Darwins Route from Ushuaia (or Punta Arenas)

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Patagonia
  • Cruising
  • Wildlife
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Tour Description

Start in Ushuaia or Punta Arenas on an 8-night voyage exploring Patagonia by sea.


Departing from Ushuaia, retrace the route of Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle on an expedition cruise through the secluded Fuegian Archipelago at the bottom of South America. Our adventurous nine-day (eight-night) itinerary includes legendary Cape Horn and historic Wulaia Bay, as well as Glacier Alley, the penguin boisterous colonies on Tuckers and Magdalena islands, as well as the spectacular fjords that harbour Pía and Águila glaciers. While visiting Patagonia you'll also encounter massive ice fields, lush sub-polar forests and secluded beaches on islands that remain refreshingly remote and barely touched by civilization, a rare glimpse of what planet Earth must have been like before mankind. Midway through the journey, a half-day port call in Punta Arenas leaves plenty of time to explore a city rich in history, architecture and Patagonian culture before resuming the journey back to Ushuaia.

**Itinerary can vary depending on weather conditions**

Viva's Best Bits...

You have the best opportunity to see Patagonia by sea

Lots of wildlife viewing opportunities

Good variety of shore tours to enjoy

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Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

This afternoon check-in downtown Ushuaia for your cruise. We set sail around 5-6pm. Enjoy a welcome toast with your captain & crew as the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night we traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as we turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands
**Please contact us for dates & details should you wish to start & end in Punta Arenas
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 2
Cape Horn Wulaia Bay

Around the break of dawn, Ventus Australis crosses Nassau Bay and enters the remote archipelago that comprises 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. 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 light keeper 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).

We continue on to 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 HMS Beagle. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, 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.
Overnight onboard Venus Australis

Day 3
Pia Glacier Garibaldi Glacier

Overnight we travel to the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, Ventus Australis tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. 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.

Making our way further west along the Beagle Channel, we enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia. This time we hike through virgin Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is demanding -- very steep, negligible trail, rough footing -- and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, our captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 4
Agostini Sound Cóndor Glacier

Early in the morning, we will 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, we will disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. We will reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, we will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac -- and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 5
Magdalena Island Punta Arenas

After an overnight cruise through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, we anchor 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, we 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 11:30 AM.
*Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 6
Ainsworth Bay Tuckers Islets

By dawn we're sailing up Admiralty Sound between the snow-capped peaks of Karukinka and the fjords of Alberto de Agostini National Park. We go ashore at Ainsworth Bay with its copious bird life and elephant seals. Two guided hikes are available, both with excellent views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains. Leaving Ainsworth Bay, we sail west to the Tuckers Islets for a close-up encounter with the 4,000 Magellan penguins who nest there. Many other bird species also frequent the tiny landfalls. In September and April -- when the penguins live elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a beach walk to a glacier at Brookes Bay.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 7
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, Stella Australis tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. 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
We continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 8
Wulaia Bay Cape Horn

During the early morning, we navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, 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.
In the afternoon 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.
Overnight on board Ventus Australis

Day 9
Ushuaia Depart

Arrive back into Ushuaia in the morning. Disembark.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 8 nights onboard Stella or Ventus Australis in Category B Cabin
  • Included Copy 31 Upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All-inclusive meals and bar with selected beverages, liquors & wine
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Daily excursions on Zodiac boats
  • Included Copy 20 Audiovisual presentations on the regions flora, fauna, geography, geography, glaciology, ethnography
  • Included Copy 31 Options to start in Punta Arenas (round trip) 8 nights available
  • Included Copy 20 Official languages on board are Spanish and English
  • Included Copy 20 Shore excursions
  • Included Copy 7 Port taxes
Transportation
Ventus Australis

210 Passengers

Stella Australis

210 Passengers

Click here for dates & prices
Duration

9 days

Price from

$2,817 USD

Per person, twin share

Selected dates between 2019/20 & 2020/21
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