Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Aboard the National Geographic Endurance, glide into Patagonia’s glacier-sculpted fjords and navigate among floating icebergs by Zodiac and kayak.
  • Spend a day cruising the waters of Francisco Coloane Marine Park, one of the largest marine protected areas along the Chilean coast, where humpback whales and dolphins gather.
  • Get up close to a vast colony of Magellanic penguins on Magdalena Island, and hike across lake-splashed grasslands in search of the Andean fox and the Chilean flamingo.
  • By special permission, explore the wilds of Karukinka Natural Park, the largest protected land area in spectacular Tierra del Fuego.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Explore the spectacular fjords and forested isles of southern Patagonia on an expedition aboard the state-of-the-art National Geographic Endurance. Sail the Beagle Channel and seek out the unique creatures that inspired the curiosity of Charles Darwin and countless legendary explorers. Cruise into protected areas where whales breach, condors soar, and penguins gather in extraordinary numbers, and set foot on the rugged shores of seldom-explored isles. On hiking, kayaking, and Zodiac excursions, take in the natural treasures of a wilderness at the edge of the world.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Days 1-2: U.S./Buenos Aires, Argentina

Depart on an overnight flight and arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s vibrant capital city. Check in to our hotel, then venture out on an afternoon tour with a local guide, exploring colorful alleys, beaux arts buildings, and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Perón.

Meals Included:Lunch Daily
Accommodations:Alvear Icon Hotel (or similar)
Day 3: Ushuaia/Beagle Channel

This morning, fly to Ushuaia, a port town in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province. Board an elegant catamaran for a cruise along the Beagle Channel, named after the British ship that surveyed the coast and carried Charles Darwin on his South American journey. Glide past soaring mountains, beech forests, and roaring rivers. In the evening, embark our expedition ship.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

National Geographic Endurance for the remainder of the trip

Days 4-5: Chilean Fjords

Cruise into a vast wilderness of snow-capped peaks and mirror-like lakes, towering glaciers and dense woodlands as we set out to explore Chile’s Glacier Alley—part of the UNESCO-recognized Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Sail into the secluded fjord of Pia and take in views of the enormous glacier at its terminus. Enter Alberto de Agostini National Park as we glide into Garibaldi fjord, marveling at the steep slopes of the Andes sweeping down to meet the sea. Set out by Zodiac or kayak to get close to the calving front of the Garibaldi Glacier, and navigate among surreal floating ice sculptures.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 6: Francisco Coloane Marine Park

This morning we’ll enter the Strait of Magellan, which separates the South American mainland from Tierra del Fuego. Cruise into Francisco Coloane Marine Park, one of the largest marine protected areas along the Chilean coast and home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife. Large populations of humpback whales and South American sea lions come here to feed, and black-and-white Peale’s dolphins can often be spotted bow-riding as our ship sails the strait. Explore by Zodiac and kayak in search of the near threatened Chilean dolphin, the Andean condor, and the Antarctic petrel; and visit Rupert Islet to get up close to a vast colony of Magellanic penguins.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 7-8: Torres del Paine National Park/Puerto Natales

Discover the ecologically rich wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Venture by foot or vehicle across an extraordinary landscape of vast glaciers and sweeping grasslands, rivers and gem-colored lakes. Trek forested slopes under the shadow of sharp peaks, and keep an eye out for the pink-feathered Chilean flamingo and the rhea, a flightless bird native to South America. The following day, delve into Chilean culture and cuisine in Puerto Natales, with opportunities to taste local specialties and learn about the region’s indigenous history. Alternatively, choose to set out on a hike in the surrounding hills or a birdwatching excursion in search of the famed Andean condor.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 9-10: Torres del Paine National Park/Chilean Fjords

Leave behind the snow-capped “horns” of Torres del Paine early this morning as we cruise through Chile’s stunning fjords. Local pilots will join our captain on the bridge to guide us through the Kirke Narrows, a winding channel fringed by rocky slopes and misty woodlands accessible only to small expedition ships. Continue our exploration of this maze of pristine channels and isles, which we may experience by Zodiac and kayak, or on a walk in the surrounding forest.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 11: Punta Arenas/Magdalena Island

Arrive in Punta Arenas and join a local guide for a walking tour of the historic city center, including a visit to a bustling handicraft market. Learn about the region’s diverse wildlife and ancient indigenous history at the Patagonian Institute and the Salesian Museum, or go for a hike in Magallanes National Reserve, offering spectacular views of the surrounding valley. Later, find a spot on deck as our ship navigates the Strait of Magellan en route to Magdalena Island. This tiny isle is home to Penguins National Nature Reserve, established to protect a thriving breeding colony of some 120,000 Magellanic penguins. Go ashore for a chance to get up close to these iconic birds.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 12-13: Karukinka Natural Park/Ainsworth Bay

By special permission, cruise into the largest protected land area in Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park. Karukinka means “our land” in the lost local language, and this region is truly a microcosm of Patagonia’s extraordinary natural beauty and diversity. On beach walks and forest hikes, search for rare wildlife including the guanaco, Andean fox, black-browed albatross, and elephant seal. The following day, cruise into Ainsworth Bay, a pristine coastal inlet fed by the meltwater of the Marinelli Glacier. Take a Zodiac to shore and delve into the spectacular wilderness of the subpolar Magellan forest.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 14-17: Cape Horn/Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

Navigate around the iconic point of Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of the South American continent. Conditions permitting, ride a Zodiac to shore and stand atop the cliffs of the cape, overlooking the churning waters of the Drake Passage before continuing into Argentinian waters. By special permission, set foot on the rugged shores of Staten Island, a sprawling wilderness of beech forests and fjords. Spot southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, water birds, and sea lions; and see the San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world.”

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 18-19: Ushuaia/Buenos Aires

Disembark in Ushuaia and take a charter flight to Buenos Aires to connect with your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch Daily