Print this trip dossier
Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, you accept that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


Patagonia cruise: Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn

13 days from £4,443pp

Dates & Prices Get in touch

Patagonia cruise: Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn:
Trip Dossier

Special Offer: Cabin upgrades and a saving of up to 30% on Australis cruises >

Many regions of wilderness Patagonia in the south of Chile and Argentina can be visited by land, although this can involve long road journeys.  However there is an alternative, one which will allow you to visit the most remote, most enticing corners, and that is to travel by ship, on an expeditionary cruise.

This holiday includes a five day voyage of discovery on purpose-built ship Australis (there are two sister ships, Stella and Ventus Australis) which, with just 100 cabins, offers you an intimate and friendly experience alongside like-minded travellers.   Travel along historic waterways the Straits of Magellan and the Beagle Channel, viewing glaciers and marine wildlife from fjords deep cutting into the mountainous coastline, and arrive at tempestuous Cape Horn – all places resonating with the history of navigation and the brave exploration of uncharted waters by naval and scientific officers including Charles Darwin.

Afterwards head to northern Patagonia and spend a few days on arid, treeless plains where, in spite of the inhospitable environment, you’ll be amazed by the abundance of marine wildlife, including whales and penguins, all discoverable from your base at a cosy lodge.

For a complete contrast, the holiday is bookended by days spent in the cosmopolitan capitals of Chile and Argentina, Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively. 

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Santiago; guided city tour.

Day 2

Guided excursion into the Maipo valley with wine-tasting.

Day 3

Fly south to Punta Arenas in Patagonia and board expedition vessel Australis.

Day 4

Set sail through the Straits of Magellan.

Day 5

Sail along the Beagle Channel to Pia Fjord, disembark near Pia Glacier.

Day 6

Visit Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn.

Day 7

Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina. Fly to Trelew in northern Patagonia.

Days 8,9

At leisure to seek out Patagonian wildlife.

Day 10

Fly to Buenos Aires, transfer to hotel between the historic centre and Recoleta.

Day 11

Guided city tour of Buenos Aires.

Day 12

Day at Leisure in Buenos Aires.

Day 13

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Santiago; guided city tour.
 
Santiago

Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Santiago, a contemporary property overlooking leafy Parque Forestal  just 15 minutes’ walk from the central plaza.

Santiago is set in a broad valley between ranges of the Andes, with lofty snow-capped peaks, and a smaller coastal range with a Mediterranean feel. Santiago is a huge metropolis, with neighbourhoods of tree-lined avenues and affluent tranquillity and others full of commercial bustle.

Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will have a guided tour of Santiago's bustling historic centre, which in recent years has taken on a new lease of life. The traditional residential neighbourhood Lastarria is now a trendy district with boutiques, galleries and literary cafés.  Barrio Concha y Toro is a tiny pocket of cobbled streets lined with once-elegant mansions a few blocks from the beating heart of old Santiago, the Plaza de Armas, the capital's main square. Grouped around  this are some stately buildings:  Santiago's Cathedral, the National Historic Museum and the Municipalidad de Santiago (city hall).

A refurbished (2017) cable car then takes you to the top of San Cristóbal hill, from where you have views over this complex city, a mixture of chic, residential areas and smart office towers surrounding the compact colonial centre and beyond which sprawl  districts with a crush of more modest homes
Show more Show less
Santiago

Day 2

Guided excursion into the Maipo valley with wine-tasting.
 
Vineyards Chile

Mountain air, haciendas and stately manor houses set the scene for a guided tour which takes you into the heartland of Chile's wine growing area. A short distance from the capital, the vineyards here offer an insight into a region blessed with perfect conditions: climate, soil and vine-stock.

It's about an hour's drive to the Perez Cruz winery, a family-run operation producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Malbec. You will have a tour around the bodega, the mezzanine floor and cellar followed by a wine tasting. Return to Santiago.

Show more Show less
Vineyards Chile

Day 3

Fly south to Punta Arenas in Patagonia and board expedition vessel Australis.
 
