Australis cruise in Patagonia: from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia

4-night-cruise in Patagonia. Travel Punta Arenas, Bahía Ainsworth, Glaciers of South Patagonia, Cape Horn and Ushuaia.


You land in Santiago de Chile in the early morning. A driver greets you and takes you to your hotel. Once you leave you luggage in your room, you set off on a city tour around the capital city. You visit the historical places of the Chilean capital, its historical and civic center, its Arms Square, the Mint Palace, now government’s headquarters, the palace of the Real Audiencia, the Casa Colorada, the Basilica of La Merced, the church of San Francisco, the theatre or the Municipal Library. We suggest climbing the Santa Lucia Hill, 629 m high, which overlooks the historical center of the city. You then go up the San Cristobal Hill, which offers a magnificent view of the city and the Andes.
Lunch & dinner: not included.
Night: Hotel Boutique Lastarria.


After having breakfast at your hotel, the driver picks you up at the time agreed upon and takes you to Santiago airport, from where you fly to the southern lands. You land in Punta Arenas after a 2h40 flight. Upon your arrival, a driver greets you at the airport and takes you to your hotel. After having left your luggage in your room, you set off to discover the city.
Lunch & dinner: not included.
Night: Hotel Cabo de Hornos.


In the morning, you arrive in Punta Arenas passing by Puerto Natales. You do the check-in at the Cruceros Australis company, at 990 of Magallanes street, under the acronym CAMABA.
Punta Arenas is a handkerchief. You have lunch at one of the restaurants in the city. Punta Arenas was called “the New End of Santiago” by John Byron in 1848. The capital of the Magallanes region and the Antarctic proudly keeps the connection of its origins with the early settlers. You visit museums and walk around Punta Arenas . You will find a wide selection of stores around the Plaza Ferdinand Magellan. Please bear in mind they can be closed from 2 to 5 PM.
Duration and distances: once on board the cruise, you leave the dock of Punta Arenas heading towards the South/East in the Strait of Magellan, to join the Almirantazgo Fiord, ie 38 nautical miles.
Lunch: not included. We recommend the restaurants La Luna (1071 O’Higgins), Asturia (967 Navarro) and La Cantina Lumit (72 José Menéndez).
Boarding the cruise: you leave Punta Arenas for 5-day navigation in one of the best preserved world’s natural sites: the islands, straits and channels of the Tierra del Fuego in Argentine Patagonia. After having being introduced by the crew, dinner on board will take place in the mythical Strait of Magellan.
Log: Your cabin has a big window which resembles a porthole. Civilization is left behind and quickly becomes a distant line of lights. You are at the heart of the Strait of Magellan. Around you the smiles will show excitement which, short ago would have seemed an uncertain dream.
Night: on board of Stella Australis or Ventus Australis.


After having been informed about the instructions to disembark, you put on your warm clothes for your first excursion at Ainsworth Bay. This bay was baptized after the foreman of the H.M.S Adventure, commanded by Philip Parker King who, since 1826, commanded an English exploration expedition for five years.
Upon arriving on the beach, a sea elephants colony greets you. In front of you, colossal, and 10km away birds view, you can see the Marinelly glacier in the bay. You start a pedagogical walk with your guide about the environment of the Tierra del Fuego.
Duration and distances: you head towards the South-west in the AlmirantazgoFiord to disembark on Ainsworth Bay, ie 84 nautical miles. Stop at Ainsworth Bay, at the Marinelli Glacier and finally at Tucker Islet.
Excursion: in zodiac, you will discover the cliffs of the Tucker Islets. There live Magellan penguins and cormorants.
Log: Bruce Chatwin, the traveler writer, uses the “cobalt blue” all the time in his description of his voyage in Patagonia. There is no need of the ink of a feather to describe the thousand blues azure which the channels and fiords from this southern extreme reflect.
Located between the Parallel 40 and the forty roars, Patagonia inspires. In Transiberian Prose, Blaise Cendrars confides: “There is nothing but Patagonia, which coincides with my profound sadness…” When Darwin considered “its negative qualities irresistible”. Heading towards the Beagle Channel, protected from man’s craziness, your only reference goes down to longitudes and latitudes. You are told the incredible story of Orélie-Antoine 1st, King of the Patagonia Araucana, alias Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, a Périgourdin who, in 1860, wanted to become the king of the Mapuches Indians.
Lunch, dinner and night: on board of Stella Australis or Ventus Australis.


