Patagonia: Chilean Fjords and Argentina's Staten Island

  • Trip Type: Expedition Cruise
  • 12 Days | Santiago to Ushuaia
  • Group Size: Max 102

Expedition Details


Set sail aboard the National Geographic Orion to experience the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas that make Chilean Patagonia one of the most lauded nature destinations on Earth. Encounter celebrated treasures, like the legendary Beagle Channel and Cape Horn, as well as remote wildlife reserves on Tierra del Fuego not easily accessible to the public. Along the way, venture out by Zodiac and kayak to explore Chile’s deeply indented coastline. Glide into fjords and inlets beneath walls of blue ice; hike on shore with naturalists; and watch for humpback whales, elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, and Andean condors. The expedition caps off on Argentina’s Staten Island, where we’ll have special access to nature reserves teeming with wildlife.

Trip Highlights

    • Search for whales, dolphins, and penguin colonies while cruising the Beagle Channel, and take in the view from land’s end at Cape Horn.
    • Be one of the few people to discover the rugged landscapes and colossal wildlife colonies of Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), which we have been granted special permission to explore.
    • Venture into a mountain-fringed maze of channels and islands in the Chilean fjords, exploring by Zodiac, by kayak, and on foot.
    • By special arrangement, explore the protected areas of Yendegaia National Park and Karukinka on Tierra del Fuego.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Santiago, Chile

Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago and check in to our hotel. Set out on a guided overview of the city to discover the Plaza de Armas and the Presidential Palace.
Mandarin Oriental

Day 3 — Punta Arenas/Puerto Natales

Fly to Punta Arenas, situated on the Strait of Magellan. Drive to Puerto Natales, where we embark our ship.

Days 4 & 5 — Kirke Narrows/Chilean Fjords

Our Captain and local pilots guide us through Kirke Narrows, accessible only to a small ship as the National Geographic Orion. We’ll make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where we may go out by Zodiac and kayak and look for elephant seals, or take a forest walk.

Day 6 — Tierra Del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park

Explore the newest and largest protected area on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago: Karukinka, meaning “our land” in the language of the ancient inhabitants. We have obtained permission to visit the private reserve, which harbors rich wildlife.

Day 7 — Chilean Fjords/Beagle Channel

Today we continue our exploration of the Chilean fjords. Board Zodiacs to explore protected waters and rugged shorelines, and look for the Andean condors, albatrosses, petrels, fulmars, and many other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Later, sail the Beagle Channel, and hike and kayak amid this region of beech forests, mountains, and rushing rivers.

Day 8 — Cape Horn, Chile

Visit the southernmost tip of South America: Cape Horn, named in 1616 by Dutch navigator Willem Schouten after his birthplace, Hoorn, Holland. Weather permitting, take Zodiacs ashore for a panoramic view from land’s end.

Days 9 & 10 — Isla De Lost Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

By special permission, explore the rugged landscapes of Staten Island, a wonderland of beech forests, mountains, and fjords. Spot southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, water birds, and sea lions; and see the San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world.”

Days 11 & 12 — Ushuaia/U.S.

Disembark in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Take a charter flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts — from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes, and local culture. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.

Michael Hanson

Michael HansonMichael Hanson is a travel and documentary photographer represented by National Geographic Creative. His images have appeared in National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic Adventure, and he is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Outside Magazine. Michael began his photography career while playing professional baseball in the Atlanta Braves Organization, and in 2013, he was identified as one of the top 30 New and Emerging Photographers by Photo District News. Hanson later went on to create a Republic of Baseball series documenting the sport’s importance in the Caribbean nation of Dominican Republic, which was featured in the New York Times and earned Pictures of the Year International and Communication Arts awards in 2017. He has also received awards from National Geographic, Banff Film Festival, and American Photo, with Popular Photography Magazine naming him as one of the World's Best Travel Photographers. Michael has worked on a number of assignments worldwide, from Patagonia to Ethiopia and from Costa Rica to his home base in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. He has also co-directed an award-winning film, Who Owns Water, in his native South, and has fine art work in the permanent archive at the Sir Elton John Collection.

Michael will join the following departure:

Oct 29 - Nov 08, 2018


Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Oct 29 - Nov 08, 2018 ALT
  • Dec 01 - 12, 2019 ALT
  • Mar 08 - 19, 2020

ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.

Please note: The October 29, 2018 departure is 11 days and will follow the itinerary shown but spend only one day in Kirke Narrows/Chilean Fjords. The December 1, 2019 and March 8, 2020 departures will follow the itinerary shown but in the reverse order, beginning in Ushuaia and ending in Puerto Natales.

Expedition Cost

Category 1 $8,950
Category 2 $9,610
Category 3 $10,620
Category 4 $12,550
Category 5 $14,650
Category 6 $16,720
Category 1 Solo $13,430
Category 3 Solo $15,930

Category 1 $10,470
Category 2 $11,420
Category 3 $12,420
Category 4 $14,680
Category 5 $17,140
Category 6 $19,560
Category 1 Solo $15,690
Category 3 Solo $18,630

Prices are per person, double occupancy, except those marked solo, which are based on single occupancy.

Airfare to/from Santiago and within South America is not included in the expedition cost. The group flights to Ushuaia and return from Punta Arenas are $805 (subject to change).

View Ship/Deck Plan

Activity Level

Light or Moderate

Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.