20614
Argentina/Chile
Finis Terrae: Exploring the Wilds of Southern Patagonia
Based in the Patagonia Mountains, explore the natural wonders of South America, learning about geology, local flora and fauna and the story of this beautiful place.
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 20614RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
6,599
Flights start at
1,250
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15 days
14 nights
33 meals
12 B 10 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Buenos Aires, Orientation, Opera House, Wine Tasting
Buenos Aires
D
NH Latino Hotel

Activity note: The airport is located approximately 22 miles outside of Buenos Aires and the drive into the city normally takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Early check-in can only be guaranteed by booking/paying for an additional night at the hotel. Those interested in reserving an additional night should contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance.

Morning: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Orientation at the hotel: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Meals included in our program feature local cuisine. In some cases, they will be plated and served with a set menu; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Included beverages are typically coffee, tea, water; other beverages usually available for purchase. Aboard the ship, all meals are served buffet style including non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow Road Scholars. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Our afternoon will continue with a class led by a local expert on the history and culture of Buenos Aires – the largest city and capital of Argentina. We’ll then enjoy a field trip with a local expert through Buenos Aires. Since 1908 visitors have marveled at the imposing seven-story Teatro Colón, a truly world-class center for opera, ballet and classical music. The current building replaced the original Teatro Colon that was located in front of the Plaza de Mayo from 1857-1888. Before dinner, enjoy a wine tasting at a local cellar/bar. Learn about some of Argentina's famed regional wines.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll have a plated meal and order from a select menu with dessert, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Plaza de Mayo, La Boca & Recoleta, Tango Show
Buenos Aires
B,D
NH Latino Hotel

Activity note: We will be out late tonight in order to enjoy the Tango show, perhaps returning to the hotel around midnight. Participants who would like to return to the hotel earlier can take a cab from the venue.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: Orientation to Buenos Aires with stops at Plaza de Mayo, La Boca and Recoleta. To begin our day, we’ll explore Buenos Aires by motorcoach with onsite commentary by a local expert. As we explore, we’ll learn about the cultural influence of immigrants and the Evita phenomenon, based on the former First Lady Eva Perón. We will visit some of the cities major neighborhoods and attractions such as the Main Square, Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo, and La Boca.

Lunch: On your own, in Recoleta, to enjoy local fare.

Afternoon: On your own to see and do what interests you most. We’ll reconvene with a local expert for a lecture on tango, a UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in a hotel meeting room. Originating in the 1890’s on the border of Argentina and Uruguay, tango is a partner dance that is included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Immigrants came to South America in hopes of work and prosperity, but took to dance and music when these hopes did not become a reality. Combining South American and African culture with European influences, tango quickly spread throughout the region. Catching on in Paris and being adapted to a European audience, the dance soon reached all corners of the globe. .

Dinner: Depart for a local restaurant for dinner and a Tango Show. The origins of tango have been traced to working-class suburbs of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay around the end of the 19th century. In this style of dance partners walk in unison to music speeding up their steps or slowing them down to convey different emotions. Typically, the dancers maintain their feet in close proximity as they walk and hold each other in a close embrace.

DAY
4
Flight to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Fuegian Dinner
Ushuaia
B,L,D
Los Acebos Hotel

Activity note: The flight to Ushuaia is approximately 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is one of the southernmost cities in the world and the principal starting point for most expeditions to Antarctica. It is located on the main island in Tierra del Fuego, overlooking Ushuaia Bay and the Beagle Channel. Anglican missionaries moved to the area in the 1870’s and were the first foreigners to permanently live in the archipelago. Until then, the lands had been inhabited by the Yamana people (also called Yahgan). Sadly, the indigenous population began to decrease as more and more European immigrants moved to the area in search of gold, sheep farming opportunities, or missionary work. Not much is left of the Yamana these days, save the name Ushuaia; their name for the area meaning “the bay facing westward”.

Lunch: Snacks will be provided during the flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.

Afternoon: Arrive to Ushuaia – Malvinas Argentinas International Airport, Ushuaia, Argentina. We will transfer and check into the hotel. In preparation for the upcoming adventures, we’ll have a lecture led by a local expert introducing us to Tierra de Fuego and its history. In the region of Patagonia at the southernmost tip of South America lies the archipelago known as Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). It got its name after the 1520 expedition of Ferdinand Magellan when he and his sailors saw the distant smoke and fires of native peoples. Today, the territory is shared by Argentina and Chile and is known for the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. The southernmost headland of the archipelago is Cape Horn.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll have a plated meal with typical Fuegian foods.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Tierra del Fuego, Maritime Museum, Embark Ventus Australis
At Sea
B,L,D
M/V Ventus Australis

Activity note: Hiking about 2 miles over rugged terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: Field trip to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Argentina's Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, located approximately 7.4 miles west of Ushuaia, was the country's first shoreline park. Native forests of lengas, coihues, ñires, canelos, and mossy foliage are home to guanacos, foxes, and muskrats. Short trails follow the southern edges of the park, providing visitors with scenic views of the Ensenada and Lapataia Bays, and the famous Beagle Channel. Sea birds are abundant along the coast and include albatross, terns, geese, ducks, and gulls. Also be on the lookout for condors, Magellanic woodpeckers, and Austral conures. A trail that leads west from Bahia Ensenada passes through an area of archaeological importance; grass covered shell mounds left by the Yamaná (a.k.a. Yahgan) inhabitants hundreds of years ago.

