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Patagonia Explorer: Cruise and Hiking Adventure in Chile & Argentina

Trip Length 12 days

From $8,395

  • See the very best of Patagonia on the only cruise ship allowed to sail where the Atlantic and Pacific meet
  • Enjoy rare accesss to remote Chilean fjords and mythical Cape Horn, where opportunities to see calving glaciers and incredible wildlife abound
  • Hike in stunning Torres del Paine National Park, with its sky-piercing rock spires, and see the famed Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Reap the benefits of our 40+ years of experience in Patagonia with top-notch, expert guides leading the way!

Nature really outdoes herself in this corner of the world: golden pampas beneath a boundless sky, forests of gnarled trees akin to oversized bonsai, towering fjords and glaciers forgotten by the last ice age. The sheer amount and variety of Patagonia’s beauty is staggering and we’ve crafted the ultimate itinerary to show you the very best of it. On this 12-day exploration, you’ll see where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge on a cruise through the indescribable—and otherwise inaccessible—fjords and inlets of Chilean Patagonia, home to a rich bounty of wildlife like elephant seals and Magellanic penguins. Later, take day hikes around the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine, 8,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes, and see the renowned Perito Moreno Glacier on a full-day excursion. Earth and ice, sea and sky, activity and luxury. This is the ultimate Patagonia experience!
 

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas

Welcome to Punta Arenas, situated on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan in Chile. Your trip leader will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel in town. This evening, the group will gather for a briefing on the adventure ahead.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Cabo de Hornos

Day 2: Board the Via Australis

Take a morning tour of Punta Arenas before transferring to the port for luggage check-in in the afternoon. We'll board the 132-passenger Via Australis at 6pm. After enjoying a welcome cocktail, the ship will depart for the Strait of Magellan and our cruise adventure!

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 3: Sail to Ainsworth Bay and Tucker Islet

At dawn, we'll sail through Almirantazgo Sound, arriving at Ainsworth Bay within Alberto De Agostini National Park. From the distance we will see Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin Mountain Range, and appreciate how the land comes back to life after ice retreat. We will also take a walk in the stunning sub-polar Magellan forest. On the beach, we might enjoy the view of Southern Elephant Seals, although sighting cannot be guaranteed due to the colony’s unpredictable location. Later, we'll sail to Tucker Islet and board Zodiac boats to get close to a colony of Magellan Penguins, endemic to the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 4: Voyage through Glacier Avenue

We'll continue our voyage, winding around various fjords and coming very near the ocean before heading into the inner fjords again. We’ll disembark at  Pia Glacier on the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel and walk to an observation point that offers an excellent view of the Darwin Range, where the glacier originates. Here we'll be able to trace the glacier's progress as it travels down and into the waters of Pia Bay. We'll listen to the thunderous noise as the glacier "calves," dropping enormous masses of ice into the bay—a truly awesome sight (and sound!). Next we’ll navigate through the Beagle Channel and into the spectacular “Glacier Avenue,” with its impressive array of glaciers lined up one after another.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 5: Journey to Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay

Today we'll navigate through the Beagle and Murray Channels and disembark at Cape Horn National Park, weather permitting. Cape Horn, an island featuring 2,100-foot-high cliffs, was discovered on January 30, 1616, by a Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac LeMaire and under the command of Captain Wilhem Schouten. The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn, Netherlands, the starting point for the expedition. We will visit Horn Island to get a panoramic view of the famous and mythical Cape Horn, the place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge and the last promontory of South America. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.

In the afternoon, we'll go ashore in historic Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography, and we’ll walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 6: Explore Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Today we'll cruise to Ushuaia, Argentina, a small bustling town located in a dramatic setting at the base of several snowcapped mountains. We'll disembark and transfer to Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa, before hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park. The park is known for its rich plant species and abundant birdlife, including numerous shorebirds (cormorants, grebes, steamer ducks, kelp geese, and more) as well as less common Andean condors and black-browed albatross.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Los Cauquenes

Day 7: Visit the famous Perito Moreno Glacier

After an early breakfast, we'll explore Ushuaia town and drive to the airport for flight to El Calafate. We'll then enjoy an excursion to renowned Perito Moreno Glacier, a very active glacier on the southern arm of Lago Argentino. We’ll watch in awe as its imposing 200-foot-high headwall continually calves massive blocks of ice into the lake with a thunderous roar. Depending on the weather, we can also take an optional walk on the glacier itself, an outstanding but easy glacier hike among the great ice peaks and towers. After a picnic lunch we'll return to Calafate. Dinner tonight will be on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Xelena Hotel

Day 8: En route to Torres del Paine National Park

Today we'll drive across the border into Chile and on to Torres del Paine National Park, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. (Note: There may be some delays while border formalities are attended to.)

NOTE—As there is no air service between Argentina and Chile in the Patagonia region, we must drive from El Calafate in Argentina, across the steppes to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. While this is a long day of driving (about eight hours), there is always something to see!

