We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.
|Tour Provider||Bunnik Tours|
|Number of Days||
|31 Mar 2019||13 Apr 2019||Available||AUD $5,495|
We recommend extra nights pre/post tour
This trip commences in Ushuaia (Argentina). We strongly recommend you plan to arrive at least one day prior to the voyage departure. Ushuaia is an interesting town and having a 'buffer' will ensure you do not miss embarkation. Aboard our expedition ship RCGS Resolute we then chart a course along the Beagle Channel and enter the great fjord systems of Patagonia. Our voyage ends with our arrival into Valparaiso (Chile), where a transfer is provided from the ship to the airport in Santiago, or to a central location downtown. You may want to consider spending a night in Valparaiso or Santiago after your voyage; if not, please ensure your flight out of Santiago departs in the afternoon. Full joining and departure instructions will beprovided in your final travel documentation, but if you have any queries please ask us.
Note: You can combine this with our Antarctic Peninsula Adventure expedition. Visit the white continent on a stunning 10-night voyage before joining this tour in Ushuaia, creating what may be the world's greatest small-ship journey!
Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our journey through Chile's spectacular fjord region commences this afternoon in Ushuaia (Argentina). We gather at our central meeting point then transfer to the pier for embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner before casting off, bound for the stunning landscapes of Patagonia, rugged coastal Chile and historic city of Valparaiso. [D]
During the night we have sailed in a westerly direction along the Beagle Channel, which separates Argentina from neighbouring Chile. This morning we enter Garibaldi Fjord, where two glaciers rise up towards a stunning mountain backdrop. We take to the Zodiacs for the first time and explore them from a safe distance. Resident wildlife in the fjord includes South American sea lion and several species of birds such as the iconic Andean condor. In the afternoon, we arrive at Alberto de Agostino National Park, designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to large tracts of ancient sub-Antarctic forest systems that cover much of the reserve. Naturalists believe these forests started growing around 10,000 years ago. There are some excellent hiking trails here or alternatively enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline. [B,L,D]
The most famous of the park's glaciers is the impressive tidewater Marinelli Glacier. This huge, crevasse-covered ice field spills from the Darwin Mountain range into Ainsworth Bay. From a distance, the glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and large icebergs that have calved from its face brood silently in the dark waters. Easy hikes in the lush Magellanic forests provide great opportunities to spot birdlife and to immerse yourselves in some of the purest wilderness on the planet. We anticipate sightings of seals and possibly Magellanic penguins, which are known to inhabit this area, before continuing our voyage through the famous 'Glacier Alley' and into the Magellan Strait. [B,L,D]
This morning we make our way ashore by Zodiac boat to explore the promontory of Punta Santa Ana, where the historic 'Fuerte Bulnes' (Fort Bulnes) is located. Founded in 1843, the settlement was established both as a territorial claim and to protect the strategic Magellan Strait. Although none of the original structures remain, the fort has been faithfully reconstructed, offering outstanding views over the strait. We explore the grounds and visit the small church, barracks, powder magazine and log cabins. The fort was abandoned after a more permanent settlement was established further north, in present day Punta Arenas. [B,L,D]
Today we cruise north along the rugged Chilean coastline and the views from the observation lounge and outer decks are breathtaking. Forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and glaciers continue for mile after mile. Enjoy onboard talks and discussions with our expert guides, covering a wide variety of subjects including history, wildlife, geology and glaciology as well as photography. Our 'open bridge' policy means you can also watch the Captain and officers steer the ship, learning something about navigation as well as having a look at the charts. For a bit of relaxation, why not soak in the hot tub or indulge in a massage at the day spa? [B,L,D]
For many, today's excursion is one of the highlights of the trip. After breakfast we head ashore and enter the national park. This iconic location boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated 'towers' (from which the park gets its name) looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems. Powerful waterfalls surge through narrow channels between the lakes, and there are some excellent short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing jawdropping views of the immense massif. The Guanaco (similar to a llama) is resident in the park and can be found in sizeable numbers grazing on the native grasses. We spend a full day here, soaking up the views from all directions. [B,L,D]
Today we look forward to an exciting day of navigation. A highlight will be the transit of White Narrows a channel of water just 80 meters wide. No doubt everyone will be on the outer decks as the Captain skillfully steers us through this challenging passage. More spectacular scenery is on offer today. The Bernal Glacier is a particular highlight and provides a textbook lesson in glaciology, featuring a large moraine, pushed forward by actions of the moving ice. [B,L,D]
In a trip full of superlatives and highlights, today may well be near the top. Navigating into Eyre fjord, the vast sweep of the Br ggen Glacier comes into view. Often called the 'Pio XI', at almost 60 kilometres in length it is the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica. From the low vantage point of our Zodiacs the sheer scale of the glacier face is overwhelming. It rises almost 70 metres above the surface of the water and is a staggering 4 kilometres wide. In the afternoon we sail into the Messier Channel that separates continental South America from Wellington Island. Join our wildlife expert out on deck as we look for marine and bird life. It promises to be another exhilarating day of exploration. [B,L,D]
After several days immersed in the glacial systems, fjords and forests, today we visit the small outpost of Caleta Tortel. Situated on a steep escarpment, the village has no roads but is instead connected via a series of wooden walkways that link houses to town services. Most residences have jetties as boats are virtually the only mode of transport even the local fire engine is a boat! The area was first visited by Europeans in the 1950's, while the indigenous people of the regions have lived in the area for much longer. Today the town is dedicated as a national monument. We have time to explore at our leisure, treading the boardwalks, observing local life and perhaps stopping for a chat with the locals. [B,L,D]
We continue our journey north, leaving the fjords and entering the Pacific Ocean. We sometimes encounter migrating whales that use the Humboldt current as an oceanic conveyor belt. The programme of presentations and discussions continues today, or you may choose to take a break, perhaps writing up your trip journal, or enjoying a good book in one of the comfortable lounges or on the sun deck. [B,L,D]
This morning we are in position close to the town of Castro the provincial capital of the island of Chilo . The town was founded in 1567 and is the third oldest city in Chile. It flourished when the early Jesuits chose to base their mission here. We make our way ashore and are immediately struck by the colourful houses built on stilts around the harbour. Known as 'palafitos', they are simple homes built by local fisherman. The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country. Reboarding the ship in the afternoon we hug the coastline, hoping to see the snow-capped summits of the numerous volcans that characterise this region. [B,L,D]
Located 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Chile, the remote outcrop of Mocha Island is an important historic site. Inhabited for centuries by the indigenous Mapuche tribe, Europeans first discovered it in the mid-15th century. The island was frequented by pirates, as well as Sir Francis Drake, and legend has it that more than 100 shipwrecks lie in the surrounding waters. Weather conditions permitting, we head ashore where there are several hiking options. We hope to spot the resident sea lions and may be lucky to encounter whales. The rare Pink-footed shearwater can be also found on the island, nesting in burrows on the forested slopes. [B,L,D]
As we make our way towards the historic port of Valparaiso, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography expert in the multimedia room, where you can download and/ or back up your precious images. Or spend time outside on the observation decks, in our spacious lounges or on the bridge. It's a fitting time to reflect on a wonderful expedition. This evening we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. [B,L,D]
This morning we arrive at Valparaiso, the principal deep water port for Santiago, around 100 kilometres inland from the coast. After breakfast it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows. Ride the historic funicular railways that still operate around the city and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. Or spend some time exploring the celebrated Casablanca wine region located nearby. [B]