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Argentina & Chile, with Patagonia Expedition Cruise
International flights quoted separately
Combine the exciting city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, with an unforgettable Expedition Cruise through the Beagle Channel & Glacier Alley. Visit Cape Horn, Magdalena Island & the dramatic landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, before completing your holiday exploring Santiago & the Chilean Winelands. All transfers included.
Torres Del Paine
Torres Del Paine
You will be met at
Buenos Aires Airport
and transferred to your hotel in this exciting city, situated on the estuary of the Río de la Plata (or "River of Silver").
Check in and relax in this capital of Argentina, known for its wonderful architecture, tango dancing and rich culture, including the highest concentration of theaters in the world.
This morning we suggest an optional half day tour of
, 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
, 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
, with its colourful houses in Caminito Street and many “cantinas” (small restaurants). Also the trendy modern neighborhood of
, 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
with its elegant mansions surrounded by spacious parks, before arrivinge in glamorous
, 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
, including the opportunity to participate in a short Tango lesson. 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.
This morning we suggest an optional full day excursion to
Santa Susana Ranch
to admire the skills of the Argentinian
(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.
for your onward flight.
You will be met at
and transferred to your hotel. Surrounded by the spectacular mountains and fjords of Pategonia, this southermost city in the world is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel, at the southern tip of the island of
Tierra del Fuego
(or 'Land of Fire').
Regarded by Argentinians as the true capital of the 'Malvinas' (the Falklands Islands), here you can visit the memorial to their citizens who lost their lives fighting in the Falklands War.
Morning is at leisure to explore
or enjoy an optional catamaran ride to Bird and Sea Lion Island.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to the cruise office for check in (409 San Martín Street). Board your Patagonia Expedition Cruise at 17:30 and after a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain, we set out across the
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
As the lights of Ushuaia disappear, we sail into the narrow
between Navarino and Hoste islands. Passport checks will be required, as we enter Chilean waters soon after leaving port.
Around dawn we cruise across
and into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park.
Weather and sea conditions permitting, we go ashore on the windswept island of
. 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.
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, we drop anchor at beautiful
, 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.
After nightfall we re-enter the Beagle Channel and sail westward along the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego into a watery wonderland protected within the confines of
Alberto de Agostini National Park
. Rounding the Brecknock Peninsula as the western extreme of Tierra del Fuego, we are briefly exposed to the open Pacific Ocean.
We then navigate a zigzag route through the Cockburn Channel, Magdalena Channel and Keats Fjord to reach scenic
De Agostini Sound
Named after an Italian Salesian priest who worked among the region's indigenous people during the first half of the 20th century, this sound is flanked by numerous glaciers and saw-toothed peaks. After landing on the beach, we hike around the edge of a lagoon to the base of towering
('Eagle Glacier'). Giant condors can sometimes be seen flying high above and there is always abundant bird life around the lagoon.
After an overnight cruise that takes us back into the Straits of Magellan, we anchor off
, which lies halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland.
Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. Many other bird species are also found on this island. Weather permitting, at dawn we go ashore and hike along a path that leads through thousands of these penguins to a small museum in the old lighthouse. In September and April -- when the penguins dwell elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a zodiac ride to Marta Island to see South American sea lions (
Note: selfie sticks are prohibited on Magdalena Island).
After a short sail south along the strait, we disembark at
in Chile around 11.30. Here you will be escorted to the bus station for the 3-hour public bus ride to
- 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.
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
for a typical Magellanic coast lunch (included), before returning to Puerto Natales in the afternoon.
Today enjoy a full day shared excursion to the famous
Torres del Paine National Park
We travel through the dry scrub of the
, 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.
Transfer to the bus station for the 3-hour public bus ride to
Punta Arenas Airport
for your onward flight.
You will be met at
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.
This morning we recommend an optional tour of the modern city of
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.
Today we recommend an optional excursion to
Vina del Mar
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
, 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.
Today we recommend an optional full day tour into the beautiful
Discover some of Chile's famous 'New World' wines and learn more about their production, as you visit at least two wine estates, including a cellar tour and wine tasting.
for your flight home.
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