Cruising Patagonia's Chilean Fjords

Accompany alumni and friends from October 15 – 26, 2017, as we travel from the legendary Tierra del Fuego archipelago to magnificent glacier-studded fjords and sweeping pampas grasslands. Experience the extremes and contrasts of this spectacular tip of South America—Patagonia. 

Chile

“It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers,” wrote Charles Darwin, awestruck by the unique iridescent blue-green ice while cruising southern Argentina and Chile in 1833. 

On this land and sea journey, retrace the travels of Darwin and Ferdinand Magellan in southern Chile, a wild landscape still virtually untouched even more than a century after the first European settlers. Discover extraordinary Santiago and the stunning diversity of Patagonia, and travel through the magnificent Glacier Alley to the tip of Cape Horn, the “edge of the world.” In the bustling cities of Santiago and Punta Arenas, discover a unique mix of native and European cultures and an impressive array of architectural styles. Visit an award-winning winery in Santiago, enjoy stunning views of the snowcapped Andes, and walk the Plaza de Armas and its 19th-century mansion-lined square in Punta Arenas. Journey into the vast expanse of Patagonia to see its sparkling glaciers, unique wildlife, and the iconic mountain peaks of Torres del Paine National Park.

Follow in the wake of Darwin and HMS Beagle, aboard the expedition ship m.v. Stella Australis, designed specifically for cruising the magnificent waterways of southern Patagonia, where the mountains meet the ocean. The Chilean fjords offer, among their hidden islands and narrow channels, some of the world’s best viewing of tidewater glaciers, sub-Antarctic woodlands, and marine wildlife—Andean condors, humpback whales, Peale’s dolphins, and rare Chilean dolphins. Cruise through two of the most historically significant passages in world exploration—Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan—for an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experiences. An onboard team of expert naturalists will enrich your expedition with their in-depth knowledge of the region’s history, natural wonders, and wildlife. The ship is equipped with Zodiac landing craft for excursions to observe glaciers up close as they crack and calve; the unique local wildlife, like Magellanic penguins, elephant seals and cormorants; and traces of the Yámanas, the original settlers of Wulaia Bay.

Join alumni, friends and participants from cosponsoring associations on this incredible voyage to the southern edges of the world. Please contact the CAA Travel Study Program office for more details and to reserve while choice accommodations are available.

Dates and Prices:


Trip Dates: October 15 - 26, 2017
Prices: Cruise tariff from $6,395  per person based upon double occupancy. Taxes are an additional $865 per person (subject to change). Internal and international airfare are additional.

A limited number of single occupancy cabins are offered in select stateroom categories for an additional premium. Please contact us to inquire about single rates and roomate/share requests.

PROGRAM ACTIVITY LEVEL: Very Active
Many of the cities and towns being visited were founded centuries ago, and the terrain is rugged. Therefore, a fair amount of walking along narrow streets, stone floors or uneven and/or slippery terrain and climbing several flights of stairs (some without railings) is to be expected. Walking excursions often cover distances of at least one mile/1.6 km and are approximately three hours in length. Passengers must be able to negotiate a steep gangway and get in and out of the Zodiacs with minimal assistance.

Please be advised that the ship may either dock in port or use Zodiacs to go ashore.

Itinerary:

October 15, 2017 -  Depart the U.S.
Fly from  the US on individually scheduled overnight flights to Santiago, Chile

October 16, 2017 -  SANTIAGO, CHILE
Arrive in Santiago and transfer to the Five-Star GRAND HYATT SANTIAGO.  Enjoy a welcome reception with your fellow travelers at our hotel this evening.

October 17, 2017 - SANTIAGO
Explore Santiago, Chile's vibrant and modern capital in the foothills of the snowcapped Andes Mountains. Tour the highlights of the city's native and traditional European-influenced architecture and culture. Visit the outstanding collections in the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Take in the stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains from atop San Cristobal Hill. Then, enjoy a scenic transfer through the Maipo Valley to visit the famous, 100-year-old Santa Rita Winery. A local expert will guide you through the vineyard and a wine tasting.

