Cape Horn to the Penguins of Antarctica
Santiago | Punta Arenas | Puerto Williams | Cape Horn | Half Moon Island | Yankee Harbor Cuverville Island | Neko Harbor | Paradise Harbor | Punta Arenas | Santiago
6 Guaranteed Departures from Santiago, Chile:
Jan 21, Feb 3, & Feb 16, 2017; Jan 18, Jan 31, & Feb 13, 2018
From $9135 Per Person Land Only
This introductory Antarctica Hurtigruten Cruise tour features all of the most remote continent’s rugged charm and her endless panoramic vistas as well as the famous Chilean fjords! Sail the Beagle Channel and glide past the ‘end of the world’ in the wake of history’s most seasoned explorers to reach what few people alive have seen—the last uninhabited place on Earth and her unusual wildlife.
Day 01: Santiago
You’ll arrive in the capital of Chile today, exploring the vibrant city on your own.
1541 marked the founding of Santiago, and over time the city has acquired a captivating social atmosphere with prominent architectural and natural features. Heading Chile’s Central Valley and wreathed in the snowcapped peaks of the Andes mountain range, Santiago is home to 19th-century neoclassical buildings, Art Deco masterpieces, Neo-Gothic façades, and other influential architecture. Winding side streets frame these beautiful structures, parks such as Parque Forestal and stand-alone hills dot the landscape, and the Mapocho River cuts a swatch through the heart of the city as it flows down from the mountains.
Enjoy a night in a city-center hotel, and then prepare to depart for Punta Arenas in the morning.
Sheraton Santiago Hotel & Convention Center or similar
Day 02: Santiago - Punta Arenas
Breakfast is early this morning before you check out of your hotel. Transfer is included to Santiago Airport, where your charter flight to Punta Arenas awaits (luggage will be transported separately to the airport). Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you’ll be taken from the airport to the pier where our ship awaits.
A social South American town with distinct Magellanic hospitality, Punta Arenas is a focal point of Chile’s southernmost region and enjoys spectacular views of the Strait of Magellan, a sprawling cityscape complete with European architecture, and the surrounding mountains. The largest in the entire region, the city was founded in the mid-1800s and became an influential trade, culture, and communication center.
Board the MS Midnatsol tonight, and enjoy your first dinner with your fellow passengers. Each night from here to the end of your tour of Antarctica will be in a cabin aboard the ship.
Day 03-04: Beagle Channel (Chilean Fjords) - Tierra del Fuego - Puerto Williams - Cape Horn
We’ll pass through the Beagle Channel after navigating the Magellan Strait, where the Chilean fjords rise up to guide us on either side of the ship as we sail. The narrow strip of sea is named for the ship that bore Charles Darwin on his explorations here from 1833-1834. We’ll encounter the diversity of this place, including the narrow Gabriel Canal and a tiny island named Isla Tucker, on our way to the Drake Passage—at times some of the most challenging seas in the world—as we get closer to reaching our ultimate destination of Antarctica.
Along the way, glide past Tierra del Fuego (‘Land of Fire’) and one of the southernmost towns in the world, Ushuaia, nicknamed the ‘End of the World’ and once home to four separate indigenous tribes of people. The extraordinary views here and further south are some of the best in South America, so take advantage of the sights from the deck and keep your camera on hand! We continue on with the hope of landing on sites like Puerto Williams and Cape Horn.
One of two ports on the small island of Navarino, Puerto Williams essentially exists on the edge of civilization. In the background across the narrow Beagle Channel, immense snow-covered peaks create a riveting panoramic to this picturesque fishing village founded as a radio station in 1953. Preserved here is the prow of the ship S.S. Yelcho, the small steam tug used by Ernest Shackleton and Captain Luis Pardo to rescue the S.S. Endurance expedition’s crew after the attempted Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Another interesting spectacle is the local museum of anthropology, which houses the remains of ancient indigenous people groups’ campsites.
