Chilean Fjords Expedition

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

The vast Patagonian ice-sheet that straddles the Andes mountains in South America is the third largest ice-mass on the planet, after Antarctica and the Greenland icecap. It is a remnant of the earth’s most recent ice age and dominates the landscape, ecology and geology of Patagonia. Immense glacial systems cut through towering mountains as they move inexorably towards the sea. Take a look at any map of the region and this action becomes immediately apparent, in the maze of fjords and islands that make up one of the earth’s last great remaining wilderness regions. Ancient boreal forests also tell a story of an evolving planet and the supercontinent of Gondwanaland. They are home to several species of flora only found in South America, New Zealand, and Australia’s most southerly state, Tasmania. 

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Beautiful Patagonia Landscape

Amazing Wildlife to be seen

Travel along the Chilean coastline in a small ship

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia, Argentina - Embarkation

Embarkation Day - Please arrive in to Ushuaia at least 1 day prior to departure.
This afternoon we meet in a central location, then transfer to the pier for embarkation.
Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner before casting off, bound for the stunning landscapes of Patagonia, rugged coastal Chile and historic city of Valparaiso
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 2
Garibaldi Fjord & Alberto de Agostino National Park

During the night we have sailed in a westerly direction along the Beagle Channel, which separates Argentina from neighbouring Chile. This morning we enter Garibaldi Fjord, where two glaciers rise up towards a stunning mountain backdrop. We take to the Zodiacs for the first time and explore them from a safe distance. Resident wildlife in the fjord includes South American sea lion and several species of birds such as the iconic Andean condor. In the afternoon, we arrive at Alberto de Agostino National Park, designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to large tracts of ancient sub-Antarctic forest systems that cover much of the reserve. Naturalists believe these forests started growing around
10,000 years ago. There are some excellent hiking trails here or alternatively enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 3
Alberto de Agostino National Park & the Marinelli Glacier

The most famous of the park’s glaciers is the impressive tidewater Marinelli Glacier. This huge, crevasse-covered ice field spills from the Darwin Mountain range into Ainsworth Bay. From a distance, the glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and large icebergs that have calved from its face brood silently in the dark waters. Easy hikes in the lush Magellanic forests provide great opportunities to spot birdlife and to immerse yourselves
in some of the purest wilderness on the planet. We anticipate sightings of seals and possibly Magellanic penguins, which are known to inhabit this area, before continuing our voyage through the famous ‘Glacier Alley’ and into the Magellan Strait.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 4
Punta Santa Ana & Fort Bulnes

This morning we make our way ashore by Zodiac boat to explore the promontory of Punta Santa Ana, where the historic ‘Fuerte Bulnes’ (Fort Bulnes) is located. Founded in 1843,
the settlement was established both as a territorial claim and to protect the strategic Magellan Strait. Although none of the original structures remain, the fort has been faithfully reconstructed, offering outstanding views over the strait. We explore the grounds and visit the small church, barracks, powder magazine and log cabins. The fort was abandoned after a more permanent settlement was established further north, in present day Punta Arenas.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 5
Southern Patagonia Fjord Exploration

Today we cruise north along the rugged Chilean coastline and the views from the observation lounge and outer decks are breathtaking. Forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and glaciers continue for mile after mile. Enjoy onboard talks and discussions with our expert guides, covering a wide variety of subjects including history, wildlife, geology and glaciology as well as photography. Our ‘open bridge’ policy means you can also watch the Captain and officers steer the ship, learning something about navigation as well as having a look at the charts. For a bit of relaxation, why not soak in the hot tub or indulge in a massage at the day spa?
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 6
Torres del Paine National Park

For many, today’s excursion is one of the highlights of the trip. After breakfast we head ashore and enter the national park. This iconic location boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated 'towers' (from which the park gets its name) looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems. Powerful waterfalls surge through narrow channels between the lakes, and there are some
excellent short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing jaw-dropping views of the immense massif. The Guanaco (similar to a llama) is resident in the park and can be found in sizeable numbers grazing on the native grasses. We spend a full day
here, soaking up the views from all directions.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 6
Bruggen Glacier & Messier Channel

In a trip full of superlatives and highlights, today may well be near the top. Navigating into Eyre fjord, the vast sweep of the Brüggen Glacier comes into view. Often called the ‘Pio XI’, at almost 60 kilometres in length it is the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica. From the low vantage point of our Zodiacs the sheer scale of the glacier face is overwhelming. It rises almost 70 metres above the surface of the water and is a staggering 4 kilometres wide. In the afternoon we sail into the Messier Channel that separates continental South America from Wellington Island. Join our wildlife expert
out on deck as we look for marine and bird life. It promises to be another exhilarating day of exploration.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 7
White Narrows & Fjord Cruising

Today we look forward to an exciting day of navigation. A highlight will be the transit of White Narrows – a channel of water just 80 meters wide. No doubt everyone will be on the
outer decks as the Captain skillfully steers us through this challenging passage. More spectacular scenery is on offer today. The Bernal Glacier is a particular highlight and provides a textbook lesson in glaciology, featuring a large moraine, pushed forward by actions of the moving ice.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 9
Caleta Tortel