Lunch: Enjoy a typical lamb barbecue.

Afternoon: After lunch, pay a visit to Ushuaia's Maritime Museum. During the early 20th century, the Argentine government established a prison in Ushuaia, deciding that its remote location would make escape virtually impossible. The prisoners were used to build the town and establish a railway (now called the End of the World Train). Although the prison was closed in 1947, the buildings still remain and are now part of a naval museum. Visitors can still see some of the original structures built by prisoners while touring the older sections of the city. The museum displays include scale models of ships and historic information about Tierra del Fuego’s indigenous people and the European pirates and explorers who sailed to this remote part of South America. Transfer to Ushuaia's port to begin embarkation procedures on the MV Ventus Australis. Enjoy a cocktail reception hosted by the MV Ventus Australis' captain and crew.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: Ship departs from Ushuaia and sets sail.

DAY
6
Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
At Sea
B,L,D
M/V Ventus Australis

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning we will navigate through the Murray Channel and Nassay Bay on our way to Cape Horn National Park. Group leader lecture: Life at the End of the Earth.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Disembark at Wulaia Bay (weather permitting) for a walking exploration of Cape Horn National Park. Walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coihues, canelos, ferns and other native vegetation to reach a look-out point. Cape Horn is located in the southern part of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago and is considered by most to be the southernmost point in South America. The gale force winds, strong currents, and unpredictable weather around Cape Horn make it especially challenging to sail these waters. This was an important route for trade ships until the Panama Canal was completed and began operating in 1914. Return to the ship.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Pia Glacier & Garibaldi Glacier
At Sea
B,L,D
M/V Ventus Australis

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning the ship will navigate the Beagle Channel and Pia Fjord in preparation for activities around the Pia Glacier. Disembark near Pia Glacier. A short hike to a local lookout point will culminate in spectacular views of towering mountains and glaciers.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Enter Garibaldi Fjord along the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego. Disembark and take part in an exhilarating excursion through Patagonian forests to reach a waterfall of glacial origins. Don't forget to bring your camera! The site offers spectacular views. Participants who wish to skip the hike and remain on the ship will have an opportunity to view the Garibaldi Glacier from the outdoor decks. Group leader lecture: Anecdotes from Darwin's Wanderings in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Condor Glacier and Aguila Glacier.
At Sea
B,L,D
M/V Ventus Australis

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Sail through the Cockburn Channel to Agostini Sound (a.k.a. Agostini Fjord) and its beautiful scenery. From this vantage point it will be possible to view glaciers flowing down from the mountains. Head to Aguila Glacier and disembark at a local beach. Admire the local landscape and acquaint yourself with the region's vegetation during an easy walk along the shoreline, ending at a viewing spot in front of the Aguila Glacier. Learn about Patagonia's cold rainforest and the powerful natural forces that helped shape the lands in this remote region.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: We will hop into Zodiacs and near the Condor Glacier. If we are lucky, we will have a chance to see the Andean Condor, which frequents the area.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Strait of Magellan, Magdalena, Disembark, Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine National Park
B,L,D
Hotel del Paine

Activity note: Camera extension poles are prohibited on Magdalena Island. Disembark approximately 11:30 a.m. The ride to Puerto Natales is approximately 3 hours; from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine is approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Weather permitting, disembark at Magdalena Island located in the Strait of Magellan. A walk to the local lighthouse will take us past the island's large colony of Magellanic penguins. Magdalena Island was first declared a forest reserve in 1967, before being reclassified as a national park in 1983. The park is home to unique vegetation including fuinques, arrayáns, tiacas, female mañios, tineos, quilas, tepas, voquis, and coicopihues. Although resident Magellanic penguins tend to steal the show with their comical appearance and noisy antics, visitors should not overlook the island's other interesting inhabitants. Mammals found in the park include marine and river otters, guiñas, pudús, sealions, and fur seals. Bird lovers will not be disappointed-- Magdalena also has a rich avian population which includes petrels, cormorants, ducks, gulls, sandpipers, tyrant flycatchers, thrushes, and plovers. Return to the ship and set sail for Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas was originally set up directly on the sea, but later moved inland to a more hospitable spot along the Las Minas River. Once established, Punta Arenas grew as a port town and as a penal colony. Today, the city is vibrant and modern and serves as a gateway to both Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia--two regions notoriously rich in natural wonders. Disembark and transfer to Torres del Paine National Park via Puerto Natales. Snacks will be provided on the bus to help tide us over until we stop for lunch at Puerto Natales. Upon arrival in Puerto Natales, stretch your legs during a short exploratory walk down the city's quaint streets before sitting down for a hearty lunch at a local restaurant, featuring local cuisine.

Lunch: Late lunch at a local restaurant in Puerto Natales.