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Lago Grey

Days 9-11: Hike in Torres del Paine National Park

Over the next few days, we'll enjoy day hikes among the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine (10,000')—3,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes. We plan to walk along a trail by Laguna Verde, which sports native beech forest and wonderful views of the Paine Massif, ultimately reaching one of the best lookouts of Lago Toro and the mountain range beyond. Other hiking opportunities include: a short walk to see the Salto Grande waterfall, beautifully located in front of the Horns (Los Cuernos) of Paine; a strenuous 8- to 10-hour hike to the base of Las Torres, the famous “towers of Paine”; or a hike on a nature trail to watch llama-like guanacos and view cave paintings drawn by the original inhabitants. Hikes are dependent on the weather, abilities, and the interests of the group.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Las Torres

Day 12: Return to Punta Arenas and depart

On the final day, we'll take a seven-hour drive to Punta Arenas, stopping along the way at the fishing town of Puerto Natales, situated on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). We'll enjoy lunch here before continuing to Punta Arenas, where we'll board our afternoon flights to Santiago. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch

Mar 11 - 22, 2016 Stella Australis

pricing

Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 PRICES

$8,395 per person (6-16 members)
$8,895 per person (4-5 members)

$350 internal airfare (Ushuaia/El Calafate, subject to change)
$2,600 single supplement
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations

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Cabo de Hornos

Hotel Lago Grey — Torres del Paine National Park

The hotel with the best views of the whole Paine Massif. The full wall windows makes sure you don’t miss out on the sunset coloring the massif red. 

Hotel Las Torres — Torres del Paine National Park

Surrounded by towering mountains, this hotel sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.

Los Cauquenes — Ushuaia

he hotel is located 4.3 miles from Ushuaia and 9.3 miles to Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Via Australis


Xelena Hotel — El Calafate

Quiet and majestic, Lago Argentino (Argentine Lake) grants Xelena Suites & Spa Hotel that peculiar elegance and beauty conveyed by the Patagonian spirit. A high caliber proposal designed for guests to enjoy the best landscapes of Argentine Patagonia, at all times of the year.

Comfort and warmth define the Hotel’s personality and make the perfect match with the personalized attention and services that it offers its guests. The hotel counts on a Spa, boutique, gourmet areas and function rooms for social and business events.

Magic and natural, the Xelena Hotel, on the banks of the Argentine Lake (Lago Argentino), captures unforgettable images that will allow you to experience a personal fusion with a unique natural environment.

  • See the very best of Patagonia on the only cruise ship allowed to sail where the Atlantic and Pacific meet
  • Enjoy rare accesss to remote Chilean fjords and mythical Cape Horn, where opportunities to see calving glaciers and incredible wildlife abound
  • Hike in stunning Torres del Paine National Park, with its sky-piercing rock spires, and see the famed Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Reap the benefits of our 40+ years of experience in Patagonia with top-notch, expert guides leading the way!

Nature really outdoes herself in this corner of the world: golden pampas beneath a boundless sky, forests of gnarled trees akin to oversized bonsai, towering fjords and glaciers forgotten by the last ice age. The sheer amount and variety of Patagonia’s beauty is staggering and we’ve crafted the ultimate itinerary to show you the very best of it. On this 12-day exploration, you’ll see where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge on a cruise through the indescribable—and otherwise inaccessible—fjords and inlets of Chilean Patagonia, home to a rich bounty of wildlife like elephant seals and Magellanic penguins. Later, take day hikes around the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine, 8,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes, and see the renowned Perito Moreno Glacier on a full-day excursion. Earth and ice, sea and sky, activity and luxury. This is the ultimate Patagonia experience!
 

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas

Welcome to Punta Arenas, situated on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan in Chile. Your trip leader will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel in town. This evening, the group will gather for a briefing on the adventure ahead.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Cabo de Hornos

Day 2: Board the Via Australis

Take a morning tour of Punta Arenas before transferring to the port for luggage check-in in the afternoon. We'll board the 132-passenger Via Australis at 6pm. After enjoying a welcome cocktail, the ship will depart for the Strait of Magellan and our cruise adventure!

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 3: Sail to Ainsworth Bay and Tucker Islet

At dawn, we'll sail through Almirantazgo Sound, arriving at Ainsworth Bay within Alberto De Agostini National Park. From the distance we will see Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin Mountain Range, and appreciate how the land comes back to life after ice retreat. We will also take a walk in the stunning sub-polar Magellan forest. On the beach, we might enjoy the view of Southern Elephant Seals, although sighting cannot be guaranteed due to the colony’s unpredictable location. Later, we'll sail to Tucker Islet and board Zodiac boats to get close to a colony of Magellan Penguins, endemic to the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 4: Voyage through Glacier Avenue

