Patagonia Wildlife expedition

Patagonian wildlife expedition, wilderness at its best!

Let’s embark on a Patagonia Wildlife expeditions and find the unique Pumas and Orcas of this beautiful region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America.

First up, the Orcas; Peninsula Valdés, tucked on the Atlantic coast, is a natural sanctuary of unprecedented importance, owing to the varied marine mammals that inhabit its waters. The killer whales, the ocean’s apex predators, steal the stage here, demonstrating an awe-inspiring hunting method known as “intentional stranding.”

Since 1976, Cape Punta Norte has been the setting for an incredible natural drama. Two male Orcas started a custom by teaching their entire colony how to capture sea lion pups right off the shore, which is now passed down through generations.

Our second target, the amazing Pumas! Few places in the world have such opportunity to picture a large cat walking freely in the wild, especially in such a breathtaking area as Patagonia. The fabled South American Puma is drawn to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile because of the abundance of Guanacos and Hares. At any time one of the world’s top predators could appear in broad daylight while we are strolling in this wilderness and admiring the so-called Cuernos (“horns” in Spanish), a 6,900-foot (2,100-meter) rock formation rising over the plains.

Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most photogenic natural reserves in the world, nestled amid snowy peaks, subpolar woods, and the Patagonian steppes. On this special expedition, we will be visiting both of these top destinations in an ideal amount of time to have the best opportunity to photograph and experience nature at its best.

Starts in TrelewEnds in El CalafateDuration: 12 DaysAccommodation: Mid-range

** ALL OUR SAFARIS ARE FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE TO FIT YOUR REQUIREMENTS AND SUIT YOUR TRAVEL DATES


Highlights:

Punta Norte
Observe Orcas hunting
Torres Del Paine National Park

Home of the elusive Puma

Top Mammals:

• Orca Whales

• Guanaco

• Patagonian Mara

• Large Hairy Armadillo

• South American Grey Fox

• South American Sea Lion

• Southern Elephant Seal

Summary:

Day 1Arrival at Trelew Airport
Day 2-5Valdes Peninsula and Punta Norte
Day 6-7Onwards to El Calafate and Torres del Paine National Park
Day 8-10Torres del Paine National Park
Day 11Onwards to El Calafate
Day 12El Calafate Airport and departure

Top Birds:

Magellanic Penguin, Lesser Rhea, Elegant Crested Tinamou, Andean Condor, Austral Pygmy Owl and Chilean flamingos.


Puma in Torres del Paine (Steve Sanchez)

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY 1:
Arrival at Trelew Airport
– Upon arrival at Trelew Airport in Argentina, we will meet with our guide and travel directly to Valdes Peninsula.

Trelew is a city in the eastern part of the Chubut Province of Argentina located in Patagonia. Trelew itself is a large industrial city processing wool and was founded in 1886 by Welsh settlers who also established many other towns and cities in the area such as Esquel, Gaiman and Rawson.

At Valdes Peninsula we will spend 5 nights in Puerto Pirámides, a small town (the only one in the peninsula) and the whale-watching capital of Argentina.

DAY 2-5:
Valdes Peninsula and Punta Norte
– We have four days to visit Punta Norte which is about 70km north of Puerto Pirámides and observe Orca hunting. Our visits are timed to coincide with high tides as these offer the best probabilities for witnessing this behaviour. As well as high tide, Orcas need little or no wind when hunting young sea lions from the beach. Hence, we visit Punta Norte on four days to improve our chances to see the Orcas in action.

The Punta Norte beaches are home to Elephant Seals, Magellanic Penguins and Sea Lions. It is the sea lion pups which have become a favourite meal for the resident Orca population, and we scan for their fins as they in turn patrol the shallow waters.

The wilderness of the area will lead to the possibility of seeing other wildlife such as Guanaco, Patagonian Mara, Large Hairy Armadillo, Geoffrey’s Cat, South American Grey Fox, South American Sea Lion, Southern Elephant Seal. The birds we might encounter are Lesser Rhea, Elegant Crested Tinamou and many more.

DAY 6-7:
Onwards to El Calafate and Torres del Paine National Park
– This morning after breakfast, we will travel back to Trelew airport for our flight connection to El Calafate, located in south-west Patagonia, closer to the Andes range. We will spend a night here and prepare for the following day, our transfer to Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile. The transfer itself offers great chances for more wildlife watching, including the first sights of Andean Condors, which can sometimes be seen on the ground.

Torres Del Paine is an area of immense, outstanding, natural beauty, but in the “raw” sense. Here there are no picturesque rolling hills. However, there are dramatically carved rock formations, raging waterfalls, rivers, stunning, blue-colored lakes and glaciers. In addition, there is a multi-mix of wildlife including Guanacos, Culpeo Fox and Huemul Deer. The park is home to the famous Torres del Paine massif, a granite peak that rises over 2,800 meters (9,200 ft) above sea level.

DAY 8-10:
Torres del Paine National Park
– We will stay in one of the hotels located inside or very close to the park (this is subject to availability), in any case being surrounded by an impressive landscape. From our accommodations we will make three full day Puma watching excursions, guided by one of the most renowned local guides, whose expertise will very much increase our chances of seeing these elusive animals in the field. Finding pumas can take quite a few times driving and waiting (and sometimes hiking) but it is a spectacular place for doing any of these activities as there is always something to look at.

We have the next three full days to track the Pumas in Torres del Paine National Park with a professional puma tracker. Though this fabulous cat has a healthy population distribution here, seeing it still requires patience and the skill of local trackers. One of the benefits of travelling with a local tracker is that, not only do they know the landscape so well, but have a fantastic knowledge of the region’s individual cats, their territories and their histories. 

Finding Pumas can take time driving and waiting (and sometimes hiking) but it is a spectacular place for doing any of these activities as there is always something great to see.

DAY 11:
Onwards to El Calafate
– After breakfast this morning, we will head back to El Calafate for the night, celebrating our Patagonian adventure!

DAY 12:
El Calafate Airport and departure
– We will enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then depending on our flight times be transferred to El Calafate Airport for our departure flights home.


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