The Chilean Fjords and Tierra del Fuego

The Pacific coast of southern Chile is a fjordland, similar to the fjordlands of northern Europe. A dissected region of islands, channels, inlets, straits, and bays, the Chilean fjords are very sparsely populated, with only a few towns and cattle ranches to be seen along the shores. The Chilean fjords extend south into Tierra del Fuego, the territory at the southern tip of South America that is divided (often contentiously) between Chile and Argentina.

These photographs of the scenery along the Chilean fjords were all taken during December and January, the mid-summer season in the southern hemisphere. They are all © Robert J. O’Hara.

[Puerto Montt, Chile, on the Pacific coast near the Chilean fiords.]

The airport terminal at Puerto Montt, Chile. The small Pacific-coast city of Puerto Montt is a common embarkation point for cruises to the Chilean fjords, Tierra del Fuego, and the Antarctic peninsula. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[The fiords of Chile viewed from the cruise ship 'Lindblad Explorer'.]

A view in the Chilean fjords from the deck of the Society Explorer (also known as the Lindblad Explorer after Lars Eric Lindblad, pioneer of Antarctic tourism. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[Birding in Patagonia: A Southern Black-backed Gull in the Pacific fiordlands of Chile.]

Southern Black-backed Gull (Larus dominicanus) in the Chilean fjords. The Southern Black-backed Gull is nearly identical to its northern hemisphere counterpart, the Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus). Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[Magnificent scenery on the 'Explorer' cruise route through the Chilean fiords.]

An inlet seen through the fog-shrouded fjords of Chile. Even though it is mid-summer, the peaks of many of the surrounding mountains remain snow covered. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[More Patagonian natural history: A Giant Petrel soaring over the Chilean fiords.]

Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) soaring through the Chilean fjords. Giant Petrels are tubenose birds (Procellariiformes), the same group that includes the albatrosses and shearwaters. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[A natural rockslide down the face of a mountain in the fiords of Chile.]

A natural landslide along the Chilean fjords. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[Evening aboard the 'Lindblad Explorer' in the Pacific fiordland of southern Chile.]

A Giant Petrel sailing over the Chilean fjords, with snow-capped peaks in the distance. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

[A blue twilight aboard ship in the fiords of southern Chile.]

Twilight in the Chilean fjords near Tierra del Fuego. Photo by R.J. O’Hara.

© RJO 1995–2022