Chile, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego
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Tierra del Fuego iStock / Flori0
Cape Horn, Chile, Lighthouse
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Cape Horn Lighthouse iStock / Wildnerdpix
Chile, Cape Horn
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Approaching Cape Horn iStock / Wildnerdpix
Chile, Cape Horn
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Cape Horn Monument Jens Bludau

Cape Horn, Chile

Located at the southernmost end of South America, the fabled cape lies on an island of the same name (Isla Hornos) in Chile's remote Cape Horn National Park. Early Dutch explorers named it after their hometown in Holland (Hoorn). A notorious ship wrecker, the cape makes for an adventurous landing even today.

What We Love

The Lighthouse: The stout red and white light is home to the Chilean Navy lighthouse keeper and his family, who must remain on the super-secluded island for an entire year.  

Capilla Stella Maris: This tiny wooden chapel is the world's southernmost church and place of worship. But it's got everything you need for a Catholic Mass, from a simple timber altar and crucifix to petite wooden benches.

Best Known For

Cape Horn Monument: The large diamond-shaped landmark was erected in 1992 by the Chilean chapter of the Cape Horniers — people who have successfully sailed around Cape Horn. It honors mariners who have lost their lives trying to round the cape.

Unique Subpolar Vegetation: Despite its rough weather, Cape Horn boasts a rich array of flora, from wildflowers, dwarf forest, lichens, and moss to myriad bryophyte and epiphyte species.

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Who It's Best For

History Buffs: From Sir Francis Drake and the Golden Hind to Captain Bligh and the HMS Bounty, many celebrated mariners and ships have tested their luck against the cape over the past five centuries.

Shutterbugs: There's nothing as spectacular as Cape Horn on a clear day, sun sparkling off the Southern Ocean, clouds dappling the deep blue sky, and the island shimmering beneath its emerald green coat.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

You May Not Be Able to Land: It's completely up to the discretion of the captain whether or not shore landings are possible on any given day. It all depends on the wind, the tides, the currents, and visibility.

It Gets Very, Very Windy: Bundle up well when you go ashore because winds at the cape have been known to hit more than 60 miles per hour.

Joe Yogerst

Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.

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Itineraries Including Cape Horn, Chile
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