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Patagonia Expedition Cruise - Chile to Argentina


CRH14S
14 NIGHTS
FROM £3,795
International flights quoted separately
If you would like to truly experience the spectacular landscapes of Patagonia, there is no better way than aboard an Expedition Cruise sailing from Torres Del Paine in Chile, to Ushuaia in Argentina - navigating via Glacier Alley & Cape Horn. Also explore the capital cities of Santiago & Buenos Aires, with their vibrant Latin America cultures. All transfers included.
Photo Patagonia Cruise Chile Argentina Ushuaia Torres del Paine
• 
Santiago
• 
Valparaiso
• 
Vina del Mar
• 
Torres Del Paine
• 
Patagonia Cruise
• 
Glacier Alley
• 
Cape Horn
• 
Ushuaia
• 
Buenos Aires
• 
Tango Show
• 
Santiago
• 
Valparaiso
• 
Vina del Mar
• 
Torres Del Paine
• 
Patagonia Cruise
• 
Glacier Alley
• 
Cape Horn
• 
Ushuaia
• 
Buenos Aires
• 
Tango Show
Day 1
You will be met at Santiago Airport and transferred into the capital of Santiago de Chile.
 
Check into your hotel in this sophisticated and cosmopolitan city, situated in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the beautiful Chilean Coastal Range.
Day 2
This morning we recommend an optional tour of the modern city of Santiago.
 
We start with a short walking tour of this relatively compact city, including the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the old colonial city and bustling Ahumada Boulevard with its many shops, street performers and vendors. Here you will be able to see two beautiful neo-classical buildings - the 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral and the early 19th century Royal Court Palace, which now houses the National History Museum. Also enjoy outside views of the current Presidential Palace, La Moneda.
 
Continue by vehicle along the main avenues of old Santiago and across the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista to San Cristobal Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Andes Mountains. Drive through the chic neighborhoods, shopping and financial centers of modern Santiago, before returning to your hotel. Afternoon is at leisure to explore more of this lively city independently.
 
Note: Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Day 3
Today we recommend an optional excursion to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast.
 
We depart from Santiago and travel through the Casablanca and Curacavi Valleys to the beautiful beaches of Las Salinas and Reñaca. Continuing to Viña del Mar, we explore the avenues of this attractive town that is known as the "Garden City" because of its beautiful parks and floral displays. We also visit the municipal casino.
 
In the afternoon we drive to the historic seaport of Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second largest city in Chile. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, it was the most important Pacific seaport on the crucial trade route that linked the American west coast with Europe, via the Strait of Magellan. Its many stairways and old funicular elevators that lead up the 44 hills on which the city is built are a real feature. With its quirky and eclectic architecture, today it is a lively and chaotic city.
Day 4
Transfer to Santiago Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Punta Arenas Airport and escorted to the bus station for the 3-hour public bus ride to Puerto Natales - the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park.
 
You will be met on arrival at Puerto Natales bus station and transferred to your hotel in this former fishing town situated on the Ultima Esperanza Sound.
Day 5
An early departure this morning for a full day tour by boat to the spectacular Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers.
 
We sail from Puerto Natales and enjoy an onboard breakfast as we navigate through the beautiful Ultima Esperanza Fjord. After 3-hours we arrive at the icy blue Balmaceda Glacier in Bernardo O´Higgins National Park. This astonishing glacier is over 1,000 years old and offers a magnificent display when "calving" - as huge chuunks of ice detach and crash into the waters below. You can also hope to see cormorants and sea lions here.
 
At the end of the fjord we disembark and walk approximately 3/4 mile (1 km) on a path through an indigenous forest to the foot of the Serrano Glacier, another fantastic natural wonder that is part of the Southern Patagonia Icefields.
 
On the way back we stop at Estancia Perales for a typical Magellanic coast lunch (included), before returning to Puerto Natales in the afternoon.
Day 6
Today enjoy a full day shared excursion to the famous Torres del Paine National Park.
 
We travel through the dry scrub of the Pategonian Steppes, with its herds of sheep and surprisingly abundant wild life, to Torres del Paine National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its soaring mountains, electric-blue lakes and glaciers.
 
Torres del Paine, the three granite towers from which the park takes its name ("Towers of Blue") and the oddly shaped peaks of Cuernos del Paine ("Horns of Blue") are some of its most iconic sites. The valleys are filled with beautiful lakes and the enormous Campo de Hielo Sur icecap gives the park four main glaicers - Grey, Dickson, Zapata and Tyndall. Two other glaciers descend from the west side of the central massif.
 
We view the impressive powder blue Salto Grande Waterfall that flows into Lake Pehoe, and visit Lake Grey, with distant views of the Grey Glacier. A variety of rare wildlife can also be seen in the surrounding golden pampas (lowlands), including large herds of elegant guanacos  - a type of humpless camel related to the llama, with long slender neck and fine legs.
 
After a full day exploring the stunning beauty of Chilean Patagonia, we return to Puerto Natales in the evening. Lunch is included today.
Day 7
This morning transfer to Puerto Natales bus station for the 3-hour public bus to Punta Arenas.
 
