Patagonia Photo Safari

Chile and Argentina

November 10 to 20, 2022
Private Trip Available
Cost: $10,995
Leader: Cheryl Opperman and Matias Ballarini
Group Size: 8
Days: 11

Safari Overview

Patagonia, stretching over southern Chile and Argentina, is a sparsely populated, arid region with superb wildlife and landscape photography opportunities. This breathtaking area encompasses the Andes Mountains and presents an image that is unmistakably South American. Your photography adventure includes the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, beautiful vistas, soaring Andean condors, and guanaco herds of Torres del Paine. You’ll spend two days tracking pumas to maximize your opportunities for great photography. You will leave with photos of majestic scenery and pumas, while appreciating the diversity of animals Patagonia has to offer.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Soak in the infamous Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.
  • Discover the scenery and wildlife Torres del Paine is famous for: the Paine Massif, Andean condors, guanacos, and much more.
  • Explore Patagonia during springtime when plants are beginning to bloom.

OPTIONS:

  • Begin your journey early on our South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula trip from October 20 to November 11, 2022. Spend six days on South Georgia Island and six days in the Antarctic Peninsula to see curious penguins and seals, icebergs, and more.

Private Trip AvailableItinerary Updated: June 2021



Print Trip Safari Options
Date Description Lodge Meals
Nov 10 Fly to El Calafate, Argentina after disembarking in Ushuaia. Hotel El Mirador del Lago, El Calafate D
Nov 11 Full day at Los Glaciares National Park, including Estancia Nibepo and Perito Moreno Glacier. Hotel El Mirador del Lago, El Calafate B, L, D
Nov 12-13 Drive to Torres del Paine. Take in the views of the spectacular Paine towers and great wildlife in eastern Torres del Paine National Park. Hotel Las Torres Patagonia, Torres del Paine B, L, D
Nov 14-15 Puma tracking on a private ranch located at the eastern border of Torres del Paine National Park. Hotel Las Torres Patagonia, Torres del Paine B, L, D
Nov 16 Photography en route to Puerto Natales. Hotel Remota, Puerto Natales B, L, D
Nov 17 Explore Cerro Benitez in search of Andean condors. Hotel Remota, Puerto Natales B, L, D
Nov 18 Drive to Punta Arenas and visit Olga Teresa Ranch for Andean condor roosting sites. Hotel Cabo de Hornos, Punta Arenas B, L, D
Nov 19 Depart for home. B
Nov 20 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Matias Ballarini

Originally from Santiago, Matias moved to Patagonia in 2004 and now lives in Punta Arenas so he can spend more time enjoying nature and the outdoors. He has guided trips to King George Island, Buenos Aires, Brazil, the Chilean Lake District, and Patagonia. He works with nonprofit organizations that help conserve the local environment and ecosystems. Because he loves to expand his knowledge of biodiversity, photography, environmental interpretation, and conservation, you may find him in a course offered by the local universities.

Cheryl Opperman

Cheryl is an acclaimed nature photographer who has captured spectacular images of nature, wildlife, and indigenous cultures on every continent. Her esthetic compositions, artistic use of light, and exquisite detail have been honored with several prestigious awards, and she was featured as a leading female nature photographer by Outdoor Photographer Magazine. Cheryl uses the power of photography to inspire interest in the environment and cultures, and with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial/Scientific photography, you will walk away with memorable photos on any trip she leads!

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Arrive in El Calafate, Argentina

Nov 10

Arrive in El Calafate from our South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula voyage or from home. El Calafate is the main Argentinian gateway to one of the most spectacular landscapes of Patagonia: the Austral Andes Glaciers. Our local agent will transfer you from the airport to the hotel.

Los Glaciares National Park

Nov 11

Start early to drive west along the old estancias road, a secluded scenic route to take in the majestic Patagonian landscape in Los Glaciares. Once you arrive at the picturesque setting of Estancia Nibepo, one of the oldest in the region, you will have an introductory tour to the estancia, including an old-fashion sheep-shearing demonstration. This is a family-owned and working sheep and cattle ranch which preserves the cultural traditions of the southern gauchos. Enjoy a delicious Patagonian-style barbecue with a delightful Argentinian Malbec.

Later you will depart on a private boat to explore the southern branch of Lake Argentino, heading towards the front of the Perito Merino Glacier. This glacier is nearly 20mi long and is one of the 48 outlet glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. You will land at the Bay of the Coins and start a delightful and fairly easy 45-min hike among the woodlands where you will have commanding views of the glacier. But your exploration does not stop there as later you will slowly cruise the front of the glacier to admire its spectacular shapes, colors, and textures. You will walk near its 3-mile-wide terminus due to the impressive system of trails and platforms built by the park authorities. The angle of the glacier will vary with each step and you will listen for loud cracking noises from its heavily crevassed front. This cathedral of ice is surrounded by mixed forests of lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) and coihue (Nothofagus betuloides) growing so close to the ice that sometimes they seem to touch each other. Look for the canelo or winter’s bark tree (Drymis winteri), orchids, and other species from tropical origins. Keep an eye out for soaring Andean Condors and Magellanic Woodpeckers plus other characteristic birds of the Patagonian sub-Antarctic forests. You will take your time to return to El Calafate in the late evening.

