Patagonian Explorer by Sea 2021
Buenos Aires & Ushuaia, then a 4 night cruise to Tierra Del Fuego, Cape Horn & the penguins of Magdalena Island; plus Santiago & Valparaiso, Chile; optional pre-tour extension to Iguazu Falls
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Group Size||8 travelers max|
|Themes||Active, Grand Tours, Nature & Wildlife, Small Ship Cruises|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, as well as climbing into and out of Zodiac boats. Because of this, and the fact that the cruise ship has no elevators requiring being able to climb up and down several flights of stairs, a high level of physical fitness is necessary to fully enjoy the trip. The Patagonia cruise portion of the tour may have up to 210 passengers. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.|
|Already booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.|
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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 or her sister ship, the Ventus 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 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.
- Flights from Miami to Buenos Aires and Santiago to Miami, including taxes & fees
- All intra-South America flights
- All ground transportation and transfers
- 6 nights accommodation in first class hotels
- 4 nights cruise aboard M/V Stella Australis or M/V Ventus Australis
- 21 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners, including a welcome dinner with wine
- English-speaking local guides
- Expedition specialist on board the cruise
- Optional pre-tour extension to Iguazu
- Optional tango lesson in Buenos Aires
Why you'll love it
- Visit an Argentinean cattle ranch and learn about Argentine cowboys (gauchos), then enjoy a sumptuous barbecue lunch and folklore show.
- Enjoy the unique diversity of Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city that was once a penal colony.
- Explore the dramatic scenery of Tierra del Fuego National Park, home to over 20 mammal species.
- Discover Cape Horn, a sheer 1,394 ft. high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage.
- Hike Patagonia's Pía and Garibaldi Glaciers for panoramic views of the magnificent landscape.
- See thousands of Magellanic penguins on Magdalena Island or a sea lion colony on Marta Island.
- Sip Chilean wine at a vineyard in the Casablanca Valley.
- Tour Valparaiso, a charming port city brimming with colorful neighborhoods perched atop hills.
Itinerary at a Glance
- 1 Depart USA
- 2 Arrive Buenos Aires
- 3 Buenos Aires & Estancia Visit
- 4 Buenos Aires
- Optional Excursion: Tango lesson, $75
- 5 Buenos Aires & Ushuaia
- 6 Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego & Embark Cruise
- 7 Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
- 8 Pía Glacier & Garibaldi Glacier
- 9 Agostini Sound, Águila Glacier and Condor Glacier
- 10 Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas & Santiago
- 11 Santiago
- 12 Valparaiso & depart Santiago
Day 1 Depart USA
- Depart the USA on your flight bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day 2 Arrive Buenos Aires
- Buenos Aires city tour
- Balance of the day is at leisure
- Join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner
Recoleta Grand DinnerFull Day Itinerary
After arrival formalities, stop for coffee and a local pastry at a historic café in Buenos Aires. Then, you will set out to discover why Buenos Aires is so often referred to as “the Paris of the South.” Each neighborhood has its own distinctive flavor, but everywhere you go, the people are warm, welcoming and happy to see visitors.
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 with its famous colorful painted houses and tango performers. 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 most elegant (and expensive) section.
In the evening, meet your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 Buenos Aires & Estancia Visit
- Full day excursion to an Argentinean cattle ranch with lunch
Recoleta Grand Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
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." You will be met with welcoming wine and empanadas. After a sumptuous barbecue lunch, you will enjoy a folkloric show with typical Argentine dance, song, and dress, along with a demonstration of gaucho horsemanship.
Day 4 Buenos Aires
- Full day at leisure for independent exploration
- Enjoy a tango dinner show
Recoleta Grand Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Your tour guide will gladly make suggestions for independent exploration. 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.Optional Excursion: Tango lesson, $75
Learn the basic steps of the Argentine tango on this one-hour lesson with professional dancers in the world capital of tango.
Note: This optional excursion must be pre-purchased and requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
Day 5 Buenos Aires & Ushuaia
- Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia
- Afternoon orientation tour of Ushuaia
- Visit the Prison Museum
Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight to Ushuaia, the most important city on the island of Tierra del Fuego. The landscapes in this fascinating region range from barren, windswept plains to quiet pine and beech forests, pristine blue lakes, and snow-capped mountains. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, you'll enjoy an orientation tour of the town and discover the city's unique history. Ushuaia is often referred to as the world’s southernmost city, and you will get the opportunity to learn more about its past as a penal colony at the museum that is housed in what once was the prison.
Day 6 Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego & Embark Cruise
- Morning excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park
- Embark Patagonia cruise ship
- Welcome cocktail reception and dinner
- Sail through the Beagle and Murray ChannelsFull Day Itinerary
Take a morning excursion to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. 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 captain and crew will welcome you with a cocktail reception on board. 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, you will traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as you turn toward the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.
Day 7 Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
- Disembark in Cape Horn National Park
- Explore the fabled Wulaia BayFull Day Itinerary
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, go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn. Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 1,394-foot high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years, it was the main sailing 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.
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, anchor at fabled Wulaia Bay, the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal canoer settlements. Charles Darwin disembarked here in 1833 during his voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. You will have the opportunity to walk through an enchanting Magellanic forest of beeches, Winter’s bark trees and ferns to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay.
Day 8 Pía Glacier & Garibaldi Glacier
- Hike to reach a panoramic view of Pía Glacier
- Admire the Garibaldi GlacierFull Day Itinerary
By morning, you’ll be entering Pía Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pía Glacier. After disembarking, take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea.
During the afternoon, the ship will enter the Garibaldi fjord, and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. This time you can hike through virgin Magellanic forests 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 –a very steep trail with rough footing– and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay on board, the captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.
