Patagonian Explorer by Sea
Buenos Aires, Santiago, Ushuaia & Valparaiso plus Iguazu Falls optional extensionBook now online
|Style||Small Group Tour
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from March – April 2016|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Buenos Aires, Santiago, Ushuaia, Avenida 9 de Julio, Cape Horn, & Magdalena Island. Optional Iguazu Falls extension|
|Themes||Active, Nature & Wildlife, Premium, Small Ship Cruises|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. The Patagonia cruise portion of the tour may have up to 210 passengers.|
Explore amazingly diverse and fascinating Patagonia, a magnificent "off-the-beaten-path" region spanning portions of Chile and Argentina, where you'll find soaring mountains, windy plains that stretch endlessly toward the distant horizon, lush forests filled with ancient flora and fauna, and pristine glaciers. It is an enchanted voyage filled with contrast and beauty, excitement and adventure, and one that you will never forget.
Begin in Buenos Aires, the beautiful and diverse capital city of Argentina, where a rich history and culture, world-class cuisine and spirited nightlife make this one of the world's most exciting destinations. You'll also visit Santiago, Chile's charming capital city, where Spanish colonial buildings and old churches are juxtaposed against the spectacular, snowy peaks of the Andes Mountains.
At Ushuaia, you'll board your Patagonia cruise ship, the Stella Australis, and sail around the inlets and waterways of Tierra del Fuego and through the Strait of Magellan. The ship's fleet of zodiac boats will whisk you to shore at various points along the way, and en route, you'll enjoy fascinating presentations by the ship's naturalist-guides, all of whom are involved in the study of Patagonia and its natural treasures as well as its preservation.
If you enjoy cruising, you won't want to miss this very special opportunity. Your ship, the Stella Australis, provides all the modern comforts you'll need or want, plus important extras that you'll be glad to have—even high-top rubber boots to borrow if you don't bring your own! Delicious and bountiful meals are served three times daily in the ship's dining room that is encircled by huge picture windows so you don't miss a single view. Hot beverages, snacks and even wine and other alcoholic beverages are served, free of charge, each day. Space on the Stella Australis is extremely limited, so we strongly recommend early booking.
Want even more out of our Patagonia vacation package? Add a 3-night optional pre-tour extension to Iguazu Falls (also known as Iguazú or Iguaçu), one of the largest waterfalls in the world and very likely the most impressive.
Dates, Prices & Options
Departure Dates & Prices
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Fri||Nov 13||2015||Tue||Nov 24||2015||$5299||Departed|
|Fri||Dec 11||2015||Tue||Dec 22||2015||$5999||$5499||Closed|
|Fri||Jan 15||2016||Tue||Jan 26||2016||$5999||$5499||Closed|
|Fri||Feb 19||2016||Tue||Mar 1||2016||$5999||$5499||Closed|
|Fri||Mar 11||2016||Tue||Mar 22||2016||$5599||$5099||Closed|
|Fri||Mar 25||2016||Tue||Apr 5||2016||$5499||$4999||Available|
|Fri||Apr 1||2016||Tue||Apr 12||2016||$5299||$4799||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
Options, Extensions & Fees
|Patagonia Explorer By Sea|
|Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories1|
|Category B, Double Occupancy|
|Jan 15, Feb 19, Mar 11||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
|Category B, Single Occupancy|
|Nov 13, Dec 11||+$2300|
|Jan 15, Feb 19, Mar 11||unavailable|
|Category A, Double Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$500|
|All other departures||+$540|
|Category A, Single Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$2050|
|Nov 13, Dec 11, Jan 15, Feb 19||+$2300|
|Category AA, Double Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$590|
|All other departures||+$650|
|Category AA, Single Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$2175|
|Nov 13, Dec 11, Jan 15, Feb 19||+$2450|
|Category AAA, Double Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$690|
|All other departures||+$780|
|Category AAA, Single Occupancy|
|Mar 11, Mar 25||+$2300|
|Nov 13, Dec 11, Jan 15, Feb 19||+$2600|
1. Upgrades to A, AA and AAA cabins are available on a request basis only.
|Iguazu Falls Extension|
|Iguazu Falls Extension||+$1599|
|Single Room Occupancy||+$599|
|Separately Paid Fees|
|Argentina Reciprocity Fee1 (paid separately)||+$160|
1. Must be paid prior to travel at www.migraciones.gov.ar, and a printed receipt must be presented upon arrival in Argentina.
Flights & Departure Cities
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
How to Make a Reservation
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey to South America begins as you depart from Miami this evening on your overnight flight to Buenos Aires.
Day 2: Buenos Aires. After arrival formalities, set out on a tour of the city and discover why Buenos Aires is so often referred to as "the Paris of the South."
