Patagonian Cruise: Ushuaia to Punta Arenas – 31

Surprising, magnificent, and unique—this tour through Patagonia captures the essence of the region’s beauty.

DAY 1: BUENOS AIRES

Description: a member of our team will greet you at the airport. After settling in at the hotel, you’ll have the afternoon off, or, if you prefer, an initial tour of Buenos Aires. At the end of the day a briefing around a map with one of our Operations Representatives will take place at the hotel.
Lunch and dinner: not included.
Accommodation: Mine Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 2: BUENOS AIRES / TRELEW / PUERTO MADRYN / PUNTA DELGADA

Description: you will travel to the airport for a 2h flight to Trelew. Your guide will greet you there and you will then head for Punta Delgada at the southern end of the Peninsula de Valdés. You’ll stop at an Information Center located at the peninsula entrance, where you will learn about the wildlife of the area, This surprising peninsula is separated from the continent by an isthmus which is 16 km (10 miles) long by 6.5 km (4 miles) wide in its narrowest section. Upon arrival at the estancia you’ll be offered an initial 4×4 safari to one of the private beaches belonging to the property. You can choose between the beach option or a short walk depending on your preference. At any time of year, you’ll be able to approach elephants seals as well as see various birds – cormorants, Antarctic pidgins, oystercatchers, rock shags, flamingoes, terns – and varied species of land animals – guanacos (lama guanicoe), rheas (a small type of ostrich), foxes, maras (hares) and pichis (small nocturnal tatouay or armadillo).
Distances: 66 km (41 miles) from Trelew to Puerto Madryn, (50 minutes). Then, 170 km (106 miles), 70 (44 miles) on dirt roads until Punta Delgada (2 hours 30 min).
Lunch: in Puerto Madryn or at the estancia, according to time of flight.
Dinner and accommodation: Estancia Rincón Chico.

DAY 3: PUNTA DELGADA / PUERTO PIRÁMIDES / PUNTA DELGADA

Description: in the morning, the estancia personnel will propose another safari tour on a private beach. Then you will meet your first guide to head towards Puerto Pirámides to enjoy a tasty lunch at a lodge and a nautical excursion aboard the “Irirs” or “Orion” vessels. During the second half of the afternoon you will head out into the open sea, in the New Gulf, to get close to the southern right whales: without a doubt, the most impressive encounter of the trip. You’ll also be able to observe dusky dolphins. Whales inhabit the area from June to December to mate and give birth, mainly attracted by the high concentrations of food and warm water temperatures. The excursion ends at about 6 p.m. under the sunset. After a brief tour, you’ll return to the estancia.
Distances: 71 km (44 miles) to Puerto Piramides.
Technical description: the Iris semi rigid vessel: 8.5 meters (30 feet) long, four-stroke Yamaha engine (ecologic), 150 CV and replacement Yamaha engine 200 CV, capacity for 24 passengers. The Orion semi rigid vessel: 12.4 meters (40 feet) long, 2 four stroke Yamaha engines, 200 CV, toilette.
Lunch: The Paradise Lodge.
Dinner and accommodation: Estancia Rincón Chico.

DAY 4: PUNTA DELGADA / VALDES INLET / PUNTA NORTE

Description: you will meet your guide and together you’ll board for an excursion to the Valdes Inlet. With a length of 35 km (22 miles) this thin strip of land is permanently advancing. Scientists think it might close up in 2022 since it is land that gains terrain over the ocean and not vice versa. Along the footbridges of Punta Canor, in front of the inlet’s mouth, you will be able to observe elephant seals. After checking in at La Ernestina, the estancia’s personnel will suggest a safari within the property’s 14,000 hectares. The estancia has private beaches where you’ll be able to walk among colonies of Magellanic penguins. Every year, between September and March, 50,000 penguins mate and nest on these beaches. The excursion will continue within this private area with a photo session of a colony of elephant seals and sea lions. Between February and March, you can witness the attacks of killer whales upon sea lions. They take advantage of the impulse of the waves and end up practically stranded on the beach to capture their prey. After this spectacle, you will return to the estancia for a hearty lamb barbecue. In the late afternoon, the estancia personnel will invite you to ride a 4×4 and to enjoy a gin & tonic at the base of the Punta Norte lighthouse to view the sunset.
Distances: 90 km (56 miles) from Punta Delgada to Punta Norte.
Lunch, dinner and accommodation: Estancia La Ernestina.

DAY 5: PUNTA NORTE / TRELEW / USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO

Description: you’ll have the morning off to enjoy the estancia and go horse-riding if you wish. After lunch your guide will drive you to Trelew airport to fly to Ushuaia. There, your new guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel.
Distances: 185 km (115 miles) from Punta Norte to Puerto Madryn, and then 66 km (41 miles) to Trelew.
Lunch: estancia La Ernestina.
Accommodation: Tierra de Leyendas Hotel.

