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Torres del Paine

Patagonia: Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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This carefully curated expedition offers the peak experiences of Patagonia and its surrounding environs in a compact 11-day timeframe on the National Geographic Explorer. Discover the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas that make Chilean Patagonia one of the most lauded nature destinations on Earth. Exposing you to the ‘best of’ highlights, like the stunning Beagle Channel, massive glaciers and snowcapped peaks, this perfectly-paced voyage also brings you into the seldom-seen natural splendors of natural parks Yendegaia and Karukinka. Cap off your expedition by exploring Argentina’s rugged, seldom-seen Isla De Los Estados (Staten Island), a land of mythic wildness that has been largely off limits to travelers since 1923.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santiago, Chile
Day 2 : Punta Arenas | Puerto Natales | Embark
Day 3 : Kirke Narrows | Exploring the Chilean Fjords
Day 4 : Tierra del Fuego, Chile: Karukinka Natural Park
Day 5 : The Chilean Fjords | Beagle Channel | Yendegaia
Day 6 : Cape Horn
Days 7-9 : Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina
Day 10 : Ushuaia | Disembark | Buenos Aires

Highlights

  • Venture into incredible wildlife reserves for up-close exploration
  • Explore Argentina's seldom-seen Isla de los Estados
  • Travel the towering fjords by Zodiac and kayak and hike to massive glaciers
  • Take advantage of superb photo ops alongside expert photographers

Ship

National Geographic Explorer

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Torres del Paine Condor Cape Horn View the seal and cormorant colonies as you sail across the Beagle Channel Wander the peaceful moors of Patagonia

Day 1 Santiago, Chile

  • 1 Lunch
Check in to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, centrally located in Santiago. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to your afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. Explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city.

Day 2 Punta Arenas | Puerto Natales | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southern gateway to Patagonia. Drive to the outpost of Puerto Natales and embark National Geographic Explorer.This morning's charter flight brings you over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. If the weather is fine, have a chance to view the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. Then, embark National Geographic Explorer and set sail. 

Day 3 Kirke Narrows | Exploring the Chilean Fjords

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife on your way out of Puerto Natales as your ship transits the narrow sliver of water known as the Kirke Narrows—always a challenge to navigate because of the powerful currents that flow through its 650-foot-wide pinch point. Today and during the following days you are treated to the spectacular features of an active glaciated landscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. This region was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, and it took most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way through the maze of channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Among your many possibilities are exploring Estero las Montañas, with a chance to go for an adventurous walk to a lake through beautiful muskeg and forest, with cypress trees coated with many species of lichens; and Bahía Ainsworth in Seno Almirantazgo, where you may go out by Zodiac and kayak and look for elephant seals.

Day 4 Tierra del Fuego, Chile: Karukinka Natural Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. Visit its newest and largest protected area: Karukinka Natural Park. Established in 2004 through a gift from Goldman Sachs, Karukinka is one of the largest donations ever made for conservation. Your ship has special permission from the Wildlife Conservation Society to visit this private reserve, which spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox, Andean condors, and many other kinds of wildlife. Perhaps explore Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains, and look for wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one of the nearby small islands. You may walk a trail to a lovely waterfall, and look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach but also high in the grass meadows and even in the small river draining the valley inland. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm.

Day 5 The Chilean Fjords | Beagle Channel | Yendegaia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore more stunning wilderness as you see the fjords and glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak, and on foot. A vast area of soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelago is scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore these protected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of ice contrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes of late-season flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters. and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Then sail the Beagle Channel to Yendegaia, a stunning wilderness that covers 95,000 acres on Tierra del Fuego. This newly established national park was formerly a private reserve. It has beech forests, mountains, and wild rivers.

Day 6 Cape Horn

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town of Hoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate, and over the centuries have been the graveyard of many ships, which before the opening of the Panama Canal had to round the cape to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic. Of course, the ship uses its modern equipment and decades of experience to explore safely. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of a hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette.

Day 7-9 Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
With special permission, visit extraordinary Staten Island - National Geographic Explorer is one of the only expedition ships ever allowed here. It’s a place of superlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visited primarily by a few scientists and those who man the tiny naval observatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615. Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are beautiful, and you can find a great deal of interest here. Your exact schedule remains flexible to take best advantage of conditions. See colonies of southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and large assemblages of fur seals and sea lions. Aso look for otters on landings ashore, and see the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name, along with the ruins of a penal colony, and perhaps an archaeological site occupied 1,500 years ago by Native Americans. There are opportunities to walk in the southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand out as a unique chance to explore a very remote place.

Day 10 Ushuaia | Disembark | Buenos Aires

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take a charter flight to Buenos Aires and connect to your flight home. 

National Geographic Explorer

Per person starting at
$8,950
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.

Notes

Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.

Please note: Cabin fare does not include charter flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas or Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. Please contact us for charter flight rates.

Costs Include:
  • One hotel night in Santiago 
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Meals indicated
  • Services of Expeditions’ Leader, expedition staff and expert guides
  • Entrance fees
  • All port charges and service

Not Included:
  • Immigration fees
  • Air transportation
  • Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.
  • Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion

Included

  • 9 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 8 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Callie W

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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
Lindsay Gompf

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