In-Depth Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition (Southbound)
About Punta Arenas, Chile
- Late austral spring in Antarctica is usually when love-struck penguins start to court and mate
- See the fabulous landscapes of Patagonia and impressive icebergs in Antarctica
- Expedition ship MS Fram offers an intimate atmosphere and authentic experience
- Highly experienced Expedition Team members take the lead on ice cruising and landings
- Transfer from the ship to the Punta Arenas airport after the expedition cruise
- Flight in economy class from Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
- Fine-dining Lindstrøm, À la carte restaurant, is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, a sauna, and an indoor gym
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings by small boats (RIBs) while in Antarctica
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Health declaration form is mandatory
- Please ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Vibrant ‘Valpo’ - Valparaíso, Chile
Your adventure begins in exciting Valparaíso, also called ‘Valpo’ for short by the locals. This city was once a major seaport for ships crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Unfortunately, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 brought a close to the city’s golden age of commerce. A stroll along the port before embarking on MS Fram will give you a feel for its former glory.
This city still has so many great things going for it. Its diverse arts communities, thriving culinary scene, vintage funiculars, and hilltop neighborhoods filled with colorful houses has won it enviable comparisons with San Francisco. The vibrant Alegre district encapsulates each one of those elements. Hop between the cafés and restaurants here, and enjoy views over the city and nearby sea. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter, where you can admire beautiful buildings and street art.
We recommend arriving a few days early so you’ll have more time to explore this Chilean port city. Consider adding a 4-day Pre-Program to Atacama Desert, a geological wonderland and the driest—and oldest!—desert on Earth.
Heading south - At sea
Your expedition cruise has finally begun. Now comes two days of enjoyable sailing along the scenic Pacific coast of Chile. Spend your days on the deck as we sail by the exceptional scenery. You might even spot wildlife such as migrating whales and albatross. The Expedition Team also starts their lecture program to prepare you for your upcoming experiences. Learn about the science, wildlife, and history of the area, and visit the Science Center to participate in Citizen Science projects..There are also art classes on offer, where you can draw or sculpt your favorite penguin, among other projects. There is always plenty to do during days at sea.. If you just want to relax, the Explorer Lounge & Bar is the perfect place, where you are sure to find other explorers. )
Rustic Chilean charm - Castro
Castro is the capital of Chiloé Island, set among windswept hills and green vegetation. Most visitors make a beeline to the wharf at the Gamboa district to see thebrightly painted wooden houses, called ‘palafitos’, raised on stilts along the Fiordo de Castro. This small city has many things to offer. Head to the town square to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Iglesia San Francisco, a Neo-Gothic church build from wood that dates back to the city’s founding in 1567. If you like modern art, the Museum of Modern Art of Chiloé is well worth a visit. After you work up your appetite on your way through town, head to one of the many of the great restaurants that make Castro a surprise culinary destination.
Through Patagonian waters - At sea
We then continue southward through the fabled waters of Patagonia. When Magellan sailed here in 1520, he used the term ‘Patagon’ to describe the indigenous tribes of the region, which he and his expedition believed were giants more than 16 feet tall. We can’t promise you giants, but we can offer iconic Andean seascapes, whose undisturbed nature and spectacular mountain peaks defy the greatest of tall tales.
Our approach continues toward one of the world’s most remote and beautiful places: the province of Última Esperanza, meaning ‘Last Hope’. Spanish navigator Juan Ladrillero named it ‘Last Hope’ in 1557 after several failed attempts to reach the Strait of Magellan. You’ll be happy to know that he did go on to successfully find and navigate the strait.
Secluded, serene, and scenic - Puerto Edén
The tiny village of Puerto Edén sits on a bay at the edge of a peninsula, which lays within a fjord in Bernardo O´Higgins National Park. The comparisons to the Garden of Eden apply more to the national park than to the village itself, but, needless to say, this place is hard to get to. While its surroundings are a paradise off the beaten path, no roads lead here. Puerto Edén is only accessible by sea.
The isolation suits the dozen indigenous Kawésqar people just fine, who gave up their canoe-faring nomadic lifestyle to settle here a generation ago. Given its unusually humid climate and high rainfall, there aren’t any roads around the town either. In order to visit the small arts and crafts shops, you will have to walk over the pedestrian boardwalks that connect the houses and buildings to the 250 people living here.
City of adventurers - Puerto Natales
Due to its location on the doorstep to Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales has swapped out its sheep, and its former agricultural industry, for fleece-wearing hikers streaming in for a Patagonian adventure. Many corrugated tin shops now cater to this new clientele and have stocked up on all sorts of outdoor gear. The town also offers an increasingly diverse selection of restaurants.
Over our next two days here, you can join in on an optional excursion to the national park itself, or simply enjoy the atmosphere and attractions of Puerto Natales. Go for drinks at one of the many quiet bars and perhaps chat with locals and other international adventurers. The Last Hope is both a bar and a gin distillery, supposedly the southernmost distillery in the world. Stroll along the waterfront next to Última Esperanza fjord; take some photos at the old pier and at some of the other monuments dotted along your route.
