|Currency :||Each Antarctic base uses the currency of its home country|
|Time Zone :||Antarctica Standard Time is Greenwich Mean Time or +5hrs EST.|
|Population :||Antarctica has no permanent residents, but a number of governments maintain permanent research stations throughout the continent.|
|Government :||Antarctica has no government and belongs to no country. Various countries claim areas of it, although as a rule, no other countries recognize such claims.|
|Total Area :||5,400,000 mi²|
|Climate :||Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.|
|Additional Info:||Antarctica has 70% of all the world's freshwater frozen as ice - and 90% of all the world's ice.|
Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation; the South Pole itself receives less than 4 inches per year, on average. Temperatures reach a minimum of between -112°F and -130°F in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 41°F and 59°F near the coast in summer.
The recommended way to take a trip to the Antarctica is with a guided tour as the area is known as the oldest, driest, windiest, and highest elevation on earth, and, as such, can be treacherous. Many cruise trips offer guided sea kayak tours in the day with options to camp over night also. Trips will include guided information about the wildlife and the environment. Animals likely to be spotted while kayaking are penguins, whales, and seals. It is recommended that you have experience both kayaking and camping, and enjoy scenic but desolate environments. Sights include the impressive towering icebergs and beautiful ice scenes. Kayak moments to remember include paddling through icebergs and discovering flocks of penguins stood on shore.
Antarctic mountaineering has, until recently, been limited to researchers and geologists traveling there under government and research grants. Now the area has opened up to tourism but is still somewhat limited by few operations and high costs. Mount Vinson, Antarctica's highest peak, is one of the world's ultimate climbing destinations. It is estimated that fewer than 130 persons have reached the top. Many expert climbers consider this peak to be so tough due to the unpredictable weather, which can turn harsh fast with 100mph winds and temperatures plummeting up to 40 degrees below zero, even in the best times to try it. Antarctica offers many unclimbed or "virgin" mountains in the Ellesworth Range. Mt. Tyree, at almost 16,000ft, has been scaled twice. Barely 150ft lower than Vinson, it is considerably steeper and yet more dangerous. - experts only.
A place considered inhospitable to humans is actually home to thousands of penguins, seals, whales and albatross which thrive in this remote land. Generally, the best way to observe wildlife and nature in Antarctica is to take a guided tour as the region is considered treacherous even to seasoned travelers in the area. Most tours will cover the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands and waterways. Most tours only operate during the summer months of December, January and February; January being the optimum time for wildlife. This time of year provides 24-hour daylight and temperatures are typically between 32°F to 41°F and sometimes higher.
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