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Patagonia, The Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island

Patagonia, The Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island

At a glance

Duration: 11 Days, 10 Nights

Coverage: Puerto Natales to Ushuaia

From: $8,950

Season: March, October - November

Activities: Birding, Culture, History, Nature, Wildlife

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Lindblad Expeditions

Experience the region’s iconic wildness on a perfectly paced expedition

This carefully curated expedition offers the peak experiences of Patagonia and its surrounding environs in a compact timeframe. Discover the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas that make Chilean Patagonia one of the most lauded nature destinations on Earth. Exposing you to the ‘best of’ highlights, like the stunning Beagle Channel, massive glaciers and snowcapped peaks, this perfectly-paced voyage also brings you into the seldom-seen natural splendors of Karukinka Natural Park. Cap off your expedition by exploring Argentina’s rugged, seldom-seen Isla De Los Estados (Staten Island), a land of mythic wildness that has been largely off limits to travelers since 1923.

  • Venture through wildlife reserves not easily accessible to the public, including Karukinka Natural Park in Tierra del Fuego.
  • Kayak and Zodiac cruise the breathtaking Chilean fjords
  • See massive glaciers, dramatic fjords, and soaring snow-covered peaks, and spot wildlife including condors and elephant seals.
  • Transit the legendary Beagle Channel and take in the view of Cape Horn
  • By special permission, be one of the few people ever to explore Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), located at the extreme end of South America.

Venture into incredible wildlife reserves for up-close exploration

Tuck deep into fjords and venture into seldom-explored channels that are only accessible by expedition ship. Here you’ll discover the bright blue glaciers and near-mythic wildness. Explore vast areas of snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of islands covered with vegetation, lakes, soaring granite walls, and waterfalls provides days of spectacular adventure. And through our worldwide network of friends, we’ve arranged to explore wildlife reserves to see the wildlife of the Patagonian steppes. Look for Magellanic penguins, Andean condors, Austral parakeets, foxes, sea lions, elephant seals, and more.

Explore Argentina's seldom-seen Isla de los Estados

By special permission, our ship will call at Isla de los Estados, a wild island largely untouched by humans in decades, it has only a naval outpost with four guardians. Walk its wild beech forests, look for penguins, see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name, plus explore the ruins of a penal colony. Weather permitting, take a Zodiac cruise around Observatory Island, one of the largest, most diverse and most important bird nesting colonies of the region and a haven for sea lions and fur seals.

Actively explore: Hike, kayak & Zodiac cruise

You’ll get out on adventures often in Patagonia. Explore the towering fjords by Zodiac and kayak; hike to the terminus of massive glaciers; walk the spongy, vegetation-covered ground surrounded by the immensity of a wild pristine landscape. Because Orion has a fleet of both Zodiacs and kayaks, the entire expedition community can embark at once on forays, no waiting around for returning parties. You’ll have a choice of activities each day, and the option to join any naturalist whose interests mirror yours. Your choices also include opting to enjoy the view from the ship's deck and the many fine observation spaces aboard ship. You can visit the fitness center with its panoramic windows, or ease into the sauna, or have a massage in the wellness center.

Take advantage of superb photo ops

You’ll have a National Geographic photographer as your traveling companion, to inspire you and provide tips in the field. And the services of a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor, as well––to help you turn your point-and-shoot camera into an aim & create. You’ll find no end of subjects, and the help you need to return home with your best photos ever.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Days 1-2: U.S./Santiago, Chile

Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile. We check in to the Hotel Santiago by Mandarin (or similar), centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to our afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. (Day 2: L)

Day 3: Punta Arenas/Puerto Natales/Embark

Today we fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southern gateway to Patagonia, drive to the outpost of Puerto Natales, and embark our ship. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Kirke Narrows & Exploring the Chilean Fjords

Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife on our way out of Puerto Natales as our ship transits the narrow sliver of water known as the Kirke Narrows—always a challenge to navigate because of the powerful currents that flow through its pinch point. Today and during the following days you’ll be treated to the spectacular features of an active glaciated landscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. This region was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and it took most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way through the channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Our Captain and local pilots guide us through Kirke Narrows, accessible only to a small ship as National Geographic Orion. We’ll look to make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where we may go out by Zodiac and kayak. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Tierra del Fuego, Chile: Karukinka Natural Park

Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. We visit its newest and largest protected area: Karukinka Natural Park. Established in 2004 through a gift from Goldman Sachs, Karukinka is one of the largest donations ever made for conservation. We’re thrilled to have special permission from the Wildlife Conservation Society to visit this private reserve, which spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox, Andean condors, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters and many other kinds of wildlife. We may explore Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and look or wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one of the nearby small islands. We may walk a trail to a lovely waterfall and look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach but also high in the grass meadows and even in the small river draining the valley inland. (B,L,D)

Days 6: The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Exploring

We’ll explore more stunning wilderness as we see the fjords and glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak and on foot. A vast area of soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelago is scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore these protected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of ice contrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes of flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Then we sail the Beagle Channel and will look to hike and kayak one of the wild areas in this region of beech forests, mountains and wild rivers. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Cape Horn

Today we visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the South American continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town of Hoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate, and over the centuries have been the graveyard of many ships—which before the opening of the Panama Canal had to round the Cape to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, we'll use our modern equipment to explore safely. Weather permitting, we'll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of the hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. (B,L,D)

Days 8-9: Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

We have been given special permission to visit extraordinary Staten Island, and our ship will be one of the only expedition ships ever allowed here. It’s a place of superlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visited primarily by a few scientists and those who man the tiny naval observatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615. Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are beautiful, and we’ll find a great deal of interest here. Our exact schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of conditions. We’ll see southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and fur seals and sea lions. We’ll also look for otters on our landings ashore, and we’ll see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name, and perhaps the ruins of a penal colony. There will be chances to walk in the southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand out as a unique chance to explore a very remote place.

Days 10-11: Ushuaia/Disembark/Santiago/U.S.

Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take a charter flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home. (Day 10: B,L)

Dates & Rates

Dates 1 2 3 4 5 6 1S 3S
Oct 31, 2017 $8,950 $9,610 $10,620 $12,550 $14,650 $16,720 $13,430 $15,930
Mar 7, 2018 $8,950 $9,610 $10,620 $12,550 $14,650 $16,720 $13,430 $15,930
Oct 29, 2018 $8,950 $9,610 $10,620 $12,550 $14,650 $16,720 $13,430 $15,930

Map

Patagonia, The Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island Itinerary Map

Ships

National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion is a state-of-the-art expedition ship, designed to safely explore the remote regions of the planet. Orion carries 102 guests in 53 cabins, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs, an ROV, and the capacity to accommodate Scuba divers. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the ability to go to the out-of-the-way islands of the South Pacific and other places where large cruise ships cannot go. View ship details...

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