Sail in the company of a National Geographic photographer and a National Geographic expert as you take in the magnificent scenery of Chile and Argentina during a 14-day Expedition Cruise.

From spectacular glaciers to imposing fjords, winding channels and dramatic scenery; this region of the world is nothing short of breath-taking and your National Geographic Expert will bring its stories to life, while your National Geographic photographer teaches you how to capture its stunning scenery.

Begin your journey in Talcahuano and head straight to Quemchi, a quaint fishing town surrounded by snow-tipped volcanoes. As you continue south, you will visit Tortel, a remote community with homes linked by boardwalks suspended over the water due to the steepness of the mountainsides, before continuing southwards to the glacier landscapes of the southern fjords.

The first glacier you will encounter will be Pio XI, the largest in all of Southern Patagonia. As you encounter these walls of ice, you will be struck by their majesty and beauty, while our National Geographic Expert will help you to reflect on the global significance of their dramatic calving.

As we continue south, you will journey via iconic waterways from the English Passage, through the Channel of the Mountains, to the Strait of Magellan. These passages are surrounded by the dramatic scenery of Patagonia and filled with its bountiful wildlife. Time spent on deck will be continually rewarded in these breath-taking landscapes.

The final portion of our voyage takes you into Tierra del Fuego with the Agostini and Garibaldi glaciers before you round the legendary Cape Horn. With the true experience of having journeyed to the end of a continent, your voyage’s final call will be to the fishing port of Puerto Williams, before concluding your expedition in Ushuaia.

Throughout your voyage, you can expect to see an array of wildlife including sea lions and porpoises, Magellanic penguins, humpback whales, dolphins, alpacas and a wide variety of birds.

At the end of your trip, sit down with your National Geographic Expert and photographer and reflect on the experiences you have shared on your voyage and how they have changed you upon your return. At National Geographic Expeditions we believe that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and are inspired to act to protect it.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard PONANT’s L'Austral, part of the Sisterships fleet.

Flight Santiago/Concepción + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Buenos Aires included.

Trip highlights

Sail with a National Geographic photographer, who will be available for lectures, workshops, and one-on-one sessions to help you capture the story of your journey, whether you are a seasoned photographer or just using your phone.

Sail with a National Geographic Expert, a leader in their field who will bring to life the insights and stories of their work, and will guide you to experience the Chilean Fjords through the lens of National Geographic.

Sail through the Chilean Fjords, with their dramatic landscapes of snow-capped peaks, narrow channels and breath-taking glaciers, and through the iconic Strait of Magellan and rounding Cape Horn.

Observing wildlife throughout the voyage, with the possibility to see Magellanic penguins, whales, seals, sea lions, condors and more.

Enjoy multiple Zodiac® cruises to enable you to get even closer to the wildlife and landscapes that will surround you throughout this expedition.

By travelling with National Geographic through the Chilean Fjords, you will also be doing your part to protect it, as part of the proceeds of your trip are returned to the National Geographic Society, who works to further the understanding and protection of our planet.

Itinerary - 13 Days

1 Talcahuano, Chile

Your voyage starts in the port city of Talcahuano. The city is named for the Araucanian chief, Talcahuenu, meaning “Thundering Sky”, who was chief at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Bordering the city of Concepcion known for its art, culture and music and many universities, Talcahuano forms part of Greater Concepcion, with nearly 1 million residents. It is here you will start your journey south to the Chilean Fjords.

2 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of your time onboard L’Austral. Meet your onboard National Geographic Expert to get greater insight into the Chilean Fjords via lectures and discussions over coffee in the bar. Meanwhile your National Geographic photographer will give initial talks and workshops to help you capture the story of your adventure with your camera, whether you are a seasoned photographer, or using your phone. Come and learn how to make the most of the incredible photographic opportunities you will find along your voyage. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside one of our naturalists.

3 Quemchi, Chiloé Island

Explore the stunning surroundings of the small fishing port of Quemchi on the east coast of Chiloé Island. Offering a unique and quaint charm, explore the fish market and local shops during your stay. Be sure to visit the museum dedicated to Francisco Coloane, the famous Chilean author and adventurer born on this southern land. Not far from there, the small island called Isla Aucar, accessible via a wooden footbridge will be a chance to observe a wide variety of birds and discover a magnificent botanical garden, home to many of the region’s endemic plants.

4 At Sea

As we continue south, we enter the Chilean Fjords and begin navigating through the archipelagos via the many channels that exist in this breath-taking landscape. Today, we will sail through the Chonos Archipelago, made up of low mountainous elongated islands with deep bays and they represent the last traces of the submerged Chilean Coast Range. The archipelago was first mapped in the 18th century and today all islands are part of the Aysen Region, which is the most sparsely populated region in Chile. As you sail through the region, take in the beautiful landscapes and also catch up with our onboard National Geographic Expert and photographer as they give greater insight into the destination via lectures and workshops.

