Expedition Details


Carved by fjords and capped by glistening glaciers, Patagonia is a natural wonderland. Cruise through a landscape of thick forests and icebergs to the tip of Cape Horn and the Strait of Magellan. Then continue overland to Patagonia's crown jewel—Torres del Paine National Park—and end our journey in Santiago, Chile's vibrant capital.

Trip Highlights

    • Get expert insights as you explore Patagonia by land and sea, gliding past pristine fjords and vast glaciers on a four-day cruise, then heading inland to explore granite spires, sapphire lakes, and hidden waterfalls. 
    • Settle into the stunning Tierra Patagonia, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World overlooking the staggering peaks of Torres del Paine National Park.
    • Set out on an interpretive walk across Magdalena Island, home to a colony of more than 100,000 Magellanic penguins.
    • Enjoy a festive barbecue with local gauchos and get a glimpse into traditional Patagonian cowboy culture.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Day 1 — Buenos Aires, Argentina

Arrive this morning in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Transfer to our hotel in the heart of the fashionable Recoleta neighborhood and explore the nearby galleries, museums, and cafés. Enjoy a tango performance at our welcome dinner tonight.
The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires (D)

Day 2 — Buenos Aires

Spend the day discovering Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital, known as “the Paris of South America.” On a city tour, see the remarkable Recoleta Cemetery, burial site of Eva Perón. Continue to the historic presidential palace, La Casa Rosada, and the cathedral in Plaza de Mayo. After lunch, explore the cobblestoned lanes of San Telmo, as well as the colorful artists’ quarter of La Boca.
The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires (B,L)

Day 3 — Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego National Park

Fly to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and visit Tierra del Fuego National Park. Embark the M.V. Stella Australis ship and set sail toward the famed Beagle Channel.
M.V. Stella Australis (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Cape Horn, Chile/Wulaia Bay

Weather permitting, take Zodiacs to the legendary Cape Horn for a panoramic view from the southernmost tip of South America. Later, explore Wulaia Bay, where Charles Darwin landed during his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. Choose one of three walks to experience the spectacular beauty of the Magellanic forest.
M.V. Stella Australis (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Magdalena Channel/Agostini Sound

As we navigate the Magdalena Channel, spot penguins, dolphins, sea lions, and Andean condors. Cruise through majestic Agostini Sound and disembark for a closer look at Águila Glacier. During an easy walk on shore, take in spectacular views of the brilliant blue-and-white ice set off by black mountains, and learn about the geological forces that shaped this dramatic land.
M.V. Stella Australis (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Magdalena Island/Punta Arenas

Take a morning walk on Magdalena Island, home to a colony of 100,000 Magellanic penguins. Disembark in Punta Arenas and continue across the southern pampas, looking for herds of guanacos, as well as rheas, gray foxes, Patagonian hares, and black-necked swans. Settle into the spectacular Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection and our home for the next four nights.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa (B,L,D)

Days 7, 8, & 9 — Torres del Paine National Park

During the next three days, tailor your exploration to your interests, choosing among a variety of hiking and horseback-riding excursions in the park. Discover Grey Lake and its incredibly blue sculpted ice; hike through beech forests along the shore of Laguna Azul; and marvel at rock paintings left by the indigenous Aonikenk people, some of the earliest inhabitants of the region. Photograph wildlife near the northern limits of the park or relax at the hotel, taking advantage of its wonderful amenities. Enjoy evening lectures, and cap off your stay in the park with a festive barbecue in the company of local gauchos, getting a glimpse into traditional Patagonian cowboy culture.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa (B,L,D daily)

Day 10 — Punta Arenas/Santiago, Chile

Today, drive to Punta Arenas airport for the flight to Santiago, stopping for lunch along the way. Arrive in Santiago this evening and check in to our hotel.
The Singular Santiago (B,L)

Day 11 — Santiago

Spend a full day exploring Santiago. On a walking tour of the city center, see the elegant Plaza de Armas, Palacio de la Moneda, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral. View the impressive collection at Santiago’s Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, and enjoy a farewell celebration at a Chilean winery. This evening, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Optional Extensions

National Geographic Expert

Tim Weed

Tim WeedTim Weed is an outdoorsman, independent explorer, and award-winning author. Highlights of his long career in international education have included directing college semester abroad programs in Spain, Australia, and Venezuela; bringing some of the first American students to Cuba since the Revolution in the late 1990s; creating and leading programs for writers, artists, and musicians in Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Italy, and Ireland; and trekking at various latitudes in the Andes cordillera in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, northern Argentina, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. A founding director of National Geographic Student Expeditions, Tim’s articles on travel, history, outdoor adventure, and the writing craft have appeared in Talking Points MemoBackcountryWriter’s Chronicle, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, and many other magazines and journals. Tim is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and a Solas Best Travel Writing Award. His first novel, Will Poole’s Island, was named to Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year list, and a short fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, is out from Green Writers Press in 2017.

Tim will join the following departure:

Jan 15 - 25, 2018



  • Dec 30, 2017 - Jan 11, 2018 ALT (waitlist only)
  • Jan 15 - 25, 2018 (waitlist only)
  • Jan 29 - Feb 08, 2018
  • Feb 12 - 22, 2018
  • Feb 26 - Mar 08, 2018

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.

* The December 2017 departure is two days longer and includes a special New Year’s Eve tango performance in Buenos Aires.

Expedition Cost

October – November 2017

Category A
Category AA
Category AAA

December 2017* (13 Days)

Category A
Category AA
Category AAA

January – March 2018

Category A
Category AA
Category AAA

Categories A, AA, and AAA refer to cabin categories aboard the M.V. Stella Australis. Standard, Superior, and Suite refer to rooms at Tierra Patagonia.

Prices are per person, double occupancy. Please refer to the information below regarding single supplements based on departure date and room/cabin category:

October – November 2017:
     Add $3,350 in Category A, $4,100 in Category AA, and $4,700 in Category AAA.

December 2017* (13 Days):
     Add $3,800 in Category A, $4,550 in Category AA, and $5,150 in Category AAA.

January – March 2018:
     Add $3,350 in Category A, $4,250 in Category AA, and $4,950 in Category AAA.

International airfare to Buenos Aires and return from Santiago and airfare within Argentina and Chile are not included in the expedition cost. Group flights within Argentina and Chile are $890 (subject to change).

Featured Expedition Moment

Activity Level


Travelers 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, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

This itinerary suits a wide range of interests and abilities, blending light and moderate activity options on several days, along with the choice of a couple more challenging hikes for those interested. Activities include city walking tours, one- to two-mile nature walks, and some vehicle-based sightseeing excursions, as well as optional horseback rides and longer hikes across challenging terrain. Travelers should be in good health to participate, and be able to walk and climb stairs aboard a moving ship, as well as get in and out of Zodiacs for shore excursions. While the more rigorous activities are fully optional, it’s important to be aware that most of the trip takes place in remote areas where medical care can be a day or more away. Due to the remoteness, particularly Torres del Paine National Park, this trip also includes a couple of long driving days.