Discover the beauty and remoteness of Chile’s little-known Patagonian coastline. Zodiac-cruise through narrow fjords flanked by glaciers. Scan the seas for charismatic sea lions, dolphins, and the elusive blue whale, which is known to visit these waters. Keen birdwatchers will delight in the abundant birdlife, with imperial cormorants, flightless steamer ducks, tree-runners, woodpeckers and condors found in the region. Spend two days hiking in renowned Torres del Paine National Park, and visit remote coastal villages accessible only by sea.
Lelia was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has been working with Aurora Expeditions for more than 7 years. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism, she earned a scholarship at Eichstätt University in Germany to continue her specialisation in Geography. She then became a guide of Los Glaciares National Park and recently she finished an MBA in Hotel Management in Buenos Aires. Lelia has worked and lived for 10 years in Southern Patagonia, providing guests with unique, high-quality travel experiences, in close contact with nature. She loves sharing her wide knowledge, passion, and love of the National Park and surrounding areas. She takes great delight in working outdoors and helping others to enjoy and discover nature, especially if it is about South America! Lelia will make you feel and live the culture of any place she visits, tasting new flavours, admiring the landscape and nature. At the same time, she will provide you with cultural tips and information that will enhance your experience of the destination.
- Discover the Francisco Coloane Marine Park, Chile’s first marine park, which can only be explored by small ship.
- Spend two days hiking among dramatic rock towers and teal-coloured glacial lakes in Torres del Paine National Park
- Marvel as the captain skilfully navigates the ship through tight narrows
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed timber churches in the delightful Chiloé province
Number of passengers (PCF001G): 126 passengers (including kayakers)
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Day 1 Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your group hotel (preferred flights only). Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
Day 2 Embark Greg Mortimer
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Please take your cabin luggage down to hotel reception by 8.00 AM. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 AM, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 PM to commence a tour of Ushuaia. Alternatively, enjoy time at leisure and make your own way to the pier by 4.00 pm for embarkation.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.
After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner.
(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)
Day 3 Beagle Channel / Glacier Alley
As we travel into the Beagle Channel, the important waterway that allowed ships to avoid the notoriously rough waters around Cape Horn, we follow the route that a young Charles Darwin took on board the famous HMS Beagle back in 1831, a five-year expedition that forever changed his life and which led him to develop his seminal theory of evolution.
Sailing west from Ushuaia, you travel through a dazzling stretch of the 240-kilometre (150 mile) long Beagle Channel called Glacier Alley – or ‘Avenue of the Glaciers’, as it’s more elegantly known. You’ll marvel at this string of tidewater glaciers pushing down to the edge of the sea from the enormous Darwin Ice Field. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, most of the glaciers were named after European countries or the explorers who discovered them: Holland, Italy, Romanche, Spain, Garibaldi. Weather permitting, we’ll board our Zodiacs for a closer look at the impressive Romanche Glacier. Even if fog obscures the view, the sound of the cracking ice as it calves into the water is sure to impress. Apart from the spectacular scenery, Glacier Alley offers opportunities to spot wildlife such as penguin rookeries and South American fur seals.
Day 4 Francisco Coloane Marine Park
Established in 2003 as Chile’s first marine reserve, Francisco Coloane was the first known feeding ground for humpback whales along the Pacific coast of South America. The park honours Francisco Coloane, a celebrated Chilean author who wrote many stories of ocean adventures about Patagonia and Antarctica. Coloane was himself an adventurer, explorer and son of a whaler. Around the southern area of Santa Ines Island, surrounded by spectacular views including the tidewater glacier pushing down the rugged mountainous island, we spend time kayaking and Zodiac cruising, getting a close look at Magellanic penguins, imperial cormorants, flightless steamer ducks, and southern fur seals. Around Carlos III Island, a known feeding ground for the humpback whales, we hope to see the majestic creatures from the comfort of our ship, or if conditions permit, from our kayaks or Zodiacs.
