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Alaska Planning Tips and Fast Facts

Discover the Remarkable and Rugged Wilderness Where Nature Performs Right off Your Deck ,

Our Expert Opinion

A yacht charter in this part of the world takes you where the big ships cannot go. There is absolutely no other way to experience this remote and pristine, untamed wilderness than by yacht. The wildlife is extraordinary, the scenery is spectacular, and there is no better place to get a front row seat with nature. July and August are ideal with June and September being cooler and less busy.

What is Destination Known For?

Startling natural beauty, scenic parks, rugged mountains, hearty people, hot springs, majestic glaciers, vast wilderness, seals, brown bears and spouting whales.

Location and Size

Alaska is located to the north-west of Canada, with the Arctic Ocean to its north and the Pacific Ocean to its west and south. Having a land mass of 663,300 sq. miles (1,717939 sq.km.), it is the largest state in the United States.

History

The earliest inhabitants of Alaska were nomads of Asiatic origin who came here 15,000 years back when Alaska was connected to Asia. Mostly whalers, this group of people is also believed to have practiced human sacrifice and mummification of the dead – similar to the ancient Egyptians. Ages later, in 1741, Danish explorer Vitus Bering led a Russian expedition and announced the discovery of Alaska to the developed world. Subsequently, the region began to be exploited for fur, and Alaska became a part of Russia.

King Charles III of Spain ordered a number of expeditions between 1774 and 1791 to claim Alaska for Spain, but his ambitions were thwarted each time by the Russian army. The British too, impressed by the resources of Alaska, which were revealed following Captain James Cook's expedition in 1778, wanted a share of this territory. They succeeded partially, by being able to bring the town of Wrangell under British rule.

Gradually, the United States became aware of the potential of Alaska. In 1867, USA purchased Alaska from Russia. It turned out to be a jackpot with the discovery of gold near Sitka in 1872.

Years later in 1959, Alaska was incorporated as the 49th state of the U.S. As a prized possession since, Alaska is renowned not just for its abundant natural resources, but also for its breath taking landscapes and wildlife, which make it a true paradise on Earth.


Getting There

A number of direct flights operate between Alaska and continental USA. The rest of the world connects to Alaska via stopover flights.

Best Time to Go

June to September is the best time visit Alaska. This period witnesses a very pleasant weather and a vibrant wildlife, thus encouraging the pursuit of various outdoor activities.

Local Customs to Observe

Since Alaska has a mixed culture of various indigenous groups, social etiquettes vary from place to place. Broadly, Alaskans are warm, laid-back people, exhibiting appreciable hospitality. Traditional western customs are followed along the coast.

Helpful Fast Facts

Currency: United States Dollar (USD).

Time Zone: UTC-09:00; UTC-10:00.

Local language: A number of languages are officially spoken across the vast expanse of Alaska. This includes English, Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unangan, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Koyukon, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Han, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.

Population: 768,335.

Airports: Juneau International Airport(JNU) and Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT) provide the gateway to the Inside Passage. Direct flights from the mainland U.S. fly to both of these destinations.

Entry Requirements: All nationals entering Alaska require a valid passport. The US State Department has a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which allows citizens of its member nations to stay in the USA (Alaska included) for up to 90 days without a visa. At present, the following countries are included in the VWP: Austria, Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, South Korea, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Departure Tax: $13.40 per person for destinations outside the Continental U.S.; and

$6.70 for travel to the US, and some points in Canada.

Legal Drinking Age: 21 years.

Smoking Regulations: Alaskan laws prohibit smoking in all public places and public vehicles. Local regulations regarding restaurants and bars vary from city to city.

Staying in touch: Communication is good in Alaska, with American cellphone companies providing local tariffs to the continental US. Internet coverage is also widespread in the state.

Medical Information: Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage is the state's largest hospital with multiple specialized services. Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and Peacehealth Ketchikan Medical Center Ketchikan are the other top medical facilities in Alaska.

Public Holidays: January 1&2 – New Year's Day; January 16 - Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday; February 20 - President's Day; Seward's Day (Last Monday of March); Memorial Day (Last Monday of May); July 4 - Independence Day; Labor Day (First Monday of September); October 18 – Alaska Day; November 11 – Veteran's Day; Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday of November); December 25 – Christmas Day.

Tourist Office: https://www.travelalaska.com/

Shopping Information: Besides duty-free shops that exist at the airport, Alaska also has quite a few markets and shopping centers across its territory. Local arts and crafts are abundant in Juneau and Sitka.

Top Ten "Must Do's"

  • Sail to the scenic settings of waterfalls and icebergs in Tracy Arm Fjord
  • Grab your video to capture the cracking spectacle of the calving Sawyer Glaciers
  • Kayak in Cannery Cove and watch the brown bears head to the coastline to feed
  • Grab the binoculars and be on the lookout for sea lions, sea otters, and puffins at St. Lazaria National Wildlife Refuge
  • Grab your rod and fish “The Hump” for salmon and halibut
  • Take flight on a panoramic helicopter tour that will later land you on Mendenhall Glacier
  • Fly fish for salmon in one of the many lakes and rivers
  • Keep a keen lookout for breaching whales and orcas who can appear at any time
  • Soak in the Baranof Warm Springs within view of a 100-foot waterfall; champagne in hand, of course
  • Help your crew set some crab traps for tomorrow’s dinner

Major Local and Regional Events

  • Girdwood Forest Fair - a huge festival celebrating Alaskan arts, crafts & music
  • Alaskan State Fair - the state’s largest annual event, featuring concerts, carnival rides, games, food and exhibitions
  • World Eskimo-Indian Olympics – a sporting event participated by athletes from the circumpolar north

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