5 Tortel, Chile

The picturesque village of Tortel can be found in the heart of southern Patagonia, halfway between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn. A lumber community, the village was founded in 1955 to take advantage of the abundant Cypress wood in the area and it is timber that still accounts for most of the economy to this day. The community consists mainly of stilt houses joined by wooden walkways and it is these that give it a unique look and culture. As you explore the walkways, enjoy the sculptures made by local artists and take in the impressive views, from rounded mountains and dense forest to the clear waters of the Pacific.

6 English Narrows & Pio XI Glacier

As the name suggests, the English Narrows is one of the narrowest parts of our journey through the Chilean Fjords. Located at the southern end of the Messier Channel, between Wellington Island and the South American continent, English Narrows is just 180m wide. It offers a unique sailing experience due to its exceptional dimensions and its magnificent natural setting. Join us out on deck to take in the dramatic scenery with its green hills rising from the water and snow-capped peaks which loom in the background.

Pio XI Glacier, or Brüggen Glacier as it is otherwise known, is the largest outflow glacier from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. At 66km (41 miles) long, it is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside Antarctica and is one of the few glaciers in the world to have advanced significantly in the last 75 years, marked by a 10km advance between 1945 to 1976. Now stabilized, the glacier makes for dramatic viewing.

7 El Brujo and Skua Glaciers

If you are keen on photography, today is an excellent day to spend time with your National Geographic photographer. Get tips and insights on how to capture the mood and majesty of the icescapes you will see today!

El Brujo Glacier is situated in the heart of the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, the largest protected area in Chile. Explore the magnificent surroundings of this monumental natural landmark. Located at the end of the Asia Fjord, this huge wall of ice sculpted by the ever-present geological forces is fascinating and impressive. This magical, natural and grandiose décor that changes as the light plays upon it will be an unforgettable sight.

The Skua, or Amalia, Glacier is found at the junction of the Bernardo O’Higgins, Torres del Paine and Las Glaciares National Parks. With its three-kilometre-wide face, this tidewater glacier has infinite shades of blue. Listen for the sound of the ice cracking and dropping into the water, if you are lucky enough to see it calve.

8 Estero Las Montañas

Also called Fjord of the Mountains or Channel of the Mountains, the Estero Las Montañas fjord offers enchanting landscapes. Situated in large part in the Alacalufes National Reserve, this former glacial valley now flooded with water seems to stretch on forever inland. Surrounded by tall mountains with lush slopes and edged with numerous glaciers tinged in various shades of blue, it will be a highlight of your cruise.

9 Sailing in the Strait of Magellan

The Strait of Magellan is one of the world’s iconic navigational routes. While the first European to discover the strait was the renowned Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, the straits region has been inhabited for thousands of years. After Magellan’s discovery, the strait became critical for enabling navigation between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans without passing through the Drake Passage around Cape Horn. The Strait is 310 nautical miles (600 km) long and follows a convoluted route with several narrow passages. Due to this, sailing clipper ships often still preferred to pass via Drake’s Passage, as Magellan’s own navigation took 38 days, but our passage will be much more brief!

10 Alberto de Agostini Fjord

Today, we will visit the Alberto de Agostini Fjord, named for the Italian missionary and explorer Alberto Maria De Agostini. Flanked by numerous glaciers and sheer saw-toothed peaks, Agostini Fjord carves deep into the Cordillera Darwin mountain range on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. As we explore the natural wonders of the fjord, look for the local fauna that calls this their home, and don’t forget to search above the ridgelines for the iconic condors that can sometimes be seen here.

11 Garibaldi Glacier

Cruising along the narrow arm of Garibaldi Fjord, witness the spectacular landscapes that appear. The thick green vegetation adorns steep mountains, rivalling the beauty of surrounding ice and snow. Further on, Garibaldi Glacier unveils itself; a towering ice titan looming at the end of the fjord that shares its name. Don't be surprised if sea lions and numerous birds accompany you on your enchanting journey into the heart of one of Chile's most beautiful glaciers.

12 Sailing Around Cape Horn

Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of Tierra del Fuego, located on Hornos Island, and marks the meeting point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Discovered in 1616 by Willem Schouten, Cape Horn is one of the iconic landmarks of the world’s oceans. Due to the persistent strong winds and rough waters, ‘rounding the horn’ was a major milestone for the sailing trade ships that were key for global commerce. On many occasions ships were simply unable to make headway in the prevailing weather, sometimes being forced to turn and sail around Africa! Fortunately, for our voyage we will experience no such delays and we will sail this legendary ocean route.

13 Puerto Williams

The charming fishing port of Puerto Williams is situated on Navarino Island a few kilometres from the Argentinian border. Take a stroll enjoying the friendly and quaint nature of this town, taking time to see the dark silhouette of the Patagonian Andes, surmounted by eternally white peaks. The Martin Gusinde museum of anthropology gives an aperçu of the living conditions of the ancient indigenous people, the Yámanas, while the surrounding areas propose hiking paths across wild, unspoiled nature.

14 Ushuaia, Argentina

Our voyage concludes in Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego Province. Considered the gateway to the “Great White” and the South Pole, and nicknamed “el Fin del Mundo” (the End of the World) by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world is nestled in the shelter of mountains, surrounded by fertile plains that wildlife has chosen as the ultimate sanctuary.

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