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Birds & Mammals of Northern Argentina

Tour Code: ARG05

A 17-day exploration of the montane and Chaco habitats of northern Argentina in search of the region's mammals and birds.

17 days from £5495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4995 SRS: £895


Mammals in South America are rarely as easy to view as they are in Africa, but this 16-day exploration of the montane and chaco habitats of northern Argentina offers a chance to encounter some of the region's most exciting creatures. The extremely varied itinerary ranges from lofty Andean peaks and cloudforests to the marshes of the 'wet chaco' with each element of the tour designed to maximise mammal and bird watching opportunities. The spectacular scenery, abundant birdlife and unpredictable, but always welcome, mammalian appearances, make this a very special tour for South America enthusiasts.

  • Varied & scenic itinerary
  • Excellent chances of mammal sightings
  • Tremendous bird watching
  • Humahuaca Canyon & El Rey National Park
  • Guanaco & Vicuna among the more conspicuous mammals
  • Chance of Geoffrey’s Cat, River Otter & Brazilian Tapir
  • Andean Condor, Greater Rhea & hummingbirds
  • Armadillos, Howler Monkey, plus Capybara in chaco & wetlands
  • Giant Anteater, Black Howler Monkey & Yellow Anaconda!
  • Led by expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Generally tourist hotels with private facilities

Giant Anteater (Peter Price)

Giant Anteater (Peter Price)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Arrive Buenos Aires, fly Salta

Day 3 Los Cardones National Park

Day 4 Acay Mount, San Lorenzo

Day 5 Los Condones National Park

Day 6/7 El Rey National Park

Day 8 Ingeniero Juarez

Day 9 Formosa National Reserve

Day 10/11 Calilegua National Park

Day 12 Fly Salta to Buenos Aires, drive El Palmar National Park

Day 13/14 El Palmar National Park

Day 15/17 Ibera Wetlands

Day 18 Drive to Posadas, fly Buenos Aires

Day 19 Fly Buenos Aires and on to UK

Day 20 Arrive UK

The mighty Andes, the longest mountain chain in the world and the second highest, extends the length of the South American continent, from Colombia in the north to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. In the northern Argentinean provinces the influences of the mountains extend beyond the awesome allure of numerous jagged peaks, and the rivers that flow down into the lowlands create complex and highly specialised zones of vegetation, which in turn support unique species of wildlife. The aim of this tour is to penetrate into both the heart of the Andes and the deepest forests of the Chaco lowlands to sample the superlative landscapes and wildlife to be found in these wilderness areas. 

Our holiday begins in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, from where we catch a domestic flight to Salta in the north-west of the country. Following an overnight stay, we leave the colonial elegance of Salta to embark upon a quite remarkable wildlife odyssey which will take us through some of the most impressive and awe-inspiring scenery in South America. Changing altitude almost daily, we focus during the first half of the holiday on an exploration of the high Andes, ascending to a height of about 5,000 metres at Acay Mount before visiting the remote and unspoiled wilderness of El Rey National Park and then the Calilegua National Park which protects some pristine Yungas cloudforest. During our time in the high Andes we will be constantly searching for the many rare mammals and birds which inhabit the mountains and valleys, but not all the wildlife will be easy to locate and our success will depend upon many extraneous factors, not least the amount of good fortune we are blessed with!  

At higher elevations, herds of the two attractive camelids, Guanaco and Vicuña, will be among the more conspicuous inhabitants and could attract the attentions of a hunting Puma; smaller creatures to look for include Mountain Viscacha, Andean Red Fox, Andean Dwarf Cavy and perhaps a rare Pampas Cat. The dense Yungas forests of Calilegua National Park conceal such delights as Red Yungas Squirrel, Geoffroy’s Cat and Brown Capuchin whilst elsewhere in the park may be found Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Raccoon, Jaguaroundi and maybe even the secretive Jaguar. Probably the most impressive fauna, however, is found in El Rey, where a protective ring of mountains around the park has helped preserve many shy and rare creatures. It is here that we have our best chance of finding Brazilian Tapir whilst other residents include Collared Peccary, River Otter and Red Brocket Deer. Although our attention will be focused on the mammals, birds will inevitably be much in evidence during our exploration of the mountains and the area’s very impressive avifauna includes such highlights as Andean Condor, Torrent Duck, Greater Rhea, Toco Toucan and two striking hummingbirds, the Red-tailed Comet and the Giant.  

