Chile to Argentina Cruise
Strait of Magellan: Chile to Argentina
From September to April, visitors can travel from Chile to Argentina via the Strait of Magellan, a critical natural passage between the Southern Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
First navigated by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, it remained the primary route around South America, until the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914.
These fjords and channels are known for their natural beauty and calm waters, with the strait often being compared to Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Magellanic Penguins, Humpback Whales, and Elephant Seals
Along the route, high glaciers flow to the sea from steep snow-capped peaks. Protected bays teem with elephant seals, Humpback whales and Magellanic penguins.
Cruise ships depart from Punta Arenas, Chile and travel east to Ushuaia, Argentina (or vice versa).
Three and four-night cruises are available, offering guided excursions to glaciers, forests, wildlife colonies, and historic sites.
The following represents a sample itinerary for the M/V Stella Australis cruise ship (launched in 2010):
Day 1: Depart from Punta Arenas, Chile
- Check in at the dock in Punta Arenas from 1:00PM to 5:00PM, with boarding at approximately 6:00PM. This is a full board cruise package, with all meals, most drinks, and excursions included.
- Once aboard, the Captain and crew host a welcome cocktail reception. Immediately afterward, the ship departs.
- This voyage passes through the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel, arriving in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
- Dinner is served aboard the ship.
Day 2: Ainsworth Bay – Tucker Islet
- At the first light of dawn, navigation will continue through Almirantzgo Fjord. You’ll disembark in Ainsworth Bay, near Marinelli Glacier, where you’ll be guided on a walk through the Magellanic forest to an elephant seal colony.
- Afterward, navigation continues to Tucker Islet. There, you will either board Zodiac boats to view colonies of Magellanic Penguins or take a guided hike near the Brookes Glacier.
- Late that night, as the ship re-enters the Pacific Ocean, rough seas may be encountered. It typically reaches calmer, sheltered waters within an hour.
Day 3: Pia Glacier – Glacier Alley
- Disembarkation in the bay of the Pia Glacier.
- Here you’ll take a guided hike to an observation point offering views of the entire glacial tongue; stretching from the high mountains to the sea.
- Afterward, the ship will navigate the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel, through the spectacular “Glacier Avenue”, where you will pass the Spain, Romanche, Germany, Italy, France and Holland glaciers.
Day 4: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay
- The ship sails through the Beagle and Murray channels to reach and disembark in Cape Horn National Park (weather permitting).
- Located on Hornos Island, Cape Horn is a sheer, 1,394-foot high rocky promontory, marking the junction of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
- Cape Horn was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.
- In the afternoon, disembark at historic Wulaia Bay. This was once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements.
- Wulaia Bay is renowned for the beauty of its vegetation and geography.
- Today’s hike will pass through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other native vegetation, on the way to a lookout point.
Day 5: Arrival in Ushuaia
- This morning the ship arrives in Ushuaia, Argentina’s most important city, on the island of Tierra del Fuego.
- Notably, Ushuaia is widely regarded as the southernmost city in the world.
- Disembark at approximately 8:00AM.