Patagonia Explorer Cruise

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

Explore Patagonia on an adventurous five-day, four-night journey between Ushuaia (Argentina) to Punta Arenas (Chile) through some of planet’s most remote places and incredible scenery. Discover the wild beauty of Patagonia on a cruise that showcases the region’s pristine landscapes, rich wildlife and fascinating human history aboard an expedition ship that brings an extraordinary level of comfort and service to the uttermost edge of the world. Leaving the twinkling lights of Ushuaia behind, the vessel calls on fabled spots like Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay before cruising down the Beagle Channel. Continuing through the maze of islands, we’ll visit a number of glaciers, frozen giants that guard the southern flank of the Fuegian Archipelago, before entering the legendary Strait of Magellan. Last stop is the Isla Magdalena and its Patagonia Penguin colony before docking at Punta Arenas.

Viva's Best Bits...

Explore remote areas of Patagonia only visible at sea

Enjoy the company of the crew with their fascinating knowledge

Wildlife is spectacular

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

This afternoon check-in procedures begin in downtown Punta Arenas (we recommend arriving in the Punta Arenas the day before). Departing around 6pm you will enjoy a welcome toast & introduction from your captain & crew. 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.
Overnight onboard Venus 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 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.
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
Cruise Ends.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 4 nights in Category B Cabin
  • Included Copy 31 Upgrades available
  • 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 20 Official languages on board are Spanish and English
  • Included Copy 7 Port taxes
  • Included Copy 20 Shore excursions
Ventus Australis

210 Passengers

Stella Australis

210 Passengers

Click here for dates & prices

5 days

Price from

$1,590 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on low season

Selected dates weekly from September to April