Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


Patagonia and the Chilean fjords expedition cruise - 6 Nov 2017

16 days from £5581pp

Book Holiday Enquire online

Patagonia and the Chilean fjords expedition cruise - 6 Nov 2017:
Trip Dossier

This cruise on Silversea’s luxury expedition ship Silver explorer introduces you to the many and varied attractions of southern Chile, one of South America’s most photogenic regions. Culturally and scenically rich Chile, a slither of land clinging to the western slopes of the Andes with a long jagged coastline, is ideal cruising territory.

Between Valparaiso, Santiago’s busy port, and this area of wilderness lies the Chilean lake district, a region of aquamarine, meadows and snow-capped volcanoes. On show are the remnants of a fascinating human history of colonisation by different peoples. Justifiably popular with visitors, it is well worth the exploration you will make on your several landings.

Beyond are the dark fjords and steep mountains of sharply glaciated Patagonia; you sail through silvery seas dotted with a multitude of islands inhabited only by birds and sea-lions. 

It is so hard to penetrate the fragmented interior of the far south that even now there are few roads and many places can only be reached from the sea.  As a result the natural landscapes are untouched and human population is sparse; discovering this hidden territory is a true adventure.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Santiago, transfer to hotel in Valparaiso.

Day 2

At leisure in Valparaiso.

Day 3

Embark luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer.

Day 4

At sea sailing south.

Day 5

Arrive Valdivia, visit the port at the entrance to the lake district.

Day 6

Dock at Puerto Montt, excursions to the lake Todos Los Santos.

Day 7

Arrive Chiloe island, visit Castro and traditional villages.

Day 8

At sea cruising the Chilean fjords.

Day 9

Visit Pio Xl glacier.

Day 10

Cruise through the islands to Puerto Natales.

Day 11

Trip to Torres del Paine National Park or Milodon Cave.

Day 12

At sea in the Magellan Strait.

Day 13

Arrive Punta Arenas.

Day 14

Cruise the Beagle Channel.

Day 15

Arrive Ushuaia, fly to Buenos Aires.

Day 16

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Santiago, transfer to hotel in Valparaiso.
 
On arrival at Santiago airport, transfer to Valparaiso, a couple of hours’ drive away on the Pacific coast. This is a lively, up-and-coming port busy regenerating its jumble of traditional wooden homes covering the steep hillsides framing the port. Your hotel, Palacio Astoreca, is in the old port district.

 

Valparaiso, Chile

Day 2

At leisure in Valparaiso.
 

At leisure in Valparaiso.  You might ride one of the funicular railways up the cliff face to visit smart new restaurants and survey the street art of what is becoming an arty Bohemian district. Or take a train or taxi to nearby Viña del Mar, Chile’s most popular beach resort, with some elegant buildings recalling its fashionable past.  

valparaiso

Day 3

Embark luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer.
 
Transfer to your ship. Once all guests have embarked she weighs anchor. You are introduced to the Expedition Team and other members of the crew. In the evening you can familiarise yourself with the vessel, meet your fellow travellers and enjoy your first meal in the restaurant which serves international cuisine and regional specialties unique to your destination.
Silver Explorer

Day 4

At sea sailing south.
 

Spend a leisurely day at sea. There are presentations about your destinations led by your Expedition Team members to prepare you for the upcoming ports of call. You can stroll around on deck or relax in the comfort of your suite, reading or watching a film on your interactive television.

Silversea Explorer

Day 5

Arrive Valdivia, visit the port at the entrance to the lake district.
 

Drop anchor at Niebla, a small village on the banks of the river Valdivia where it flows the Pacific Ocean. Today Niebla is a beach resort, but in the 17th century it was a defensive fortress built by Spanish conquistadores to repel pirate attacks. The batteries and garrisons here formed the most fortified complex along South America’s west coast.

It’s off the ship now for a drive to the river-port Valdivia at the northern end of Chile’s green and watery lake district. The chunky coastline here is wrinkled with inlets and silvery streams. Valdivia is a pleasant low rise city sitting where three rivers meet.

