctica if you won’t even see the penguins? Penguins are spectacular animals that live in colonies. One of the best Penguin colonies is in Snow Hill Island, where emperor penguins live in abundance!
Antarctica is the home to a lot of types of penguins. Among them, the emperor and the king penguins are the most elegant, and there’s no doubt about that. The other penguins can be very lovable as well.
There are Macaroni penguins, Chinstrap penguins, Adelie, etc. The chinstrap penguins are the smallest of the lot. They can be identified easily with the band across their chin. Although they might seem small and cute, don’t go near these penguins. They’re infamous for their projectile poop, and it’ll end your day with a bad turn.
Most of the time, you’ll be requested not to go near the penguins. We recommend you keep a distance of ten feet at least. As we’ve mentioned earlier, penguins live in colonies, and they’re very protective when it comes to their kind. So, it’s better that you don’t approach them. If a penguin approaches or comes near you, though, stay completely still. If you walk away, that may cause a stir among them.
Trek the Antarctic Basecamp
Basecamp adventures are loved by most of the travelers that visit Antarctica. Some people may not even be fit enough to go on a basecamp tour, but it’s definitely tempting. Imagine having such an experience in Antarctica!
The OEX basecamp cruise is the best way to go here. This cruise consists of every activity that you could dream of taking part in Antarctica. Want to go camping? You got it. Want to trek? It’s there. Kayaking? It’s there. Mountaineering? You got it!
Essentially, you’ll be able to take part in most of the things to do in Antarctica on a single package. So, we highly recommend that you go for this activity.
Antarctica is a continent wrapped in a thick sheet of ice, wildlife and marine beauty, remnants of the past, and tales of our ancestors. If you want to create your own odyssey, Antarctica will provide you with all the elements you’d ever need for a remarkable story. So, when you’re in Antarctica, we urge that you try out our recommendations!