Patagonian Explorer: Argentina and Chile by Land and Sea
Experience South America's last great frontier, from Patagonia's majestic fjords to the dramatic Torres del Paine, renowned for its mountain peaks, glaciers, and thunderous waterfalls.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
Patagonia was life-changing; unlike any other place on earth.”
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This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
Experience two of South America’s last great frontiers— the majestic fjords and glaciers of southern Patagonia and the dramatic landscape of Torres del Paine. Our journey begins with three nights in Buenos Aires, where you’ll capture the essence of Argentina by visiting well- known neighborhoods, the Latin American Art Museum, and one of the city’s premier tango houses.
Fly to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost urban center, and set sail on a three-night cruise aboard the M.V. Stella Australis, an expedition ship built specifically for sailing the Patagonian channels. Cruise through the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle and Murray channels to Cape Horn, followed by a call at Magdalena Island, home to more than 120,000 Magellanic penguins. Disembark in Punta Arenas and spend three days immersed in the natural wonders of Torres del Paine, renowned for its mountain peaks, glaciers, turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, and thunderous waterfalls. Then fly to Chile’s Lake District to experience Vicente Pérez Rosales Park, Osorno Volcano, and Petrohue Waterfalls. Your adventure concludes in Santiago, the sophisticated Chilean capital, from where you’ll also discover the old port city of Valparaiso and enjoy a private winery tour.
Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. for Buenos Aires, Argentina
Arrive the morning of Day 2 and transfer to your hotel to rest before this afternoon’s city tour. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,D)
Days 3 & 4 — Buenos Aires
This morning's city tour features the lovely mansions and parks of the Palermo, the colorful bohemian district of La Boca, picturesque San Telmo, elegant Recoleta cemetery, and historic Government House. Tonight visit the legendary Esquina Carlos Gardel, one of city’s premier tango houses, for dinner and a performance. The next day enjoy a guided tour of the Latin American Art Museum. (2B,1D)
Days 5 & 6 — Ushuaia
Fly today to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost urban center and enjoy a tour of this windswept city on the Beagle Channel. The next morning’s excursion takes you to Tierra del Fuego National Park, a 155,676-acre nature preserve with Andes peaks, rivers, glacial lakes, forest, and wildlife. In the late afternoon embark your ship, then set sail through the Strait of Magellan. (2B,1D)
Day 7 — Cruising – Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay
See one of the world’s last unspoiled frontiers up close as you sail through the Beagle and Murray channels. Watch for sea lions and Antarctic fur seals as you cruise to Cape Horn National Park. The sheer promontory of Cape Horn rises some 1,400 feet from the roiling waters below at the spot where the Atlantic and Pacific merge. This afternoon encounter sheltered Wulaia Bay on a guided walk. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Cruising – Agostini Sound and Aguila Glacier
This morning cruise through several channels to enter the spectacular Agostini Sound, where you see massive glaciers flowing down the mountainside. Later take inflatable Zodiacs to Aguila Glacier, which you approach via an easy walk on the shore of a lagoon. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Cruising – Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas, and Torres del Paine
Early this morning, visit Magdalena Island to see an immense colony of more than 120,000 Magellanic penguins. You’ll also walk to the lighthouse that helps to guide ships through the narrow Strait of Magellan. Then cruise to Punta Arenas, where you disembark and board your motorcoach for the journey to Torres del Paine National Park. (B,L,D)
Days 10 & 11 — Torres del Paine National Park
Today encounter breathtaking Torres del Paine, a 700-square-mile World Biosphere Reserve and one of the most unspoiled and beautiful nature preserves on Earth. Spend the day exploring this unparalleled landscape of jagged peaks, ice-blue glaciers, turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, and thundering waterfalls. Lunch today is at magnificent Lago Grey. During your second day in the park, take an excursion that features Laguna Amarga, Laguna Azul, and Cascade Rio Paine. You’re sure to see some of the park’s only permanent residents: 106 species of birds and 26 species of mammals, including the beloved guanaco. (2B,2L,2D)
Day 12 — Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt
Travel by coach today to Punta Arenas, where you board a flight to Puerto Montt, gateway to Chile’s Lake District. (B)
Day 13 — Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt
Today’s tour features lakeside Puerto Varas and its scenic environs; and the prosperous port city of Puerto Montt, “salmon capital” of Chile. Continue on to Anselmo’s handicraft and fish markets. (B,D)
Day 14 — Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park
Glacier-topped volcanoes, dense green forests, and cobalt lagoons highlight our excursion to Chile’s oldest national park. Visit conical Osorno Volcano, sprawling Petrohue Waterfalls. (B,L)
Day 15 — Santiago
Fly today to the sophisticated Chilean capital. This afternoon take a city tour featuring the Plaza de Armas, the traditional city center. Tonight you are dinner guests in the homes of gracious Santiago families. (B,D)
Day 16 — Valparaiso
Today encounter the old port of Valparaiso, a one-time fishing village marked by colorful wooden houses and narrow streets; now Chile’s third largest city and cultural heart. En route visit a local winery for a private tour and tasting. Tonight celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner at a local Santiago restaurant. (B,D)
Days 17 & 18 — Santiago and return to the U.S.
After a morning at leisure, enjoy an afternoon visit to La Chascona in the Bella Vista district, the home and museum of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. Then have time to explore bohemian Bella Vista on your own. From here transfer to the airport for your overnight flights to the U.S. Arrive the next morning and connect with your return flights home. (1B)