South America’s summer months (from November to March) are the perfect time to take holidays to Patagonia, the straits and waterways at the southernmost tip of South America, and the captivating Chilean Fjords.
The sea-life is diverse and fascinating, with the opportunity to see whales, elephant seals and penguins around Puerto Madryn and the Valdes Peninsula. On a holiday to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago you explore the extraordinary channels, islands, and colourful towns such as Ushuaia, all against the breathtaking backdrop of the National Park.
If seas are exceptionally calm you might round Cape Horn before beginning an exploration of the magnificent Chilean Fjords, maybe even land, or stay in the protected waters of the Straits of Magellan.
Holidays to the Chilean Fjords will see you gliding along the fjords to view the immense glaciers, with the mighty Andes dominating the horizon, and a wealth of bird and sea-life to watch for.
Most Patagonian cruises finish in the picturesque seaside city of Valparaiso, just a couple of hours drive from Chile’s capital, Santiago de Chile, which merits a short stay. A few continue up the coast to Lima, particularly at the beginning or end of the season.
Adventurous travellers might take the chance to venture into the Atacama desert, or fly to Bolivia to visit Lake Titicaca and continue to Peru and Machu Picchu – a must do if you are not planning to return to South America.
Day 1 – Punta Arenas, Chile. Embark M/V Via Australis and depart for “the uttermost part of the earth”.
Day 2 – Ainsworth Bay & Tuckers Islets. Navigate through Almirantazgo Sound and witness the Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin Mountain Range. Later, you will sail to Tuckers Islets, and onboard Zodiac boats, you will get close to a colony of Magellan Penguins.
Day 3 – Pia Glacier. Sail through Beagle Channel and the majestic ‘Glacier Alley’ where you can appreciate the spectacular Pia Glacier.
Day 4 – Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay. After sailing through Murray Channel and Nassau Bay you will reach the mythical Cape Horn known as the “End of the Earth”.
Day 5 – Ushuaia. Disembark M/V Via Australis
Departures: Weekly departures September-April
Day 1 – Fly from London to Santiago, Chile. Transfer to Valparaiso and Embark the Silver Explorer. After settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Day 2 - Day at Sea
Day 3 - Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. Discover the classic deserted island of the imagination, one of the Earth’s great paradises and a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. Join your Expedition Team on a natural history walk to the top of the saddle for a great view of the town and surrounding Juan Fernandez Islands.
Day 4 - Alexander Selkirk Island, Chile. Watch for fur seals as you circumnavigate the uninhabited Alejandro Selkirk Island and then step ashore for a nature walk led by the Expedition Team.
Day 5 - Day at Sea
Day 6 - Coquimbo, Chile. A full-day archaeological tour.
Day 7 - Isla Chanaral, Chile. Adventure by Zodiac, exploring the islands that make up the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, located off Chile’s northwest coast.
Day 8 - Isla Pan De Azucar, Chile. Again, explore the rugged shores of Isla Pan de Azucar (or Sugarloaf Island) home to thousands of Humboldt penguins. You may also encounter Kelp Gulls, Turkey Vultures, Blackish Oystercatchers, Peruvian boobies, pelicans, sea lions and the reclusive South American marine otter.
Day 9 - Antofagasta, Chile. Full-day excursion into the Atacama Desert.
Day 10 - Day at Sea
Day 11 - Arica, Chile. Explore the region’s unique altiplanic scenery - you also may see grazing alpacas, llamas and the shy vizcacha.
Day 12 - Matarani, Peru. This morning we discover Arequipa (UNESCO Historical Centre), nicknamed “The White City” for its magnificent architecture constructed primarily of pearly white volcanic rock, called sillar.
Day 13 - Day at Sea
Day 14 – Paracas/ Ballestas Islands, Peru. Explore the Ballestas Islands, often referred to as “Peru’s Galapagos”.
Day 15 - Callao, Peru. At leisure.
