Darwin Range: the Patagonian Antarctica

Always dreaming about Antarctica, but it’s too expensive, or you don’t have enough time to get on a ship for 11 days? We have a similar place in Patagonia, near Ushuaia, in the Cordillera Darwin, where you will see scenery similar to Antarctica.

The Cordillera Darwin, located in Chile, is an extensive mountain range mantled by an ice field that covers an area greater than 2,300 square kilometers (890 sq mi), located on the extreme southern shore of South America,  only 85km west from Ushuaia. Several glaciers and steep fjords can be found here, but only can be reached by boat. 

These mountains, glaciers and fjords are extremely remote, only reachable by boat, and  hide wonderful treasures of nature, only comparable to Antarctica. Actually, it is part of it…The Andes mountain range extends submerged to the west of the Isla de los Estados, with only the island-shaped peaks emerging (South Antilles: Aurora Islands, South Georgia, Clerke Rocks, Sandwich Islands South, South Orkney and South Shetland) and emerge again on the Antarctic Peninsula under the name of Antartandes.

Pia, Garibaldi, Italia, Roncaglia, Romanche, España & Holland are some of the glaciers you can find in the stretch of the Beagle Channel that is known as Glacier Alley. Navigating down this spectacular waterway, with glaciers reaching the water, is an unforgettable experience.

Other highlights of the Darwin Range are the Marinelli Glacier, sightings of beaver dams on Glacier Lake, elephant seals, leopard seals, and seeing penguins and cormorants on Tuckers Islets.

To the north, the mountain range descends to the Almirantazgo bosom, covered by the subantarctic Magellan forests in which lengas, coigües, cinnamon and ferns grow together with other species, constituting a landscape of unmatched beauty in which the presence of virgin forests stands out, majestic glaciers, snowdrifts, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers that add to the mighty Darwin Range.

The highest mountain in the range is Monte Darwin, which is a challenging peak to climb. Go ice hiking or take scenic flight to see the sights from the air. Walk along ancestral paths beside immense fjords, surrounded by an ancient silence, only interrupted by the wind. 

There are some amazing ways to explore the Darwin Mountain Range from Ushuaia. Excursions run during the summer months (Nov to March) with limited departures. Reach out to us for more information!

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