With Chile and Argentina opening its doors to vaccinated travelers most cruise and expedition lines are heading to Antarctica. But they are doing so with limited capacity; not only with onboard passenger counts, but the number of ships. (Of course, there is Seabourn that just blew it as it previously canceled the 2021-2022 Antarctica season, but that is another story!) If you are interested in Antarctica this season, despite the lower capacity, there is still some room with a variety of options.
Who’s heading to Antarctica? Silversea (two ships); Lindblad Expeditions (three ships), Quark Expeditions, Scenic, Crystal (all one ship) and others. Next year there will be more ships, pent up demand and, in most instances, higher prices. With less ships and guest hesitancy this year, there will be far fewer guests visiting Antarctica so you will have the best opportunity to see this amazing place unspoiled. If you are one to want to “Get Out There” now is the best time to go. And Goldring Travel has the experience and contacts to make it an extraordinary experience!
Another winter wonderland is Iceland, also one of my favorite places on earth. In fact, I am heading there on October 1, 2021 for a short conference on different experiences and vendors for Greenland, Iceland, and Faroe Islands. With so many cruises starting, ending, or circumnavigating Iceland during the summer, and with the Northern Lights and spectacular beauty and culture year-round, you might want to consider this as well.
This will be my third trip to Iceland (one in the summer, one in winter, and now in autumn) and, honestly, there is so much to do and see I could write articles on it. Well, actually I have written a few! Here are three:
You wondered if there was really anything to do in Iceland, didn’t you?
Well, I have only scratched the surface. And so my return!(Oh, and there will be both a spelling and linguistics test at the end!)
This time I will be will be staying Reykjanesbær (population 18,920); Iceland’s fifth largest town. Around the time of my last visits a new town has focused on developing itself as a tourist destination. It was created by combining three smaller towns, all near to the airport (formerly a United States Naval Base) and the famous Blue Lagoon. I am not really sure what my three full days there will be like, but before I do I am off on a four day tour of Western Iceland
After hopefully taking in part of its 10 mile shoreside hiking trail, I will be picked up late in the afternoon and head to Botgarnes for dinner at Englendingavík, which looks to be very Icelandic restaurant, and then to Snæfellsnes for an overnight at Lava Water Guesthouse (a sort of farm stay).
After breakfast we will explore the national part for amazing scenery and waterfalls as well as the Vatnshellir Lava Cave. It will then be a bit of local culture, the Capital of Street Art and then on to Grundarfjörður, home of Mt. Kirkjufell (Church Mountain) before heading to Stykkishólmur for dinner at Sjávarpakkhúsið, another very cool looking seafood restaurant, before exploring the town and overnighting at Hotel Egilsen and Sýsló Guesthouse, both looking to be quite quaint.
Our last day will head to Stykkishólmur and then out to see to visit the fjord at Breiðafjörður for visits to some of its many small islands that are home to puffins (it is past breeding season so maybe we’ll get lucky) and other seabirds, then meeting some of the locals, known as “Hólmarar”, before heading to Dalir, home of the Leif Eiriksson Center for some Viking culture and cuisine. It is then back to Reykjanesbær where I will be staying at Hotel Keflavik for the next three nights and for the conference. I am sure there will some pretty interesting things happening there as well.
One final point: I know there is hesitancy to travel right now due not only to Covid, but the ever-changing requirements and possible restrictions. There are a number of reasons I am doing so much traveling right now, but first and foremost is my desire to show you, my clients and readers, that if you are vaccinated and you are willing to make just a few compromises it is safe, enjoyable and does more for your mental health than staying at home frustrated. Having been to the Caribbean, Greece and Alaska, the latter two with pretty high Covid rates (among unvaccinated!!!!) and now heading off to Iceland, all within a four month period, I feel that as much as it seems the world will never rid itself of this disease there is a way to continue to live life and explore the world.
So whether you go North or South this winter, there are many wonderful and exciting options. Take advantage of the situation! Go!