A wildlife tour to the best of Patagonia: Valdes Peninsular and El Calafate areas.
Expect: Good accommodation, easy to moderate terrain, mild to cold climate.
Trip report and wildlife checklist available.
Departures anytime from October to March.
Patagonia has legendary and spectacular landscapes and wildlife. It captivated early travelers and naturalists; Charles Darwin being one of the early pioneers. Many areas are still as virgin now as then. The Andean hills and valleys have forests of Southern Beech, while the plateaus to the east are windswept and dry. The emblematic Valdes Peninsula is just one of many sites teeming with wildlife. Guanacos, Armadillos and the odd Mara are readily found alongside Darwin’s Rheas and Elegant Crested-Tinamous. Valdes is also known as a breeding site for Southern Right Whales, present in the area from May to November. There are also important rookeries of Southern Elephant Seals and Southern Sea Lions.
We will also visit the world’s largest Magellanic Penguin colony. With 200,000 breeding pairs, the scenery is stunning. Along the 128 km of road to the colony we will make several stops to look for some of the Patagonian specialties, like Patagonian Canastero, Band-tailed Eremobius, Rusty-backed Monjita and White-throated Cacholote. Once in the colony we will also look for the endemic Chubut Steamer-Duck as well as Blackish Oystercatcher and Dolphin Gull, typical of the rocky shores. colony, with half a million birds and stunning scenery. Along the 128 km entrance road we will make several stops to look for some Patagonian specialties, such as Patagonian Canastero, Band-tailed Eremobius, Rusty-backed Monjita and White-throated Cacholote. Once in the colony we will also look for the endemic Chubut Steamer-Duck as well as Blackish Oystercatcher and Dolphin Gull, typical of the rocky shores.
The trip continues in the extreme south of the continent in order to explore the surroundings of the villages of El Calafate and El Chalten. Nestled in a dramatic landscape with mountains, glaciers and steppes, this area is a Mecca for naturalists and hikers. We will visit Los Glaciares National Park and its main attraction Perito Moreno Glacier (one of the few in the world that are not retreating). We’ll look for Guanacos, Culpeo and Argentine Grey Fox and the mighty Andean Condor and Magellanic Woodpecker. Here also, we expect to see Black-faced Ibis, Upland and Ashy-headed Goose, Chilean Flamingo, Austral Parakeet, White-throated Treerunner, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and many others.