Cruising Chilean Patagonia
Charles Darwin waxed lyrical about Chilean Patagonia and the amazing sight of the Andes as they form the backbone of Chile on their gentle arc down to the foot of South America. Two years before he made his amazing discoveries on the Galapagos islands, he toured a realm of astonishing sights, flora and fauna that proved equally enchanting.
Today, this region of the world, with its breathtaking fjords, towering glaciers, majestic mountains and unique wildlife is much more accessible but just as captivating as when Darwin first visited in 1833. And it still holds some of the most picturesque cruising and fascinating shore excursions of anywhere you can visit by ship.
Sailing south from the major Chilean port of Puerto Montt, a dazzling world of exploration and discovery awaits visitors, framed by the ever-present Andes and filled with all manner of wildlife, both at sea and on land. Keep a keen eye over the waters for whales, dolphins and Magellanic penguins, while the guanaco, rhea and condor make their home among the rugged terrain ashore.
Few places on earth can match this for epic splendour and awesome isolation, boasting rarely-seen coves and uninhabited backwaters, while land tours offer close-ups with the native flora and fauna and other unique experiences like fly-fishing in glacial rivers and helicopter tours to remote peaks and lakes.
It all comes complete with some excellent Chilean wine and cuisine, plus a healthy sampling of local culture that is a wonderful mix of European and Amero-Indian, dating back more than a thousand years.
The best way to enjoy this absolute feast of cruise-going riches is with local specialist Nomads of the Seas, a small-scale deluxe operator who make it their mission to ensure all their guests get a true taste of the region in every sense.
Nomads of the Seas operate a purpose-built adventure-style vessel in great style, carrying a maximum of just 28 guests on a 150ft adventurer that has its own fleet of inflatable boats for shore excursions and even its own helicopter for the ultimate in ‘flight-seeing.'
Mother-ship the Atmosphere is a true 21st century explorer and the innovative style continues with classically simple but warm interior design, exquisitely comfortable cabins and its own Spa (complete with sauna and Thalassotherapy treatments), all wrapped up with friendly, attentive service from the 32-strong crew.
Regular gourmet events include the unexplored gastronomy of Patagonian cuisine, featuring local seafood (notably salmon, grouper and shellfish), lamb, beef and game birds, plus specially selected Chilean wines. Highly specialised guide teams also carefully create daily programmes geared around the three main themes of Ultimate Fly-Fishing, Wildlife Adventures and Heli-skiing, leading activities as varied as whale and bird-watching, rafting, trekking, horse-riding, kayaking, jet-boating and nature photography.
This is also ecotourism at its finest, with Nomads going to great lengths to ensure the local environment is disturbed as little as possible and that visitors' carbon footprints have a distinctly green touch, striking the perfect balance between substantial exploration and a unique, noble style.
If you would like more information on Chilean Patagonia cruises, or Nomads of the Seas cruises, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677.