Afternoon: Continue the transfer to Torres del Paine. Along the way, admire Patagonia's breathtaking vistas, framed by snow-peaked mountains and rolling plains dotted with guanacos. En route, visit the Monumento Natural Cueva de Milodon; a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890s. The site is located in a transition zone, where forests and arid plains meet, and is home to a large number of bird species. Arrive at the lodge in Torres del Paine National Park and check-in.

Dinner: At the lodge dining room, enjoy a plated meal fusing Patagonian and Chilean regional cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Torres del Paine - Western Lakes
Torres del Paine National Park
B,L,D
Hotel del Paine

Activity note: Walking about 1/2 mile, approximately 45 minutes; undulating terrain

Breakfast: At the lodge dining room.

Morning: Drive across Torres del Paine National Park enjoying views of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, as well as Los Cuernos – the famous mountain with black granite horn-like spires. Walk along the shores of stunning Lake Pehoe and visit the furious Salto Grande Falls which pour the waters of Lake Nordenskjold into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail until reaching its picture-perfect lookout point. After returning to the vehicle, back at Lake Pehoe, drive south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey.

Lunch: Box lunch by the lake.

Afternoon: After lunch, walk around Lake Grey to have a better view of the glacier. Leader-led site lecture: The Geological History of the Southern Andes. Drive back to the lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Northeastern Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine National Park
B,L,D
Hotel del Paine

Breakfast: At the lodge dining room.

Morning: Start the day with a drive towards Laguna Azul, in the northeastern side of the national park. Stop to take photos of the gorgeous landscapes and the local flora and fauna along the road, including a stop at Paine Waterfall. Once at Laguna Azul, hike to a lookout point where there is a panoramic view of the lagoon and the famous granite towers that give the park its name. Continue along the eastern side of Lago Sarmiento, to the calcium formations on the lake’s shores where guanacos are often seen.

Lunch: Box lunch in the park.

Afternoon: After lunch, walk to Paso Las Corneas for beautiful views of Rio Paine, Lake Pehoe and the Paine Massif. Leader-led site lecture: The Animals of the Southern Andes. Return to the lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Transfer to Puerto Natales, Fly to Santiago
Santiago
B,L,D
Hotel Atton Vitacura

Activity note: The drive from Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales is about 2.5 hours. The flight to Santiago is approximately 3.5 hours. PLEASE NOTE: The location we are flying out of is based on air schedule and flight times. If the flight from Puerto Natales is not operating we will drive to Punta Arenas and then take a flight to Santiago

Breakfast: At the lodge dining room.

Morning: Say farewell to Torres del Paine and begin transfer to Puerto Natales.

Lunch: At a local restaurant

Afternoon: Transfer to the airport to catch an afternoon flight to Santiago.

Dinner: Light meal served on the flight to Santiago.

Evening: Arrive to Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL), Santiago, Chile and transfer to the hotel.

DAY
13
Plaza de Armas, Museum, San Cristobal Hill, Local Cuisine
Santiago
B
Hotel Atton Vitacura

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: At the hotel led by a local expert, we’ll learn about the role of Chile in South America. A country that is rapidly growing and expanding, the country’s politics and economy are changing and revealing the potential to become a strong, regional player. Exploring Santiago, we’ll visit to the Plaza del Armas and the Pre-Columbian Museum, followed by a funicular ride up to San Cristobal Hill for panoramic views of Santiago. With looking over the city, a local export will offer commentary on the European influences that have impacted the growth and development of the Chilean capital

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare. There are many dining options around the base of San Cristobal Hill, in the Bellavista District.

Afternoon: On your own to see and do what interests you the most. Join the group for a pre-dinner social hour at a local café in the Las Tarrias neighborhood of Santiago where a local expert will introduce us to the regions cuisine. We’ll have a tasting of some local tapas while sharing stories of your independent explorations of Santiago.

Dinner: On your own to try local specialties.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Winery Visit, Farewell Lunch, Program Concludes
In Flight
B,L
Hotel Atton Vitacura

Activity note: Hotel dayroom only - check-out is at 6:00 p.m. Evening flights to the U.S. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.”

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll depart for a local winery located just outside of Santiago. Here, we’ll have a visit to a local vineyard led by a local expert and learn about the local viniculture before enjoying in a wine tasting. Chileans have produced fine wines for over a century, although the conquistadors also planted vines. The origin of today's world-class Chilean wines stems from cuttings brought over from French vineyards in the mid-19th century before their stock was decimated by disease. Later, the European vines were grafted onto disease-resistant American stock. Chilean growers, however, had the advantage of original, non-grafted vines from France as well as an ideal climate in the Central Valley. Chilean wines are becoming more and more popular around the world as they continue to win prizes at prestigious international wine tasting competitions.

Lunch: Farewell lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Return to the hotel, followed by time at leisure to get some rest, enjoy hotel amenities, and/or do some last minute packing. Late afternoon refreshments at the hotel before heading out to the airport to catch international flights to the U.S.

Evening: Transfer to the international airport to catch overnight flights to the U.S. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

DAY
15
Arrivals in the U.S.
In Flight