Magnificent Torres del Paine, Chile

Essential Patagonia: Chilean Fjords and Torres del Paine

Chilean Fjords and Patagonia

A comprehensive journey into Chile’s spectacular network of fjords and channels. Helicopter flightseeing and Zodiac cruises along this enchanting stretch of coastline provide awe-inspiring perspectives of some of the most remote and picturesque landscapes on Earth. From Magellanic penguin colonies and other seabirds to South American sea lions and southern elephant seals, the fascinating array of wildlife is as abundant as the majestic blue-toned tidewater glaciers. Join us in this enchanting wonderland and experience all the natural splendors of southern Patagonia

  • Learn about the environment, glacial systems, history and ecology from experts
  • Visit historic sites, local communities and experience rural Chilean culture
  • nesting albatross on remote Diego Ramirez Islands
  • Torres Del Paine National Park one of the most stunning wilderness areas in South America
  • Spectacular glacial systems and fjords
  • 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.

Special Offer

2022: Standard cabins save 20%, Premium cabins save 25% - use Promocode EBB20 or EBB25

Pay in full within 30 days of booking and save an additional 10% - Contact us for details! 

2023:All twin cabins and suites save 15% - use Promocode EBB15

Pay in full within 30 days of booking and save an additional 15% - Contact us for details!

Terms and Conditions: Offer valid for new bookings on specified departure dates. Excludes triple and sole use cabins. Must quote promo code(s) and provide passengers’ full names at time of booking. The right is reserved to limit, change or discontinue promotion at any time without notice.  No cash value. Brochure Terms & Conditions apply.
ULTRAMARINE: Standard Cabins: Explorer Suite; Premium Cabins: Balcony Suite, Deluxe Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner's Suite and Ultra Suite

Stewart's Take

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

Overview

A comprehensive journey into Chile’s spectacular network of fjords and channels. Helicopter flightseeing and Zodiac cruises along this enchanting stretch of coastline provide awe-inspiring perspectives of some of the most remote and picturesque landscapes on Earth. From Magellanic penguin colonies and other seabirds to South American sea lions and southern elephant seals, the fascinating array of wildlife is as abundant as the majestic blue-toned tidewater glaciers. Join us in this enchanting wonderland and experience all the natural splendors of southern Patagonia.
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package). Day 2 Fly to Ushuaia & Embark After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier. After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Day 3 Cape Horn As we begin our exploration of Chile’s southern extent, expect a new adventure every day. Though each expedition will be different, depending on the weather, we aim to start our journey to the “edge of the earth” with a visit to historic Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). At the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”) archipelago, the most isolated place in the Americas, this steep, rocky headland on Hornos Island marks the northern boundary of the famous Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. From the 1700s to the early 1900s, prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, this cape was part of a major global trade route. If sea and weather conditions allow, you may go ashore for a hike out to the lighthouse, the tiny Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) Chapel, and the albatross-shaped monument honoring the many mariners who lost their lives attempting to “round the Horn.” Atop the windswept promontory, pause for a moment to take in the panoramic view and to enjoy the peaceful solitude that can only be found at one of the most southern stretches of land in the world. You can even have your passport stamped by the family operating the lighthouse! Day 4 Diego Ramirez Islands Your ship will then continue cruising farther south, to the Diego Ramírez Islands, the most southern point of South America and one of the least-explored places on the planet. This small archipelago was actually thought to be the southernmost land mass in the world when it was discovered in 1619 by the Spanish Garcia de Nodal expedition. Named after the expedition’s cosmographer, the archipelago held this distinction for 156 years, until Capt. James Cook’s discovery of the South Sandwich Islands in 1775. Weather permitting, we’ll Zodiac cruise around these tussock-grass-covered islands to admire the abundant birdlife. A designated Important Bird Area, and part of the recently-designated Diego Ramirez Islands and Drake Passage Marine Park, the archipelago is home to millions of breeding seabirds, and an exceptional place for birdwatching. Binoculars in hand, birders will marvel at the sight of multiple species of albatross (these islands are the southernmost albatross breeding ground in the world), including black-browed albatross, shy albatross and grey-headed albatross. Sightings of dolphins, South American fur seals, and rockhopper, macaroni and Magellanic penguins are also possible here. Day 5 Pia & Garibaldi Glaciers, Glacier Alley As our ship sails back north toward the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego, stimulating presentations by your Expedition Team will enrich your knowledge of the glacial systems, geology, environment, wildlife and storied history of the region as you retrace Charles Darwin’s historic journey through the Beagle Channel, a 150-mile (240 km) strait separating Tierra del Fuego’s main island from several smaller islands. Named after Captain Robert FitzRoy’s famous ship on which Charles Darwin was a passenger, the channel presents plenty of photo ops to capture seabirds hovering overhead and dramatic vistas of jagged-peaked mountains and massive tidewater glaciers. Rugged and untouched, this magnificent landscape is as starkly beautiful as it was when Darwin first laid eyes on it in 1833. Glacier Alley (as it’s nicknamed) is one of the most spectacular ship passages in Tierra del Fuego. To honour the European countries that first explored the region, the glaciers have taken their names—España (Oblicuo), Romanche, Alemania (Roncagli), Francia, Italia, and Holland Glaciers. Situated within the protected boundary of Alberto de Agostini National Park, both Pia and Garibaldi Glaciers sit at the head of picturesque ice-choked fjords that offer jaw-dropping views. Located within the Cordillera Darwin (Darwin Mountain Range), the impressive Pia Glacier extends from the soaring mountaintops down into the sea. A short hike to a lookout point provides superb vistas of the glacier and mountains. Surrounded by pristine sub-Antarctic forests, Garibaldi Glacier flows from a separate mountain, providing equally exceptional views, with the Darwin Mountains rising dramatically out of the fjord. We can explore this area by Zodiac, including a beautiful glacial waterfall nearby. As we navigate the fjords, your Expedition Team will keep watch for Andean condors, massive birds rivaled in wingspan by only the wandering albatross. Day 6 Dainelli (Aguila) Glacier Located at the end of a tranquil lagoon surrounded by lush sub-Antarctic forests in Agostini Sound, Dainelli Glacier (sometimes called Aguila—Spanish for “Eagle” Glacier) is a unique sight, as it appears to flow over rolling hills rather than mountains. Cruising aboard a Zodiac toward the blue-tinged wall of ice, conditions permitting, you will be humbled by the wonder of nature’s power. We hope to venture ashore for an easy hike along the beach to get a more intensive look at the glacier and surrounding mountains. Day 7 Cruising the Chilean Fjords Continuing north, we’ll 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 adventures that await, helping you further understand the glacial systems, as well as the flora and fauna that can be found in this part of Chile. Take a moment, as we glide past soaring snow-capped peaks, to contemplate the mariners of long ago who traveled these same sheltered passageways, and were rewarded with the same wondrous sights. Days 8 and 9 Puerto Natales & Torres Del Paine National Park Sailing the turquoise waters of the extraordinary stretch of coastline leading to the small port of Puerto Natales, we’ll meander through a mesmerizing maze of deep, windswept fjords, narrow channels and isolated bays, with an eye toward the rugged landscape, unique wildlife and impressive glaciers that tumble from the towering mountains into the icy waters below, along with the imperial and king cormorants, South American terns, black-necked swans and southern wigeons (Chiloé 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. This enormous park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so designated for both its natural wonders and ancient human history, and named for the three granite peaks that tower above the glacier-fed lakes. 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. Taking our expedition onto dry land for another full day, we will also visit a working Patagonian estancia (“ranch”), founded in 1891 by Scottish immigrants. Here you will learn about Patagonian sheep farming in a historic pastoral setting. Inhabiting the surrounding grasslands are the ostrich-like rhea, and guanacos, a wild relative of the domestic llama. Complete your cultural experience with a lunch of barbecued lamb al palo (“on a stick”), and return to the ship in the early evening. Day 10 Canal de las Montañas Cruising the calm, crystal-clear waters of the Canal de las Montañas (“Channel” or “Fjord of the Mountains”) will leave you breathless. You’ll be awed by the amazing series of waterfalls cascading down between the jagged peaks that rise up sharply on either side of the narrow, 41-mile (66 km) long channel dotted with glaciers, five of which spill dramatically into the water. Here, impressive ice fields glisten, and steeply sloped glaciers exceed elevations over 8,235 feet (2,510 meters). The channel also provides an ideal place to put our Zodiacs in the water for more detailed exploring or going ashore for a hike to scenic viewpoints. If you’re feeling more adventurous, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an optional kayaking excursion (extra cost), an exceptional opportunity to experience the channel from a special perspective. Day 11 Tuckers Islets A series of small islands and rocky outcrops in Almirantazgo Sound (“Admiralty Sound”), a small fjord off the Strait of Magellan, Tuckers Islets is a superb location for viewing penguins. Though landing here is prohibited, a Zodiac excursion will take you very near a pebble beach to view a colony of 4,000-plus breeding Magellanic penguins, conditions permitting. 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, and 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 we’re fortunate, we may also see Chilean skuas, Magellanic cormorants (rock shags), imperial cormorants (king shags), oystercatchers, kelp geese, or even dolphins. Day 12 Ainsworth Bay & Islote Albatros Continuing our exploration of Almirantazgo Sound, we plan to explore ashore at Ainsworth Bay, one of the most picturesque and pristine places in Patagonia. Surrounded by untouched sub-Antarctic forest, this isolated bay is a protected area within the border of Alberto de Agostini National Park. It hosts abundant birdlife, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled as we cruise in the Zodiacs. Hiking options will be available for all fitness levels, affording panoramic views of Marinelli Glacier, Marinelli Fjord and the surrounding Darwin mountain range. In 2003, a small breeding colony of black-browed albatross was documented on Islote Albatros (“Albatross Islet”), located in Admiralty Sound. Normally albatross are seabirds, nesting and feeding in coastal waters and open ocean; this the first record of a colony of this species in inland waters, feeding mainly in fjords and channels. Day 13 Bahia Brookes Another excellent spot for glacier exploring in Almirantazgo Sound is Bahia Brookes (Brookes Bay), where, conditions permitting, we’ll go ashore by Zodiac. The bay offers ample chances for closer views of a number of waterfalls and glaciers, including the calving North Brookes Glacier, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the towering Darwin mountain range. Amid the serene silence of this icy wonderland, the only sound you may hear is 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). Day 14 Marta Island In the middle of the Strait of Magellan, Marta Island (Isla Marta) is home to abundant birdlife and more than one thousand Patagonian (South American) sea lions. To protect the wildlife, shore landings are not possible here, but we do plan to circumnavigate the island, providing numerous opportunities to observe and photograph the colony from a short distance, in the comfort of a Zodiac. Called lobos marinos (“sea wolves”) by local Chileans, these giant pinnipeds—males can weigh over 700 pounds/320 kg—form quite 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 we’re lucky, dolphins—are also possible. Day 15 Disembark in Punta Arenas & Fly to Santiago, Chile. After an adventurous two weeks of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark in Punta Arenas, to be transferred to the airport for your charter flight to Santiago, where you are welcome to continue on your own travels or connect to your homeward flights. MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE:
  • One pre-night’s hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
  • Group transfer from hotel to airport in Buenos Aires
  • Group flight departing from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport (Aeroparque/AEP) to Ushuaia, and returning to Santiago’s international airport (SCL)
  • Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship, and from ship to Punta Arenas airport (Note: Transfer on arrival in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel at the beginning of the journey is not included. Please make your way to the included hotel.)
PACKAGE PRICE: $995 USD Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage.