DAY 6: USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO / ESTANCIA ROLITO

Description: in the morning, you will travel with your guide to Estancia Rolito. On the way, you’ll make several stops: in Tierra Mayor Valley, you’ll cross several winter activity centers for downhill and cross-country skiing (Mt Castor), Pass of Garibaldi and the Kaiken Lodge, overlooking Lake Fagnano. Upon arrival at the estancia, its owners will propose one of the following excursions:
Option 1: a car tour to Cape San Pablo to admire, from the lighthouse, its beaches and the view; observe the remains of the Desdemona, stranded on the beach, and the diverse birds and flowers, such as the beautiful Magellan’s orchid.
Option 2: a walking tour through a mysterious Antarctic beech and lenga forest. These trees acquire intense tones of orange and red in autumn, lighting up Tierra del Fuego. This relatively open forest serves as a refuge for the autochthonous fauna and livestock.
Distances: 160 km (100 miles) / 2h30 to Ushuaia (the last 14 km -8.7 miles- are dirt roads).
Lunch, dinner and accommodation: Estancia Rolito.

DAY 7: ESTANCIA ROLITO

Description: today will be spent entirely on the estancia to enjoy nature, the sea and the activities offered, both on foot and by horse. Rolito is a 17,000 hectare estancia dedicated to breeding sheep. The meals you’ll enjoy at the estancia are made with fresh products from the property. A fine example will be the tasty lamb barbecue you’ll love!
Lunch, tea, dinner and accommodation: Estancia Rolito.

DAY 8: USHUAIA / DEPARTURE OF AUSTRALIS CRUISE

Description: after breakfast, you will begin your journey towards the end of the world. In Ushuaia, your guide will take you on a tour of the city. You’ll enjoy a panoramic view from the nautical club and visit the Marine Museum located inside the ancient prison: different rooms recreate penitentiary life, there is also an expo narrating the history of the exploration of Antarctica with detailed models of boats covering 500 years of history. Ushuaia is a free port zone, where all kinds of articles can be found at very low prices. You’ll travel though the Stella Australis at 4 p.m. After a welcoming cocktail, the vessel will raise anchor and set sail towards Navarino Island and Cape Horn, through the Murray Canal.
Distances: 160 km (100 miles) / 2h30 to Ushuaia, the first 14 km (8.7miles) are dirt roads.
Technical description: the Stella Australis is a full comfort expedition cruiser built in 2002, equipped with state-of-the-art technology in terms of navigation and security. It has 63 outer cabins with low beds, big windows, private bathroom, independent heating, air conditioning, safe box and closet (there are 4 cabin categories available – feel free to consult). During the trip: lectures (in Spanish and English) describing wildlife, plants, history, geography and glaciology of the region. Onboard: thematic evenings, marine knots and cooking courses, wine tasting, visits to the engine room. The deck of the vessel has a 370-square-meter (3981 square feet) open terrace. Other services: infirmary, boutique, a small library, game room.
Lunch: at a restaurant in Ushuaia.
Dinner and accommodation: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis, cabin A.

DAY 9: AUSTRALIS CRUISE / CAPE HORN - WULAIA BAY

Description: tour through Nassau Bay until reaching the Hermitas Islands, among which Hornos Island can be found. You’ll disembark at Cape Horn National Park, a 425 meter high (1394 feet) natural headland. At its base the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans’ waters blend. In the afternoon, you will disembark at Wulaia Bay, a historical site since it was one of the most important yamana centers of the region. In search of a beautiful view of the bay, you will cross the Magellanic forest of lengas and cohiues. Then, you’ll enter the Beagle Canal, towards the glacier area.
Note: the disembarkment at Cape Horn depends on god Eolo’s whims.
Lunch, dinner and accommodation: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis, cabin A.

DAY 10: AUSTRALIS CRUISE / PIA & GARIBALDI GLACIERS

Description: You wake up while the ship is navigating on the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel. You enter in the Pia fjord, until the viewpoint just in front of the monster : the Pia glacier. You turn around then enter in the Garibaldi Fjord. After a short walk, you get in the Patagonian Wood to discover a glacial waterfall, before the attraction of the day: the Garibaldi glacier. These two glaciers are located in the Darwin range. Navigation will continue through the Magdalena Canal and Magellan’s Strait… Elephant seals and sea lions, Magellanic penguins and cormorants will accompany you on this thrilling adventure.
Lunch, dinner and accommodation: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis, cabin A.

