Map of Chilean Fjords and Torres del Paine from Buenos Aires including Argentina and Chile

Explore end of the earth national parks from a unique perspective

Most ships that leave Ushuaia head to the great white continent and back, but this one-of-a-kind edge of the world expedition takes you to the rarely visited islands of the Tierra del Fuego and Diego Ramirez, and up among a remote network of coastal fjords and channels where impressive glaciers and waterfalls tumble from the towering mountains into the icy waters below. Jump in a Zodiac to spot the area’s abundant wildlife and make landfall on the endless islands and inlets that make up the Alberto de Agostini and Torres del Paine national parks. If you’re looking for a different type of land’s end adventure, this is it.


Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Santiago, Chile
Destinations
Argentina, Chile
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar, Wildlife
Code
GQMTP
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 200

Why you'll love this trip

  • Make your way to Cape Horn, the ‘edge of the earth’, and on to one of the least explored places in the world – the Diego Ramirez islands – to experience a true sense of adventure.

  • Explore not one but three of the rarely visited Chilean national parks from a perspective that few get to experience.

  • Zodiac excursions open up so many exploration opportunities and chances to get as close to wildlife as permitted. Get on board with a number of trips scheduled during your expedition.

  • It’s not just water-based adventures on this trip. Get your dry land legs back with hikes to glacier scenic viewpoints and even a visit to a working Patagonian estancia – with a tasty barbecue too.

  • With your exploration of three national parks sandwiched between a Buenos Aires beginning and a Santiago stop, you’ll get to experience the best natural and city-scapes South America has to offer.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Although our ice strengthened ships are big and sturdy, Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings. Please be prepared with medications to combat this. There is also a doctor on-board should you need further assistance.

  • As you’d expect, temperatures in the Antarctic are freezing. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the 'Packing' section of the Essential Trip Information for further details on what to bring.

  • Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.

  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The onboard library and educational lectures are ideal ways for keeping entertained.