The city shows off aspects of the cultures of all the immigrant groups who made it the laid back city that it is today: native Mapuche indians, Spanish settlers, and German immigrants. Visit the Historical and Anthropological Museum to get an idea of how human history transformed the place, as did the 1960 earthquake. Reconstruction has led to a medley of the old and the new, and nowadays the life and soul of the place is on the quays and in the markets.

During the afternoon Silver Explorer heads further south, while you are introduced to the highlights of the volcano-studded lake district with a series of talks.

Valdivia, Chile

Day 6

Dock at Puerto Montt, excursions to the lake Todos Los Santos.
 

Puerto Montt is at the southern end of the lake district and the ship cruises into this lively fishing port, the jumping off point for a drive into to chocolate-box pretty countryside. You’ll get to see two of the most picturesque of its jewel-sharp lakes.

Next, head along the southern shore of the lake Todos Los Santos to see the Petrohue waterfalls, rapids fringed by nature trails and many wild flowers. Later there’s a boat trip on the emerald-green lake and, following a short climb, you will hopefully have views of the conical slopes of the dominant, snow-smothered Osorno volcano.

Osorno

Day 7

Arrive Chiloe island, visit Castro and traditional villages.
 

Undulating Chiloé, with its fractured coastline, is a secretive island famed for the myths and legends of the original native population. As it is isolated from mainland Chile, farming and fishing techniques haven’t changed much over the centuries.

The rustic villages clinging to the estuaries and creeks are dotted with unique Jesuit-carved, wooden churches and brightly painted houses on stilts (palafitos). Go ashore by Zodiac at the capital, Castro, to see its distinctive yellow church.

Continue by road and ferry to the picturesque village of Dalcahue, famous for its woollens and artisan crafts. Visit a couple of other distinctive villages, once affluent places with graceful houses and boats arriving every day from nearby islands. Dalcahue’s church is a UNESCO-listed site with exquisite wooden features carved by Jesuits

Alternatively, visit Chiloé National Park on the west coast with sand dunes, ancient evergreen rainforest, swamps and peat bogs. It’s an attractive home for foxes, sea-lions, sea otters, opossums and many woodland birds. You can walk one of the trails on the lookout for them. 

Chiloe

Day 8

At sea cruising the Chilean fjords.
 

The on-board historian entertains you with tales of early Spanish exploration, and there may be a talk about the region’s geology. As you head south, the land fractures into a jigsaw of drowned glaciated valleys, rugged mountains tumbling into the sea and forested islands.

Birdwatching enthusiasts can discover which species inhabit this area. The further south the ship sails, the better is the chance of spotting Andean condors soaring above the cliffs.

condor

Day 9

Visit Pio Xl glacier.
 

Early in the morning go out on deck to watch as the ship passes through the English Narrows which means cruising through a maze of islands. At the narrowest part it has a width of only 80m. You may spot Magellanic diving petrels, steamer ducks, and maybe a Chilean dolphin.

There are presentations on the region’s natural history. This heavily glaciated and forest-stifled area of fiords framed by near vertical hillsides is so inaccessible that only one settlement exists south of the English Narrows – Puerto Eden.

In the afternoon visit the vast Pio XI Glacier, a vast sheet of craggy, turquoise blue ice spitting icebergs into the chilly waters below its towering wall.  If the weather is OK you can take to the Zodiacs to approach the glacier and view it up close. 

Pio XI Glacier, Chile

Day 10

Cruise through the islands to Puerto Natales.
 

This is one of the least populated, remote places on earth and you will be made aware of a true wilderness untamed on all sides as the ship follows her course among the fjords.

Sail through Chile’s largest national park, Bernardo O’Higgins, before heading for another famously narrow channel, the White Narrows, crushed by barren rocks on either side. Seals and dolphins may pop up here.

In the evening the ship arrives in Chile’s far south at Puerto Natales, the access point for one of the exploration’s highlights, Torres del Paine National Park.

