This afternoon in Punta Arenas you board the Mare Australis, a newly constructed, state-of-the-art cruise ship to begin your Patagonia travels. As you make yourself comfortable in your floating home away from home, you'll depart towards the 'End of the World'. The upper deck of the Australis provides an excellent vantage point of the unspoiled wilderness surrounding you. During your Patagonia travels through the mystical Straits of Magellan towards Tierra del Fuego, you'll wind your way through a maze of channels that takes you past hundreds of tiny islands.
As dawn breaks you'll enter Almirantazgo Fjord where, weather permitting, you'll see the magnificent Darwin Mountain Range in the distance. Once you reach Ainsworth Bay you'll take to the land, leaving your boat in the shadow of the distant Marinelli Glacier. You'll walk from the beach along quiet trails through the native woods, passing beaver dams and learning from your guides about the area's ecology. Further on you'll come upon a colony of elephant seals and have an excellent opportunity to see a great variety of native bird life. Continuing the voyage, you will visit Tucker Islet, where you'll sight colonies of Magellanic penguins and Cormorants from the zodiac boats.
Today you’ll land near Pia Glacier and take a short walk to an observation point. From here you can view the glacier’s source, Darwin Mountain Range. The entire glacier, from its head embedded in the Darwin Range, to its terminus trailing into Pia Bay, is visible from where you’ll stand. While you absorb the magnificence of the glacier’s anatomy, you’re treated to a thunderous concerto of cracking and calving ice dropping into the bay. You’ll next enter the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel, sailing through Glacier Avenue and passing by a succession of glaciers named Spain, Romanche, Germany, Italy, France and Holland.
You’ll continue your navigation through the Beagle Channel and disembark at Cape Horn National Park. Cape Horn marks the southernmost point in South America and protrudes into the Drake Passage, the Antarctic strait connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the afternoon, we 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. We walk through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point.
Day 1 of 4 day cruise. Early this morning you'll arrive in Ushuaia, the most important city on the Argentinean side of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is the entrance to the Tierra del Fuego National Park and you use this base as a jumping off point to explore all the wonders of this landscape where the forests and mountains meet the sea.
Passengers disembark from the Punta Arenas-Ushuaia sector at 8:00 a.m., and the 4 day/3 night cruise that travels from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas along a different route begins in the afternoon.
If you're doing the 8-day continuous journey, the day is free to explore the area as you wish. If you're ending your Patagonia travels here, we can make arrangements for your return flights home.
Day 2 of 4 day cruise.Today you'll revisit the spectacular Cape Horn National Park. With cliffs jutting almost 1,400 feet from the sea, strong currents in the surrounding seas, and icebergs abound, "rounding the Cape" proved a hazardous undertaking in the time of the great sailing ships. Later stop at Wulaia Bay, the historic site where Charles Darwin landed during his voyage of the Beagle. Once the site of one of the region’s largest native settlements, Wulaia Bay is also renowned for the spectacular beauty of its vegetation and geography. We will walk through a Magellanic forest filled with Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other species to reach a look-out point.
Day 3 of 4 day cruise.We will disembark in Chico Inlet for a zodiac boat approach to Piloto and Nena glaciers, providing us with a closer look at these awe-inspiring masses of ancient ice.
Day 4 of 4 day cruise. Early in the morning you'll disembark in Magdalena Island. Located 25 miles north of Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan, Magdalena Island is a natural reserve of sea lions, cormorants, and over 120,000 Magellanic penguins. Year after year, the penguin couples return to nest in the same burrow they've built within the island's "rookery." Between October and March they occupy almost the entire island, making for a unique and comical sight! After a walk to San Isidro Lighthouse you'll re-board the Mare Australis. Your adventure ends late morning when you dock in Punta Arenas at 11:30 a.m.. Catch an afternoon flight to Santiago and connecting flight homeward, or with a bit more time you can add an extension to Torres del Paine, go rafting in the Lakes District, help a Mapuche family with the annual Araucaria seed harvest, explore the Atacama desert, or enjoy a trip through wine country to continue your Patagonia travel adventures.
Check in starts every Saturday at 13:00 hrs. until 17:00 hrs. at Magallanes 990, Punta Arenas. Boarding time is from 18:00 hrs. until 19:00 hrs. Departure is at 20:00 hrs.The embarkation starts every Wednesday from 17:00 until 19:00 hrs. directly on board at Ushuaia's harbour. Departure is at 20:00 hrs. Passengers must be on board at least one hour before the departure.
During the cruise there will be interesting talks on the wildlife, history and geography of this legendary region given by the Mare Australis Expedition Group. The talks will take place both on board (with audio-visual support) and on land. Click here to read a brief description of each lecture »
Prices from $1,050 - $6,037 depending on cabin type and cruise length and date
Flights to/from Punta Arenas or Ushuaia are not included. Flight costs around US$300 per flight (flight cost subject to change).
Starts on Wednesdays in Ushuaia and Saturdays in Punta Arenas