October 18, 2017 - SANTIAGO / Fly to PUNTA ARENAS
After breakfast this morning, we depart Santiago and fly to Punta Arenas. Transfer to the centrally located HOTEL CABO DE HORNOS. The capital of Chile's Magallanes province, historic Punta Arenas overlooks the Strait of Magellan and is the gateway to Patagonia and the Antarctic. Enjoy an afternoon tour of Punta Arenas (Sandy Point), a former military garrison and penal colony that also became famous and grew during the California gold rush with ships going from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The initial import of 300 sheep from the Falkland Islands was the start of the Patagonian pampas becoming a major sheep rearing and wool/lamb and hides producing area. Many English, Irish, Germans and Croatians settled in Punta Arenas. Visit the Plaza Armas surrounded by splendid conifer trees and opulent mansion houses. Next visit one of South America’s most magnificent Cemeteries which contains both humble immigrant graves and extravagant granite/marble mausoleums under a topiary of well-trimmed cypress trees.

October 19, 2017  - PUNTA ARENAS/PUERTO NATALES
Unfolding before you as you journey into the heart of Patagonia is a vast horizon of rugged, beautiful countryside against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, where sheep, guanacos and the endangered lesser rhea roam. Originally inhabited by the Tehuelche people for thousands of years, the town of Puerto Natales later served as a major transit point for the sheep and coal industries of 20th-century Patagonia. Delight in the beauty and charms of this region at the Hosterfa Estancia Rio Penitente Patagonian sheep ranch, today a preserved Victorian farmhouse owned by descendants of Scottish pioneers. Here, enjoy a traditional lunch and a sheep herding demonstration. Your Five-Star accommodations are in THE SINGULAR PATAGONIA one of the finest, most unique hotels in South America and recognized as a National Monument of Chile. Nearby in Milod6n Cave 1890s German pioneer Herman Eberhard discovered the prehistoric remains of a 13-foot giant sloth. Torres del Paine National Park South America's finest national park and National Geographic's fifth most beautiful place in the world, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a majestic wonder of nature.

October 20, 2017 - TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a full day tour of Torres Del Paine National Park. Torres del Paine is a pristine reservoir of magnificent glaciers, lakes, dramatic mountain ranges and an abundance of distinctive wildlife-ostrich-like rheas, pumas, the endangered South Andean deer and guanacos, the predecessor to llamas and alpacas. From the shores of Grey Lake, admire the inspiring views of the Torres del Paine Massif and Grey lacier. Enjoy lunch in the park with spectacular views of its signature mountaintops, the massive, three-peaked Cordillera Paine.

October 21, 2017 - PUERTO NATALES/PUNTA ARENAS/ Embark M.V. STELLA AUSTRALIS
Depart our hotel after breakfast today and head to the Milodin Cave. Discovered in 1890 by German pioneer Herman Eberhard, he found remains of a giant slow moving sloth which measured 13ft tall. Imposing grand wide entrance with natural daylight and good walking paths. Today see remains of the excavation digs.

Our next stop is Estancia Cerro Negro.  Enter the elegance of another era. Relax among the beauty and charm of a Southern Patagonian Ranch enjoying the warm surroundings of an immaculately preserved Victorian farmhouse currently owned by descendants of Scottish pioneers who established a sheep ranch in 1891. Enjoy a typical Patagonian lunch and sheep round up demonstration by herders/gauchas with their sheep dogs. This afternoon we return to Punta Arenas and will board the Stella Australis later today. Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner aboard the ship this evening.

October 22, 2017 - AINSWORTH BAY/TUCKER ISLET
After breakfast this morning, travel by Zodiac for a dry landing in Ainsworth Bay and a possible sighting of a colony of Elephant Seals basking on the beach. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon includes a Zodiac cruise around the Tucker Islets. See colonies of Rock Cormorants, Dolphin Gulls, Chimango Caracaras, a colony of Megallanic Penguins, and Skua Birds. Guests can also enjoy guided visits to Stella Australis engine room today.

October 23, 2017 - PIA GLACIER/GLACIER ALLEY/BEAGLE CHANNEL
Our ship will navigate the Beagle Channel this morning en route to the Pia Glacier. Board Zodiacs for a dry landing. Enjoy spectacular views of Pia Glacier – ice calving etc. Participate in a hike to an elevation of approximately 300feet above sea-level for even greater spectacular views of Pia Glacier, surrounding glaciers and Hot Chocolate before re-embarkation. After lunch aboard the ship, we Commence a spectacular daylight cruise along Glacier Alley of the Beagle Channel. Marvel at the scenic wonders of such glaciers as Romanche, Germany, France, Italy and Holland. Join felow travelers for the Captain’s Dinner this evening.

