Strait of Magellan Cruise

Cruise The Strait of Magellan

From September to April, visitors can travel from Argentina to Chile via the Strait of Magellan—a critical natural passage between South America  and Tierra del Fuego, connecting the Atlantic and Southern Pacific oceans.

First navigated by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, this 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.

Shore of Patagonia, photographed on Strait of Magellan luxury cruise around Cape Horn

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 Ushuaia, Argentina, traveling west to Punta Arenas, Chile (or vice versa).

These three-night cruises offer guided excursions to:

  • Glaciers
  • Forests
  • Wildlife Colonies
  • Historic Sites

A sample itinerary of the M/V Stella Australis cruise ship (launched in 2010) is shown below:

Day 1: Departure from Ushuaia, Argentina

Check in at the dock in Ushuaia from 9:00PM to 5:00PM, with boarding at approximately 5:00PM. 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 Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan, arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Dinner is served aboard the ship.

Ice spotted sea of the Strait of Magellan, backed by dramatic landscape, photographed on Patagonia cruise around Cape Horn

Day 2: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay

The ship sails through the Beagle and Murray channels to reach and disembark in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago’s Cape Horn National Park (weather permitting).

Cape Horn, on Hornos Island, is a sheer, 1,394-foot high rocky promontory that marks the junction of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005. In the afternoon, disembark at historic Wulaia Bay.

Wulaia Bay was once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements.

Cape Horn is renowned for the beauty of its vegetation and geography.

Your Cape Horn hike will pass through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coigües, Canelos, ferns and other native vegetation, eventually reaching a lookout point.

Day 3: Piloto & Nena Glaciers

In the morning, you’ll sail through the haunting Brecknock and Ocasion channels, reaching Cockburn Channel by afternoon.

After lunch, arrive at Chico Sound before disembarking in Zodiac boats to explore Alakaluf Fjord; viewing its beautiful waterfalls and the Piloto and Nena glaciers from the sea.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the formation of glaciers and their influence on the geography of the region’s channels.

Silhouette of a mountain behind the strait of Magellan on a Patagonia cruise

Day 4: Magdalena Island and Arrival in Punta Arenas

In the early morning, head ashore on Magdalena Island. Located in the heart of the Strait of Magellan, Magdalena was an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers in past times.

Magdalena island is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic Penguins. This Magellanic colony can be observed during the walk to the lighthouse, built to guide ships on their way through the strait.

In September and April, this excursion to Magdalena Island is replaced by a Zodiac boat ride to Marta Island, where sea lions can be observed.

The cruise concludes upon arrival in Punta Arenas (with disembarkation at approximately 11:30 AM).

Upon arrival in Chile, most travelers fly to Santiago or the Chilean Lake District. Extensions to the Torres del Paine National Park can also be arranged.

LANDED organizes Strait of Magellan Cruises, Patagonia Excursions, luxury accommodation, charter transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

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