DAY 11: AUSTRALIS CRUISE / CONDOR & AGUILA GLACIERS

Description: You navigate on the Cockburn channel, then The Agostini channel. With the help of the Zodiacs, you will be able to land again and walk toward a lake created by the glacier thaw, before to reach the front of it. Then you approach the Condor, another majestic glacier of the region. Your guide teach you the formation of the glaciers and its influence on the valleys and the beautiful fjords creations.
Lunch & dinner & night: Stella Australis or Ventus Australis, cabin A.

DAY 12: MAGDALENA ISLAND / PUNTA ARENAS - CHILE / PUERTO NATALES - CHILE

Description: early in the morning, you’ll disembark on Magdalena Island, home to an immense colony of Magellanic penguins with a population of over 120,000, which you’ll appreciate on the long walk circuit to the lighthouse. You will then travel towards Punta Arenas, where you’ll disembark at about 11.30 a.m. Your Chilean guide will greet you there to tour the city before lunch. Then, he will drive you to Puerto Natales, located at the end of the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) Fiord. It is a nice little town with colorful wooden houses you’ll be able to visit before settling in at the hotel.
Distances: 250 km (155 miles) / 3 hours.
Lunch: at a restaurant in Punta Arenas.
Accommodation: Altiplánico Patagonia Hotel.

DAY 13: PUERTO NATALES - CHILE / TORRES DEL PAINE - CHILE

Description: you’ll travel early in the morning to take full advantage of the visit to Torres del Paine National Park. The paths skirt the pillar, zigzagging in between the opaline and turquoise colored lakes, which change color according to the sunlight. You will get to the park through the Amarga Lagoon sector. The Towers can be seen first, then “the Horns” and the Frenchman’s Glacier gradually come into sight. We suggest heading straight for Lake Grey to arrive at noon and walk for 45 minutes (2.2 km / 1.4 miles) to the end of the peninsula. When you return, you can’t miss out on the ten-minute walking tour on the northern end of Lake Pehoe to get to know Salto Grande, an enormous waterfall with “the Horns”, some skin-colored rocks in the background. You will leave the Park and travel to the lodge which is located nearby.
Distances: 110 km (68 miles) / 2 hour 15 min from Puerto Natales to the Park entrance; and 60 km (37 miles) / 1 hour 45 min to Lake Grey. Another 60 km to the entrance and 32 km (20 miles) to the lodge.
Note: please keep your admission ticket to the Park, since it will be valid for the next day.
Lunch: at the Lake Grey Lodge restaurant or the Sodexho restaurant at Lake Pehoe.
Accommodation: Estancia Cerro Guido.

DAY 14: TORRES DEL PAINE - CHILE

Description: you’ll have the day off to enjoy the activities the lodge has to offer: a horse ride tour opposite Torres del Paine (duration 2 to 5 hours, according to your preference) or taking part in typical estancia activities: sheep and lamb clipping, branding and tail clipping, branding and trail herding of 500 calves and 700 cows…This park, which belongs to the Unesco Heritage, has the biggest number of condors in Latin America, numerous mammals: guanacos, foxes and wild cats.
Lunch and accommodation: Estancia Cerro Guido.

DAY 15: TORRES DEL PAINE - CHILE / EL CALAFATE

Description: around mid morning you will be driven from the lodge to Mt Castillo, the border, where your new Argentine guide will greet you and travel with you to El Calafate, passing by the town of Esperanza in the center of Santa Cruz Province. The city of El Calafate, whose name comes from a kind of blueberry, is famous for its popular ski resort. Located a little further towards the glaciers, La Estepa is a lodge with the typical arquitecture used by the English immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century. The lodge has a beautiful view on a bay of Lake Argentino. The afternoon will be devoted to a 4×4 circuit (15km/ 3hs) around the highlands of El Calafate. This tour crosses 3 points of interest: El Calafate balcony, an excellent viewpoint on Lake Argentino, the Stone Labyrinth, made of mineral mushrooms, and Sombreros Stones, embeddings on a stone which resemble Mexican hats and for which there is no scientific explanation.
Distances: 80 km (50 miles) from Mt Guido to the border and 286 km (178 miles) / 3h15 from Mt Castillo to El Calafate. La Estepa is located 3km from El Calafate.
Lunch: Casimiro Restaurant or equivalent.
Accommodation: La Cantera Calafate Hotel.

