Every year, hordes of tourists descend on the Arctic to witness its natural wonders. They come to see polar bears playing on ice floes, glaciers calving into the sea, and the aurora borealis dancing across the sky. But one place that’s off-limits to tourists is Antarctica. Why can’t we go to Antarctica or why you shouldn’t travel to Antarctica? What’s so special about it? And why it is illegal to go to Antarctica? In this post, we’ll explore these questions and more.
1. Where is Antarctica?
Antarctica is a continent located in the southern hemisphere, specifically at the South Pole. The Southern Ocean surrounds it. Most of Antarctica is covered by ice and has an extremely cold climate. (Also read What are the Seven wonders of the World?)
2. Has anyone here been to Antarctica?
Very few people have ever visited the continent of Antarctica, it’s one of the most remote places on Earth. And even fewer people have seen its interior, which is mostly made up of glaciers and icefields. The wildlife is unique and very fascinating, and the scenery is otherworldly. It’s an amazing place and worth visiting if you’re lucky enough to get the opportunity. To know why can’t we go to Antarctica, read on the next segments. (See What Country am I in?)
3. Why you shouldn’t Travel to Antarctica?
There are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider traveling to Antarctica:
- The environment is very fragile and can be easily damaged.
- There are no native human populations on the continent, so your visit would essentially be like visiting an uninhabited island.
- It’s also one of the most expensive destinations to travel to. Also, check out why climbing Everest is dangerous?
4. Is it Illegal to go to Antarctica? Can People go to Antarctica?
If you’re a citizen of a nation that has signed the Antarctic Treaty, you’ll need permission to go to Antarctica. Tour operators generally handle this. Also, no visa is required to travel there. (See 10 Tips to Know If You Were Stranded on a Desert Island)
5. Why is Antarctica guarded? Why is Antarctica off-limits?
No, an effective international demilitarization agreement has been made for Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty was negotiated to prevent another military confrontation over Antarctica. The treaty bans all military activity. Any violation of the treaty would result in significant consequences for the violator. (See What is the Northern Most State in the U.S.?)
6. Why can’t we go to Antarctica?
The primary reason we can’t go to Antarctica is that it has a fragile environment. The Antarctic Treaty was created to protect the continent’s environment. The treaty states that Antarctica should be used for peaceful purposes only and that it should be free from military activity, weapons testing, and nuclear explosions.
Moreover, Antarctica is also home to many rare animals and plants, and scientists are still learning about the continent’s ecosystem. If we were to invade Antarctica with our pollution and machines, we could destroy the delicate balance of its environment. If you are still wondering why can’t we go to Antarctica, this is the complete answer. So, for now, we’ll have to admire it from afar. (See Why do Penguins not Fly?)
7. How to get Permission to go to Antarctica?
Completing a DS-4131 Advance Notification Form – Tourist And Other Non-Governmental Activities In The Antarctic Treaty Area is required for US citizens who want to visit the Antarctic Treaty Area. After that, you’ll need to send this documentation to the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs. (See How many Tornadoes in Tennessee per year?)
8. Guidelines for Antarctic visitors: Rules for Traveling in Antarctica
As you already read why can’t we go to Antarctica, and if somehow you get a chance, you must respect the visitor’s rules. Visitors according to the Antarctic Treaty must comply with several guidelines to protect the environment. These include:
- Being familiar with and following the guidelines in the visitor’s handbook.
- Not disturbing or harming any wildlife, including seals, penguins, and other birds.
- Not taking souvenirs such as rocks, plants, or animals.
- Not polluting water or soil.
- Disposing of waste properly. (See What are Physical Features in Geography?)
9. List of AREAS RESTRICTED UNDER ANTARCTIC TREATY
- Taylor Rookery, Mac. Robertson Land
- Rookery Islands, Holme Bay, Mac. Robertson Land
- Ardery Island and Odbert Island, Budd Coast, Wilkes Land
- Sabrina Island, Northern Ross Sea
- Beaufort Island, McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea
- Cape Hallett, Northern Victoria Land, Ross Sea
- Dion Islands, Marguerite Bay, Emperor Island, Antarctic Peninsula
- Green Island, Berthelot Islands, Antarctic Peninsula
- Moe Island, South Orkney Islands
- Lynch Island, South Orkney Islands
- South Orkney Islands
- Southern Powell Island and adjacent islands,
- Coppermine Peninsula, Robert Island, South Shetland Islands
- Litchfield Island, Arthur Harbor, Anvers Island, Palmer Archipelago
- Northern Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands
- Lagotellerie Island, Marguerite Bay, Graham Land
- New College Valley, Caughley Beach, Cape Bird, Ross Island
- Avian Island, Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula
- Summit of Mount Melbourne, Victoria Land
- Davis Valley and Floridas Pond, Dufek Massif, Pensacola Mountains
- Pointe-Geologie Archipelago, Terre Adélie
- Cape Royds, Ross Island
- Arrival Heights, Hut Point Peninsula, Ross Island
- Barwick and Balham Valleys, Southern Victoria Land
- Cape Crozier, Ross Island
- Fildes Peninsula, King George Island (25 de Mayo)
- Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands
- Haswell Island
- Western shore of Admiralty Bay
- King George Island, South Shetland Islands
- Rothera Point, Adelaide Island
- ‘Tramway Ridge’, Mount Erebus, Ross Island
- Canada Glacier, Lake Fryxell
- Taylor Valley, Victoria Land, etc. Also, check out what are the names of coldest places on Earth?
10. Can you Live in Antarctica? is it Illegal to Live in Antarctica?
No one lives in Antarctica indefinitely. There are no laws banning people from living in Antarctica, but it is a very inhospitable environment and unsuitable for permanent human habitation. The nearest land is over 1000 miles away, meaning that any inhabitants would be completely cut off from the rest of the world. Temperatures can reach – 60 degrees Celsius and below, meaning that only the most well-equipped and experienced explorers could hope to survive. If you’re looking for a challenge, Antarctica may be the place for you, but make sure you’re prepared before moving. (See What Does Nomad Stand For?)
So, to answer why can’t we go to Antarctica, the matter is that it’s complicated. There are a lot of factors that go into determining who can and cannot visit a particular place, and Antarctica is no exception. And then there are all the environmental concerns to consider, after all, we don’t want our visits to disrupt the ecosystem there. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of why it’s so difficult for people to travel to Antarctica. (See What is the Difference Between a Sea and Ocean?)