Day 16 - Islas Guanape, Peru. See hundreds of seabirds, including Peruvian pelicans, Inca terns and blue-footed boobies, even Humboldt penguins and large colonies of South American sea lions.
Day 17 - Salaverry, Peru. Visit the main religious centre of the Mochica culture. Built in the 5th century, the archaeological complex encompasses an area of 60 hectares and includes the Temple of the Sun – the largest adobe structure in the world, and the Temple of the Moon, which is covered with beautiful Moche designs.
Day 18 - Cruising Isla Lobos De Tierra, Peru. This morning, the Silver Explorer anchors off Isla Lobos de Tierra—rocky islands that protrude more than 200 feet (61 metres) from the surface of the deep blue Pacific.
Day 19 - Isla De La Plata, Ecuador. Together with local natural history guides, you will go ashore and enjoy various walks, watching for herons, pelicans, gulls, frigate birds, masked boobies, Nazca boobies, albatross and hawks.
Day 20 - Manta, Ecuador. Adventure ashore at Isla Corazon. This heart-shaped island is a mangrove forest refuge comprised of 130 acres, and home to the largest colony of Magnificent Frigates in all the South Pacific.
Day 21 - Gorgona Island, Colombia. After a morning at sea, Silver Explorer arrives in Colombia where it has been granted permission to visit Gorgona Island, a UNESCO World heritage Site and National Natural Reservation Park. Due to its coral reef and tropical rainforest ecosystem, this small island is a natural paradise and a mecca for fauna and flora research. Until the mid-1980s, it was an Alcatraz style, high security prison. Day 22 - Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park, Colombia. Again by special permission, you are able to visit this exceptional national park along Colombia’s Pacific coast.
Day 23 - Utría National Park, Colombia. Your explorations of the Colombian Pacific coast continue today with a visit to Utria National Park. From coral reefs and mangroves to the marine environment, tropical rainforest and rocky beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, few places in the world encompass the diversity of Utría’s ecosystems
Day 24 - Bay of San Miguel, Darien Jungle, Panama. The Darien Jungle is remote and has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. It is also recognised as one of the world’s top ten birding sites. You hope to see many bird species such as the colourful crimson-collared tanager, green and chestnut-fronted macaws, rufous-tailed and snow-bellied hummingbirds, whimbrels, willets (a type of sandpiper), white ibises and egrets, laughing gulls. Other wildlife we may see includes tapir and black-headed spider monkey, vultures, and the endangered great curassows. You will visit authentic tribal dwellings built of nearby trees and plants. Before leaving, villagers will perform a native dance for our entertainment and demonstrate basket weaving and carving techniques.
Day 25 - Panama Canal Transit, Panama.
Day 26 - Cristobal, Panama. Disembark Silver Explorer. Transfer to Hotel Miramar Inter-Continental for a 1-night stay.
Day 27 – Transfer to the airport for your return flight to London
Includes 1 night stay at the Hotel Miramar Inter-Continental
Departure: 13 March 2014
This is not all we can offer. If you would like to discuss more ways to visit this destination give us a call. Contact us for more options.
Day 1 - Valparaiso, Chile
Day 2 - At sea
Day 3 - Niebla, Chile
Day 4 - Puerto Montt, Chile
Day 5 - Castro, Chile
Day 6 - Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Day 7 - Cruising the Chilean Fjords
Day 8 - Cruising Pio Xi Glacier
Day 9 - At sea
Day 10 - Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 11 - Cruising Garabaldi Glacier
Day 12 - Ushuaia, Argentina
Departures:4 November 2013
Due to the Patagonia region of Chile being so far south, it has a climate that is very susceptible to change. The best time of year to visit is during the Southern Hemisphere summer (October to March), when temperatures are warmer.
Practical, comfortable clothing is a must. Sturdy walking shoes should be packed. This destination is all about the scenery and wildlife and therefore very appealing to photographers – remember to come well equipped as you are unlikely to be able to get everything you need locally.