Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on the planet, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Although about 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, it is technically a desert (the largest on earth) with very little precipitation. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic because much of the continent is more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) above sea level, and because the Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone transferring the ocean’s relative warmth through the icepack. Sea life of Antarctica include penguins, blue whales, orcas, and seals.
Scarcely touched by humans, the frozen land boasts breathtaking scenery, broken by only a handful of scientific bases and a population of scientists numbering only a few thousand. For tourists, Antarctica is accessible only during the austral summer season from November to March, during which sea ice melts enough to allow access. Generally they must brave rough sea crossings aboard ice-strengthened vessels, but those who do are rewarded with beautiful scenery and unique wildlife.