Optimize your Chilean Patagonia experience with a land and sea expedition. Spend three days at the superb Tierra Patagonia Hotel to savor the grandeur of Torres del Paine’s sunrises and sunsets, its iconic landscapes, and profusion of wildlife. Then explore the fjords, glaciers, and panoramic vistas of Patagonia’s coast and waterways that are only accessible by expedition ship. Venturing out on Zodiac forays, kayaking pristine fjords, or hiking virgin trails, you’ll breathe the rarified air of a near-mythic region. Enjoy special access to South American fur seals and Magellanic penguins. Discover the vast parklands of Yendegaia and Karukinka. And check viewing legendary Cape Horn on your life list, as well.
Explore Torres del Paine over three days
With breathtaking views of saw-toothed mountains and a vast, azure lake, our beautiful hotel is a superb base for daily explorations of inland Chilean Patagonia. Explore this rugged, beautiful landscape that lies between the imposing Andes and vast Patagonia steppe. Search for land mammals including guanaco and Patagonian fox, and over 100 species of birds including the Andean condor, rhea, Chilean flamingo, black-chested buzzard eagle, and many more.
Go by expedition ship to discover remote, wild regions
Venture into the winding waterways of Patagonia that have gone largely unexplored: the domain of only those lucky enough to have access to an expedition ship. Sail into narrow fjords and disembark to hike to the terminus of a glacier or photograph strange green lakes or vast rock-and-ice landscapes.
Discover seldom-visited Isla de los Estados off Argentina
By special permission, National Geographic Explorer will call at Isla de los Estados, a wild island largely untouched by humans in decades, it has only a naval outpost with four guardians. Walk its wild beech forests, look for penguins, see the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento "lighthouse at the end of the world," which inspired Jules Verne's novel by the same name, plus explore the ruins of a penal colony. And, conditions permitting, explore a very rarely seen archeological site where native people lived 1,500 years ago.
Active exploration: Hike, kayak & Zodiac cruise
You’ll get out on adventures often in Patagonia, sometimes twice a day. Explore the towering fjords by Zodiac and kayak; hike to the terminus of massive glaciers; walk the spongy, vegetation-covered ground surrounded by the immensity of a wild pristine landscape. Because Explorer has a fleet of both Zodiacs and kayaks, the entire expedition community can embark at once on forays, with no waiting around for returning parties. You’ll have a choice of activities each day, and the option to join any naturalist whose interests mirror yours. Your choices also include opting to enjoy the view from the all-glass observation lounge, the library, or the chart room. To visit the fitness center with its panoramic windows, or ease into the sauna, or have a massage in the wellness center.
Take advantage of superb photo ops
You’ll have a National Geographic photographer as your traveling companion, to inspire you and provide tips in the field. And the services of a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor, as well—to help you turn your point-and-shoot camera into an aim & create. You’ll find no end of subjects, and the help you need to return home with your best photos ever.
Travel in excellent company
Explore Torres del Paine under the expert guidance of veteran naturalists relying on their expertise to maximize wildlife sightings. And aboard National Geographic Explorer, go with expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer plus a National Geographic certified photo instructor, an undersea specialist, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, a wellness specialist and a video chronicler. Their knowledge and passion for Patagonia is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Arrive in Santiago, Chile and check in to our centrally located
hotel, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly
surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to
our afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore the
Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential
Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the
Today we fly from Santiago to the outpost of Puerto Natales and
check in to our outstanding hotel, the Singular, located on Última
Esperanza (Last Hope) Sound. The sound got its name when
16th-century explorers tried and failed to find a route to the
Pacific here. The hotel is a part of local history—a former
sheep-processing plant converted to luxury hotel. This afternoon,
we will enjoy a short exploration of the town, including a visit to
the small but excellent Municipal Historical Museum, with
exhibits on the region’s Native Americans and on its settler past.
