What to See and Do in Antarctica
Once you arrive in the Antarctic region -- by land, sea or air -- there are several ways to pass the time. Popular tourist activities include cruises, visits to research sites and wildlife sightings. Travelers who are more adventurous can sign up for hiking, mountaineering, kayaking or cross-country skiing.
Even on a continent as barren as Antarctica, there are a few "must-sees." Some spots you can see right from your boat or ship, and others require a trip to land.
Lemaire Channel runs between the Booth Island Mountains and the Arctic Peninsula. Its unofficial name, Kodak Gap, speaks to its photogenic beauty. When not blocked by ice, cruise ships sail through the channel to give passengers an opportunity to enjoy its splendor. A Belgian named Adrien de Gerlache first navigated the channel in 1898.
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is an American research station located at the South Pole. It's named after Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott, the first two explorers to reach the South Pole in 1911 and 1912, respectively. Built in 1957, the facility underwent major upgrades in both 1975 and 2008. Its most striking feature is the geodesic dome, originally built to house staff. Currently the station hosts about 50 scientists and personnel in the winter, and up to 150 in the summer. Research taking place at the station includes projects involving physics, meteorology, geophysics, glaciology and biomedicine. The ceremonial South Pole marker (a literal red and white pole with some flags stuck in the ice behind it) sits in front of the station -- a great photo op for visiting dignitaries and tourists.