Patagonia: Land of Pumas, Penguins, & Panoramas

Patagonia 2024 - Scouting Trip


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2025 :: April 15 - April 27



From: $9,975 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from El Calafate, Argentina (FTE)


6-7 Participants




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.

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Highlights of Patagonia: Land of Pumas, Penguins, & Panoramas

  • Breathtaking landscapes and incredible wildlife photo opportunities!
  • OM System Ambassador, Lee Hoy, for detailed photography instruction
  • Expert local guide, Esteban Daniels, who grew up in Patagonia and has made his home in Ushuaia for many years!
  • Two separate 1/2-day boat trips from Ushuaia for photographing specialty birds like Kelp Goose, Snowy Sheathbill, Dolphin Gull, Imperial and Magellanic Cormorants, both Flying and Flightless Steamer Duck, multiple species of penguins, Black-browed Albatross, and possibly whales!
  • Hike up to a cliff to photograph Andean Condors at eye level!
  • Pursue Puma on a private ranch near Torrey del Paine National Park!

Description of Patagonia: Land of Pumas, Penguins, & Panoramas

Join OM System Ambassador and photography workshop instructor, Lee Hoy, in addition to our expert local guide, Esteban Daniels, for an incredible photography adventure across the realm of Patagonia in both Argentina and Chile. This photo workshop will, unlike many others, include mammal, bird, AND landscape photography! This itinerary provides an opportunity to experience the best that Patagonia has to offer and in a small group size! Our adventure begins in El Calafate, Argentina where Chilean Flamingoes, Black-necked Swans, Upland Geese, Long-tailed Meadowlarks, and many other waterfowl can be found in the bay near town. From there, we will then head off to explore El Chalten; Torres del Paine National Park, with time on a private ranch for photographing Pumas; Puerto Natalas with amazing shorefront photography and we then cross the Strait of Magellan to photograph a King Penguin colony; a hike up a cliff for photographing Andean Condors at eye level; and then explore the ocean fjords near Ushuaia to photograph birds, whales, and landscapes to round out this photographic adventure!

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 –  Arrive in El Calafate by 2:00 pm for PM bird photography that afternoon. Night in El Calafate

Day 2 – AM Bird photography at Bay, PM wildlife photography near El Calafate. Night in El Calafate

Day 3 – AM Drive from El Calafate to El Chaten in Los Glaciares National Park for landscape and wildlife photography en route. PM bird and landscape photography around El Chaten. Night in El Chaten

Day 4 – AM landscape photography then depart for Cerro Castillo. PM wildlife and landscape photography in Torres del Paine National Park. Night in Cerro Castillo

Day 5 & 6 – Here we have two full days of photography dedicated to photographing the Pumas of Torres del Paine. Night in Cerro Castillo & Torres Del Paine

Day 7 – AM landscape photography and bird photography, PM landscape photography and bird photography in Torres del Paine. Night in Torres del Paine

Day 8 – AM landscape photography in Torres del Paine and depart for Puerto Natalas. PM bird photography. Night in Puerto Natalas.

Day 9 – AM bird photography in Puerto Natalas, then depart for Punta Arenas. Photography along the way. Night in Punta Arenas

Day 10 – AM Ferry crossing from Punta Arenas to Porvenir. Bird and cetacean photography during crossing. PM photographing at King Penguin colony. Night in Rio Grande

Day 11 – AM drive to Ushuaia, PM boat trip to photograph birds and sea mammals. Night in Ushuaia

Day 12 – AM boat trip to photograph birds and sea mammals, free afternoon to explore Ushuaia. Night in Ushuaia

Day 13 – AM photograph birds and landscape in Tierra del Fuego National Park. PM depart for airport and flights home.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1- Arrive in El Calafate by 2:00 pm today to prepare for an evening photography shoot at a local bay where we can find Chilean Flamingoes, several species of geese, ducks, and swans, raptors, and shorebirds. This is a very active bay with lots of great photography opportunties.

Day 2 – Morning will find us at the same bay photographing the birds and a local park has some great species of land birds such as Long-tailed Meadowlark, Chilean Flicker, Austral Blackbird, and more! The evening will find us exploring a nearby area where Andean Gray Fox, Guanaco, and more birds await!

Day 3 – This morning we begin the drive to El Chalten where along the way we will scour the roadsides for Andean Condors foraging on road kill, Guanacos grazing, and other local birds as we traverse around some of the largest lakes in Argentina! We will explore in and around El Chalten for Austral Parakeets, finches, Andean Condors, and we will photograph the stunning landscapes of this national park along with a beautiful waterfall.

Day 4 – We will arise early to photograph sunrise at the national park before departing for Cerro Castillo just outside Torrey del Paine National Park. The evening will be spent looking for wildlife and beautiful scenes in the park.

Days 5 & 6 – We will spend our time on a private ranch in pursuit of the Puma! Photographing a Puma is always a treat and we have dedicated two full days to this activity. With local and professional guides who track these cats daily, our odds are great!

