Occasionally we come across a corner of the world that is well off the beaten track and as a result offers a combination of genuine adventure travel alongside the wildlife and environmental photographic opportunities and north Chile is just such a place. We are splitting our trip between time on (and just off) the coast to allow us to search for the good numbers of cetaceans that pass through here at this time of year – Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Bottlenose and Dusky Dolphin are among our targets, along with shorebirds including Humboldt Penguins as well as otter. Moving inland we head to the extraordinarily dramatic Atacama desert where alongside dramatic mountains, salt lakes and night skies to photograph large flocks of flamingos and indigenous species such as vicunas and viscachas will test our tracking skills too. With our resident south American guide Pablo to aid our discoveries, this will be a genuine adventure in a remote corner of the world.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: Flights will leave Europe in the evening for our long journey to Santiago, Chile.
Day 2: On arrival in Santiago in the morning we will transfer for a short domestic flight north to the coastal town of La Serena. From there we will transfer by road to the small fishing village of Chañaral de Aceituno which will be our base for the next 5 nights. After our evening meal we will have a well-earned nights sleep.
Days 3 – 6: Our pattern for each of these 4 days will be essentially similar with morning and afternoon trips with the local fishermen out to sea and along the coast to photograph the marine wildlife that the area is rich in. At this time of year significant numbers of whales are migrating through the area and among the species we would hope to be encountering during our outings are Blue, Humpback and Fin. Additional cetaceans that occur in goods umbers here at this time of year are Bottlenose dolphin, Risso dolphin and Dusky dolphin. We will also spend time exploring the coastline itself for birdlife including Humboldt penguin and Peruvian booby, as well as mammals including sea otter, elephant seal, fur seal and sealion. Each morning we will head out to see, returning for lunch and a short rest before heading out again until the end of the afternoon.
This is a small undeveloped fishing village that we are going to be staying in so accommodation and food will be simple in its nature but the huge upside of this is that we will likely be the only tourists undergoing the schedule giving a real sense of adventure and uniqueness to the resulting images and experiences.
Day 7: After a final morning today will effectively be a full transfer day. We will head back to La Serena for two flights (via Santiago) that will take us further north to the town of Calama. An additional 1 and a half hour drive will finally get us to our base for the next 7 nights, San Pedro de Atacama village.
Days 8 – 12: The Atacama desert needs no introduction – extraordinary landscapes made of rich coloured rock and volcanoes, salt lakes, clear night skies and wildlife that consists of huge colonies of Chilean flamingos, along with red fox, grey fox, vicunas and endemic rodents such as viscacha as well. This is amazing wilderness and we will look over the course of our time here to work our way through a number of different corners we can access from our base and as we acclimatise look to increase the altitudes we can explore as well up to potentially 5000 metres.
Day 13 : In the morning we will transfer and catch morning flights back to Santiago in time for our afternoon departures and overnight flights back to Europe.
Day 14: Arrive back in Europe.