Day 5 Chilean Fjords, Kirke Narrows
As we venture north, we enter one of the many channels and fjords of Patagonian Chile. Be prepared to experience wild weather. The fjords and islands of Chilean Patagonia take the brunt of the prevailing westerlies that blow across the southern seas, and here, the wind can blow almost constantly, and rain and snow can fall all year round. We may sail through Montañas Fjord, a long fjord flanked by rugged mountains and a number of glaciers including Herman, Bernal, and Paredes. From the observation areas and perhaps from the bridge, it’s an ideal opportunity to watch the scenery unfold as you sail through this beautiful channel. Enjoy informative and entertaining presentations from our hand-selected expedition team, who will bring to life the natural environment, wildlife, culture and history of the places you’ll be experiencing.
Days 6-7 Puerto Natales / Torres del Paine National Park (overnight)
Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park, world-renowned for its granite towers, which give the park its name. These gigantic spires were carved by glacial ice and upon entering the park, you will see a series of lakes with intense colours, mountains covered in ice, and an array of local fauna. In Patagonia, you will feel the immensity of nature and delight in feeling completely insignificant in its presence. The jaw-dropping landscapes of turquoise waters, glaciers and towering granite horns of the Torres del Paine National Park is a humbling experience.
You will have two days to experience the wonders of Torres del Paine National Park on various hikes suited to your fitness level. You will pass several estancias (ranches) en route to the national park, and you will witness the landscape change from a steppe eco-region to deciduous forest. Along the way, pause amongst the mountains to admire views of the lakes called Amarga, Sarmiento, and Nordenskjold, and Salto Grande. You may be able to see some of the local fauna, including many species of birds including the majestic condor. Look out for foxes, huemul (Andean deer) and guanacos, which are wild camelids related to the llama. The reclusive difficult-to-spot puma has also been seen inside the national park where authorities are happy to report a healthy growing population.
We spend the night at a comfortable hotel located just outside of the national park offering superb mountain and river views. Here you will enjoy local cuisine and Chilean wine and hear about the various hiking options available to you and suited to your individual interests and fitness level. On the afternoon of your second day in Torres del Paine National, you will be transported back to the ship in time for dinner, swapping stories on the drive back, of your exploration of the park.
You can choose from one of the following three itineraries to suit your fitness levels: Easy, Medium, and Difficult
Easy - minimal walking required with visits to the national park’s most impressive lookouts, shorter days.
Highlights include: Sarmiento Lake viewpoint, Laguna Amarga lookout, Nordenskjold Lake lookout, Salto Grande lookout, Lunch at Pehoe Lake
End the day at Villa Serrano to check-in to your hotel for the evening
Medium – easy treks of up to 14 km / 8.7 mi per day Lazo-Weber trek, stopping for lunch during the trek.
The trek is not difficult but it is long in distance. We recommend walking poles for this trek. End the day at Villa Serrano to check-in to your hotel for the evening
Difficult – longer and more challenging treks of up to 22 km / 13.7 mi per day
Fauna Trail from Sarmiento to Amarga, Salto Grande + Mirador Cuernos, Lunch at Pehoe, Lake Cóndor lookout
End the day at Villa Serrano to check-in to your hotel for the evening
Today’s itinerary consists of three short treks, which combined makes for a long, challenging and rewarding day. Accommodation: Hotel Rio Serrano (or similar)
Easy Depart from Villa Serrano. Visit Cascada del Río Paine and Laguna Azul. Stop at Cerro Castillo on our drive back to Puerto Natales to rejoin the ship.
Medium Today’s itinerary consists of two short treks of up to 6 km / 3.7 mi each.
Salto Grande + Mirador Cuernos, Nordenskjold Lake lookout, Fauna Trail from Sarmiento to Amarga, Laguna Amarga lookout, Drive back to Puerto Natales to rejoin the ship
Difficult Las Torres Base trek - up to 20 km / 12.5 miles.
You will explore the Ascencio Valley, walking through a beautiful Lenga forest and getting up close to the astounding Torres del Paine viewpoint. Throughout the trek you will walk through forests, streams and glacier moraines. Drive back to Puerto Natales to rejoin the ship
Day 8 White Narrows, PIO XI Glacier
At low tide this morning, we cross the White Narrows – a narrow channel of water approximately 80 metres wide. Find a spot on one of our many observation areas and appreciate the masterful skills of our Captain as they navigate us through this difficult channel. At the heart of Chilean Patagonia lies Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. More than 320 kilometres (200 miles) from one end to the other, the park encompasses Patagonia's Southern Ice Field, which in combination with its northern counterpart forms one of the largest expanses of glacial ice outside the Polar Regions.