Puerto Natales, Chile

Day 11

Trip to Torres del Paine National Park or Milodon Cave.
 

Puerto Natales, a pleasant little port at the head of grimly named ‘Last Hope Sound’ has a frontier-town feel. Visitors use it as a launching pad for visits to Torres del Paine and to see the famous Milodon Cave.

Three towering, vertical granite peaks and a crown of cathedral-sharp icy peaks are the trademarks of Torres del Paine. To get there you drive through wind-tousled grasslands where sheep, guanaco and foxes can be seen. This national park is a delight for trekkers and you can take a walk along a trail to see some of the ice-flecked rivers, flowery meadows and steep, glaciated valleys.

Or you can visit the cave where the remains of a Milodon (giant sloth) were found. You are taken through extensive sheep grazing areas peppered with guanacos, foxes, ‘baqueanos’ (shepherds on horseback), and many bird species including Andean condors.

Overnight at dock in Puerto Natales.  You might like to savour a local parrillada (grill), and a pisco sour cocktail in town.

torres del paine

Day 12

At sea in the Magellan Strait.
 

The ship heads south for the Strait of Magellan; you are entertained and informed by talks about the marine park, the explorer Magellan or the historic importance of this waterway for shipping.

Chilean fjords

Day 13

Arrive Punta Arenas.
 

Arrive in Punta Arenas, founded as a penal colony in 1848, but now the busy capital of Chile’s southernmost region. The city prospered in the 19th century owing to a gold rush and extensive sheep-farming. Before the building of the Panama Canal the Strait of Magellan was on an important trading route. Punta Arenas still is an entry point to Antarctica.

Depart from the pier to explore the city, stopping at viewpoints. Continue on to a museum with exhibits illustrating the habitat and history of Patagonia’s indigenous people and the region’s natural history.

During the evening the ship heads back on the Strait of Magellan, aiming for the Beagle Channel.

punta arenas

Day 14

Cruise the Beagle Channel.
 

As the Silver explorer approaches the Garibaldi glacier she sails through one of Chile’s largest national parks: Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, UNESCO listed as a biosphere reserve because of its unique ecosystems.

Eventually, the Silver Explorer enters the Garibaldi fjord, a narrow passage strewn with aquamarine ice. Waterfalls snake down steep mountainsides. At the head of this fjord you’ll see the retreating Garibaldi glacier.

The ship continues along the 130nm Beagle Channel, fringed by ancient evergreen woodland, water-smoothed boulders and rocky islets. This famous waterway on the southern shores of Tierra del Fuego was named after HMS Beagle, the ship on which Charles Darwin sailed. You then head for the final destination: Ushuaia.

Lighthouse in Ushuaia

Day 15

Arrive Ushuaia, fly to Buenos Aires.
 

Silver Explorer will arrive at Ushuaia in the morning. Following breakfast, disembark. (But why stop here? Once in Ushuaia, the jumping off point for Antarctica might stay on board for a cruise to the Falkland islands, South Georgia and Antarctica, the White Continent. and the most majestic wilderness of them all. 

Transfer to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires, transfer to your hotel, the extravagant and prestigious Alvear Palace.

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

Day 16

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.
 

Having arrived in Buenos Aires, consider a wind-down and warm-up on a luxury estancia.

Essential information

Transport

Transfer from Santiago to Valparaiso (2hrs). 12day expedition cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. Flight to Buenos Aires from Ushuaia (4-5hrs).

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a luxurious cruise on board a first class cruise ship, Silver Explorer, accommodating 130 guests and 117 staff and crew.  All guest suites are ocean view and all have verandas, marble bath, flat screen TV, on demand movies, and spa robes. All suites have a designated trained butler. Among his or her many services for you, your butler helps customise your mattress, pillow and bathroom amenities. Wifi internet (when coverage is available) and computers are accessed in the Internet café. The ship also has a medical centre, spa, beauty salon, fitness room and boutique.

Hotels in Valparaiso and Buenos Aires are first class.