After breakfast, a conference on birds from Patagonia takes place. Around 9h30 you visit the machine room. By the end of the morning you disembark on Pia Glacier. You will go on a half-hour mini trek on rocks to access a headland from where you can contemplate the Darwin Mountain range, which gives birth to the huge Pia Glacier.
After lunch, the Australis takes the Fueguinos Channel. You can either go to the superior deck in the open air, or stay inside, to go along the glaciers Avenue in the North-west branch of the Beagle Channel.
Conference briefing: around 18h30, complete talk on Cape Horn.
Duration and distances: You border the Massif of Darwin range. Then, the Australis takes the Canal Ballenero before the North-west branch of the Beagle Channel. The circuit covers a total of 208 nautical miles.
Log: From Patagonia, through Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Magellan and Darwin, each name of the five decks is an invitation to the voyage of the silent footbridges of the Australis. In each boarding and disembarking, your memory associates the names of the zodiacs to the glaciers discovered during the day. In the middle of Southern Patagonia, between Chile and Argentina, all European countries have come together in an antediluvian ice deluge. Under the sunset light, you see a game of lights present in the ephemeral rainbows which you would have seen during the day. The following day, you head for Cape Horn. Legends and centuries of exploration will amaze you.
Canal Ballenero: name given by Commander Fitz Roy when the Yámanas Indians stole a whale ship in this channel.
Canal O’Brien: Commander of the Chilean fragataLautaro, Jorge O’Brien was first an officer in the English marine to then become part of the Chilean marine.
North-west branch of the Beagle Channel: Historical cannel, it got its name from the HMS Beagle, exploration ship which has participated in two hydrographic missions from 1826 to 1836 commanded by Captain Fitz Roy. The first commander in the Beagle, Pringle Stokes, committed suicide and was replaced by Captain Robert Fitz Roy. It was during his second expedition that Fitz Roy take on board the then naturalist amateur Charles Darwin. In 1985 the Beagle Conflict between Chile and Argentina on the Lennox, Picton and Nueva islands ended. In 1978 thanks to the intervention of Pope John Paul II and its envoy cardinal Antonio Samore the “Peace and Friendship Treaty” between Argentina and Chile was ratified in the Vaticano on March 14th and April 12th, 1985.
Birds species: bandurria (from the family of egyptian ibis, Southern Lapwing or telotelo and the duck steam), snipe, Southern Chincol, Magellan goose, kingfisher, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, pilpilén austral, Kelp Goose, Southern Tiuqueand Tiuque of Tierra del Fuego, caracara, red headed vulture and condor.
Lunch, dinner and night: on board of Stella Australis or Ventus Australis.


You get ready for an expedition to the Cape Horn. The day before, the captain would have warned you that disembarkment depends on the weather. You get off on the North part of the Horn Island protected from the winds. You are on the most famous Southern point in the world! Cape Horn! Cape Hard! You will head for the Albatros monument, located opposite the cape. Then the lighthouse guard awaits to stamp the “Cape Horn” stamp. Then you see the minute chapel Stella Maris which overlooks the different trails of the people in Cape Horn around the world.
After that visit, you board for the second excursion of the cruise, which takes place on the North-west side of the Navarino Island. Wulaia Bay is a high archeological site and had in the XVIII century one of the biggest settlements of Indian people. It was on this island that Darwin and Fitz Roy came in contact with the Yamanas. The interlacing formed by the morphology of the bay promises a last exceptional sunset.
Duration and distances: from Canal Murray, between the islands Bertrand and Navarrino. Towards the South, night route, towards the north face of the Cape Horn, in shelter from the winds. The circuit covers a total of 256 nautical miles.
Log: Bougainville, Byron, Magellan, the southern extreme is the contact point of all adventures of long standing captains. On the steps of Dutch Guillaume Shouten and Jacques Le Maire, the winds of conquers blow with us.
Turning on Cape Horn means Earth is round after its discovery in 1616 and that human adventure continues. It is incredible that the crew from the Shouten was imprisoned for lucubration upon their return. However, already in 1578, Francis Drake, during his navigation around the world, while leaving the Strait of Magellan, had been “three-fourth’s of a degree southern than all the other islands” when he discovered the islands Diego Ramirez. Or when the world’s certainties depended on the geography…
Horn Island: “La Concorde” from Schouten was the first boat in the world to go south the Horn Island, ie Cape Horn. Jacques Lemaire, shipowner, and Guillaume Shouten, captain, left port Hoorn in the Netherland on May 16th 1615. They reached Cape Horn on January 31st 1616. A new alternative way to the Strait of Magellan was open. The Dutch ended thus their prohibition to navigate on the Strait of Magellan. Originally “Kaap Hoorn”, it gets its name from the second ship of Le Maire and Shouten, baptized after the name of the eponym Dutch city, from where the expedition started. The Hoorn got burnt on its route and only La Concorde reached the island. Ironically, the Spanish translation “Cabo de Hornos” means Cape Oven. The marines called it simple: the Horn. Since 2005, Horn island has been declared Biosphere World’s Reserve.
Wulaia Bay: place where Robert Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin first met the Yámanasindians. Birth place of the Darwinian naturalism.
Lunch, dinner and night: on board of Stella Australis or Ventus Australis.


Welcome to the Argentinean “piercing bay”, or Ushuaia in Yamana, the capital city of the Tierra del Fuego en Argentina. Founded in 1884, when it became an important Anglican mission, it had 70.000 inhabitants. Before disembarking, do not forget to get your passport and thus finish a navigation of 586 nautical miles.
You get to your hotel and make a short visit of the “city of the end of the world”, you then go to Tierra del Fuego National Park, where you enjoy the fauna and flora typical of Southern Patagonia. In the evening you have dinner in the Argentine capital of Patagonia.
Dinner: not included.
Night: Hotel & Spa Los Cauquenes.


By the end of the morning, after breakfast, your Patagonian driver picks you up from your hotel and takes you to Ushuaia airport.
After a 3h40 flight, you land on Jorge Newbery airport in Buenos Aires. Since this airport is located in the city, the arrival in Buenos Aires is really impressive; you can even identify some of the most emblematic monuments in the city, like the Obelisk on the widest avenue in the world, the 9 de Julio Avenue. On the other hand you spot this pink house, the Casa Rosada, at present the government’s headquarters located in Plaza de Mayo.
Lunch & dinner: not included.
Night: Hotel Boutique Mine.


After breakfast at your hotel, you can walk in the beautiful neighborhood of your hotel. Later, at the time agreed upon with your driver, he takes you to Ezeiza international airport in Buenos Aires.
Lunch: not included.
Dinner & night: on the plane.