Epic Patagonia: Fjords, Peaks and Forests

National Geographic Explorer Cruise Ship
National Geographic Explorer
148 Passengers

Remote and largely inaccessible, a Patagonia cruise is the essence of wildness—a maze of channels and islands. Venture deep into Chile’s glorious fjords past incandescent icebergs and massive glaciers such as the massive Pio XI Glacier, which is still advancing. From Chiloé Island, with its unique cultures and glorious islandscapes, to Pumalín Park, with its imposing forests and waterfalls, to a visit to a valley in the heart of the Andes, you'll experience the grand sweep of Patagonia.

You'll explore the “land of fire,” Tierra del Fuego, see the jagged spires of Torres del Paine National Park, and experience Patagonia at close range aboard National Geographic Explorer. And thanks to our special access, we’ll enjoy the privilege of visiting the far-off, stunningly beautiful natural parklands of Karukinka. We’ll also visit the ‘brand-name’ adventurous destinations of Torres del Paine and Cape Horn. And we’ll be privileged to be one of the only expedition ships ever allowed to visit Argentina’s remote, wild Isla de los Estados. On this expedition you’ll:
• Explore the cultures and World Heritage sites of Chiloé Island, a place beloved by Chileans
• Hike through forests of alerce trees, comparable to giant sequoias, at Pumalín Park, and learn about the conservation efforts that created this giant sanctuary
• See the Pio XI Glacier, the longest in South America
• See Patagonia’s signature Torres del Paine National Park with naturalists, and explore the Chilean fjords by Zodiac, kayak and on foot
• Venture through wildlife reserves not easily accessible to the public, including Karukinka Natural Park in Tierra del Fuego
• By special permission, be one of the few people ever to explore Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), located at the extreme end of South America
• Transit the legendary Beagle Channel and take in the view of Cape Horn

Explore Patagonia’s wildest regions
The wilderness of Patagonia is near mythic. You'll see the full sweep of Patagonia, and see its landscapes change from massive and more temperate forests in the north to fjords and icescapes further south. You'll visit one of Patagonia's newest and largest protected areas: Karukinka Natural Park. We’re thrilled to have special permission to visit this reserve, which spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox and Andean condors.

Discover Argentina's seldom-visited Isla de los Estados
By special permission, National Geographic Explorer will call at Isla de los Estados, a wild island largely untouched by humans in decades, with only a naval outpost with four guardians. Walk its wild beech forests, look for penguins, and see the re-creation of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name. And conditions permitting, explore a very rarely seen archeological site where native people lived 1,500 years ago.

Incredible mountainscapes, fjords, glaciers, and islands
From the razor-backed ridges of the sprawling Torres del Paine National Park to Pio XI, the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica, Patagonia is a land of superlatives. This vast area of snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands of islands covered with vegetation, lakes, soaring granite walls, and waterfalls, and archipelago provides days of spectacular adventure. Explore the towering fjords by Zodiac and kayak; hike to the terminus of massive glaciers; walk the spongy, vegetation-covered ground surrounded by the immensity of a wild pristine landscape.

Rare wildlife and the undersea, too
At Pumalín, hike through the unusual, ancient alerce forest of massive trees, some 2,000 years old, similar in dimension to California redwoods. Search for the endangered culpeo fox and Andean condors. See albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, and more. And at Isla de Los Estados, see colonies of southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, plus large groups of fur seals and sea lions. And in the Chilean fjords, Explorer’s on-board undersea specialist will deploy an ROV to shoot video of an undersea few humans have ever seen.

Please note that although international airline tickets are not included in the trip cost the dates of this trip include your travel dates (based on USA/USA travel).

Brief Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 Home/Santiago, Chile
Day 3 Puerto Montt/Embark
Day 4 Ancud (Chiloé Island)
Day 5 Pumalín National Park
Days 6 to 10 The Inside Passage & the Chilean Fjords
Day 11 Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine National Park
Days 12 & 13 Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park
Day 14 The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Exploring
Day 15 Cape Horn
Days 16 to 18 Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina
Days 19 & 20 Ushuaia/Disembark/Buenos Aires/Home

Days 1 & 2 — Home/Santiago, Chile

Fly overnight to Santiago, and check in to the hotel (International flight not included). The Andes form an inspiring backdrop to our guided overview.

Day 3 — Puerto Montt/Embark

Fly by private charter from Santiago to Puerto Montt, Chile’s northern gateway to Patagonia. Embark National Geographic Explorer.

Day 4 — Ancud (Chiloé Island)

Explore Chiloé’s culture including its palafitos, colorful stilt houses along the water. Alternatively, visit a mixed colony of Magellanic and Humboldt penguins.

Day 5 — Pumalín National Park

Pumalín’s 750,000 acres in Chilean Patagonia are protected as one of the last remaining areas of the unusual alerce forest, consisting of huge trees similar in size to California redwoods. Walk the park trails to see them up close.

Days 6 to 10 — The Inside Passage & The Chilean Fjords

A vast area of snowcapped mountains, glaciers, thousands of islands, lakes, soaring granite walls, and waterfalls, the archipelago is virtually untouched by man. We make good use of our Zodiacs, kayaks and undersea technology. One highlight is the Pio XI Glacier, the longest glacier in the Southern Hemisphere outside Antarctica. Look for condors as our ship transits the White Narrows.

Day 11 — Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine National Park

From Puerto Natales, drive to monumental Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Discover spectacular and wildlife-rich areas, covering 450,000 acres of glaciers, forests and grasslands, rivers and colorful lagoons.

Days 12 & 13 — Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park

Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. We have special permission from the Wildlife Conservation Society to visit Karukinka Natural Park, home to nesting black-browed albatross, condors, and elephant seals.

Day 14 — The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Exploring

Myriad fjords or senos indent the coast. We cruise deep into the senos, punctuated at the end by tidewater glaciers, to explore by Zodiac, kayak, and on foot. Transit the Beagle Channel and explore some of its many possibilities.

Day 15 — Cape Horn

Today we visit Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of the continent, and, conditions permitting, land there for panoramic views.

Days 16 to 18 — Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

By special permission, Explorer is one of the only expedition ships ever to visit extraordinary Staten Island. Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are beautiful. Spot southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, fur seals and sea lions. See the San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name.

Days 19 & 20 — Ushuaia/Disembark/Buenos Aires/Home

Disembark in Ushuaia. Take a charter flight to Buenos Aires and connect to your overnight flight home (international flight not included).

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

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Kayaking is available as an additional activity available to all passengers and arranged onboard free of charge.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_NG-Explorer

   Category 1
Cabins feature one or two Portholes. Most cabins feature two lower single beds. Cabins 303-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programing.
    Category 2 with Window
Cabins feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
  Category 3 with Window
Cabins feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
  Category 4 with Window
Cabins feature two lower single beds and at least one large window. Cabin 217, 226 & 228 feature one queen-size bed. All cabins feature climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programing. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
  Category 5 with Balcony
These cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programing. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. Cabin 221 has two lower single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.
  Category 6 Suite
Spacious cabins. Those on the Veranda Deck can be converted into Triples, while Upper Deck cabin has private balcony. All feature two lower single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, chairs, and a TV. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
  Category 7 Suite with Balcony
These large cabins with private balconies have two lower single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have seating areas and can be converted to triples. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
  Category Solo A with Window
These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
  Category Solo B with Window
These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.