Torres del Paine, Chile

Chilean Fjords Expedition

14 days
from
£5,280
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Trip code: 
PTD
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
146
Min age:
18

Discover the dramatic fjords, glaciers and peaks of southern Chile

The vast Patagonian ice-sheet that straddles the Andes mountains in South America is the third largest ice-mass on the planet, after Antarctica and the Greenland icecap. It is a remnant of the Earth’s most recent ice age and dominates the landscape, ecology and geology of Patagonia. Immense glacial systems cut through towering mountains as they move inexorably towards the sea. Take a look at any map of the region and this action becomes immediately apparent, in the maze of fjords and islands that make up one of the planet’s last great remaining wilderness regions. Ancient boreal forests also tell a story of an evolving planet and the supercontinent of Gondwanaland. They are home to several species of flora only found in South America, New Zealand, and Australia’s most southerly state, Tasmania.

Commencing in Ushuaia, we make our way north through a vast network of deep fjords and channels, occasionally venturing out to the Pacific Ocean as we navigate towards Valparaiso – Chile’s historic deep-sea port. We explore our surroundings by Zodiac boat, approaching huge glaciers and observing resident and migratory wildlife and birdlife. On shore, we enjoy hikes of varying durations to outstanding viewpoints, in the company of expert guides. In addition, visits to small coastal communities showcase the unique way of life of the hardy local inhabitants – telling a story of both indigenous and European settlement. It is hard to think of a more remote, pristine location!

Highlights

  • Visit historic sites, local communities and experience rural Chilean culture
  • Experience some of the most remote and pristine wilderness areas on Earth
  • Observe resident and migrating wildlife on shore, in Zodiacs and from the ship
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 13 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Ushuaia and embark

    Our journey through Chile’s spectacular fjord region commences this afternoon in Ushuaia (Argentina). We gather at our central meeting point then transfer to the pier for embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner before casting off, bound for the stunning landscapes of Patagonia, rugged coastal Chile and historic city of Valparaiso.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Garibaldi Fjord & Alberto de Agostini National Park

    During the night we have sailed in a westerly direction along the Beagle Channel, which separates Argentina from neighbouring Chile, and into Alberto de Agostini National Park, designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its large tracts of ancient sub-Antarctic forest systems. Naturalists believe these forests started growing around 10,000 years ago. We awaken to the stunning view of the Pia Glacier. After breakfast, we head to shore for the first time, with the option of taking a short but steep hike up to a panoramic view of the glacier. In the afternoon we sail up the Garibaldi Fjord to explore its massive glacier here by Zodiac. Resident wildlife in the Beagle Channel includes the South American Sea lion and several species of birds, including Magellanic penguins and albatross.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Alberto de Agostini National Park, Dainelli & Serano Glaciers

    Sailing through the night, by morning we have rounded the western tip of the great isle of Tierra del Fuego. We take in views of the ice-capped peaks of the Darwin Range as we enter remote D’Agostini Sound. Here, the Dainelli and Serrano Glaciers, along with several others, cascade into the sea. Our captain will assess current ice and weather conditions to determine where we can land to explore from shore.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Magellan Strait & Cabo San Isidro

    We arrive at Cabo San Isidro, on the north shore of Magellan Strait, and site of the southernmost lighthouse on the continent. This is our opportunity to enter the normally impenetrable Magellanic southern beech forests. A hiking trail follows the shoreline, passing shell middens left by the indigenous Kawéskar people, leading to Aguila Bay, site of an important whaling station over a century ago. Wildlife watchers will appreciate the variety of forest birds, and the viewpoint above the bay where dolphins are often observed swimming in the kelp beds below.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Inside Passage & Bernal Glacier

    We cruise through the maze of channels that form Chile’s Inside Passage, gradually making our way northward. We find ourselves in the steep-sided Montañas Fjord, where we stop at the Bernal Glacier, one of the few locations where - conditions permitting - we may be able to walk up to actually touch the ice. We return to the ship for dinner and an overnight cruise to the coastal town of Puerto Natales.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Torres del Paine National Park

    For many, today will be one of the highlights of the trip as we head ashore for a full-day excursion to Torres del Paine National Park. This iconic location boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated 'towers' (from which the park gets its name) looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems. Powerful waterfalls surge through narrow channels between the lakes, and there are some excellent short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing jaw-dropping views of the immense massif. The guanaco (a wild ancestor of the llama) is resident in the park and can be found in sizeable numbers grazing on the native grasses.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Peel Fjord & Southern Ice Field

    Departing Puerto Natales by night, we awaken far to the north, travelling through the narrow channels that separate the many forested on our way to Peel Fjord. This is one of the most remote locations of our journey. The many glaciers spilling seaward from Chile’s great Southern Ice Field here create abundant sea ice - a spectacular location which can only be accessed by an icestrengthened vessel such as RCGS Resolute.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Bruggen Glacier & Falcon Fjord

