Patagonia Pumas & Condors Photography & Film Making Safari
£8995 (max 5 photographers)
9 days in magnificent Patagonia with puma close encounters, exclusive access to Andean condors and a range of other unique Chilean mammal and birdlife, against some of the world's most spectacular backdrops!
Fitness level required: Medium: 100m - 3km walks over uneven ground with inclines, carrying camera kit.
Suitable for videography as well as photography? Yes - perfect!
Tour leader: Trai Anfield - award winning wildlife photographer, film maker, travel writer and broadcaster
Patagonia Pumas & Condors Photography & Film Making Safari Highlights
This is the world's premier destination to photograph pumas - where BBC's Dynasties II and many other puma documentaries have been filmed
And there is so much more here:
Exclusive access to photograph Andean condors from eye level and from above
Other resident mammals include guananco, hairy armadillo, hog-nosed skunk, grey fox, hare
Other raptors include the rare and endemic white-throated caracara, common Chimango caracara, Bicoloured (Chilean) hawk, black chested buzzard eagle
Plus Darwin's rhea, Chilean flamingo, and over 40 other birds
Safari scheduled to ensure optimum photographic conditions for wildlife & landscapes
Always time to observe animal behaviour and create your shots
Great opportunities for experienced photographers looking for new species
Beginner-friendly atmosphere to learn new and creative techniques with experienced tutor
Unique opportunity to learn the art of wildlife film making with a BBC trained film maker
Strictly small group size - max 5 guests
Companions interested in wildlife welcome
FULL PATAGONIA PUMAS & CONDORS ITINERARY
Day 1: Santiago - Punta Arenas
Fly to Santiago and connect to Punta Arenas, where you will be met and transferred to our first night hotel.
Here there is a chance to settle in, rest up and recover from your flight in to our first night accomodation - though we will be happy to suggest options if you decide to do a little exploring this afternoon or evening.
Dinner in the hotel is included.
Day 2: Punta Arenas - Torres del Paine - Pumas!
After a relaxed breakfast we meet up with our English speaking naturalist guide and depart Punta Arenas, heading across the steppe to Torres del Paine National Park on a couple of hours drive.
We will make comfort and photography stops along the way, as time and conditions allow - it is a thrill in itself watching the landscape steadily change and become more and more spectacular throughout the journey...and the location of our hotel is truly breathtaking!
Lunch today is at the hotel, while we get used to our new view.
Then in the afternoon we gather our camera gear and set out on our first puma search, with our dedicated puma tracker already having researched where the pumas are located.
Dinner at the hotel rounds off the day, with talk around the table all about our first puma encounters!
Overnight Torres del Paine
Days 3, 4, 5 & 6: Torres del Paine - Pumas ( and other Patagonian wIldlife! )
Each of these is a full day focussed on puma tracking:
We wake early for breakfast at the hotel, then leave before sunrise.
Our team will have resumed the search for pumas early too, and we will follow the directions of our dedicated puma tracker and naturalist guide, who will drive us to a point as close to the puma location each morning as possible.
From then on we walk with the pumas, closely observing the behaviour and relationships of these wonderful cats, and anticipating the best vantage points and angles for photography, while ensuring that we don't disrupt the natural behaviour we are here to witness and capture.
Whilst pumas will always remain our primary focus, along the way we will make the most of opportunities to photograph the other fascinating mammal and birdlife that shares this magnificent southern wilderness: we will keep an eye open for hairy armadillo, hog nosed skunk, grey fox, hare and of course guanaco - the favourite prey of pumas!
Raptors we aim to photograph include Chilean hawk, black chested buzzard and the rare white throated caracara. Darwin's rhea and Chilean flamingo are common here, and over 40 other swans, geese, ducks and song birds may be spotted in various habitats.
We may return to our hotel over lunchtime, when the pumas are less active, in which case Trai will offer
1-2-1 critique sessions during our 'downtime'.
Alternatively, depending on conditions and puma activity, we may choose as a group to stay out for the whole day, taking a packed lunch with us.
Dinner is back at our hotel each evening.
Day 7: Torres del Paine
Our final day in Torres del Paine is dedicated to appreciating the fabulous landscape here, though of course we will still be looking for wildife along the way!
We keep fingers crossed for golden light for our sunrise landscape session this morning, though any kind of dramatic and interesting conditions are welcome!
The morning continues with a scenic cruise across Lago Grey to the face of the huge glacier here, part of the Southern Patagonian Icefield, after which the lake is named.
The towering granite spires ("Torres"), sculpted ice forms, calving icebergs and incredible glacial colour palette (Paine means "blue" in the Tehuelche language), accompanied by a soundtrack of glacial groans, creaks and detonations are not to be missed, completing our exploration and appreciation of this truly iconic location.
We will have lunch at the spectacularly-sited Hotel Lago Grey before continuing our exploration of the Paine Massif through the afternoon, hoping to once again capture some classic vistas in dynamic light at the end of the day.
Our final dinner, back at our hotel, brings this section of our Patagonia safari to a close...it's time to dream of condors before tomorrow's encounter!
Day 8: Torres del Paine - Condor Roost - Punta Arenas
You may choose to lie in this morning, or rise to greet the sun one last time here in Torres del Paine.
After breakfast and check out we start our day with a couple of hours drive to a private estancia which is home to almost 100 roosting Andean condors. Here we see what rural life is like out on the steppe, and experience a traditional Chilean BBQ lunch.
Then we transfer, by 4WD vehicle and a short walk, to our exclusive, 200m-elevated condor photography location, ensuring that when these mighty birds become active in the late afternoon we will be shooting at eye level, and even above them as they soar around their cliff roost.
We can expect between 50 and 90 condors to be present, along with Austral parakeets, allowing us varied photographic opportunities.
At dusk we continue our journey back to Punta Arenas where we will have our final dinner together, reminiscing on a fantastic trip.
Day 9: Punta Arenas - São Paulo
Breakfast in the hotel, and at the appropriate time, you will transfer to the airport with a local driver.
Major airlines including British Airways, KLM, Air France, Iberia, American, Delta, United & LATAM fly to Santiago from Europe and the US, with connections to Punta Arenas.
While we do not book international flights ourselves, we will be happy to assist with your flight arrangements through our ATOL-protected partner organisations.
Due to Covid I haven't been able to get back to Patagonia ahead of this trip, so photography credits on this page:
Trai Anfield and Gabriel Rojo, Mariano Buenaventura & Ekaterina Pokrovsky - thanks guys!
Departure Dates and Costs
March 10th - 18th 2024
£8995 pp based on two sharing double or twin accommodation
Single supplement available: £1300
Inclusive of all accommodation and meals during the tour, airport meet and greet, all Patagonian ground transfers in a private vehicle, all reserve and National Park fees and all activities set out in the itinerary, expert photography, videography and post production tuition with Trai Anfield throughout, an English speaking experienced local wildlife guide and a dedicated puma tracker allocated to our group.
Excludes Flights to Punta Arenas, personal travel insurance, gratuities.