Summary : This carefully curated expedition offers the peak experiences of Patagonia and its surrounding environs in a compact timeframe. Discover the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas that make Chilean Patagonia one of the most lauded nature destinations on Earth. Exposing you to the ‘best of’ highlights, like the stunning Beagle Channel, massive glaciers and snowcapped peaks, this perfectly-paced voyage also brings you into the seldom-seen natural splendors of Karukinka Natural Park. Top off your expedition by exploring Argentina’s rugged, seldom-seen Isla De Los Estados (Staten Island), a land of mythic wildness that has been largely off limits to travelers since 1923.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins
New in 2017: Most beverages and crew tips included
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$8,950 to $16,720
Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.
Check in to your hotel, centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to your afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. Explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city.
Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southern gateway to Patagonia. Drive to the outpost of Puerto Natales, and embark the ship along with other passengers who are on the 15-day itinerary.
Meals: B, L, D
Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife on our way out of Puerto Natales as the ship transits the narrow sliver of water known as the Kirke Narrows—a 650-foot wide passage. Today and during the following days you’ll be treated to the spectacular features of an active glaciated landscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. This region was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and it took most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way through the maze of channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Look to make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where you may go out by Zodiac or kayak.
Meals: B, L, D
Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. Visit its newest and largest protected area: Karukinka Natural Park. Established in 2004 through a gift from Goldman Sachs, Karukinka is one of the largest donations ever made for conservation. Special permission from the Wildlife Conservation Society has been granted to visit this private reserve, which spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox, Andean condors, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and many other kinds of wildlife. You may explore Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and look for wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one of the nearby small islands. Or you may walk a trail to a lovely waterfall and look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach but also high in the grass meadows and even in the small river draining the valley inland.
Meals: B, L, D
Explore more stunning wilderness as you see the fjords and glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak and on foot. A vast area of soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelago is scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore these protected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of ice contrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes of flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Then sail the Beagle Channel and look to hike and kayak one of the wild areas in this region of beech forests, mountains and wild rivers.
Meals: B, L, D
Visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the South American continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town of Hoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate—before the opening of the Panama Canal ships had to round the cape to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic. Of course, now modern equipment and decades of experience help to explore safely. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of a hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette.
Meals: B, L, D
With special permission to visit extraordinary Staten Island, you will be among the few people ever to set foot here. It’s a place of superlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visited primarily by a few scientists and those who oversee the tiny naval observatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615. Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are beautiful, and you’ll find a great deal of interest here. The exact schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of conditions. See southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and large assemblages of fur seals and sea lions. Look for otters on landings ashore; and see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name. There will be chances to walk in the southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand out as a unique chance to explore a very remote place.
Meals: B, L, D
Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take a charter flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home.
Meals: B, L
Arrive home after your overnight flight from Santiago.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Easter Island: Home to the silent sentinels of a long lost culture, this tiny island is located 2,300 miles west of Chiles in the Pacific Ocean and almost 1,200 miles from its nearest island neighbor. Learn about the ancient Rapa Nui culture that grew up in isolation. Where did these people come from and why did they carve more than 500 giant moai? Learn from key archaeologists. 4 Days from $4,390 per person. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Santiago City, Wine & Culinary Highlights: Take advantage of your proximity to Santiago to discover the culture, cuisine, and superb wine of this corner of the world. 2 Days from $1,990 per person. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Cabin accommodations aboard ship; one pre-voyage hotel night in Santiago; meals aboard the ship; shore excursions per the itinerary; transfers to and from group flights; bar tab (some premium beverages excluded) and crew gratuities; port charges; use of kayaks. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; extensions; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature such as premium alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins - Fjords, Guanacos, Flowers, Torre Del Paine; © Michael S Nolan - Red Fox