    In a trip full of superlatives and highlights, today may well be near the top. Navigating into Eyre fjord, the vast sweep of the Brüggen Glacier comes into view. Often called the ‘Pio XI’, at almost 60 kilometres in length it is the largest glacier in the Southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. From the low vantage point of our Zodiacs the sheer scale of the glacier face is overwhelming. It rises almost 70 metres above the surface of the water and is a staggering 4 kilometres wide. In the afternoon, we put on our expedition hats to explore the seldom visited Falcon Fjord.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Wellington Island & Puerto Eden

    We awaken off the shores of Wellington Island, alongside one of the most isolated inhabited places in the world. The tiny indigenous village of Puerto Edén is home to the last remaining Kawéskar people. A visit to shore allows us to explore the village and to purchase local handicrafts, including models of bark canoes reflecting the Kawéskar’s paddling heritage. In the afternoon, we sail north along Messier Channel, now leaving the Patagonian fjords to voyage over the open sea, rounding the Taitao Peninsula by night.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Chonos Arcipelago & Guamblin Island

    Sailing through the Chonos Archipelago, a patchwork of windswept islands named for the canoeing people who once made their home here, we stop at Guamblin Island. This forested and hilly island, once inhabited by the Chono people, is now a remote and infrequently visited National Park, hosting breeding colonies of several species of sea birds as well as Sea lions. These waters are also home to a recently discovered population of Blue whales - the largest species ever to have existed on our planet - which are often spotted within 100 metres of the shores at this time of the year.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Castro & Chloe Island

    We have moved to milder climes and are now in position close to the town of Castro – the provincial capital of the island of Chiloé. The town was founded in 1567 and is the third oldest city in Chile. Today it is known for its elaborate churches, made entirely of wood, which have earned it designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    We make our way ashore and are immediately struck by the colourful houses built on stilts around the harbour. Known as ‘palafitos’, they are simple homes built by local fisherman. The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country. Reboarding the ship in the afternoon, we hug the coastline, hoping to see the snow-capped summits of the many active volcanoes that characterize this region.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Coastal Cruising & Mocha Island

    Located 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Chile, the remote outcrop of Mocha Island is an important historic site. Inhabited for centuries by the indigenous Mapuche tribe, Europeans first discovered it in the mid-15th century. The island was frequented by pirates, as well as Sir Francis Drake, and legend has it that more than 100 shipwrecks lie in the surrounding waters. Weather conditions permitting, we head ashore where there are several hiking options. We hope to spot the resident Sea lions and may be lucky enough to encounter whales. The rare Pink-footed shearwater can be also found on the island, nesting in burrows on the forested slopes.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Coastal Cruising towards Valparaiso

    As we make our way towards the historic port of Valparaiso, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography expert in the multimedia room, where you can download and/or back up your precious images. Or spend time outside on the observation decks, in our spacious lounges or on the bridge. It’s a fitting time to reflect on a wonderful expedition. This evening we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Disembark Valparaiso & transfer to Santiago

    This morning we arrive at Valparaiso, the principal deep water port for Santiago, around 100 kilometres inland from the coast. After breakfast it is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows. Ride the historic funicular railways that still operate around the city and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere. Or spend some time exploring the celebrated Casablanca wine region located nearby.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The RCGS Resolute takes a maximum capacity of 146 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with One Ocean Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Chile

British, most European and most other nationalities, including Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, do not require visas. All other nationalities should contact the nearest Chilean Embassy if in doubt. Citizens of Australia pay a fee on first entry into Chile by air (cash US Dollars only, no credit cards or cheques) $95 - valid for only 90 days). There is no fee for other nationalities at the time of writing. The one-time charge is valid for the life of your passport so keep the stub stapled in.

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

If you are crossing the border into Argentina from Chile on your trip, we will need to know your profession in order to provide when entering Argentina.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Vaccinations

Chile

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Argentina with an update to the Health section – an outbreak of Hantavirus has been reported in Epuyén, Province of Chubut in southern Argentina; for more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, some of the landings may be ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).

There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

On many of our voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.

Basic kayak competence is required. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous kayaking experience – please ask for a copy of this document if you are interested in joining the sea kayaking program.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

RCGS Resolute

The Chilean Fjords Expedition voyage is offered on the RCGS Resolute which is a Polar Adventure Ship.  Designed for comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, she has public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180-degree views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in either of our two dining rooms, one of which features our popular bistro menu offering quick and easy meals for those prioritizing time out on deck. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180-degree views. Other facilities include our theatre-style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness centre, hot water spa, sauna and steam room and salt water pool.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices.

 

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

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