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
Our 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, Santiago’s main city square, and the Government Palace. After getting oriented, spend an afternoon exploring this city your own.
Sightseeing in Valparaíso before boarding the m/s Roald Amundsen
We’ll set off this morning for 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 boarding the m/s Roald Amundsen this afternoon. After settling into your room, join your fellow travelers for a Captain’s Welcome Cocktail prior to dinner.
Enjoy leisure time on your luxury ship
As we cast off toward Chiloé Island, two tranquil days at sea provide plenty of opportunities for onboard relaxation, learning, and enjoyment. Whatever your whim, you’ll find it aboard the m/s Roald Amundsen, furnished with elegant lounges, comfortable cabins, and viewing areas. Your onboard team will offer scintillating lectures to enhance your experiences on land and deepen your knowledge of this fascinating region.
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!
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.
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 vessel's top deck.
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!
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.
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.
The Beagle Channel and approaching the “end of the world”
We sail through the Beagle Channel this morning, a waterway named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery. We’ll continue into open waters and, if conditions allow, make landfall on Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. If we’re able to anchor off Cape Horn, we’ll venture ashore to 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!
Soak up the scenery with a day at sea
As we close in on Antarctica, we’ll 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. Here, the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south, forming a nutrient-rich region for wildlife. The milestones continue on our voyage to Antarctica.
Step foot on Earth’s last great wilderness: Antarctica
Today you’ll 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 four 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. Our onboard lectures will enhance on explorations on land.
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 wildlife 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 its wildlife.
Cruising the Drake Passage
We’ll spend our final days at sea cruising through the Drake Passage toward to Punta Arenas, Chile. In addition to wrapping up our onboard lecture series, we’ll recount our favorite experiences in Chile and Antarctica. Be sure to spend some time on deck watching for wildlife.
Fly to Santiago and return home
After a final breakfast on board, we’ll disembark in Punta Arenas and head to the airport for a transfer flight to Santiago.
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.