Patagonia: Argentina & The Chilean Fjords« All National Geographic Explorer cruise options
- Day 1 Buenos Aires / Embark
- Day 2 At Sea / La Colonia, Uruguay
- Day 3 Montevideo
- Day 4 At Sea
- Day 5 Bahia Blanca, Argentina
- Day 6 At Sea -- South Atlantic
- Day 7 Puerto Madryn / Peninsula Valdes
- Day 8 Bahia Bustamante
- Day 9 Puerto Deseado
- Day 10 Exploring Coastal Argentina
- Day 11 Punta Arenas & Isla Magdalena, Chile
- Day 12 Tierra Del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park
- Days 13-14 Exploring The Chilean Fjords
- Day 15 Puerto Natales/Torres Del Paine National Park
- Days 16-17 Exploring The Chilean Fjords
- Day 18 Beagle Channel & Yendegaia Natural Park, Chile
- Day 19 Cape Horn
- Day 20 Ushuaia / Disembark / Buenos Aires / Return Home
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|Oct 22 '13
Day 1 Buenos Aires / Embark
The sweep and elegance of a Parisian cityscape — with a tango soundtrack. That’s Buenos Aires. Embark National Geographic Explorer on arrival to settle in and relax. In the afternoon, explore the city’s cultural heritage: Beaux Arts palaces, the bohemian quarters of La Boca and San Telmo, and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Peron. (L,D)
Day 2 At Sea / La Colonia, Uruguay
National Geographic Explorer crosses the Río de la Plata to Uruguay. Step back in history at La Colonia, a 17th-century city built in Portuguese style and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set on a gorgeous point overlooking the Río de la Plata, Colonia is a photogenic town with a captivating atmosphere and charm full of cobblestone streets, rustic buildings and famous landmarks. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Montevideo
Montevideo was founded in 1726 by the Spanish and is now the capital of Uruguay. See the Plaza Independencia, the 18th-century cathedral and historic Cabildo, from Spanish colonial times. In the afternoon, you are invited to experience the countryside at a private estancia (ranch.) Enjoy the grounds and savor a typical South American barbecue, immersed in nature, history and the landscapes of the gauchos. (B,L,D)
Day 4 At Sea
Your ship navigates southward along the Argentine coastline. Head to the Bridge to watch for marine life, and gather in the lounge for presentations from your staff. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Bahia Blanca, Argentina
Cruise up the expansive estuary, a maze of channels and islands, hoping to view the rarely observed Franciscana, or La Plata dolphin, as well as the local and rare Olrog’s gull. From this port city, set on the edge of vast grasslands called the pampas, venture into the countryside flanked by the mountain range of Sierra de la Ventana. Visit the Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist, which preserves a wide range of species native to the pampas. (B,L,D)
Day 6 At Sea -- South Atlantic
Enjoy the ship’s amenities: have a massage, work out in the gym, savor time in the library, and listen to talks by the staff on photography and the marine environment of the Patagonia Shelf. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Puerto Madryn / Peninsula Valdes
A UNESCO Site, Peninsula Valdes is a wildlife haven where endangered southern right whales come to mate and calve their young. October is the peak of the migration season, and at this time of year the cows and newborn calves can be seen, often in water as shallow as 15 feet. When you come to Peninsula Valdés you must have a keen eye and an open mind, as things aren’t always as you imagine they should be. Unlike most whales species, which lift their tail flukes temporarily out of the water to make a dive, these right whales choose instead to hover vertically with their heads and bodies underwater, lifting their massive flukes high above the sea to catch the wind. Imagine it if you can: a whale tail sail!
