Fjords of Tierra Del Fuego: Patagonia Cruise

From Punta Arenas to Ushuaia
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Patagonia
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. Discover remote fjords in Patagonia, witness huge glaciers up close, visit penguin rookies, walk in remote wilderness regions, and attempt to land at Cape Horn on this 5 day expedition cruise.

Departing from the Chilean port of Punta Arenas journey through the Southern Fjords of Patagonia to arrive in Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world. Cruise through the Straight of Magellan, which separates the large island of Tierra del Fuego from continental Chile and Argentina. Be awed by the massive glaciers, including one of the most active glaciers in Patagonia, Pia glacier. Daily landings and zodiac excursions allow you to walk in these pristine areas, and get up close to nature and wildlife. The moody landscapes certainly make for dramatic photos.

A highlight of cruise maybe the attempt to land at Cape Horn at the southern tip of the South American continent, or the simple enjoyment allowing yourself to disconnect and relax with the sounds of nature, perhaps a  dolphin jumping nearby your only interruption!

If you are looking to cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas instead, please see our Patagonia Explorer cruise

Viva's Best Bits...

Remote and wild, this expedition cruise lets you explore pristine wilderness in comfort. Imagine what life was like for the Yámana people, learn about their fascinating stories as you explore their homelands, the fjords of Patagonia.

"I knew there were a lot of glaciers in Patagonia, but I really didn't fully understand how many until we cruised past glacier after glacier in Glacier Alley'! I was an overwhelming experience, I will not forget!" Tara, Team Viva

Explore the "End of the Earth" Perfect for those who love penguins and other wildlife, glacial landscapes, photography, walking in remote places, want to take some time to unplug and unwind...and a unique opportunity to land at the legendary Cape Horn!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Punta Arenas

Check in at 1398 Costanera del Estrecho Ave. (Arturo Prat Port) in Punta Arenas between 13:00 and 17:00 (1-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure.

Board the vessel at 6 PM. After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the remotest corners of planet Earth. During the night we cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonian. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as we enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

Day 2
Ainsworth Bay & Tuckers Islet

By dawn the ship is sailing 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. We 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 our Ainsworth Bay tour behind, we sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, we 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

Overnight we 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 Australis cruise tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a Pia Glacier tour. After disembarking we 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, we 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 named after European countries -- Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France

Day 4
Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay

During the morning we cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall 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.

In the afternoon we 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 will be strolling 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.

Day 5
Ushuaia

The following morning we sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city.

Arrival at 08:30 a.m. and 9:30 am according to date of departure.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Comfortable cabin with private ensuite and outside window
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All-inclusive meals and open bar with selected beverages, liquors, and wines
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Daily excursions by zodiac and shore landings
  • Included Copy 20 Onboard presentations and entertainment
  • Included Copy 20 Experienced and knowledgeable expedition crew
  • Included Copy 7 Port taxes are additional (USD 95pp) Flights and gratuities not included
Transportation
Stella Australis

210 Passengers

Ventus Australis

210 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Tuckers Inlet - where more than 4000 Magellan penguins nest!
  • Included Remote and untouched - for days you will see no town, cities, just pristine wilderness
  • Included Witness glacier after glacier tumbling towards the ocean - in Glacier Alley!
  • Included Visit the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements
  • Included Shore landings to discover wildlife, listen to the sounds of nature, & hike the pristine forests
  • Included With luck, land on the legendary Cape Horn, meet the resident family looking after the lighthouse
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

5 days

Price from

$1,590 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on cabin B, low season

Selected dates weekly from September to April