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Pumas, Penguins & Whales - 11 Days

Pumas, Penguins & Whales
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This 11-day trip has been designed to watch three iconic species of Patagonian wildlife. You will explore the magnificent Torres del Paine to look for Puma. Afterward, you will visit the mythic island of Tierra del Fuego to reach the world’s most accessible colony of King Penguin. As a grand finale, you will explore the Magellan Straits and its summer visiting Humpback Whale population.

Day 1
Day 1 - Punta Arenas, Chile – Transfer to Torres del Paine National Park

After meeting your guide at your hotel or at the airport, you will be transferred in a private vehicle to Torres del Paine National Park. During our journey to the park, we will try to find guanacos, southern grey foxes, and Patagonian skunks while enjoying our first contact with southern beech (Nothofagus) forests. While visiting the valleys we will be given a geological interpretation of the origins of the dramatic backdrop of Torres del Paine, one of the finest natural spectacles in Patagonia. Overnight at Hotel Las Torres or similar, Torres del Paine (Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 2
Day 2 - Exploring Torres del Paine National Park – Puma searches

We have organized a busy schedule of day and night searches for pumas in the area. We will inspect the immediate surroundings of our hotel at night as well as the puma hunting grounds located in the eastern flank of the park.

The area comprised by the northern coast of Sarmiento Lake, Laguna Amarga and Laguna Azul is well known for holding one of the largest concentrations of pumas in the wild.

February through April is a particularly good period as the females are actively hunting to provide food to their growing cubs; at this time they are not active just by night but also during the twilight hours. To see a female puma and its large-sized cubs against this magnificent mountain backdrop and glorious skies is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles. In the company of our guide and puma tracker, we will attempt seeing puma family groups at a prudent distance with the help of binoculars and spotting scopes.

If we have time, we will also take the opportunity to look for other mammal species including the ubiquitous guanaco, the local Andean Deer or Huemul, Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk and the two canine species present in the park, Chilla and Culpeo foxes.

Overnight at Hotel Las Torres or similar, Torres del Paine (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 3
Day 3 - Exploring Torres del Paine National Park – Puma searches

As per the previous day, we have organized a busy schedule of day and night searches for pumas in the area.

We will inspect the immediate surroundings of our hotel at night as well as the puma hunting grounds located in the eastern flank of the park.

The area comprised by the northern coast of Sarmiento Lake, Laguna Amarga and Laguna Azul is well known by holding one of the largest concentrations of pumas in the wild.

February through April is a particularly good period as the females are actively hunting to provide food to their growing cubs; at this time they are not active just by night but also during the twilight hours. To see a female puma and its large-sized cubs against this magnificent mountain backdrop and glorious skies is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles. In the company of our guide and puma tracker we will attempt seeing puma family groups at a prudent distance with the help of binoculars and spotting scopes.

If we have time, we will also take the opportunity to look for other mammal species including the ubiquitous guanaco, the local Andean Deer or Huemul, Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk and the two canine species present in the park, Chilla and Culpeo foxes.

Overnight at Hotel Las Torres or similar, Torres del Paine (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 4
Day 4 - Torres del Paine NP – Transfer to Punta Arenas

During the morning we will continue our exploration in different areas of the park. A sensational vista from Laguna Azul, on the eastern side of the park, will be a superb grand finale to this part of our exciting journey of discovery. Later, we will be transferred to Punta Arenas. Overnight at Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar, Punta Arenas (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 5
Day 5 - Torres del Paine NP – Transfer to Punta Arenas

As the previous day, we will continue our exploration in different areas of the park. A sensational vista from Laguna Azul, on the eastern side of the park, will be a superb grand finale to this part of our exciting journey of discovery. Overnight at Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar, Punta Arenas (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 6
Day 6 - Ferry to Porvenir, Tierra del Fuego – Useless Bay for King penguins

We will start our journey with a private transfer from your hotel to the ferry docks located at the northern end of Punta Arenas.

At approximately 9 am, we will begin our 2.5-hour crossing through the mythic waters of the Straits of Magellan; these world-famous seaways are very rich in terms of the history of exploration. Magellan, Drake, Cavendish, Bougainville, Fitz Roy and Darwin, among several other sailors and explorers, surveyed this region, most of the times, in really harsh and dangerous conditions.

You will see an interesting array of seabirds, including Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Imperial Cormorant, Dolphin Gull and South American Tern.

It is very likely to see interesting marine mammals such as pods of Peale’s Dolphin and inquisitive South American Sea Lion. As soon as we land you will realize that the vegetation of this part of Tierra del Fuego is dominated by flat windswept steppes and rolling hills, with tussock grass and low shrubs.