Meals

Breakfast daily, full board on the cruise ship. On board ship, all meals and snacks are included, with options to eat al fresco or in your suite. Complimentary beverages incl wine, spirits, coffee, soft drinks; customised minibar items.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. Guides, lecturers and presenters on the cruise ship are all qualified in a field of expertise relevant to the cruise.

Included excursions

• Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise.

Summary of nights

Valparaiso, Chile, 2 nights; cruise 12 nights, Buenos Aires 1 night.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland..
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions, activities and lectures. 
• Complimentary parka, water bottle and backpack on cruise.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified. 
• Cruise staff tips and gratuities.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities on the mainland and mainland excursions.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Excursions designated optional.

Currency

The unit of currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso, in Argentina it is the Argentine Peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals, drinks and the odd souvenir on those days in the holiday itinerary or extension outside the cruise. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more. On the cruise, excursions, drinks, meals and tips are included.

How to take it

Outside the cruise period, cash machines are available in major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

You can pay for extras on the cruise (beauty salon and spa treatments, boutique items) with a credit card or US dollars. Optional excursions may be offered which have to be booked and  paid in advance before departure.

Tipping

Tips for the cruise staff are included, but local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.  Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire. 

Children are accepted, but must be over 6 years old to participate in excursions. There is no special entertainment programme on board for children. Children and and teenagers who are interested in the wildlife and nature should enjoy the cruise and if there is a number of children/teenagers on board, the expedition team might dedicate a team member to lead the group and explain things to them.

Climate

The weather in Patagonia at this time of year will be cool  with some warm days but also chilly days with rain and even snow. In Antarctica, be prepared for zero temperatures and a cold wind, though you may be lucky and have calm, sunny weather: it is completely unpredictable.

November  is Spring in South America: it should be pleasantly warm in Valparaiso and Buenos Aires with temperatures in the low to late twenties Celcius. 

Clothing and special equipment

Pack for both warm and cold weather: layered clothing is best. Include a little summer-weight loose, comfortable clothing including shorts and trousers (bear in mind that you have to get in and out of Zodiac boats but also that you are in cities for a few days). Brings sun-protective headgear, swimwear, smart casual for the evening, light sweater or jacket for cool evenings on and off shore. For southern Patagonia and Antarctica, bring a warm fleece or two, woolly-type  hats and gloves, scarf, and wet weather gear with waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers, rain-cape or coat, comfortable non-slip footwear including stout walking boots or shoes. You may consider bringing collapsible walking poles. There’s no need to over-pack: On board the cruise ship there is a laundry and dry cleaning service. The ship provides you with a complimentary parka. 

Sun block and insect repellant are essential. Don’t forget your sun-glasses, binoculars, camera, charger and memory cards. Some items can be bought in the on board boutique, including branded and unbranded T shirts and sweatshirts, scent, souvenir mugs etc. Remember to pack any personal medication (carry it in cabin luggage on the flights). Consider taking sea-sickness prevention (consult your pharmacist). A small first aid kit with blister pads, aspirin etc may come in handy. The ship has a medical centre.


Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html

This costs $14 per person, and must be applied for by you personally.

UK Passport holders must present an e-passport with a built in chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/chile/holidays/patagonia-and-the-chilean-fjords-expedition-cruise/trip-dossier

Page ID: {03FF820D-E6A0-4A7A-98E3-28EB02D9FF71}

Page Name: trip-dossier

Page Display Name: Trip Dossier

Page Template Name: T054-TripDossier

Page Template ID: {4B17EDBB-85D2-4A79-B178-A0CE05055C05}

Parent ID: {A0009477-771F-4F34-98C7-86D3E8F02397}

Parent Name: patagonia-and-the-chilean-fjords-expedition-cruise

Parent Display Name: Patagonia and the Chilean fjords expedition cruise - 6 Nov 2017

Parent Template Name: T013-Tour

Parent Template ID: {9701B79C-85FD-4A45-8072-3FFF55338F72}