Your exploration begins at the Plaza del Mayo, historic and political center of the city. You'll see the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace from which Juan and Eva Perón spoke to throngs of adoring Argentinians. Continue to the Obelisk landmark on the Avenue 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. Then to the crowded Florida Street, a true shopper's paradise. Pass through the colorful neighborhood of La Boca and the charming San Telmo area. Admire the French architecture in the exquisite Recoleta neighborhood, including the beautiful Cemetery of La Recoleta, where Evita Perón is buried. It is one of many ironies of this complex city that Evita, heroine of the poor, is buried in the city's most elegant (and expensive) section. Accommodations: Sheraton Liberator.
Day 3: Buenos Aires & Estancia Visit. After breakfast this morning, travel outside the city for a full day excursion to the Argentine Pampas. Visit a traditional estancia (ranch), where you'll discover the life of the Argentine cowboys known as "gauchos." After a sumptuous barbecue lunch including delicious local wine, you'll enjoy a folkloric show with typical Argentine dance, song, and dress. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 4: Buenos Aires. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Your tour guide will gladly make suggestions for independent exploration. Buenos Aires is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive flavor, but everywhere you go, the people are warm, welcoming and happy to see visitors. We recommend an early evening stroll through the colorful streets and shops around your hotel, where you’ll enjoy shopping for bargains on souvenirs (and that gorgeous leather bag).
Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner and an exciting performance of the tango, Argentina's passionate national dance. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 5: Buenos Aires & Ushuaia. Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight to Ushuaia, the most important city in the Tierra del Fuego province and the southernmost city in the world. The landscapes in this fascinating region range from barren, windburned plains to quiet pine and beech forests, pristine blue lakes, and snowcapped mountains. Upon arrival transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will have an orientation tour of the town. Learn about the interesting history of when missionaries arrived to this region. Later, Ushuaia became a penal colony. Visit the Prison Museum. Accommodations: Los Yamanas. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego. Morning excursion to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, home to the Martial Glacier. When Ferdinand Magellan first sailed along these shores in 1520, he saw fires lit by the Yaghan Indians, giving the region its name: Tierra del Fuego, or "Land of Fire."
Later today, board your expedition cruise ship, the Stella Australis, the National Geographic Channel's preferred vessel for sailing through Patagonia. The captain and crew will welcome you with a cocktail reception on board. Set sail through the waterways of Tierra del Fuego as you make your way to the famous Strait of Magellan. Accommodations: Stella Australis. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay. On today's voyage, you'll sail through the Beagle and Murray Channels to the legendary Cape Horn, a treacherous milestone on the clipper route for centuries. The Horn, a sheer 1400 foot promontory, marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean merge, only 400 miles from Antartica. The Horn was discovered in 1616 and was originally believed to be part of Tierra del Fuego, then discovered some time later to actually be an island. Disembark in Cape Horn National Park and explore the island.
Return to your ship and sail this afternoon for Wulaia Bay, once home to the region's largest aboriginal settlements. Wulai is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. Walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns and other native vegetation to a breathtaking lookout point. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 8: Agostini Sound & Aguila Glacier. Sail through the Brecknock, Ocasión, Cockburn, and Magdalena Channels to enter the spectacular Agostini Sound, In the heart of the Darwin Cordillera, in Tierra del Fuego. Here you can see the glaciers flowing down the mountainside, often all the way to the sea. In the afternoon head to the Aguila Glacier and walk along the shore of a lagoon surrounded by mountains until you reach the base of the glacier. Learn about Patagonia’s cold rainforest and the forces that molded the landscape. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 9: Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas & Santiago. Early this morning, go ashore at Magdalena Island, home to an immense colony of more than 120,000 Magellanic Penguins and cratered with their burrows. Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year, with the male reclaiming his burrow and waiting for the female, who can find her mate through his call alone. Reaching 24-30 inches tall when full grown, the penguins provide quite a spectacle, which you'll see up close during a walk to the picturesque lighthouse that guides ships on their way through the Strait of Magellan. The penguins migrate in early April, so passengers traveling between April and September get a different treat—a visit to the sea lion colony on Marta Island.
After this visit, sail to Punta Arenas, disembarking late this morning. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, your guide will escort you to your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Santiago. This morning, you'll explore Santiago, the bustling capital of Chile, located between the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Andes Mountains. Enjoy an orientation tour that showcases both the colonial and modern highlights of the city.
