Patagonia, Chilean Fjords, Antarctica – Voyage of Discovery (Northbound)
Duration: 19 days
Ship: MS Roald Amundsen
March 15, 2020
Price from: $ 11,006 per personCheck prices and availability Request a quote
- Experience Antarctica and Patagonia on one expedition
- Enjoy kayaking, hiking, and close wildlife encounters in Antarctica
- Sail into the Chilean fjords and see Cape Horn
- Visit Torres del Paine National Park
The capital of Chile is exciting and diverse. There is a lot to discover here, from the Andean glaciers at the city borders to the city's skyscrapers and quiet parks, Colonial architecture, bohemian neighborhoods, and the fast-flowing Mapacho River. Your adventure starts with an overnight hotel stay here.
You fly early in the morning to Punta Arenas where MS Roald Amundsen is ready for this expedition to Antarctica.
We sail through the Beagle Channel, which was named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery – HMS Beagle. Then we sail across the Drake Passage, where two oceans meet, on our way to Antarctica. This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage that few have had the opportunity to experience. Drake Passage connects the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Here the warm waters from the north meet the cold, less salty waters from the south, which makes the waters here particularly rich in nutrients and forms the foundational basis of the areas’s unique marine life. On the way to the great white continent you can learn a great deal about Antarctica’s fantastic wildlife and fascinating history. Our expedition team will start the lecture program to prepare you for the experiences ahead. There will also be various workshops and presentations. Make sure to spend some time on deck enjoying the fresh sea air and looking out for wildlife., and familiarize yourself with our newest and most innovative expedition vessel and take advantage of all the facilities on board.
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90% of the world's ice is here, 13,000 feet thick, covering the landmass. In winter Antarctica is isolated by sea ice forming off the coast – virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales, and seals that, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most of the wildlife found here thrives on the cornerstone species: krill. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of a single species on Earth – including humans!
As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science, and tourism. No human activity is allowed to alter the perfect natural balance. We are visiting a place that has evolved through millennia without human interference. Therefore, we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules while we're here and leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures! What is so extraordinary about Antarctica is that its location makes every cruise to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment, and weather, wind, and ice conditions have a great influence on our program and schedule. Therefore, we need to be pragmatic. We change landings, re-route, and shift plans as we go along. This also means that we will take advantage of the often-ideal conditions – spending hours ashore hiking or kayaking on the water, or simply sailing among huge pods of whales.
We will attempt to land at several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island, and Neko Harbor. These places offer serene, untouched nature; penguin colonies; seals, whales in the ocean; glaciers, icebergs in every shape and color; old whaling stations; and research bases. It's hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from veteran Antarctic travelers puts it:
“If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”
After four unforgettable days in Antarctica, MS Roald Amundsen takes us safely back across the famous Drake Passage. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 600 miles (approximately 40 hours sailing time in good weather). As we sail north, we will continue our lecture series and recap our experiences of Antarctica. As we reach the southernmost tip of South America, we will land on Cape Horn if the conditions allow it. Going ashore can be very difficult here because of the sometimes-extreme weather in this area.
Cape Horn is the southernmost point of Chile and lies at almost 56° South, marking the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the northern end of the Drake Passage. The region is of great significance due to its discovery, location, and history, and has played a part in various trade routes. If we are able to 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.
The Chilean fjords' deep channels and mountains plunging into the icy water always leave a profound impression on visitors. 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. Snow-capped mountains and steep valleys make a striking contrast to a lush coastline that is rich in wildlife. You might be lucky enough to spot sea lions, Andean condors, and several bird species that can only be found here.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive nature sanctuaries in the world. The towers themselves – impressive rock formations – are the main attraction here, called the 'Torres del Paine' (Towers of Paine). The formations are made up of the Torre Central (at 9,186 feet), Torre Sur (at 9,350 feet) and Torre Norte (at 7,375 feet).
The park features azure lakes, trails that meander through emerald forests, roaring rivers (which you'll cross on rickety bridges,) and one big, radiant blue glacier. Torres del Paine hosts stunning variety, from the vast open steppe to rugged mountain terrain topped by looming peaks. This diversity of environments hosts a wide variety of a fauna and flora. While we are here you might see llamas, pumas, chilla foxes, and skunks in addition to more than 100 species of birds such as the Andean condor and black-chested buzzard eagle. Enjoy hiking in these amazing surroundings.
After an unforgettable cruise through Patagonian waters, the unique village of Puerto Edén will enchant you. It is a tiny settlement in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. Puerto Edén is a great place to experience the traditional indigenous culture of this Patagonian tribe.
The villagers sell fish, mussels, and shellfish that are taken to markets weekly by a transport boat. For souvenirs, consider buying traditional Kawéskar crafts such as wicker baskets or boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the pathways, and maybe you will spot one of the many Magellan hummingbirds found here when you join the expedition team for hiking or kayaking.
The expedition continues north through the fabled waters of Patagonia. As we sail through iconic Andean seascapes, you have plenty of time to gaze out on the magnificent natural expanse.
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Castro is set among windswept hills and green vegetation. The city is known for its colorful 'palafitos', wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water's edge. Go ashore and enjoy the city's local 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, illuminated by rows of stained-glass windows. Other sights include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza right by the waterfront with an odd collection of old trains.
A stroll in the Cementerio Parroquial is fascinating, as some of the tombs are quite grand and ornately decorated. Feria Campesina Yumbel is a bustling fruit and vegetable market. 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-knit 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, and this is where you can get a taste of the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew - curanto. Close to the town is Chiloé National Park, a largely unexplored wilderness hosting rare flora and fauna. The park features wide deserted beaches and long stretches of rugged coastline, and is home to dozens of seabird species, penguins and sea lions.
As we make our way along the Pacific Coast to Valparaíso, we will recap everything we have experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.
Sadly, every expedition must come to an end. And this expedition ends in the colorful and poetic city of Valparaíso. Explore this scenic town before you fly home if you have time!
Included in Your Expedition
- Hurtigruten expedition in the cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- One overnight hotel stay in Santiago de Chile before the cruise, including breakfast
- Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Santiago de Chile
- Coach-class flight from Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas
- Transfer from the airport to the ship, including city tour and lunch box in Punta Arenas
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary use of Muck Boot rubber boots
Not Included In Your Expedition
- International flights
- Travel protection plan
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
MS Roald Amundsen
In 2019, Hurtigruten will add a brand new ship to its fleet: MS Roald Amundsen. This state-of-the-art vessel will feature new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.