Punta Arenas

As you fly south on a clear day you have other-worldly views from the ‘plane of the swirling meringue of the southern icecap, its fjords, volcanoes and glaciers. Approaching Punta Arenas you see the rust-brown stain of the Patagonian steppes, pitted with small lagoons stretching out towards the Straits of Magellan.  The region’s fortunes were only briefly revived during a short-lived gold rush, and to add to its woes, the sheep-rearing business has never really recovered from the collapse of the price of meat and wool; but now tourism has injected a new dynamism in the region.

Punta Arenas is an atmospheric and often blustery Patagonian outpost. Its centre is lined with elegant mansions (built on the wealth of sheep farming and mining during the late 19th century) and buildings with colourful corrugated iron roofs.  Head straight for the port to board the Australis, your vessel for your five day cruise which will enter the Straits of Magellan and end in Ushuaia, on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego island - passing en route dense forest clad hills, snow-mantled mountains, stunning bays and remote glaciers and icebergs

Show more Show less
Punta Arenas

Day 4

Set sail through the Straits of Magellan.
 
Chilean Patagoina

At dawn, sail to Alberto De Agostini National Park, a biosphere reserve which includes the snow-dusted Cordillera Darwin mountain range, the most southerly land-based stretch of the Andes where rocky slopes plunge steeply into the sea.  Here, the ice-scalloped coastline hosts the snout of the Marinelli glacier, which calves into to bird-filled Ainsworth Bay releasing icebergs to drift offshore.

Disembark here with a couple of hiking options: one is to walk to a beaver dam in the emerald green, sub polar Magellanic beech forest. Beavers were introduced from Canada, and their activities have had a huge impact on the natural environment here.

Alternatively take a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine – both offer views over wilderness  mountains and fingers of ice which dwarf the ship lying at anchor. With luck you’ll spot the sprawling bulk of massive elephant seals on the pebbly beach, sometimes yawning to expose their bright pink throats, an extraordinary sight.  

Once you are back on board the ship sails to Tuckers Islets, where once again you’ll and embark Zodiac boats to view Magellanic penguins, more than 4,000 of which breed here.  Other birds you may spot include king cormorants, oyster catchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the Andean condor

Show more Show less
Chilean Patagoina

Day 5

Sail along the Beagle Channel to Pia Fjord, disembark near Pia Glacier.
 
Chilean Patagoina

Overnight the ship sails around the western end of the island Tierra del Fuego off the southernmost tip of South America and divided between Chile and Argentina. The Argentine side of this wild island hosts jagged peaks in its little-visited interior which have not even yet been named.  Its rugged beauty, incorporating hidden lagoons, dark forests rendered impenetrable by mossy, fallen trunks, clattering streams and swollen peat bogs reached only by guanaco trails, is undeniable.

By morning the ship enters Pia Fjord and you’ll board the Zodiacs to discover the Pia Glacier. It’s just a short hike to a spot offering a sweeping view of the vast, craggy blue surface and towering walls of the ice, which carves its path between the mountain peaks down to the sea. A longer, more technical guided walk up a lateral moraine is also an option. 

Back on board the ship, you navigate east along the Beagle Channel through Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin mountains and Darwin ice sheet on the north shore.

Show more Show less
Chilean Patagoina

Day 6

Visit Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn.
 
Stella Australis

Head south through narrow Murray Channel on the western shore of Chilean Navarino Island. The ship drops anchor at Wulaia Bay, only accrssible by water and one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is as compelling as the natural environment. Originally it was the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, and its mesmeric beauty caught the eye of Charles Darwin.

After a visit to the museum in the old radio station you have a choice of three hikes which ascend the heavily wooded mountain behind the bay to reach a panoramic viewpoint.  Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards destined to be hand delivered by future travellers.

Later, continue sailing to Cape Horn National Park, and disembark (weather permitting) – surely one of the cruise highlights.

UNESCO listed, gale-battered Cape Horn, a sheer, 425m-high rocky promontory was discovered in 1616. Hostile to navigation, it is almost constantly attacked by storm-tossed waves, although for many years it offered the only route for ships travelling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lighthouse-keeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and Cape Horn Monument. 

Show more Show less
Stella Australis

Day 7

Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina. Fly to Trelew in northern Patagonia.
 
Penguin

Bleak, barren, and cruelly strafed by bitter winds, the terrain of northern Patagonia is lapped by the blue-green rollers of the Atlantic Ocean. It's an inhospitable place, remote and infertile:  just a few lonely sheep farms stud the landscape and there are few other human settlements. But that's by no means all the life supported here. The cliffs, bays, lagoons, salt lakes and plains are crammed with an astonishing array of vociferous wildlife - birds and mammals, both marine and terrestrial, mate, breed and thrive here.

