From the moment you land in Buenos Aires, your exotic adventures begin. Enjoy the Paris of South America before setting sail out of Ushuaia and across the Drake Passage. This is true wilderness, where nature rules, and you will enjoy an exhilarating feeling as you leave civilization behind, to travel where few others have gone before. Arriving into Antarctica, we will attempt to do landings at several places. Penguins, seals, whales and large flocks of sea birds give life to this surreal and beautiful landscape. We will bring you on shore to experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing, while setting foot on the Antarctic continent. After crossing the Drake Passage again, we arrive at Cape Horn - a mystical place, where two oceans meet and we will attempt to go ashore here. We continue on into the fjords of Chile. This wild and remote area seems almost untouched by humans, with mountains plunging into icy waters below. The steep valleys with snow-capped mountains make a striking contrast to an otherwise green area that is so rich in wildlife. We continue to sail along the Chilean Pacific coastline, filled with snow-tipped volcanoes reflected in beautiful lakes, with raging rivers and lush vegetation. Continuing on into Patagonia, you will visit one of the most scenic National Parks in the world. Enjoy the vast, rugged and beautiful landscapes of this region, before the expedition comes to a close in colourful Valparaiso. Antarctica and Patagonia - Experience both in one expedition Chilean fjords - Sail deep into the fjords and visit Cape Horn Incredible scenery - Visit Torres del Paine National Park
This expedition starts in the wonderful, colourful and poetic city of Valparaíso. One of the best ways of seeing this scenic town is through its funiculars. These constructions, which are scattered around the entire natural amphitheatre surrounding the city, allow sweeping views of the bay, and highlight the multi-hued houses, creating a rainbow of colour and light. Stroll Valparaiso's narrow streets, climb its endless staircases and discover something new at every turn: a beautiful building, a remarkable art gallery or some little gastronomic find. Don't forget to explore the port and fishing piers, where you'll get a real feel for Chile's quirky seafaring side. We also recommend a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter, before embarking on M Fram.
As we make our way along the Pacific coast of Chile, the expedition team will start their engaging lecture program, preparing you for the experiences ahead. Enjoy priming your knowledge about the history and wildlife of the area, with various workshops and presentations that are on offer.
Ensure that you spend some time out on deck enjoying the fresh sea air, passing scenery and potential wildlife sightings. Familiarize yourself with your expedition vessel and take advantage of all the facilities on board.
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Castro is set among windswept hills and green vegetation. The city is known for its colourful palafitos, wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water's edge. Come ashore and enjoy the local Chilote character and curious energy, mixed with a dash of modern development. The Iglesia San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is a visual delight: bright yellow and orange with a lavender trim. The varnished-wood interior is stunning. On a sunny day it is illuminated by the rows of stained-glass windows. Other sights include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza right by the waterfront, with a collection of old trains. Feria Campesina Yumbel is a bustling fruit and vegetable market and it is worth having a stroll through. There are also household goods and fish stalls here. In the shop Feria Artesanal Lillo, located just south of the port, you can buy excellent hand-knitted woollen goods and handicrafts. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Castro are concentrated along the Calle Blanco, running from the southern end of the plaza down to the waterfront, this is where you can get a taste of the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew. Join the excursion to the Chiloé National Park and go trekking in this evergreen forest. The area is largely unexplored by man and harbours flora and fauna unique to the archipelago, as well as wide deserted beaches and long stretches of rugged coastline, home to dozens of seabird species, penguins and sea lions.
The expedition continues south, through the fabled waters of Patagonia and onwards to one of the world's most remote, undisturbed and beautiful places; the southern province of Ultima Esperanza, meaning Last Hope. We are sailing through iconic Andean seascapes and you will have plenty of time to gaze out onto the glassy expanse of uninterrupted nature.
After an unforgettable cruise through Patagonian waters, the unique village of Puerto Edén will enchant you. It is a tiny village in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Puerto Edén is known for its geographical isolation, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 people includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. Puerto Edén is a great place to experience the traditional indigenous culture of Patagonian tribes. The villagers sell fish, mussels and shellfish products, which are taken to markets by a weekly transport boat. For souvenirs, buy traditional Kawéskar crafts such as wicker baskets and small boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the lanes and maybe you will spot one of the many Magellan hummingbirds that you find here.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive national parks in the world. Its main attraction, which are the towers themselves, is the impressive rock formation called Torres del Paine (Towers of Paine.) The towers are made up of the Torre Central which is 9,186 feet high, Torre Sur at 9,350 feet and Torre Norte 7,375 feet. The park encompasses azure lakes, trails that meander through emerald forests, roaring rivers with rickety bridges and a huge, radiant blue glacier. Variety spans from the vast openness of the steppe, to rugged mountain terrain, topped by looming peaks.