Day 9 Agostini Sound, Águila Glacier and Condor Glacier
- Sail to Agostini Sound and see stunning glaciers
- Continue to Águila Glacier and walk along the shore of the lagoonFull Day Itinerary
Early in the morning, sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there, see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range, some of them reaching the water. Later this morning, you can disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier, to a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, you will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac, and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area!
Day 10 Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas & Santiago
- Visit Magdalena Island or Marta Island
- Sail to the port of Punta Arenas, on the Straits of Magellan
- Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago, Chile
- Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel
Crowne Plaza Santiago BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
After an overnight cruise through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, 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 currently inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, you can 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.
*Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island
The penguins migrate in early April, so passengers traveling between April and September will enjoy a different treat: a visit to the sea lion colony on Marta Island.
Sail on to Punta Arenas, disembarking later this morning. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, your guide will escort you to your centrally located hotel.
Day 11 Santiago
- Morning orientation of modern and colonial Santiago
- Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the Bellavista district
- Return to the hotel and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure
Crowne Plaza Santiago Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
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 and Plaza Constitución. Visit the Palacio de la Moneda, which was built toward the end of the colonial period to house the Royal Mint, and is now the seat of the Chilean government. Continue to the bustling Plaza de Armas, the heart of Santiago and home to the ornate baroque Metropolitan Cathedral, 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 spectacular panoramic views from Santa Lucía Hill, the site where Santiago was founded in 1541, and San Cristóbal Hill. At the foot of San Cristóbal lies 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.
Day 12 Valparaiso & depart Santiago
- Visit a vineyard in the Casablanca Valley for a wine-tasting tour
- Continue to Valparaiso for a city tour
- Transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight
- Your amazing adventures come to an end as you arrive in the USA tomorrow morning
BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
This morning, depart Santiago on a full day excursion. First, you'll visit a local vineyard in the Casablanca Valley for a tour and wine-tasting. Then head to Valparaiso, a vibrant port city and UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1536. The city brims with charming colorful neighborhoods nestled amongst and perched atop hills, and more than a dozen funiculars connect the port with higher areas of the city. 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 in Santiago for your overnight return flight. Your amazing adventures come to an end as you arrive in the USA tomorrow 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 departure dates listed.
Day 1 Depart USA
- Depart the USA on your flight bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day 2 Buenos Aires/Puerto Iguazú
- Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, transfer to the domestic airport
- Fly to Puerto Iguazú and transfer to your hotel for check-in
- Balance of the day at leisure
Hotel Iguazú Grand DinnerFull Day Itinerary
After clearing the immigration and customs formalities upon arrival in Buenos Aires, your guide will meet you for the transfer to the domestic airport, where you will board your flight to the Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls. Check into 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 is certainly among the most impressive waterfalls in the world.
Take the rest of the day to stroll through the laid-back town of Puerto Iguazu on your own, enjoy the lush gardens, or relax and cool off at your beautiful hotel pool. Dinner is included this night at the hotel.
Day 3 Iguazu Falls
- Tour the Argentinean side of the waterfalls and see Devil's Throat
- Afternoon at leisure or optional boat ride on Iguazú River
Hotel Iguazú Grand BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
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.
Day 4 Depart Iguazu & Buenos Aires
- Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires
- Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check-in
Recoleta Grand Breakfast
Day 5 Buenos Aires
- Continue on main tour itinerary Day 2
Hotels & Ships
Located strategically in the heart of the exclusive Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the Recoleta Grand is the perfect starting point for a stroll through this trendy area, with its Beaux-Arts architecture, elegant shops and excellent restaurants.
The hillside location of the Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort provides beautiful views overlooking Ushuaia and the waters of the Beagle Channel to the south and the towering Martial Mountains to the north. The surrounding forests provide a wonderful natural setting for this hotel, welcoming you to this vast, wild and pristine land that is Patagonia.
The Crowne Plaza Santiago Hotel is a first-class hotel, renowned for its excellence in service and amenities, that also boasts an unbeatable location. Nestled between three important neighborhoods, the Crowne Plaza is within walking distance from the historic Lastarria neighborhood with its Forest Park, the trendy arts scene of Bellavista, home of Literature Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, and modern Providencia, the business and cultural center of the city.
Located in Puerto Iguazú, just 15 minutes from Iguazú National Park, amidst 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, the Iguazú Grand is a wonderful starting point for exploring one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature: Iguazu Falls.
In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.
The M/V Stella Australis welcomes you aboard for a spectacular scenic cruise through the waterways of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Built in 2010, the Stella Australis was tailor-made to navigate narrow fjords and channels of the southern tip of South America, bringing you up close and personal with the spectacular glaciers, rugged terrain and pristine environment of this remote corner of the Earth.
M/V Ventus Australis welcomes you aboard for a spectacular scenic cruise through the waterways of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Launched in January of 2018, the M/V Ventus Australis was tailor-made to navigate narrow fjords and channels of the southern tip of South America, bringing you up close and personal with the spectacular glaciers, rugged terrain and pristine environment of this remote corner of the Earth.
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- What should I know before I go? We've compiled a comprehensive checklist, including information on how to pay your balance due, flights & transfers, packing & luggage, and more.
- Do I need a visa or other documents? Are there any entry requirements? Please review the visa & entry requirements.
- Can I make changes to my trip? Want to upgrade your seats? Stay a few extra days? Something else? Just ask!
- 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 time of travel.
- Should I purchase travel insurance? Yes! We recommend you purchase travel insurance to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a plan provided by Travelex Insurance Services.
- What's the fine print? Review the terms & conditions for this package.
- What should I know about Argentina? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
- What should I know about Chile? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
- What should I know about Patagonia? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
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