 

Show more Show less
Penguin

Days 8,9

At leisure to seek out Patagonian wildlife.
 
Whale Watching Valdes Peninsula

Your lodge offers a menu of included guided excursions and activities which you can sign up for locally, along with self-guided trails. There is plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting: the property's location at Punta Ninfa on the opposite shore of the bay from the Valdés Peninsula is ideal - there is evn a penguin colony very close by. From July to November southern right whales breed and calve in the calm waters of gulfs sheltered by the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic shore – if you take this holiday early in the season you should be able to spot some on a whale-watching expedition. The rocky crags beaches and bays are also home to sea lions and elephant seals (from September to April) whose mournful  cries punctuate the silence of the wilderness. You may even be lucky to spot killer whales offshore. 

In September, hundreds of thousands of Magallanic penguins arrive in the region to breed. They build their nests on arrival, the chicks hatch from November and the youngsters plunge into the waves for the first time in January and February.  Many of them enjoy the protection of private reserves:  you can arrange a guided walk among them at the hotel. 

Show more Show less
Whale Watching Valdes Peninsula

Day 10

Fly to Buenos Aires, transfer to hotel between the historic centre and Recoleta.
 
Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city, home of the tango and host to some of the world’s most passionate football. The centre of the city is the colonial heartland, government buildings, theatres  and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel.  Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French or Italian influence. Here wealthy residents take afternoon tea in the city’s ornate salons.

La Boca, a port area settled by Italian immigrants is now a centre for the arts, while the abandoned main docks at Puerto Madero have been transformed into attractive leisure facilities with museums, restaurants and promenades.

Show more Show less
Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Day 11

Guided city tour of Buenos Aires.
 
La Boca, Buenos Aires

Your exploration includes a drive down Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded with the Obelisk - an emblematic symbol of the city.  Nearby is the Plaza de Mayo, with the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace.

Continue to the colourful Bohemian barrio of La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Drive north to Palermo, an elegant neighbourhood of wide avenues lined with colonial mansions. Finally, visit the artistic district of Recoleta, stopping at the cemetery where generations of the Argentinian élite have been interred, including Evita Perón.

Show more Show less
La Boca, Buenos Aires

Day 12

Day at Leisure in Buenos Aires.
 

You have a full free day to explore the many facets of Argentina's capital city. Your city tour will have given you an overview of its distinctly different neighbourhoods but you may welcome the opportunity to retrace your steps or discover new ones. Soak up the atmosphere of Bohemian San Telmo, perhaps have lunch in leafy Palermo or browse the upmarket shops of Recoleta.

If you'd like to explore further afield we can organise a full-day trip across the River Plate to Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay. Colonia was founded in 1680 and UNESCO has recently declared its beautifully preserve historic core a World Heritage Site. The modern part of town is lively and neat, its wide avenues lined with trees. The historic centre has narrow, winding cobbled streets with colonial buildings.

Other options include a trip to the River Plate delta. With elegant suburbs such as Tigre and San Isidro and its network of rivers and channels, the delta region is an attractive and popular retreat for residents of Buenos Aires, a world away from the big city. A day trip to an estancia (ranch) on the cattle pasture of the pampas is also possible.

Show more Show less

Day 13

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.
 

You might consider staying on in Argentina for a few days: the wildlife wetlands at Iberá and the Iguazú Falls are both within easy reach of the capital.

Show more Show less

Essential information

Transport

Two domestic flights. 5 day cruise in Patagonia.

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a comfortable voyage on board an expeditionary cruise ship, Stella Australis or her sister Ventus Australis (date dependent).

Your hotel in Santiago and Puerto Madryn lodge are mid-range; your accommodation in Buenos Aires is first class.

Meals

Breakfast daily, dinner and full board on the cruise ship days 3-6. On board ship, all meals and snacks are included, as are drinks when the bar is open. Dinner day 7, full board days 8,9.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. Guides, lecturers and presenters on the cruise ship are all qualified in a field of expertise relevant to the cruise.

