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Arrive at Santiago Airport and be transferred to your hotel. After lunch, go on a half-day sightseeing tour of the capital city. Travel to San Cristóbal Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of Santiago. Then head west to Plaza de Armas and take a guided tour of Santiago Cathedral.
The tour continues on to Plaza de la Constitución. Explore the square and see Palacio de La Moneda - the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. Next, head to Plaza Concha y Toro where you will see an ‘Esquinazo’ (part of the national dance, ‘cueca’).
Visit the la Alameda, where you can see Teatro Carrera, (theatre built in 1926) Palácio Errázuriz (mansion built in 1911), Palacio Ariztía (French Neoclassical style architecture), Palácio Iñiguez (ornate building from 1908), and other specimens of exquisite architecture. On your way back, you will go past the south side of La Moneda, Universidad de Chile, Biblioteca Nacional, Plaza Italia, and other spots.
A guide will then show you around Cerro Santa Lucia. This hill is adorned with ornate facades, stairways, fountains and an excellent viewpoint. Visit FABA, a handicraft shop that specializes in lapis lazuli jewelry (a stone found only in Chile and Afghanistan).
Return to your hotel in time for dinner.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, go on a half-day city tour. Travel to Plaza Muñoz Gamero, location of the tribute to Hernando de Magallanes. It is said that anyone who kisses the foot of the Ona statue here will return to the city.
Head to De la Cruz Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, Magellan’s Strait and Tierra del Fuego. Visit Zona Franca of Punta Arenas for some local shopping. Move on to Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, which has a collection of ethnological and natural history items on display, along with handicrafts of native tribes of Yaganes, Onas, and Selk’nam.
After lunch at a local restaurant, board the Stella Australis, your home for the next few days. The captain and crew will give you a welcome cocktail reception and after immigration procedures, the ship will depart for your voyage.
About the vessel:
Stella Australis was constructed in 2010, consists of 100 cabins, and can accommodate 210 passengers. All cabins are self contained and different views can be chosen. The vessel has a large dinning room, three lounges, gym and plenty of room on the observation deck to accommodate passengers while sailing through breath-taking glaciers.
At dawn, sail through Almirantazgo Sound and arrive at Ainsworth Bay, in Alberto De Agostini National Park. See Marinelli Glacier that descends from the Darwin Mountain Range. Take a walk to discover a beaver dam in the marvelous sub-polar Magellanic forest. Try to spot elephant seals on the beach here. Then head for Brookes Bay where you land for a short walk to approach a glacier.
Sail along the main part of the Beagle Channel to reach Pia Fjord, where you disembark near Pia Glacier. Go on a short hike to a view point with a spectacular view of the entire glacier tongue, stretching from high in the mountains all the way to the sea.
Then continue sailing along the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel through majestic Glacier Alley.
Sail through Murray Channel and Nassau Bay to reach Cape Horn National Park, where you will disembark (weather permitting). The mythical Cape Horn was discovered in 1616, and it is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky cliff. For many years it was an important navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and it is known as the “End of the Earth”. UNESCO declared the Park as a World Biosphere Reserve in June 2005.
In the afternoon, go ashore at historic Wulaia Bay, the site of one of the region’s largest Yamana aboriginal settlements. Charles Darwin landed here on January 23rd, 1833, during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. Walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coihues, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a scenic view point.
Arrive at Ushuaia and disembark the vessel. You’ll be transferred from the port to your hotel. After lunch, visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is the southernmost protected area in Argentina, and is the only National Park in the country with a maritime coast. The forest provides beautiful views over the Beagle Cannel and has a great variety of flora and fauna. The Park’s dramatic scenery comprises waterfalls, forests, mountains, and glaciers. Spot guanacos, Andean foxes, North American beavers, and muskrats. Almost 90 species of birds can be seen here including Kelp geese, Torrent ducks, Austral parakeets, Andean condors, blackish oystercatchers, and Magellanic oystercatchers.
Return to Ushuaia for dinner.
Transfer to the airport and fly to El Calafate. After lunch at your hotel, visit Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. Walk along wooden bridges in front of this impressive glacier whose ice-face is more than 50 meters high (optional: sailing possibility in small rubber boats up to the glacier). Return to El Calafate in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Go on a full day excursion to Estancia Cristina today. Boarding and departure is at port Punta Bandera (NPC). Sail among icebergs and stunning scenery overlooking the western front of the Upsala glacier and then sail through Cristina Canal to the point of disembarkation at the Estancia (ranch). Stay at the Estancia for lunch. In the afternoon, go on a guided visit of the museum and on a small trek.
Return to El Calafate in the afternoon.
Drive for 5-6 hours from El Calafate to Las Torres Hotel with a stop at the border for immigration. The hotel is conveniently located close to Torres del Paine National Park. Spend the next few days indulging in outdoor activities around this area.
Please note that most parts of the Torres del Paine National Park are accessible only by foot, some parts maybe explored on horseback. Thus, you are required to be reasonably fit as the tour involves long walks and outdoor activities.
Over the next few days, you can choose from a wide variety of activities. There are 25 outdoor excursions at your disposal here. Enjoy the hotel spa, agrotourism, and organic products. There are many different trekking excursions to choose from based on your preference of trek duration and difficulty. Luxury camping programmes can also be arranged upon prior request.
Torres del Paine National Park features mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas. Guanacos, foxes, and pumas are found in the Park. It is also home to the endangered Chilean huemul. Birding enthusiasts can spot the Andean condor, black-chested buzzard-eagle, Rufous-tailed hawk, chimango caracara, Magellanic horned owl, and Austral pygmy-owl. Hikers are rewarded with splendid views of pristine valleys, towering mountains, and silent glaciers.
Transfer to Punta Arenas Airport for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Go on a full day excursion to the Matetic vineyard in Casablanca Valley. The Valley is a recent discovery and is now one of the fastest growing areas for viticulture in Chile, especially for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes thrive here, showing high acidity and fresh fruit aromas.
Tour the wine cellar with a view of the organic vineyards, and an explanation of the processes of wine-making, bottling and storage. At the end of the tour, taste two wines and have lunch at Equilibrio restaurant.
Transfer to Santiago Airport for your international flight home and this marks the end of your wildlife adventure tour to Chile and Argentina.
Fitness is vital for this level of activity, as the environment traversed may be remote and challenging. These rugged experiences include long walks, trekking, cycling or rafting in isolated areas through variable weather conditions for up to eight to ten hours a day. These trips are usually 13 to 19 days in duration. Maximum altitude reached will be 4000m and you need to be very fit in order to withstand the weather conditions. Good physical condition is essential and previous hill-walking experience or preparation is advisable.
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