ARGENTINA: Birding Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego
BIRDS & WILDLIFE
2020 :: October 17 - October 30
From: $5,650 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Buenos Aires, Argentina. (EZE)
4 - 8 Participants
8 spaces available
PRIVATE TOUR OPTION
This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.
Highlights of ARGENTINA: Birding Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego
Description of ARGENTINA: Birding Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego
Patagonia is a vast area in southern South America, 1000000 sq. kilometers with a population density under 2 inhabitants per square km. It has a great variety of landscapes, from the dry steep of Valdez Peninsula to the spectacular Andean range.
The Atlantic coast is rich in wildlife, especially birds and mammals like the Southern Right Whale and the Southern Elephant Seal. Glacier carved valleys above timberline are inhabit by the spectacular Yellow-bridled Finch. The southern beech forest is home of some majestic birds such as Magellanic Woodpecker or the delightful Thorn-tailed Rayadito. On grassland we can find Lesser Rheas and big herds of a native camel, the Guanaco.
At the southern tip of the world, in Tierra del Fuego, some birds we seek are Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins along the coast and Andean Condors in the mountains. The impressive bird list includes species occurring only in this part of the country.
Mammals will also be a focus, especially on the Valdez Peninsula where whale watching and visiting Elephant Seal colonies are top attractions.
The scenery will have many highlights as well, such as Perito Moreno Glacier, near El Calafate, and the beautiful Beagle Channel in Ushuaia. Huge Penguin Colonies, vast pieces of land inhabited by the wild Guanaco, and the surreal trails through the moss-covered Beech forest are all good reasons to visit this part of the world.
Optional Extension to Torres del Paine in Chile… tour will end on 10/30/2020.
Length of Tour
Day 1. Arrival to Buenos Aires. Transfer to Hotel (one night). Dinner
Day 2. Flight to Trelew and transfer to Puerto Piramides. (two nights).
Day 3. Valdes Peninsula Full Day and Boat trip for Whales.
Day 4. Penguin Colony at Punta Tombo and transfer to Trelew (one night).
Day 5. Fligth to Ushuaia. Martial Glacier walk. Hotel in Ushuaia (two nights).
Day 6. Tierra del Fuego National Park full day.
Day 7. Boat trip in Beagle Channel and tranfer to Rio Grande (one night).
Day 8. Northern Tierra del Fuego and flight to El Calafate (two nights).
Day 9. Los Glaciares National Park full day.
Day 10. Patagonian steppe and flight to Buenos Aires (one night).
Day 11. Birding near town and transfer to international airport. End.
Day 1 – Arrival to Buenos Aires
Transfer from International Airport to hotel. Check In at local hotel. Meeting with guide during the evening and dinner. Night in Buenos Aires.
Day 2 – Flight to Trelew and Puerto Piramides
Early flight to Trelew, the gateway to Valdez Peninsula. From there we drive to Puerto Piramides stopping for birds on the way, Burrowing Parrot, Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch, Shiny Cowbird and Patagonian Mockingbird are possible as well as the endemic Carbonated Sierra-finch. Before checking-in we will have good chances to spot our first Elegant Crested Tinamou and the native Guanaco, a South American type of camel. Once in town we’ll board a boat for a cruise in search for Southern Wright Whales and maybe some pelagic birds. Night in Puerto Piramides.
Day 3 – Valdez Peninsula Full Day
A great day that will combine a variety of wildlife. Guanacos and Maras are possible along the road, providing great opportunities to photograph them. By midmorning, at Punta Delgada light house, we will have the chance to visit a big Elephant seal colony. Bird life includes, South American, Sandwich and Royal Terns, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrels, American and Blackish Oystercatchers and Brown Skuas. This will be our lunch place to recover some energy and enjoy the vast views the Atlanctic Ocean provides. During the afternoon we will be searching for Burrowing Owls, Grey-bellied Shrike-tyrant, Twany-throated Dotterels, White-throated Cachalote, Patagonian Canastero and Eared Dove as we continue towards Caleta Valdez. A short walk will lead as again to a bird and sea mammal’s colony having also great photographic opportunities for Southern Giant Petrels, our first Magellanic Penguin, and maybe if we are lucky enough a Killer Whale. Night in Puerto Piramides.
Day 4 – Punta Tombo Penguin Colony
We will devote our day enjoying one of the highlights in the region, the biggest Magellanic Penguin colony of the world with over 500000 individuals. To get there it is a straight drive across wide open pampas scrublands, with stops for Elegant Crested Tinamous and views of Rusty-backed Monjita. At Punta Tombo Southern Martins will welcome us. It is a huge place well organized with boardwalks; there are Magellanic Penguins everywhere, under the bushes and in burrows. Patagonian Mockingbirds are around the scrubs, and as we get to the point, we will have a view of Chubut Steamer Ducks and Brown Skuas. On our way back to Trelew we will have our last stop today in a nice lagoon to enjoy Angentine Ruddy-Duck, Chilean Swallows, White-winged Coots, White-tailed Kite, Spectacled Tyrant, Picui Ground-Dove, Wren-like Rushbird, Spectacled Tyrant if we are lucky Many-colored Rush-tyrant and others. Night in Trelew.
