STYLE: Small Ship Luxury Expedition Cruise
Trip Code: ACQEEP
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)
Start: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish: Santiago, Chile
Experience the spectacular network of fjords and channels in Chile. Discover one of the most incredible fjord systems on Earth as you explore southern Patagonia. Cruise near unique tidewater glaciers, discover fascinating wildlife from Magellanic penguins to South American sea lions and elephant seals. You will also be some of the first guests to explore the pioneering new vessel, Ultramarine, one of the latest and most advanced polar expedition vessels.
*Discounts, promotions and dynamic pricing are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn or changed at any time and subject to availability on selected cabins and departure dates. Discounts are subject to change, availability will be confirmed at time of booking. Some current in market offers may be combinable and Shackleton Club Past Passenger and multi trip discounts may be applied subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, and other external factors. No discount applies to any transfer packages, additional activities or pre/post services.. The advertised prices may also include a 'Pay in full at time of booking' which is a 5-10% early payment bonus. Further conditions may apply, contact us for more information.
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).
After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier. After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America.
As we begin our exploration of Chile’s southern extent, expect a new adventure every day. Though each expedition will be different, depending on the weather, we aim to start our journey to the “edge of the earth” with a visit to historic Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). At the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”) archipelago, the most isolated place in the Americas, this steep, rocky headland on Hornos Island marks the northern boundary of the famous Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. From the 1700s to the early 1900s, prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, this cape was part of a major global trade route.
If sea and weather conditions allow, you may go ashore for a hike out to the lighthouse, the tiny Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) Chapel, and the albatross-shaped monument honoring the many mariners who lost their lives attempting to “round the Horn.” Atop the windswept promontory, pause for a moment to take in the panoramic view and to enjoy the peaceful solitude that can only be found at one of the most southern stretches of land in the world. You can even have your passport stamped by the family operating the lighthouse!
Your ship will then continue cruising farther south, to the Diego Ramírez Islands, the most southern point of South America and one of the least-explored places on the planet. This small archipelago was actually thought to be the southernmost land mass in the world when it was discovered in 1619 by the Spanish Garcia de Nodal expedition. Named after the expedition’s cosmographer, the archipelago held this distinction for 156 years, until Capt. James Cook’s discovery of the South Sandwich Islands in 1775. Weather permitting, we’ll Zodiac cruise around these tussock-grass-covered islands to admire the abundant birdlife. A designated Important Bird Area, and part of the recently-designated Diego Ramirez Islands and Drake Passage Marine Park, the archipelago is home to millions of breeding seabirds, and an exceptional place for birdwatching. Binoculars in hand, birders will marvel at the sight of multiple species of albatross (these islands are the southernmost albatross breeding ground in the world), including black-browed albatross, shy albatross and grey-headed albatross. Sightings of dolphins, South American fur seals, and rockhopper, macaroni and Magellanic penguins are also possible here.
As our ship sails back north toward the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego, stimulating presentations by your Expedition Team will enrich your knowledge of the glacial systems, geology, environment, wildlife and storied history of the region as you retrace Charles Darwin’s historic journey through the Beagle Channel, a 150-mile (240 km) strait separating Tierra del Fuego’s main island from several smaller islands. Named after Captain Robert FitzRoy’s famous ship on which Charles Darwin was a passenger, the channel presents plenty of photo ops to capture seabirds hovering overhead and dramatic vistas of jagged-peaked mountains and massive tidewater glaciers. Rugged and untouched, this magnificent landscape is as starkly beautiful as it was when Darwin first laid eyes on it in 1833.
Glacier Alley (as it’s nicknamed) is one of the most spectacular ship passages in Tierra del Fuego. To honour the European countries that first explored the region, the glaciers have taken their names—España (Oblicuo), Romanche, Alemania (Roncagli), Francia, Italia, and Holland Glaciers.
As we navigate the fjords, your Expedition Team will keep watch for Andean condors, massive birds rivaled in wingspan by only the wandering albatross.
Located at the end of a tranquil lagoon surrounded by lush sub-Antarctic forests in Agostini Sound, Dainelli Glacier (sometimes called Aguila—Spanish for “Eagle” Glacier) is a unique sight, as it appears to flow over rolling hills rather than mountains. Cruising aboard a Zodiac toward the blue-tinged wall of ice, conditions permitting, you will be humbled by the wonder of nature’s power. We hope to venture ashore for an easy hike along the beach to get a more intensive look at the glacier and surrounding mountains.