The only way to visit this area is by sea, through a maze of fjords that ultimately leads to the entrance of Pío XI, named in honour of Pope Pius XI by Father Alberto de Agostini, an Italian missionary and explorer, who in 1931 was the first person to cross the Southern Ice Field. Of the 48 glaciers in the Southern Ice Field, nearly all are retreating, except Pío XI. Scientists have not been able to explain exactly why it has advanced so far and so fast over the past 80 years. In any case, Pío XI Glacier is an anomaly in a world where nearly all glaciers are retreating and being able to see it up close is a privilege. We head to Puerto Eden on our journey northwards, navigating more challenging passages including Paso del Abismo, a very narrow and spectacular channel where you can continue to enjoy remarkable scenery.
Day 9 Puerto Eden / At Sea
Located on the east coast of Wellington Island, inside Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, Puerto Eden is a tiny fishing village connected by intricate canals, imposing mountains, icefields, and is considered one of Chile's most isolated inhabited places. The village is known for being the home to approximately 25 Kawésqar indigenous inhabitants – roughly 10% of the population of the village. The village is connected by beautiful timber boardwalks called ‘pasarelas’. Kawésqar are traditionally nomadic sea people and it comes as no surprise that the main economic activity is fishing - mussels being a local speciality. Known for their excellent craftsmanship for canoe-making and basketry, local handicrafts are also a speciality, and you’ll have ample opportunity to meet the locals and to purchase locally-made handicrafts directly from them. You’ll enjoy exploring the picturesque boardwalks over the maze of canals, meeting the friendly locals, and soaking in the tranquil natural beauty of this isolated hamlet.
Days 10-11 Chilean Fjords
Leaving Puerto Eden behind, we re-enter the channels for a few days navigating our way through Patagonia’s maze of fjords towards Chiloé. Our team of experts will continue to deliver informative and entertaining presentations in the lecture theatre or you may choose to enjoy a book from our library, work up a sweat in the fitness centre, treat yourself to a massage in our wellness centre, or relax in the jacuzzi and sauna and simply enjoy the splendid scenery.
Spend time on the decks to scan for whales, dolphins and seabirds, while admiring the beautiful landscapes of the maze of channels and islands around. We will be sailing along part of the 145 km / 90-mile long Moraleda Channel, which separates the mainland from the huge archipelagos of Chonos and Guaitecas. To the east we will see magnificent Andes peaks such as the Mentolat, Melimollu volcano, and the Maca Volcano. We will be scanning the waters for the occasional presence of pods of killer whale that predate on the numerous South American sea lion colonies located along the coast and forested islands.
Days 12-13 Corcovado Bay, Chiloé
Spend the morning exploring the delightful and impressive coastline of Tic Toc Bay – either ship cruising or perhaps by Zodiac and kayak. This whole area has been recently recognised as one of the few marine parks of Chile based not just on the seasonal presence of the blue whales but also on the rich array of other cetaceans, marine mammals, and seabirds. In the Corcovado Gulf, you will enjoy watching a good sample of oceanic seabirds including black-browed albatross, southern giant petrel, southern fulmar and long-distant migrants such as the migratory Arctic skua. Hike at a unique reserve that spans over 10,000 hectares of pristine rainforest featuring incredible biodiversity.
Continue to keep watch for whales in the Corcovado Gulf as we sail into Chiloé, an archipelago of lush islands, a land of myths and legends, unique folklore and culinary traditions. It’s a region blessed with natural beauty and culture, cherished by Chilenos. Explore this mythical island with its colourful timber churches, 16 of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In Castro, discover palafittes – colourfully-painted timber houses built on stilts above the water – and enjoy the wit and warmth of the Chilote people whose traditions give this unique archipelago its distinctive character.
Chiloé is renowned for its superb shipbuilding heritage and carpentry skills and nowhere else in Chile showcases this better than in Dalcahue village, where you’ll visit a few shipyards, enjoy one of Chiloe’s 16 UNESCO World Heritage-listed timber churches, and see some of the most impressive wood shingle houses anywhere in the world.
