Patagonian Fjords of Chile

Through the intricate maze of Chile’s fantastic fjords from Cape Horn to Torres del Paine and Valparaiso – onboard new vessel Ocean Victory.


Chilean Fjords
© ALB

Duration: 14 days
Starts: Ushuaia, Argentina
Ends: Valparaíso, Chile
Language: English speaking voyage

The Polar Travel Company TC will accompany the group booking through us for the 2023 departure


Included


The Chilean Fjords, with mazes of inland passages, calving glaciers and stunning wildlife, count as one of nature’s greatest wonders. There is no greater way to experience this spectacle than from an expedition cruise. You are invited to enjoy this adventure in luxurious comfort onboard the new vessel, Ocean Victory.

Embarking in Argentinian Ushuaia, you immediately enter Chilean water and head for Cape Horn, the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, followed by the passage of “Glacier Alley”, a most fascinating part of the Beagle Channel. Countless glaciers carve their way from Darwin Ice Field down to the sea.

You continue deep inland to Puerto Natales where you will join a coach trip to sky soaring Torres del Paine. Further north are some of the most remote and stunningly located fishing settlements in Chile. Roadless Puerto Edén in Canal Messier, and beautiful Caleta Tortel, with houses and walkways built on thousands of stilts. On the green island of Chiloé you will visit one of Chile’s oldest towns, Castro, famous for its huge wooden cathedral, Church of San Francisco.

Putting the fjord labyrinths behind us, your adventure continues towards the Pacific as you cruise north to disembark in Valparaíso.

This newly built cruise ship Ocean Victory is a luxury class expedition vessel with room for just under 190 passengers - all in exterior staterooms and many with balconies. The ship has all the modern conveniences, the highest ice-class and sea safety certifications, as well as electronically controlled engines to optimize speed and fuel consumption.

Guides


Sebastián Arrébola

Sebastián Arrébola
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Sebastian was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he earned a degree in Tourism. He took a one-year mountain guide training course, climbing and hiking in different parts of Argentina. In 2000, he moved to Ushuaia, Argentina, where he became a tour guide in Tierra del Fuego. Concurrently, he worked on several vessels visiting sea mammals and birds colonies at the southernmost tip of South America. He sailed to many places, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Canadian Arctic, Svalbard, Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, and around the mystic Cape Horn. In 2002, he moved to England for almost two years, where he took different courses accredited by the Royal Yachting Association.
Sebastian has specialised in polar tourism and natural history. His first trip to Antarctica was on board a 36 ft (12 m) sailing boat, during this one-month voyage he developed skills on ice-navigation, and familiarised himself with the Antarctic Environment. He has led several expeditions to Antarctica on board different vessels, lecturing on Geography, Ice, and Antarctic History. Since 2008, he extended his polar experience to the Arctic, sailing in the Canadian Arctic, part of the Northwest Passage and Svalbard.

Itinerary

© ALB
© ALB
© ALB

DAY 1 | USHUAIA
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Suggestions for activities within the city limits could be: the End of the World Museum (Museo del Fin del Mundo), which exhibits the history of the area and local artefacts or even take a stroll down Avenida San Martin, where you can do some last minute shopping before your cruise starts.

In the afternoon, we check into our hotel and enjoy dinner.

DAY 2 | USHUAIA, TIERRA DEL FUEGO EXCURSION. EMBARKATION ON MV OCEAN VICTORY
Wake up in Ushuaia, Argentina - and after breakfast in the hotel, we enjoy a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, we board our ship, the Ocean Victory.

We sail towards Puerto Williams on Chilean side of the Beagle Channel. The channel has rich wildlife with cormorants, penguins and sea lions on virtually every rocky outcrop, and dense temperate rainforest reaches from shore to tree line and the eternal snow. In this harsh climate, the hardy people of the now extinct Yagan tribe resided, as described by Charles Darwin in his journals.

Although the ship is very stable, we will hopefully get a brief impression of what the old sailing ships were going through in Magellan's and Darwin's time, and rejoice that ships are no longer what they have been.

