Patagonian Frontiers

Trip Highlights

Enjoy Buenos aires including the elegant mansions and lovely parks and gardens of the bucolic Palermo neighborhood; the colorful bohemian district of La Boca; picturesque San Telmo; elegant Recoleta, with its cemetery of elaborate mausoleums; and historic Government House. Stop in Ushuaia featuring an afternoon excursion takes us to Tierra del Fuego National Park, a 155,676-acre nature preserve with Andes peaks, rivers, glacial lakes, forest, and wildlife. Cruise Cape Horn a fabled sailing icon, Cape Horn marks the southernmost point of the South American continent. Admire remarkable Torres del Paine National Park featuring 106 species of birds and 26 species of mammals, including the beloved guanaco, an undomesticated relative of the llama. Explore Vicente Rosales National Park and see Osorno Volcano, with its perfectly conical shape; the virgin emerald lake of Todos los Santos; and exhilarating Petrohué Waterfalls.

Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.


Day 1 – Departure

Depart U.S. for Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 2 – Arrive in Buenos Aires

After arriving in this lively city this morning, we transfer to our hotel to rest (rooms are ready for our early arrival). After time to relax, we meet our fellow travelers and Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director at a briefing about the journey followed by a welcome dinner. B,D

Day 3 – Buenos Aires

Highlights of today’s city tour include the lovely mansions and parks of Palermo and the colorful bohemian district of La Boca. Tonight we visit one of the city’s top tango houses for dinner and a performance. B,D

Day 4 – Buenos Aires

Today is at leisure. B

Day 5 – Buenos Aires/Ushuaia/Embark Ship

We fly today to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost urban center. After lunch on our own and time at leisure in this windswept city, late this afternoon we embark our ship. Early this evening we set sail through the Beagle Channel. B,D

Day 6 – Cruising – Cape Horn/Wulaia Bay

Today we see up close one of the world’s last unspoiled frontiers as we sail through Murray Channel and Nassau Bay to Cape Horn National Park, perhaps glimpsing sea lions and Antarctic fur seals along the way. At the spot where the Atlantic and Pacific merge, the sheer promontory of Cape Horn rises some 1,400 feet from the roiling waters below. This afternoon we take a guided walk along sheltered Wulaia Bay. B,L,D

Day 7 – Cruising – Pia Glacier/Garibaldi Glacier

We awaken this morning in Pia Fjord, home of the stunning Pia Glacier. Later we board inflatable Zodiacs and go ashore for an up-close look at the glacier, a tumbling wall of ice that extends from the mountaintops down to sea level. After lunch on board, we drop anchor in a nearby fjord for a shore excursion to Garibaldi Glacier, one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass. Here we have the opportunity to hike through the Magellanic forest, passing glacial waterfalls and viewpoints that overlook the glacier and fjord. B,L,D

Day 8 – Cruising – Agostini Sound/Aguila Glacier

This morning we cruise through several channels to enter spectacular Agostini Sound, where we see massive glaciers flowing down the mountainside. Later we take inflatable Zodiacs to Aguila Glacier, which we approach via an easy walk on the shore of a lagoon. B,L,D

Day 9 – Cruising – Magdalena Island/Punta Arenas/Torres del Paine

Early this morning we visit Magdalena Island, home to an immense colony of more than 120,000 Magellanic penguins. We take some time to observe the penguins and also to visit the lighthouse that to this day guides ships navigating through the Strait of Magellan. Then we return to Punta Arenas, where we board our motorcoach for the six-hour journey to Torres del Paine. We reach our lodging early this evening and dine there tonight. B,L,D

Day 10 – Torres del Paine National Park

Today we encounter breathtaking Torres del Paine, a 700-square-mile World Biosphere Reserve and one of the most unspoiled and beautiful nature preserves on Earth. We spend the day exploring this unparalleled landscape of jagged peaks, ice-blue glaciers, turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, and thunderous waterfalls. A highlight: our visit to magnificent Lago Grey, site of massive Grey Glacier and of the hotel where we stop for lunch. B,L,D

Day 11 – Torres del Paine National Park

We see more of Torres del Paine’s pristine wilderness today, enjoying a box lunch amidst the dramatic scenery. Highlights include visits to the crystalline Amarga and Azul lagoons, and the glacial waterfall Cascade Rio Paine. Clear days at Laguna Azul present panoramic vistas of the park’s namesake, the three massive granite Paine Towers. Throughout the day we’re sure to see some of the park’s only permanent residents: 106 species of birds and 26 species of mammals, including the beloved guanaco. We dine together tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 12 – Torres del Paine/Punta Arenas

We travel by coach today to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel in the city center. B,L,D

Day 13 – Punta Arenas/Santiago

We fly today to the Chilean capital, where we enjoy a city tour. Tonight we are dinner guests in the homes of gracious Santiago families. B,D

Day 14 – Valparaiso

Today we encounter the old port of Valparaiso, a one-time fishing village now Chile’s third largest city and cultural heart. En route we visit a local winery for a private tour and tasting. Tonight we celebrate our adventure at a farewell dinner at a local Santiago restaurant. B,D

Day 15 – Santiago/Depart for U.S.

After a morning at leisure, we enjoy an afternoon visit to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, known for its art and artifacts from Chile and across the Americas. Then we have time to explore on our own. From here we transfer to the airport for our overnight flights to the U.S. B

Day 16 – Arrive in U.S.

We arrive in the U.S. this morning and connect with our return flights home.

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain in a natural environment. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.


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Your Journey

Patagonian Frontiers

Meet Your Trip Host

John Swerdlow

Senior Assistant Director, Rec Sports, University of Michigan

John Swerdlow is Director of the newly-formed Adventure Leadership Program within the Recreational Sports Department at the University of Michigan. The Adventure Leadership Program was created through the merging of Outdoor Adventures, which provided student-led backcountry trips and rental gear, and the Challenge Program, which provided team-building programs using group initiatives and a ropes course with low and high elements. The Adventure Leadership Program now offers all those services and more.

A 1982 graduate of LS&A and a 1986 graduate of the U-M Law School, John briefly practiced law in Chicago before getting a teaching certificate which led to an even briefer career as a high school teacher. John joined Rec Sports in 1998.

John has always loved spending time outdoors and camping and has traveled extensively, including trips to central and south America, a bike trips in Michigan and through the southwest, hiking in Spain, and trekking in Nepal. John has also led trips for Outward Bound in the Boundary Waters and traveled to Japan numerous times to lead team-building sessions. As a parent of two children, aged 12 and 15, John’s travel has been limited of late and he is really looking forward to getting out on the road.

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

  • Oct. 31–Nov. 15, 2020
(16 days)
Starting price: $8,782
air inclusive from Detroit; singles $12,477
Deposit per person: $500
Central & South America
Odysseys Unlimited
Type: Land & Cruise, Exclusive U-M Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.

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