Summary : This expedition takes you to the most intriguing spots in Antarctica and along the South American coast. Enjoy spending time ashore, kayaking, hiking, and experiencing close encounters with penguins, birds, and seals in Antarctica. Discover Cape Horn, the Chilean fjords, the rich wildlife of Patagonia and visit one of the most scenic national parks in the world. Discover Buenos Aires, known as the 'Paris of South America'. After a short included flight from Buenos Aires, embark from Ushuaia across the legendary Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. Here penguins, seals, whales, and large flocks of sea birds give life to the surreal and beautiful landscape. Enjoy shore excursions where you will experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing on the Antarctic continent. After crossing the Drake Passage again, you will arrive at Cape Horn. This is a mystical place where two oceans meet. Sail onboard to the Chilean fjords, a wild and remote area that seems almost untouched by humans, with mountains plunging into icy waters. The steep valleys with snow-capped mountains make a striking contrast to an otherwise green area that is rich in wildlife. Your journey continues along the Chilean Pacific coastline that is filled with snow-tipped volcanoes reflected in beautiful lakes, raging rivers, and lush vegetation. Here you will visit Torres del Paine National Park. Enjoy this vast, rugged and beautiful landscape, before the expedition ends in colorful Valparaiso.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
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$11,153 to $37,318
Your expedition starts in Buenos Aires, the vibrant capital city of Argentina, renowned for its enchanting combination of European flair and Latin American charm. Enjoy an included hotel night here.
Start your morning with an included breakfast at the hotel, before meeting your included transfer to the airport. Your flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and transfer from the Ushuaia airport for embarkation as also included.
Today you will cross the Drake Passage en route to the Antarctic Peninsula. Your day will be filled spotting an abundance of seabirds from the ship and enjoying fascinating presentations about the history and wildlife of Antarctica.
This unending, white wilderness of a continent is full of overwhelming impressions on an impressive scale. Weather, wind and ice conditions will of course have a great influence on our program and schedule and your experienced expedition team will select possible landing sites that will provide you with the best experiences available. With long hours of daylight that you have in Antarctica this time of the year it is easy to make the most of your days. While in Antarctica, you will attempt to land on sites both on the South Shetland Islands and on the Antarctic Peninsula. Flexibility allows you to take advantage of the unexpected and wildlife will be at the forefront of your mind. You will be brought on shore for close up exploration. You might call at the Gentoo penguin rookeries on Cuverville Island and Neko Harbor. Weather permitting, you will have a chance to sail through the incomparable Lemaire Channel and take on the challenging hike on Petermann Island to get rewarded with panoramic views. Another fun destination if weather permits is Port Lockroy, an old British base with a museum. Sailing through the Antarctic Sound offers spectacular views of tabular icebergs and glacial landscapes, and Brown Bluff has a distinct rock formation. Sturdy PolarCirkel boats will enable you to go ashore almost anywhere and explore bays and channels. The expedition team will explain what you see and ensure you do as little as possible to disturb the local wildlife. Enjoy experiencing Antarctica with all your senses. Kayaking in untouched waters with icebergs floating by, guided hikes up snowy pathways to spectacular viewing points, listening to the sounds of glaciers calving or penguins squabbling, spending the night on deck or in a tent on this remote and untouched continent, or perhaps for the most daring, taking the polar plunge swim. Every day will be different, carefully crafted by our expedition team to educate you and create lasting memories.
After a magnificent week of exploration in Antarctica, you will head north and make your way back to the South American continent. As you reach the southernmost tip of South America, you will land on Cape Horn if the conditions allow. Going ashore can be very difficult because of the sometimes-extreme weather in this area. This is the southernmost point of Chile and lies almost 56 degrees south, marking the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the northern end of the Drake Passage. The region is of great significance on account of its location, history, discoveries and trade routes. If you are able to anchor off Cape Horn, you will be able to go ashore to explore this deserted and yet romantic piece of land at the end of the world.
