Tour Interest: Natural History and Photography

Tour Type: Overland

Tour Dates: Runs on request

Tour Duration: 9 days - 8 nights

Starts/Ends: Starts and ends in El Calafate

Best time to go: October to April

Prices: Based on group size

Wildlife of Southwestern Patagonia

Tour Map

Outlined Daily Itinerary

Day 1 – Afternoon meeting with your Trogon Tours’ guide at El Calafate airport. Early evening birding Laguna Nímez. O/N El Calafate.

Days 2 and 3 – Two full days exploring Los Glaciares National Park, including Moreno Glacier. O/N El Calafate.

Day 4 – Drive to El Chaltén, birding and watching wildlife en-route. O/N El Chaltén.

Day 5 – Full day exploring and watching flora and fauna at Mount Fitz Roy and Lake Viedma area. O/N El Chaltén.

Day 6 – Drive to Torres del Paine National Park. O/N Torres del Paine.

Days 7 and 8 – Two full days watching flora and fauna including puma and condor. O/N Torres del Paine.

Day 9 – Drive to El Calafate. Transfer to the local airport. Tour Conclusion.

 

Tour Highlights

Southern Right Whale, Southern Elephant Seal, Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, Commerson’s Dolphin, Red-legged Cormorant, Mara, Larger Hairy Armadillo, Lesser Rhea, Elegant-crested Tinamou and Snowy Sheathbill.

 

Tour Features

The southernmost tip of the American Continent is a land of vast solitudes and unexplored wilderness. Remote Patagonia is an immense geographical region in the south of Argentina and Chile. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific on the west, Patagonia spans north to south from the Colorado River in Argentina and Reloncaví Sound in Chile, to the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn.

To the east of the Andes, Patagonia is mostly a dry bushy steppe, rising westwards in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces, roughly 100 metres at a time, all the way to the Andean Range. Western and Andean Patagonia are very humid. The dominant habitat is the Southern Beech forest, with secondary tree species varying slightly with latitude. There’s even a temperate rainforest called Valdivian Forest, spanning over northwestern Patagonia, mostly within Chile, but with a wedge-shaped section crossing the Andes way into Argentina.

Strong westerly winds sweep the Southern Hemisphere, between the latitudes 40 and 49. These are the famous Roaring Forties. Air displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole, which travels close to the surface between the latitudes of 30 and 60 degrees south, combines with the earth’s rotation to cause west-to-east air currents. Because there is little land below the 40th parallel south, greater wind speeds are able to build than at the same latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. After crossing the Pacific Ocean, the Roaring Forties carry a great amount of humidity, thus turning the western coast of Patagonia into a generally wet and rainy region. These wet winds finally hit the Andean Range, producing heavy downpours on the western slope of the Andes, to drastically dry out before entering eastern Patagonia transformed into very dry, astringent winds running all the way to the Atlantic coast and beyond.

We will explore the mountains, steppes and forests of mighty Patagonia, searching for their unparalleled wildlife. Patagonia hosts 60 bird species almost restricted or endemic to the region. The Patagonian forests are home to spectacular birds like Magellanic Woodpecker, and Lesser Horned Owl, but Andean Patagonia is also unique for its fantastic scenery, including spectacular glaciers like the Moreno, which we’ll have the chance to see at Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia is also an incredible place for mammals. Several species of land mammals are likely to be found in southwestern Patagonia, including two species of armadillos, two species of fox, one skunk, two species of ferret and many others. Huge herds of Guanacos roam freely throughout Patagonia, and they constitute the main food resource for one of the most emblematic cats in the Americas: The Puma. During this tour, our main goal will be to watch and photograph Pumas in their natural habitat, and this region is by far one of the best places on earth to do so.

 

Best Time To Go

This tour runs well between October and April, but if you are very keen on flora, try planning for November – December, when blooming is at its best.

 

What’s Included?

Private transportation for all transfers and excursions. Accommodations on a twin/double basis. Single supplements on request. Full time Trogon Tours’ leader to accompany the group from day 1 on arrival in El Calafate airport to day 9 on departure from that same airport. Local guides where required by law. All breakfasts, lunches, box-lunches and dinners, from dinner on day 1 to Breakfast on day 9 of the tour. No drinks included. One boat tour on a shared basis in Los Glaciares National Park for close-up views of the glaciers and spectacular rock formations. Admission fees to all national parks and nature reserves.

 

What’s 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 under “What is included?”