Patagonia is simply a dream location to experience real wildness and also some dramatic wildlife photography, in particular the resident Puma or Mountain Lion population of Torres del Paine National Park and it’s surrounding areas. Working with a local biologist guide who is researching pumas here throughout the year we will have access to a number of private estncia’s and other locations in our search for these like and stunning predators: some of the population here are amazingly tolerant to people and so close encounters whilst we are on foot are a very real possibility. We are deliberately early in the season to avoid too many other people and also for the opportunity to photograph them in the last snows as winter turns to spring. With glacial forest and stunning mountain landscapes never far away, Guanacos, Flamingos and Torrent Ducks among many other species that we may well come across on our travels this is a truly fantastic opportunity to experience the very best that this dramatic corner of South America has to offer.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: Flights will leave Europe in the evening for our long journey to South America.
Day 2: We will arrive in Punta Arenas the southernmost city in Chile in the evening where we will meet our locally based guide Pablo Cerosimo and our drivers/guides at the airport. We will transfer to into our hotel for any dinner you may still need before a well-earned night’s sleep.
Day 3: We leave Punta Arenas towards the north-west towards Torres del Paine National Park. The drive is a scenic one, taking us into the Southern Andes, with fertile valleys and perennial snow covered peaks. As we approach the park there is always a chance to spot some of the wildlife of the area, and also views of the Torres Peaks. As we enter the National Park, we start searching for Puma right away, as the vegetation of the Eastern part is low and the animals are easier to spot. We continue our search as we arrive to Las Torres Hotel where we will stay for 6 nights.
Days 4 – 9: After a breakfast snack and with a packed lunch for the day we leave the lodge before sunrise to look for signs of Puma activity as these will be our main target throughout our stay here and we will follow this pattern over each of these five full days to really maximise our chances of not just encounters, but special ones too. We will be doing this in vehicles and sometimes on foot, in different parts of the Park but utilising the services of a local biologist who researches pumas throughout the year so our chances are good and once we have discovered a territory it will be possible to return on an ongoing basis. We will need to be quiet and sensible in our approach here but Puma’s can be remarkably confiding mammals especially early in the season as we will be. Each day will almost certainly throw up other photographic opportunities in terms of dramatic landscapes that will be around us at all times and also the chance of encounters with Guanaco, Patagonia Grey Fox and the endangered Huemul Deer, the latter in the forest area near to Lake Grey.
Day 10: We will have a full final morning of Puma searching and photography before we begin our journey back to Punta Arenas for dinner and a final night in Chile
Day 11: We will have potentially very early morning flights from Punta Arenas in order to meet our connections in Santiago and the overnight flight back to the UK (final schedules will be confirmed when they become available).
DAY 12: Arrive back in UK/Europe
What to Bring
Our accommodation is clean and comfortable hotels throughout with all bedding and towels provided, so you simply need to bring yourself, and please inform us of any special dietary requirements you may have. We will be coming out of winter and into Spring here so the weather has the potential to be quite variable so good waterproof and warm clothing will be required (it can be very windy too) and some good walking boots and possibly gaiters too. Lighter showerproof outer clothing will be sensible as well.
In terms of camera gear then the longest lens you have will be needed (300mm with converter as a minimum really and 500mm + ideal) along with tripod. You will definitely want some shorter lenses for the array of landscape opportunities (70-200mm and 24-70mm say) and a set of polarising and grad filters will be good too if you have them and are used to working with them. You will need storage devices for the array of images you’ll build up and a laptop for viewing these on the evenings can be both sociable and also good for critiquing purposes.