Gastronomy is another principal reason why Chilenos travel to Chiloé. Blessed with abundant seafood such as mussels and cod, and with hundreds of potato varieties to choose from, the local cuisine is an experience to savour in Chiloé. You will sample traditional curanto, a specially-prepared meal and one of the most ancient recipes still being used today. Archaeologists discovered a 6000-year-old cooking pit that contained skeletal remains of coypu, sea lions, birds, fish, and whales, as well as shells from scallops, snails, abalones, mussels, and clams. These were the vestiges of an early curanto. The word curanto means “stony ground,” and is more of a preparation style than a strict recipe. The process begins by filling a metre-deep hole, which traditionally is filled with rocks, then topped with locally-sourced timber logs burned to heat the stones for cooking.
The ingredients have changed over the centuries, but these days, a mix of shellfish, smoked meat, chicken, longaniza (sausage), and potatoes are the most popular choices. Potatoes are special to Chilotés and hundreds of varieties are cultivated in Chiloé. Traditional curanto features multiple potato varieties prepared three different ways – whole-steamed in their skin, chapaleles (potato dumplings) and milcaos (potato pancakes). After loading ingredients into the pit, it’s covered with wild rhubarb leaves, damp sacks, and packed dirt. As the shellfish cooks, the shells open and release juices that sizzle on the hot rocks and help steam the rest of the food. After a few hours of wet roasting, a mouth-watering feast awaits, and since the large pits lend themselves to feeding crowds, curanto is often prepared to enliven family gatherings and special occasions. After your shore excursion, enjoy curanto lunch while local musicians offer a taste of local folklore music.
Shore Excursion (choose one of the following)
Castro City and Dalcahue
Discover the main attractions of Castro town including the “Feria Yumbel” (local market), palafittes (houses on stilts), museums, churches and the crafts market. Afterwards, visit Tey’s church, a building that was moved from its original place to where it is today. The moving of an entire building is known as “Minga de Tiradura”, a project in which the entire community volunteers help. Continue to the town of Dalcahue, famous for its artisanal shipyards, for one of the 16 World Heritage churches known for its unique shingle design. Dalcahue is also known for its beautiful houses, its tiny museum, and as a meeting place for local artisans who gather at their craft market to sell their creations. You will visit the typical “cocinerias” or eateries serving up delicious variety of freshly-prepared local dishes for which the area is famous. Finally, watch the unearthing of the curanto and savour its delights.
Castro City and Chonchi
Discover the main attractions of Castro town including the “Feria Yumbel” (local market), palafittes (houses on stilts), museums, churches and the handicraft market. Next follows a visit to the beautiful churches of the area that were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located in the areas of Nercon, Vilupulli and Chonchi. Afterwards, continue to Chonchi, nicknamed the “city of three floors” for its terraces, with important sites such as the Museum of Traditions, Accordion Museum and its attractive waterfront. Finally, watch the unearthing of the curanto and savour its delights.
Chiloé National Park
This tour goes through the natural landscapes that amazed Charles Darwin during his explorations of the Huillinco and Curao Lakes and Pacific Ocean. At Chiloé National Park visit the interpretation centre, walk along lovely “Sendero el Tepual” a pathway that winds through Chiloé’s thick and humid forest. Drive back to Castro town and watch the unearthing of the curanto and savour its delights.
Day 14 Disembark, Puerto Montt
Our voyage ends In Puerto Montt. Farewell your expedition team and fellow adventurers before transferring to the airport for your onward travels.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Puerto Montt prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
- Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1 (preferred flights only)
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1
- Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2
- City tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 prior to embarkation (lunch not included)
- Transfer from pier to downtown Puerto Montt or to airport on Day 14
- Onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, additional medical expenses such as medication, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Whale and mammal spotting
From USD $1,100.00/pp
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of …
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages.
The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each group of 4 to 10 kayakers will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to the Zodiacs and will also make time for their own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
When we visit the poles, the elements play an important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.
Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Kayakers should be aged 14 years or over.
- Kayak & Paddle
- Neoprene boots
- Safety gear
- A 15-litre dry bag
- Life jackets
- Dry suits
- Pogies (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle)
Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across. You can view our sea kayaking guides’ profiles here or see below.
How to Book
Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional sea kayaking activity for your expedition. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your place early.View more details
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*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid on select ship voyages only and select cabin categories. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle which must be booked and deposited by October 26th 2020, or until sold out, whichever comes first. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is not available in conjunction with any other offer, can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please see full terms and conditions.