Magnificent Torres del Paine, Chile

Chilean Fjords Expedition: RCGS Resolute

Chilean Fjords and Patagonia

Commencing in Ushuaia, we make our way through a vast network of deep fjords and channels, occasionally venturing out to the Pacific Ocean as we navigate towards Valparaiso – Chile’s historic deep-sea port. We explore with our Zodiacs, approaching glaciers and observing wildlife and birdlife. On shore, we enjoy hikes to outstanding viewpoints, in the company of expert guides. In addition, visits to small coastal communities showcase the unique way of life of the hardy local inhabitants – telling a story of both indigenous and European settlement

  • Learn about the environment, glacial systems, history and ecology from experts
  • Visit historic sites, local communities and experience rural Chilean culture
  • Experience some of the most remote and pristine wilderness areas on earth
  • Observe resident and migrating wildlife on shore, in Zodiacs and from the ship
The vast Patagonian ice-sheet that straddles the Andes mountains in South America is the third largest ice-mass on the planet, after Antarctica and the Greenland icecap. It is a remnant of the earth’s most recent ice age and dominates the landscape, ecology and geology of Patagonia. Immense glacial systems cut through towering mountains as they move inexorably towards the sea. Take a look at any map of the region and this action becomes immediately apparent, in the maze of fjords and islands that make up one of the earth’s last great remaining wilderness regions. Ancient boreal forests also tell a story of an evolving planet and the supercontinent of Gondwanaland. They are home to several species of flora only found in South America, New Zealand, and Australia’s most southerly state, Tasmania.

Early Booking Offer

Book and deposit before 31 January 2019 and save a flight credit of $1000 per person.

Stewart's Take

Why not combine this fantastic Chilean adventure cruise with Antarctica - ask us how!