The Chilean fjords' deep channels, fjords, and mountains plunging into the icy water always leave a profound impression on visitors. This wild and remote area seems almost untouched by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, creating the isolated islands and hidden bays that form the unique fjord landscape of Chile. Snow-capped mountains and steep valleys make a striking contrast to a lush coastline that is rich in wildlife. You might be lucky enough to spot sea lions, Andean condors and several bird species that can only be found here.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive nature sanctuaries in the world. Its main feature is the “towers” themselves; impressive rock formations, called “Torres del Paine” (Towers of Paine). The formations are made up of the Torre Central (9,186 feet high), Torre Sur (9,350 feet) and Torre Norte (7,375 feet). The park features azure lakes, trails that meander through emerald forests, roaring rivers, and one big, radiant blue glacier. Torres del Paine hosts stunning variety, from the vast open steppe to rugged mountain terrain topped by looming peaks. The diversity of environments here has led to the flourish of a wide variety of fauna and flora. While you are here you might see llamas, pumas, chilla foxes, and skunks in addition to more than 100 species of birds like the Andean condor and black-chested buzzard eagle. Enjoy hiking in these amazing surroundings.
After an unforgettable cruise through Patagonian waters, the unique village of Puerto Edén will enchant you. It is a tiny settlement in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. There are no roads, only wooden walkways, and electricity is only available during a few hours every day. Puerto Edén is a great place to experience the traditional indigenous culture of Patagonian tribes. The villagers sell fish, mussels and shellfish products, which are taken to markets by a weekly transport boat. For souvenirs, buy traditional Kawéskar crafts such as wicker baskets and boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the laneways, and maybe you will spot one of the many Magellan hummingbirds found here when you join the Expedition team for hiking or kayaking.
The expedition continues north through the fabled waters of Patagonia. As you sail through iconic Andean seascapes, you have plenty of time to gaze out on the magnificent natural expanse. There might also be trivia contests covering questions about explorer history and Antarctic wildlife.
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Castro is set among windswept hills and green vegetation. The city is known for its colourful “palafitos”, wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water's edge. Come ashore and enjoy the local Chilote character and curious energy, mixed with a dash of modern development. The Iglesia San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is a visual delight: bright yellow and orange with a lavender trim. The varnished-wood interior is stunning, illuminated by rows of stained-glass windows. Other sights include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza right by the waterfront with an odd collection of old trains. A stroll in the Cementerio Parroquial is fascinating, as some of the tombs are quite grand and ornately decorated. Feria Campesina Yumbel is a bustling fruit and vegetable market. There are also household goods and fish stalls here. In the shop Feria Artesanal Lillo, located just south of the port, you can buy excellent hand-knit woolen goods and handicrafts. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Castro are concentrated along the Calle Blanco, running from the southern end of the plaza down to the waterfront, and this is where you can get a taste of the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew. Close to the town is Chiloé National Park, a largely unexplored wilderness hosting rare flora and fauna. The park features wide deserted beaches and long stretches of rugged coastline, and is home to dozens of seabird species, penguins and sea lions.
As you make your way along the Pacific coast to Valparaiso, you will have a recap of everything you have experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.
This expedition comes to an end in the colorful and poetic city of Valparaíso. Make time to explore this scenic town before you fly home.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for camping during the voyage. Gear and all cold-weather needs supplied – except pajamas. Due to popular demand, campers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit as to the number of guests allowed to sleep onshore. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for deck camping during the voyage. Spend the night on deck and enjoy a magnificent view of the landscape and sky. Included: Sleeping bags, a welcome drink, and a fresh pastry and coffee in the morning. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for kayaking during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 2-4 hours. Due to popular demand, kayakers are chosen by a lottery system. Kayaking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Basic kayak experience required. Includes kayaking gear. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Taught by two professional photography instructors, this pre-bookable photography school program covers basic image editing, wildlife and landscape photography, and DSLR video instruction. This program is designed for proficient beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated work station with software provided, priority access to the Photo Optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens cleaning kit. Min. / Max. Capacity: 2-10 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Small Boat Cruising:
Depending on the weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for small boat ‘Polarcirkel’ cruising excursions during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 1-2 hours. Included: Survival float suit, and a hot drink upon return. Small boat cruising is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Max. Capacity: 21 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for snowshoeing during the voyage. Due to popular demand, snowshoers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit to the number of guests allowed to go onshore at one time. Snowshoeing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Economy flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia; pre-cruise hotel night in Buenos Aires with an included breakfast; pre-cruise transfers from the hotel in Buenos Aires to the airport and from the airport in Ushuaia to the ship; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Expedition Suites (M + MG) include a cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not detailed in the inclusions; transfers not detailed in inclusions; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; luggage handling; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as mentioned; mini bar replenishment; optional excursions and gratuities; items of a personal nature such as laundry; walking sticks and binoculars can be rented for an additional charge; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Andrea Kalvig Anderson