The diversity of environments in the Torres del Paine, has provided an area rich in flora and fauna. Possible wildlife sightings might include llamas, pumas, chilla foxes and skunks. In addition, there are more than 100 species of birds found here, such as Andean condors and black-chested buzzard eagles, to name a few. Enjoy hiking in these incredible surroundings with its impressive and prolific wildlife.
The Chilean fjords will excite nature enthusiasts with its channels, fjords and mountains plunging into the icy waters below. This wild and remote area seems almost untouched by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, creating the isolated islands and hidden bays that form the unique fjord landscape of Chile. The snow-capped mountains and steep valleys make a striking contrast to an otherwise very green area that is rich in wildlife.
In the morning we will be sailing through the Beagle Channel, named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery - HMS Beagle. We continue into open waters, and if conditions allow, we will make an attempt to land on Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. Going ashore can be very difficult because of the extreme weather in this area. This is the southernmost point of Chile and South America and lies almost 56 degrees south, marking the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the northern end of the Drake Passage. The region is of great significance on account of its location, history, discoveries and trade routes. If we anchor off Cape Horn, you will be able to go ashore to explore this deserted and yet romantic piece of land at the end of the world. We then continue over the Drake Passage, where two oceans meet, as we make our way down to Antarctica. On the way through the straits you can learn a great deal about Antarctica's fantastic history and wildlife, through the on-board lectures, presented by the expedition crew.
This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which only a few have had the chance to experience. The Drake Passage connects the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Here the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south. This makes the ocean particularly rich in nutrients and is the basis of the unique marine life found here.
This unending, white wilderness of a continent is full of overwhelming impressions on an impressive scale. Weather, wind and ice conditions will of course have a great influence on our programme and schedule and your experienced expedition team will select possible landing sites that will provide you with the best experiences available. With long hours of daylight that we have in Antarctica at this time of the year, it is easy to make the most of your days. While in Antarctica, we will attempt to land on sites both on the South Shetland Islands and on the Antarctic Peninsula. Flexibility allows us to take advantage of the unexpected and to make the most of potential wildlife sightings.
We hope to sail through the incomparable Lemaire Channel and take on the challenging hike on Petermann Island to get rewarded with panoramic views. Another fun destination if weather permits, is Port Lockroy, an old British base with a museum.
Antarctica is a continent dedicated to peace and science. We are visiting a place that has evolved through millennia without human interference, a place where wildlife remains fearless of man. When opportunities arise we will launch our Zodiacs and take you on unforgettable hikes to explore the most beautiful, untouched places on the planet. Weather, wind and ice conditions have a great influence on our final itinerary. Safety is always the first priority and the final sailing schedule will be decided by the ship's captain during the voyage.
Sailing through the Antarctic Sound offers spectacular views of tabular icebergs and glacial landscapes, and Brown Bluff has a distinct rock formation. Our sturdy Polarcirkel boats will enable us to go ashore almost anywhere and explore bays and channels. The expedition team will explain what you see and ensure we do as little as possible to disturb the local wildlife. Enjoy experiencing Antarctica with all your senses. Kayaking in untouched waters with icebergs floating by, guided hikes up snowy pathways to spectacular viewpoints, listening to the sounds of glaciers calving or penguins squabbling, or perhaps for the most daring, taking the polar plunge swim. Every day will be different, carefully crafted by our expedition team to educate you and create lasting memories.
We have one final day to explore this glacial wilderness - the last untouched place on Earth, with its crisp air, icebergs and endless, white mountain ranges. Wherever our final itinerary takes us, you will leave Antarctica with everlasting memories of this beautiful and pristine wilderness, where only a fortunate few have ever set foot.
After four unforgettable days in Antarctica, we return back across the Drake Passage, heading for Ushuaia.
The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to Ushuaia is about 950 kilometres - approximately 40 sailing hours in good weather. This sea passage was notorious amongst the early Polar explorers and is a unique voyage which only a few will have the chance to experience. During the voyage north, we will continue our lecture series and recap on our experiences of Antarctica.
We arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and you will disembark after breakfast. If time allows, we will include a stop in the city centre on our way to the airport, before our early afternoon flight back to Buenos Aires.
18 Break Fast(s) 17 Lunch(es) 18 Dinner(s)
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