CHILE

Chilean Fjords Expedition Cruise

King cormorants, Puerto Natales
from £5112 13 nights | Mar Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Mar

Overview

This rare expedition voyage through the fjords and narrows of Chile, takes you into remote and relatively unexplored worlds of wild mountains, pristine glaciers and ancient island cultures.

Cruise through waters boasting wildlife more commonly associated with Antarctica, including penguins, seals and sea birds. Walk some of the trails in the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Visit cut off communities, rarely encountered on the standard tourist trails.

Highlights

  • See countless animals including penguins, sea lions and condors
  • Observe multiple glaciers sprawling down mountain slopes
  • Hike in the shadow of granite towers in Torres del Paine NP
  • Interact with intriguing communities in Caleta Tortel and Chiloe
  • Land on Mocha Island, a rarely visited wildlife wonderland

This is a spectacular journey through the mighty coastal landscapes of a country currently enjoying a significant tourist boom. This route takes you away from the crowds to the sites that can often not easily be reached by road and where the wildlife remains untamed.

Contact our Chile experts now

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Embark in Ushuaia (Argentina)
Your journey through Chile’s spectacular fjord region commences this afternoon in Ushuaia (Argentina).
Day 2: Garibaldi Fjord & Alberto de Agostino National Park
During the night you will sail in a westerly direction along the Beagle Channel, which separates Argentina from neighbouring Chile. This morning enter Garibaldi Fjord, where two glaciers rise up towards a stunning mountain backdrop. Take to the Zodiacs for the first time and explore the glaciers from a safe distance. Resident wildlife in the fjord includes South American sea lions and several species of birds such as the iconic Andean condor.

In the afternoon, arrive at Alberto de Agostino National Park, designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to large tracts of ancient sub-Antarctic forest systems that cover much of the land. Naturalists believe these forests started growing around 10,000 years ago. There are some excellent hiking trails here or alternatively enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline.
Day 3: Alberto de Agostino National Park & Marinelli Glacier
The most famous of the park’s glaciers is the impressive tidewater Marinelli Glacier. This huge, crevasse-covered ice field spills from the Darwin Mountain range into Ainsworth Bay. From a distance, the glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and large icebergs that have calved from its face brood silently in the dark waters.

Easy hikes in the lush Magellanic forests provide great opportunities to spot birdlife and to immerse yourselves in some of the purest wilderness on the planet. Seals and Magellanic penguins, are also known to inhabit this area. Later, continuing the voyage through the famous ‘Glacier Alley’ and into the Magellan Strait.
Day 4: Punta Santa Ana & Fort Bulnes
This morning make your way ashore by Zodiac boat to explore the promontory of Punta Santa Ana, where the historic ‘Fuerte Bulnes’ (Fort Bulnes) is located. Founded in 1843, the settlement was established both as a territorial claim and to protect the strategic Magellan Strait. Although none of the original structures remain, the fort has been faithfully reconstructed, offering outstanding views over the strait. Explore the grounds and visit the small church, barracks and log cabins. The fort was abandoned after a more permanent settlement was established further north, in present day Punta Arenas.
Day 5: Southern Patagonia Fjord Exploration
Today cruise north along the rugged Chilean coastline where the views from the observation lounge and outer decks are breath-taking. Forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and glaciers continue for mile after mile. Enjoy on-board talks and discussions with the expert guides, covering a wide variety of subjects including history, wildlife, geology and glaciology as well as photography. The ‘open bridge’ policy means you can also watch the captain and officers steer the ship, as well as having a look at the charts.
Day 6: Torres del Paine National Park
For many, today’s excursion will be one of the highlights of the trip. After breakfast head ashore and enter the national park. This iconic location boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated 'towers' (from which the park gets its name) looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems. Powerful waterfalls surge through narrow channels between the lakes, and there are some excellent short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing jaw-dropping views of the immense massif. The Guanaco (similar to a llama) are resident in the park and can be found in sizeable numbers grazing on the native grasses. Spend a full day here, soaking up the views from all directions.
Day 7: White Narrows & Fjord Cruising
Today look forward to an exciting day of navigation. A highlight will be the transit of White Narrows – a channel of water just 80 meters wide. No doubt everyone will be on the outer decks as the captain skillfully steers through this challenging passage. More spectacular scenery is on offer today. The Bernal Glacier is a particular highlight and provides a textbook lesson in glaciology, featuring a large moraine, pushed forward by the actions of the moving ice.
Day 8: Bruggen Glacier & Messier Channel
In a trip full of superlatives and highlights, today may well be near the top. Navigating into Eyre fjord, the vast sweep of the Brüggen Glacier comes into view. Often called the ‘Pio XI’, at almost 60 kilometres in length it is the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica. From the low vantage point of the Zodiacs the sheer scale of the glacier face is overwhelming. It rises almost 70 metres above the surface of the water and is a staggering 4 kilometres wide. In the afternoon sail into the Messier Channel that separates continental South America from Wellington Island. Join the wildlife expert out on deck as he looks for marine and bird life. It promises to be another exhilarating day of exploration.
Day 9: Caleta Tortel
After several days immersed in the glacial systems, fjords and forests, today you visit the small outpost of Caleta Tortel. Situated on a steep escarpment, the village has no roads but is instead connected via a series of wooden walkways that link houses to town services. Most residences have jetties as boats are virtually the only mode of transport – even the local fire engine is a boat! The area was first visited by Europeans in the 1950’s, while the indigenous people of the regions have lived in the area for much longer. Today the town is dedicated as a national monument. You will have time to explore at your leisure, treading the boardwalks, observing local life and perhaps stopping for a chat with the locals.
Day 10: At Sea
Continue your journey north, leaving the fjords and entering the Pacific Ocean. You may encounter migrating whales that use the Humboldt Current as an oceanic conveyor belt. The programme of presentations and discussions continues today, or you may choose to take a break, perhaps writing up your trip journal, or enjoying a good book.
Day 11: Chiloe Island
This morning head to the town of Castro – the provincial capital of the island of Chiloé. The town was founded in 1567 and is the third oldest city in Chile. It flourished when the early Jesuits chose to base their mission here. Make your way ashore to see the colourful houses built on stilts around the harbour. Known as ‘palafitos’, they are simple homes built by local fisherman. The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country.

