Patagonia – Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island (11 Days)

Cruise Line: Lindblad Expeditions
Santiago, Chile to Santiago, Chile
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
Air travel
Air travel
Santiago, Chile

Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile. We check in to the Hotel Santiago by Mandarin (or similar), centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to our afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening, we gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (Day 2: L)

Santiago, Chile
Air travel
Ushuaia, Argentina

Today we fly by private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Our flight will bring us over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. If the weather is fine, you'll have a chance to view the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. Then, you'll embark National Geographic Orion and set sail. (B,L,D)

Isla de los Estados, Argentina

We have been given special permission to visit extraordinary Staten Island, and our ship will be one of the only few expedition ships ever allowed here. It's a place of superlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visited primarily by a few scientists and those who man the tiny naval observatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615. Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are beautiful, and we'll find a great deal of interest here. Our exact schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of conditions. We'll see southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and fur seals and sea lions. We'll also look for otters on our landings ashore, and we'll see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento Lighthouse, "the lighthouse at the end of the world", which inspired Jules Verne's novel by the same name, perhaps along with the ruins of a penal colony. There will be chances to walk in the southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand out as a unique chance to explore a very remote place. (B,L,D)

Isla de los Estados, Argentina
Cape Horn, Chile

Today we visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the South American continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town of Hoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate, and over the centuries have been the graveyard of many ships, which before the opening of the Panama Canal had to round the Cape to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, we'll use our modern equipment to explore safely. Weather permitting, we'll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of the hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. (B,L,D)

Yendegaia, Chile

We sail the Beagle Channel to Yendegaia, a stunning wilderness that covers 95,000 acres on Tierra del Fuego. This newly established national park was formerly a private reserve. It has beech forests, mountains, and wild rivers. We'll explore more stunning wilderness as we see the fjords and glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak, and on foot. A vast area of soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelago is scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore these protected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of ice contrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes of late-season flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. (B,L,D)

Karukinka, Argentina
Jackson Bay, Chile

Karukinka Natural Park: Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia's crown jewels. We visit its newest and largest protected area: Karukinka Natural Park. Established in 2004 through a gift from Goldman Sachs, Karukinka is one of the largest donations ever made for conservation. We're thrilled to have special permission from the Wildlife Conservation Society to visit this private reserve, which spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox, Andean condors, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and many other kinds of wildlife. We may explore Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and look or wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one of the nearby small islands. We may walk a trail to a lovely waterfall and look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach but also high in the grass meadows and even in the small river draining the valley inland. (B,L,D)

Chilean Fjords (Cruising), Chile
Kirke Narrows, Chile
Puerto Natales, Chile

Today you will be treated to the spectacular features of an active glaciated landscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. This region was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan's expedition and it took most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way through the channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. We'll look to make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where we may go out by Zodiac and kayak. Our captain and local pilots guide us through Kirke or White Narrows, accessible only to a small ship as National Geographic Orion—always a challenge to navigate because of the powerful currents that flow through the pinch point. Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife as we make our way to Puerto Natales. (B,L,D)

DAY 10
Puerto Natales, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Air travel
Santiago, Chile
DAY 11
Air travel

Disembark this morning in Puerto Natales. Drive to Punta Arenas, take a flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home. (Day 10: B)

Patagonia – Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island map

What's Included


  • All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

Not Included

  • Air transportation (except where shown as included), extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, baggage/accident/travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion.

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Cost Includes:

All accommodations aboard ship, meals as indicated, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment, services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guides, services of a ship physician, all gratuities, and all port charges and service taxes.

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