Itinerary

Welcome to Buenos Aires, where your Antarctic adventure begins. Arrive into the city any time today, and make your way to the hotel. There’s plenty to see and do if you arrive early into Buenos Aires. The city features an eclectic mix of European, Latin and cosmopolitan influences, with a thriving cultural and nightlife scene. Comb the antique markets and cobbled streets of San Telmo, see the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada in the Plaza de Mayo or pay your respects to Eva Peron at the famous Recoleta Cemetery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please note, no arrival transfer is included in Buenos Aires. Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Full joining instructions will be included in your final documentation. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight to Ushuaia, the Patagonian port town at the ‘end-of-the-world’. Later, set sail through the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and opens up into the Southern Ocean. Photo opportunities abound, as dramatic coastlines emerge and seabirds sore overhead. It’s possible to spot seals, penguins, cormorants and more from the deck. Settle into your cabin and get to know the expedition team and your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take a different route out of the Beagle Channel if conditions are right today and aim to start your journey to the “edge of the earth” at Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Here, at the very southern tip of the Tierra del Fuego collection of islands, is the most isolated place in the Americas. The rocky headland of Hornos Island once looked over a major global trade route from the 18th to 20th centuries and, if conditions are right for a landing, you might be able to hike to the Stella Maris Chapel, lighthouse, and albatross-shaped monument that honours the mariners who never made the journey round the horn.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue on even farther south to the totally isolated and barely explored Diego Ramirez Islands. Discovered in 1619 and once thought to be the world’s most southernmost landmass, you’ll have the chance to Zodiac cruise around these tussock grass-covered islands to spot the abundant birdlife – look out for black-browed albatross, shy albatross and grey-headed albatross, plus sightings of dolphins, South American fur seals, and rockhopper, macaroni and Magellanic penguins are also possible here.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
The ship will turn back north towards the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy presentations from your expert expedition team about the surrounding area’s geography, environment and wildlife. As you retrace Darwin’s journey through the Beagle Channel, look up to see seabirds hovering overhead – even maybe Andean condors – while surrounded by dramatic vistas of jagged-peaked mountains and massive tidewater glaciers. Make your way through so-called Glacier Alley, where the glaciers take their names from the first European countries to explore here. The Pia Glacier, in Alberto de Agostini National Park, extends from the soaring mountaintops down into the sea and it’s possible to take a short hike to a lookout point for unforgettable views. You can explore this area by Zodiac, including a beautiful glacial waterfall and nearby Garibaldi Glacier, surrounded by pristine sub-Antarctic forests.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Located at the end of a tranquil lagoon surrounded by lush forests in Agostini Sound, Dainelli Glacier is a unique sight – it appears to flow over rolling hills rather than mountains. Cruising aboard a Zodiac toward the blue-tinged wall of ice, conditions permitting, you might just be humbled by the wonder of nature’s power. The plan is to venture ashore for an easy hike along the beach to get a more intensive look at the glacier and surrounding mountains.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continuing north, navigate through a remote network of coastal fjords and channels, including time spent venturing out into the Pacific Ocean. Your expedition team will prepare for the upcoming adventures, helping you further understand the glacial systems as well as the flora and fauna that can be found in this part of Chile.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
There are few, if any, stretches of coastline like this, and you’ll meander through a memorable maze of deep, windswept fjords, narrow channels and isolated bays as you make your way to the small port of Puerto Natales. Look out for imperial and king cormorants, South American terns, blacknecked swans and southern wigeons that frequent the fjord. Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most stunning wilderness areas in South America, and Puerto Natales is the gateway. Enjoy a full day of hiking tailored to your preferred activity level and stopping at lookouts in the park, followed by a traditional Patagonian barbecue in the afternoon. The next day, head to land again and visit a working Patagonian estancia. Here you’ll learn about sheep farming in this unique setting, where the ostrich-like rhea and guanacos live too. There’s no better way to finish the experience than with a lunch of barbecued lamb al palo (“on a stick”), before returning to the ship in the early evening.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Cruise the calm, crystal-clear waters of the Canal de las Montañas and soak in the views of an incredible series of waterfalls. They cascade down between the jagged peaks that rise up sharply on either side of the narrow channel, with glaciers – which can exceed elevations over 8,235 feet (2,510 metres) – spilling dramatically into the water along its length. The channel is an ideal place to put the Zodiacs in the water for more detailed exploring, or ashore for a hike to scenic viewpoints. If you’re feeling more adventurous, maybe treat yourself to an optional kayaking excursion – the chance to see the channel from a unique perspective.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Make your way to Tuckers Islets, a series of small islands and rocky outcrops in Almirantazgo Sound – a small fjord off the Strait of Magellan – that’s the perfect location for penguin viewing. Though there’s no landing allowed, a Zodiac excursion can take you very near a pebble beach to view a colony of 4,000-plus breeding Magellanic penguins. Named for Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whose crew sighted the charming creatures in 1520 during the first circumnavigation of the globe, the species is native to the region. The sight of them in their burrows, lounging on the beach or waddling in and out of the water, is one you won’t forget. If you’re fortunate, you may also see Chilean skuas, Magellanic cormorants (rock shags), imperial cormorants (king shags), oystercatchers, kelp geese, or even dolphins.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue your exploration of Almirantazgo Sound with a planned landing at Ainsworth Bay, one of the most picturesque and pristine places in Patagonia. A protected part of Alberto de Agostini National Park, the bay is host to rich birdlife, so keep your eyes peeled as you cruise in the Zodiacs. There will be hiking options available for all fitness levels, and you’ll get panoramic views of Marinelli Glacier, Marinelli Fjord and the surrounding Darwin mountain range. There might also be the chance to witness a unique sight – the first recorded colony of blackbrowed albatross in inland waters, feeding mainly in fjords and channels.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Another excellent spot for glacier exploring in Almirantazgo Sound is Bahia Brookes (Brookes Bay), where, conditions permitting, you’ll head ashore by Zodiac. The bay offers lots of chances for a closer view of waterfalls and glaciers, including the calving North Brookes Glacier, all with the breath-taking backdrop of the towering Darwin mountain range. All around will be serene silence, until the powerful roar of ice breaking off and crashing into the frigid waters below. This is also a great location for viewing ice fall deposits, which form reconstituted glaciers, and kame (silt and sediment deposits).
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the middle of the Strait of Magellan, Marta Island is home to abundant birdlife and more than one thousand Patagonian sea lions. To protect the wildlife, shore landings are not possible here, but you can circumnavigate the island, giving you endless opportunities to observe and photograph the colony from a short distance away in the comfort of a Zodiac. Called lobos marinos (sea wolves) by local Chileans, these giant pinnipeds – males can weigh over 700 lb/320 kg – form a noisy group as each sea lion vies for a choice spot of coastline. As you cruise by, sightings of imperial cormorants, skuas, southern gulls, Antarctic pigeons, and if you’re lucky, dolphins are also possible.
Accommodation
  • Expedition Cruise Ship (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After an adventurous two weeks of exploration, say goodbye to your expedition team and disembark in Punta Arenas, where you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Santiago. Here you are welcome to continue on your own travels or connect to your homeward flights.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The trip ends on arrival at Santiago Airport (SCL) on Day 15. The return charter flight is likely to arrive in Santiago after all international flights have departed. Flight details will be available closer to departure. You may have to stay an extra night in Santiago and fly out the following morning.

Meals

14 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners

Transport

Plane, Ship, Zodiac

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Chilean Fjords and Torres del Paine from Buenos Aires trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.

If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.

If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.

Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping, stand up paddle boarding, cross country skiing and mountaineering. All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential and a good level of fitness is required for cross country skiing and mountaineering. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this voyage.

Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.

Strict luggage limits apply. Please see the 'Packing' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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