After re-boarding the ship in the afternoon, hug the coastline, and observe the snow-capped summits of the numerous volcanoes that characterise this region.
Day 12: Coastal Cruising & Mocha Island
Located 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Chile, the remote outcrop of Mocha Island is an important historic site. Inhabited for centuries by the indigenous Mapuche tribe, Europeans first discovered it in the mid-15th century. The island was frequented by pirates, as well as Sir Francis Drake, and legend has it that more than 100 shipwrecks lie in the surrounding waters. Weather conditions permitting, head ashore where there are several hiking options. You might also spot the resident sea lions and be lucky enough to encounter whales. The rare Pink-footed shearwater can be also found on the island, nesting in burrows on the forested slopes.
Day 13: Coastal Cruising Towards Valparaiso
As you make your way towards the historic port of Valparaiso, the educational presentations continue and you will enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. Join the photography expert in the multimedia room, where you can download and/or back up your precious images. Or spend time outside on the observation decks. It is a fitting time to reflect on a wonderful expedition.
Day 14: Disembark in Valparaiso
This morning the ship will arrive in Valparaiso, the principal deep water port for Santiago, around 100 kilometres inland from the coast. After breakfast it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers and disembark the ship. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows. Ride the historic funicular railways that still operate around the city and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. Or spend some time exploring the celebrated Casablanca wine region located nearby.
Notes

Please note that all voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in these remote regions!

Accommodation Options

RCGS Resolute

  • Grade:
  • Type: Expedition Ship

The RCGS Resolute is one of the most modern, well appoin…

Prices & Dates

2018/19 season

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin - please contact us for details of single and superior cabins.

Departure DateActivitiesDurationVesselPrices from
31 March 2019 13 days RCGS Resolute £5,112

Activity Options:

≠ Kayaking is available on this voyage: £612 on the RCGS Resolute,

Includes: Transfer from central meeting point to ship on embarkation day • Transfer from ship to airport or hotel in Santiago on day of disembarkation • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage • Leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities • All shore landings per the daily program • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled • Comprehensive pre-departure materials • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program • Optional overnight camping on the ice including all necessary equipment • Loan of boots, jacket and waterproof trousers - must be requested at time of booking.

Excludes: All airfares • Any additional pre or post voyage accommodation/land arrangements (if required) - A pre-voyage night in departure location is strongly recommended - our team will be pleased to arrange this for you • Additional airport or airline security charges • Passport and visa expenses (we will be pleased to advise you on any necessary documentation, however this is passengers' own responsibility) • Government arrival and departure taxes • Excess baggage charges • Alcoholic and soft drinks, telecommunication charges, laundry costs and other charges of a personal nature • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for Hospitality Team members, ship’s crew and Expedition Team members (guidelines will be provided) • Travel insurance.

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

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Speak to a specialist: 1-844-584-0668

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