DAY 3 | GARIBALDI FJORD OVERLOOKING CALVING GLACIERS AND MOUNT DARWIN
Today's highlight is sailing into the narrow and unbelievably beautiful Garibaldi fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its spectacular soaring glaciers and rich plant and wildlife. It is not uncommon to see a group of killer whales in these waters feasting on the seafood.

DAY 4 | FORT BULNES, CHILE AND STRAIT OF MAGELLAN PARK
As you leave the island of Tierra del Fuego, you head into Magellan Strait and reach Fort Bulnes. The fort was built in 1843 on the rocky shores of Punta Santa Ana under the command of President Bulnes Prieto to maintain control of the Magellan Strait and the ships that sailed through it.
The fort is today restored to its original form, and the area around included in the fascinating Strait of Magellan Park.

DAY 5 | THROUGH THE CHILEAN ARCHIPELAGO. SCENIC SAILING THROUGH THE LABYRINTHINE FJORD LANDSCAPES.
The day is set for cruising on the legendary Strait of Magellan, which divides “Land of Fire” from the South American continent as well as the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean.
Ferdinand Magellan, whom the strait was named from, was a Portuguese explorer on commission of Spain's Charles d. 1st and the first to navigate the strait in 1520. Chile annexed the Strait under President Bulnes in May 1843, emphasizing Chile's supremacy through the construction of the previously visited fort.
The climate is sub-antarctic and the coast is rugged and vegetation-poor. Yet these coasts have been home to a highly developed and populous Native American culture, consisting primarily of maritime, nomadic hunter-gatherers and others who contented themselves with staying on land from which they fished and collected seafood. The tribes lived isolated and unaffected by Western civilization until about 1800, after which they quickly became extinct as a result of new diseases and radical eradication campaigns initiated by the governments of Chile and Argentina. Today, the overall knowledge of these many different peoples is extremely sparse.

DAY 6 | PUERTO NATALES, CHILE. VISIT TO THE NATIONAL PARK TORRES DEL PAINE.
The Captain has through the night navigated the vessel more than 200 kilometers east across Chile through the world’s most complicated fjord system. Disembarking in the town of Puerto Natales you are ready for a bus drive into Torres del Paine National Park. Crowned by the three majestic granite towers, "Torres del Paine", and “Paine Grande”, 2,884 meters above sea, and encircled by huge lakes, calving glaciers and open grasslands where guanacos feed, it is fair to say that this is among the most beautiful national parks in the world.
"Paine" is a Native American word for "blue", and today's excursion into the national park shows why. You will be driven through the park and enjoy the view of the mountains throughout the day. Occasionally you will get off the bus and take shorter walks to reach the best vantage points.

DAY 7 | SAILING ON THROUGH THE ARCHIPELAGO. MINI-CRUISES THROUGH THE FJORD LANDSCAPES IN THE ZODIACS.
By now, you are in the deep archipelago and the ship navigates through the many narrow waterways, almost all of which are called canals. The route follows the canals Sarmiento, Esteban, Angostura, Inocentes and then into the long narrow Canal Messier. It is incredibly beautiful no matter what direction the eyes are turned. Pointed rugged, often snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, lots of life above and below the water. The canals have all been shaped and extended during the recent ice ages, when they were filled with glaciers from the Andes to the east. As you enter the 250km-long Messier, you begin to see small fishing villages. Zodiac landings will be planned along the way, where appropriate.

DAY 8 | PUERTO EDÉN, CHILE. CRUISE TO THE BRÜGGEN GLACIER.
The goal this morning is the 60 km long Brüggen Glacier, slowly flowing down from the huge Patagonian Ice Fields. You cruise in safe distance from the active glacier front – and continue north through the Messier for more adventures.
It is a must to visit the small, completely cut-off town of Puerto Edén, which, with less than 200 inhabitants, lies on the banks of the Canal Messier. The sea is the only access because neither roads nor paths lead to Edén. The city also has no roads between houses and shops, only wooden promenades or boardwalks. The population lives primarily on fishery and seafood collection, which is picked up once a week by a cutter.

