The Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise is one of the rarer Antarctica cruises. However, it is also one of the most stunning!
You’ll experience a wild mix of landscapes as you visit the enchanting Antarctic Peninsula before venturing up the western coast of Chile, taking in some of the most magical and haunting landscapes on earth. The amazing contrast between landscapes is a constant delight as you kayak and hike among some of the worlds most untouched environments.
Your cruise sets off from Ushuaia before crossing the Drake Passage to reach Antarctica. Once in the White Continent you will be in s ate of continual amazement as you take in the blue-hued icebergs, enormous glacier and stunning array of wildlife. You’ll make several shore landings a day and visit some of the most popular spots including Deception Island and Port Lockroy!
After exploring the peninsula your cruise then heads back across the passage to reach Cape Horn where you stop. You then travel up the coast visiting some of the most pristine parks on earth including the famous Torress Del Pain National Park. Here you explore on foot and kayak!
Your journey continues up the coast as you visit isolated villages and sprawling cities before finally concluding our journey in Santiago.
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Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise – Route Map
Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise – Route Itinerary
Because of the cruise’s long sailing time and unpredictable weather, all operators will offer a slightly different itinerary. Please note that the itinerary provided below reflects what we have personally experienced and is not a direct reflection of all operator’s itineraries.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN USHUAIA
Today you arrive in Ushuaia. The city has a nice feel to it and make sure you check out some of the lovely shops and cafes that can be found throughout. If you arrive quite early you may wish to take a trip to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park .
DAY 2: EMBARKATION DAY
Today your cruise begins! You board your ship in the late afternoon whereby you meet and greet your fellow passengers and crew members. There will be a big welcome meal on-board as your cruise ship heads out through the Beagle Channel. Your crew will also go over mandatory safety precautions.
DAY 3: CROSSING THE DRAKE PASSAGE
Pray for calm weather as the Drake Passage is infamous for its rough seas! This is the perfect thresher though for you to find your sea legs. The crossing gives passengers the chance to get to know each other a little better and begin to look out for some wildlife. Your crew will go over the optional extra activities available to you and discuss zodiac and landing procedures. Keep a sharp eye out for whales and seabirds!
DAY 4-8: ANTARCTICA PENINSULA
Reaching Antarctica cannot really be put into words. The general reaction is one of awe. The beautiful desolate landscape is harsh environment of ice and many people are entranced by its foreignness.
Your captain will make berth at the most notable destinations along the peninsula and you’ll be given daily zodiac and whale watching trips, hikes and photography opportunities. Your guides will always keep you informed as to what you are seeing and you’ll get the chance to have a polar plunge!
You’ll never want to leave this dazzling landscape of blue-hued icebergs, towering glaciers and floating sea ice. Keep your eye out for leopard seals and minke whales.
DAY 9: CRUISING AT SEA
Today you cross back across the Drake Passage back towards South America and the infamous Cape Horn! Your lectures will continue as you make the crossing.
DAY 10: CAPE HORN
One of the most mythical places on earth, Cape Horn is the southern most tip of South America. Before the Panama Canal was constructed, sailors were forced to sail around Cape Horn to reach the other side of South America. If weather permits your cruise will make berth and you will go ashore to explore.
DAY 11: CHILEAN FJORDS
Today your cruise enters Patagonia proper. You will sail through the Magellan Strait and the Beagle Channel, all the while marveling at the incredible landscape around you. The Chilean Fjords are some of the most beautiful on the planet ans the tall snow-capped mountains offer a marvelous contrast to the stark white environment of Antarctica.You’ll make several shore landings to explore the region further and naturalists will be in their element as you will have the chance to spot sea lions and Andean condors!
DAY 12-13: PUERTO NATALES – TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
Torres Del Paine is one of the most beautiful national parks on earth and you’ll sail down Puerto Natales to reach the stunning area. Isolated bays and hidden islands make up the landscape and your guides will give you the chance to hike and kayak around the region to explore it in depth. Torres Del Paine means ‘Towers of Paine’ and the park is known for its towering and unique rock formations that few people ever witness. The flora and fauna of the park is simply stunning and hikers will have the chance to see llamas, pumas, chilla foxes, skunks and over 100 species of bird!
DAY 14: PUERTO EDEN – CHILE
After departing the amazing Patagonia archipelago, your next stop is the village of Puerto Eden. The isolated village only has 250 inhabitants and holds the last 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. You’ll have the option to explore the village further or take a hiking or kayaking session with your guides.
DAY 15: CHILEAN FJORDS
Today you can relax as you spend another day in the Chilean Fjords. Spend the day on-board or take a hike in the picturesque countryside.
DAY 16: PUERTO MONTT
Puerto Montt is a coastal city in Chile with great views over the local region. Exploring the city with your guide will give you some fantastic insights into the Chilean culture, history and architecture.
DAY 17: DAY AT SEA
Today is spent at sea. You can relax on the sun deck or spend you times listening to lectures by the expert guides.
DAY 18: VALPARAISO, CHILE
Today is the last day of your cruise. Valparaiso is a vibrant city known for its artistic influences and your guides will give you a personal tour of the city before you part ways. After you say your goodbyes you will be transferred by car to your hotel in the city of Santiago.
There are several variations for the Antarctic Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise.
Antarctica Peninsula and Chilean Fjords
This is a shorter variation that leaves from Punta Arenas and explores the Southern Chilean Fjords region before heading to the Antarctic Peninsula. The cruise then returns to Ushuaia. In our opinion this a fantastic option for people with slightly less time as you get the most beautiful fjords region along with all that the peninsula has to offer.
