Welcome to Alaska
More than twice the size of Texas, Alaska is the largest state
in the USA: a land of vast natural splendour, abundant wildlife and
few people. It offers unique experiences such as walking in
unspoilt wilderness, spectacular cruising through the fjords of the
Inside Passage, and frontier towns rich in gold rush history.
Alaska's sense of undiscovered wilderness and promise of
adventure is still as strong today as it was in the past, and
having attracted thousands of pioneers in search of gold, fur,
fishing, logging and oil, this 'Last Frontier' today lures
travellers in search of an unspoilt beauty and close encounters
with nature. In fact, Alaska's three largest cities, Fairbanks,
Juneau, and Anchorage, have fewer than 300,000 people between
The southeast epitomises classic Alaskan scenery, with its
fjords, mountains, forests and glaciers. Alaska is one of the top
cruise destinations in the world and the main draw-card for
visitors to this region is the lack of roads between towns and
scenic wonders that make the waters of the Inside Passage a major
marine highway ideal for ship travel.
The number one attraction in the interior heartland is Denali
National Park, an area of untamed magnificence that also
encompasses North America's highest mountain, the snow-covered
Mount McKinley. Arctic Alaska in the frozen north is less
well-travelled, and few venture as far as Barrow and Nome.
Because of its location in the far north, Alaska is the land of
the 'midnight sun', and visitors can experience the odd phenomenon
of having over 21 hours of sunlight each day in the summer.
Despite a reputation for high prices and inhospitable winters,
millions of people have discovered a piece of America that is worth
every dollar. Nowhere else can that frontier feeling be truly
experienced, a place where wilderness surrounds every part of the
Alaskan way of life.
Information & Facts
Although the assumption is that Alaska is a land of snow and
sub-zero temperatures, the Alaskan climate is actually extremely
varied, caused by the state's six different topographic regions.
The far north is extremely dry and very cold, with Arctic
conditions and temperatures average about -20°F (-29°C), and the
ground at Point Barrow remains permanently frozen to a depth of
1,330 ft (405 m). Summer temperatures in the lowlands are
surprisingly high, averaging in the 60s Fahrenheit (about 16°C),
and they have been known to reach 90°F (32°C) and up. The southeast
tends to be fairly moderate, with damp, rainy and sometimes mild
conditions, with temperatures in July averaging 56°F (13°C) and
temperatures in January averaging 30°F (-1°C) and the south and
central areas tend to be similar, with slightly colder winter
temperatures. Western Alaska tends to be rainy, while the Aleutian
Islands in winter are damp and rainy, with fog. Heavy snows are
common in the north and central regions of the state.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT -9 (GMT -8 from March to November).