DAY 9 | CALETA TORTEL VILLAGE, CHILE
You have reached the northern end of Canal Messier, where you find yet another exciting and typical Chilean village in this area. Caleta Tortel was built in 1955 to utilize the area's cypress trees for timber production. The village is located where rivers, meltwater and the sea coalesce into a mossy subsoil, which is why all houses are built on stilts and the roads are, like in Puerto Edén, built of wood. Cypress of course.

DAY 10 | AT SEA TOWARDS CASTRO
The trip continues along the coast of Chile, and you have time to enjoy the ship's facilities, perhaps a little massage, a visit to the shop or an interesting lecture on the nature or culture of the area. You can also relax in one of the hot tubs on the deck or take a dip in the small pool.

DAY 11 | CASTRO, CHILE
In the outskirts of the Chilean Lake District, you visit yet another city on stilts, Castro. It is the county’s third oldest city, founded in 1567. The area has been hit by earthquakes and tsunamis several times, and in 1837 the city was effectively leveled with the ground.
Castro is an exciting city to stroll around. The famous wooden churches on Chiloé, of which four are in Castro, are one of Chile's largest cultural treasures and were added to UNESCO's list of cultural heritage. Many of the churches are built entirely of wood without as much as a single nail.

DAY 12 | THE NATURE-PROTECTED ISLAND OF ISLA MOCHA. HIKE IN THE BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE OF THE NATIONAL PARK.
Today’s landing is on the small island of Mocha, of which half is designated as a national park. Originally the island was inhabited by the so-called Lafkenches people. Francis Drake visited the island during his world circumnavigation, but had to leave after being seriously injured by the island's residents. In 1685, the governor forced the entire island population to what is today the city of Conception. There are several stories from the 19th century about a giant white casket whale that belonged to the island of Mocha, called Mocha Dich, which should have inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
In 2007, skulls from the original Mocha people were compared to skulls from the Easter Island and was found to have astonishing similarities, supporting the theory, originally put forward by Thor Heyerdahl, about the connection between South America and the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean.
The ship's Zodiac fleets will be utilized to make the landing and learn about the national park and the local flora and fauna.

DAY 13 | AT SEA TOWARDS VALPARAÍSO
Today it is time read, listen to lectures and relax in the company of the other passengers of the ship and enjoy the delicious meals the chefs of the ship spoil you with.

DAY 14 | VALPARAÍSO, CHILE. DISEMBARKATION.
After breakfast, it's time to leave Ocean Victory and get ready for the homebound journey.
Valparaíso, one of Chile's oldest cities. The city is constructed on a number of ridges around the bay and is known for its old cable cars, 15 of which are still functional. They lead from the harbor up to the old UNESCO-protected residential neighborhoods. Here colonial-era German and English traders lived in the colorful houses that illuminate the cityscape.

Itinerary

DAY 1 | USHUAIA
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Suggestions for activities within the city limits could be: the End of the World Museum (Museo del Fin del Mundo), which exhibits the history of the area and local artefacts or even take a stroll down Avenida San Martin, where you can do some last minute shopping before your cruise starts.

In the afternoon, we check into our hotel and enjoy dinner.

DAY 2 | USHUAIA, TIERRA DEL FUEGO EXCURSION. EMBARKATION ON MV OCEAN VICTORY
Wake up in Ushuaia, Argentina - and after breakfast in the hotel, we enjoy a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, we board our ship, the Ocean Victory.

We sail towards Puerto Williams on Chilean side of the Beagle Channel. The channel has rich wildlife with cormorants, penguins and sea lions on virtually every rocky outcrop, and dense temperate rainforest reaches from shore to tree line and the eternal snow. In this harsh climate, the hardy people of the now extinct Yagan tribe resided, as described by Charles Darwin in his journals.

Although the ship is very stable, we will hopefully get a brief impression of what the old sailing ships were going through in Magellan's and Darwin's time, and rejoice that ships are no longer what they have been.

DAY 3 | GARIBALDI FJORD OVERLOOKING CALVING GLACIERS AND MOUNT DARWIN
Today's highlight is sailing into the narrow and unbelievably beautiful Garibaldi fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its spectacular soaring glaciers and rich plant and wildlife. It is not uncommon to see a group of killer whales in these waters feasting on the seafood.