October 24, 2017 - CAPE HORN/WULAIA BAY
After breakfast, we arrive Wulaia Bay, Isla Navarino. Board Zodiacs for a dry landing. See traces of the Yaghan/Yamana original settlers. There are Two hikes available. One along the shore line – non strenuous. Other hike quite strenuous steep climb to elevation of approx. 700 feet. above sea level for spectacular views of theMurray Channel, Jemmy Button Island and snow-covered mountain peaks.

Visit former Chilean Navy outpost, a house now maintained by Cruiseros Australis and which houses various historic posters of past explorers and the Yanghan Indian settlements. Use the Post Barrel to send a message back home possibly delivered by a future travelerr. Return to the ship for lunch  as the Captian and crew navigate Nassau Bay to Cape Horn National Park. Weather permitting, we arrival at Cape Horn this afternoon, the outhernmost point of vegetation on earth and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Board Zodiacs for a shore landing (providing winds are less than 30 knots) Ascend by wooden pathway and steps approximately 200ft above sea level. Visit the Cape Horn monument in memory of those lost at sea around Cape Horn. Also visit the Chapel and shop. Return to Stella Australis by Zodiac. We depart  Cape Horn  on our way to Ushuaia. Join fellow travelers for a farewell dinner this evening.

October 25, 2017 - USHUAlA, ARGENTINA/Disembark ship/Fly to BUENOS AIRES/Depart for the U.S.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the ship as we arrive into Ushuaia. Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights to Buenos Aires. Board overnight flights from Buenos Aires to the US tonight.

October 26, 2017 -  Arrive in the U.S.


Included Features:

In Santiago, Chile

  • Two nights in the Five-Star GRAND HYATT SANTIAGO.
  • Breakfast each morning.
  • Welcome Reception.
  • Santiago city Tour, including visits to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino and lunch in a local  restaurant
  • Excursion tothe award-winning vineyard of Santa Rita for a tour and wine tasting.

In Punta Arenas, Chilean Patagonia

  • One night in the centrally located Hotel de Cabo De Hornos.
  • Full breakfasl and one lunch.
  • Panoramic lour of Punta Arenas, featuring the Plaza de Armas and Cementerio Municipal Sara Braun.
  • Transfer from Punta Aunas to Puerto Natales.



In Puerto Natales

  • Two nights in THE SINGUlAR PATAGONIA hotel, a Five-Star, award-winning hotel and a National Historical Monument of Chile.
  • Full buffet breakfast each morning, one lunch in the hotel with wine and one dinner in the hotel with wine.
  • Full-day guided excursion into Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve including lunch and opportunities to see varied and distinctive Patagonian wildlife.
  • Excursion to Milodon Cave, the site where the well-preserved remains of a prehistoric giant sloth were discovered.
  • Specially arranged private visit to a family-owned Patagonian estancia (ranch) for lunch and a sheep herding demonstration.

Transfer from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas.
On board the small expedition ship M.V. STELLA AUSTRALIS

  • Four-night 'voyage from Punta Arenas. Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, featuring a cruise of Chile's Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel, Ainsworlh Bay, Tucker Islet, Pia Fjord and Glacier, Glacier Alley, Cape Horn (conditions permitting) and Wulaia Bay.
  • Ocean-view aocommodltions, each with private bathroom.
  • Captain's Welcome Reception.
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise. Regional wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • All meals on board, served at single, unassigned seatings---early-risers' coffee, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
  • Onboard expedition team of expert naturallists to provide a series of lectures and guide Zodi:lc excursions.
  • Shore landings to explore Chile's diverse wildlife habitats.
  • Nature walk to the Magellanic Forest at Ainsworth Bay.
  • Visit to Tucker Islet to observe Magellanic penguins and distinctive rock cormorants.
  • Excursion in Pia Fjord for spectacular views of the secluded, actively calving Pia Glacier.
  • Up-close cruise to a vivid series of glaciers in Beagle Channel's awe-inspiring Glacier Alley.
  • Exploration of Cape Horn National Park. a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known as ~The End of the Earth" (weather permitting).


ENHANCED TRAVEL SERVICES

  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined in the Included Features, with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Hospitality desk in the hotel and aboard ship.
  • The services of an experienced team of Professional Travel Directors throughout the program.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.


Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.