This morning you fly south to the colorful port town of Punta Arenas at the end of the world to begin your Chile travel adventures. You'll transfer directly to the Mare Australis - a luxury passenger ship built specifically for cruising through the fjords of the Strait of Magellan. Make yourself at home on this spacious and comfortable ship. Late this afternoon you'll cast off to begin your exploration of the waterways of Patagonia.
Read Detailed Patagonia Cruise Itinerary »
You'll spend the next few days cruising the labyrinth of inlets, islands, fjords and channels of Patagonia. Twice-daily zodiac trips ashore allow you to experience the stunning beauty of this region and to learn about its flora and fauna. Onboard there are daily informative slide shows on the region, and the boat also has a well-stocked library with reference materials on the land, people, flora and fauna of Tierra del Fuego. Your crew will take excellent care of you with delicious meals and attend to all your creature comforts onboard. From the decks of your ship you will be able to see a wide variety of wildlife and, weather permitting, stunning views of glaciers and the Darwin Mountain range. Enjoy the roaring symphonies as huge chunks of ice break off into the water on this journey that traces the routes of some of the world's most famous explorers.
Early this morning you'll arrive in Ushuaia - a town with a dramatic setting, bordered on one side by the Beagle Channel and encompassed by glacial peaks that surround the town, rising sharply from sea level to nearly 5,000 feet. You'll say goodbye to your crew and ship to begin your Argentina travels with a visit to the Ushuaia Maritime Museum housed in the former national prison. Exhibits (including penal history, Antarctic exploration and scale models of famous sailing ships) span 500 years and give a unique glimpse into the area's history. From the museum you'll make your way to the airport and fly to El Calafate, the gateway to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and the famous Moreno Glacier.
You'll stay at the picturesque El Galpon del Glaciar (formerly known as the "Estancia Alice"). The lodge is warm and welcoming with delicious homemade food, located just 15 minutes from downtown El Calafate. The homestead covers an area of Patagonian Steppe - a unique ecosystem of rivers, lakes and lagoons. While at the homestead visit the nature reserve and enjoy its many trails - over 40 species of migrating birds pass through here so keep turning your eyes skyward! The homestead is also a working ranch and you'll have the opportunity to tour the shearing sheds and watch the working sheepdogs in action. For those who want to explore by horseback this is also an option.
Today you drive into Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and go to the stunning lookout of Perito Moreno Glacier. This huge advancing glacier is more than 3 miles wide at its front and over 20 stories high. You'll take a boat across Lago Argentino, passing the massive front wall of blue ice all the while watching for icebergs. Landing at a small beach you'll start hiking through the beech forest to the ice pack of the glacier and have the opportunity to walk on the glacier. You'll eat lunch sitting on the lateral moraine of the glacier, giving you the opportunity to absorb the magnificence of the glacier's anatomy and the treat of listening to its thunderous concerto of groaning and cracking ice dropping into the lake below. As you hike out this afternoon there are numerous photographic opportunities. See if you can spot the Andean Condor or Buff-necked Ibis!
Today you transfer by comfortable bus to Torres del Paine. Enjoy the stunning scenery all the way into Torres del Paine National Park. Relax at your comfortable lodge, your home for the next three nights.
This morning, you'll board the ferry and set off across the Lago Grey. Passing amongst icebergs of fantastic colors and shapes you approach the looming walls of Grey Glacier - this huge glacier represents the end of the Southern ice field. From the decks of the boat you can appreciate the vastness of the glacier. Occasionally there are times when such large chunks have fallen from the Glacier that it is impossible to navigate the ferry too close. In these instances you'll use a zodiac instead to approach the massive walls of the Glacier.
Today is free to choose what Chile travel adventures you do. Cross Lake Pehoe in the catamaran and walk part of the "W" walking circuit. Hike through dense forest to Mirador Grey, or hike a shorter trail near the Hosteria with one of the bi-lingual guides. Other options include floating the Grey River, kayaking a more challenging section, and exploring the Serrano River by zodiac. You might also just relax and enjoy the stunning views from the lodge.
Early this morning, you'll transfer to Punta Arenas for the afternoon flight to Santiago and connecting flights homeward. With a few more days, you can add extensions to the Atacama Desert, Isla Chiloe, or rafting in the Lakes District to continue your Chile travels.