Antarctica is that pesky last continent that is so difficult to get to. I’ve always pictured Antarctica as an ice desert with little to see, but after researching for an article I wrote called “6 OF THE WORLD'S BEST PLACES TO WATCH ACTIVE HOT LAVA FLOW” I realized there’s way more to Antarctica than just ice and penguins. There's a freaking amazing place called Mt. Erebus, it’s home to one of four of the world’s persistent lava lakes, which is cool enough on it’s own, but since it’s located in Antarctica and surrounded by snow and ice everywhere, the escaping hot vapors create these enormous ice structures that can reach up to 60 feet tall. And if that's not enough, there a bunch of volcanic ice caves just itching to be explored.
When i started researching how to get there, Google searches turned back broken information on visiting Antarctica outside of cruising there. It was hard to find reliable information on visiting, so I emailed the the Secretariat for the Antarctic Treaty at the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs to ask what their recommendation was for someone looking to travel to Antarctica. Turns out, Antarctica is pretty heavily protected and while it’s not super difficult to get down there as part of a tour group, going outside of approved scientific research or tour operators is more involved. And since they replied with super informative and reliable intel that you can actually trust to plan your trip to Antarctica, I thought I’d include their response:
The state department’s words on antarctica and how it fits with U.S. interests
Basically it says that the U.S. shares Antarctica with 59 other countries as part of the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty seeks to promote environmentalism and scientific research on the Antarctic continent.
The form they use to determine if your travel to Antarctica is appropriate under the Antarctic Treaty
And of course the contact information for the entire team at the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty.
Traveling to Antarctica is definitely not for everyone and by far the easiest way to see Antarctica is to search through the list of operators and hop on an organized tour. But for those looking to travel outside of a tour group, I hope this helps!