Antarctica, Falklands and Coastal Patagonia Cruise
This cruise variation is slightly longer than the standard option and often departs from Buenos Aires. The cruise then sails down the eastern part of Argentina before visiting the lovely Falkland Islands. From there the cruise is almost identical to that of the standard cruise. This variation also departs from Ushuaia on some itineraries.
Antarctica, South Georgia and Coastal Patagonia Cruise
Thus variation is almost identical to the one mentioned above. However, instead of visiting the Falkland Islands, this itinerary takes in the wildlife-rich island of South Georgia instead. Probably a better option for wildlife lovers as you’ll literally see millions of seals and penguins, including the king penguin!
What is included on the Cruise?
Please note that all Antarctic operators offer varying packages and weather conditions will often hinder certain landings and activities. The list provided below is what we believe should be included as standard for this particular cruise.
•1 night hotel stay in Ushuaia before departure
•17 nights on-board the ship
•Ratio of at least 1 expedition member per 10 guests
•Arrival and departure transfers to and from Ushuaia airport and Santiago Airport
•Expert on-board lectures
•Daily zodiac excursions in Antarctica and Patagonia
•Waterproof boots for shore landings
•18 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 17 dinners (food should be included in price)
•Optional extra activities offered for additional cost – kayaking, hiking etc.
Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise – Cost
The Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise is a fairly long journey and the price obviously reflects this. For a basic quad or triple room you should expect to pay in excess of US$11,000 and for a double or suite you will be looking at $16,000 plus. For a top suite look to pay in the region of $23,000 per person.
Always remember to do your research on operators and vessels. Operators are often very different and you want to make sure you get exactly what you want. When it comes to Antarctica cruises, you generally get what you pay for. Price should not be the main factor when choosing the right cruise.
Many people talk of securing last minute deals. Whist these are available, the Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise is not run frequently and generally fills up quickly.
For a detailed page on Antarctica cruise cost, please click here.
Best time to do the Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise
The Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise is run throughout the summer period – from early November through to late March. The cruise itself will be incredible whenever you choose to sail, however, choosing a certain period definitely has its advantages in terms of what you want to see.
For instance, if you desperately want to see whales then your best chance is seeing them is later in the season around February and March. However, if you want to see towering icebergs and glaciers, then your best bet is to sail early in the season before the ice has had much time to melt.
By sailing in the high part of the season around December and January, you will be able to enjoy Antarctica at her warmest. Temperatures on the Peninsula regularly exceed 10 degrees Celsius during this period! This also the best time to see penguin chicks and seal pups.
To see our detailed page on when to visit Antarctica, please click here.
What gear will I need for the Cruise?
Camera gear and cold weather gear are your two main considerations for the Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise. Weather on the peninsula can get very cold and you’ll want appropriate cold weather gear. This includes thermal layers, parka, gloves, beanie and waterproof jacket. Good operators will provide you with an expedition parka to keep!
The weather often play hazard with photographic equipment and you’ll need to bring some zip-lock bags to keep your gear in. Remember to bring filters, batteries and a steady tripos also. detailed page on Antarctica photography tips, click here!
To see our full clothing packing list, please click here.
Do I need travel insurance?
Absolutely. Travel insurance is mandatory on Antarctica cruises and your operator will need to see proof of purchase before allowing you on-board. Emergency evacuation is expensive in these wilderness regions and you’ll need to make sure you are properly covered for all medical evacuation expenses. You’ll also need to read your travel insurance policy carefully as some policies do not actually cover you when on shore landings!
For our detailed article on Antarctica insurance, please click here.
Ships that sail the Antarctica Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Itinerary
Named after the ship used by Norwegian Explorer Fridtjof Nansen, the Fram was purpose built in 2009 and is one of the largest vessels in Antarctic waters with space for 269 passengers! Items from the original Fram are positioned around the ship which makes for a nice touch. As can be expected from a ship this size, the Fram contains several Jacuzzi’s, a gym, several restaurants and lounges and a full spa facility.
Click here for more detailed information on the Fram.
Probably the most luxurious ship in the Polar Regions. The Silver Explorer takes only 132 passengers, but boasts facilities of a much larger vessel. Facilities include a spacious library, Internet Cafe, full-service spa, boutique shopping, beauty salon, fitness center, sauna and two top-deck Jacuzzi’s! The ship also boasts 8 zodiacs so no one ever has to wait for landings! If you can afford it, this is a very cool ship.
Click here for more detailed information on the Silver Explorer.
Carrying 500 passengers, the Midnatsol is one of the largest Antarctica ships. Decked out with nice pieces of modern art, the Midnatsol has a bight and colorful feel to it. Natural light is everywhere and the main lounge is a two-story room with front facing panoramic views! Decked out with a Young Explorers Program, the Midnatsol is incredibly family friendly.
Click here for more detailed information on the Midnatsol.
Carrying 450 passengers, the Seabourn Quest is undoubtedly the largest cruise ship in the Antarctic region and arguably the most luxurious. The vessel has been described as “a game-changer for the luxury segment” and the dining experience is said to be as good as top restaurants. Glittering chandeliers, cafes and spa treatments await guests on this huge luxury ship!
Click here for a more detailed page on the Seabourn Quest.
Recommended Antarctica Cruise specialist
Having traveled to Antarctica extensively, we’ve worked with a wide range of operators. Our chosen Antarctica specialist stood out above the rest for us in terms of professionalism, knowledge and pure helpfulness! These guys work for every single operator in the Polar regions so that you can compare and contrast cruises and operators to find the cruise that most suits you.
Further Antarctica cruise itineraries
If you have any further questions or queries regarding the Antarctic Peninsula and Coastal Patagonia Cruise, please just leave a message below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you and happy travels!