Remote Patagonia 9 days / 8 nights
Day 1 Buenos Aires
After the welcome at the International Airport of Ezeiza, assistance and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to rest at ease. Accommodation.
Day 2 Buenos Aires
During this day, we will make a half day city tour over the Buenos Aires city, showing its different districts, communities and architectural styles. Free afternoon to do shopping around the city. Return to hotel. Accommodation.
Day 3 Buenos Aires / El Calafate
We will travel to the local airport, to head El Calafate. Welcome and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
Day 4 Calafate
Today we will make the Full day tour to the National Park Los Glaciares, visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier. This natural monument of extraordinary beauty has been declared by UNESCO as Humanity Patrimony. Leaving Calafate we must cover 50 miles to reach the National Park (declared by UNESCO as Humanity Patrimony). Once inside the park we will be able to observe the arboreal vegetation of the Patagonia Andean forest, which is mainly from the “notofagus” family. Further on, we will have access to the footbridges of the glacier, with fantastic panoramic viewpoints. In this area there exists a big quantity of glaciers, and the most famous is the Perito Moreno: it has a frontage of 3.12 miles and is 60 meters high above the level of the Argentine Lake, and a total surface that exceeds the one from several big cities of the world. It is one of the few glaciers that are still in full advance. During any season of the year the visitor can enjoy its constant collapses of ice towers that break into multiple ice floes. In variable periods of time, one unique phenomenon that calls experts and tourists around the world is performed: the breakage of the natural dry dock that the glacier produces while advancing over the river. This phenomenon is a spectacle of wonderful and incomparable characteristics. Accommodation.
Day 5 Calafate / Ushuaia
Transfer to the local airport to fly to the city of Ushuaia. Welcome at the airport; free afternoon. Accommodation.
Day 6 Ushuaia / Embark Australis Cruise
We will make the half-day visit to the National Park of Tierra del Fuego. The area is specially known because of the rareness of the animal and vegetable life and as the only park of the country that has an extended maritime coast.
Transfer to the port to make the check in at 160 Juan Manuel de Rosas Street in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 (10 AM-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure. Board the M/V Stella Australis at 17:30 (5:30 PM). After a welcoming cocktail reception hosted by the captain and his crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night we traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as we turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.
Day 7 Cape Horn / Wulaia Bay
Around the break of dawn, Stella Australis crosses Nassau Bay and enters the remote archipelago that comprises Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition -- and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland -- Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument (currently awaiting repair after being damaged by fierce winds).
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, we anchor at fabled 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, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station -- which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area -- passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these you stroll through an enchanted Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay.
Day 8 Agostini Sound / Águila Glacier
After nightfall we reenter 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, Stella Australis is briefly exposed to the open Pacific. 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, De Agostini Sound is flanked by numerous glaciers and sheer saw-toothed peaks reminiscent of Torres del Paine. Our shore excursion this morning is Águila ("Eagle") Glacier, which hovers above a placid glacial lagoon surrounded by primeval forest. After a Zodiac landing on the beach, passengers hike around the edge of the lagoon to a spot near the base of the frozen facade. Condors can sometimes be seen winging high above, but there is always abundant bird life around the lagoon. This landing provides the perfect opportunity to experience the beauty of Patagonia’s sub-Antarctic rainforest and to see how the power of nature has molded the spectacular landscape.
Day 9 Magdalena Island / Punta Arenas / Rio Gallegos / Buenos Aires
After an overnight cruise through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, we anchor off Magdalena Island, which lies about 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 explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, we go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island. In September and April -- when the penguins dwell elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe Southamerican sea lions.
After a short cruise south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 11:30 AM. Transfer to Rio Gallegos (Argentina) to take the domestic flight back to Buenos Aires. End of our services.
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