Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

SPECIAL OFFERS

Complimentary Bar Tab and Gratuities

Book a voyage on the National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Endurance, Sea Cloud, or Lord of the Glens and we will cover your bar tab on board and all tips for the crew.

Offer is for new bookings only, may not be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability. Must book by March 31, 2019. Please call for details.

Patagonia: Free Airfare

Book by March 31, 2019 and receive free international round-trip airfare between Miami and Santiago/Buenos Aires, as well as internal group airfare, on the 2019 departure.

  • Trace the Chilean coast from Chiloé Island all the way to Cape Horn aboard the National Geographic Explorer, and head overland to magnificent Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Be one of the few people to explore Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), located at the extreme end of South America. We have been granted special permission to explore here.
  • Hone your photography skills alongside a National Geographic photographer.
  • Venture through pristine wildlife reserves not readily accessible to the public, including the privately held Karukinka reserve in Tierra del Fuego.

Itinerary

Itinerary

From the wilds of Tierra del Fuego to the pinnacles of Torres del Paine National Park, experience Patagonia at close range aboard National Geographic Explorer. Trace Chile’s coast south from Puerto Montt, venturing deep into a maze of islands and glorious fjords. Pass incandescent icebergs and massive glaciers, and watch for elephant seals and Andean condors, humpbacks, dolphins, and penguin colonies. Encounter the incomparable landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, and round Cape Horn in the wake of history’s great explorers. Cap off the adventure on Argentina’s Staten Island, coming face-to-face with nature’s magnificence in one of the most untouched places on Earth.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Days 1-2: U.S./Santiago, Chile

Arrive in Santiago, Chile after an overnight flight and check into the Mandarin Oriental. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to our guided afternoon tour 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 ring the city.

Meals Included:Day 2 (Dinner)
Accommodations:Mandarin Oriental
Day 3: Puerto Montt

The next day, fly to Puerto Montt, the northern gateway to Chilean Patagonia. Visit the town of Puerto Varas, beautifully set on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. Weather permitting, take in views of snow-covered Osorno, a volcano that Charles Darwin saw erupt in 1835. After lunch, transfer back to Puerto Montt and embark the National Geographic Explorer.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 4-5: isla grande de Chiloé/Pumalín National Park

Spend the day exploring Chiloé’s culture and natural history, and visit the palafitos, colorful fishermen’s houses precariously built on stilts along the water’s edge. Alternatively, head to Puñihuil Natural Monument and take a local boat ride to see wildlife, including the mixed colonies of Magellanic and Humboldt penguins that inhabit the islets just off shore. The next day head into Pumalín National Park, whose 750,00 acres are home to some of the last forests of the huge and ancient alerce tree. Go on a forest walk with naturalists, discover a hidden waterfall, or take an energetic climb along a rushing stream.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 6: Parque Aikén del Sur or Coyaique National Reserve/Coyhaique

Today, choose from two available excursions. Spend the morning at the privately owned Parque Aiken del Sur, home to well-maintained trails that pass through evergreen forests en route to lovely lakes and waterfalls, including a 75-foot-high cascade. Keep your eye out for a range of bird species, such as ringed kingfishers and woodpecker. At the end of the walk, a Patagonian-style barbecue and entertainment by local musicians awaits.

Alternatively, take a full-day excursion to the Coyhaique National Reserve, driving up into a beautiful valley nestled amid the snow-covered peaks of the Andes. Pass through evergreen woods full of giant rhubarb and ferns into the transition zone of beech forest. The starting point for our hike is Laguna Verde, or Green Lake. Wildlife we may see in the reserve include three Chilean woodpecker species, passerines, predatory birds, and elusive pumas and foxes. In some places, the forest is native and pristine, while in others we have the chance to see how the landscape is being recolonized following fires of recent years. Stop for a picnic lunch at the end of the hike. Continue to the town of Coyhaique, and take a stroll through the central plaza and stalls where artisans sell their handicrafts. Return to Chacabuco and reboard the National Geographic Explorer.
(B,L,D)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 7-10: The Inland Passage and the Chilean Fjords

Sail into a vast wilderness of snow-capped peaks and mirror-like lakes, thick glaciers and islets blanketed with vegetation. In this pristine landscape, fjords cut between soaring granite walls and waterfalls splash down from high above. Set out to explore in Zodiacs and kayaks and on foot, and peer beneath the water using our undersea imaging technology. A highlight today is Pio XI Glacier, the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. Encounter the ice first by Zodiac and then hike atop it. As the ship makes its way through the Kirke Narrows, look for condors and other wildlife.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 11: Puerto Natales/Torres Del Paine National Park

From Puerto Natales, enjoy a breathtaking drive to Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, looking for razor-backed ridges, Andean condors, flamingos, and rheas along the way. This is one of the most scenic and wildlife-rich areas in the Americas, covering 450,000 acres of glaciers, forests, and gem-colored lagoons, and crowned with the blackened, twisted pinnacles of the Torres del Paine mountains. Learn about the flora, fauna, and geology of the park with our naturalists.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 12-13: Exploring Tierra Del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park

Continue to the newest and largest protected area on Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka, meaning "our land" in the language of the ancient inhabitants. We have obtained permission to visit this private reserve, which harbors abundant wildlife, including the guanaco, the endangered culpeo fox, and the Andean condor.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 14-15: Chilean Fjords/Beagle Channel/Cape Horn

Continue exploring the Chilean fjords. Board Zodiacs to explore protected waters and rugged shorelines, and look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, petrels, fulmars, and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Sail the Beagle Channel, and hike and kayak amid this region of beech forests, mountains, and rushing rivers. The next day, round the southernmost tip of South America: Cape Horn. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 16-18: Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

We have received special permission to visit Isla de los Estados, whose wild, untouched landscapes are home to southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, fur seals, otters, sea lions, and countless water birds. Our exact schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of conditions for exploring this natural wonderland. See the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel of the same name. The National Geographic Explorer is one of the few expedition ships to be granted access here, and the experience is bound to be unforgettable.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 19-20: Ushuaia/Buenos Aires/U.S.

Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take a charter flight to Buenos Aires and connect to your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Day 19 (Breakfast, Lunch)