Leaving the whales behind, journey further into the peninsula, stopping to look at guanacos (a wild relative of the llama), maras, armadillos, and a Magellanic penguin colony. Even the familiar form of penguins seems so out of place here in this strange and exotic peninsula. (B,L,D)
Day 8 Bahia Bustamante
One quickly understands the term “vast” while traveling in Patagonia. Today visit a private estancia (ranch), which has been in the hands of the Soriano family for 50 years. With 210,000 acres, the estancia still operates as a sheep ranch and also as a nature reserve. Fifty miles of its coastline is included in Argentina’s Marine National Park Austral Patagonia, and most of the vegetation and wildlife of the Patagonia steppe lives on the property. Over 100 species of birds are found in the area, officially declared an Area of Importance for the Conservation of Birds. We see colonies of Magellanic penguins, and rock and royal cormorants. Southern sea lions and elephant seals breed here and we look for whales offshore. Inland, keep an eye out for the guanacos, rheas and other steppe wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day 9 Puerto Deseado
For a small port village isolated along a rugged coast, Puerto Deseado has a distinctive maritime history. First discovered by Magellan in 1520, other explorers followed including Sir Frances Drake, Thomas Cavendish and Charles Darwin. See a remnant of the port’s past at the local museum, where remains of the Swift, a British war ship sunk in 1770, is displayed. Deseado is actually a submerged estuary designated Reserva Natural Ria Deseado by the Argentine government. Board small boats to view the steep cliffs and visit colonies of four species of breeding shags and other seabirds, including the only rockhopper penguin colony in Patagonia. Dolphins often escort the boats and hope to spot the distinctive black and white Commerson’s dolphin. (B,L,D)
Day 10 Exploring Coastal Argentina
The remote Argentine coast has been visited by countless expeditions through history, including Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle. The southern coast has sandy beaches and impressive geological formations with dramatic arches and caves, perfect for exploring. Weather permitting, cruise along one of Argentina’s newest national parks, Monte Leon, which protects the coast, marine waters and inland. It’s a natural habitat for guanacos, choiques, foxes and cougars. (B,L,D)
Day 11 Punta Arenas & Isla Magdalena, Chile
Discover the special charm of the extreme southern city of Punta Arenas. Begin at Cerro de la Cruz for panoramic views of the Strait of Magellan then travel the main plazas, stopping at two unique museums: the Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, with its natural history exhibits, and the Braun Menendez Museum, an opulent mansion testifying to the wealth and power of sheep farmers in the 1800s. There will also be an opportunity for a nature hike.
One of the highlights of the day is a stop at Isla Magdalena to watch the amusing Magellanic penguins (also called jackass penguins for their characteristic bray) at their nesting sites, poking their heads out of their burrows. These penguins form lifelong partnerships and divide their chores equally: every morning and afternoon, the penguin couples change shifts — one heads out to fish, the other returns from fishing to take care of their young. When this changing of the guard begins, the penguins politely line up and waddle to and from the sea. Best viewing takes place late October to February. (B,L,D)
Day 12 Tierra Del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park
One of Patagonia’s crowned jewels, Tierra del Fuego is a beautiful island known as the ‘Land of Fire’ at its most southern tip — home to remarkable wildlife. Your destination is the newest and largest protected area on Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park. Since 2004, it has been owned and managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and your expedition team is thrilled to have been offered permission to explore their park. Spanning 1,160 square miles, this protected area is a bountiful reserve of sub-Antarctic woodlands, peat bogs, windswept steppes and snow-covered mountain ranges. Karukinka is a showcase for the unique wildlife of Patagonia, sheltering guanaco, the endangered culpeo fox, the Andean condor and more. (B,L,D)
Days 13-14 Exploring The Chilean Fjords
The renowned fjords of southern Chile rival those of southeast Alaska in their raw beauty. The protected fjords and inlets of the honeycombed Chilean coastline are home to dolphins, whales, seals, and Magellanic penguins, with awesome views of the Cordillera Darwin as a bonus. You’ll see gigantic glaciers and snowcapped peaks, thousands of islands covered with vegetation, lakes and waterfalls and come to appreciate (in the words of Herman Melville) “all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonia sights and sounds.” Your Captain and Expedition Leader will constantly be on the lookout for memorable places to explore by ship, Zodiac and kayak. (B,L,D)
Day 15 Puerto Natales/Torres Del Paine National Park
After sailing through the famous White Narrows yesterday, arrive at Puerto Natales to begin your three-hour drive through Chilean Patagonia to the monumental Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere World Reserve. The landscape is big, wide and sprawling, with miles of grazing land, snow-capped mountains and razor-backed ridges. Look for Andean condors, flamingos and rheas, the flightless birds that are cousins of the emu and the ostrich.
