Patagonia, Chilean Fjords, Antarctica – Voyage of Discovery Cruise Overview
This is a truly diverse expedition, with highlights that include spending five days in Antarctica before venturing into the Chilean fjords, discovering the rich wildlife of Patagonia and visiting one of the most scenic national parks in the world. Enjoy spending time ashore, kayaking, hiking and close encounters with penguins, birds and seals.
Patagonia, Chilean Fjords, Antarctica – Voyage of Discovery
MS Roald Amundsen
14 March 2020
Cruise and Stay
Included in this Package
International scheduled flights from London
17 nights full board accommodation aboard MS Roald Amundsen
One hotel night in Santiago de Chile before the voyage including breakfast
Transfers in Santiago
Economy flight Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas
Transfer airport to 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
Free tea and coffee
London Heathrow Airport / London
Fly from London overnight to Santiago
Santiago De Chile, Chile
The capital of Chile is exciting and diverse. There is a lot to discover here, from the Andean glaciers at the city borders, tall mountains and skyscrapers to quiet parks, colonial architecture, bohemian quarters and the fast-flowing Mapacho River.
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport- Santiago, Chile / Santiago
You fly early in the morning to Punta Arenas where MS Roald Amundsen is ready for this expedition to Antarctica
Cruising Drakes Passage
Sail through the Beagle Channel, named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery – HMS Beagle. Then continue over the Drake Passage, where two oceans meet, on your way to Antarctica. This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which few have 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.
Cruising Drakes Passage
The waters of the Drake Passage are particularly rich in nutrients and forms the foundational basis of the areas´s unique marine life. On the way through the straits you can learn a great deal about Antarctica’s fantastic wildlife and history. The Expedition team will start the lecture programme to prepare you for the experiences ahead. There will also be various workshops and presentations. Make sure to spend some time on deck to enjoy the fresh sea air and look out for wildlife. 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. Ninety per cent of the world´s ice is here, 4000 metres thick, covering the landmass. In winter it is further cut off by the 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 who, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife here thrive on the cornerstone species of krill. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth.
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. Visit a place that has evolved through millennia without human interference. Therefore, you must adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!
Every voyage to this continent is an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment. Therefore, landings may change or re-route as you go along. This also means that you can take advantage of the often-ideal conditions to spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising amongst huge pods of whales. Weather, wind and ice conditions have a great influence on our programme and schedule.
Attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, penguin colonies, seals, whales in the ocean, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and colour, old whaling stations and research bases. It´s hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from a veteran Antarctic traveler put it: “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”
Cruising Drake Passage & Cape Horn.
After four unforgettable days in Antarctica, MS Roald Amundsen takes you safely back across the famous Drake Passage. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 950 km (600 mi) or 40 hours sailing time in good weather. During the voyage north, continue the lecture series and recap your experiences of Antarctica. As you reach the southernmost tip of South America, land on Cape Horn if the conditions allow it. Going ashore can be very difficult because of the sometimes-extreme weather in this area.
Cruising Drake Passage and Cape Horn
This is the southernmost point of Chile 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 you 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, fjords 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 glacial 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.
Torres Del Paine
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive nature sanctuaries in the world. Its main feature is the 'towers' themselves; impressive rock formations, called 'Torres del Paine' (Towers of Paine). The formations are made up of the Torre Central (9,186 feet high), Torre Sur (9,350 feet) and Torre Norte (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 like the Andean condor and black-chested buzzard eagle. Enjoy hiking in these amazing surroundings.
Torres Del Paine
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 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 boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the laneways, 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. Sail through iconic Andean seascapes, you have plenty of time to gaze out on the magnificent natural expanse.
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloe, 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, 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. Close to the town is Chiloe 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.
Make your way along the Pacific coast to Valparaiso recap everything you have experienced on this expedition. Make sure you spend some time on deck looking for wildlife.
Transfer to the airport for you return overnight flight to London