Darwin's Route from Ushuaia

Retrace the steps of Charles Darwin on this adventurous nine-day journey through the waterways at the outer edge of the world. Departing and returning in Ushuaia, you'll visit Magdalena Island with its rowdy penguin colony, the historic Wulaia Bay and fabled Cape Horn. Your voyage cruises down the Beagle Channel visiting wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay, Pia Glacier and sailing through Glacier Alley.

9 Days

$3,240

Darwin's Route from Ushuaia - 9 - $3,240

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Sail the waters of Tierra del Fuego Visit Cape Horn (the end of the Earth)
  • Explore the glaciers of the Darwin Mountain Range
  • Visit the Magellan penguins of Magdalena Island
  • Board your ship and set sail for the Magellan Straits
  • Navigate the Beagle Channel and Glacier Alley; hike to viewpoint of Pia Glacier
  • Step ashore and learn about Wulaia Bay's history; land on Cape Horn

Start from Ushuaia and end at Ushuaia

Landmarks visited on Darwin's Route from Ushuaia

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia

Check in at 409 San Martin Ave. in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 (10 AM-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure. Board the M/V Ventus Australis at 18:00 (6 PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night you'll traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as you turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 2: Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay

Around the break of dawn, Stella Australis crosses Nassau Bay and enters the remote archipelago that comprises Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you'll go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument (currently awaiting repair after being damaged by fierce winds).

Sailing back across Nassau Bay, you'll anchor at fabled Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region's largest Yamana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, which is especially strong on the Yamana people and European missionaries in the area, passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these you stroll through an enchanted Magellanic forest of lengas, coigues, canelos and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 3: Pia Glacier - Garibaldi Glacier

Overnight you'll continue your Patagonia glacier tour around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, Ventus Australis tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning you are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier.After disembarking you'll take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.

No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.

Making your way further west along the Beagle Channel, you'll enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking. This time we hike through virgin Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is demanding ,very steep, negligible trail, rough footing and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, your captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 4: Agostini Sound - Aguila Glacier - Condor Glacier

Early in the morning, you will sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range , some of them reaching the water. This morning, you'll disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Aguila Glacier. You will reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, you will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac, and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 5: Magdalena Island - Punta Arenas

After an overnight cruise through Magdalena Channel and back into the Strait of Magellan, we anchor off Magdalena Island, which lies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, you'll go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island. In September and April, when the penguins dwell elsewhere, this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions. After a short cruise south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 11:30 AM. You are free to explore Punta Arenas, there's plenty to keep you busy in the city.

Reboard Stella Australis at 18:00 (6 PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs on the second half of the journey. During the night, the lights of Punta Arenas fade into the distance as you cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

*Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 6: Ainsworth Bay - Tuckers Islets

By dawn you're sailing up Admiralty Sound between the snowcapped peaks of Karukinka and the fjords of Alberto de Agostini National Park. You go ashore at Ainsworth Bay with its copious bird life and elephant seals. Two guided hikes are available, both with excellent views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains. Leaving Ainsworth Bay, you sail west to the Tuckers Islets for a close-up encounter with the 4,000 Magellan penguins who nest there. Many other bird species also frequent the tiny landfalls. In September and April, when the penguins live elsewhere, this excursion is replaced by a beach walk to a glacier at Brookes Bay.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 7: Pia Glacier - Glacier Alley

Overnight you'll sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, Stella Australis tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning you are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a Pia Glacier tour. After disembarking you'll take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.

No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.

Back onboard the ship, you'll continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them named after European countries: Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 8: Wulaia Bay - Cape Horn

During the early morning you navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region's largest Yamana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerising beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, which is especially strong on the Yamana people and European missionaries in the area, passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigues, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum, letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers, an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.

In the afternoon you cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.

Meals: All included

Accommodation: On board


Day 9: Ushuaia

The following morning we sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city.

Arrival at 08:30 a.m. and 9:30 am according to date of departure.

About The Ship

The brand new Ventus Australis is a 210-passenger ship designed for exploring the remote southern tip of South America. It has been built with great manoeuvrability for sailing through the narrow fjords and channels where other ships can not venture.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices quoted are in $USD per person based on 2 people sharing. 

Availability changes all the time, please contact us for up to date details, and any cabins recently made available.

Please note: Limited Availability, book soon to avoid disappointment!

AA Superior
AAA Superior
AAA Cabin
AA Cabin
A Cabin
B Cabin
November 2018
21-Nov-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
25-Nov-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
29-Nov-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
December 2018
3-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
7-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
11-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
15-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
19-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
23-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
27-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
31-Dec-2018 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
January 2019
4-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
8-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
12-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
16-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
20-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
24-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
28-Jan-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
February 2019
1-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
5-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
9-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
13-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
17-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
21-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
25-Feb-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
March 2019
1-Mar-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
5-Mar-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
9-Mar-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
13-Mar-2019 $4,136 $5,323 $5,575 $5,843 $6,961 $7,297
17-Mar-2019 $3,240* $4,338 $4,547 $4,759 $5,729 $5,996
21-Mar-2019 $3,240* $4,338 $4,547 $4,759 $5,729 $5,996
25-Mar-2019 $3,240* $4,338 $4,547 $4,759 $5,729 $5,996
29-Mar-2019 $3,240* $4,338 $4,547 $4,759 $5,729 $5,996

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $3240

Please contact us for further details of the different cabin types. In short:

  • There are a limited number of 'B' cabins on the lowest deck which tend to get booked up a long time in advance
  • 'AAA' cabins are on a higher deck than 'AA' and 'A' cabins
  • Superior cabins ('S') are approx 25% larger.
  • A, AA, AAA cabins are available for single occupancy, with a 50% supplement.

Includes

  • Accommodation
  • Sea transportation
  • All meals
  • Open bar when on duty (without additional cost for wines, beverages, and liquors)
  • Shore excursions
  • Onboard entertainment.

Excludes

  • Optional tours and transportation
  • Port tax
  • Migration fee
  • National park fee

Questions about this Voyage?