Polar Opposites

There’s snow. There’s ice. It’s cold. How different could they be? Plenty. In fact, the only thing the poles have in common is that they’re fantastically expensive to visit.

How to Get There

North Pole

Cutting through ice fields on nuclear-powered polar icebreakers such as the Yamal and 50 Years of Victory.

South Pole

By private jet from Cape Town to the blue ice runway at the Unknown International Airport in Antarctica.

When the Sun’s Out

North Pole

Constantly between June and August Arctic night ends in April, and July is warmest—a balmy 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

South Pole

From November through December, 24/7. Temperatures stay between 14 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

Who’s Going

North Pole

Eskimos. Prince Albert of Monaco.

South Pole

Banking heir–cum–adventurer David de Rothschild and friends. Acclaimed Canadian polar guide Paul Landry.

What You’ll See

North Pole

Polar bears, Atlantic walruses, Arctic foxes, beluga whales. The northern lights.

South Pole

Emperor penguins at the Neumeyer colony, where some 6,000 birds gather each November. Weddell seals with pups.

Trip to Book

North Pole

Geographic Expeditions’ 17-day cruise, stopping at Russia’s Franz Josef Land archipelago. $22,900 a person; geoex.com

South Pole

White Desert’s ecofriendly tented camp, where a South African chef whips up gourmet meals. $43,300 a person; white-desert.com