WHY THIS TRIP
Explore the stunning peaks, massive glaciers, and incredible wildlife of Patagonia on this epic two week adventure. You travel on foot through the national parks, and by boat through the fjords and channels, seeing all the highlights of the area: Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park, and Perito Moreno Glacier.
Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
Start your epic Patagonia adventure at the end of the world, in Tierra del Fuego. You canoe down the Lasiphashaj River to Harberton Ranch, spotting sea birds and sea lions. Then you continue onto Gable Island to explore this lovely and wild island on foot. You pass the iconic Ushuaia Lighthouse and huge colonies of penguins on your way back to town.
Next you explore Tierra del Fuego National Park by foot and by water. You trek several hours along either the Pampa Alta Path or the Coastal Path, passing by one of the Park’s most beautiful stretches of shore, which is simply blooming with native vegetation and has stunning mountain vistas. Then you take to the water, traveling along the eagle Channel to Redonda Island, a reserve for Magellan Cormorants. From here, you paddle along calm rivers and through lagoons to Lapataia Bay, before heading back to Ushuaia.
Southern Patagonia Expedition Cruise on the M/V Stella Australis or M/V Ventus Australis
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.
EcoCamp at Torres del Paine National Park
The EcoCamp Patagonia, the Patagonia region’s first fully sustainable accommodations option, is a series of comfortable rooms in geodesic domes. The domes were designed to withstand the strong Patagonian winds while allowing guests to enjoy the Patagonian night sky through the windows in the ceiling.
While at EcoCamp, different excursions are offered each day to allow flexibility for travelers, but there are always daily options for easy nature walks, challenging hikes, and several days a week there are easy to moderate bike rides. Create your own itinerary by choosing the daily options you prefer most.
Nature walks include visits to Lago Sarmiento, the Grey Glacier (including a boat ride to see the face of the glacier up close), Salto Grande and the Los Cuernos viewpoint, and into the Seron Woods on the eastern side of the Park.
Hiking options including the strenuous but highly scenic hike to the base of the Torres del Paine, a hike along Lago Pehoe and on the Pingo Trail, a trek up the Valle Frances, and another hike along the Los Cuernos Trail.
The biking option, offered two days a week, is to ride bikes on the road back to the EcoCamp from Lago Sarmiento after a barbecue on the shores of the lake.
Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre are two of Patagonia’s iconic peaks, and no roads lead up to them. The best way to experience them is by taking the long way to get close to their bases. This trek explores the area around both peaks and also explores the equally famous Perito Moreno Glacier with its classic views of ice chunks calving into the water.
After traveling from Torres del Paine and a good night’s sleep, the trekking begins, with long but not overly difficult treks to Laguna de los Tres at the base of Mount Fitzroy and then to Laguna Torre at the base of Cerro Torre.
After these amazing hiking days, you transfer back to El Calafate where you spend the next two nights at a beautiful hotel outside of town. The next day you travel to the Perito Moreno Glacier where you board a boat to view the southern wall of the glacier. Then you hike a short ways to glacier and put on crampons to walk out onto the ice, before ending at a small bar serving cocktails in glacier ice. Finally you move to the main glacier viewpoints to see the north side’s giant walls with chunks of ice calving off into the water below. After one more night in El Calafate your Patagonia trip is done and everyone will head on to their next destination.
LOCAL TRIP OPERATORS:
Since 1991 Cascada Expediciones has been offering eco-friendly opportunities for travelers to let go of normal life and refresh with energizing connections to nature. With a strong focus on providing innovative, high-quality experiences — trips in which each traveler enjoys every moment of a trip — Cascada has refreshed nearly 30,000 people. Headquartered in Santiago, a trip of a lifetime with Cascada can include activities ranging from trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, rafting, fly fishing, kayaking, skiing, wildlife safari and photography, multisport itineraries to winery tours. In engaging the outdoors Cascada-style, every traveler is made to feel relaxed and energized by each activity; nourished rather than weary.
More good feeling comes in knowing the money spent on a Cascada trip stays in the Chilean economy. Moreover, the money stays with a company and people who have a deep respect for the environment. The staff and guides live an eco-friendly life, sharing the environmentally sustainable philosophy put into practice over the life of the company. So firm in its understanding of nature’s importance, Cascada became a carbon neutral company in 2008 and, between June 2009 and 2010, offset more than 183 tons of CO2 emissions. With a goal of becoming entirely CO2-free, Cascada encourages its travelers, suppliers and shareholders to help by standing by its philosophy.
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 4-, and 8-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).