Overview

Commencing in Ushuaia, we make our way through a vast network of deep fjords and channels, occasionally venturing out to the Pacific Ocean as we navigate towards Valparaiso – Chile’s historic deep-sea port. We explore with our Zodiacs, approaching glaciers and observing wildlife and birdlife. On shore, we enjoy hikes to outstanding viewpoints, in the company of expert guides. In addition, visits to small coastal communities showcase the unique way of life of the hardy local inhabitants – telling a story of both indigenous and European settlement.
DAY 1 / USHUAIA (ARGENTINA) Our journey through Chile’s spectacular fjord region commences this afternoon in Ushuaia (Argentina). We gather at our central meeting point then transfer to the pier for embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner before casting off, bound for the stunning landscapes of Patagonia, rugged coastal Chile and historic city of Valparaiso. DAY 2 / GARIBALDI FJORD AND ALBERTO DE AGOSTINO NATIONAL PARK During the night we have sailed in a westerly direction along the Beagle Channel, which separates Argentina from neighbouring Chile. This morning we enter Garibaldi Fjord, where two glaciers rise up towards a stunning mountain backdrop. We take to the Zodiacs for the first time and explore them from a safe distance. Resident wildlife in the fjord includes South American sea lion and several species of birds such as the iconic Andean condor. In the afternoon, we arrive at Alberto de Agostino National Park, designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to large tracts of ancient sub-Antarctic forest systems that cover much of the reserve. Naturalists believe these forests started growing around 10,000 years ago. There are some excellent hiking trails here or alternatively enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline. DAY 3 / ALBERTO DE AGOSTINO NATIONAL PARK AND THE MARINELLI GLACIER The most famous of the park’s glaciers is the impressive tidewater Marinelli Glacier. This huge, crevasse-covered ice field spills from the Darwin Mountain range into Ainsworth Bay. From a distance, the glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and large icebergs that have calved from its face brood silently in the dark waters. Easy hikes in the lush Magellanic forests provide great opportunities to spot birdlife and to immerse yourselves in some of the purest wilderness on the planet. We anticipate sightings of seals and possibly Magellanic penguins, which are known to inhabit this area, before continuing our voyage through the famous ‘Glacier Alley’ and into the Magellan Strait. DAY 4 / PUNTA SANTA ANA AND FORT BULNES This morning we make our way ashore by Zodiac boat to explore the promontory of Punta Santa Ana, where the historic ‘Fuerte Bulnes’ (Fort Bulnes) is located. Founded in 1843, the settlement was established both as a territorial claim and to protect the strategic Magellan Strait. Although none of the original structures remain, the fort has been faithfully reconstructed, offering outstanding views over the strait. We explore the grounds and visit the small church, barracks, powder magazine and log cabins. The fort was abandoned after a more permanent settlement was established further north, in present day Punta Arenas. DAY 5 / SOUTHERN PATAGONIA FJORD EXPLORATION Today we cruise north along the rugged Chilean coastline and the views from the observation lounge and outer decks are breathtaking. Forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and glaciers continue for mile after mile. Enjoy onboard talks and discussions with our expert guides, covering a wide variety of subjects including history, wildlife, geology and glaciology as well as photography. Our ‘open bridge’ policy means you can also watch the Captain and officers steer the ship, learning something about navigation as well as having a look at the charts. For a bit of relaxation, why not soak in the hot tub or indulge in a massage at the day spa? DAY 6 / TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK For many, today’s excursion is one of the highlights of the trip. After breakfast we head ashore and enter the national park. This iconic location boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated 'towers' (from which the park gets its name) looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems. Powerful waterfalls surge through narrow channels between the lakes, and there are some excellent short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing jaw- dropping views of the immense massif. The Guanaco (similar to a llama) is resident in the park and can be found in sizeable numbers grazing on the native grasses. We spend a full day here, soaking up the views from all directions. DAY 7 / WHITE NARROWS AND FJORD CRUISING Today we look forward to an exciting day of navigation. A highlight will be the transit of White Narrows – a channel of water just 80 meters wide. No doubt everyone will be on the outer decks as the Captain skillfully steers us through this challenging passage. More spectacular scenery is on offer today. The Bernal Glacier is a particular highlight and provides a textbook lesson in glaciology, featuring a large moraine, pushed forward by actions of the moving ice. DAY 8 / BRÜGGEN GLACIER AND MESSIER CHANNEL In a trip full of superlatives and highlights, today may well be near the top. Navigating into Eyre fjord, the vast sweep of the Brüggen Glacier comes into view. Often called the ‘Pio XI’, at almost 60 kilometres in length it is the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica. From the low vantage point of our Zodiacs the sheer scale of the glacier face is overwhelming. It rises almost 70 metres above the surface of the water and is a staggering 4 kilometres wide. In the afternoon we sail into the Messier Channel that separates continental South America from Wellington Island. Join our wildlife expert out on deck as we look for marine and bird life. It promises to be another exhilarating day of exploration. DAY 9 / CALETA TORTEL After several days immersed in the glacial systems, fjords and forests, today we visit the small outpost of Caleta Tortel. Situated on a steep escarpment, the village has no roads but is instead connected via a series of wooden walkways that link houses to town services. Most residences have jetties as boats are virtually the only mode of transport – even the local fire engine is a boat! The area was first visited by Europeans in the 1950’s, while the indigenous people of the regions have lived in the area for much longer. Today the town is dedicated as a national monument. We have time to explore at our leisure, treading the boardwalks, observing local life and perhaps stopping for a chat with the locals. DAY 10 / AT SEA We continue our journey north, leaving the fjords and entering the Pacific Ocean. We sometimes encounter migrating whales that use the Humboldt current as an oceanic conveyor belt. The programme of presentations and discussions continues today, or you may choose to take a break, perhaps writing up your trip journal, or enjoying a good book in one of the comfortable lounges or on the sun deck. DAY 11 / CASTRO AND CHILOÉ ISLAND This morning we are in position close to the town of Castro – the provincial capital of the island of Chiloé. The town was founded in 1567 and is the third oldest city in Chile. It flourished when the early Jesuits chose to base their mission here. We make our way ashore and are immediately struck by the colourful houses built on stilts around the harbour. Known as ‘palafitos’, they are simple homes built by local fisherman. The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country. Reboarding the ship in the afternoon we hug the coastline, hoping to see the snow-capped summits of the numerous volcanoes that characterise this region. DAY 12 / COASTAL CRUISING AND MOCHA ISLAND Located 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Chile, the remote outcrop of Mocha Island is an important historic site. Inhabited for centuries by the indigenous Mapuche tribe, Europeans first discovered it in the mid-15th century. The island was frequented by pirates, as well as Sir Francis Drake, and legend has it that more than 100 shipwrecks lie in the surrounding waters. Weather conditions permitting, we head ashore where there are several hiking options. We hope to spot the resident sea lions and may be lucky to encounter whales. The rare Pink-footed shearwater can be also found on the island, nesting in burrows on the forested slopes. DAY 13 / COASTAL CRUISING TOWARDS VALPARAISO As we make our way towards the historic port of Valparaiso, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography expert in the multimedia room, where you can download and/ or back up your precious images. Or spend time outside on the observation decks, in our spacious lounges or on the bridge. It’s a fitting time to reflect on a wonderful expedition. This evening we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. DAY 14 / VALPARAISO, CHILE This morning we arrive at Valparaiso, the principal deep water port for Santiago, around 100 kilometres inland from the coast. After breakfast it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows. Ride the historic funicular railways that still operate around the city and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. Or spend some time exploring the celebrated Casablanca wine region located nearby. ENHANCE YOUR EXPERIENCE: Why not combine Antarctica with our Chilean Fjord Expedition? Visit the white continent on a 10-night voyage prior to the Chilean Fjords Expedition, creating what may be the world's greatest small-ship journey! Ask us for more details. GETTING THERE... VOYAGE LOGISTICS This trip commences in Ushuaia (Argentina). We strongly recommend you plan to arrive at least one day prior to the voyage departure. Ushuaia is an interesting town and having a ‘buffer’ will ensure you do not miss embarkation. Aboard our expedition ship – RCGS Resolute – we then chart a course along the Beagle Channel and enter the great fjord systems of Patagonia. Our voyage ends with our arrival into Valparaiso (Chile), where a transfer is provided from the ship to the airport in Santiago, or to a central location downtown. You may want to consider spending a night in Valparaiso or Santiago after your voyage; if not, please ensure your flight out of Santiago departs in the afternoon. Full joining and departure instructions will be provided in your final travel documentation, but if you have any queries please ask us.

