Experience Chile offers the Crucero Australis that navigates between Punta Arenas in Chile to Ushuaia in Argentina (and vice-versa). This route navigates a route around Cape Horn and when the weather is agreeable passengers can disembark onto this iconic World-famous island and actually walk on the Cape Horn. We arrange this itinerary, with an offer, as a standalone or form part of your larger travel itinerary to Chile (Argentine and or Peru).
The Australis ships are medium-sized vessels offering cabin comfort, good food and educated guides who will look after you on the land-based excursions. The cruise passes through numerous channels and fiords you will be able to experience the magic of the Patagonian wilderness from the sea and marvel at the beauty of nature as gigantic millennial glaciers come down from the high mountains to meet their death in the cold waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. And, amid this awesome beauty is a great variety of marine and air-borne fauna that is on display for the enjoyment of those passengers lucky enough to be on board.
The famous Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos) is in Chilean territory and named after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands (actually named Kaap Hoorn by the Dutch, then referred to as Cape Horn by the English). It is an island and the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and of South America, and some may say “the official point to mark end of the geographic World”. It is a small piece of rock, or island, among others that make up the Horn Islands, around which the oceans from the southern Atlantic and Pacific converge. The sea passage around Cape Horn (the Drake Passage) is notorious for its huge seas, violent winds, strong currents and general danger. It is the graveyard for many tall ships that took this route when sailing from one side of the Americas to the other until the discovery, in 1520, of the natural sea passage further north (passing by Punta Arenas) connecting the Southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan. Named after Magellan, the Straights of Magellan enabled ships to take the more protected passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as take on supplies at Punta Arenas, cutting out the need to go around Cape Horn. However, many Clipper-class ships still rounded the Horn because the narrow Magellan Straight did not offer enough width for necessary navigational manoeuvres. In 1914 when the Panama Canal opened, both the passages around Cape Horn and the one through the Magellan’s Straight became redundant for most shipping.
The Horn Islands archipelago, as previously mentioned, lies within Chilean territorial waters and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on an island close to the real Cape Horn, but not on the island itself because it is so difficult to access. On Horn Island (not Cape Horn Island), there is a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse. A short distance away from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in honour of the sailors who died while attempting to “round the Horn”. On the real Cape Horn there is a 4m (13ft) fibreglass light tower with a focal plane of 40m (131ft) that has a range of about 21km (13mi). This is the authentic Cape Horn lighthouse. There are no trees on the island.
Crucero Australis operates from both Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile:
- Ushuaia Argentina is the southern-most city on Earth located on the southern shore of Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia, accessible by flights from Buenos Aires and El Calafate in Argentina.
- Punta Arenas is the southern-most city on mainland Chile, in Patagonia, accessible by flights from Santiago and Puerto Montt in Chile.
FJORDS OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Our Patagonia cruise tours follow the fjords of the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego highlights the stunning, natural beauty of Patagonia and several of its most important historical sites. Whether you are sailing aboard the Australis Cruise, this four-day journey includes visits to wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay, massive Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley, as well as mystical Wulaia Bay and the legendary Cape Horn.
Explore Patagonia on an adventurous five-day, four-night journeys between Ushuaia (Argentina) to Punta Arenas (Chile) through some of planet’s most remote places and incredible scenery. Discover the wild beauty of Patagonia on an Australis cruise that showcases the region’s pristine landscapes, rich wildlife and fascinating human history aboard an expedition ship that brings an extraordinary level of comfort and service to the uttermost edge of the world. Leaving the twinkling lights of Ushuaia behind, the vessel calls on fabled spots like Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay before cruising down the Beagle Channel. Continuing through the maze of islands, we’ll visit a number of glaciers, frozen giants that guard the southern flank of the Fuegian Archipelago, before entering the legendary Strait of Magellan. Last stop is the Isla Magdalena and its boisterous Patagonia penguin colony before docking at Punta Arenas.
GAUCHOS, GLACIERS AND PENGUINS
Discover the fabled island of Tierra del Fuego and cruise the wild and beautiful Fuegian Archipelago on this adventurous six-night journey by land and sea across the bottom of Patagonia. The first tour of its kind, the expedition starts with a ferry crossing of the Strait of Magellan and a drive across the pampas to a king penguin colony near Porviner before crossing into Argentina. The following day starts with a gaucho estancia (ranch) experience before resuming the overland trip through sub-polar forests and snowcapped mountains. Reaching Ushuaia, you step aboard Australis Expedition Cruises and start a four-night cruise through the maze of islands below Tierra del Fuego. Scattered along the way are Cape Horn, Wulaia Bay, the Beagle Channel, and the fjords and glaciers of Alberto de Agostini National Park before another crossing the Strait of Magellan takes you back to Punta Arenas.
DARWIN’S ROUTE FROM PUNTA ARENAS
The outer edge of the world awaits on an adventurous nine-day (eight-night) journey along the same waterways that inspired Charles Darwin. The itinerary retraces much of the route the renowned British naturalist took through the Fuegian Archipelago aboard HMS Beagle in the 1830s, a voyage that inspired him to write The Origin of the Species and formulate the theory of evolution. Departing from Punta Arenas, we’ll cross the Strait of Magellan to visit the Tuckers Islets penguin colony, wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay before cruising Patagonia down the Beagle Channel to visit Pía Glacier and sail through Glacier Alley. On either side of a half-day port call in Ushuaia, the ship stops at historic Wulaia Bay and fabled Cape Horn before returning to the Strait of Magellan and a shore excursion at Magdalena Island with its rowdy penguin colony.
Torres del Paine Suggested Clothes to Take
Clothes to Take
Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.
Ideally clothes such as:
Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.
Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.
Over your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.
For your legs: trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.
Over your trekking pants: waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.
For your feet: wool or synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.
For your hands: gloves. Close to glaciers it can be very cold.
For your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.
For your personal use: a back pack for food, water and clothes.
For your safety: a battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors. Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.
Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.
Our selection of hotels includes many of the most popular accomodations in South America. You’ll find the perfect hotel in your budget.
For yachtsmen the challenge of sailing around Cape Horn is still there. Likewise many people who look at the World Atlas often dream about being able to see Cape Horn and wonder what it must be like to “go around” it. Experiencechile.org gives you this opportunity.