Killer whales and condors

Patagonia has a wealth of wildlife, from pumas and guanaco playing out their secretive lives in the high Andes, to the rich waters of the Southern Atlantic, home to killer whales, countless magellanic penguins and the endangered southern right whale (so called because they were the 'right' whales to hunt...)

Whatever activites or tours you do with us, imparting an understanding of the flora and fauna is part and parcel of our philosophy.

But if you're a keen birder, naturalist, or just want some extra special spectacles, we can include a few days or even a few weeks, with a wildlife guide, in the following hotspots....

Valdivian Rainforest

Categorised by Conservation International as one of only four biodiversity and endemism hotspots in South America, this temperate rainforest is rich in flora, its stands of alerce, nirre and northofagus beeches, draped in lianas and epiphytes are stunning, especially when firebush and wild fushcia add their dramatic colours.

Pudu, the world's smallest deer, Geoffrey's cat and the eponymous puma make their homes here, as well as the tiny austral pygmy owl and the regal Andean Condor. Des mur's wiretail, huet-huet and several tapaculos, and the world's most southerly parrot and hummer will enthrall birders.

Calilegua Cloud forests

Protecting bird-rich montane cloud forest, this national park goes from 800m asl to over 3000. With one of our local guides you'll see Golden collared macaw, toco toucans, pygmy tyrants, antbirds and many more, including some crazy insects. The park remains home to an important jaguar population, although you've got to be lucky to see one. Best of all, the dawn views over the mountains swathed in cloud are as mystical as they come.

For more into, check out the 'Salta' page.

Jungles of Misiones

It's not just Iguazu falls that makes the northeast of Argentina such a worthy pilgrimage. The Esteros del Ibera are home to one of the richest wildlife spectacles on the planet. The ecological equivalent of Brasil's Pantanal, the Esteros are best navigated by canoe, where you'll be taken within feet of caiman (our alligator), giant anteaters, and with luck, a maned wolf.

Pensinsula Valdez and the steppe

Immortalised by Attenborough's footage of killer whales riding up the beach to catch seals, this stark Patagonian peninsula teems with life: southern right whales use the protected bays for calving, and you will see them breaching and sounding offshore before a boat takes you almost within touching distance. We'll see bull elephant seals fighting, million-strong penguin colonies and noisy sealion rookeries. And on land, guanaco, armadillo and mara are just some of the mammals that have adapted to this habitat.

And, of course, at the right time of year, we know where to go to watch killer whales catch their prey.

Tierra del Fuego and the deep south

Wild moorland, snowcapped peaks, crimson antarctic beech forest and incredible sunsets; the island at the end of the earth is like Scotland on steroids.

This close to the Antarctic, birdlife is surprisingly diverse. The most southerly parrot and hummingbird share habitat with the rare austral rail - only rediscovered in 1948 - spectacular flamingo flocks, flightless and flying steamerducks, Darwin's caracara, and many, many seabirds from the giant wandering albatross to the tiniest storm-petrel.

One of best things about the extreme south is that the wildlife, unmolested by humans, has an ecological naivety that enables budding photographers to get up close and personal for some great shots.

Price estimate

A 3 week tour runs from £1900 pp to the limits you set.

Price will be governed by the number of specialist guides we use, the amount of places you want to visit, and the kind of transport involved.

 

finding wildlife in the desert needs a keen eye and a good 'scope.

Plumbeous kite eating insects on the wing.

Butterflies come to a salt lick on a road in the Misiones rainforest.

The aptly named spectacled tyrant .

A southern right whale breaches in the Golfo Nuevo.