Antarctic cruise and hiking in Chile

“This month-long expedition visits some of the Earth's most extreme frontiers: the barren the wilderness of Patagonia and the vast continent of Antarctica.”

Highlights

El Tatio Geysers | Bike ride across salt flats | Hot springs | Trekking along Inca Paths | Torres del Paine "W" hike | Patagonia | Tierra del Fuego | Ushuaia | Beagle Channel | Drake Passage | Wiencke Island | Antarctic photography class | Lemaire Channel | Penguin and whale sightings | Research station visit | Zodiac trips | Buenos Aires | Optional: kayaking, mountaineering in Antarctic mountains

Description of Antarctic cruise and hiking in Chile

This month long odyssey combines hiking the stunning highlights of contrasting Chilean landscapes with a small ship active expedition cruise to the remote Antarctic Peninsula.

Torres del Paine National Park – Perito Moreno Glacier - Mount Fitz Roy - Antarctic Peninsula – comfortable accommodation - hike in breathtaking scenery - expert guides – exclusive itinerary - responsibly operated - small ship - activity-based Antarctic cruise

Traverse through incredible contrasting environments, each offering unique highlights and staggering scenery.

Hike in the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park and around the beautiful Mount Fitz Roy area, past mountain peaks and creaking glaciers.

Cruise to Antarctica on board a first class expedition ship, relatively small yet spacious enough to accommodate 116 passengers. Rather than just looking at Antarctica from a distance, you'll engage with this remote land on a range of immersive activities, from kayaking and snowshoeing to sleeping under the stars.

End in the attractive and cultural city of Buenos Aires.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Santiago de Chile. On arrival you will be transferred to your comfortable hote, ideally located to explore some of Santiago later with our local advice and tips.
Day 2:South to Patagonia. Fly south along the spectacular spine of the Andes to Punta Arenas, where you collect your 4x4 and set off to the national park of Torres del Paine. Stop off to admire the incredible views of the massif en route, and finish off with a hike in the river flats surrounding your hotel.
Day 3:Torres del Paine. Choose your excursion from a daily menu of varied options, from gentle walks to full day hikes, bike rides to kayaking. The following is a suggestion of how you might spend your days, but you're free to structure this as you please. Head into the Torres del Paine National Park today to hike up to Mirador Ferrier and then down to Glacier Grey. On a clear day, there is no more spectacular introduction to this most emblematic and beautiful mountain range.
Day 4:Torres del Paine. Jump on a boat this morning and sail along the lagoon, to see calving ice fall into the water from the immense face of the glacier. Later take a walk along the southern beach of Lago Grey to the famous Torres del Paine circuit.
Day 5:Torres del Paine. Cross to the eastern side of the national park, stopping en route to explore the dramatic change in landscape and spot wildlife - guanacos, foxes, and if you're lucky an armadillo or puma. Settle in to your estancia later and perhaps spend this evening stargazing - the night skies here are incredible.
Day 6:Torres del Paine. Hike around the beautiful Laguna Azul at your own pace, for wonderful birdlife and great views of the Towers. Walk as far as you like with a number of great circular routes to viewpoints over scenery reflected perfectly in the tranquil water.
Day 7:El Calafate. Head across the border into Argentina today, travelling over the Patagonian steppe to the quaint little town of El Calafate. Set off exploring this afternoon in Glaciares National Park for the great views - and sounds - of the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier.
Day 8:El Calafate. Revisit the national park today, to see the glacier in a different light, climb the viewing platforms in the morning to enjoy the birdsong or perhaps take a boat up the river to nearby Upsala.
Day 9:El Chalten. Drive through the colossal scenery of the Argentinean Steppe towards the imposing granite needles of Mount Fitzroy, the 'King of Patagonia'. Spot icebergs floating in the green Viedma Lake, set out to explore a little and finish the day visiting one of the first settlers' houses, before meeting your guide to plan your day tomorrow.
Day 10:El Chalten. Spend today with your private guide, exploring your surroundings with an agenda and pace to suit you. Hike to a viewpoint for some of the most incredible views in Patagonia, over the turquoise Laguna de los Tres to the beautiful mountain beyond.
Day 11:El Chalten. A full day to continue exploring the area, perhaps with a walk towards the stunning ice capped needle of Cerro Torre, or in the thick forests around Lago del Desierto, one of the last sections of the border to be settled just a few years ago. Stop for dinner in the friendly town this evening before your flight south to Tierra del Fuego.
Day 12:Fly south. Drive to the airport this morning for your flight to the world's most southerly city, where you stay on the shores of the Beagle Channel. Explore some of Ushuaia this afternoon, its ski-resort atmosphere and its great seafood.
Day 13:Ushuaia. Your guide will help you make the most of your morning exploring the coastal forests of the Tierra del Fuego national park, before an afternoon at leisure - or perhaps a visit to the interesting museum located in a former prison.
Day 14:Board your expedition ship. The morning is yours to relax, before you head to the dock to meet the expedition crew, who will help you board and settle into your comfortable cabin. This evening you set sail into the Beagle Channel, bound for Antarctica.
Day 15-16:Sail the Drake Passage. Find your sea legs as the boat crosses the notoriously choppy Drake Passage. Get to know your fellow passengers and brush up on your history of the continent, its weather and wildlife at the expert talks given by the staff. You can often view whales, dolphins and penguins from the boat, which offers an Open Bridge policy. Stand alongside the captain as he navigates the ship - still plotted on charts and maps, as GPS is fallible in these remote waters.
Day 17:Antarctica. Set out in zodiacs for your first taste of Antarctica, spotting Humpback whales and blue icebergs from the boat en route to the shore to visit the penguins. Leopard, Crabeater and Weddell seals can also be spotted, and if you're really lucky you might see a pod of orca.
Day 18:Antarctica. The boat has its own professional photographer to help you get the most out of your images of the glacial landscapes, remote scenery and lively and curious wildlife. Learn as you explore on the shore, navigating the colonies of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie penguin.
Day 19:Antarctica. Explore further inland, setting out snowshoeing to a high ridge or mountaineering in small groups up cliff faces, to widen your view and experience of this vast, remote continent.
Day 20:Antarctica. The idea of this cruise is to use fewer spots as a base to explore, rather than move on each day. Today you might like to get into kayaks for some water level exploration, before watching the sun set over the ice and sleeping out under the stars tonight - an incredible experience and surprisingly comfortable!
Day 21:Antarctica. Today will be spent at the 1940s base of Port Lockroy, discovering the fascinating human history of the continent, the work and conditions endured by pioneering scientists studying the glaciology and meteorology of the White Continent.
Day 22:Antarctica. This morning you might spend time in the zodiacs, navigating through fields of icebergs to get as close as possible to the glacier faces. For a more active option, small groups can choose to climb right up into the high Antarctic mountains, or kayak in the tranquil, icy waters.
Day 23-24:Return across the Drake Passage. Turn back north towards South America today. Now is the time to sit back, relax, talk over your experiences with your fellow passengers, admire your photos and reflect on your experiences during the expedition.
Day 24:Buenos Aires. After breakfast, bid the expedition staff, crew and ship farewell as you disembark. Transfer to the airport for your flight north to Buenos Aires, where you settle into your charming hotel in Palermo.
Day 25:Buenos Aires. Spend the morning in the company of your private guide, who will take you to the areas of most interest to you. This afternoon you may like to wander amongst the vast and attractive Recoleta Cemetery.
Day 26:Depart. Your driver will find you at a time to suit for your transfer to the airport for your flight home, or onwards to explore more of Latin America.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Camera batteries have a shorter lifespan in cold climates - be sure to carry spares.
Trip type:
Small group tour and expedition cruise.
Activity level:
Moderate-active. Trekking up to 5hrs, cycle up to 3hrs (flat).
Accomm:
13 nights in hotels, 4 in refugios, 11 on board the ship.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Accommodation., some meals, tour leader, listed activities.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 16 lunches, 16 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
We are passionate about the places we visit. To help preserve the integrity of these destinations we:
• Keep groups small to minimise environmental impact.
• Are rigorous in following 'take it in, take it out' guidelines when visiting the national parks.

