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Hikers stand looking at the view of Wulaia Bay.

Fjords of Tierra del Fuego: Punta Arenas to Ushuaia

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard MV Via Australis
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Sail for remote and beautiful corners of the world on this 5-day itinerary on the MV Via Australis through southern Patagonia. Begin in Punta Arenas and make your way to Ushuaia, stopping to view glaciers, marvel at impressive ice fields, and visit the unique wildlife of the region.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Punta Arenas
Day 2 : Ainsworth Bay | Tucker Islets
Day 3 : Pia Glacier | Glacier Alley
Day 4 : Wulaia Bay | Cape Horn
Day 5 : Disembark in Ushuaia

Highlights

  • Visit wildlife-rich Ainsworth Bay
  • Explore massive Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley
  • Sail to mystical Wulaia Bay and the legendary Cape Horn

Ship

MV Via Australis

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Hikers stand looking at the view of Wulaia Bay. Zodiac tours to see glaciers. Hotel Jose Nogueira, Punta Arenas The Cape Horn Memorial View of Walaia Bay.

Day 1 Embark in Punta Arenas

This afternoon board the Via Australis, your state-of-the-art cruise ship to begin your Patagonia travel adventures. Check in from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at 1385 O’Higgins Street (Arturo Prat Port), Punta Arenas. At 6:00 PM embark the expedition cruise ship. After a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain and his crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extremes of Patagonia. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as you enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

Day 2 Ainsworth Bay | Tucker Islets

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By dawn the ship sails up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), a spectacular offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snowcapped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is defined by the deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park. Go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which harbors copious bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall-and-moss-covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine. Both afford views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.

Leaving Ainsworth Bay behind, sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth, and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles, and even the occasional Andean condor. In September and April, when the penguins live elsewhere, this excursion is replaced by a short walk to a glacier at nearby stunning Brookes Bay.

Day 3 Pia Glacier | Glacier Alley

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Overnight sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the ship tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning enter Pia Fjord and board the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. After disembarking take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier. No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.

Back onboard the ship, continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them are named after European countries - Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and France.

Day 4 Wulaia Bay | Cape Horn

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the early morning navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area, passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you can stroll through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum, letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers, an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.

In the afternoon cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.

Day 5 Disembark in Ushuaia

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina’s most important city on Tierra del Fuego, and the southernmost city in the world. Disembark this morning after breakfast for your continued adventures or return flights home.

MV Via Australis

Per person starting at
$2,298
Via Australis' Twin Bed Cabin.
Select a Date
B
7 cabins located on the first deck, each with two twin beds, large window, and private facilities.
Via Australis' Twin Bed Cabin.
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A
29 cabins located on the second deck, with one double or two twin beds. All have a large window and private facilities.
Via Australis' Double Bed Cabin.
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AA
18 cabins on the third deck, with one double or two twin beds. All have a large window and private facilities.
Via Australis' Double Bed Cabin.
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AAA
10 cabins on deck 4 with two twin beds or one double bed. All have a large window and private facilities.
Via Australis' Twin Bed Cabin
Select a Date
Single
Single rates apply for all cabins. Solo travelers are assigned A, AA, or AAA cabins at 150% of published rates.

Notes

Flights to/from Punta Arenas or Ushuaia are not included in the cruise fare. When combining these cruises with land tours they may have been included in your main tour. However, if not, each flight costs around US$205 (flight cost subject to change). Hotel transfers are also extra and we will happily arrange them for you.

NOTE: The excursions described in the itineraries can normally be carried out. Notwithstanding the above, Transportes Marítimos Terra Australis S.A., Transportes Marítimos Via Australis S.A., and Transportes Marítimos Geo Australis S.A reserve the right to reschedule, shorten, or alter all or part of the itineraries and/or excursions without prior notice, in order to safeguard the well-being and safety of passengers, preserve the environment, or due to any extraordinary circumstances, acts of God, or force majeure. For the same reasons, the hours of departure or arrival of the vessels may be subject to change.

There is no guarantee of wildlife sighting because the precise location of these animals cannot be confirmed.

Cruise fare includes:
- Accommodation
- Sea transportation
- All meals
- Open bar when on duty (without additional cost for wines, beverages, and liquors)
- Shore excursions
- Onboard entertainment

Cruise fare does not include:
- Port taxes
- Visa or reciprocity fees
- National Park fees

Included

  • 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kassandra Miller
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

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