Have questions? We're here.
Zodiac trip to see penguins.

Darwin's Route from Punta Arenas

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard MV Stella Australis
Talk with an expert
Build your ideal Patagonia trip. Call 1.406.541.2677
Start Planning My Trip
The end of the world awaits you on the expedition cruise ship MV Stella Australis on a journey that retraces much of Darwin’s route through the Fuegian Archipelago aboard HMS Beagle. This eight-day Punta Arenas excursion features the legendary Cape Horn, historic Wulaia Bay, spectacular Glacier Alley, and the penguins of Magdalena and Tucker Islands, as well as ice fields, fjords, sub-polar forests and secluded beaches at the southernmost extreme of South America.
Various types of birds in South America.Wulaia Bay view.Take a walk to the Cape Horn Albatross Monument.Travelers looking out on the bay.Zodiac trip to see penguins.
Highlights
  • Explore on your own the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia, founded in 1884
  • Spend two days in Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn, a legendary geographic feature
  • Learn about the famous navigators & naturalists exploring in the 16-19th c.
  • Understand how glaciation shaped the spectacular landscape
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
0

Full Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Embark in Punta Arenas

Between 13:00 and 17:00 hrs, we will begin to check-in at the Muelle Arturo Prat (Av. Costanera del Estrecho 1398) of Punta Arenas, to embark at 18:00 hrs. Once onboard, we will make a welcome toast and introduce the Captain and his crew. The ship will sail to the far south immediately after. Through the mythical Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel, we will travel through Patagonia and the fjords of Tierra del Fuego

Day 2: Ainsworth Bay | Tucker Islet

  • 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, Stella Australis 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 Stella Australis, 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: Cape Horn | Wulaia Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the early morning sail down the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay. Wulaia Bay is 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 the mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the small 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, Ñirres 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: Ushuaia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The following morning sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city. Disembarkation is scheduled at 8 AM. You have almost a full day to explore Ushuaia, founded in 1884 and one of the original points of contact between the indigenous Yámana and European cultures. Its name derives from the Yámana word for ‘penetrating bay’ and it’s surrounded by the southernmost Andes peaks. With around 65,000 inhabitants, Ushuaia is the second largest city in Tierra del Fuego (after Rio Grande). Among its highlights is the Prison at the End of the World, a former penitentiary that is now a maritime museum, Antarctic collection, and memorial to those once incarcerated there. The city is also good for shopping (especially locally made chocolate) or hanging out in its many cafes.

Passengers are required to reboard Stella Australis at 5:30 PM. After a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain and his crew, the ship departs for more adventures in Tierra del Fuego. During the night traverse the Beagle Channel, cross back into Chilean territorial waters, and turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste Islands.

Day 6: Cape Horn | Wulaia Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Around the break of dawn, Stella Australis crosses Nassau Bay and enters the remote archipelago that comprises Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, go ashore on the windswept island that harbors the 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 (currently awaiting repair after being damaged by
fierce winds).

Sailing back across Nassau Bay, the ship anchors at the fabled Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where 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 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 wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these, you stroll through an enchanted Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay.

Day 7: Pia Glacier | Porter Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, navigate the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel to enter and disembark in Pia Fjord. Take a short hike to a lookout from where you can see Pia Glacier extending from the top of the mountain range all the way down to the sea. In the afternoon, aboard your Zodiac boats, sail between high rocky walls until you reach Porter Glacier. Stop to observe its colors, listen to its sounds, and if you are lucky, even witness some calving. Stay for a moment to discuss this incredible ice mass and take some photographs before returning on board.

Day 8: De Agostini Sound | Ɓguila Glacier | Condor Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early in the morning, sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there, it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range, some of them reaching the water. This morning, disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. Reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.

Day 9: Magdalena Island | Disembark in Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
After an overnight cruise through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, the ship anchors off Magdalena Island, which lies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island. In September and April, when the penguins dwell elsewhere, this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions. After a short cruise south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 12:30 PM.

Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island.

Ship/Hotel

MV Stella Australis

Stella Australis ship
Stella Australis ship
Stella Australis' Patagonia Dining Room.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,275
Stella Australis' Category A Twin
Select a Date
Category B
Magallanes Deck, 16.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.
Stella Australis' Category A Matrimonial
Select a Date
Category A
Magallanes Deck, 16.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.
Stella Australis' Category AA Twin
Select a Date
Category AA
Terra Del Fuego Deck, 16.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.
Stella Australis' Category AAA Twin
Select a Date
Category AAA
Cabo de Hornos Deck, 16.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.
Stella Australis' Category AA Superior
Select a Date
Category AA Superior
Terra Del Fuego Deck, 20.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.
Stella Australis' Category AAA Superior
Select a Date
Category AAA Superior
Cabo de Hornos Deck, 20.5 m2. Private facilities, picture window, climate control, satellite phone.

Notes

- Port Charge and Park Fees are not included in cruise fare.
- Single occupancy of twin cabins is available at 1.5 times the double occupancy rate. Superior cabins are not available for single occupancy.
- Triple Option: Three guests may be accommodated in the following cabin types ONLY: A, AA, AAA, AAS or AAAS cabins with a rollaway bed. 
Please note that this rollaway bed is recommended for children under the age of 15, but adults may use this option according to their own discretion. An acceptance letter must be signed for all guests using the rollaway bed option. 
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Open bar when the bartender is on duty on Australis cruise
  • Shore excursions during the Australis cruise
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • All National Park and Conservation Area Entrance Fees
  • Visa Fees
  • Port Fees
  • Port transfers

Map

Inquire

* By providing your phone number, you consent to receive direct phone calls or SMS messages from our Trip Planners to get the process started. We do not share your information with third-parties.
Travel Agents

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.
KC Chan

Patagonia Travel Guide

Favorite Patagonia All Trips

More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By