Sailing south of the southern tips of Argentina and Chile will take you to the Antarctic Peninsula, home to a harsh polar climate that provides ideal conditions for a truly unique ecosystem. This part of the world is one of the few places to be largely untouched by human development and as a result, many species of wildlife can be seen throughout this vast region. Upon arrival to this icy wonder, you can expect to see many species of penguins, whales and seals. We take a look at five of the best locations to visit in order to experience Antarctic wildlife.
South Shetland Islands
Located just north of the Antarctic Peninsula are the South Shetland Islands, which provide a home to a wide range of wildlife including seals, penguins (chinstrap and Adelie) and seabirds. Interestingly, visitors to these islands will also see many examples of vegetation including algae, lichens and mosses – proving the wildlife can exist even in the most inhospitable of environments.
Upon arrival in Bailey Head, guests will witness a geological creation which appears to emulate an amphitheatre. This is made more amazing when discovering it provides a home to the second-largest colony of chinstrap penguins – many of which frequently come and go from the area.
The Gerlache Strait is a narrow body of water that sits between Brabant Island and the main body of the Antarctic Peninsula. If cruising along through this scenic area, you can expect to be able to a range of Humpback and Minke whales, as well as many other marine mammals.
Hannah Point is a paradise destination for birdwatchers and those looking to witness penguin colonies. The area provides a home for a large colony of chinstrap penguins, and it is also possible to see Gentoo penguins. Birdwatchers will be able to see a range of polar species including south polar skuas, kelp gulls, southern giant petrels and snowy sheathbills.
Many itineraries to the Antarctic Peninsula include travel by Zodiac boat in order to reach some of the more far-flung destinations. Minke and humpback whales can be found in abundance in the area, whilst there are also many seal species including crabeater and leopard.
Considering nearly all journeys to the Antarctic Peninsula are done via boat, it is possible to combine your journey with visits to many other stunning destinations. You can witness the icy beauty of South America by hiking up the Glacier Martial in Ushuaia, Argentina. Alternatively, if you would like to experience penguins up close, it is possible to see up to five different species of penguin during a visit to the Falkland Islands.
For more information on booking an adventure to the Antarctic Peninsula, contact our highly knowledgeable team today.