We'll continue our voyage, winding around various fjords and coming very near the ocean before heading into the inner fjords again. We’ll disembark at  Pia Glacier on the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel and walk to an observation point that offers an excellent view of the Darwin Range, where the glacier originates. Here we'll be able to trace the glacier's progress as it travels down and into the waters of Pia Bay. We'll listen to the thunderous noise as the glacier "calves," dropping enormous masses of ice into the bay—a truly awesome sight (and sound!). Next we’ll navigate through the Beagle Channel and into the spectacular “Glacier Avenue,” with its impressive array of glaciers lined up one after another.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 5: Journey to Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay

Today we'll navigate through the Beagle and Murray Channels and disembark at Cape Horn National Park, weather permitting. Cape Horn, an island featuring 2,100-foot-high cliffs, was discovered on January 30, 1616, by a Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac LeMaire and under the command of Captain Wilhem Schouten. The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn, Netherlands, the starting point for the expedition. We will visit Horn Island to get a panoramic view of the famous and mythical Cape Horn, the place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge and the last promontory of South America. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.

In the afternoon, we'll go ashore in historic Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography, and we’ll walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Via Australis

Day 6: Explore Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Today we'll cruise to Ushuaia, Argentina, a small bustling town located in a dramatic setting at the base of several snowcapped mountains. We'll disembark and transfer to Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa, before hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park. The park is known for its rich plant species and abundant birdlife, including numerous shorebirds (cormorants, grebes, steamer ducks, kelp geese, and more) as well as less common Andean condors and black-browed albatross.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Los Cauquenes

Day 7: Visit the famous Perito Moreno Glacier

After an early breakfast, we'll explore Ushuaia town and drive to the airport for flight to El Calafate. We'll then enjoy an excursion to renowned Perito Moreno Glacier, a very active glacier on the southern arm of Lago Argentino. We’ll watch in awe as its imposing 200-foot-high headwall continually calves massive blocks of ice into the lake with a thunderous roar. Depending on the weather, we can also take an optional walk on the glacier itself, an outstanding but easy glacier hike among the great ice peaks and towers. After a picnic lunch we'll return to Calafate. Dinner tonight will be on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Xelena Hotel

Day 8: En route to Torres del Paine National Park

Today we'll drive across the border into Chile and on to Torres del Paine National Park, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. (Note: There may be some delays while border formalities are attended to.)

NOTE—As there is no air service between Argentina and Chile in the Patagonia region, we must drive from El Calafate in Argentina, across the steppes to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. While this is a long day of driving (about eight hours), there is always something to see!

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Lago Grey

Days 9-11: Hike in Torres del Paine National Park

Over the next few days, we'll enjoy day hikes among the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine (10,000')—3,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes. We plan to walk along a trail by Laguna Verde, which sports native beech forest and wonderful views of the Paine Massif, ultimately reaching one of the best lookouts of Lago Toro and the mountain range beyond. Other hiking opportunities include: a short walk to see the Salto Grande waterfall, beautifully located in front of the Horns (Los Cuernos) of Paine; a strenuous 8- to 10-hour hike to the base of Las Torres, the famous “towers of Paine”; or a hike on a nature trail to watch llama-like guanacos and view cave paintings drawn by the original inhabitants. Hikes are dependent on the weather, abilities, and the interests of the group.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Las Torres

Day 12: Return to Punta Arenas and depart

On the final day, we'll take a seven-hour drive to Punta Arenas, stopping along the way at the fishing town of Puerto Natales, situated on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). We'll enjoy lunch here before continuing to Punta Arenas, where we'll board our afternoon flights to Santiago. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch
lodgings

Cabo de Hornos

Hotel Lago Grey — Torres del Paine National Park

The hotel with the best views of the whole Paine Massif. The full wall windows makes sure you don’t miss out on the sunset coloring the massif red. 

Hotel Las Torres — Torres del Paine National Park

Surrounded by towering mountains, this hotel sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.

Los Cauquenes — Ushuaia

he hotel is located 4.3 miles from Ushuaia and 9.3 miles to Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Via Australis


Xelena Hotel — El Calafate

Quiet and majestic, Lago Argentino (Argentine Lake) grants Xelena Suites & Spa Hotel that peculiar elegance and beauty conveyed by the Patagonian spirit. A high caliber proposal designed for guests to enjoy the best landscapes of Argentine Patagonia, at all times of the year.

Comfort and warmth define the Hotel’s personality and make the perfect match with the personalized attention and services that it offers its guests. The hotel counts on a Spa, boutique, gourmet areas and function rooms for social and business events.

Magic and natural, the Xelena Hotel, on the banks of the Argentine Lake (Lago Argentino), captures unforgettable images that will allow you to experience a personal fusion with a unique natural environment.

Dates and Pricing

Mar 11 - 22, 2016 Stella Australis

pricing

Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 PRICES

$8,395 per person (6-16 members)
$8,895 per person (4-5 members)

$350 internal airfare (Ushuaia/El Calafate, subject to change)
$2,600 single supplement
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations

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