From September to April, visitors can travel from Argentina to Chile via the Strait of Magellan, a critical natural passage between the Atlantic and Southern Pacific oceans. First navigated by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, it remained the primary route around South America until the Panama Canal was completed in 1914.
These fjords and channels are known for their natural beauty and calm waters. The strait is often compared to Alaska's Inside Passage. Along the route, high glaciers flow to the sea from steep snow-capped peaks. Protected bays teem with elephant seals, Humpback whales and Magellanic penguins.
Cruise ships depart from Ushuaia, Argentina and travel west to Punta Arenas, Chile (or vice versa). These three-night cruises offer guided excursions to glaciers, forests, wildlife colonies, and historic sites. A sample itinerary of the M/V Stella Australis cruise ship (launched in 2010) is shown below:
Day 1: Departure from Ushuaia, Argentina
Check in at the dock in Ushuaia from 9:00PM to 5:00PM, with boarding at approximately 5:00PM. This is a full board cruise package, with all meals, most drinks, and excursions included.
Once aboard, the Captain and crew host a welcome cocktail reception. Immediately afterward, the ship will depart. This voyage passes through the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan, arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Dinner is served aboard the ship.
Day 2: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay
The ship sails through the Beagle and Murray channels to reach and disembark in Cape Horn National Park (weather permitting). Cape Horn, on Hornos Island, is a sheer, 1,394-foot high rocky promontory that marks the junction of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.
In the afternoon, disembark at historic Wulaia Bay. This was once the site of one of the region's largest aboriginal settlements. The area is also renowned for the beauty of its vegetation and geography. Your hike will pass through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point.
Day 3: Piloto & Nena Glaciers
In the morning, sail through the haunting Brecknock and Ocasion channels, reaching Cockburn Channel by afternoon.
After lunch, arrive at Chico Sound and disembark in Zodiac boats to explore Alakaluf Fjord, viewing its beautiful waterfalls and the Piloto and Nena glaciers from the sea. Learn about the formation of glaciers and their influence in the geography of the region's channels.
Day 4: Magdalena Island and Arrival in Punta Arenas
In the early morning, go ashore on Magdalena Island. Located in the Strait of Magellan, this island was an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers in former times. The island is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic Penguins. The colony can be observed during the walk to a lighthouse, which guides ships on their way through the strait.
In September and April, this excursion to Magdalena Island is replaced by a Zodiac boat ride to Marta Island, where sea lions can be observed.
The cruise concludes upon arrival in Punta Arenas (with disembarkation at approximately 11:30AM).
Upon arrival in Chile, most travelers fly to Santiago or the Chilean Lake District. Extensions to the Torres del Paine National Park can also be arranged. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
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