Begin your tour with a visit to the colonial district, the Centro Civico and Plaza Constitucion. Visit the Casa de la Moneda, one of Spanish America's most stunning examples of colonial architecture and the current seat of the Chilean government. Continue to the the bustling Plaza de Armas, the heart of Santiago and home to the ornate baroque Cathedral Metropolitana, the magnificent Post Office building and Municipality and the best place to view the dozens of lively street artists and mimes and busy "Santiaguinos" on their way to and from work. End your tour with a spectacular panoramic view of Santa Lucia Hill, site where Santiago was founded in 1541, and a visit of San Cristobal Hill and the district of Bellavista, where you'll have lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the city independently. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 11: Valparaiso/USA. Today's excursion takes you to Valparaiso, a vibrant port city and UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1536. En route, visit a local vineyard in the Casablanca Valley for a tour and wine tasting. Valparaiso brims with charming colorful neighborhoods nestled in the hills, and more than a dozen cable cars connect the port with higher areas of the city. On today's tour, you'll have the opportunity to ride one of these hillside tramcars—the Ascensor Artilleria—to the Mirador Paseo 21 de Mayo, where you'll take in stunning panoramic views of the port and explore the handicraft market. In the afternoon, walk to the hills of Alegre and Concepcion, the most historic and important in the city.
Later today, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Arrive USA. Your exciting South American adventure ends today as you arrive in the USA this morning.
This tour involves some hiking and walking, and as the ship does not have an elevator aboard, you must be able to walk up and down several flights of stairs. Patagonia is a wild, rugged region, and our tour package is designed to get you up close and personal with the glaciers, terrain, wildlife and people of this area. While the cruise and shore excursions are not particularly strenuous and are suitable for most people, they do involve some uphill walking, hiking, and traveling in a zodiac boat. Travelers who have certain physical limitations may find that they cannot fully participate in the tour program aboard the cruise. All passengers boarding the Australis cruise will be required to sign a disclaimer during check-in. Please review this disclaimer in advance to be certain you accept the terms, and contact us if you have any questions.
Iguazu Falls Optional Pre-Tour Extension
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Iguazu Falls, one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders. You will depart the USA 3 days earlier than the departures dates listed. Space on this extension is extremely limited and subject to availability.
Day 2: Buenos Aires/Puerto Iguazú. After arrival in Buenos Aires, transfer to the national airport for your flight to the Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls. Check in at your deluxe hotel, the only one located within the Park.
Upon seeing Iguazu, Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" You'll soon discover why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world! Straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, the Falls consist of 275 inlets and cataracts that cascade down 250 feet, framed by multiple rainbows and mist that rises up to 500 feet in the air. Iguazu boasts the greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world.
Take the rest of the day to explore Iguazu on your own. There's plenty of well-marked trails through the rainforest which afford fanstastic views of the falls and excellent picture-taking (be sure to protect your camera if it's not waterproof). Later, relax and cool off at your beautiful hotel pool. Accommodations: Sheraton Iguazú Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Iguazu Falls. This morning, you'll get a fantastic close-up view of the falls and their dazzling display of power. Travel through the rain forest to the most spectacular sight at Iguazu: Devil's Throat, a massive U-shaped cataract that measures 270' high, 490' wide and 2300' long.
Spend the afternoon at leisure to explore further on your own. Or, take advantage of an optional nautical adventure along the Lower Iguazu River, sailing under the Falls. Later this afternoon, be sure to take time to stroll through the laid-back town of Puerto Iguazú. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Depart Iguazu & Buenos Aires. Enjoy a morning at leisure to take advantage of the lovely resort activities at your hotel. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. You'll enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Buenos Aires, before beginning the next leg of your tour tomorrow. Accommodations: Sheraton Libertador. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Buenos Aires. After breakfast this morning, begin your included sightseeing tour of Buenos Aires as listed in Day 2 of the main tour’s itinerary above. Breakfast provided.
My friend and I traveled to Patagonia over the Christmas holidays last year and we had a wonderful time. The cruise was marvelous. Argentina was our favorite. We spent Christmas Eve in Buenos Aires and enjoyed the restaurants and fireworks. We extended our trip to Iguazu Falls and had a room overlooking the falls. Guides were great, hotels centrally located. We are traveling again with Friendly Planet this year!
Lenore Layton, Cinnaminson, NJ
Things to Know
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the requirements.
- Should I get travel insurance? Protect your travel investment with our comprehensive policies.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
- Tips about traveling in Argentina? Check our Fast Facts to learn about the best time to travel, what to wear, what to buy, currency conversion, tipping, weather, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.
- Tips about traveling in Chile? Check our Fast Facts to learn about the best time to travel, what to wear, what to buy, currency conversion, tipping, weather, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.
More Common Questions
- Booked Passengers Forms you need to complete & information you need to have.
- Make a Payment Pay your balance due.
- Flight Schedule Departure & arrival times for your international flights and details on booking connecting flights.
- Baggage Allowance On this program you are permitted one carry-on bag per person and one piece of checked luggage not to exceed 44lbs. The carry on must not exceed 18" x 10" x 8" so that it fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment.