Day 1: Santiago de Chile. Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Accommodations at the charming Hotel Orly, buffet breakfast included. This is a small, boutique style hotel which has 28 rooms. A converted mansion, the Hotel Orly is superbly situated in one of the city's more exclusive areas, Providencia. Everything you may want to see is close by - shops, restaurants, downtown, museums, banks, the cable car up the hill.
Day 2: Santiago - Punta Arenas - M/N Mare and via Australis. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas. Airport reception and transfer to the ship, M/N Mare Australis or M/N Via Australis. You will check into your Class A cabin. Set sail from Punta Arenas and proceed through the legendary Strait of Magellan, toward Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. During the course of the cruise there will be interesting talks on the wildlife, history and geography of this legendary region given by the Mare Australis Expedition Group. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Ainsworth Bay - Marinelli Glacier. With the first light of dawn, navigation will continue through Almirantazgo Fjord. The ship will sail among ice floes broken off from this millenarian glacier, which slides very slowly down the slopes of the Andes Mountains, which at this point are called the Darwin Range. This mountain range is covered by native forest known as "Magellan Forest", made up of several varieties of southern beech trees (lengas, coihues); winterís bark (canelos) and ferns, among other species.
During the afternoon you will disembark in Ainsworth Bay, from where you can observe the Marinelli Glacier, with its 120 feet (40 meters) high ice wall. Here you will land on the beach to start a 20-minute walk along quiet trails in the native woods toward a beaver dam. There will be a brief talk about the ecosystem and geography before heading towards a colony of elephant seals that live nearby in the company of a great variety of birds. Later you visit Tucker Islet, where you view colonies of Magellanic Penguins and Cormorants from the Zodiac boats. The islet’s penguins migrate in April; as a replacement you visit Brookes Bay, for a short walk to see a glacier. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Pia Glacier. Disembark in the bay of the Pia Glacier for an excursion to an observation point. On the north-west arm of the Beagle Channel, Pia Glacier is embedded in the Darwin Range, and it gradually runs down into the waters of Pia Bay. You will head towards an observation point that offers excellent conditions to view the mountain range where the glacier originates, and its progress until it falls into the sea.
Here you will listen to the thunderous noises caused by the large masses of ice cracking and dropping into the bay. Navigate through the Beagle Channel and appreciate the spectacular "Glacier Avenue": Spain, Romanche, Germany, Italy, France and Holland glaciers. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay. Navigation through the Beagle Channel and Murray channel to disembark at Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) National Park (weather permitting). You will visit Horn Island for a panoramic view of the famous and mythical Cape Horn, the place where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans merge and the last promontory of South America. Cape Horn, an island featuring cliffs almost 425 meters high, was discovered on January 30, 1616 by a Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac LeMaire and under the command of Captain Wilhelm Schouten.
The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn from where the expedition departed on June 14, 1615. In the afternoon, you go ashore in historic Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. You walk through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Ushuaia. The ship will sail slowly to arrive very early at Ushuaia, the most important Argentinean city on Tierra del Fuego. Here you will say your goodbyes and disembark at 8:00A. You will be met and transferred to your Ushuaia hotel. Accommodations at the Hosteria Los Fuegos. The hosteria, surrounded by lengua woods, has nine rooms, each equipped with central heating, phone, security box, and hair dryer. Rooms are decorated with craft furniture and have views of the Young Nires, Lengas and Coihues Woods and to the Olivia River. The hotel also has a restaurant, wide-screen video room, internet service, fax and massage services available. The rest of your day is at leisure to explore Ushuaia on your own. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Harberton Ranch - Yamaning Gable. You'll be met at your hotel and begin your scenic drive east along the Beagle Channel to Puerto Almanza (75 km) a small fisherman´s village. The estancia at Harberton belongs to the descendants of the first British Missionaries to reach the area - Reverend Thomas Bridges - and was managed for many years by Ms. Natalie Goodall, a foremost naturalist in the area. You'll visit the estancia and then board zodiac boats to navigate to Gable Island, the largest in the Beagle Channel, where a short but steep climb brings you to a refuge where you will have lunch.
After lunch, guests may wish to remain at the refuge and relax or go for a strenuous 3-hour hike around Gable Island. When the hikers return, the group continues in the zodiac to the Penguin rookery at Martillo Island, the domain of the Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins. The unique location of this island, close to the convergence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans allows for an incredible variety of rich subaquatic life, making it an amazing spot for birdwatching.
The penguin colony will not have a large amount of penguins because most arrive in November when they make their nests and breed. Look for petrels, skuas, cormorants, sea gulls and albatrosses. Return to Harberton for tea by the Larsiphasak River and then back to your Ushuaia hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Tierra del Fuego National Park. You'll be picked up at your hotel for a full day visit to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Upon arrival in the park, start a 2-mile trek to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia and Bahía Lapataia. Hiking through this beech forest you will be able to look for the Magaellanic woodpecker, largest in South America, Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles and Andean Condors.
Reaching a clearing near the water, embark on a 15 passenger zodiac boat and head toward Isla Redonda for lunch. You'll have time to take a short walk on the island while your guide prepares lunch. Don't forget to send a postcard from the island which has the southernmost post office (at least the stamps that cancel postage!). On the way back to Lapataia Bay, watch for cormorants and sea lions, albatross and petrels. Upon arrival hike an old trail to Laguna Verde, where you will board the vehicle back to Ushuaia. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 9: Ushuaia - El Calafate. Transfer to the Ushuaia Airport for your flight to El Calafate. Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Accommodations at Hotel Kau Yatun, superior room with breakfast included. The hotel is located a few blocks from downtown El Calafate, on almost 4 hectares of land. The hotel features a bar and restaurant offering typical Patagonia BBQ and local specialties. Includes: (B).
Days 10: Los Glaciares National Park. The Park is located in the sub-Antarctic Continental ice-cap, known as the "third pole", which extends over 23,000 sq. miles and gives birth to several major glaciers along the Patagonian Andes. The main wall is over 200 feet tall and almost 3 miles wide. Every now and then enormous pieces of ice break down, and fall with thunderous noise into the lake. Don crampons and hike on the glacier for 2 hours among breathtaking scenery. Overnight at Estancia Alice. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: El Calafate - Torres del Paine National Park. Transfer by private vehicle to Cerro Castillo, Chile. Onward transfer to Torres del Paine National Park. Overnight accommodations at Hosteria Lago Grey. Upon arrival at Hosteria Grey, you will be assigned to your comfortable accommodations. After settling in you will be orientated to the lodge and the surrounding region.
The impressive Andean massifs of Torres del Paine are surrounded by glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, and lagoons, which together make this national park famous throughout the world for the richness of its natural beauty. Accommodations are in standard room with daily breakfast included. You will have the option to sign up for half and full day excursions while at the hosteria. Includes: (B).
Days 12 & 13: Torres del Paine. The impressive Andean massifs of Torres del Paine are surrounded by glaciers, waterfalls, lakes and lagoons, which together make this national park famous throughout the world. Cruise out on Grey Lake, where you may witness huge chunks of blue ice breaking off from impressive Grey Glacier. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Torres del Paine - Punta arenas - Santiago. You will transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, proceed to the international terminal for your flight home. Includes: (B).
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