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Antarctica (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 4th Revised edition edition (1 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741045495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741045499
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I travel for pleasure, and photography. I read up about a destination long before the trip begins, so I know what to expect, where to find good food and accommodation and to ensure that I don't waste time and energy when I get there. We're booked to leave for Antarctica on 1 Feb 2010.

I always start trip-planning with Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, supplemented by internet 'research. For Antarctica, no RG is available, but I doubt that there is much that could be added to this comprehensive and attractive LP Guide as a means of preparation. My ultimate verdict will have to wait till we get back.

The Guide recognises that Antarctic tourists are most likely to arrive by ship, probably via South America, and may visit the Falkland islands and South Georgia as well as the Antarctic Peninsula, so it covers these places and deals with all the other modes of travel and possible directions of entry as well. The most popular landing sites are well-described, together with information on research stations, historic sites and places few of us are likely to be able or dare to visit. Brief accounts of Antarctic Exploration and recommended follow-up reads may require a warm blanket and a hot drink.
Access to various places is explained, applying to the ships, as well as the small boats used for in-shore cruising and landing. Blunt assessments are given of the potential for human beings to destroy the pristine environment and specific do's and don'ts for responsible behaviour, with warnings to observe best practice even if your tour-guides are lax in explaining it.
I hope that following the advice in this book will ensure that I leave no trace and take nothing away but my memories from this awesome place.
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Format: Paperback
Great little book with good coverage of the major stopping-off points, research stations, animals and birds. Realistic price. Has kept us occupied all Xmas. Bit low on restaurants and youth hostels though! Not a bit like the other LP guides!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a good all round guide to Antarctica but some of the islands get sparse treatment eg South Georgia.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Little guidance for the prospective traveler 7 Sept. 2010
By dickh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, while relatively well written with a good survey of the exploration history of the continent and much detail on the many parts of Antarctica where virtually no one goes, is almost totally useless as a travel guide.

The single, by far most important decision that a prospective traveler makes is to choose the type of ship and, within the type, which individual ship. According to IAATO there were some 38,000 visitors to Antarctica during the 2009/2010 season. Almost exactly half were passengers on large standard cruise ships that the big operators reposition to the Valparaiso (Chile) to Buenos Aires route during the Northern Hemisphere winter. As a little "bonus extra" these ships skirt Antarctica as they round the Horn and let their passengers view the continent between trips to the groaning buffet tables. Ships of more than 1000 passengers make no landings, while ships with between 400 and 1000 do sometime make a single landing of groups of 100 or less. The same is the case for ships of between 100 and 400 passengers which may venture to make a couple of landings.

The other half, some 19,000, opt for one of the "expedition travel" choices. The vast majority of these book a cruise on one of the roughly 20 ice strengthened ships that are able to navigate in Antarctic waters and, since they carry less than 100 passengers, can land passengers on the continent. As Mr. Rubin points out in the book, 80% of these travelers visit 30 different spots on the Antarctic Peninsula and half of these visit just 10 of the sites, and finally 30% visit only 5.

Therefore, while the 19 pages on the Antarctic Peninsula are useful, I question what value the other 200 pages on East Antarctica, Ross Sea, Weddell Sea, pre-Antarctic Islands and even South Georgia, the Falklands etc are since no more than a handful of tourists visit these locations.

But the real failure is that there is almost no information that could help prospective visitors choose with whom they will travel. There are obviously vast differences between the big cruise ships and the expedition ones. For the purpose of this discussion let's put aside passengers on the big cruise ships; they are at best accidental visitors to Antarctica. But there are also huge differences between the expedition ships. About half are Russian research vessels that are chartered out to large tour operators for the season. They are technically good ships but accommodations are often Spartan and onboard service frequently spotty. At the other end of the spectrum are the Lindblad ships and the Hapag-Lloyd ones which are super luxury and with price tags in accordance.

Then there are several ships in between, including the only two locally owned ships, the Chilean Antarctic Dream ( [...] ) and the Argentine Ushuaia ([...] ). Both offer typical cuisine of the two countries with notable examples of both countries wines. The Antarctic Dream is a bit more upscale while the Ushuaia is somewhat more for the backpacker set.