Continuing north, we’ll navigate through a remote network of coastal fjords and channels, including time spent venturing out into the Pacific Ocean. Your Expedition Team will prepare for the adventures that await, helping you further understand the glacial systems, as well as the flora and fauna that can be found in this part of Chile. Take a moment, as we glide past soaring snow-capped peaks, to contemplate the mariners of long ago who traveled these same sheltered passageways, and were rewarded with the same wondrous sights.
Sailing the turquoise waters of the extraordinary stretch of coastline leading to the small port of Puerto Natales, we’ll meander through a mesmerizing maze of deep, windswept fjords, narrow channels and isolated bays, with an eye toward the rugged landscape, unique wildlife and impressive glaciers that tumble from the towering mountains into the icy waters below, along with the imperial and king cormorants, South American terns, black-necked swans and southern wigeons (Chiloé wigeons) that frequent the fjord.
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most stunning wilderness areas in South America, and Puerto Natales is the gateway. This enormous park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so designated for both its natural wonders and ancient human history, and named for the three granite peaks that tower above the glacier-fed lakes. Enjoy a full day of hiking tailored to your preferred activity level and stopping at lookouts in the park, followed by a traditional Patagonian barbecue in the afternoon.
Taking our expedition onto dry land for another full day, we will also visit a working Patagonian estancia (“ranch”), founded in 1891 by Scottish immigrants. Here you will learn about Patagonian sheep farming in a historic pastoral setting. Inhabiting the surrounding grasslands are the ostrich-like rhea, and guanacos, a wild relative of the domestic llama. Complete your cultural experience with a lunch of barbecued lamb al palo (“on a stick”), and return to the ship in the early evening.
Cruising the calm, crystal-clear waters of the Canal de las Montañas (“Channel” or “Fjord of the Mountains”) will leave you breathless. You’ll be awed by the amazing series of waterfalls cascading down between the jagged peaks that rise up sharply on either side of the narrow, 41-mile (66 km) long channel dotted with glaciers, five of which spill dramatically into the water. Here, impressive ice fields glisten, and steeply sloped glaciers exceed elevations over 8,235 feet (2,510 meters). The channel also provides an ideal place to put our Zodiacs in the water for more detailed exploring or going ashore for a hike to scenic viewpoints. If you’re feeling more adventurous, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an optional kayaking excursion (extra cost), an exceptional opportunity to experience the channel from a special perspective.
A series of small islands and rocky outcrops in Almirantazgo Sound (“Admiralty Sound”), a small fjord off the Strait of Magellan, Tuckers Islets is a superb location for viewing penguins. Though landing here is prohibited, a Zodiac excursion will take you very near a pebble beach to view a colony of 4,000-plus breeding Magellanic penguins, conditions permitting. Named for Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whose crew sighted the charming creatures in 1520 during the first circumnavigation of the globe, the species is native to the region, and the sight of them in their burrows, lounging on the beach or waddling in and out of the water, is one you won’t forget. If we’re fortunate, we may also see Chilean skuas, Magellanic cormorants (rock shags), imperial cormorants (king shags), oystercatchers, kelp geese, or even dolphins.
Continuing our exploration of Almirantazgo Sound, we plan to explore ashore at Ainsworth Bay, one of the most picturesque and pristine places in Patagonia. Surrounded by untouched sub-Antarctic forest, this isolated bay is a protected area within the border of Alberto de Agostini National Park. It hosts abundant birdlife, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled as we cruise in the Zodiacs. Hiking options will be available for all fitness levels, affording panoramic views of Marinelli Glacier, Marinelli Fjord and the surrounding Darwin mountain range.
In 2003, a small breeding colony of black-browed albatross was documented on Islote Albatros (“Albatross Islet”), located in Admiralty Sound. Normally albatross are seabirds, nesting and feeding in coastal waters and open ocean; this the first record of a colony of this species in inland waters, feeding mainly in fjords and channels.
Another excellent spot for glacier exploring in Almirantazgo Sound is Bahia Brookes (Brookes Bay), where, conditions permitting, we’ll go ashore by Zodiac. The bay offers ample chances for closer views of a number of waterfalls and glaciers, including the calving North Brookes Glacier, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the towering Darwin mountain range. Amid the serene silence of this icy wonderland, the only sound you may hear is the powerful roar of ice breaking off and crashing into the frigid waters below. This is also a great location for viewing ice fall deposits, which form reconstituted glaciers, and kame (silt and sediment deposits).