The southernmost point of Chile and South America is a significant place due to its location, history, high amount of momentous discoveries, and thriving trade routes. The capricious nature of the seas and the potential for extreme weather in this region of the world may make it difficult to go ashore, but if conditions permit, we’ll be able to safely explore the rugged and often romantic scenery present at the end of the civilized world.
NOTE: Landings are at the discretion of the ship’s captain.
Day 05-06: Drake Passage
Ford one of the world’s most notorious channels today as we travel toward the Antarctic Peninsula. A 35-hour sailing in good weather, the Drake Passage was a notoriously tough channel for early explorers of the polar region, and is still a unique journey few have undertaken. It’s the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Great Southern Ocean—a great meeting of northerly warm, saline-rich water and southern colder, less salty water—and you can spot an amazing amount of seabirds (including the wandering albatross) on the voyage.
While sailing toward the tip of Antarctica, you can attend a number of presentations about the history and wildlife of the areas you’ll visit on your journey, or you can pay a visit to our Explorer Room.
Day 07-11: Antarctica - South Shetland Islands - Half Moon Island - Yankee Harbor - Cuverville Island - Neko Harbor - Paradise Harbor - Wilhelmina Bay
Today we’ll arrive at the most remote destination in the world: Antarctica. Nearly as large as the North American continent and with a weather pattern that defies some of the roughest in the world, Antarctica is a truly untouched and uninhabited region with varied wildlife and a soaring landscape. About 99% of the world’s ice is found on this extensive region, nearly 2.5 miles thick, as well as unique species of seal, penguins, and various migratory whale species. Before visiting, you’ll be briefed on the strict guidelines and rules associated with this continent dedicated to peace, science, and tourism. Our activities are not permitted to disturb the pristine environment, and while we tour Antarctica’s extraordinary domain we need to be mindful to leave nothing behind and take nothing back with us as a memento—except photos.
Safety on all sailings and landings are paramount and crucial to the voyage, and all final decisions on sailing schedules/landings are decided by the ship’s captain during the voyage as weather conditions have a great influence on the schedule. We’ll spend six full days in the area, attempting landings at some of the locations below, before turning back toward Chile and fording the Drake Passage.
Half Moon Island (South Shetland Islands)
British merchant William Smith was credited with the discovery of the South Shetland Islands in 1819 when his ship was pushed far south of Cape Horn by a powerful storm, making landfall on the islands. A small 1.2-mile island in the shadow of picturesque Livingston Island, Half Moon Island is a jewel of diversity in the polar landscape.
The bay of Half Moon Island plays host to a colony of Chinstrap penguins. Once on land, you can choose to stroll around at your own pace or join the expedition team for an excursion (weather permitting)—a hike, passing the Teniente Camara Station to a popular viewpoint at the edge of the bay facing Bransfield Strait, where whales may be seen. There are no land predators in Antarctica, so the penguins have had little in the way of harmful land experiences. With care, visitors can walk among their waddling hosts and explore their way of life firsthand. In addition to the penguin colony, you’ll find that Half Moon Island regularly receives visits from Antarctic terns, Kelp gulls, Snowy sheathbills, Wilson’s storm petrels, and several species of seals!
This harbor houses a terraced Gentoo penguin colony, where predatory Skua nest nearby. Here, you may witness the inherent struggle between the different breeds as penguins protect their young and Skua attempt to feed theirs: Skua adults dive into the nests of Gentoo penguins and snatch their young. The harbor also features a natural haven (a spit about .6 miles long) where Weddell, crabeater, fur, and elephant seals leave the sea for a time to mate or give birth.
Housed within the narrow, stunning Errera Channel, Cuverville Island possesses the largest known colony of Gentoo penguins in the Antarctic. Skua also nest here, and frequently feed off of Gentoo young. The space between Cuverville and sister island Danco—a shallow area—is often the site of stranded icebergs, which offers incredible photo opportunities.
