Arrive in Torres Del Paine
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.
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.
Grey Glacier and Grey Lake
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).
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.
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.
Depart for Punta Arenas
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.
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