On Expedition with Conrad: Deep into the Chilean Fjords

With almost 4,000 miles of coastline, it stands to reason that the country of Chile is best explored from the water. And the wild, lush, maze-like waterways of southern Chile make this region ripe for expedition exploration on a nimble ship equipped with Zodiacs. A land of temperate rainforests, gargantuan glaciers, colorful villages, unique wildlife and towering mountains, the remote charms of the ends of the world stretch as far and wide as the seemingly unending Chilean coastline.

In November 2022, two expedition cruises – onboard Silver Explorer and the newly-refurbished Silver Wind – will travel deep into Chile’s southern half. Setting off from the port of Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Chile’s second largest metropolitan area, these voyages to world’s before concluding at the edge of civilization in the southernmost communities of Puerto Williams and Ushuaia, in neighboring Argentina.

Colorful houses on stilts, locally known as palafitos, in Castro, Chile/Shutterstock

Aside from the spectacle of nature heightened by the backdrop of the mighty Andes Mountains, the 12- and 14-day journeys also feature plenty of man-made and cultural experiences. Some highlights include the tiny village of Niebla and the Patagonian commune of Tortel, where wooden walkways connect the piers and houses. Not to be missed is the colorful city of Castro in Chiloé Island, home to wooden stilt houses perched over the water.

For Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s Vice President of Expeditions, Turnaround Operations and Destination Management, the reasons why he loves this long and narrow South American nation are too many to count. “It’s a magnificent and diverse country that includes inspiring natural history and fascinating cultures.”

The tiny commune in Tortel lies deep within Chile’s fascinating fjords