WHY THIS TRIP
The Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Expedition Cruise lets you explore a vast area of the Southern Cone where glaciers, oceans, temperate rainforests and towering mountains meet. The medium-sized boat is small enough for personalized tours and lots of time on land, but is sturdy enough to take on the Patagonian elements. The goal of the tour is to get you out to see an incredible amount of wildlife: penguins, elephant seals, albatrosses, whales, dolphins, condors, beavers, and sea lions.
The waters that separate Tierra del Fuego from Patagonia are some of the most famous and remote in the world; traveling here is a once-in-a-lifetime journey for those who want to see the towering glaciers, diverse wildlife, forests, and snow-capped Andes in person. Traveling by small expedition cruise allows you to visit places that are otherwise completely inaccessible and still in their pristine, wild state. You’ve heard of the Beagle Channel, the Straits of Magellan, and the famed Tierra del Fuego Island, but now you get to see them in a way that few people ever will.
The Australis fleet are two sturdy, luxurious, mid-sized expedition boats designed specifically for travel in this unique environment: M/V Stella Australis and M/V Ventus Australis. Your cozy cabin and stylish lounges will even more comfortable after a day of walking and wildlife viewing in Tierra del Fuego. While the landscapes outside may be formidable and stark, your accommodations are warm, spacious, and just luxurious enough for some relaxation.
But the point is to be out in nature itself, not just watch it go by your cabin window, so you’ll be out everyday with your guide. They will take you out to explore dense forests, ride a zodiac across turquoise waters to towering glaciers, and stroll beaches filled with lounging elephant seals. In this remote place, mountains seem to rise directly out of the sea and glaciers wedge themselves into every rocky crevasse. From the temperate forests surrounding Ushuaia to the edge of the harsh Patagonian Ice Field to small, penguin-filled Islands, the sights and surroundings are different every day as you cruise the from one coast of South America to the other.
The wildlife here is also a delightful highlight. Animals we usually associate with the arctic (like penguins and elephant seals) live in the same area marine mammals (sea lions, the striking Dark Dolphin and Humpback Whale) and unusual mainland wildlife (condors, beavers, and ducks). As you lean about these animals and their unique adaptations, you’ll gain a new respect for life in this harsh environment.
Cruises are 5 or 9 days starting and ending in either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas. From here, you can easily visit the other highlights of Patagonia such as Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier, or the mountains outside of El Chalten.
LOCAL OPERATOR: AUSTRALIS
Australis is a vacation cruise company specialized in navigating through the southernmost Chilean-Argentinan Patagonian channels, exploring the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel in 3-, 4-, and 7-night programs. Discover Patagonia Chile travel expeditions by land and sea, and sail various different routes between the southern cities of Punta Arenas and Ushuaia.
With trips running from September to April each year onboard the Via Australis or Stella Australis, more than 100,000 travelers from all over the world have been able to visit one of the most beautiful and unspoilt regions of the world such as Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.
Australis is a member of the following associations: SATA (South and Central American Travel Association, ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association), ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association), BOP (The best of Patagonia) and VIRTUOSO (Network of agencies and products for luxury travel).