Private Journeys

Falklands cruise: Wildlife outposts of the South Atlantic

14 days from £7,011pp

Argentina / Chile / Falkland Islands

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires, transfer to your hotel close to the city centre.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants, while colourful arty La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses, is where the tango was born.

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Day 2

Guided tour of the city centre.

Your guided tour of the central neighbourhoods enables you to view up close some magnificent public buildings and takes you on to Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world, studded by the Obelisk - an emblematic symbol of the city.  You’ll have a guided visit to the 19th century Teatro Colón which, for its architecture and excellent acoustics is considered one of the best anywhere.  On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace from where Juan and Eva Perón addressed impassioned throngs of the Argentinian working class.

The tour continues to bohemian La Boca, which was settled by Italian immigrants and continues to elegant tree-lined Palermo and Recoleta where you’ll find the famous cemetery where generations of the Argentinian elite have been buried, including Evita.

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Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires: optional ferry to Uruguay.

Peruse the flea markets in arty San Telmo  or stroll round the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses and parked up with vintage cars, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

In the evening you might consider attending one of the capital’s sizzling tango shows. Nowadays, a number of 'tango houses' offer a dinner and show as an evening out - prior to the performance you can even try out a few steps yourself as an informal group tango lesson is included. 

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Day 4

Fly to Ushuaia on Tierra del Fuego island, Patagonia.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city, on the island of Tierra de Fuego. The city has grown rapidly in recent years, partly as a result of government incentives to settlers, and its establishment as a Free Port, and partly a tourist centre - most Antarctic cruises leave from the port here. The setting is spectacular; jagged mountains hem in the town down to the shore of the Beagle Channel. Transfer to your hotel.

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Day 5

Guided visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park; evening embarkation of the Magellan Explorer.

12km west of Ushuaia, where the Pan-American highway reaches the end of the road as the Andes disappear into the sea is Lapataia National Park, a virtually untouched wilderness crammed with spiked mountains, glacial lakes and cavernous river valleys. Ride the little tourist train on the Tierra del Fuego railway, built by convicts in the early 20th century. Continue to beautiful and serene Lapataia Bay, within the National Park, where you have a short walk along rustic paths following the lakeshore, scrambling over gnarled roots and rocks.

Back in Ushuaia, board the vessel at 20.00hrs and meet fellow passengers and expedition staff before setting sail along the Beagle Channel towards Chilean Navarino Island and Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world.

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Day 6

Visit Cape Horn.

After an overnight crossing of Nassau Bay, you’ll awake to views of the rugged cliffs of Cape Horn. Weather permitting, board a Zodiac and be one of the few fortunate travellers ever to set foot on this isolated, storm-battered, rocky island. You’ll have the opportunity to explore - maybe discovering the secluded lighthouse and the Albatross monument dedicated to sailors who have succumbed to the wrath of the ocean - before re-embarking the ship as she sets a course towards your next stop, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

The beauty of Chile : Scenic cruising around Cape Horn, southernmost tip of South America. Panoramic view of Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, Patagonia, Chile, South America.

Day 7

At sea.

Today will be spent riding the foam-capped pewter waves of the South Atlantic as you make your way to the Falklands. The horizon is undisturbed by land, but there is plenty to do: wrap up warm and take to the outer decks, scanning the horizon in search of wildlife. A profusion of seabirds, especially petrels and albatrosses, wheel and spin in the turbulent skies directly above the ship, seemingly curious, occasionally perching on the passenger rails or lifeboats to rest during their epic journeys in search of food.

Back inside the warm lounge, you will be informed and entertained by the dozen or so polar experts who will deliver illustrated lectures and presentations.

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Day 8

Drop anchor at West Falklands (south)

The Falkland Islands, which are subjected to the merciless battering of relentless wind most of the year, are virtually treeless, though the moorland which covers the humpy hills is embellished with bright gorse and other hardy flowers. Sheep are grazed just about everywhere, but they co-exist with a plethora of wildlife: rockhopper penguins, elephant seals and black-browed albatrosses to name but a few.

Today your ship will explore the southern zone of the West Falklands. Rising from natural harbours, forbidding cliffs frame sheltered pearl-white and golden beaches. These bays host a large concentration and great diversity of marine wildlife, species interacting as they jostle for space in their thousands.  Depending on weather and tide conditions, potential land visits include ruggedly striking New Island, Weddell Island or West Point.

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Day 9

Discover West Falklands (north).

Explore the north of the West Falklands. Potential landfalls include the varied terrain of Carcass Island, named after the HSM Carcass which visited the Falklands in the late 18th century, which is smothered in tussock grass enlivened by the presence of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins, steamer ducks, geese and finches. Saunders Island, run as a sheep farm with a long lazy stretch of dazzling white sands, is home to all five breeding species of penguin, is exceptionally rich in wildlife – there is a small colony of elephant seals and whales are occasionally spotted off the coast.  

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Day 10

Travel through the Falkland Sound.

Today will be spent sightseeing as you cruise down the shores of the Falkland Sound, a wide waterway which separates the two large islands. The featureless landscape is bleak, but imbued with history.
You will have the opportunity to be introduced to the resistant culture of tough farming families, visiting tiny settlements and meeting the weathered inhabitants. Your historian guides will also introduce you to regional geopolitics during an inspection of battlefields which punctuated the 1982 conflict.

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Day 11

Explore Port Stanley.

The sparse population of the Falklands just over 3,300, most of whom live in the only town, the capital. Today you have the choice of joining the expedition team on a guided visit of the town, its stone cottages garlanded with bright lupins, brick church, its one department store, clutch of cafés and bars, red pillar boxes and phone booths recalling the UK of the 1950s and 60s. Monuments and cemeteries, and a locally sculpted bust of Margaret Thatcher recall the 1982 conflict, which remains very much in the consciousness of the local population. Alternatively, you could choose to explore the areas on your own and absorb the local atmosphere, have some lunch at a local pub, hunt for some souvenirs or visit the maritime museum.

Group tours can be arranged on board to visit Volunteer Point (by 4WD vehicle or helicopter) or the 1982  battlefields.

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Day 12

Disembark and fly to Santiago, Chile

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago, capital of Chile. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in the up and coming arty residential district Lastarria, which is within walking distance of the colonial centre, excellent museums and some pretty parks. Santiago is set in a broad valley between ranges of the Andes, with majestic snow-capped peaks, and a smaller coastal range with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. Santiago is a huge metropolis, a mix of the old and the contemporary, with quarters of tree-lined avenues and mansions.

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Day 13

Walking tour of Santiago.

With modern, high-rise buildings dominating its skyline and a history of earthquakes Santiago's architectural heritage may not be immediately obvious to you. At street level, however, Santiago retains some fine historic buildings alongside eye-catching contemporary structures. Your guided outing will take you on foot to some of Santiago's more interesting landmarks and neighbourhoods, where you can soak up the atmosphere of the city – including the Museo de Bellas Artes, Cerro Santa Lucia, the Central Market and the former Mapocho railway station. Your guide will also identify examples of modern design such as the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral and the Museum of Archaeology. 

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Day 14

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

Meet the team