DAY 4 | FORT BULNES, CHILE AND STRAIT OF MAGELLAN PARK
As you leave the island of Tierra del Fuego, you head into Magellan Strait and reach Fort Bulnes. The fort was built in 1843 on the rocky shores of Punta Santa Ana under the command of President Bulnes Prieto to maintain control of the Magellan Strait and the ships that sailed through it.
The fort is today restored to its original form, and the area around included in the fascinating Strait of Magellan Park.

DAY 5 | THROUGH THE CHILEAN ARCHIPELAGO. SCENIC SAILING THROUGH THE LABYRINTHINE FJORD LANDSCAPES.
The day is set for cruising on the legendary Strait of Magellan, which divides “Land of Fire” from the South American continent as well as the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean.
Ferdinand Magellan, whom the strait was named from, was a Portuguese explorer on commission of Spain's Charles d. 1st and the first to navigate the strait in 1520. Chile annexed the Strait under President Bulnes in May 1843, emphasizing Chile's supremacy through the construction of the previously visited fort.
The climate is sub-antarctic and the coast is rugged and vegetation-poor. Yet these coasts have been home to a highly developed and populous Native American culture, consisting primarily of maritime, nomadic hunter-gatherers and others who contented themselves with staying on land from which they fished and collected seafood. The tribes lived isolated and unaffected by Western civilization until about 1800, after which they quickly became extinct as a result of new diseases and radical eradication campaigns initiated by the governments of Chile and Argentina. Today, the overall knowledge of these many different peoples is extremely sparse.

DAY 6 | PUERTO NATALES, CHILE. VISIT TO THE NATIONAL PARK TORRES DEL PAINE.
The Captain has through the night navigated the vessel more than 200 kilometers east across Chile through the world’s most complicated fjord system. Disembarking in the town of Puerto Natales you are ready for a bus drive into Torres del Paine National Park. Crowned by the three majestic granite towers, "Torres del Paine", and “Paine Grande”, 2,884 meters above sea, and encircled by huge lakes, calving glaciers and open grasslands where guanacos feed, it is fair to say that this is among the most beautiful national parks in the world.
"Paine" is a Native American word for "blue", and today's excursion into the national park shows why. You will be driven through the park and enjoy the view of the mountains throughout the day. Occasionally you will get off the bus and take shorter walks to reach the best vantage points.

DAY 7 | SAILING ON THROUGH THE ARCHIPELAGO. MINI-CRUISES THROUGH THE FJORD LANDSCAPES IN THE ZODIACS.
By now, you are in the deep archipelago and the ship navigates through the many narrow waterways, almost all of which are called canals. The route follows the canals Sarmiento, Esteban, Angostura, Inocentes and then into the long narrow Canal Messier. It is incredibly beautiful no matter what direction the eyes are turned. Pointed rugged, often snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, lots of life above and below the water. The canals have all been shaped and extended during the recent ice ages, when they were filled with glaciers from the Andes to the east. As you enter the 250km-long Messier, you begin to see small fishing villages. Zodiac landings will be planned along the way, where appropriate.

DAY 8 | PUERTO EDÉN, CHILE. CRUISE TO THE BRÜGGEN GLACIER.
The goal this morning is the 60 km long Brüggen Glacier, slowly flowing down from the huge Patagonian Ice Fields. You cruise in safe distance from the active glacier front – and continue north through the Messier for more adventures.
It is a must to visit the small, completely cut-off town of Puerto Edén, which, with less than 200 inhabitants, lies on the banks of the Canal Messier. The sea is the only access because neither roads nor paths lead to Edén. The city also has no roads between houses and shops, only wooden promenades or boardwalks. The population lives primarily on fishery and seafood collection, which is picked up once a week by a cutter.

DAY 9 | CALETA TORTEL VILLAGE, CHILE
You have reached the northern end of Canal Messier, where you find yet another exciting and typical Chilean village in this area. Caleta Tortel was built in 1955 to utilize the area's cypress trees for timber production. The village is located where rivers, meltwater and the sea coalesce into a mossy subsoil, which is why all houses are built on stilts and the roads are, like in Puerto Edén, built of wood. Cypress of course.