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Luxury Expedition Vessel: RCGS Resolute

RCGS Resolute

The purpose built polar expedition vessel RCGS Resolute provides a most capable, safe, and exclusive expedition cruise experience.  Designed for comfort, there are public spaces ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180 degree views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. RCGS Resolute has the highest ice class (Lloyds 1AS).  Equipped with propellers of stainless steel, high density steel plating and small frame spacing on her hull, RCGS Resolute continues into the ice, when others simply cannot.  The ship is very stable and her stability and strength are features greatly appreciated in ice laden large waters.  Unmatched stability, coupled with superior speed allows for more time at your destination and more flexibility with itinerary planning – a critical factor in polar waters where ice and weather conditions sometimes dictate daily plans. All cabins feature outside viewing ranging from deck three traditional with port holes, up to decks 4 through 6 offering expansive panoramic windows.  Cabins all have lower berths that have the ability to be single beds, or 1 double bed depending on our guests needs. 

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Pre-voyage information package
  • Free use of expedition gear package with waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, insulated rubber boots, waterproof backpack, binoculars and Nordic trekking pole.
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Expedition Leader and team of biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily excursions by Zodiac boat with small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks for all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Photography guide
  • An emergency trained physician
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including massage options (charge applies)
  • Sea Kayaking program available (additional charge of US$795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Well-stocked library with polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
Excluded
  • Any airfare.
  • Pre- and post land arrangements.
  • Transfers to the vessel.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • All items of a personal nature such as additional purchases onboard in the gift shop, laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Deposit Reservations require a 20% deposit at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment. Final Payment Balances are due 120 days prior to departure and can be paid by bank transfer. Balance payments may be made by credit card subject to a 2% surcharge. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 120 days or more prior to departure = loss of deposit. If cancellation occurs less than 120 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Pricing, Sharing and Single Occupancy Prices shown are per person on a shared basis. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with someone of the same gender and pay only the share rate. If desired, Single occupancy is available at 1.5 times the twin share rate (not available in the Triple category), or 2 times the rate for Suites. Family Travel and Child Discounts For youth up to and including 17 years of age there is a 25% reduction in price. For youth between the ages of 18-21 there is a 20% reduction in price with proof of educational enrolment (current student card). These youth bookings must accompany an adult booking. Permission is required for any traveller under the age of 18 years and a Child Consent form to be completed. Booking Terms Please read carefully the general Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by One Ocean Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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