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Puma Watching in Chile

Tour Code: CHL03

An 11-day wildlife holiday in search of the Pumas of Torres del Paine National Park, plus a wonderful variety of birds and other mammals in a spectacular setting.

11 days from £3895(inc flights) Land Only Price: £3000 SRS: £550


After a flight to Santiago, we will venture into the heart of the Andes in search of birds such as Andean Condors, plus an array of miners, ground-tyrants and other Andean species. Next we fly south to Punta Arenas before making the scenic drive to Torres del Paine National Park. Located in one of the most beautiful regions of Patagonia, the park has developed a reputation as one of the best places to see Pumas. Our base deep in the heart of the park is situated within a Puma territory and we’ll search for these top predators with the help of local guides in known hot-spots. In addition to the numerous Guanacos here we’ll hope to see mammals such as South American Grey Fox and South Andean Deer, as well as such birds as Crested Caracara and Cinereous Harrier. Lastly we’ll fly back to Santiago before returning home.

  • Look for the endemic Chilean Tinamou & Chilean Mockingbird in the Andes
  • Enjoy flamingo-lined lakes & herds of Guanaco en route to Torres del Paine NP
  • Search for Pumas during the day & night in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Comfortable hotel base situated deep in the park, & within a Puma territory!
  • Stunning scenery across the Pampas, in Torres del Paine & around Santiago
  • Culpeo & Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk among many mammals
  • Darwin’s Rhea & Magellanic Woodpecker among expected avian highlights
  • Look for the Cururo, an endemic burrowing rodent in the Andes
  • Extensions to Chiloe Island to look for Blue Whales, or to the Atacama Desert
  • Led by expert local naturalist guides

 

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable tourist hotel in Santiago and wilderness lodge in Torres del Paine National Park; both have private facilities.

Puma (Antonio Nunez Gomez)

Puma (Antonio Nunez Gomez)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Arrive Santiago; afternoon at leisure.

Day 3 Fly Punta Arenas; transfer Torres del Paine.

Day 4/8 Daily wildlife excursions within Torres del Paine National Park.

Day 9 Drive Punta Arenas; fly Santiago.

Day 10 Depart Santiago.

Day 11 Arrive London.

Puma

Like so many of our clients, Naturetrek has always had a fascination for cats, and over the years we have played an instrumental role in pioneering new tours in search of such iconic felines as Tiger, Jaguar, Snow Leopard, Leopard and Iberian Lynx, often in some of the most remote and spectacular parts of the world. With the continuing success of our ‘South Africa — Just Cats!’, ‘Just Tigers!’ and ‘Brazil — Just Jaguars!’ tours, amongst others, we have been on the look out for the next ‘big cat opportunity’. Having monitored sightings very closely, we are now in the position to launch our latest specialist big cat tour, ‘Chile — Just Pumas!’. Located in one of the most beautiful regions of Patagonia, the Torres del Paine National Park has developed a reputation as the best area in the world to see Chile’s apex predator, the Puma. Working alongside guides with over 25 years’ experience of tracking Pumas, this tour has been specifically designed to give us the very best chance of seeing these enigmatic cats amidst a truly stunning landscape. While Pumas will be the principal focus of this tour, the abundance of wildlife in southern Chile ensures an exciting supporting cast that includes huge Andean Condors, herds of Guanacos, South American Grey Fox, Culpeo (Southern Red Fox), Patagonian Hognosed Skunk, South Andean Deer and Hairy Armadillo.

Our holiday begins with a flight to Chile’s capital, Santiago, from where we will venture into the heart of the Andes in search of our first afternoon of Chilean wildlife. In the skies above us we should see our first Andean Condors as they soar majestically amongst the high mountain summits, and we’ll also hope for other Andean species such as Mountain Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-banded and Creamyrumped Miners, a variety of Groundtyrants, Greater Yellow-finch, Grey-hooded Sierra-finch and the endemic Chilean Tinamou and Chilean Mockingbird. Mammals, too, are possible including the endemic burrowing rodent, the Cururo. The following morning we will fly south to the town of Punta Arenas before embarking on a scenic drive to Torres del Paine National Park. Journeying through expanses of open Pampas, we will stop en route to enjoy flamingo-lined lakes and the first of many encounters with the herds of Guanaco which will be a frequent sight during this holiday. Torres del Paine National Park is dominated by three stunning mountain peaks — the ‘Towers of Paine’ — and we will stay deep in the heart of the park at the charmingly rustic Hotel las Torres, situated at the foot of Mount Almirante Nieto. This hotel provides an ideal base for our daily (and night-time) wildlife excursions as it has excellent access to the park’s main trails. With an abundance of large windows we’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent scenery surrounding us from the hotel, while its slate floors and log fires create a cosy ambience that provides the perfect retreat at the end of each day’s Puma quest.