We promote only responsible travel to Antarctica. In our opinion, well-regulated small ship travel is the only sustainable means of tourism. We are strongly of the opinion that flying to Antarctica is not acceptable as it will quickly lead to unsustainable increases in visitor numbers. Nor do large ships not belong in such a sensitive environment. The small ship crossing of the Drake Passage maintains the White Continent for those dedicated enough to make the crossing.

We are a member of IAATO (the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). As members of IAATO we are committed to procedures and guidelines that ensure appropriate, safe and environmentally sound travel to the Antarctic. Antarctic Dream is also a full member of IAATO, and like us are totally committed to promoting only responsible small group travel to the Antarctic.

Small groups in Antarctica minimise impact on wildlife. Travelling on a ship of less than 100 passengers is the ideal way to visit the continent, not least because international regulations do not permit more than 100 people ashore at any one time. You must wear boots that we provide on shore at all times. These are cleaned and disinfected by staff before and after all shore visits to ensure that no ‘alien matter’ is transferred onto the shore.


Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.
• Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
• Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
• Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
• Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
• Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats or house plants.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Our passion for the places we visit extends to the people who live there. To help support them, we:
• Work directly with local businesses and organisations to directly benefit local economies. We use small, locally owned hotels and restaurants. We know the owners except in the large cities.
• Work with local guides so that our holidays are more interesting for clients and more beneficial locally.

Plancius is also a member of IAATO. Expert guides and leaders know how best to minimise the impact of any landings and have the most experience of locally working in these extreme and remote conditions.

Climate

3 Reviews of Antarctic cruise and hiking in Chile

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 03 Apr 2019 by

One of the best holidays I've had. Well organised, variety of scenery and activities, lots of local information provided, opportunity for peace and reflection as well. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2015 by

The entire trip was magical and I loved almost every moment. The landings were supplemented with presentations that helped me to put my experiences into the perspective of wider Antarctica issues. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2014 by

Respect where you are and its beauty. Read full review

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