Set sail from Punta Arenas and cruise through the channels and dramatic fjords of Chilean Patagonia. After stopping to explore Cape Horn, cross the infamous Drake Passage and sail south to the Antarctic Peninsula. Spend at least a week exploring the frozen desert, its noisy penguins, pods of whales and abandoned whaling stations before returning north to Punta Arenas via the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands.

Key information

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

Suggested itinerary

Cruise Chile's dramatic fjords from Punta Arenas

Cruise Chile's dramatic fjords from Punta Arenas

Day 1–2 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.

Sail past Cape Horn

Sail past Cape Horn

Day 3 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.

Cross the formidable Drake Passage

Cross the formidable Drake Passage

Day 4–5 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 6–13 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.

Go birdwatching in the Falkland Islands

Go birdwatching in the Falkland Islands

Day 14–17 in Falkland Islands

Known by the Spanish as Islas Malvinas, this island archipelago has far more to offer than a troubled political history. The Falkland Islands offer some of the best birdwatching in the world, with large colonies of penguins, albatross and seals. A popular stop on Antarctic voyages, the islands are becoming increasingly popular in their own right, thanks to their abundant wildlife, gorgeous landscape and charming capital city Stanley.

Return to Punta Arenas and depart

Return to Punta Arenas and depart

Day 18 in Punta Arenas

Head back to Punta Arenas for your onward departure.

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