In the middle of the Strait of Magellan, Marta Island (Isla Marta) is home to abundant birdlife and more than one thousand Patagonian (South American) sea lions. To protect the wildlife, shore landings are not possible here, but we do plan to circumnavigate the island, providing numerous opportunities to observe and photograph the colony from a short distance, in the comfort of a Zodiac. Called lobos marinos (“sea wolves”) by local Chileans, these giant pinnipeds—males can weigh over 700 pounds/320 kg—form quite a noisy group as each sea lion vies for a choice spot of coastline. As you cruise by, sightings of imperial cormorants, skuas, southern gulls, Antarctic pigeons—and if we’re lucky, dolphins—are also possible.
After an adventurous two weeks of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark in Punta Arenas, to be transferred to the airport for your charter flight to Santiago, where you are welcome to continue on your own travels or connect to your homeward flights.
The newest ship of this expedition fleet; Ultramarine; takes guests to the most isolated and breathtaking wildernesses on the planet. The ship has been purpose-built to meet the specific demands of the polar regions and is well appointed to let guests explore The Arctic and Antarctica safely and comfortably. It offers a robust portfolio of adventure activities. The mix of sustainability features create innovative operations to offer ultra-immersive polar experiences to guests on board . Experience the Antarctic in comfort as you sail aboard Ultramarine. The Expedition Ship can accommodate a maximum of 199 passengers and offers the most spacious suites in its category . The cabins are all elegantly designed and feature oversized windows with sleeping views, flatscreen TV’s and DVD players and spa - inspired bathrooms. Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features a best-in-class 70-day operational range and an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards.
The newest ship of this expedition fleet; Ultramarine; takes guests to the most isolated and breathtaking wildernesses on the planet. The ship has been purpose-built to meet the specific demands of the polar regions and is well appointed to let guests explore The Arctic and Antarctica safely and comfortably. It offers a robust portfolio of adventure activities. The mix of sustainability features create innovative operations to offer ultra-immersive polar experiences to guests on board .
Experience the Antarctic in comfort as you sail aboard Ultramarine. The Expedition Ship can accommodate a maximum of 199 passengers and offers the most spacious suites in its category . The cabins are all elegantly designed and feature oversized windows with sleeping views, flatscreen TV’s and DVD players and spa - inspired bathrooms.
Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features a best-in-class 70-day operational range and an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards.
Length: 128m (420ft)
Breadth: 21.5m (70.5ft)Max
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.
Experience the unforgettable thrill and serenity of kayaking in Antarctica as part of a small, expertly guided paddling group.Learn More
Stand-up Paddle boarding, commonly known as SUP originated in Hawaii and is now available as an optional activity in Antarctica. What a way to explore!Learn More
25 % offAUD 50,750 AUD 38,425
25 % offAUD 45,750 AUD 34,675
25 % offAUD 37,050 AUD 28,150
25 % offAUD 34,850 AUD 26,500
Deluxe Balcony Suite
25 % offAUD 33,350 AUD 25,375
25 % offAUD 29,050 AUD 22,150
25 % offAUD 26,150 AUD 19,975
25 % offAUD 36,250 AUD 27,550
25 % offAUD 22,550 AUD 17,275
37 % offAUD 51,500 AUD 33,000
37 % offAUD 46,400 AUD 29,787
37 % offAUD 38,300 AUD 24,684
37 % offAUD 35,400 AUD 22,857
Deluxe Balcony Suite
37 % offAUD 33,900 AUD 21,912
37 % offAUD 29,500 AUD 19,140
37 % offAUD 26,500 AUD 17,250
37 % offAUD 36,800 AUD 23,739
37 % offAUD 22,900 AUD 14,982
Cabin accommodation on board ship
All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage
Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
All scheduled landings and excursions
Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition team
Expedition parka (yours to keep)
A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
One 10 to 15 minute helicopter flight-seeing excursion (weather permitting)
Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
Torres del Paine National Park entrance fee and ground transfers
Estancia visit and ground transfers
Lunches ashore during Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine excursion days
MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE (INCLUDED)
One night pre transfer accommodation in a hotel in Buenos Aires with breakfast
Group flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on a return basis
Transfers from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires for your flight to Ushuaia (arrival transfer in Buenos Airs on day 1 is excluded)
Group flights from Punta Arenas to Santiago on disembarkation
Group Transfers to/from the ship
Any other pre or post land arrangements not mentioned above
Passport and visa expenses
Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
Excess-baggage fees on international and domestic flights
Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
Optional Adventure Activities
Available upon request, contact us for more details.
Prices are based on per person, and vary from single, quad, triple, and twin cabins.
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time.
All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.
Please note this itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.
Includes charter flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and Punta Arenas to Santiago
Departure dates, seasonality, availability & currency fluctuation