In short what this guide book lacks is guidance on the most important decision that an Antarctic traveler will make; how to get there.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely best and most complete travel guide to The Ice. 22 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you plan a trip to The Ice, you will find this book invaluable. If you do not, you will find it fascinating, and it will make you want to go. In addition to all manner of practical advice for travelers, it is packed with thorough and interesting history of the continent, its wildlife, its geography, and also contains tempting suggestions for further non-fiction and fiction reading, films and videos, and even CD's. It is written with grace and humor, and contains really useful maps and charts. (How about that map of "Non-Existent Islands"!) Highest recommendation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly good guide from Lonely Planet 15 May 2009
By Enjolras - Published on
Format: Paperback
I usually associate Lonely Planet guides with backpackers and big cities. However, Lonely Planet did a great job with this tour guide for Antarctica. I used it this past winter during my cruise to Antarctica. It provides very useful background on the key sites and maps on the continent. It covers the history of exploration and international treaties covering the continent. It also has a decent section on Antarctic wildlife (although I would still recommend a dedicated book on the wildlife). More importantly, the book suggests the best sites for pictures and wildlife-viewing. While Lonely Planet isn't a replacement for a book on Antarctic wildlife, this book will help you take advantage of everything the "white continent" has to offer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Should be considered an essential guide for anyone traveling to or through the region of the Antarctica 9 Feb. 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
While visiting the Antarctic Circle isn't in most people's plans when they think of traveling the globe, there is a great deal to interest both the causal visitor, the scientist, and the commercial traveler. That's where Jeff Rubin's compact, 380-page travel guide compendium of facts, maps, advice, and descriptive commentary comes in. A wealth of essential background information that includes how to start planning for a trip to antarctica, itineraries, history, expeditions, culture, environment, wildlife, as well as antarctic science are all relevant issues, and provided with solid information for the curious reader. The remaining chapters of Jeff Rubin's "Antarctica" guide book is organized regionally beginning with the Southern Ocean; and continuing with South Georgia, Shag Rocks & South Orkney Islands; Falkland Islands/Isles Malvinas; South Shetland Islands; Other Peri-Antarctic Islands; Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea; Ross Sea; East Antarctica; and the South Pole. Enhanced with the inclusion of a directory, the Antarctic Treaty, a section on Transportation and another on Health, a glossary, an Index, the World Time Zones, and more, Jeff Rubin's "Antarctica" should be considered an essential guide for anyone traveling to or through the region of the Antarctica.
Outdated and Awkward 24 Nov. 2011
By M. Gotshall - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

- The listings in Ushuaia are terribly outdated. Many no longer exist. If your Antarctic journey begins in Ushuaia, I would strongly recommend purchasing a Tierra del Fuego chapter from a more recent Lonely Planet guide (e.g. Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island: Tierra del Fuego)

- The volcanic hot spots on Deception Island shift, and expeditions are discouraged from digging into the sand on the beach, so the prospect of a less than authentic swim in Antarctic waters is becoming extremely unlikely. (But the advice to pack a swimsuit still holds true, as visitors still go swimming, and you might otherwise be persuaded to make the icy plunge in your thermals. Or au naturel.)


- If you're really headed to Antarctica, chances are that you're headed to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. However, the peninsula comprises just one chapter of the book, and that chapter is nestled somewhere in the middle of the book. Even after a week of landings in the area, I still found that I had trouble locating the one chapter that covered nearly everywhere we visited. If nothing else, pack a bookmark! Penguin Clip-over-the-page Bookmark By Re-marks

- Even the most detailed map of the Antarctic Peninsula is not particularly useful, since the Lonely Planet map conventions don't make much sense in a place devoid of traditional landmarks. The attractions here are the places themselves (islands, bays, waterways, etc) which are not indexed in the map legend. This means that you're forced to scour a map of a huge region, hoping that the tiny spot where your next landing will be actually made it onto the map.

- I agree wholeheartedly with dickh's review that this book is a bit of a failure as a travel guide. There are very few logistical details on the different expedition companies and the different kinds of ships.

- When to go? Every trip to Antarctica is different, but there are relatively well-defined differences in the seasons. The "When to Go" section is a few short paragraphs with vague comments. Basically, the book's answer is "summer," but ask someone who's spent a full summer there, and they can elaborate quite a bit on the differences between the beginning of the season and the end of the season. The temperatures, the landscape, the wildlife all change from month to month. There are no guarantees in Antarctica, but you can certainly schedule your trip to improve your chances of seeing what you hope to see.

- The sections covering wildlife do the best that they can (since Lonely Planet books have very few color photos), but a text-only wildlife guide leaves much to be desired. It is well worth looking into another book to cover this if your trip does not include one. Antarctica Cruising Guide: Includes Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Ross Sea has great photos and descriptions of the wildlife as well as descriptions of common landing sites.

Good Points:

- The history section is excellent! It provides a wonderfully detailed history of the key expeditions and the exploration of the continent. I was also surprised to find that the history of the Scott and Amundsen's race to the pole was reasonably unbiased (Many accounts come across as very one-sided).

- The book contains a map of the various research stations and bases around the peninsula, which I found extremely useful and referred to quite often. But again, I always had trouble locating it when I needed it.

- Antarctica is a vast area to cover in a single guidebook, and I appreciate that LP made the effort to even produce this book. A very few visitors do explore the other islands and other parts of the continent, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I already own the guidebook that covers some of my most obscure travel goals (e.g. Tristan da Cunha, Bouvetøya), so it will definitely stay on my shelf for years to come.
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