Set sail aboard the National Geographic Orionto experience the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas that make Chilean Patagonia one of the most lauded nature destinations on Earth. Encounter celebrated treasures, like the legendary Beagle Channel and Cape Horn, as well as remote wildlife reserves on Tierra del Fuego not easily accessible to the public. Along the way, venture out by Zodiac and kayak to explore Chile’s deeply indented coastline. Glide into fjords and inlets beneath walls of blue ice; hike on shore with naturalists; and watch for humpback whales, elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, and Andean condors. The expedition caps off on Argentina’s Staten Island, where we’ll have special access to nature reserves teeming with wildlife.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago and check in to our hotel. Set out on a guided overview of the city to discover the Plaza de Armas and the Presidential Palace.
Fly to Punta Arenas, situated on the Strait of Magellan. Drive to Puerto Natales, where we embark our ship.
Our Captain and local pilots guide us through Kirke Narrows, accessible only to ships as small as the National Geographic Orion. We’ll make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where we may venture out by Zodiac and kayak and look for elephant seals or take a forest walk.
Explore the newest and largest protected area on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago: Karukinka, meaning “our land” in the language of the ancient inhabitants. We have obtained permission to visit the private reserve, which harbors rich wildlife.
Today we continue our exploration of 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. Later, sail the Beagle Channel, and hike and kayak amid this region of beech forests, mountains, and rushing rivers.
Round the southernmost tip of South America: Cape Horn, named in 1616 by Dutch navigator Willem Schouten after his birthplace, Hoorn, Holland. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore for a panoramic view from land’s end.
Visit the southernmost tip of South America: Cape Horn, named in 1616 by Dutch navigator Willem Schouten after his birthplace, Hoorn, Holland. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore for a panoramic view from land’s end.
By special permission, explore the rugged landscapes of Staten Island, a wonderland of beech forests, mountains, 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.”
Disembark in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Take a charter flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home.
- Easter Island Extension4 days from $4,520
Located more than 1,000 miles from its nearest neighbor, Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands on the planet. Spend several days uncovering the secrets of the isle’s mysterious history as you stand face-to-face with iconic moai statues and explore the legacy of ancient seafarers in this long-pondered enigma of the Polynesian world.
Flights to Easter Island are extremely limited due to airline schedules that service Easter Island and Santiago and will affect the length of your extension, making it either a 4 or 5 day experience. We recommend speaking with an Expedition Cruise Specialist in order to purchase appropriate flights immediately after booking.
The prices listed on the website are for the 4-day Easter Island extension. Departures with the 5-day extension will include an extra night in Buenos Aires (Explorer), or Santiago (Orion) and will cost an additional $530 (Explorer) or $830 (Orion).
Disembark the National Geographic Explorer in Ushuaia and fly to Santiago, where we check into our hotel.
This morning, depart for Easter Island. Native tradition holds that the island settlement was founded over a thousand years ago by a Polynesian chief named Hotu Matuʻa. While many of the famous moai statues have been toppled or destroyed over the centuries, most have since been restored to their original positions; we’ll visit several statue sites and explore the symbolism of each during our stay.
Spend the next two days discovering astounding moai monuments across the island. Explore the ceremonial complex of Tahai, an archaeological site comprised of three ahu, or shrines, each presided over by giant moai. Stroll between restored stone and sod buildings at Orongo, a ceremonial village situated on the rim of the Rano Kau volcanic crater. At Ahu Te Pito Kura, marvel at the fallen form of the enormous Paro moai, considered the largest moai statue to be transported from the Rano Raraku volcano quarry. Visit the quarry to see where many of these giant statues were carved. Gaze up at towering the moai of Ahu Akivi and Ahu Tongariki—the largest ceremonial altar on Easter Island.
Spend a final morning exploring Easter Island before catching a flight to Santiago. From here, connect with your flight home.