Check in at 1385 O’Higgins Street (Puerto Arturo Prat) from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Board at 6:00pm. After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the remotest corners of planet Earth. During the night we cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonia. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as we enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. Overnight aboard the Ship. (D)
Patagonia Cruise Punta Arenas to Ushuaia
This fascinating Patagonia cruise begins in Punta Arenas, Chile and continues via the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia, Argentina. You will see massive glaciers flowing into the sea, colonies of Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, and other wildlife, and disembark in Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay. Cape Horn is the southernmost point of the continent, and Wulaia Bay is one of the most important indigenous sites of the region.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 4 nights on the Stella or Ventus Australis, and 11 meals (4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners).
Best Time to Go: October-March.
By dawn the ship is sailing up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), a spectacular offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snowcapped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is defined by the deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park. We go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which harbors copious bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall-and-moss-covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine. Both afford views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.
Leaving our Ainsworth Bay tour behind, we sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, we board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor. In September and April — when the penguins live elsewhere — this excursion is replaced by a short walk to a glacier at nearby stunning Brookes Bay. Overnight aboard the Ship. (B,L,D)
Overnight we sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the ship tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a Pia Glacier tour. After disembarking we take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.
Back onboard the ship, we continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called 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. Most of them named after European countries — Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Overnight aboard the Ship. (B,L,D)
During the morning we cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition — and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland — Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the “End of the Earth.” The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.
In the afternoon we navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station — which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area — passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers – an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis. Overnight aboard the Ship. (B,L,D)
The following morning we sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city.
Arrival at 8:30am and 9:30am according to date of departure. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
|AA Superior Cabins||$4,779||$3,183||n/a|
|AAA Superior Cabins||$4,997||$3,331||n/a|
- The above prices are based on Low Season departures. Call for the prices of High Season departures.
- A limited amount of triples can be accommodated.
Promotional Departures: Sep 26, 2018 (20% Discount).
Cruise Low Season: Oct 4, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28, 2018; Mar 17, 21, 25, and 29, 2019.
Cruise High Season: Nov 1, 5, 9, 12, 17, 21, 25, and 29; Dec 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, and 31, 2018; Jan 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28, 2019; Feb 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, and 25, 2019; Mar 1, 5, 9 and 13, 2019.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Stella Australis or M/V Ventus Australis.
- All meals scheduled on board including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Shore excursions.
- On-board entertainment.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Transfer from the airport to the Cruceros Australis office in Punta Arenas, Chile, and then to the pier at the beginning of the cruise, and from the pier in Ushuaia, Argentina to the airport at the end of the cruise.
- Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
- Port tax in Punta Arenas, Chile ($50).
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides (suggested $15/passenger/day).
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare, hotels, land services, and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Group/Private: All services included in this tour are operated on a group basis.
Passport/Visa: For Chile, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens (except Greece) require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Greek citizens can stay for up to 60 days. Australian, and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee (considered a multiple entry visa) of $95 and $132 respectively upon arrival (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons). Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Chilean embassy in their country before traveling. For Argentina, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Australian and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee of $100 and $75 respectively (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons) online, and must show proof of payment prior to arrival. The reciprocity fee for U.S. citizens has been suspended until further notice. For citizens of Australia, this fee covers unlimited entries to Argentina for 10 years, while citizens of Canada are charged the fee every time they enter the country (or $150 for multiple visits within five years). The fee can be paid online at ProvinciaNet.com.ar. You will need to register in order to make the payment. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the embassy of Argentina in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $800 per person plus the cost of the airfare (if we make the arrangements for you).