Day-By-Day

An engaging expedition, a true adventure


Flexibility is a hallmark of Lindblad-National Geographic expeditions, so our day-to-day itinerary may change as we choose to take advantage of a sighting of a whale or photographers decide to linger on shore through the golden hour of light.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The 2019/20 departures are one day longer, and priced accordingly.


Embark: Puerto Natales

Disembark: Ushuaia


The ship travels from Puerto Natales to Ushuaia on the itinerary below.

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  • DAY 1-2: U.S./Santiago, Chile

    Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile. We check in to the Mandarin Oriental (or similar) centrally located in Santiago, 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 city. In the early evening, we gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (Day 2: L)

  • DAY 3: Punta Arenas/Puerto Natales

    Today we fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southern gateway to Patagonia, drive to the outpost of Puerto Natales and check in to our fine 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. 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)

  • DAY 4-6: Torres del Paine National Park

    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 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.

    We spend three nights at the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. 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. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 7: Torres del Paine National Park/ Puerto Natales/Embark

    We have a final morning to explore Torres del Paine. We then drive to Puerto Natales, where we embark National Geographic Orion. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Kirke Narrows & Exploring the Chilean Fjords

    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 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 channels that lie between the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego to the south. Our Captain and local pilots guide us through Kirke Narrows, accessible only to a small ship as National Geographic Orion. We’ll look to make a first stop in the extensive maze of channels and islands of the Chilean fjords, where we may go out by Zodiac and kayak. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: Tierra del Fuego, Chile: Karukinka Natural Park

    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)

  • DAY 10: The Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & Exploring

    We’ll explore more stunning wilderness as we see the fjords and glaciers of the region by Zodiac, kayak and on foot. 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 and will look to hike and kayak one of the wild areas in this region of beech forests, mountains and wild rivers.  (B,L,D)

  • DAY 11: Cape Horn

    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. During the Age of Sail, sailing ships often had to struggle with the winds and currents for days or even weeks. Of course, we’ll use our modern equipment and decades of experience to explore safely. Weather permitting, we’ll take our Zodiacs ashore and walk to the top of a hill for panoramic views and to see the memorial placed there in 1992, showing an albatross in silhouette. There’s also a lighthouse and small museum, and moving plaques commemorate those who explored Cape Horn and those sailors who lost their lives in these waters. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 12-13: Isla de Los Estados (Staten Island), Argentina

    We have been given special permission to visit extraordinary Staten Island. National Geographic Explorer is one of the only expedition ships ever allowed here, and you will be among the few people ever to set foot 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 look for southern rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, many other water birds, and fur seals and sea lions. With luck we may find marine otters on our landings ashore; and we’ll see the replica of the 1884 San Juan de Salvamento “lighthouse at the end of the world,” which inspired Jules Verne’s novel by the same name. Although Verne never came anywhere near Staten Island, the vivid depictions in his adventure story have inspired generations of readers. There will be chances to walk in the southern beech forests and through tussock grasslands. And weather permitting, take a Zodiac cruise at remarkable Observatory Island, one of the largest and most diverse bird nesting areas in the entire region, with large numbers of southern sea lions and South American fur seals. These days are bound to stand out as a unique chance to explore a very remote place. Read Eric Guth's account from our inaugural 2015 visit at www.expeditions.com/si_first. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 14-15: Ushuaia/Disembark/Santiago/U.S.

    Disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Take a charter flight to Santiago and connect to your overnight flight home. (Day 14: B,L)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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