It is hard to imagine that the park could top the drive, but the Torres del Paine are an amazing sight, a cluster of jagged granite mountains topped with a thick layer of dark slate. The park is one of the most spectacular and wildlife-rich areas in the Americas, covering about 450,000 acres of glaciers, mountains, forests, rolling hills and grasslands, colorful lakes, rivers and lagoons, and explore and hike in the company of your Naturalists and local guides. (B,L,D)
Days 16-17 Exploring The Chilean Fjords
Have another opportunity to explore the Chilean Fjords’ myriad islands and maze of channels. Andean condors soar overhead, while humpback whales, Peale’s and the rare Chilean dolphins utilize the productive marine waters. The Andes mountain range will be an ever-present and inspiring backdrop. Myriad fjords or senos indent the coast of Tierra del Fuego along the western Strait of Magellan: Seno Angostini, Seno Martinez, Seno Chico to name a few. Many are punctuated with tidewater glaciers at the end and you will cruise deep into one of the senos to explore by Zodiac and kayak. (B,L,D)
Day 18 Beagle Channel & Yendegaia Natural Park, Chile
Your transit of the scenic Beagle Channel takes you through protected waters in view of the snow-covered peaks of the Cordillera Darwin, which makes up the Western Peninsula of Tierra del Fuego. Huge condors may be seen against a background of enormous glaciers. It was here in the 1830s that naturalist Charles Darwin explored aboard HMS Beagle.
Your focus today is on Yendegaia, a stunning piece of wild nature that stretches more than 95,000 acres. Your ship has received special permission to explore here from friends and wilderness advocates Kris and Doug Tompkins, who first saw its outstanding conservation potential in 1998 and worked to preserve it. A former cattle ranch on Tierra del Fuego, it boasts southern beech forests, expansive grasslands, mountains and wild rivers. (B,L,D)
Day 19 Cape Horn
Today round the southernmost tip of the continent, named in 1616 by Dutch navigator Willem Schouten. He called the cape “Hoorn” after his birthplace while he was searching for a trade route to the Orient. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore for a panoramic view from the southernmost tip of South America, and visit the family manning the weather station on top of the island. (B,L,D)
Day 20 Ushuaia / Disembark / Buenos Aires / Return Home
Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, with time to explore before your private LAN charter flight to Buenos Aires. Connect to your independent overnight flight home. (B,L)
Itinerary NotesPlease note: Cabin fare does not include charter flights from Ushuaia, Argentina. Please contact us for charter flight rates.
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.
Air transportation (except where shown as included), extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, baggage/accident/travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion.
Deposit & Payment
Initial deposit is varies, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/fourways.php
Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.
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National Geographic Explorer
- Ship Highlights
- Passengers : 148
- Luxury Expedition Ship
The National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship accommodating 148 guests in 81 outside cabins. It is fully stabilized, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing comfort. The National Geographic Explorer houses technology for sea exploration, such as Zodiacs, kayaks, hydro-phones, underwater HD cameras and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV). Additional accommodations include multiple dining venues, a lounge area designed specifically for educational presentations and a luxury wellness spa.
Public areas include two restaurants, a lounge and bar, library, observation lounge, spa, fitness center, and sauna. A mud room with lockers provides storage for guests’ expedition gear. Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.
Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes. Each has private facilities and climate controls.
Expedition Equipment: Hydrophone, kayaks, remotely operated vehicle (R.O.V.), snorkeling gear, Splash-Cam, underwater video camera, video microscope, and Zodiac landing craft.
Services include a full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, Wellness Specialist, LEXspa Therapist, and Video Chronicler. There is internet access for guests, a business center, and laundry. Our "Open Bridge" policy allows guests to learn about the art of navigation and state-of-the-art navigational equipment from our Captain and Officers.
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-180, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.