Wildlife of Eastern Patagonia
9 days – 8 nights
Starts in Trelew – Ends in Comodoro Rivadavia.
What our clients say!
On her 2011 private Iguazú and Salta birding tour
…”Just a quick mail to thank you so much for arranging our itineraries to Salta and Iguazu. We had a wonderful time and both Mario and Paula were absolutely great guides. Of course we spent much more time with Mario and the pace and focus of the trip was perfect… my daughters both enjoyed the birding that we did do and one has taken some amazing photos with her new camera in the humming bird garden.
Thank you for putting this trip together for us.”
Yvonne Pennington – South Africa
This tour has been specially designed for those who want to experience first hand Atlantic Patagonia with its spectacular shorelines and endless steppes. It is a unique natural history and nature photography adventure that will give tour participants the opportunity to enjoy Darwin’s Patagonia, with its unique marine birds and mammals’ colonies, and the vast Patagonian wilderness. Join Trogon Tours on this mythical journey through mighty Patagonia, home of the Southern Right Whales, Elephant Seals and Magellanic Penguins. Our group size limit for this tour is 8 participants with one Trogon Tours’ leader.
Tour runs on request – Prices based on group size.
Eastern Patagonia is a land of vast solitudes. It is here where the arid steppes of the Patagonian Plateau reach the Atlantic Ocean. Tall sedimentary cliffs frame endless gravel beaches in this area, providing shelter to innumerable seabirds and marine mammals that make their home in these remote, barren shores. Eastern Patagonia’s unique wilderness allures naturalists the world over, imprinting strong memories in the minds of remarkable ones like Charles Darwin, Gerald Durrell, William Henry Hudson and Sir David Attenborough to name but a few. Books like The Voyage of the Beagle, The Whispering Land and Idle Days in Patagonia, and documentaries like the chapter of BBC’s The Trials of Life featuring Orcas hunting sea lions on the shores of the Valdés Peninsula, reflect their personal experiences in this magical land.
Our tour starts at the Valdes Peninsula, arguably the richest nature reserve in Eastern Patagonia. This area is home to more than 32,000 Southern Elephant Seals and over 8,000 Southern Sea Lions, but it is best known by its cetaceans, with roughly 1,000 Southern Right Whales relying on its waters yearly to complete their breeding cycle, and its world-renowned population of sea-lion hunting Orcas.
Finally, we’ll visit the area of Puerto Deseado, in northeastern Santa Cruz Province, in the southernmost end of our journey. From the city of Puerto Deseado, we will have the opportunity to take a boat trip and go visiting Penguin Island. This solitary island is home to the only nesting colony of Rockhopper Penguins on the Atlantic coast of South America. We will also explore the estuary of the Deseado River by boat. This is home to the most incredible array of marine fauna possibly found outside the Valdés Peninsula, including such unique wildlife highlights as the only nesting colony of Red-legged Cormorant on Atlantic Patagonia and a resident population of Commerson’s Dolphin.
Driving through the steppe, we will always have chances to see and photograph several land mammals and birds. Herds of Guanaco still roam freely in the endless steppes of Patagonia. The Mara, or Patagonian Cavy, is the largest rodent in Patagonia. It is an Argentine endemic and the entire population is restricted to the driest areas of central Argentina and northern Patagonia. Their smaller cousin, Patagonian Lesser Cavy, is frequently found taking the sun just outside Magellanic Penguins’ burrows, where they find shelter. Two species of armadillo: Lage Hairy and Pichi live here as well. Other mammals possibly found along the way include Lesser Grison, Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk, Geoffroy’s Cat, and two species of fox: Patagonian Grey (or Chilla) and Culpeo (or Andean).
Birds in this part of the world are really unique, since many of them are restricted to the Patagonian region, like for example White-headed Steamer-Duck, Rusty-backed Monjita, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian Canastero and Carbonated Sierra-Finch among others. It is also here where the largest nesting colonies of Magellanic Penguin on earth can be found. Around one million penguins nest, raise their young and molt their feathers in northeastern Chubut every year between September and April.
Our Itinerary in a Nutshell
We will gather at the airport of the Argentine city of Trelew in the evening of day 1, and drive to Puerto Pirámides, in the Valdés Peninsula, where we'll spend two nights. We will spend days 2 and 3 exploring the Valdés Peninsula, including a boat trip to see the Southern Right Whale, and visits to Southern Elephant Seal and Southern Sea Lion colonies. We will leave the Valdés Peninsula in the evening of day 3 and drive to Puerto Madryn for spending the night there. On day 4 we will drive south to the small village of Camarones, visiting Punta Tombo -the biggest Magellanic Penguin colony on earth, on our way there. On day 5 we will go visiting Cabo Dos bahías, and then drive south to Puerto Deseado, where we'll spend the last four nights of the tour. We will spend days 6 to 8 exploring northern Santa Cruz Province, including Jaramillo Petrified Forest, and also the Estuary of the Deseado River and Penguin Island, mainly by boat. We will leave Puerto Deseado in the morning of day 9, and drive to Comodoro Rivadavia where the tour ends at the local airport.
Southern Right Whale, Southern Elephant Seal, Rockhopper & Magellanic Penguins, Commerson’s Dolphin, Red-legged Cormorant, Mara, Larger Hairy Armadillo, Lesser Rhea, Elegant-crested Tinamou, Snowy Sheathbill.
Best time to go
This tour runs between late October and early December.
What is included?
Private transportation for all transfers and excursions. Boat excursions as per program. Accommodations on a twin/double basis. Single supplements on request. Full time Trogon Tours’ leader to accompany the group from day 1 in Trelew to day 9 in Comodoro Rivadavia. All breakfasts, lunches, box-lunches and dinners with one non alcoholic drink per person/meal. Admission fees to all national parks and nature reserves.
What is not included?
International and domestic airfares and airport taxes. Tips to guides, drivers, hotel & restaurants personnel, etc. Drinks with your meals. Personal travel and medical insurance. Anything not specified in “What is included?”