DAY 16: PUNTA BANDERA / SPEGAZZINI & UPSALA GLACIERS / LA ANITA VALLEY

Description: after enjoying the morning light from the lodge’s breakfast lounge, you will travel to Punta Bandera. This full-day tour will cover the north branch of Lake Argentino, one of the country’s most important lakes. You will board at the Captain’s Club (VIP lounge and private dock), on the Chonek or Nueva Leon catamarans. Zigzagging between the icebergs, the boat will take you through the lake’s different branches to the base of the main glaciers of Patagonia glacier fields: Spegazzini, with its 80 meter (262 feet) walls, Uspalla, the second biggest glacier among the 47 in the park, and Onelli. You will disembark for lunch, and after an 800-meter (half a mile) walk through a magnificent lenga forest circuit, you will reach Onelli Bay, which is filled with icebergs in a unique landscape of glaciers and snowy peaks. Back onboard, you’ll sail for 1 hour to meet your guide back in Punta Bandera.
Technical description: with a max capacity of 250 people, the Chonek and Nueva Leon catamarans are state-of-the-art ships. They are equipped with all the security devices required by international standards: GPS, plotter, eco-sounder, VHF, heating and bar service.
Distances: 46 km from the lodge to Punta Bandera. Five hours of nautical excursion.
Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide.
Accommodation: La Cantera Calafate Hotel.

DAY 17: PERITO MORENO GLACIER / LA ANITA

Description: for this day you have two options:
Option 1: a mini trek tour through the southern section of the Perito Moreno Glacier. After crossing the Rico Arm by boat (15 minutes), and receiving a short briefing, you will put on crampons (ice nails) and begin a 90 minute circuit on the ice. What is most amazing in this icy world are the rare deep blue tones and hues.
Option 2: from the “Bajo la sombras” dock you will travel and sail for 1 hour towards the southern wall of the glacier. The façade of the glacier is 5 km (3 miles) long; its height reaches 170 meters (557 feet), though only 60 meters (197 feet) emerge from the surface of the water. After the optional tour, we suggest hiking a trail which skirts the Iceberg Canal and enables you to gradually discover the glacier and then joins the traditional footbridge circuit. The cherry on top of the cake is a delicious tea in an ideal location: La Usina, located on the shores of some rapids, under the shade of the lenga trees.
Distances: 74 km (45 miles) from the lodge to the footbridges, of which 12 km (7 miles) are dirt roads.
Note: the «mini trek» is accessible to everyone. Two mountain guides will lead each group of 20 people max. We recommend you select this option once you book.
Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide.
Accommodation: La Cantera Calafate Hotel.

DAY 18: LA ANITA VALLEY / LAKE ROCA / LA ANITA

Description: Argentines call it a “dia de campo” (farm day): a day for enjoying nature and taking part in typical estancia activities. Nibepo Aike is located in a fairytale landscape: Lake Roca, the southern branch of Lake Argentino, the peaks looming on the other side of the banks, mountain grasslands, lenga forests… Even the access road is beautiful: don’t miss the chance to go up the small hill where the park rangers live. You will have absolute freedom to choose among the activities the estancia has to offer: a horse ride between the lake and the Crystal Belt; a short climb to the highlands that surround the estancia, from where you’ll see the puzzle effect formed by the different lakes, with the Perito Moreno Glacier in the background. The estancia’s gauchos will suggest you witness a sheep clipping demonstration, and will invite you to share a hearty barbecue (asado). This Yugoslavian family, pioneers in the region, settled in these lands at the beginning of the 20th century.
Distances: 81 km (50 miles) of which 36 km (22 miles) are dirt roads.
Lunch: at Estancia Nibepo Aike.
Accommodation: La Cantera Calafate Hotel.

DAY 19: EL CALAFATE / BUENOS AIRES

Description: after breakfast, your guide will drive you to El Calafate airport in order to fly to Buenos Aires. After a 3h flight, a member of our team will greet you and drive you to the hotel. Once you’ve settled in, you’ll enjoy a dinner show, which will open the doors to the passion and grace of tango. Argentina further reveals its soul!
Distances: 23 km to El Calafate airport.
Lunch: not included.
Dinner show: Esquina Carlos Gardel restaurant VIP seats, wine included.
Accommodation: Design Ce Hotel.

DAY 20: BUENOS AIRES / INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

Description: before leaving for the airport, you will continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or, if you prefer, go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. The city tour goes through Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world with its 65 meter (213 feet) obelisk and Avenida de Mayo, which is well known for its buildings of Galician architecture influence. At Plaza de Mayo, you will discover Casa Rosada, HQ for the president. You will then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses made of materials recovered from ships, which inspire many painters and poets. You will then discover San Telmo, home of antique shops and traditional tango bars. Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood, where walking is a true pleasure due to its numerous parks and squares. To end the tour, you’ll visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. You cannot miss out on this visit!
Option: fly over Buenos Aires on a private helicopter and enjoy an unforgettable view of Buenos Aires at 200 ms. The tour takes 30 to 45 minutes and covers 100km.
Lunch: at the Gardiner restaurant, opposite Río de la Plata, or similar.
Dinner and night: on the plane.