Included excursions

• Guided city tour in Santiago.
• Guided excursion to the Maipo Valley vineyards with wine tasting.
• Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise.
• Wildlife spotting outings from El Pedral lodge.
• Guided city tour in Buenos Aires.

Summary of nights

Santiago, Chile, 2 nights; cruise 4 nights; Valdés Peninsula area 3 nights, Buenos Aires 3 nights.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland..
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified. 

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities on the mainland and mainland excursions.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Excursions designated optional.

Currency

The unit of currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso, in Argentina it is the Argentine Peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals, drinks and the odd souvenir on those days in the holiday itinerary or extension outside the cruise. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more. On the cruise, excursions, drinks, meals and tips are included.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in Santiago, Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

On the ship, items from the onboard shop (such as souvenirs, books and sportswear) can be purchased with Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners credit cards, travellers checks, U.S. dollars, Euros, Chilean pesos or Argentinian pesos.

Tipping

On the cruise, tips are at the discretion of the passenger. But we suggest US$15 per day per passenger for the staff and crew, handed in at the reception desk on the last day of the cruise.

Local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.


Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.  Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire. 

Children are accepted without a minimum age limit but there are limited facilites and no special entertainment programme on board for children.

Climate

The weather in Patagonia from October to March can vary wildly; in high summer it can even get hot with temperatures in the 20sC. However as a general rule, expect any or all of the four seasons in one day - sun, rain, hail, snow, wind.. Be prepared for zero temperatures and a cold wind, though you may be lucky and have calm, warm, sunny weather throughout. it is completely unpredictable.

It can get very hot in northern Patagonia in the summer months Dec-Feb; while temperatures are frequently pleasantly warm - 20s C - in spring and autumn. The wind can blow hard at any time.

< >In Santiago and Buenos Aires, expect sun and high temperatures (30sC) in summer Dec-Mar where there is little rain in the Chilean capital but the Argentine equivalent may be subject to heavy tropical showers at this time.  In Oct-Nov and March, expect a warm and sunny climate to prevail in thee two cities. 

Clothing and special equipment

Pack for both warm and cold weather: layered clothing is best. Include summer-weight loose, comfortable clothing including shorts and trousers (bear in mind that you have to get in and out of Zodiac boats but also that you are in cities for a few days). Brings sun-protective headgear, swimwear, smart casual for the evening, light sweater or jacket for cool evenings on and off shore. There is no dress code on the ship, and there is no formal night, though there may be a Captain's Dinner, when passengers dress up slightly more formally (men wear a jacket, women a dress).

For southern Patagonia bring a warm fleece or two, woolly-type  hats and gloves, scarf, and wet weather gear with waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers, rain-cape or coat, comfortable non-slip footwear including stout walking boots or shoes. You may consider bringing collapsible walking poles.

Sun block and insect repellant are essential. Don’t forget your sun-glasses, binoculars, camera, charger and memory cards. Consider taking sea-sickness prevention (consult your pharmacist). A small first aid kit with blister pads, aspirin etc may come in handy. .

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html

This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.

UK Passport holders must present an e-passport with a built in chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.
Close

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our twice monthly newsletter and be the first to know about our latest news, offer and competitions.

Sign up with...

Your email

Or...

Using a social account is fast and means you don't need to remember a password.

We never share your data either - see our terms & conditions

Facebook Connect

Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time.

To see how we take care of your data please review our Privacy Policy

Thanks for subscribing – we’ll be in touch!

You are not subscribed. Some error happened.

Share this Page

Social share page will open in new window

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/chile/holidays/Patagonia-cruise-tierra-del-fuego-and-cape-horn/trip-dossier

Page ID: {EA280064-6277-436F-96D3-B50F97420FB5}

Page Name: trip-dossier

Page Display Name: Trip Dossier

Page Template Name: T054-TripDossier

Page Template ID: {4B17EDBB-85D2-4A79-B178-A0CE05055C05}

Parent ID: {9B8BC1F2-F372-4D68-9F65-69F3105108F4}

Parent Name: Patagonia-cruise-tierra-del-fuego-and-cape-horn

Parent Display Name: Patagonia cruise: Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn

Parent Template Name: T013-Tour

Parent Template ID: {9701B79C-85FD-4A45-8072-3FFF55338F72}