After meeting your local guide and driver, we will stop at the town of Porvenir, visiting a pioneer home, our lovely and cozy hotel, Hosteria Yendegaia; here we will have coffee or tea, snacks, and will have the opportunity to relax for a short while.

Following this, we will be driving for approximately two hours along the shores of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), where we expect to see a great array of wildlife including Guanaco, Southern Grey Fox, the ubiquitous Upland Goose, Chilean Flamingo and the diversity of waterfowl. At sea we may see albatrosses, petrels, gulls and skuas patrolling the turbulent waters of the bay.

Parque Pingüino Rey is a private nature reserve that aims to preserve the only known continental King Penguin colony. We will have ample opportunities to observe and photograph the penguins from a reasonable distance (maximum approach distance will be given by the guide and must be respected at all times during your visit).

Overnight at Hosteria Yendegaia House or similar, Porvenir (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 7
Day 7 - Ferry to Punta Arenas

We will enjoy a leisure morning while exploring the surroundings of Porvenir to photograph and learn about the particular wildlife and history of this remote corner of Patagonia. We will visit its alkaline pools where there are large aggregations of migratory birds such as sandpipers and plovers, but the goal will be to photograph Chilean Flamingos. Later we will explore the coast to see some of the many shipwrecks that have occurred in these seas over the years. After lunch, we will be heading back to Punta Arenas by ferry. By taking the short ferry at Punta Delgada we will have great chances of seeing the striking Commerson’s Dolphin plus other interesting wildlife. Overnight at Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar, Punta Arenas (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 8
Day 8 - Boat trip to Carlos III Island – Afternoon looking for Humpback Whale

Early in the morning, we will board the motor yacht “Tanu” and start our navigation towards “Francisco Coloane Marine Park”, which protects the marine biodiversity of the western branch of the Straits of Magellan. This magnificent area encloses Carlos III Island, which possesses a vast and unique biological diversity due, in part, to the mixing of the two oceans (Pacific and Atlantic), productive upwelling, the strong winds, the presence of glaciers and the dismembered coastline. This park holds a summer population of humpback whales (and occasionally Sei Whale and Orca), which use these waters as feeding grounds. We will spend the night in the biological station, at very comfortable twin-bedded domes. We will have shared bathroom facilities at this location. Overnight at Eco-camp Carlos III, Carlos III Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 9
Day 9 - Carlos III Island

This morning we will have another whale-watching session aboard the zodiac boats and if we are lucky, we may see the endemic and scarce Chilean Dolphin while sailing these waters. We will also visit large breeding colonies of sea lions, fur seals and Magellanic Penguin. We will have a lecture by the scientist working on long-term population studies on these whales, and we will learn about several tagging and identification techniques. The afternoon will be spent watching these whales at close quarters with no other visitors. This intimate experience will be enhanced by the sight of the beautiful mountains, glaciers and pristine forests all around. Overnight at Eco-camp Carlos III, Carlos III Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

Day 10
Day 10 - Back to Punta Arenas

After enjoying the diversity of marine mammals and seabirds of this park, we will make our journey back to San Isidro Lodge. Along the route we will discover the rich seabird diversity of these seaways; we will see Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Chilean Skua and cormorants as well as pods of Peale’s Dolphin and the ubiquitous South American Sea Lion. If time permits, we will have a field trip, equipped with hand glasses, to discover the lichen- and moss-rich biodiversity of the sub-Antarctic forests. During the afternoon we will be transferred back to Punta Arenas for overnight. Overnight at Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar, Punta Arenas (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

Day 11
Day 11 - End of the trip

Transfer to the airport after breakfast. (Breakfast).

The Ultimate Patagonia Wildlife Trip. Consider reading our dedicated puma-tracking tour in Patagonia: Pumas of Torres del Paine.

King Penguin, Puma

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Why book with Far South Expeditions?

Far South Expeditions is one of the most important nature tour operations in Chile. Our company, based in Punta Arenas, the capital city of Chilean Patagonia, was founded by Claudio F. Vidal and Enrique Couve in 1997, and since then we have specialized in offering high-quality birding, wildlife and nature expeditions for small groups and individuals.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

11 Days

Price & Availability

From
USD5,498 / per person
This tour is operated by: Far South Expeditions

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Tour Facts

  • Torres del Paine National Park
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8px
  • 11 Days
  • + 15 years
  • Leisurely
  • English & Spanish
  • Punta Arenas
  • Arenas airport