Leaving the mountains behind, we conclude our tour in the Chaco region which occupies an area of about 2.5 million square kilometres and is essentially a dry savannah-like plain in which the characteristic vegetation is represented by thorny members of the Leguminosae family. It is a truly unique habitat, peculiar to Paraguay, northern Argentina and a small area of south-eastern Bolivia. As might be expected, the flora and fauna contain many endemic species and this is one of the best places in South America to look for some of the continent’s most elusive mammals. Our introduction to the Chaco will be in Formosa Natural Reserve, which protects the last remnant of primary Quebracho Colorado forest (the ‘red axebreakers’) in the world. Here we will walk along trails in search of Chacoan Peccary and a variety of armadillo species.  

Next we will visit the extensive marshlands that characterise the wet Chaco region. Colourful frogs, turtles and two species of caiman abound in these pristine wetlands, whilst the wildlife community includes Giant Anteater, Capybara, Black Howler Monkey, Marsh Deer, Yellow Anaconda and the enigmatic Maned Wolf. Not surprisingly, the birding is of the highest quality, with concentrations of herons, ibises, Limpkin and waterfowl in numbers that have to be seen to be believed. Perhaps the highlight of the tour will be the final three days, which we spend in the Iberá Wetlands. In these exclusive surroundings we hope to end a spectacular tour with sightings of the magnificent Marsh Deer, Black Howler Monkey, Maned Wolf and many other amazing creatures in a wildlife paradise which has been preserved around its main body of water, the Iberá lagoon.  

The high Andes and the unique Chaco make an irresistible combination for a wildlife holiday and we will have experienced the best of both worlds during this very special tour.

 

Giant AnteaterVicunaTorrent DucksToco ToucanMountain ViscachaHumahuaca CanyonHairy ArmadilloGuanacoCapybaraBlack Howler MonkeyBlack Howler MonkeyAndean Condor
Mr & Mrs S
Kincardineshire
The highlight for us was our day spent in the high Andes travelling up to the Abra de Acay at almost 5000m. Spectacular scenery and relatively abundant wildlife especially seeing herds of Guanaco and Vicuna. Also in the Andes the Los Cardonnes National Park with its abundance of cacti was another highlight. Each of the other parks we visited were well worth it. Thoroughly enjoyed our picnics and evening meals in the field at El Rey. At Calilegua our trip over the mountains to the village of San Francisco, where we had lunch, was also most enjoyable. El Palmar National Park proved a good addition as we had excellent views of several mammals there. Finally we also enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers and guides who proved an excellent group of people.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 7th September 2018 - Sun 23rd September 2018

YES

£5495

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

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

Land only cost: £4995 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Argentina

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Alison Steel
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01962 733051

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Mammals

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Tour Reviews

The highlight for us was our day spent in the high Andes travelling up to the Abra de Acay at almost 5000m. Spectacular scenery and relatively abundant wildlife especially seeing herds of Guanaco and Vicuna. Also in the Andes the Los Cardonnes National Park with its abundance of cacti was another highlight. Each of the other parks we visited were well worth it. Thoroughly enjoyed our picnics and evening meals in the field at El Rey. At Calilegua our trip over the mountains to the village of San Francisco, where we had lunch, was also most enjoyable. El Palmar National Park proved a good addition as we had excellent views of several mammals there. Finally we also enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers and guides who proved an excellent group of people.
Mr & Mrs S, Kincardineshire