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Guanacos in Torres del Paine Park

Patagonia: Chilean Fjords and Argentina’s Staten Island

Patagonia - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Remote and largely inaccessible, Patagonia is the essence of wilderness—a maze of channels and islands. Venture deep into Chile’s glorious fjords past incandescent icebergs and massive glaciers. From the “land of fire,” Tierra del Fuego, to the jagged spires of Torres del Paine National Park, experience Patagonia at close range aboard National Geographic Orion. Thanks to special access, enjoy the privilege of visiting the far-off, stunningly beautiful natural parklands of Karukinka and Yendegaia, and be among the only visitors ever privileged to explore Argentina’s magnificent Isla de los Estados—Staten Island.

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 & Exploring
Day 6 : Cape Horn
Days 7-8 : Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina
Day 9 : Ushuaia | Disembark | Santiago

Highlights

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

Ship

National Geographic Orion

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Guanacos in Torres del Paine Park Glaciers on Patagonia Cruise Boardwalk to the Cape Horn Monument Torres del Paine spires Fox in Torres del Paine

Day 1 Santiago, Chile

Check in to the Mandarin Oriental (or similar) centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to your afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. You will 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 Dinner
Today you fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southern gateway to Patagonia, drive to the outpost of Puerto Natales, and embark the ship. 

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 our 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 pinch point. Today and during the following days you’ll be 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 channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Your Captain and local pilots guide you through Kirke Narrows, accessible only to a small ship as National Geographic Orion. You'll look to make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where you may go out by Zodiac and kayak. 

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. You 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. We’re thrilled to have 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, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters and many other kinds of wildlife. You may explore Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and look at 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. 

Day 5 The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Exploring

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You’ll 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 flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Then we sail the Beagle Channel and will look to hike and kayak one of the wild areas in this region of beech forests, mountains and wild rivers. 

Day 6 Cape Horn

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the South American 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 Oceans. Of course, you'll use our modern equipment to explore safely. Weather permitting, you'll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of the hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. 

Day 7-8 Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
We have been given special permission to visit extraordinary Staten Island, and our ship will be 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’ll find a great deal of interest here. Your exact schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of conditions. You’ll see southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and fur seals and sea lions. You’ll also look for otters on our landings ashore, and you’ll see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name, and perhaps the ruins of a penal colony. There will be chances 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 9 Ushuaia | Disembark | Santiago

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

National Geographic Orion

Santiago - Hotels

Deals

Complimentary Bar Tab & Gratuities
Complimentary Bar tab and gratuities included on this voyage. Contact us for details.
Valid on all 2018/2019 departures.

Per person starting at
$8,950
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Veranda deck - suite

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available but is subject to availability.

Please note: Cabin fare does not include charter flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas or Ushuaia to Santiago. 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
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Liz B

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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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