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Cruceros Australis

Follow Charles Darwin's trail in Patagonia on board the Via Australis - cruises linking Chile and Argentina

One of the primary missions of HMS Beagle between 1832 and 1834 was to survey the land known as Tierra del Fuego.  The area extending down as far as Cape Horn, hazardous to say the least, was not well charted. Thanks to the work of the Beagle, modern navigators, such as Chilean owned Cruceros Australis can now make the trip safely.

At the southern most tip of South America, a cruise on board the vessels of Cruceros Australis through the fjords and channels of Tierra del Fuego is an awe-inspiring journey, allowing the visitor to relive the history of early navigators as well as aboriginal people of the region. Sail through the legendary Strait of Magellan, passing glaciers, snow-capped peaks and unexplored forests.

The M/V Mare Australis accommodates 132 passengers, with 62 cabins. Daily presentations are given on the history, geology, flora and fauna of the area.


Day 1: Ushuaia
Check in between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm at 409 San Martín St, before boarding the Cruise ship at 5:30 pm. The Captain and crew will then host a welcome cocktail reception. Afterwards, the ship departs for “the uttermost part of the earth”. Our excursion takes us through the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan to explore one of the most captivating wilderness regions in the world: Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

Day 2: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay
We sail through Murray Channel and Nassau Bay to reach Cape Horn National Park, where we disembark (weather permitting). The mythical Cape Horn was discovered in 1616 and it is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory. For many years it was an important navigation route for sailboats between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and it is known as the “End of the Earth”. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005. 

In the afternoon, we go ashore at the historical Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest Yamana aboriginal settlements. Charles Darwin landed here on January 23rd, 1833, during his voyage on the HMS Beagle.  This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. We will walk through a Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a panoramic viewpoint.

Day 3: Pia Glacier - Garibaldi Glacier
We navigate along the Northwest arm of the Beagle Channel to reach Pia Fjord, where we disembark. We take a short hike to a panoramic viewpoint from which we can appreciate the spectacular Pia Glacier, which stretches from the top of the mountains down to the sea.

In the afternoon, we enter Garibaldi fjord, where we disembark to hike through the forest up to a waterfall of glacial origin. There is a spectacular view from this spot. For those who stay onboard, our Capitan will point the bow towards the beautiful blue Garibaldi glacier, so the panoramic view can be enjoyed from the upper decks.

Day 4: Piloto and Nena Glaciers – De Agostini Sound and Águila Glacier
In the morning we sail through the Cockburn Channel to anchor in Chico Sound. Riding on the Zodiac boats we will explore Alakaluf Fjord and observe the Piloto and Nena Glaciers from the sea. The intense blue color of the Piloto Glacier, due to its compression and age, draws attention. We will learn about the formation of glaciers and their influence on the abrupt geography of the Fuegian-Patagonian channels.

In the afternoon we enter the spectacular De Agostini Sound, in the heart of Darwin Mountain Range. In this area we see glaciers flowing down the mountainside all the way to the sea. In the afternoon we will board the Zodiac boats and head to the Águila Glacier where we will take an easy walk until we reach the base of the glacier. We will learn about Patagonia’s cold rainforest and the forces that moulded the area’s landscape.

Day 5: Magdalena Island – Punta Arenas
Early in the morning (and weather permitting) we go ashore on Magdalena Island, located in the middle of the Strait of Magellan. This place used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers. The island is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellan Penguins, which can be sighted during our walk to the lighthouse. In September and April this excursion is changed by a Zodiac boat ride at Marta Island to observe South American Sea Lions. 
Finally we disembark in Punta Arenas at 11:30 am. 

NOTE: The excursions described in the itineraries can normally be carried out. Notwithstanding the above, Transportes Marítimos Terra Australis S.A., Transportes Marítimos Via Australis S.A., and Transportes Marítimos Geo Australis S.A reserve the right to reschedule, shorten, or alter all or part of the itineraries and/or excursions without previous notice, in order to safeguard the well-being and safety of passengers, preserve the environment, or due to any extraordinary circumstances, acts of god or forces of nature. For the same reasons, the hours of departure or arrival of the vessels may be subject to change.

Prices available on request.