6 DAYS FROM $2,299
Enhance your understanding of Polynesian culture — and treat yourself to an exotic island experience in the “navel of the world” — on a pre-trip extension to Easter Island, a Chilean territory and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rapa Nui, as it’s colloquially known, is renowned the world over as the home of the mystifying moai statues. This pre-trip extension is your opportunity to spend a few days in Santiago, where you’ll acclimate before your Antarctic expedition, and before crossing another once-in-a-lifetime experience off your list when you encounter moai up close and disentangle history from legend. Who created these statues? How? Why? And what happened to them?
Depart home for Santiago
Your adventures below the equator begin with an overnight flight to Chile.
Arrival in Chile
Santiago has been the capital of Chile since colonial times, but today’s vibrant metropolis surrounded by the snowcapped Andes boasts a world-class culinary scene, outstanding museums, and enough charm to convince nearly 40% of the country to call this city home. Upon arrival on Day 2, enjoy an afternoon at leisure before joining your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Tour Santiago’s highlights
After breakfast, Santiago takes the limelight, beginning with a tour of city highlights, including the Plaza de Armas, the main city square, and the Government Palace. After getting oriented with your environs, spend an afternoon exploring Santiago on your own.
Fly to Punta Arenas and embark the m/s Roald Amundsen
Following breakfast, board a chartered flight to Punta Arenas. Founded as a penal colony, Punta Arenas later became a way station for ships prior to the completion of the Panama Canal. You’ll have some time to explore the town before embarking the m/s Roald Amundsen, a state-of-the-art Hurtigruten expedition vessel equipped with sustainable hybrid technology, and your new home away from home.
Soak up the scenery with a day at sea
As you close in on the White Continent, you’ll feel the intensity and excitement start to build, especially as you experience a rite of passage in Antarctic travel that very few experience — the Drake Passage. Connecting the Southern, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, the Drake Passage often intimidated early polar explorers who sailed on cruder vessels. Along this passage, the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south, forming a nutrient-rich region for wildlife.
As you sail, indulge in the myriad amenities on board the m/s Roald Amundsen. Your expedition vessel is also a floating university, and in addition to the high-tech activity center and special equipment on board, ship staffers are handpicked experts in biology, history, photography, and geology, and will offer onboard lectures and activities pertinent to your Antarctic ports of call and area wildlife.
Continuing through the Drake Passage
Experience a second day of cruising and more lectures to enhance your Antarctic explorations. Whatever your whim, you’ll find it aboard the Amundsen, furnished with elegant lounges, comfortable cabins, and viewing areas. You’ll also appreciate creative and delicious food in three onboard restaurants that blend Norwegian tradition with international gastronomy. Savor this experience on the m/s Roald Amundsen, the world’s most advanced expedition vessel!
Step foot on Earth’s last great wilderness: Antarctica
Obliterate your bucket list today when you finally experience what it feels like to step onto the last great wilderness left on Earth. Antarctica is home to no permanent human inhabitants (just millions of lovable penguins!) and serves as a scientific research base. Welcome to absolutely nowhere — it’s fabulous here.
Unforgettable Moment: Over the next three days, we’ll cruise the channels and passageways bordered by the Antarctic Peninsula’s rugged, glacier-covered islands and craggy landmasses. Despite the stark and inhospitable environs, legendary travelers were drawn here — Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott famously raced to the South Pole in 1911 (Amundsen’s expedition beat Scott’s by 33 days). But perhaps the most famous explorer is Ernest Shackleton, leader of a crew that set off to cross the White Continent in 1914. Shackleton’s ship, the aptly named Endurance, was crushed in the ice. Unbelievably, the explorer still delivered his entire crew to safety and civilization (albeit a year and a half later). Needless to say, stepping ashore mainland Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
Spend three days immersed in Antarctica’s matchless beauty
We’ll keep our cameras ready over the next three days as we explore our Antarctic environment. Ice, wind, and weather dictate life in Antarctica, just as they dictate our route and landings, and we’ll determine our landings as our expedition progresses.
Unforgettable Moment: Where conditions allow, we’ll venture ashore on naturalist-led expeditions by versatile landing crafts to explore sites including Cuverville Island, almost fully covered in a permanent ice cap and a home to delightful gentoo penguins; Half Moon Island, a refuge for chinstrap penguins and a variety of seals; Neko Harbor, a haven for minke and humpback whales with great glacier views; and Deception Island, a former whaling outpost with an active caldera. Our Expedition Team will aid our discoveries every step of the way, contextualizing our knowledge of this stark landscape, its history, and wildlife.
Return trip through the Drake Passage
As we venture back to South America, we’ll cross the Drake Passage once again. Take this time to relax aboard your state-of-the-art Hurtigruten vessel, built by Rolls-Royce and outfitted with luxurious amenities, including a wellness center, sleek sun deck, hot tubs, and large outdoor infinity pool perfect for taking in some sun while simultaneously taking in the unforgettable views.