We have dinner at our hotel. (B,L,D)
We drive to Torres del Paine National Park, stopping at Milodón
Cave, where the remains of an extinct giant sloth were
discovered. Illuminating displays show the history of human
habitation and wildlife of the region. We continue to monumental
Torres del Paine, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and a place of
superlatives. The landscape is big, wide and sprawling, with
razor-backed ridges, Andean condors guanacos, foxes and
rheas. Regardless of where you are, the Paine massif draws
2017 Departure Dates:
One hotel night in Santiago; one hotel night in Puerto
Natales; three hotel nights in Torres del Paine;
shipboard accommodations; meals indicated; services
of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, expedition staff and
expert guides; entrance fees; all port charges and
Immigration fees, air transportation; personal items
such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyage
DVD, etc. Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion.
your eye with its jagged peaks, including the famous “Horns” and
the three towers for which the park is named. These granite
mountains are topped with a thick layer of dark slate. Chileans
themselves dream of visiting this magnificent park, and it holds a
special place in their hearts as a symbol of wildness. During our
days here, we’ll discover one of the most spectacular and
wildlife-rich areas in the Americas, covering 450,000 acres of
glaciers, forests and grasslands, rivers and colorful lakes and
lagoons. You’ll be able to choose among a variety of excursions
each day, ranging from a challenging hike to the base of the
towers, to a shorter walk among guanaco herds to the edge of a
lake, to a scenic drive to a waterfall and the “Blue Lagoon”, with
views of the towers. Or ride horseback if you wish, in this most
inspiring of landscapes. You’ll leave here with the feeling you’ve
really experienced an adventure. Our accommodations are at
the outstanding Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, one of National
Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, where your room will
have views of Torres del Paine’s imposing central massif.
We have a final morning to explore Torres del Paine. We then
drive to Puerto Natales, where we embark National Geographic
Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife on our way out
of Puerto Natales, as our ship transits the narrow sliver of water
known as the Kirke Narrows-always a challenge to navigate
because of the powerful currents that flow through its 650-foot
wide pinch point. Today and during the following days you will be
treated to the spectacular features of an active glaciated
landscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. This
region was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and it
took most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way through
the maze of channels that lie between the continental mainland
and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Among our many possibilities
are exploring Estero las Montañas, with a chance to go for an
adventurous walk to a lake through beautiful muskeg and forest,
with cypress trees coated with many species of lichens; and
Bahía Ainsworth in Seno Almirantazgo, where we may go out by
Zodiac and kayak and look for elephant seals. (B,L,D)
Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. We visit its
newest and largest protected area: Karukinka Natural Park.
Established in 2004 through a gift from Goldman Sachs,
Karukinka is one of the largest donations ever made for
conservation. We’re thrilled to have special permission from the
Wildlife Conservation Society to visit this private reserve, which
spans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox,
Andean condors, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars,
shearwaters and many other kinds of wildlife. We may explore
Jackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and look
or wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one of
the nearby small islands. We may walk a trail to a lovely waterfall
and look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach but
also high in the grass meadows and even in the small river
draining the valley inland. (B,L,D)
We’ll explore more stunning wilderness as we see the fjords and
glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak and on foot. A vast area
of soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousands
of verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelago
is scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore these
protected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of ice
contrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes of
late-season flowering plants. Look for the Andean condors,
albatrosses, grebes, petrels, fulmars, shearwaters and many
other birds that inhabit this otherworldly realm. Then we sail the
Beagle Channel to Yendegaia, a stunning wilderness that covers
95,000 acres on Tierra del Fuego. This newly established
national park was formerly a private reserve. It has beech
forests, mountains and wild rivers. (B,L,D)
Today we visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of the
South American continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town of
Hoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate, and over
the centuries have been the graveyard of many ships-which
before the opening of the Panama Canal had to round the Cape
to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, we'll
use our modern equipment to explore safely. Weather
permitting, we'll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of
the hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed
there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. (B,L,D)
We have been given special permission to visit extraordinary
Staten Island, and National Geographic Orion will be one of the
only expedition ships ever allowed here. It’s a place of
superlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visited
primarily by a few scientists and those who man the tiny naval
observatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615.
Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords are
beautiful, and we’ll find a great deal of interest here. Our exact
schedule will remain flexible to take best advantage of
conditions. We’ll see colonies of southern rockhopper and
Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and large
assemblages of fur seals and sea lions. We’ll also look for otters
on our landings ashore, and we’ll see the 1884 San Juan de
Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired
Jules Verne’s novel by the same name, along with the ruins of a
penal colony, and perhaps an archaeological site occupied 1,500
years ago by Native Americans. There will be chances to walk in
the southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand out
as a unique chance to explore a very remote place. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take
a charter flight to Santiago and connect to flights home.
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.