Patagonia Explorer Cruise

From Ushuaia to Punta Arenas
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Patagonia
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Explore the remote fjords of Patagonia as you cruise in comfort on this 5 day expedition cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas. 

This Patagonian Explorer cruise showcases the region’s pristine wildness, vast landscapes teeming with wildlife, giant glaciers flowing to the sea, and stories human history at the end of the world. Leave the lights of Ushuaia behind and sail the Beagle Channel, continuing through the maze of fjords and islands all the way to Punta Arenas in Chile. Along they way, discover legendary spots like Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay, and call in at Isla Magdalena, home to thousands of Magellanic penguins.  Daily landings and zodiac excursions allow you to walk in these pristine areas, and get up close to nature and wildlife. 

Your expedition ship brings an exception level of comfort and service to the uttermost edge of the world. Unwind and take time to soak in the sounds and sights of nature.

If you are looking to cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia instead, please see our Fjords of Tierra Del Fuego cruise.

Viva's Best Bits...

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!

Witness majestic glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range, visit an immense colony of Magellanic penguins on Magdalena Island...while you travel in comfort enjoying fantastic presentations, meals and drinks onboard.

"I loved the feeling of unplugging from every day life, and just enjoying the pristine and remote environment, imagine what life was like for the Yámana people, and learning about their life long ago, in the fjords of Patagonia." Tara, Team Via

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Check in at 409 San Martín Ave. in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 (10 AM-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure.

Board the Australis Cruise at 18:00 (6 PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, 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.

Day 2
Cape Horn Wulaia Bay

Around the break of dawn, the Australis cruise 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 -- 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, we anchor at fabled 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. 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 3
Pia Glacier Porter Glacier

Overnight we continue our Patagonia glacier tour 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 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.

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.

In the afternoon and aboard our Zodiac boats, we will sail between high rocky walls until we reach Porter Glacier.

Day 4
Agostini Sound – Águila Glacier Condor 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.

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

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 bar with selected beverages, liquors & wine
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
Ventus Australis

210 Passengers

Stella Australis

210 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Shore landings to discover wildlife, listen to the sounds of nature, & hike the pristine forests
  • Included Remote and untouched - for days you will see no town, cities, just pristine wilderness
  • Included Visit the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements
  • Included Witness majestic glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range
  • Included Visit an immense colony of Magellanic penguins on Magdalena Island
  • 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

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