6 days from £4980pp plus international flights.
Your adventure starts in Punta Arenas, where you'll be met and driven to your lodge, with its unusual geodesic dome accommodation in a spectacular setting. After meeting your guide and other guests and enjoying lunch together you set out to explore the flora and fauna of Torres del Paine National Park. The scenery is stunning, ranging from grassy plateaus to snow-capped mountains; it's a taste of what's to come.
The precise itinerary varies according to local conditions and is determined by the guides locally, but the day-by-day description given is typical of the areas and activities that are included on this memorable trip. Early starts are the norm, making the most of each day. Depending on the weather and reports from the trackers out in the field, the activities for each day will vary, but there is a general programme which they will endeavour to follow. You'll be accompanied by a photographer and 2 experienced wildlife trackers and guides. Together you'll visit some of the well-known landmarks of the park such as Los Cuernos. The lakes, waterfalls and jagged peaks present themselves for photographs. Your afternoon excursion will most likely end at a spot where you can watch the sky change colour as the sun sets over the mountains.
Laguna Amarga is where you will head with the dedicated puma tracking team. The trackers are incredibly knowledgeable about puma and their habits so your chances of finding and observing them are increased. Listen for tell-tale alarm calls from the guanaco or birds of prey circling over a kill. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see a lone male, or, maybe a female with cubs. Then it's back to the lodge, hopefully armed with photographs and memories of your first puma sighting.
Other areas that you can visit on this trip include the Grey Glacier. At 6 kilometres wide, this is an impressive landmark and its vivid blue hue lends itself perfectly to spectacular photographs. Laguna Azul is known for sightings of the Andean fox, and other species you might see are nandu (Darwin's rhea), guanaco and, if you look upwards, the Andean condor can sometimes be seen soaring the thermals.
Your last day is a mirror image of your first. Rise early, and you'll be able to head into the park in search of pumas for one last time. After lunch at the lodge, bid everyone farewell, and you'll be taken back to Punta Arenas for your onward travel.
You fly into Punta Arenas, gateway to Patagonia, where you are met and driven to EcoCamp in a prime location in Torres del Paine National Park. The camp is composed of a number of communal geodesic domes plus smaller guest domes. You arrive in time for a generous lunch, most welcome after your journey, and then have the chance to accompany a guide on your first foray into the park. The scenery is stunning - grasslands, plateaus and rugged snow-topped mountains. Look out too for wildlife which includes guanaco, fox, nandu and condor, all of which whets your appetite for the days ahead. Back in camp you have time to shower and change before sitting down to dinner. Lunch, dinner
Rise early to make the most of the day! You generally have about 6 hours to explore in the morning, returning to EcoCamp for lunch and time to rest, then set out again in the late afternoon. You are led by a team comprising 2 experienced wildlife trackers/guides and a professional photographer, who together have a vast amount of knowledge, all at your disposal. This morning you might visit Los Cuernos, the jagged granite peaks that are well-known landmarks in Torres del Paine National Park. Lakes, waterfalls and glaciers are among the geographical features here and there are photo opportunities aplenty. The afternoon excursion usually culminates in watching a colourful sunset over the mountains, and you return to camp for dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
During your holiday you should be able to visit Grey Glacier. Some 6 kilometres wide, this is a truly impressive sight. The glacier borders Grey Lake, which is covered in blue-hued icebergs, the colour due to the compression of the ice over hundreds of years. This is a photographer's dream. As well as admiring the natural beauty of the location you are here to spot wildlife. Andean condors are known to soar in the skies and your guides will be on the lookout for them, and you may spend time tracking and observing nandu (Darwin's rhea). Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today you head to Laguna Azul. It lives up to its name, with clear blue waters, and you should get a splendid reflection of the Paine massif here. This area is a known haunt of the Andean grey fox and with luck you should get some good sightings. Guanaco are also found here. A variety of camelid, they have adapted to life in this region. Other animals to look out for are the South Andean deer and condor, and you may just strike lucky and catch sight of a puma. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today's exploration takes place near Laguna Amarga and your quarry is the puma! Also known as the mountain lion, these large cats have thick golden coats and males can weigh up to 90kg, with females considerably smaller, up to around 60kg. The camp has a dedicated puma tracking team who make it their business to know the whereabouts of these elusive creatures, thus increasing your chances of observing them. The excitement is palpable, as you and your guides listen for the harsh alarm cry of a guanaco, or watch for birds of prey circling above a recent kill, both indicative of the presence of a puma. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see a lone male, or, maybe a female with cubs. Watch entranced and later, back at the camp, you'll have a great tale to tell your fellow guests. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Another early start enables you to get out into the park this morning for a final chance to track pumas. You know the tell-tale signs now, and have the expertise of your guides to help you, so you may be lucky. Enjoy lunch at EcoCamp, and, bags packed, you are transferred back to Punta Arenas, arriving in the late evening for an overnight stay before your onward travel tomorrow. Breakfast, lunch
Guide price from (pp sharing): £4980 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2019 prices are based on year round daily departures. Please ask for any specific dates for a full price quote.
5 nights accommodation at EcoCamp based on twin share dome unit; all meals from lunch on day one through to lunch on day 6; excursions as described in the itinerary; English speaking specialist wildlife guide; road transfers from and to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales; park fees for Torres del Paine National Park.
International and domestic flights and taxes; tips; personal expenditure; travel insurance; visas; vaccinations; soft drinks and snacks not served with meals at Eco Camp; Please note that the overnight stay on day 6 is not included in the price shown.
This itinerary starts and ends in Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. We will arrange your international and domestic flights and will tailor the rest of your itinerary in Chile around the fixed departures of this trip.
Departure dates: This trip starts in Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales and operates on fixed dates from October to April. Maximum group size is 5 people. Offered subject to availability.
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Time: GMT -4 hours
Flight time: There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.
Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.
Visas: Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.
Health: Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.