Top 10 Antarctica attractions for tourists, retracing the steps of Scott and Amundsen
In recent years, tourists choose exotic destinations even more often, giving preference not only to hot tropical countries, but also to those places, where the temperature has never been above zero. Global warming has given rise to so-called “climate” tourism; people make haste to see nature wonders, which may soon be vanished from the face of the earth: melting natural ice and icebergs, different species of animals and plants. More and more travelers are attracted by the severe land of ice, which is always characterized by superlative adjectives: the coldest, the most inhospitable, the most unexplored and uninhabitable. Moreover, it is the only place in the world, where the stars move against the sun and the Southern Cross are visible instead of the Big Dipper. This harsh land is called Antarctica.
Antarctica is the Earth’s most isolated continent and travelling across its vast territory is a great challenge. A trip to Antarctica should be well organized, as it is much dependent on weather conditions. As to the cost it is not the most affordable one also, travelers can reach Earth’s southernmost continent either by ship or by plane. Nevertheless, every year more than 40 thousands of tourists visit Antarctica. What attracts them? Mainly the ability to round the South Pole, to see different research stations and take unique pictures; extreme activities, like trekking and diving, are also very popular among travelers.
If you are an experienced traveler and these activities do not impress you, we prepared a list of 10 unusual Antarctica attractions for tourists.
- Catholic church in cave. It is situated on the territory of Belgrano II Base, which belongs to Argentine. Walls of the church are made of ice, which makes this southernmost temple one of the most extraordinary in the world. The church is opened for tourists and researchers the whole year round.
- Statue of Lenin. It was mounted by Soviet research expedition in 1958 at the Pole of Inaccessibility. Plastic bust, facing Moscow, that has not been damaged by storms and snowfalls, has turned yellow due to time factor. This monument is considered to be the most unfrequented in the world.
- Lemaire Channel. The narrow strait between Kiev Peninsula and Booth Island is one of the most popular Antarctica attractions for tourists. Iced cliffs and glaciers sinking into the sea, and diverse aquatic fauna attract people to this place, which is also dubbed “Kodak Gap”, as every year tourists use nearly 600 km of photographic tape to take magnificent pictures.
- McMurdo Dry Valleys. It may seem strange, but the driest place in the world is not in the heart of a desert, it is in covered with ice Antarctica. It has not rained here for about a couple of million years. Victoria, Wright and Taylor valleys, due to very low humidity, are ice- and snow-free territories. The speed of wind in this place ranges up to 320 km/h. Famous explorer Robert Scott called this land “the valley of death”. Nevertheless, there have been found some unique signs of life. Scientists believe that environmental conditions of the valleys are very similar to environment of Mars.
- Blood Falls. Imagine an outflow with bloody red water, which flows out of a glacier onto iced surface. One can see this unearthly scenery in Taylor valley. The waters of the waterfall contain salt in high density, so it does not freeze even at a temperature of 10°C below zero. The unnatural color of its waters is conditioned by high saturation of iron.
- Queen Maud Land. It is a dependent territory of Norway named as a tribute to Norwegian Queen Maud. This region is popular mainly for research aims. In 1935 – 1936 Nazis’ expeditions was looking for entrances to different dimensions here. They called this land “Neuschwabenland”.
- Deception Island. This island belongs to South Shetland Islands archipelago. The shape of the island resembles horseshoe. Deception Island is one of the top visited tourist destinations, as it is the only place where ships are able to sail into the core of volcanic caldera.
- Rookeries of king and emperor penguins. The biggest rookery of king penguins in the world can be found in Zavodovski Island. This island is home to nearly two million penguins. Emperor penguins inhabit the southern part of Antarctica.
- Bouvet Island. This lone island is surrounded by many secrets and mysteries. In 1964 lifeboat went down close to the shore of the island. Untouched equipment and supplies were soon found right in the middle of the island, and the crew disappeared. Another mysterious event happened in 1979. To the west of Bouvet was a huge thermonuclear explosion, but the source of it was not found. No country that had nuclear power plants had sent them to this place.
- Mount Erebus. Mount Erebus, which is located on Ross Island, is the southernmost active volcano on Earth. This volcano is considered to be one of the most active ones; since 1972 it has been constantly erupting. There is a unique lake of molted lava in the crater. One can see odd ice “chimneys” on the slopes of the mountain: coming out of bowels of the earth, hot gas melts ice and forms caves; warm and damp air that comes out of caves on contact with frosty air grows into ice statues. The height of these “chimneys” ranges up to 20 metres.
If you have always wanted to become an explorer, to visit the most isolated corners of the Earth; or you just want to take marvelous pictures, go and check this amazing Antarctica attractions for tourists.