Impenetrable forests, impassable mountains, and endless fields of ice define Chilean Patagonia, and meant that the region went largely unexplored until the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the southernmost part of the country, this area is still sparsely inhabited, though you will find a few populated places—like the colorful provincial city of Punta Arenas, which looks like it's about to be swept into the Strait of Magellan. Some unique wildlife, particularly colonies of elephant seals and penguins, call this breathtaking topography home. View more
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Discover the life and times of those who choose to make Punta Arenas their home during this visit to a local family's home and traditional BBQ. Magellanic hospitality still pervades local culture, undeterred (or perhaps nurtured by) nature's inhospitality, this city is remarkably relaxed and friendly.
Leave the pier and head for a short sightseeing drive of the city and to the observation point located at Cerro De La Cruz, where a short stop will be made to enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of the city and the Straits of Magellan. Afterwards, head to a local family house to spend some time with them and learn about different topics.
Upon arrival, share an aperitif and participate in the preparation of a Patagonian lamb barbecue while sharing with the hostesses and learning about the local culture, immigration stories and history of the region. Probably you will also learn the reason local people of Punta Arenas feel that they leave in an Independent Region, far from the rest of the country and even why they have their own flag.
Get to know the members of the family and enjoy a tasty home-made barbecue.
At agreed time, leave the house and head to the Main Plaza to have a look to the local monuments and also the chance to stroll at the small handicraft stalls before returning to the ship.
Please note: This tour involves minimal walking and is suitable for guests with limited mobility; however it is not wheelchair accessible. Guests should dress in seasonal clothing and wear comfortable walking shoes. This tour is extremely limited in capacity and we suggest guests reserve this tour early to avoid disappointment. Due to average local temperatures, coaches are not equipped with air-conditioning.
Explore one of the largest penguin colonies in southern Chile during this panoramic, half-day sightseeing excursion to Magdalena Island.
Laredo Bay, Boat-Ride, Strait of Magellan and Magdalena Island
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately 30-minute drive to Laredo Bay. Upon arrival, embark your motorboat for the approximately one-hour ride to Magdalena Island via the Strait of Magellan. Magdalena Island is located in the middle of the Strait of Magellan, approximately 22 miles (about 35.4 kilometres) north of Punta Arenas.
Magdalena Island was declared a National Park in 1966, and re-classified as a Natural Monument in 1982. The aim is to protect the avifauna of the island, such as Magellan penguins, cormorants and seagulls, among others. This island constitutes one of the largest penguin colonies in southern Chile, with a population estimated at more than 50,000 pairs of Magellan Penguins, which is more than 95% of the bird-life bio-mass in the area.
Nature Hike, Penguins, Seabirds and Boat-Ride
Upon arrival, disembark your boat for a guided, approximately one-hour hike along well-marked trails to avoid disturbing the local avifauna. Along the way, observe large numbers of penguins and other birds. Following your trek, embark your motorboat and relax with a snack and a tasty pisco sour before heading back to Laredo Bay. After disembarking the boat, you may opt to re-board your coach and commence the short drive back to the pier, or be dropped off in the downtown area near the pier for shopping and further exploration, and return to the ship on your own.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately one mile (about 1.6 kilometres), at times over uneven and surfaces and inclines, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and embark/disembark the boat. This tour is not suitable for guests who are prone to seasickness, guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear warm, layered clothing with flat, sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes, and bring sun protection, gloves and a weatherproof jacket from the ship. Guests must be at least 21 years old to be served alcoholic beverages. Guests are prohibited from feeding, taking flash photographs and getting extremely close to the penguins. Garbage must be taken back to Punta Arenas to protect this natural monument. Operation of this tour is subject to weather conditions. The tour duration may vary due to sea and/or wind conditions.
Discover the past to present in Punta Arenas during this half-day outing. Punta Arenas, with a population of 110,000, is the capital of the Magallanes and Antarctic Region, and it is Patagonia's most important city; its streets hum with activity and its airport and seaports bustle with traffic. The town has made a living from coal mines, wool production, oil, fishing, and as a service centre for cargo ships.
Cerro De La Cruz
The tour commences with a drive from the pier through the city of Punta Arenas to the observation point located at Cerro De La Cruz, where a short stop will be made to enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of the city and the Straits of Magellan.
Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum
Drive to the Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum, which was created by the Salesian missionaries, where exhibits illustrating the habitat and history of Patagonia's aboriginal people and the region's natural history can be seen. The museum consists of 3 floors which are only accessible by stairs and most explanations are only written in Spanish.
Continue with a visit of Patagonia Institute, an open-air museum with horse-drawn carts, farm machinery, and other items from the golden age of Punta Arenas. Due to the Patagonia Institute being an outdoor museum it is necessary to walk around on uneven terrain in order to visit it.
Plaza de Armas
Finally drive to the city centre and visit the Plaza de Armas, where a statue of Magellan with a mermaid and two Fuegian Indians at his feet can be seen. Punta Arenas' earliest wealth is reflected in the grand stone mansions that encircle this square, which were built with earnings from the sheep ranches of the late 1800s.
Following this visit, make the return drive to the pier in order to re-join the ship.
Please note: This tour involves moderate walking with stairs and uneven ground to negotiate. Guests should dress in seasonal attire and wear flat, walking shoes. There are souvenirs / handicrafts for sale in the area of the stops made. The order of sites visited may vary. Explanations in Borgetello museum are mostly written in Spanish. Due to average local temperatures, coaches are not equipped with air-conditioning.
Discover the exquisite natural topography of Chile during this full-day excursion to picturesque Torres del Paine National Park.
Torres del Paine National Park
Depart the pier for the brief transfer to the airport for your chartered, one-hour flight to Puerto Natales. Upon arrival, board a bus for the scenic, 2-hour drive north through picturesque rolling pampas and distant mountain ranges en route to Porteria Serrano, one of the entrances to Torres del Paine National Park. Your drive within the park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers breath taking panoramic vistas in all directions. Around this area of Serrano, lunch will be served with the best views of the park.
Salto Grande Waterfall and Lunch
Drive to the Salto Grande Waterfall. Upon arrival, take an approximate 50-minute hike amidst the rugged beauty surrounding this scenic locale.
Established in 1959, this 598,338-acre (242,138-hectare) park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978. Your drive within the park offers incredible vistas. Along the way, a stop is made at the Lake Nordenskjold Lookout for spectacular views of the famous jagged spires that grace numerous publications.
Lastly, a stop will be made at Cerro Castillo Coffee Shop for some snacks before the drive to the Puerto Natales Airport for your return flight to the pier to re-join the ship.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking over bumpy and uneven surfaces, and is recommended for guests in good physical condition. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Warm comfortable clothing, a warm hat and sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended. Although this programme is limited in capacity, a minimum number of participants are required to operate. This programme becomes 100% non-refundable 21 days prior to the start of your cruise. Cancellations received after this time, will have the cost of the programme charged to their on board account. The order of sites visited may vary. Due to average local temperatures, coaches are not equipped with air-conditioning.
Embrace the pristine natural beauty of Patagonia during a scenic and exhilarating trek in the Magallanes Nature Reserve. The Reserve takes you into the forests and mountains above Punta Arenas, offering a beautifully spent half-day of hiking with incredible scenery.
Magallanes Nature Reserve
The tour commences driving west towards the Magallanes Nature Reserve on a road that is mainly on gravel for approximately 2 miles (3.2 kms). Upon arrival at 'El Mirador', a flat and even trekking trail, begin your walk and trek for about 0.6 mile (0.96 kms), reaching the estuary of the river 'Las Minas', a place of historical significance for the area as it was the main source of coal for the first half of the 1900´s. Along the trail you can observe diverse native vegetation such as Lengas and Coigües and it may be possible to spot wildlife.
Then board your vehicle and drive towards to the entrance area of the park to start a longer and more difficult trek. Now trek up Mount Fenton for 1.2 mile (1.93 kilometres) to reach the top and enjoy from there the panoramic view over the city, the Straits of Magellan and the legendary Tierra del Fuego Island. Descend following the same trail and board your vehicles. Before driving back to the pier, enjoy a revitalizing hot coffee.
An optional drop off at the Main Plaza in Punta Arenas will be offered with an independent return to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires an extensive amount of walking for approximately 3 hours over rough terrain, and is only recommended for guests in very good physical condition and those who have experience trekking. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Warm, layered, waterproof, clothing and sturdy, closed-toe trekking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 7 years old. Due to average local temperatures, coaches are not equipped with air-conditioning.