Day 7 – We will focus on another side of the park where birds and scenery will compete for our attention. The mountains loom large over a beautiful lake and our hotel, situated in the middle of the lake and accessible by foot bridge provides a great base from which to photograph. Birds are readily found right in the middle of the rooms too!

Day 8 – We spend the morning photographing sunrise at Torrey del Paine and then depart for Puerto Natalas. This destination has a wonderful waterfront stretch for photographing waterfowl on the water and in flight, gulls, cormorants, and caracaras as they forage, preen, and rest along the shoreline.

Day 9 – We will spend the morning once again on the waterfront, undoubtedly entertained by the cinclodes species that forage in the rocks at our feet. We will work on bird in flight and earlier in the morning, some nice landscape shots. The afternoon will find us departing for Punta Arenas where we will photograph along the way. We will spend the night in Punta Arenas where we will catch our ferry across the Strait of Magellan the next morning!

Day 10 – This morning we board our ferry for the crossing and along the ride, we will stand on the deck and photograph albatross, swans, cetaceans if we are lucky and many other birds. The ferry is about 1 1/2 hours and we land in Porvenir. Our drive takes us along the water’s edge were we will watch for steamer ducks, cetaceans, and other photographic subjects. In the afternoon, we will arrive at a King Penguin colony for a photo shoot! Once finished, we head for the town of Rio Grande for the night.

Day 11 – We arise early to depart for Ushuaia, the southernmost city in South America. This city is beautiful as it is surrounded by mountains and ocean! In the afternoon, a private boat charter will take us out into the Beagle Channel (named after the boat on which Darwin took his famous voyage) where we will photograph many birds special to this region! The captain knows these waters like the back of his hand and will make sure to get us in great position for that special photo!

Day 12 – We awaken to another 1/2 day boat trip in the same channel affording us different light and different subjects! You never know what might show up on this trip and doing it twice increases our chances of something special. The afternoon is free time to rest, explore the heart of Ushuaia, shop, and catch up.

Day 13 – We will arise to photograph the birds and landscape of Tierra del Fuego National Park and some nice locations in town. After a morning of photography, we will head to the airport in the afternoon for flights home!


Cost is $9,975 per person, based upon double occupancy, from El Calafate, Argentina (Airport code FTE.
This trip ends in Ushuaia, Argentina (Airport code USH).

  • This tour does NOT include the cost of dinner, snacks, or alcoholic drinks. Breakfasts and lunch/box lunch IS included from the morning of Day 2 to lunch on Day 13.
  • This tour does NOT include the cost of international flights to El Calafate or return flights from Ushuia.
  • This tour does NOT include any visa or tourist fees in Chile or Argentina.
  • The tour does NOT include gratuities for guides, laundry, alcohol, or items of a personal nature.
  • Trip insurance is HIGHLY recommended for this trip.


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $850 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

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.


Deposit Requirements

A $1,500 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.

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.

Final Payment

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 standard hotels.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Most of the workshop is on level ground. There is a short (1 to 2 mile), but steep (400′ elevation gain) hike with sections along a drop off for the Andean Condors on a private ranch. For those not wanting to do the hike, you can shoot the birds from ground level. The wind can be quite strong at times and participants should plan on cool to cold days. There is a two hour ferry crossing during a part of the trip, and then two 1/2 day boat trips out of Ushuaia that are on a smaller boat with just our group.

This trip will feature both wildlife and landscape photography so below are camera gear recommendations:

  • Mirrorless or DSLR Camera body (it is HIGHLY recommended to have a backup body as we will NOT be in areas where you can purchase anything if something breaks).
  • Super Telephoto for Bird/Wildlife: 400mm and longer
  • Telephoto for Wildlife/Landscape Photography: 70mm to 200mm range
  • Wide Angle for landscape: 8mm to 35mm range
  • Tripod for long exposures (wireless or wired remote is helpful, but not required)
  • Circular polarizer and/or neutral or graduated neutral density filter for landscape photography
  • Plenty of batteries/battery chargers and memory cards (we will not be in areas where you can purchase additional)
  • Laptop for downloading memory cards as you will be taking many images each day.

Non-Camera Gear

  • Layered Clothing – It can be quite windy and cool or even cold at times with temps in the 30’s to 50’s and the wind makes it feel colder. I would often lay down on the rocky shoreline or the ground for images so gear that keeps you warm and dry is great!
  • Rain Gear – It may rain or drizzle at times so good gear to stay dry for an outer layer is a big help.
  • Hiking boots – Much of the time these will suffice.
  • Rubber Boots – I wore Arctic Muck boots much of the time to keep my feet dry and warm. I have the shorter ones as I walked out into the bay often for bird photography in water that was 8 to 10″ deep at times. This is not required however.
  • Gloves, warm hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Plug adaptors for Argentina/Chile

There are a couple of days of some moderate driving and a ferry crossing to get from one place to another. But we often have photographic opportunities during the drives. This is a remote stretch of the world and while phone service may be available based on your plan, we will be out of contact much of the time. Most hotels do have wi-fi.

Trip insurance is highly recommended.

Purchasing Flights

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.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. 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.

Itinerary Changes

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.

Location Map