This Perito Moreno Glacier is nearly 20mi long and is one of the 48 outlet glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. You will walk near its 3-mile-wide terminus due to the impressive system of trails and platforms built by the park authorities. The angle of the glacier will vary with each step and you will listen for loud cracking noises from its heavily crevassed front. This cathedral of ice is surrounded by mixed forests of lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) and coihue (Nothofagus betuloides) growing so close to the ice that sometimes they seem to touch each other. Look for the canelo or winter’s bark tree (Drymis winteri), orchids, and other species from tropical origins. Keep an eye out for soaring Andean Condors and Magellanic Woodpeckers plus other characteristic birds of the Patagonian sub-Antarctic forests. You will take your time to return to El Calafate in the late evening.

Torres del Paine National Park

Nov 12-13

On the east side of Torres del Paine National Park, which is the leeward side, the weather is usually quite sunny and clear. You’ll walk beside the impressive Towers of Paine granitic formations with wild guanacos roaming in the foreground.

At the eastern corner of Sarmiento Lake, you will reach a location that commands the most incredible views of the pinnacle peaks of Las Torres, the towers, from which the park takes its name. As you move around the park, you’ll encounter herds of guanaco, lesser rhea, and the impressive Andean condor soaring above. On the eastern side, enjoy the views of one of the impressive waterfalls of Paine River and, if it is clear, the fabulous granite columns of the Paine Massif from Laguna Amarga.

Puma tracking

Nov 14-15

You will have an experienced tracker on private land adjacent to Torres del Paine National Park to track pumas. They are active during the day, at night, and during the twilight hours. Seeing a puma against the magnificent mountain backdrop and glorious skies is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles.

Scenic drive to Puerto Natales

Nov 16

You’ll have a scenic drive that allows time for plenty of photography stops from Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales.

Cerro Benitez in search of Andean condors

Nov 17

Andean condors are abundant in the Cerro Benitez region, as they have communal roosting sites on the surrounding cliffs. Seeing them soar right above you is quite a remarkable experience as they are the world’s largest member of the vulture family with a 10-ft wingspan.

With a landscape of rolling hills, moorland, and lakes you will have the chance to see unique species of birds like the very localized ruddy-headed goose, the handsome chocolate-vented tyrant, long-tailed meadowlark, and Patagonian yellow-finch. The scrubby roadside vegetation provides concealment for a few species of skulking passerines, such as austral canastero. This area is prime to see rails, seedsnipes, and other lovely waders, such as rufous-chested plover and tawny-throated dotterel.

Olga Teresa Ranch for condor roosts

Nov 18

Olga Teresa Ranch boasts the largest concentration of Andean condor roosts. The steep cliff sides host as many as 100 birds with excellent access for viewing and photography. Olga Teresa Ranch is a protected space for these beautiful birds, as well as an important research site.

Depart for home

Nov 19

Spend your morning exploring the quaint town of Punta Arenas before you depart for home.

Arrive home

Nov 20

Chile and Argentina

Patagonia, stretching over southern Chile and Argentina, is a sparsely populated, arid region with superb wildlife viewing opportunities.

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Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $10,995
Single Supplement $1,995

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except for one-way flight from Porvenir to Punta Arenas), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $500
Second December 1, 2021 $1,000
Final June 1, 2022 Remaining Balance

Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.


Cancellations

Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $500 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Transfers from El Calafate Airport to Hotel El Mirador del Lago, regardless of arrival day, and from Hotel Cabo de Hornos to the Punta Arenas Airport on November 19.
  • Accommodations for the nights of November 10 through November 18.
  • Meals from dinner on November 10 through breakfast on November 19.
  • Puma tracker on November 14 and November 15.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $1,500 to $2,500 from the US to El Calafate, Argentina, and back to the US from Punta Arenas, Chile, depending on origin.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • We can arrange extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $25 per participant per day for November 11 to November 18 with your local leader (about $200 total per participant).
  • Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.

Climate

The extremes of climate match each change of scenery. You’ll mainly be in the chillier southern region so dress in layers, including a waterproof outer layer to guard against windy or cold conditions. Torres del Paine is notorious for its unpredictable weather conditions, but average temperatures in November range from lows in the low-40s°F (5°C) to highs in the mid-50s°F (13°C).

Fitness Level

Flights

Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in El Calafate, Argentina (FTE) by November 10. Depart from Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) on November 19.

FAQ

Accommodations

Seasickness

Transportation

Conditions

Read our current Terms and Conditions.