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Luxury Expedition Vessel: Ultramarine

Ultramarine

Ultramarine, is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and to immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, the most spacious suites in its category, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards. With all this and more, Ultramarine is set to deliver the ultimate polar expedition experience - voyages start in 2021!

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage.
  • All shore landings per the daily program. Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader.
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program. Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled.
  • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage. A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings. An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep. Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock.
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin. Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader.
  • A group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • All luggage handling aboard ship.
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person.
Excluded
  • Buenos Aires Flight and Transfer Package ($995 per person) BUENOS AIRES FLIGHT AND TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES: Pre expedition hotel night in Buenos Aires, with breakfast, Group transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires, Charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (return), Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship (return).
  • Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation
  • Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
  • Telecommunications charges.
  • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
Rates and Share Bookings Prices shown are per person in US Dollars on a shared basis. We can on request also quote for you in Euros, British Pounds, Australian Dollars or Swedish Crowns. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, we can match you with someone of the same gender at share rate. If desired, Single occupancy is available at 1.7 times the twin share rate for standard cabins (or twice the share rate for premium cabins or suites). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% (minimum $1000 per person) 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 90 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 90 days prior to departure and may be paid by bank transfer. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 365 days or more prior to departure, are refundable less an administrative fee of US$300/€250/AUD400/GBP250/SEK2750 per person - or a US$400/€350/AUD550/GBP350/SEK3750 per person for future travel credit within the next twelve (12) months of date of cancelled voyage. If cancellation is received between 364 days and 91 days, the deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs 90 days or less prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply, and any unpaid balance is due immediately. To protect your investment, we highly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online (link at the bottom of this page). This voyage is operated by Quark 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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