Via Australis Patagonia Expedition Cruise


Via Australis Patagonia Expedition Cruise



6 months ago


5 Days




USD 1,440.00 per person


Dec 31, 2019
Via Australis Patagonia Expedition Cruise
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The Patagonian Explorer cruise aboard the 210-guest Stella or Ventus Australis sister ships is a 5-day, 4-night small ship adventure from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Punta Arenas, Chile. Behold some of the planet’s most remote landscapes and incredible wildlife as you discover the pristine beauty of Patagonia, with a highlight of this route being the huge and rarely visited Cóndor Glacier in Agostini Sound.

The comfort aboard these luxury small ships is only surpassed by the activities. Visit fabled spots like Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay before cruising down the Beagle Channel. Continue through the maze of islands and glaciers, including Pia Glacier, Garibaldi Glacier, Agostini Sound, Águila Glacier and Cóndor Glacier before entering the legendary Strait of Magellan. Search for condors and other wildlife by zodiak. Hike through Magellanic forest to glacial waterfalls and panoramic views of bays. And walk to a lighthouse on stunning Magdalena Island and its immense penguin colony before disembarking in Punta Arenas.

These Australis small ships are the only in the world to visit the Cóndor Glacier regularly. This spectacular but remote glacier at the southernmost tip of South America is guarded by and takes its name from the world’s largest flying bird, the Andean condor, which can weigh up to 33 pounds and have a wingspan of over 10 feet.

The Patagonian Explorer cruise can also be combined with the Fjords of Tierra del Fuego 5-day cruise to create a 9-day/8-night itinerary. View the Patagonian Explorer cruise details in the itinerary tab or click on the links below to view details of other Australis Patagonia Cruises.


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Rates vary by season and cabin starting at $1440 per person. Please see website for full details on rates.


Day 1: Embark Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
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Check in at Ushuaia between 10am and 5pm for 6pm boarding. After a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain and his crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of the world. During the night the Australis will traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as the ship turns into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis

MEALS: dinner

Day 2: Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
Cape Horn National Park, Patagonia, Chile
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Cross Nassau Bay and enter the remote archipelago that comprises Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, Cape Horn is a sheer 1,394-foot (425-meter) 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.

Sailing back across Nassau Bay, anchor at fabled 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 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, you will have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these you stroll through an enchanted Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3: Pia Glacier & Garibaldi Glacier
Pia Glacier, Patagonia, Chile
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Casting off from Wulaia Bay, retrace the route to the Beagle Channel and sail westward along the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego into a section of Alberto de Agostini National Park called Glacier Alley or Avenue of the Glaciers. Flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet are a number of impressive tidewater glaciers to enter the narrow Pia Fjord where you will board zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. No one knows for certain how the hulking glacier got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king. After disembarking, take a short hike to experience panoramic views of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea. You may also chose to take a longer and more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.

Cruise further west along the Beagle Channel to enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking. Here you will hike through virgin Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is a very steep demanding trail with rough footing that is not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, the captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the amazing view.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Agostini Sound, Águila Glacier & Cóndor Glacier
Patagonia, Chile
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Early in the morning, sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range. Disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier, to reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, approach the Condor Glacier via zodiac to hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Magdalena Island & Disembark Punta Arenas, Chile
Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile
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Anchor off Magdalena Island, which lies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. In September and April, when the penguins dwell elsewhere, this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions. After a short cruise south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas between 11:30am and 12:30pm depending on the date of your departure.


MEALS: breakfast


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  • Accommodation, sea transportation, all meals, open bar when on duty (without additional costs for wines, beverages and liquors), shore excursions and on-board entertainment.


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Alternative Itinerary: In addition to the 5-day northbound route listed above, there is a southbound itinerary that sails from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia.

Day 1 - Punta Arenas

Day 2 - Ainsworth Bay & Tuckers Islet

Day 3 - Pia Glacier & Glacier Alley

Day 4 - Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay

Day 5 - Ushuaia

Itinerary Notes: Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

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