Join this 19-day expedition cruise to see highlights of the Chilean coast on your way to Antarctica. Depart colorful Valparaiso and venture south to see the striking Castro on Chiloe island, the deep fjords of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, and Puerto Natales, the coastal gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Here, soaring granite spires and rugged mountains create a distinctive landscape, which is itself home to wildlife such as pumas, foxes, guanacos, and the Andean condor. Admire the glaciers and fjords of Patagonia before rounding Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, and crossing the notorious Drake Passage on your way to that crown jewel of wild continents: Antarctica.
Enjoy cruising through the sea ice and looking for whales
Admire the magnificent Chilean fjords
Experience Torres del Paine, an icon of Patagonia
See Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America
This expedition cruise starts in colorful Valparaíso. One of the best ways to see this town is by riding its funiculars to sweeping views. Explore the port to get a feel for Chile’s seafaring side, or take a visit to the Historic Quarter before embarking on MS Fram.
As the ship makes its way along the Pacific coast of Chile, the expedition team will start the lecture program to prepare you for the experiences ahead. Make sure to also spend some time on deck to look out for wildlife!
Castro, set among windswept hills and green vegetation, is known for its colorful "palafitos," wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water's edge, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Iglesia San Francisco.
Sail south through the fabled waters of Patagonia and to one of the world’s most remote and beautiful places: the province of Ultima Esperanza, meaning "Last Hope." Voyage through iconic Andean seascapes for views of a glorious expanse of undisturbed nature.
The village of Puerto Edén in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park will enchant you. It is known for its geographical isolation, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar tribe.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park, world famous for the impressive “Torres del Paine” (Towers of Paine) rock formation. Explore the park on an optional excursion to discover a landscape of stunning variety, from the vast open steppe to rugged mountain terrain topped by looming peaks that host a wide variety of wildlife. Watch for llamas, pumas, and foxes in addition to more than 100 species of birds, such as the Andean condor.
Deep fjords and tall mountains plunging into the icy water characterize this wild area that seems almost untouched by humans. Glacial ice has scoured its way between the mountains, creating the lovely isolated islands and hidden bays that form this unique fjord landscape.
In the morning, sail through the scenic Beagle Channel before continuing into open waters, and if conditions allow, make an attempt to land on Cape Horn – the southernmost tip of South America.
Next, sail the legendary Drake Passage and enjoy lectures on Antarctica's fantastical wildlife and history. Learn how to make your visit as safe and as sustainable as possible, and join Citizen Science programs to help collect data for current scientific research.
Antarctica never ceases to amaze and astound. 90% of the world's ice is here, and the continent virtually doubles in size due to sea ice in the winter. In summer, it is a cradle of life, a vital breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals.
As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism that has evolved through millennia without human interference. Therefore, tourists and operators must adhere to very strict environmental guidelines. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!
The elements rule in Antarctica, and your experienced Captain will create the best itinerary possible for your adventure. Attempt landings at several sites in the South Shetlands and on the Antarctic Peninsula to see the diversity of the region's wildlife and landscapes.
The expert expedition team will take you out for ice-cruising and exciting landing activities. There may also be the chance to kayak in the company of whales and icebergs, hike in amazing scenery and perhaps camp on the world's most isolated continent.
Return back across the Drake Passage and take the time to continue the lecture series and recap your experiences of Antarctica. Using the state-of-the-art microscopes in the ship’s Science Center, you can analyze samples taken during the expedition cruise to see another kind of wildlife at the cellular level!
Day 19: Ushuaia | Disembark
Sadly, every expedition must come to an end. When you reach Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, it is time to say goodbye. Your journey home continues with your flight to Buenos Aires, where you have the chance to extend your stay or join an optional Post-Program visit to the breathtaking Iguazu Falls.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!