Day 5- Early flight to Ushuaia – Martial Glacier
After arriving and Check In we will drive to a small sky resort near Ushuaia where we will start walking through beech forest until we reach the timberline. Once we get there we will search for some of the specialties of the Andes such as Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant, Ochre-napped Ground-Tyrant, White-throated Caracara and beautiful Yellow-bridled Finch. We’ll also search for the really scarce White-bellied Seed-snipe. Once at the hotel we will take a short walk along the Beagle Channel coast before dinner. Here there are good spots to find Kelp Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, Flightless and Flying Steamer-Duck, White-rumped and Baird´s Sandpiper, and Dolphin Gull. We will enjoy excellent views of the impressive scenery. Just back the hotel there is a nice piece of forest; maybe an Austral Parakeet or a Rufous-collared Sparrow will provide a good contrast with the sea life. Many times Black-faced Ibis, Southern Lapwing and Upland Goose wander near the parking area. Night in Ushuaia
Day 6- Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park provides a perfect contrast, for here we visit the dense Southern Beech forest, home of the White-throated treerunner and the Magellanic Woodpecker. On rivers and lakes there are good chances for Ducks, Great Grebe, Ringed Kingfisher, and Flying Steamer-Ducks among others. We will search above our heads for Black-chested Buzzard-eagle. Fire-eyed Diucon, Chilean Swallow, Austral Thrush, Black-chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra-finch, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and the delightful Thorn-tailed Rayadito are also possible to spot. Sometimes it is possible to find diving-petrels using a scope from the coast. This protected area offers great trails to explore, time permitting we will spend time searching for the cryptic Magellanic Tapaculo. Nigth in Ushuaia.
Day 7 – Magellanic Penguin Colony – Northern Tierra del Fuego
By catamaran we will explore along the Beagle Channel. While sailing, different sea birds can be observed, such as Black-browed Albatross, Southern Fulmar, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel and South American Tern. On islands we will concentrate attention on Rock Cormorant, Blue-eyed Cormorant, Flightless Steamer Duck, Snowy Sheathbill and Dolphin Gull. In recent years there are several records of Blackish Cinclodes near Cormorant colonies, so a focus on this bird will be done. On Martillo Island we’ll get excellent views of the Magellanic Penguin, it is a small colony, but produces good views of them including Gentoo Penguin and sometimes King Penguin. During the afternoon we will drive through the Andes Range to get to Lake Fagnano. We will have chances for forest birds such as the really common Chimango and Southern Caracara and the least common White-throated Caracara. We will appreciate a great contrast in landscape, from the high Andes to the flat grassland of Northern Tierra del Fuego. Night in Rio Grande.
Day 8 – Northern Tierra del Fuego – Flight to El Calafate
Today we will start searching the northern grassland and lagoons of Tierra del Fuego, a good area to find Magellanic Plover and Rufous-chested Dotterel, Ruddy-headed Goose, Austral Canastero, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Least and Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, Chilean Flamingo, and Magellanic Oystercatcher. According to tides we will spend some time along the Atlantic coast, near the city where we can find some roosting areas chose by several boreal migrating shorebirds, including the endangered Red Knot. Other birds expected are Hudsonian Godwit, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, and the endangered Red Knot. This is their southernmost stop during their annual migratory route from as far as Canada. Afternoon flight to our next destination El Calafate. Later that day we will visit Laguna Nimes Natural Reserve by Lake Argentino. This great wetland will provide good views of Cinereous Harrier, Chilean Flamingo, Upland Goose, Southern Lapwing, Two-banded Plover, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans. Along the shore of Lake Argentino, including faraway icebergs, there are good chances to see Magellanic Plover. Also possible are Least Seedsnipe, Ashy-headed Goose and beautiful Austral Negrito which is a summer migrant, first arriving the males and around a month later the females. Night in El Calafate.
Day 9 – Los Glaciares National Park
This will be for sure a great day, spectacular scenery and superb birds are guaranteed. We’ll search above our heads for the majestic king of the Andes, the Andean Condor. The Condor is one of the biggest flying birds on hear, its impressive 3 meters wingspang makes it wider than the biggest tour bus. In the forest we’ll seek Black-chinned Siskin, White-crested Elaenia, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Austral Thrush and Austral Blackbird. In the open spaces, luckily Spectacled Duck on a lagoon, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Chilean swallow are also possible. In addition to Austral Parakeets and Patagonian Sierra Finches we will make an effort to find two species characteristic of the area, Austral Pigmy-Owl and Chilean Flicker. Perito Moreno Glacier will provide a great photo opportunities been the most dramatic and impressive scenery in Patagonia. Night in El Calafate.
Day 10 – The Patagonian Steppe – Flight to Buenos Aires
Day trip through steppe landscape should produce, Lesser Rhea, Patagonian Canastero, Mourning Sierra Finch, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Common Diuca-Finch, Cordilleran and Austral Canastero, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, luckily the endemic Patagonian Tinamous, among others. Our last great views of Guanacos are also possible. Lunch in town and late afternoon flight to Buenos Aires. Night in Buenos Aires
Day 11 – Local birding near Buenos Aires – Transfer to International Airport
During the morning we plan visit to Costanera Sur Natural Reserve. It’s a convenient location near downtown on a reclaimed piece of land. Some of the possible birds found here include White-tufted Grebe, Black-and-Rufous Warbling-Finch, Masked Gnatcatcher, Great Pampa-finch and Yellow-winged Blackbird. If water level is high we can also include Black-necked Swam, Whistling Heron, Red-fronted Coot among ducks and others. Lunch nearby the reserve. During the afternoon transfer to International Airport. End
Cost is $5,650 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Airport code EZE).
This trip ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Airport code EZE).
Optional Extension: Torres del Paine, Chile
Additional $2400 per person (minimum 4), double occupancy.
Single room fee for extension: $200
If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $600 will be assessed.
A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.
If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.
How to Book
In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.
For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.
For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.
NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.
This trip includes 6 good quality hotels over 10 nights.
Activity Level Rating: 3 (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)
Most walks will be easy with some rocky trails and some altitude change. However, the hike to Martial Glacier is a bit more strenuous… but worth every step!
Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.
Detailed Trip Information
Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.
Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.
As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.
Passport & Visa
US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.
Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.
The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.
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