You will be met at the bus station and transferred to the cruise office for afternoon check in (1385 O’Higgins Street). Board your Patagonia Expedition Cruise at 18:00 and after a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain, we set out to one of the remotest parts of the planet - the breathtaking wilderness that is southern Patagonia, which includes the islands of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
 
As the lights of Punta Arenas disappear, we enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Tierra del Fuego. During the night we cross the Straits of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonia.
Day 8
By dawn we sail up Admiralty Sound, a spectacular offshoot of the Straits of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snowcapped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is defined by the deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park.
 
Continuing along the sound we sail into Ainsworth Bay, created by the retreat of the Marinelli Glacier over thousands of years. We go ashore in this bay that has abundant bird life and a large colony of southern elephant seals, which can sometimes be spotted from the zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available here. One walk is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall-covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest. Another more strenuous hike is along the crest of a glacial moraine, with both options affording views of the Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.
 
Leaving Ainsworth Bay behind, we sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, we board the zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit these tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor. In September and April -- when the penguins live elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a short walk to a glacier at nearby stunning Brookes Bay.
Day 9
Overnight we sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego, via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, we head eastward and enter the Beagle Channel.
 
In the morning we enter Pia Fjord and boarding the zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. After disembarking you can choose either a short or long hike, both offering panoramic views of this spectacular glacier which extends from the mountain tops down to the sea.
  
Back onboard, we continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet. Most of them named after European countries -- Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.
Day 10
During the early morning we navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste Islands. We drop anchor at beautiful Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, it was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy, who landed here in 1833 during their voyages on the HMS Beagle.
 
There is a choice of three hikes here of varying difficulty, walking through the heavily wooded Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns and other endemic vegetation to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking Wulaia Bay. Afterwards visit the small museum in the old radio station, that tells the story of the Yámana people and the European missionaries who landed here. Before leaving, drop a postcard in the wooden barrel in the old maritime tradition.
 
In the afternoon we sail across Nassau Bay, into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we go ashore on the windswept island of Cape Horn. Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, this sheer 1,394 ft (425 m) high rocky promontory overlooks the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years this was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans - referred to as the 'End of the Earth' - and today it is a World Biosphere Reserve. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lighthouse keeper and his family. There is also the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and Cape Horn monument.
Day 11
We arrive in Ushuaia in Argentina this morning, and disembark between 08.30 and 09.30.
 
Surrounded by the spectacular mountains and fjords of Pategonia, Ushuaia is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of the island of Tierra del Fuego (or 'Land of Fire') and is the southermost city in the world. Transfer to your hotel in this small town, with balance of day at leisure.
Day 12
Transfer to Ushuaia Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires and transferred to your hotel in this capital city.
Day 13
This morning we suggest an optional half day tour of Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan city influenced by the many immigrants who helped form it and offering beautiful architecture, history and culture.
 
Our tour starts at the Plaza de Mayo, the historical, political and cultural centre of the city. Here you can see the Pink House (Presidential Palace), the Pyramid de Mayo and Metropolitan Cathedral. We continue down Avenida de Mayo, with its wide avenues and spacious green areas, past the Obelisk to the neighborhood of San Telmo, one of the oldest in the city with cobbled streets and colonial houses. Every Sunday an antiques fair takes place here around the Plaza Dorrego. The vibrant area is the centre for most of the tango parlors, restaurants and bars of the city.
 
Going further south, we visit the Italian port neighborhood of La Boca, with its colourful houses in Caminito Street and many “cantinas” (small restaurants). Also the trendy modern neighborhood of Puerto Madero, where the old piers have been converted into upmarket offices, apartments and restaurants with views of the Rio de la Plata. We visit the residential neighborhood of Palermo with its elegant mansions surrounded by spacious parks, before arrivinge in glamorous Recoleta, where there is the option to visit the famous cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, with its rich architecture (pay locally). Next to the cemetery is the church of Our Lady of Pilar, the Recolete Cultural Centre (originally a convent) and the Palais de Glace exhibition centre.
 
In the evening we suggest an optional Tango Show. Born in the brothels of the city amongst a racial mix of Gauchos, Italian, Spanish and African immigrants, this dance and its music originated as a combination of Cuban and Spanish rhythms, with some polka and African beat. Enjoy the show and included dinner, including mouth-watering Argentinian beef and Malbec wine.
Day 14
This morning we suggest an optional full day excursion to Santa Susana Ranch to admire the skills of the Argentinian Gauchos (cowboys) who live in these fertile pampas grasslands about 2-hours from the city.
 
With a distinctive culture that combines their European and Native American heritages, Gauchos play an important role in regional cultural tradition - including folk songs, dancing and equestrian shows of traditional gaucho skills, such as ring races, cuadreras (horse races) and entrevero de tropillas (horse games).
 
Named in honour of the wife of the original owner, this 1,200 hectare ranch focuses mainly on agriculture, with some cattle raising and horse breeding. On arrival you will be offered delicious empanadas (traditional meat pies) and Argentian wine. You will also have the opportunity of riding a horse carriage, or enjoying a walk on horseback, before tucking into a traditional asado (barbeque). This will be followed by a tango demonstration, folk dancing and an exhibition of Gaucho horsemanship, with roping and ring races.
 
Note: the ranch is closed on Mondays.
Day 15
Transfer to Buenos Aires Airport for your flight home.

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