Best of Chilean Patagonia (NG Orion)

Best of Chilean Patagonia (NG Orion)

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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.

Trip Name
Best of Chilean Patagonia (NG 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.


Day 1 - Day 1 - Santiago, Chile
Arrive in Santiago, Chile and check in to our centrally locatedhotel, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearlysurrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop toour afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore thePlaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby PresidentialPalace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot thecity. (L)
Day 2 - Day 2 - Puerto Natales
Today we fly from Santiago to the outpost of Puerto Natales andcheck in to our outstanding hotel, the Singular, located on ÚltimaEsperanza (Last Hope) Sound. The sound got its name when16th-century explorers tried and failed to find a route to thePacific here. The hotel is a part of local history—a formersheep-processing plant converted to luxury hotel. This afternoon,we will enjoy a short exploration of the town, including a visit tothe small but excellent Municipal Historical Museum, withexhibits on the region’s Native Americans and on its settler past.We have dinner at our hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Days 3 - 5 - Torres del Paine National Park
We drive to Torres del Paine National Park, stopping at MilodónCave, where the remains of an extinct giant sloth werediscovered. Illuminating displays show the history of humanhabitation and wildlife of the region. We continue to monumentalTorres del Paine, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and a place ofsuperlatives. The landscape is big, wide and sprawling, withrazor-backed ridges, Andean condors guanacos, foxes andrheas. Regardless of where you are, the Paine massif draws2017 Departure Dates:Oct 28Advance Payment:$2,500Cost Includes:One hotel night in Santiago; one hotel night in PuertoNatales; three hotel nights in Torres del Paine;shipboard accommodations; meals indicated; servicesof Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, expedition staff andexpert guides; entrance fees; all port charges andservice.Not Included:Immigration fees, air transportation; personal itemssuch as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyageDVD, etc. Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion.your eye with its jagged peaks, including the famous “Horns” andthe three towers for which the park is named. These granitemountains are topped with a thick layer of dark slate. Chileansthemselves dream of visiting this magnificent park, and it holds aspecial place in their hearts as a symbol of wildness. During ourdays here, we’ll discover one of the most spectacular andwildlife-rich areas in the Americas, covering 450,000 acres ofglaciers, forests and grasslands, rivers and colorful lakes andlagoons. You’ll be able to choose among a variety of excursionseach day, ranging from a challenging hike to the base of thetowers, to a shorter walk among guanaco herds to the edge of alake, to a scenic drive to a waterfall and the “Blue Lagoon”, withviews of the towers. Or ride horseback if you wish, in this mostinspiring of landscapes. You’ll leave here with the feeling you’vereally experienced an adventure. Our accommodations are atthe outstanding Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, one of NationalGeographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, where your room willhave views of Torres del Paine’s imposing central massif.(B,L,D)
Day 4 - Day 6 - Torres del Paine National Park/ Puerto Natales/Embark
We have a final morning to explore Torres del Paine. We thendrive to Puerto Natales, where we embark National GeographicOrion. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Day 7 - Kirke Narrows & Exploring the Chilean Fjords
Be on deck to look for condors and other wildlife on our way outof Puerto Natales, as our ship transits the narrow sliver of waterknown as the Kirke Narrows-always a challenge to navigatebecause of the powerful currents that flow through its 650-footwide pinch point. Today and during the following days you will betreated to the spectacular features of an active glaciatedlandscape with hanging valleys and tributary glaciers. Thisregion was navigated by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and ittook most of November 1520 for his ships to find a way throughthe maze of channels that lie between the continental mainlandand Tierra del Fuego to the south. Among our many possibilitiesare exploring Estero las Montañas, with a chance to go for anadventurous walk to a lake through beautiful muskeg and forest,with cypress trees coated with many species of lichens; andBahía Ainsworth in Seno Almirantazgo, where we may go out byZodiac and kayak and look for elephant seals. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Day 8 - Tierra del Fuego, Chile: Karukinka Natural Park
Tierra del Fuego is one of Patagonia’s crown jewels. We visit itsnewest 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 forconservation. We’re thrilled to have special permission from theWildlife Conservation Society to visit this private reserve, whichspans 1,160 square miles and harbors endangered culpeo fox,Andean condors, albatross, grebes, petrels, fulmars,shearwaters and many other kinds of wildlife. We may exploreJackson Bay, backed by a skyline of rugged mountains and lookor wildlife including black-browed albatross that nest on one ofthe nearby small islands. We may walk a trail to a lovely waterfalland look for elephant seals resting on not only the beach butalso high in the grass meadows and even in the small riverdraining the valley inland. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Day 9 - The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Yendegaia
We’ll explore more stunning wilderness as we see the fjords andglaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak and on foot. A vast areaof soaring, snowcapped mountains, gigantic glaciers, thousandsof verdant islands, serene lakes, and waterfalls—the archipelagois scarcely touched by man. Take Zodiacs out to explore theseprotected waters and rugged shores, the blue and white of icecontrasting with greens of the forest highlighted by splashes oflate-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 theBeagle Channel to Yendegaia, a stunning wilderness that covers95,000 acres on Tierra del Fuego. This newly establishednational park was formerly a private reserve. It has beechforests, mountains and wild rivers. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Day 10 - Cape Horn
Today we visit Cape Horn, near the southernmost tip of theSouth American continent, named in 1616 for the Dutch town ofHoorn. These waters are famously difficult to navigate, and overthe centuries have been the graveyard of many ships-whichbefore the opening of the Panama Canal had to round the Capeto sail between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, we'lluse our modern equipment to explore safely. Weatherpermitting, we'll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top ofthe hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placedthere in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Days 11 - 12 - Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina
We have been given special permission to visit extraordinaryStaten Island, and National Geographic Orion will be one of theonly expedition ships ever allowed here. It’s a place ofsuperlatives, barely touched in recent decades and visitedprimarily by a few scientists and those who man the tiny navalobservatory. The island was named by Dutch explorers in 1615.Its mountainous, forested landscapes and rugged fjords arebeautiful, and we’ll find a great deal of interest here. Our exactschedule will remain flexible to take best advantage ofconditions. We’ll see colonies of southern rockhopper andMagellanic penguins, many other water birds, and largeassemblages of fur seals and sea lions. We’ll also look for otterson our landings ashore, and we’ll see the 1884 San Juan deSalvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspiredJules Verne’s novel by the same name, along with the ruins of apenal colony, and perhaps an archaeological site occupied 1,500years ago by Native Americans. There will be chances to walk inthe southern beech forests. These days are bound to stand outas a unique chance to explore a very remote place. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - Day 13 - Ushuaia/Disembark/Santiago
Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Takea charter flight to Santiago and connect to flights home.(B,L)
Day 11 - Please Note:
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Trip Dates

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    • Discover over several days the wildlife-rich, iconic landscapes of Torres del Paine, Patagonia's jewel with the superb Hotel Río Serrano (2016) or Tierra Patagonia Hotel (2017) as your basecamp
    • Explore the wild, windswept Isla de los Estados (Staten Island), located at the extreme end of South America and largely off limits to travelers since 1923
    • Transit the legendary Beagle Channel and see storied Cape Horn
    • Venture through wildlife reserves not easily accessible to the public, including Yendegaia and Karukinka Natural Parks in Tierra del Fuego
    • Zodiac cruise and kayak through the breathtaking Chilean fjords