The South Shetlands are one of Antarctica’s most visited areas thanks to their spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and proximity to Tierra del Fuego. At 540km-long, this large chain of islands is located off the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. Small groups of scientists and researchers, as well as a variety of penguins, seabirds, and seals populate its coasts. After emerging from the Drake Passage, the South Shetlands are a frequent stop for those traveling to the peninsula. Popular destinations include Elephant, King George, Livingston, and Deception Island. Each offers a variety of activities that cater to all levels of interest, and have a significant place in Antarctica's past. А One of the major sealing centers of the 19th century was located on Livingston Island. Decaying shelters and other artifacts from that time can be found along the island's coast making it an important historic site in Antarctica. Because of its historical importance, the island's western end is now protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under the Antarctic Treaty.