Working to an itinerary that will be dictated by the latest Puma sightings, and guided by expert trackers, over the following five days we will make day and night-time outings, exploring a variety of habitats and covering multiple Puma territories within the park. At this time of the year, with growing cubs to feed, the hard-pressed females are more likely to be seen hunting during daylight hours and with Guanacos a favourite prey, we’ll keep a close eye on the herds in the hope of spotting a hunting Puma. In particular we will explore the immediate surroundings of our hotel, spotlighting at night, since it lies within a known Puma territory. We will also venture to the Puma hunting grounds on the eastern flank of the park, as well as to the area comprising the northern coast of Sarmiento Lake, Laguna Amarga and Laguna Azul, which holds one of the highest concentrations of Pumas in the world. Our quest for Pumas in this stunning landscape will bring us into contact with a variety of other mammals and birds. In addition to the ubiquitous Guanacos, we will hope to see the local South Andean Deer or ‘Huemul’, Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk and the two canid species present in the park, South American Grey Fox and Culpeo. Andean Condors are a relatively common sight here, and we should get some close views of these magnificent birds. Other avian highlights may include Darwin’s Rhea, Black-chested Buzzard, Crested Caracara, Cinereous Harrier and Magellanic Woodpecker.

After enjoying five full days exploring this spectacular landscape we will begin our return journey to Punta Arenas and from there to Santiago, where we’ll share one last evening in the city, exchanging our personal highlights of this very special trip, before flying to London the following morning. For those who wish to extend their stay and explore the wildlife of this exciting region further we can offer a wide choice of options, including whalewatching off Chiloe Island (in search of Blue Whales especially), the wildlife and birds of the Atacama Desert, and tours to Easter Island.

 

Los Cuernos (Ian Bruce)Laguna Amarga (Claudio Vidal)Andean CondorGuanaco (Claudio Vidal)Herd of Guanaco (Claudio Vidal)Guanaco (Claudio Vidal)Guanaco and peaksPatagonia Scarlet Gorse (Claudio Vidal)Black Vulture (Ian Bruce)Tufted Tit Tyrant (Ian Bruce)Scoping (Claudio Vidal)Torres del Paine (Ian Bruce)Scanning for Puma (Ian Bruce)Puma with kill (Ian Bruce)Puma (Ian Bruce)Puma with kill (Ian Bruce)Rufous-collared Sparrow (Ian Bruce)Puma (Ian Bruce)Puma and cub (Ian Bruce)Chilla, South American Grey Fox (Ian Bruce)Coruro (Ian Bruce)Culpeo, Andean Red Fox (Ian Bruce)Puma (Antonio Lemos)Huemul Chileno (Ian Bruce)Humboldt's Hog-nosed Skunk (Ian Bruce)Hotel las Torres (Ian Bruce)Local Church (Claudio Vidal)Gaucho Farm, Torres del Paine (Claudio Vidal)Chilla (Ian Bruce)Condor (Ian Bruce)Huemul (Ian Bruce)Long-tailed Meadowlark (Ian Bruce)Megallanic Horned Owl (Ian Bruce)Puma (Ian Bruce)Torres del Paine (Ian Bruce)
S.L.
Hampshire
Overall a great holiday. Wonderful scenery, excellent guide Roberto and a few very memorable views of Pumas in the wild.
S.W.
Nottinghamshire
I was delighted to see all my target animals - Puma, Culpeo, Chilla and Patagonian Skunk. It was wonderful to get such brilliant scope views of two Puma cubs and their stunning mother. Enrique was a superb guide - working exceptionally hard to find the animals and with an excellent in-depth knowledge of both Pumas and the other wildlife of the park. He has a very pleasant easy-going personality and looked after us extremely well.
J.L.
Surrey
The holiday lived up to its title in that we did have a number of varied sightings of Pumas.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Thu 12th March 2015 - Sun 22nd March 2015

6

£3895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3000 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Fri 3rd April 2015 - Mon 13th April 2015

6

£3895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3000 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Thu 10th March 2016 - Sun 20th March 2016

YES

£3895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3000 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Thu 7th April 2016 - Sun 17th April 2016

4

£3895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3000 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Chile

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Tour Focus

Mammals

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

Overall a great holiday. Wonderful scenery, excellent guide Roberto and a few very memorable views of Pumas in the wild.
S.L., Hampshire