DAY 10 | AT SEA TOWARDS CASTRO
The trip continues along the coast of Chile, and you have time to enjoy the ship's facilities, perhaps a little massage, a visit to the shop or an interesting lecture on the nature or culture of the area. You can also relax in one of the hot tubs on the deck or take a dip in the small pool.

DAY 11 | CASTRO, CHILE
In the outskirts of the Chilean Lake District, you visit yet another city on stilts, Castro. It is the county’s third oldest city, founded in 1567. The area has been hit by earthquakes and tsunamis several times, and in 1837 the city was effectively leveled with the ground.
Castro is an exciting city to stroll around. The famous wooden churches on Chiloé, of which four are in Castro, are one of Chile's largest cultural treasures and were added to UNESCO's list of cultural heritage. Many of the churches are built entirely of wood without as much as a single nail.

DAY 12 | THE NATURE-PROTECTED ISLAND OF ISLA MOCHA. HIKE IN THE BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE OF THE NATIONAL PARK.
Today’s landing is on the small island of Mocha, of which half is designated as a national park. Originally the island was inhabited by the so-called Lafkenches people. Francis Drake visited the island during his world circumnavigation, but had to leave after being seriously injured by the island's residents. In 1685, the governor forced the entire island population to what is today the city of Conception. There are several stories from the 19th century about a giant white casket whale that belonged to the island of Mocha, called Mocha Dich, which should have inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
In 2007, skulls from the original Mocha people were compared to skulls from the Easter Island and was found to have astonishing similarities, supporting the theory, originally put forward by Thor Heyerdahl, about the connection between South America and the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean.
The ship's Zodiac fleets will be utilized to make the landing and learn about the national park and the local flora and fauna.

DAY 13 | AT SEA TOWARDS VALPARAÍSO
Today it is time read, listen to lectures and relax in the company of the other passengers of the ship and enjoy the delicious meals the chefs of the ship spoil you with.

DAY 14 | VALPARAÍSO, CHILE. DISEMBARKATION.
After breakfast, it's time to leave Ocean Victory and get ready for the homebound journey.
Valparaíso, one of Chile's oldest cities. The city is constructed on a number of ridges around the bay and is known for its old cable cars, 15 of which are still functional. They lead from the harbor up to the old UNESCO-protected residential neighborhoods. Here colonial-era German and English traders lived in the colorful houses that illuminate the cityscape.


© ALB
© ALB
© ALB


INCLUSIONS

Group Leader from The Polar Travel Company joins the group
13-days´ cruise with accommodation in a shared outside double stateroom with private facilities
1 hotel night in a shared double room, Ushuaia, Argentina
1 excursion in Ushuaia
Shuttle transfer from city centre to ship (Ushuaia)
All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
Rubber boot rentals
Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
Near-shore guided walks in towns and settlements
English-speaking expedition team
Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks
Free tea and coffee 24 hours’ daily
Taxes
Guiding and lectures by our experienced expedition leader and team
Special photo workshop
Welcome and farewell cocktails
Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!

EXCLUSIONS

Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
Meals not on board the ship
Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
Personal expenses
Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’


Dates & Rates


Ship: Ocean Victory | Date: 27 Mar 2023 - 09 Apr 2023 (1268)
Cat G
$9,490
Cat F
$5,490
Cat E
$7,990
Cat D
$6,990
Cat C
$8,490
Cat B
$11,490
Cat A
$12,990
Premium Suite
$14,990
Ship: Ocean Victory | Date: 26 Mar 2024 - 08 Apr 2024 (1277)
Cat G
$9,590
$8,151
Cat F
$5,790
$4,921
Cat E
$7,990
$6,791
Cat D
$7,590
$6,451
Cat C
$8,490
$7,216
Cat B
$11,790
$10,021
Cat A
$12,990
$11,041
Premium Suite
$14,990
$12,471

* The prices are per person in US Dollars, unless expressly specified in a different currency. In that case, payment will be in US dollars at the exchange rate of the day.
** All prices will be re-confirmed by email at the time of booking.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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