Located on the innermost part of Andvord Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula, this is a beautiful, natural glacial lagoon into which icebergs and snow descend from the majestic mountains and glacier walls above. This is another of the rare places on the Antarctic Peninsula we’ll be able to land, and see a Gentoo penguin colony.
Home to a colony of Gentoo penguins and a fabulous vista, Paradise Harbor is just as its name suggests: a glittering visual haven with icebergs and towering mountains jutting out of the sea. Whalers gave this place its name: when the storms were at their worst, this is where they came to seek out shelter. Today, it’s the base for the Chilean González Videla station.
The water, mountains and atmospheric glaciers of Wilhelmina Bay guarantee dramatic scenery—huge ice shelves in this region and others create sculptures of both large icebergs and tiny pieces to complement the remote surroundings.
Each night, you’ll return to the cozy accommodations in your cabin aboard the Midnatsol.
Day 12: Drake Passage
During the return journey across the Drake Passage, we’ll close out our long voyage with a summary of the experiences we’ve seen together, and sail the roughly 500 miles toward the Chilean fjord region.
Day 13-14: Chilean Fjords
We’ll arrive today near where our journey began 13 days ago: Cape Horn and the Chilean fjords. Our captain will look for windows in which to land safely at both Cape Horn and Puerto Williams.
NOTE: Landings are at the discretion of the ship’s captain.
Day 15: Punta Arenas - Santiago
A final farewell with your captain and crew is in order before you disembark in Punta Arenas. We include a transfer between the pier and the Punta Arenas airport for your flight back to Santiago. If there’s time, an orientation tour in Punta Arenas will be included.
Transfer on your own from the Santiago domestic airport to the international airport for your flight home.
- 13 nights’ accommodation aboard the vessel MS Midnatsol
- 1 night accommodation in a Santiago hotel
- Transfer from Santiago hotel to airport
- Charter flight from Santiago - Punta Arenas - Santiago
- Transfer from MS Midnatsol ship to Punta Arenas airport
- Transfers in Punta Arenas and Orientation Tour
- Full board, complimentary tea and coffee
- Wind and water-resistant jacket, complimentary use of Muck Boot® rubber boots
- Landings with Polarcirkel boats, activities on board MS Midnatsol and ashore
- Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Suites include a range of additional complimentary amenities, such as drinks, meals, and a welcome gift
NOTE: Prices do not include any services not listed in the program. Some activities and excursion trips will only be sold on board. Tour operator reserves the right to adjust the scheduled program and itinerary. Please be prepared to expect the unexpected: planned landings will depend on weather and ice conditions. Rubber boots are available to rent on board. We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance.
ENVIRONMENTAL NOTE: Hurtigruten ship captains take pride in route-planning that minimizes the load of the engines and reduces emissions. They never dump waste in the sea, and ask that you not leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. We ask you to respect the saying: 'Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.' For more information on visiting Antarctica safely, please refer to the ATS website.
Please refer to our FAQs page for a few tips on special packing needs in Antarctica.
2017-2018 STARTING PRICES | GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
Tour begins in Santiago, Chile, and is priced per person double occupancy. Please note that additional cabin categories, including a discounted inside cabin and single occupancy rates, are available upon request.
Departure Dates and Information
| =Available =Closed =On Request
Tour dates per 12/30/2016. All departures are in USD. Departure is a land-only tour including internal flights mentioned in itinerary (no international flights). Tour space is not guaranteed until booked and confirmed.
Additional cabin categories available! Additional cabin categories, including a discounted inside cabin, are available on request.
|Tour Type:||Hurtigruten Cruise / Independent Tour / Winter and Northern Lights Tour|
|Cities Visited:||Santiago - Punta Arenas - Puerto Williams - Cape Horn - South Shetland Islands - Half Moon Island - Yankee Harbor - Cuverville Island - Neko Harbor - Paradise Harbor - Wilhelmina Bay - Punta Arenas - Santiago|
|Departures:||January - February|