Cruising Cape Horn, and potential landing on “the End of the World”
We’ll continue into open waters and, if conditions allow, make landfall on Cape Horn — the southernmost tip of South America and an area known for high seas and challenging conditions. If we’re able to anchor off Cape Horn, we’ll go ashore and explore this isolated yet romantic piece of land known as “the End of the World.” It’s truly a travel milestone to make landfall here, and one that offers justifiable bragging rights to travelers.
Cruising the stunning Chilean fjords
We’ll continue to the very tip of South America today as we awake to the scenic splendor of the Chilean fjords, a labyrinthine network of waterways connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Spend some time on deck today: In addition to mountain views, you might also spot dolphins, whales, seals, and a host of other wildlife. Your onboard team will offer scintillating lectures to enhance your experiences on this next leg of adventure and deepen your knowledge of this fascinating region.
Entering Puerto Natales
Today finds us in Puerto Natales, a colorful fishing port and the portal to adventure mecca Torres del Paine National Park. Alongside its scenery and wildlife, the park is also home to three sky-high rock formations known as torres (towers). We’ll embark on a walking tour of downtown Puerto Natales upon arrival and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stroll around town or join the Expedition Team for a hike or kayak excursion. Either way, keep your eyes peeled for the Magellan hummingbirds native to this area!
Exploring Torres del Paine National Park
A day at leisure gives us amply opportunity to make the most out of the stunning Torres del Paine National Park. Home to rickety bridges crossing roaring rivers, a large blue glacier, and a variety of flora and fauna — including llamas, pumas, the South American gray fox, and more — Torres del Paine is also comprised of a variety of landscapes, from vast open steppe to azure lakes to white-tipped mountains.
Discovering the preserved Patagonian way of life on Puerto Edén
Today we’ll discover the picturesque hamlet of Puerto Edén, a tiny settlement in the fjords of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, which lies just north of Torres del Paine National Park. Instead of roads, we’ll find wooden walkways, and minimal electricity. Of Puerto Edén’s already small population of 176 residents, 15 are the remaining members of the Kawéskar people, making this town a fantastic place to experience the indigenous culture of Patagonia. Villagers make a living selling local seafood, which is boated weekly to outside markets, or by selling traditional Kawéskar crafts including wicker baskets and boats outfitted from sea lion skins and tree bark.
Enjoy some time exploring on your own this afternoon. Consider joining your Expedition Team for a hike around the area — keep your eyes peeled for Magellan hummingbirds as you explore!
Revel in luxury amenities with a day at sea
Our expedition continues as our ship heads south through scenic Patagonian waters toward one of the world’s most undisturbed and beautiful places: the southern province of Última Esperanza (Last Hope). As we sail through these iconic Andean seascapes, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the magnificent natural expanse from the comfort of the ship’s top deck.
Exploring the history and lushness of Chiloé Island
While exploring Castro, the capital city of Chile’s Chiloé Island, we might first notice the colorful palafitos — wooden homes perched on stilts along the water’s edge. Castro is the closest to cosmopolitan we’ll come on this lush, green archipelago and we’ll soak in its local character, mixed with a dash of modern development. Our Adventure Leader will point us toward highlights including the Iglesia de San Francisco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of yellow and lavender brick and a stunning, varnished-wood interior lit by stained-glass windows.
Other exploration sites include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza with an odd collection of old trains; the ornate tombs of the Cementerio Parroquial; and the bustling Feria Campesina Yumbel marketplace. Shoppers can head to the Artesanal Lillo to peruse hand-knit woolen goods and other handicrafts; foodies can wander along the cafés of Calle Blanco and sample the area’s renowned meat, potato, and seafood stew known as curanto; nature lovers will find wide beaches and rugged coastline filled with dozens of seabird species, penguins, and sea lions in Chiloé National Park just outside the city.
Enjoy leisure time on your luxury ship
As we cast off from Chiloé Island, two tranquil days at sea provide plenty of opportunities for onboard relaxation, learning, and enjoyment before we reach Valparaíso.
Disembark ship, sightseeing in Valparaíso before flying home
Say goodbye to the m/s Roald Amundsen this morning and set off Valparaíso, Chile’s second-largest city and a romantic, freewheeling seaport once home to Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. A UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its historic quarter and seductive 19th century architecture, Valparaíso is also a natural amphitheater, with rows of rainbow-hued residences staggering into the hills.
Cultural Discovery: We’ll drive past Valparaíso’s highlights, including Latin America’s oldest stock exchange and Chile’s first public library, before enjoying a traditional lunch of empanadas — Chile’s national dish — along with a glass of red wine before flying home this afternoon.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.