Patagonia - Best of Patagonia Landscapes
Puma, Guanaco, Pichi, Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk, Patagonian Weasel, Andean Deer, Hairy Armadillo, Chilla and Culpeo Foxes, Black-necked Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Ruddy Duck, South American Snipe, Upland Goose, Magellanic Plover, Austral Parakeet, Chilean Flicker, Andean Duck and Rufous-tailed Plantcutter
ALL OUR ‘BEST OF PATAGONIA’ SAFARIS ARE CUSTOMIZED AND BOOKED ON DEMAND ONLY. ORYX DOES NOT CURRENTLY OFFER ANY SCHEDULED SAFARIS TO PATAGONIA, BUT WILL INSTEAD HAPPILY DESIGN A TAILOR-MADE PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI TO THIS DESTINATION ACCORDING TO YOUR SPECIFIC REQUESTS AND REQUIREMENTS!
Day 1: Arrive El Calafate
This afternoon on arrival in the lively town of El Calafate for your custom private tour, you will be met by your local guide and then transferred to your hotel. This scenically breath-taking region is known as the gateway to the glaciers, with the nearby Los Glacier National Park as the backdrop. This picturesque village is characterized by rustic houses adorned with steeply sloping roofs, giving it a quaint and personable feel. The town gets its name from a small bush found in this region of the Patagonian that sports distinctive yellow flowers and dark blue berries. El Calafate, gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, is situated on the southern shore of Lago Argentino.
Time permitting, you may go birding at Laguna Nímez, a small lagoon not far from Calafate city center on the shores of Lake Argentino. This lagoon is surrounded by reed beds and gives shelter to magnificent birds like Black-necked Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Ruddy Duck, South American Snipe, Upland Goose and the rare and sought-after Magellanic Plover.
Overnight Hotel del Campo Kau Yatún
Days 2 and 3: Los Glaciares National Park
You have two days of your custom private tour to explore Los Glaciares National Park, home to the largest continental ice extension after Antarctica. Located in the Austral Andes, this reserve was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981 due to its magnificent natural beauty. Here lies the spectacular Moreno Glacier, offering one of the most impressive and unforgettable of nature’s phenomena! This is one of the few glaciers in Patagonia that is still advancing, and as such you should experience some impressive calving action. It is easily accessible by land, and a series of trails and lookouts in front of it provide breathtaking close-up views and superb photographic opportunities. This spectacular show congregates hundreds of glacier enthusiasts the world over, who eagerly wait for the ice bridge to break down. Typically, it does not take long to be astounded by the glacier, as huge masses of ice constantly collapse from the front wall, the thunderous fall being welcomed by people’s spontaneous applause!
You will have also head out for an exploration by motor catamaran on Lake Argentino, allowing you an opportunity to marvel up close at nature’s glory and view some of the most remote glaciers, including the Upsala, the largest in the park.
This area also offers excellent birding and under snow-capped peaks and jagged crags you will explore the frozen glaciers and great lakes of this reserve, scanning for bird species such as Austral Parakeet, the ground-dwelling Chilean Flicker, Andean Duck, the unique Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Grey-hooded Sierra Finch. This is also your best site for the magnificent Andean Condor, and this remarkable bird is still a pleasantly common sight, soaring effortlessly over this untamed landscape.
Nights Hotel del Campo Kau Yatún
Day 4: Los Glaciares National Park to El Chaltén
This morning on your custom private tour, you drive north to the small village of El Chaltén, located in the area between the Patagonian Steppe and the Sub Antarctic Forest, in the valley of the Río de las Vueltas and at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy. Called Chaltén by native Aonikenk, which means “Smoking Mountain” (due to the clouds that usually form around the peak), this is no ordinary mountain – its peak rises vertically in a sharp pointed spire, seemingly from the very heart of the Andes. Its needles and peaks have been named after the lucky ones who conquered them, and sometimes even after the unlucky ones that never returned.
Overnight Hostería Posada Lunajuim
Day 5: El Chaltén exploring the Mount Fitz Roy area
Today you will continue to explore the northern part of Los Glaciares National Park, offering the most magnificent photographic opportunities in Argentine Patagonia, and enjoying walks through the Southern Beech Forests as you discover their unique flora and fauna. Summer is blooming season for several species of ground orchids and lots of other Andean flowers, including Magellanic Fuchsia, Blue Perezia, Anemones, two species of Lady’s Slipper and many others.
The Fitz Roy (named after the legendary Captain FitzRoy of the HMS Beagle), the neighbouring Cerro Torre and the awe-inspiring wilderness found in this remote corner of Los Glaciares National Park provide innumerable chances for nature photographers to enjoy taking pictures of dazzling wild flowers against the spectacular backdrop of the Patagonian Andes.
Overnight Hostería Posada Lunajuim
Day 6: El Chaltén to Torres del Paine
Today on your custom private tour, you depart El Chaltén, and drive all the way to Torres del Paine, in Chile. This drive is fantastic for those who enjoy birding, since shortly after leaving El Chaltén, you will reach the highest altitudes of Patagonia’s high plateau, and it is here where chances to see birds like Tawny-throated Dotterel and Chocolate-vented Tyrant are best. Birding and photographic stops will be quite frequent on the way, especially after crossing the border, where the Paine Massif shows in full from the shores of Lake Sarmiento. You should arrive at your lodge in the early evening, giving you time to enjoy the birds and wildlife around the hotel including chances to see mammals such as Pichi (a small species of armadillo), as well as Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk and Patagonian Weasel.
Overnight Hotel Las Torres Patagonia
Days 7 and 8: Torres del Paine
Located on the Chilean side of southern Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park shares a common boundary to the north with Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. Covering an area of roughly 243,000 hectares, it is one of the largest parks in Chile and certainly one of the most visited parks in Patagonia. The Towers of Paine are three distinctive granite peaks standing out of the Paine Massif. They stand 2,850 meters above sea level, and constitute one of the most iconic images of this national park, along with Horns of Paine, situated along the same cordillera but slightly south of the “Towers”.
The landscape here is dominated by the Paine massif, which is an eastern spur of the Andes located on the east side of the Grey Glacier, and which rises dramatically above the Patagonian steppe. Small valleys separate the spectacular granite spires and mountains of the massif, and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field mantles a great portion of the park. In addition, the park also boasts spectacular valleys, rivers, lakes, and glaciers.
Mammals, like Guanaco, Andean Deer, Hairy Armadillo, Chilla Fox and Culpeo Fox, are all common sightings here, and chances of finding Puma are really high in Torres del Paine. Although your focus will be on encountering the mammals, the birdlife is not to be ignored and certainly one of the showiest species will be the spectacular Andean Condor.
The southern beech woods of the park offers distinctive habitat supporting Austral Pygmy Owl, Striped Woodpecker, and Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant while the nearby river might produce a sighting of the charismatic Torrent Duck or perhaps Ashy-headed Goose. Gray Lake offers a dramatic landscape of towering mountains and glaciers combined with wetlands and steppes where the massive Magellanic Woodpeckers can sometimes be found as well as the most southerly representative of the parrot family, the Austral Parakeet.
This Chilean national park is well known for its spectacular rock formations, and the amazing scenery ensures that landscape photography are arguably some of the best in the world!
Nights Hotel Las Torres Patagonia
Day 9: Torres del Paine to El Calafate for departure
You will bid farewell to Torres del Paine this morning and drive the way back to El Calafate for your departure flight.
Images by Luis Segura