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Atacama Wildlife Photo Safari, Chile

Atacama Wildlife Photo Safari, Chile

Wildlife Photo Safari in Atacama, Chile

A half—day safari through the Atacama desert scrub zone and  Andes mountain range foothills. Afternoon tour; available 3 times a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays); no minimum of participants required; maximum group size 4 participants. Designed for both photographers who carry their own photography equipment and for those who are willing to do some amazing shots of the desert wildlife just by using their phones. Our spotting scope with a cellphone adaptor will allow participants to learn and practice how to “digiscope”, obtaining incredible photos and videos of both mammals and birds. We also provide binoculars and wildlife field guides for all the participants.

In the Andean foothills is where we find the high-altitude wetlands that represent the most biodiverse environments in the desert area. We have the possibility to photograph bird species like flamingos, geese, teals, gulls and mammals such as vicuñas, vizcachas, foxes and more.

During this photo safari we will visit 3 all very different from one another environments:

  1. Desert scrub zone between 9000 to 11000 ft. Also known as the canyon land, we will find impressive ravines crisscrossed by snowmelt rivers formed at the Andes range. Abundant vegetation can be found in Guatin Village, where unique succulent species from the genus Echinopsis, Maihueniopsis, Orocereous and Cumulopuntia live.

Guatin is also hometown of an indigenous community who still practices agriculture and sheparding as a lifestyle. Lastly, one of the 4 species of camels that inhabit south America can be observed in the desert scrub zone area, the famous Guanaco.

  1. Andean foothills between 11000 to 13000 ft. This area is inhabited by indigenous communities located in very small villages, being Machuca town the most iconic. Its inhabitants have been raising llamas, sheep and goats since ancient times. The town is located on the shores of 2 lagoons that form together the Machuca high-altitude wetland. A very interesting wildlife conservation program is being carried out between the Machuca indigenous community and the Gato Andino Aliance, in order to monitor, study and protect the most endangered cat species in south America: the Andean Cat. With the installation of trap cameras, the Andean, Pampas and Puna felines have been found in the area. Three different species of flamingos, vizcachas and many more bird species also reside in this ambiance.
  2. High plain or “Altiplano” over 13000 ft. Vast plains surrounded by enormous volcanoes, some of them active, make the highlands a quiet unique environment. Only wildlife inhabits this extreme and very isolated environment. This area is the home to another species of south American wild camels: Vicuñas.
Day 1
Half Day Itinerary

After hotel pick-up, we head north towards the desert scrub zone. Upon 45 minutes’ drive, we would stop on the canyon land in search for Guanacos and flora observation. We will continue gaining altitude in direction to Machuca wetlands, where we would hike around its lagoons in search of birdlife while we can also observe local´s life form. Our last stop would be Putana wetland to look for vicuñas, vizcachas, foxes and more bird species. From Putana wetland’s lookout we would appreciate the true vastness of the Andes high plains.

Wildlife you can expect to see: 

Guanacos, Vizcachas, Llamas, Culpeo Fox, Vicuñas, Puna Hog-nose Skunk, Short-tailed Chinchilla, Pampas Cat, Andean Cat, Puna-headed Armadillo, Puma, Northern Mouse Opossum. Also birdlife species such as: Greater Yellow-finch, Andean Parakeet, Puna Miner, Black hooded Sierra Finch, Variable Hawk, Yellow Billed Pintail, Puna Tit-spinetail, Crested Duck, Cordilleran Canastero, Ash Breasted Sierra Finch, Mourning Sierra Finch, Ochre- napped Ground-tyrant, Andean gull, Andean Negrito, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Puna teal, Plumbeous Sierra-finch, Andean Flamingo, Chilean Flamingo, Greenish Yellow Finch, Mountain Caracara, Andean Condor.

What is included?

  • Hotel pickup and drop off
  • Highly qualified, bilingual guide
  • Spotting scope with phone adaptor for digiscoping
  • Binoculars and wildlife field guides

What is not included?

  • All international or domestic airfares
  • Visa Fees (if applicable)
  • Travel & medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation)
  • Airport departure taxes or visa fees
  • Items of personal nature (incl. binoculars and telescopes)
  • If providing binoculars and telescopes then add within above
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages or bottled drinks
  • Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”

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Why should you choose us?

We are a registered tour operator at the Chilean Sub Secretary of Tourism since 2010. We only operate with certified guides. We are wildlife lovers just like you!

What clothes to wear?

Comfortable clothes, long trousers and shorts, T-shirt and long sleeve t-shirt. Layers on top, hiking shoes, sun hut and wool hut. Sun block, water bottle.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

0.5 Day

Price & Availability

USD118 / per person
This tour is operated by: On Safari Atacama

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Tour Facts

  • Atacama, Chile
  • Available Daily
  • Half Day Trip
  • Birds
  • Half Day
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English
  • Contact us to know
  • Contact us to know