Join National Geographic Explorer on an odyssey that combines the celebrated wonders of the southernmost realms of the planet in a single epic voyage. The Antarctic Peninsula, southern Patagonia, and the Chilean fjords are places of unimaginable beauty. Humpback whales breach and penguins gather by the thousands. Icebergs shimmer and sapphire-hued fjords harbor snowcapped peaks and virgin forests. Flexibility is a hallmark of their expedition style, and often the shipboard day-by-day itinerary will change—so we may take full advantage of rare wildlife sightings, watching whales feed off the bow, or perfect conditions for a late day Zodiac excursion.
Seek the iconic animals of Antarctica, such as penguins, seals, and orcas
Marvel at magnificent icebergs using your fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs
Hike among Torres del Paine National Park's snow-capped "horns"
Explore the Francisco Coloane Marine Park's waterways by boat
Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer from the airport to the Alvear Art Hotel or similar before setting out on a guided tour of the city’s Beaux-Arts palaces and parks. Visit Recoleta—the final resting place of Argentina's iconic first lady, Eva Perón—and enjoy a private visit to El Zanjon de Granados, one of the city’s premier museums.
This 500-mile-wide strait between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most famous bodies of water in the world. Sometimes ferocious, sometimes flat calm, the Drake is always a fascinating place in its own right. This part of the journey is their best opportunity to see gorgeous seabirds like the wandering albatross, and you might be lucky enough to encounter killer whales or rare species of dolphins. This is also a day to get to know the ship and prepare for the adventures ahead. Visit the Bridge (a great place to spot wildlife), have a relaxing massage, attend a talk about the biology of the penguins you’ll soon be seeing, or settle into a comfy chair in the observation lounge, look out over the waves and reflect on the incredible history of this fabled passage. If it does get a little rough, just take a couple of nice naps; you’ll be in Antarctica before you know it.
With long hours of daylight at this time of year, you have ample opportunities to explore. The schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected, whether you’re watching whales at play off the bow of the ship or enjoying an evening Zodiac cruise amid glittering icebergs. One day, you might set out by kayak to encounter towering icebergs at water level; embark on a Zodiac excursion in search of seals and blue-eyed shags; or walk on a beach amid thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins. The next, you might experience the thrill of the ship crunching through pack ice. The expert expedition team will enrich your experiences.
Relax onboard and enjoy the ship’s amenities as the coast of Antarctica disappears from view. Round the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn and witness the dramatic meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans en route to South America.
Sail into southern Patagonia’s vast wilderness of forested isles, mirror-like lakes, and snowcapped peaks. Myriad fjords cut between soaring granite walls and waterfalls tumble from high above. Explore the region known as Chile’s “Glacier Alley,” part of the UNESCO-recognized Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Cruise into the secluded Pia Fjord, admiring views of its massive glacier; and glide into Garibaldi Fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park, where the Andes meet the sea. Get up close to the monumental wall of ice that marks the edge of Garibaldi Glacier, exploring by Zodiac or kayak. Continue to Agostini Fjord, where numerous glaciers originate from the nearby mountains, for a chance to witness thunderous glacial calving.
Day 14: Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park & Ainsworth Bay
Cruise to Tierra del Fuego and venture into the archipelago’s largest protected land area: Karukinka Natural Park. Visit this private reserve by special permission, searching for Andean foxes, guanacos, black-browed albatross, and more. Then sail to Ainsworth Bay, a stunning fjord surrounded by subpolar forest, keeping an eye out for elephant seals. (
Today, you'll enter the Strait of Magellan to explore Francisco Coloane Marine Park. The park covers more than 165,000 acres of land and sea and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including humpback whales, two species of sea lions, and Magellanic penguins. Cruise along the coastline by Zodiac and kayak to spot black-and-white Peale’s dolphins, the endangered Chilean dolphin, and Andean condors.
Local pilots will join the Captain on the Bridge to guide us through the winding Kirke Narrows, accessible only to small expedition ships. Then continue the discovery of the Chilean fjords where you may explore by ship or take a forest walk.
Early this morning the ship will dock in picturesque Puerto Natales before heading out to explore majestic Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Set out by foot or by vehicle across the windswept, rugged landscape, which spans more than 550,000 acres and harbors an astounding variety of geological forms, from the soaring granite pillars of the “horns” to windswept grasslands to rivers, glaciers, and gem-colored lagoons. Keep an eye out for guanacos, rheas, foxes, and armadillos. (
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