A 19-day journey that begins in Chile's capital, Santiago, before heading south to Punta Arenas in Patagonia, across the Drake Passage towards the Antarctic Peninsula. After exploring the White Continent the trip heads back north back through Patagonia to explore the incredible fjords of Cape Horn and Torres del Paine national park. This is a great route for seeing Patagonia and Antarctica in one expedition.

Key information

Destinations Destinations South America, Antarctica
Activity Activity Cruise & Sailing, Nature & Wildlife
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season November - March

Suggested itinerary

Get to know Chile’s lively capital city

Get to know Chile’s lively capital city

Day 1–3 in Santiago

Surrounded by hills, energetic Santiago is the beating heart of Chile and home to 40% of its people. The best way to explore Santiago is simply by strolling around its unique neighbourhoods, starting with the museum, malls and architecture of the Centro.

Don't miss

Climb San Cristobal Hill in Santiago

Climb San Cristobal Hill in Santiago

Take the cable car or walk up to San Cristobal Hill for a stunning panorama of the city. It’s a great way to see the city before going on to explore its vibrant street art, galleries, beautiful parks and colonial architecture up close, perhaps via a bike tour. Look out for Plaza de Armas and La Moneda Presidential Palace.

Head to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Antarctica

Head to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Antarctica

Day 4 in Punta Arenas

Sitting alongside the Strait of Magellan, this sprawling city provides a base for those wanting to explore the wilderness of Chile’s southernmost Patagonia and is a popular starting point for many Antarctic cruises. Most visitors will fly into the city’s airport before connecting to Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego or neighbouring Argentina.

Cross the formidable Drake Passage

Cross the formidable Drake Passage

Day 5 in Drake Passage

Considered by many polar travellers to be the gateway to Antarctica, the Drake Passage is a common feature for cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula. Straddled between Chile’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, this infamous waterway is named after the 16th-century English explorer Sir Francis Drake.

Don't miss

Whale watching

Whale watching

Antarctica is one of the best places on earth to see whales. From orcas to humpbacks, minke to sperm, the relative isolation whales have enjoyed in the Antarctic means they are curious of ships and even approach them.

Explore the Antarctic Peninsula

Explore the Antarctic Peninsula

Day 6–12 in Antarctic Peninsula

You don't take a holiday to Antarctica ‒ you make a trip of a lifetime. This colossal frozen netherworld is bigger than the USA. The sun doesn’t rise for six months of the year and it's constant daylight the rest. It's the most untouched, alien place on our planet ‒ but the rewards are exceptional. Antarctica’s landscapes are surreal: utterly immense rolling icefields, icebergs the size of stadiums, glassy seas deeper than a skyscraper.

Its wildlife is abundant and utterly unperturbed by people. Armies of penguins waddle across the ice, train-sized humpback whales and orcas breach from the inky depths, seals flounder on the snowfields. On a calm day, when the sunlight bounces off every surface, the silence is all-encompassing. It's like nowhere else on earth.

Don't miss

Penguins in Paradise Bay

Penguins in Paradise Bay

Home to gentoo penguins and the occasional humpback whale, Paradise Bay is a must-stop on any Antarctica cruise. Come to see penguins diving off ice floes and huge chunks of jagged ice surrounding the harbour. Wrap up — Paradise Bay’s temperatures remain below freezing year round.

Get your camera ready at Lemaire Channel

Get your camera ready at Lemaire Channel

Antarctica is a land of beauty, but perhaps the best views are reserved for the 1km stretch of Lemaire Channel, located between the mainland and Booth Island. It’s so photogenic that travellers have nicknamed it Kodak Gap.

Postcards from Port Lockroy

Postcards from Port Lockroy

This British research base was founded in 1944 and abandoned in 1962, and now operates as a museum staffed by volunteers. They operate the centre as it was in the 1940s, which means no internet or TVs, but you can buy and send postcards from one of the most southerly Post Offices in the world.

Sea kayaking

Sea kayaking

Not all excursions are on dry land! Your ship may carry kayaks, giving you a chance to explore the ice floes under paddle power.

Sail past Cape Horn

Sail past Cape Horn

Day 13–14 in Cape Horn

The rocky headland of Hornos Island, where the wild oceans of the Pacific and Atlantic meet, lies the fabled Cape Horn. A popular sight for Antarctic tour ships, the discovery of Cape Horn in the 1600’s was of huge significance for trade, though it is still recognised as one of the most hazardous sailing routes In the world.

Don't miss

Cruise Cape Horn fjords

Cruise Cape Horn fjords

Forget everything you think you know about cruises; the voyages between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas are genuine expeditions that get you up close to the dramatic fjords, glaciers and wildlife of Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn.

Hike “the W” in Torres del Paine

Hike “the W” in Torres del Paine

Day 15–19 in Torres del Paine National Park

Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is renowned for its trekking and hiking, with excellent infrastructure for day hikes and multi-day treks. While the popular W and Circuit treks steal all the glory, other lesser-trafficked routes are available. Take a hike to one of the many viewing points from which you can get a panoramic view of the towering granite peaks and local wildlife — including guanacos, rheas and Andean condors.

Don't miss

Birdwatching in Patagonia

Birdwatching in Patagonia

What Patagonia lacks in megafauna it more than makes up for in rare bird life. There are Magellanic penguins on the Valdes Peninsula, Andean Condors soaring above Torres del Paine, flamingos in Tierra del Fuego, and much more everywhere else. Bring your binoculars!

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from $11,990pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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