From the wilds of Tierra del Fuego to the pinnacles of Torres del Paine National Park, experience Patagonia at close range aboard National Geographic Explorer. Set off from Buenos Aires, tracing the east coast of Argentina to Tierra del Fuego and watching for elephant seals and Andean condors, whales and rare Commerson’s dolphins, guanacos and quirky penguins. Search for Southern right whales at their renowned gathering spot off the Peninsula Valdés. Venture through the Strait of Magellan, deep into Chile’s maze of glorious fjords, past incandescent icebergs and massive glaciers. Explore Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and view land’s end rounding Cape Horn.
Enjoy special access to pristine wildlife reserves available only by reservation, from Argentina’s Bahía Bustamante to Yendegaia and Karukinka natural parks on Tierra del Fuego.
Wander among thousands of Magellanic penguins on Isla Magdalena, and watch for orcas and dusky dolphins off Valdés Peninsula.
Explore Torres del Paine National Park with naturalists and cruise in Zodiacs among glaciers and islets in the Chilean fjords.
Transit the legendary Beagle Channel and take in the view from land’s end at Cape Horn.
Itinerary - 20 Days
Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Buenos Aires, Argentina
Disembark in Buenos Aires and check into our elegant hotel, located in the cultural heart of the city. Set out to discover Beaux Arts palaces and the bohemian quarters of La Boca and San Telmo, and see the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Perón. The next day, settle into your cabin aboard the National Geographic Explorer. Caesar Park Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 4 & 5 — At Sea/Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Enjoy a day at sea watching for marine life and attending talks by our team of experts as the ship follows the Argentine coast south. Then enter a maze of channels and islands in the Bahía Blanca Estuary, keeping an eye out for rare species like the La Plata river dolphin and Olrog’s gull. Drop anchor at the port city of Bahía Blanca, set on the edge of vast grasslands known as the Pampas, and head for the Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist. Learn about the native species of the Pampas as you explore the park on a variety of hikes and walks. (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — At Sea/Valdés Peninsula
After a day at sea, arrive at Valdés Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage site where endangered southern right whales come to mate and calve their young. Venture onto land to spot guanacos, maras, armadillos, elephant seals, and a Magellanic penguin colony. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Bahía Bustamante
Bahía Bustamante is a private, family-owned marine estancia that stretches across some 200,000 acres from the Patagonian steppe to the coast. A working sheep ranch, the estancia is part of the Coastal Marine Park of Austral Patagonia and harbors a fantastic array of flora and fauna, including more than 100 species of birds. Go whale-watching offshore; on land, look for guanacos, rheas, and other steppe wildlife on hikes. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Puerto Deseado
Venture into the Reserva Natural Ría Deseado in small boats and look for numerous species of cormorant and breeding rock shag. Also keep your eye out for the black-and-white Commerson’s dolphin. Later visit the small town of Puerto Deseado and trace its history at a local museum. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Coastal Argentina
The remote Argentine coast has been visited by countless expeditions through out history, including Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle. The southern coast has sandy beaches and impressive geological formations with dramatic arches and caves, perfect for exploring. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Punta Arenas and Isla Magdalena, Chile
Our first stop in Chile is Punta Arenas, perched on the Strait of Magellan. Take in panoramic views of the strait and learn about the town’s history and environment on visits to its museums. Go on a hike if you wish, and watch the antics of Magellanic penguins on Isla Magdalena. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Tierra del Fuego
Our destination today is the newest and largest protected area on Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park. By special arrangement, we’ll explore the private reserve, which harbors rich wildlife, including guanacos, Andean condors, and the endangered culpeo fox. (B,L,D)
Days 13 & 14 — Chilean Fjords
Against a backdrop of spectacular peaks, the fjords and islands of the Chilean coast are home to dolphins, whales, seals, and Magellanic penguins. Exploring by Zodiac and on foot, pass below walls of blue glacier, skirt tiny islands thick with vegetation, and discover hidden lakes and waterfalls. (B,L,D)
Day 15 — Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine National Park
Dock at Puerto Natales and set out for Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its twisting black-tipped pinnacles. Spend the rest of the day discovering the glaciers, mountains, forests, and dazzling lakes of this magnificent park with our naturalists. (B,L,D)
Days 16 & 17 — Beagle Channel and Yendegaia
Transit the scenic Beagle Channel, stopping to explore the pristine wilderness of Yendegaia by special permission. A former cattle ranch stretching between the channel and the Cordillera Darwin, the park boasts southern beech forests, expansive grasslands, and wild rivers that pass through deep valleys. (B,L,D)
Day 18 — Cape Horn
Today we round the southernmost tip of South America, 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, and visit the family that mans the nearest weather station to the cape. (B,L,D)
Days 19 & 20 — Ushuaia, Argentina/Buenos Aires/U.S.
Disembark in Ushuaia and enjoy time to explore before our charter flight to Buenos Aires. Connect to your overnight flight home. (B,L)