After several days immersed in the glacial systems, fjords and forests, today we visit the small outpost of Caleta Tortel. Situated on a steep escarpment, the village has no roads but is instead connected via a series of wooden walkways that link houses to town services. Most residences have jetties as boats are virtually the only mode of transport – even the local fire engine is a boat! The area was first visited by Europeans in the 1950’s, while the indigenous people of the regions have lived in the area for much longer. Today the town is dedicated as a national monument. We have time to explore at our leisure,
treading the boardwalks, observing local life and perhaps stopping for a chat with the locals.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 10
At Sea

We continue our journey north, leaving the fjords and entering the Pacific Ocean. We sometimes encounter migrating whales that use the Humboldt current as an oceanic conveyor belt. The programme of presentations and discussions continues today, or you may choose to take a break, perhaps writing up your trip journal, or enjoying a good book in one of the comfortable lounges or on the sun deck.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 11
Castro & Chiloe Island

This morning we are in position close to the town of Castro – the provincial capital of the island of Chiloé. The town was founded in 1567 and is the third oldest city in Chile. It flourished when the early Jesuits chose to base their mission here. We make our way ashore and are immediately struck by the colourful houses built on stilts around the harbour. Known as ‘palafitos’, they are simple homes built by local fisherman.
The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country. Reboarding the ship in the afternoon we hug the coastline, hoping to see the snow-capped summits of the numerous volcanoes that characterise this region.
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 12
Coastal Cruising & Mocha Island

Located 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Chile, the remote outcrop of Mocha Island is an important historic site. Inhabited for centuries by the indigenous Mapuche tribe,
Europeans first discovered it in the mid-15th century. The island was frequented by pirates, as well as Sir Francis Drake, and legend has it that more than 100 shipwrecks lie in the surrounding waters. Weather conditions permitting, we head ashore where there are several hiking options. We hope to spot the resident sea lions and may be lucky to encounter whales. The rare Pink-footed shearwater can be also found on the island, nesting in burrows on the forested slopes
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 13
Coastal Cruising towards Valparaiso

As we make our way towards the historic port of Valparaiso, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography expert in the multimedia room, where you can download and/or back up your precious images. Or spend time outside on the observation decks, in our spacious lounges or on the bridge. It’s a fitting time to reflect on a wonderful expedition. This evening we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship
Overnight on board RCGS Resolute in your chosen cabin

Day 14
Valparaiso - Disembarkation

This morning we arrive at Valparaiso, the principal deep water port for Santiago, around 100 kilometres inland from the coast. After breakfast it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows. Ride the historic funicular railways that still operate around the city and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. Or spend some time exploring the celebrated Casablanca wine region located nearby.
NOTE: Please kindly note that the itinerary is a guide and although we will do our best to meet expectations, sometimes due to bad weather & unexpected unforeseen circumstances, this will result in a change of itinerary at last minute without notice.

ENHANCE YOUR EXPERIENCE: Why not combine Antarctica with our Chilean Fjord Expedition? Visit the white continent on a 10-night voyage prior to the Chilean Fjords Expedition, creating what may be the world's greatest small-ship journey. Ask your looking agent for more details. Alternatively extend your stay in Chile or other wonderful South American destinations. Please ask for more details.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 13 nights on board RCGS Resolute in a triple cabin
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 7 Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (can be added)
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • Included Copy 20 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Included Copy 7 Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Included Copy 20 Transfers from a central meeting point in Ushuaia on Day 1
  • Included Copy 20 Transfer from Valparaiso to Santiago airport (or central city) at the end of your voyage on Day 14
  • Included Copy 20 Expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides & photographers
  • Included Copy 20 Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Included Copy 20 Guided hikes and walks on shore of various duration's for guests of all abilities
  • Included Copy 20 Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty & community visits
  • Included Copy 20 Presentations & talks by experts (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, glaciologists, etc).
  • Included Copy 20 Photography guide to assist all guests plus access to computers in multimedia lab for photo sharing
  • Included Copy 20 An emergency trained Physician onboard every voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Hospitality team : Manager, professional chefs, professional bar staff & Concierge staff
  • Included Copy 20 Onboard sauna, pool, Jacuzzi & gym. Massage options (fee applies for massage & treatments)
  • Included Copy 20 Sea Kayaking (extra US$795pp) – Limited availability. Experience required
  • Included Copy 20 Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
  • Included Copy 20 End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
  • Included Copy 20 Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
  • Included Copy 7 Any internartional or local airfare unless otherwise specifi ed in the voyage itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Visa and passport expenses
  • Included Copy 7 Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified unless in the itinerary (can be added)
  • Included Copy 7 Personal expenses on board such as bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Included Copy 7 Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
  • Included Copy 7 Voluntary gratuity for expedition staff & ship crew (suggested amount – $US12-15 per day)
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

14 days

Price from

$5,695 USD

Per person, twin share

Selected dates between 11 October 2019 to 4 April 2020
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