A nature lover’s paradise - Chilean fjords
Glacial ice once scoured its way through this land, carving out the deep and beautiful Chilean fjords and canals, and the tall mountains that surround them. Even though the area seems almost untouched by humans, the canoe-faring indigenous people from these lands have for centuries used these canals for fishing and hunting.
Now it’s your turn to enjoy the serenity of this maze of waterways between islands, mountains, and glaciers. Time and weather permitting, we may take you on a scenic cruise of the fjords aboard our small boats (RIBs), or join a landing on shore. Keep your eyes on the sky for the birds following the ship. In the water, you might spot dolphins and even whales.
Navigating Cape Horn and the Drake Passage - At Sea
As we sail through the scenic Beagle Channel in the morning, watch for the rare, endemic Peale’s dolphins and other wildlife. Once we leave the channel, our journey down to Cape Horn begins. Dutchman Willem Schouten discovered this headland on Hornos Island in 1616. He named it ‘Kaap Hoorn’ after the city of Hoorn, in the Netherlands. The waters around the Cape are typically choppy with strong winds and large waves, making it generally unfavorable for landings. If the weather allows us, however, we will land on the island and go up to the Cape, which will surely be something to remember.
The Cape marks our entry into Drake Passage. During our crossing, the Expedition Team will continue their lectures to offer contextualknowledge to your voyage and prepare you for your adventures ahead. They will explain how to make your visit in Antarctica as safe and sustainable as possible and review key IAATO guidelines. Topics will range from the sterilization procedure for our special shore boots to why we always vacuum our clothes and backpack before our landings in Antarctica. To take better photos, our onboard photographer will explain how to adjust the white balance and when best to reduce the exposure. Stay active in the gym or relax in the sauna, stand out on deck or enjoy your new friends in the Explorer Lounge, but never stop scanning the horizon for signs of that first iceberg.
The White Continent - Antarctica
This is the final frozen frontier—an unspoiled, vast, white desert at the bottom of the world, teeming with life. Majestic mountains rise from the icy sea, covered with thick snow. Glaciers creep across the landscape, destined to crack and calve icebergs along the coast. The scenery is almost silent, except for the shrill cries of lovesick penguins, splashes from courting seals, and the sounds of calving ice. The 46 species of birds living here, such as terns, petrels and jaegers, might also catch your attention.
During our seven days around the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, we will likely go ashore at several places, giving you a first-hand look at the region’s amazing wildlife and landscapes. The Expedition Team will guide landings, where they will create a perimeter for you to move around freely at your own speed. They will also lead ice-cruising in our small boats (RIBs) to admire icebergs and glaciers from a safe distance. There are also optional activities such as kayaking, camping, and snowshoeing available on occasion when there are suitable conditions, which you may be lucky enough to experience. You can also participate in a wide variety of Citizen Science projects, such asphotographing whales and collecting water samples. By participating in Citizen Science projects, you can assist scientists around the world by uploading your photos to a global database, where they can study migration patterns and microbiology. You will gain an even better understanding of Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem by studying samples in the Science Center.
As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica is dedicated to peace, science, and tourism. That’s why we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines in this area. We are the outsiders here, so it is important to make the smallest impact as possible. The wildlife is used to the ice and cold weather, but not human interference. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures! In fact, in many of the areas we visit, we even wipe out our footprints to prevent penguins from falling into them and getting stuck. As Antarctic ambassadors, we want future explorers to have the same opportunities as you do to experience this pristine continent.
Relax and unwind - Drake Passage & Beagle Channel
Inspired. That’s the typical feeling from our guests after seven fascinating and unforgettable days exploring Antarctica. You (and your camera’s memory card!) will be filled with unforgettable moments that will stay with you forever.
MS Fram will now turn back northward and take you safely back across the Drake Passage and through the Beagle Channel. Expedition Team’s lectures continue in the Science Center, where they will also recap the experiences from our cruise. If you start to feel a little nostalgic about the cruise, even before it ends, that’s absolutely normal. Thegood news is that there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy yourself. Enjoy the onboard restaurants while you savor your favorite dishes there one the last times. Count the stars from the hot tub on the observation deck and swapcontact information with your fellow explorers.
The end and a new beginning - Punta Arenas/Santiago de Chile
In the morning, when we arrive in Punta Arenas, your cruise has officially come to an end. We will provide a transfer to the airport, where you will fly to the capital, Santiago de Chile. If you have some extra time on your hands before heading back home, considerextending your journey and enjoy the Chilean capital before heading home. We also recommend extending your vacation with a Post-Program to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Easter Island, where you can admire and try to make sense of the mysterious statues of giant heads.
Say farewell to the ship, the captain, the crew and the Expedition Team, but don’t leave your sense of adventure behind, as well. When one chapter ends another begins, and there are more destinations—and expedition cruises—to explore.
Most of all, we hope that you will cherish all the magical moments you experienced on this expedition—that these moments will stay vivid in your mind and heart. May the awe of beauty of Antarctica continue to inspire you long after your adventure.