This expedition takes you to the beauty of the South American coast and on to magical Antarctica. Visit one of the most scenic national parks in the world, see the rich wildlife of Patagonia, the Chilean fjords and Cape Horn before the highlight of the journey, Antarctica. Enjoy spending time ashore, kayaking, hiking and close encounters with penguins, birds and seals.
This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.
In 2019, Hurtigruten will add a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.
MS Roald Amundsen is the first of two hybrid ships Hurtigruten will add to its fleet over the next few years, cutting emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion. Hybrid technology, combined with the advanced construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board will reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions on the ships by 20 percent. The build of these two ships represents the largest single investment in the history of Hurtigruten.
The future of shipping will be silent and emission free. MS Roald Amundsen will lead the way towards an even more sustainable way of traveling. Sailing on electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests. The ship will be specially constructed for voyages in polar waters and serve as a comfortable basecamp at sea – bringing adventurers from all over the world to the most spectacular destinations in the most sustainable way.
This expedition starts in the colourful and poetic city of Valparaíso. One of the best ways of seeing this scenic town is by riding its funiculars, which are scattered around the city, allowing sweeping views of the bay. From high up, the city´s multi-hued houses create a rainbow of colour and light. Stroll Valparaiso´s narrow streets, climb its endless staircases and discover something new at every turn: a beautiful building, a remarkable art gallery or some little gastronomic ‘find’. Don’t forget to explore the port and fishing piers, where you’ll get a real feel for Chile’s quirky seafaring side. Buy or sample freshly caught seafood at the market and enjoy the fishermen’s banter. We also recommend a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter before embarking on MS Roald Amundsen.
As we make our way along the Pacific coast of Chile, our Expedition team will start the lecture program to prepare you for the experiences ahead. Enjoy priming your knowledge about the history and wildlife of the area. There will also be various workshops and presentations. Make sure to spend some time on deck to enjoy the fresh sea air and look out for wildlife. Familiarise yourself with our newest and most innovative expedition vessel and take advantage of all the facilities on board.
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Castro is set among windswept hills and green vegetation. The city is known for its colourful “palafitos”, wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water’s edge. Come ashore and enjoy the local Chilote character and curious energy, mixed with a dash of modern development. The Iglesia San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is a visual delight: bright yellow and orange with a lavender trim. The varnished-wood interior is stunning, illuminated by rows of stained-glass windows.
Other sights include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza right by the waterfront with an odd collection of old trains. A stroll in the Cementerio Parroquial is fascinating, as some of the tombs are quite grand and ornately decorated. Feria Campesina Yumbel is a bustling fruit and vegetable market. There are also household goods and fish stalls here.
In the shop Feria Artesanal Lillo, located just south of the port, you can buy excellent hand-knit woollen goods and handicrafts. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Castro are concentrated along the Calle Blanco, running from the southern end of the plaza down to the waterfront, and this is where you can get a taste of the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew.
Close to the town is Chiloé National Park, a largely unexplored wilderness hosting rare flora and fauna. The park features wide deserted beaches and long stretches of rugged coastline, and is home to dozens of seabird species, penguins and sea lions.
The expedition continues south through the fabled waters of Patagonia and onwards to one of the world’s most remote, undisturbed and beautiful places: the southern province of Ultima Esperanza, meaning Last Hope. As we sail through iconic Andean seascapes, you have plenty of time to gaze out on the magnificent natural expanse.
After an unforgettable cruise through Patagonian waters, the unique village of Puerto Edén will enchant you. It is a tiny settlement in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. There are no roads, only wooden walkways, and electricity is only available during a few hours every day.
Puerto Edén is a great place to experience the traditional indigenous culture of Patagonian tribes. The villagers sell fish, mussels and shellfish products, which are taken to markets by a weekly transport boat. For souvenirs, buy traditional Kawéskar crafts such as wicker baskets and boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the laneways, and maybe you will spot one of the many Magellan hummingbirds found here when you join the Expedition team for hiking or kayaking.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive nature sanctuaries in the world. Its main feature is the “towers” themselves; impressive rock formations, called “Torres del Paine” (Towers of Paine). The formations are made up of the Torre Central (9,186 feet high), Torre Sur (9,350 feet) and Torre Norte (7,375 feet).
The park features azure lakes, trails that meander through emerald forests, roaring rivers, (which you’ll cross on rickety bridges) and one big, radiant blue glacier. Torres del Paine hosts stunning variety, from the vast open steppe to rugged mountain terrain topped by looming peaks. This diversity of environments here has led to the flourish of a wide variety of a fauna and flora. While we are here you might see llamas, pumas, chilla foxes and skunks in addition to more than 100 species of birds like the Andean condor and black-chested buzzard eagle. Enjoy hiking in these amazing surroundings.
The Chilean fjords´ deep channels, fjords and mountains plunging into the icy water always leave a profound impression on visitors. This wild and remote area seems almost untouched by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, creating the isolated islands and hidden bays that form the unique fjord landscape of Chile. Snow-capped mountains and steep valleys make a striking contrast to a lush coastline that is rich in wildlife. You might be lucky enough to spot sea lions, Andean condors and several bird species that can only be found here.
In the morning, we sail through the Beagle Channel, named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery – HMS Beagle. We continue into open waters, and if conditions allow we will land on Cape Horn – the southernmost tip of South America. Going ashore can be very difficult because of the sometimes-extreme weather in this area. This is the southernmost point of Chile and lies almost 56 degrees south, marking the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the northern end of the Drake Passage.
The region is of great significance on account of its location, history, discoveries and trade routes. If we are able to anchor off Cape Horn, you will be able to go ashore to explore this deserted and yet romantic piece of land at the end of the world. Then we continue over the Drake Passage, where two oceans meet, on our way to Antarctica. On the way through the straits you can learn a great deal about Antarctica’s fantastic animals and history.
This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which few have the chance to experience. The Drake Passage connects the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Here the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south. This makes the ocean particularly rich in nutrients and forms the foundational basis of the unique marine life here.
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. Ninety per cent of the world´s ice is here, 4000 metres thick, covering the landmass. In winter it is further cut off by the sea ice forming off the coast – virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals who, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife here depend on krill as a cornerstone species. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth.
As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism. No human activity is allowed to alter the perfect natural balance. We are visiting a place that has evolved through millenniums without human interference. Therefore, we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules. We want to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!
Because of the power of this remote and beautiful environment, we need to be pragmatic; we change landings, re-route and shift plans to ensure safety and the best experiences for our guests. This also means that we will take advantage of the often-ideal conditions – we will spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising amongst huge pods of whales.
We will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, penguin colonies, seals, whales in the ocean, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and colour, old whaling stations and research bases. It´s hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from a veteran Antarctic traveler put it: “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”
After four unforgettable days in Antarctica, MS Roald Amundsen takes us safely back across the famous Drake Passage. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 950 km (600 mi) or 40 hours sailing time in good weather. During the voyage north, we will continue our lecture series and recap our experiences of Antarctica.
Sadly, every expedition must come to an end. When we reach Punta Arenas, on the edge of the Strait of Magellan, it is time to say goodbye. Your journey home continues with your flight to Santiago de Chile, where you have a chance to extend your stay in Santiago de Chile and enjoy our optional post extension programs.