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In this 16-day Itinerary, you will explore some of the world’s most spectacular and diverse scenery, as well as Chile’s fascinating culture and history. You will traverse the majestic sites of Patagonia: hike in Torres del Paine National Park, Zodiac cruise and kayak through the Chilean fjords and see wonderful wildlife from dolphins to Magellanic penguins and South American fur seals. As part of your exploration, you will reach places like Chiloé and sample Chilean specialities!
Leave the UK the day before and arrive in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. You will have some time to explore the city before overnighting in your pre-cruise hotel.
You will arrive in Ushuaia, also known as the southernmost city in the world! You will be transferred to the hotel in downtown Ushuaia. The rest of the day can be spent at your own pace.
You will enjoy breakfast at the hotel before heading to Ushuaia on a half-day tour.
The city is the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego. It is surrounded by the Martial Range and located on the shore of the Beagle Channel. Explore the national park and contemplate the spectacular scenery from impressive waterfalls to infinite lush green valleys and glaciers stretching along the coast.
You will head to the port and start boarding around 4 pm, the Expedition team will show you to your cabin. Once you are settled, you will meet the expedition team and your fellow adventurers with a welcome dinner, a celebration to start the beginning of the journey.
The ship will navigate through the Beagle Channel and follow the route of Charles Darwin, took in 1831 on board the HMS Beagle, an expedition that forever changed his life and inspired his theory of evolution.
As you sail west from Ushuaia, you will admire the 150 mile-long Glacier Alley, home to six sizable glaciers surrounded by snow-capped mountains. If the weather allows, you will board a Zodiac for a close look at the impressive Romanche Glacier. You can hear the sound of cracking ice as you approach it. The location also offers the possibility to spot remarkable wildlife such as penguin rookeries and South American fur seals.
Francisco Coloane was the first known feeding ground for humpback whales, established in 2003 as Chile’s first marine reserve. The name comes from a famous Chilean author who wrote many stories about Patagonia and Antarctica. You will spend time kayaking and Zodiac cruising around the southern area of Santa Ines Island, home to Magellanic penguins, imperial cormorants, flightless steamer ducks, and southern fur seals. The ship will continue to Carlos III Island where you will have the opportunity to spot humpback whales from the deck. If the weather allows, you can get up close in kayaks and Zodiacs.
You will venture north and feel the constant wind blowing, as well as rain and snow. The Chilean fjords are characterized by wild weather. So be prepared for a radical change from what you’ve seen so far. The fjords and islands, that dot the area, present a unique wilderness. The scenery will unfold as you sail through the channel and reveal natural environment, remarkable wildlife, and the expedition team will provide you with further knowledge about the culture and history of the different places you will visit.
You will set sail to Puerto Natales known as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Once you enter the park, you will observe the Torres del Paine’s towering mountains which symbolise the wilderness of Patagonia. You will feel the immensity when travelling through the region, with the lakes’ intense colours, breath-taking landscapes filled with snow-covered mountains and infinite national parks where you will perform various hikes and pass several estancias during these two days. Along the way, you will admire the view of lakes like Amamrga, Sarmiento, Nordenskjold, and Pehoe; and observe the local fauna including majestic condors, pumas and guanaco (wild camelids related to the llama.
You will enjoy a night at a hotel located just outside the park where you will experience local Chilean dishes and wine. The next day, you will head back to the Greg Mortimer in time for dinner.
The captain will cross the White Narrows, a narrow channel of water and where his masterful skills will be challenged. He will take you through this difficult channel and reach Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. The park is about 200 miles from one end the other, which combines one of the largest expanses of glacial ice outside the Polar Regions. You will navigate through a maze of fjords before getting to the entrance of PIO XI Glacier, named after the Pope Pius XI by Father Alberto de Agostini, an Italian missionary and explorer who, in 1931, was the first person to cross the Southern Ice Field. From the 48 glaciers dotting the Southern Ice Field, only PIO XI is not retreating. Scientists cannot explain why it has advanced so far and so fast for the last 80 years.
You will head to Puerto Eden where the navigation promises to be even more challenging including Paso del Abismo – a narrow but spectacular channel with breath-taking views.
Puerto Eden is a fishing village located on the east coast of Wellington Island. It is connected with tortuous canals, impressive mountains and icefields and considered one of Chile’s most isolated inhabited places. An opportunity to meet the friendly locals, explore the picturesque boardwalks over the maze of canals and unwind in this peaceful nature.
You will leave Puerto Eden behind and re-enter the channels towards Chiloé. You can learn from presentations provided by our Expedition team, or enjoy the facilities of the ship from the library to the jacuzzi and sauna and the fitness centre.
Be on the deck as you can look for whales, dolphins and seabirds in this fascinating maze of channels and islands. You will sail through the Moraleda Channel and contemplate sublime Andean peaks like Mentolat, Melimollu volcano, and the Maca Volcano. You could spot killer whales hunting in the region as it has numerous South American sea lion colonies.
The next day, you will explore the coastline of Tic Toc Bay. The area has been protected as a marine parks, based not only on the fact that blue whales are present in the waters, but the wildlife is abundant. You can see other cetaceans, marine mammals, and seabirds. You will have the possibility to watch oceanic seabirds including black-browed albatross, southern giant petrel, southern fulmar and the long-distance migratory Arctic skua.
Chiloé is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile and renowned for its heritage and carpentry. You can visit shipyards, enjoy one of Chiloe’s 16 UNESCO World Heritage-listed timber churches, and see some of the most impressive wood shingle houses anywhere in the world. Meet the locals and sample some of their dishes, one of the reasons why Chilean people travel to Chiloé. Seafood is plentiful in this area and, with hundreds of potato varieties to select from, it is no surprise you will sample specialties with mussels and cod, and traditional “curanto” that can be prepared in different ways!
Your voyage will end in Puerto Montt where you will bid farewell to the Expedition team and your fellow adventurers. You will then be transferred to the airport and fly to Santiago where you will stay overnight in the hotel of your choice.
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