Summits of Patagonia Photo Expedition

Autumn in Patagonia Photo Safari. Our most popular tour! April 14-29, 2018 (16-days).

Our April 14-29, 2018 Autumn tour begins in Coyhaique, Chile and ends in Punta Arenas, Chile. This one of a kind photo safari takes place during the height of the Patagonian autumn and brings participants to all of Patagonia's most spectacular mountain areas in both Chile and Argentina, top wildlife viewing spots and some of the most remote and seldom seen National Parks and Estancias. Trip Cost = US$6,375 per person based on dbl. occupancy (shared room), single occ. = US$7,650 (+20%). Included: All hotel accommodations, all meals, ground transportation and local guides. Not included: International or domestic air tickets, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (bottled water included at meals), park entrance fees, gratuities for guides and hotel/restaurant staff, laundry service. Please e-mail us for availability. info@patagoniaphoto.com (*note: If using Internet Explorer you may have difficulty viewing the complete itinerary. In that case please try another browser like Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc.).

    Day 1

    Board a morning flight southbound from Santiago, Chile following the spine of the Andes Range to the Balmaceda/Coyhaique (airport code: BBA), 3.5 hrs. The earliest flight of the day is best in order to get the most out of the 1st day's excursion to the Estancia Punta del Monte. Our main goal at Punta del Monte will be to get within close range of Andean Condors at one of two prime roosting areas on this massive and remote sheep estancia. We will also have a chance to photograph authentic gauchos going about their daily chores herding or shearing sheep or alpacas, etc.. Their are also opportunities to view and photograph a variety of other native Patagonian birds or mammals. such as Lesser Rheas, Black Necked Swans, Chilean Flamingoes, Magellanic Woodpeckers, Southern Caracaras, foxes, etc.

    Day 2

    Today we will make a predawn departure to one of the two main Condor areas to catch these amazing masters of the sky as they begin their day. With any luck will will get within just meters of these creatures whose wing span can reach up to 9 feet. We will have the remainer of the day explore other areas of the estancia. We will enjoy an authentic Patagonian Asado (lamb roast) in the evening. Overnight estancia stay.

    Day 3

    AM departure driving south travelling through Cerro Castillo Reserve. Highlights will be the days drive over the Cuesta del Diablo pass. The drive through the Cerro Castillo Reserve brings us close to timberline (1100 m.) with opportunities to capture the twisted magic of the Krumholst Lengas at altitude, especially beautiful during the autumn peak in late April. We will travel slowly through the reserve and keep a close look out for the highly endangered Huemul Deer (Hippocamelus Bisulcus) that are prevalent in this area. Commanding views of the jagged spires of Cerro Castillo. We continue on to Villa Rio Tranquilo on Lago General Carrera, South America's 2nd largest lake. Overnight at El Puesto Lodge.

    Day 4

    Today's main objective will be to explore the new road accessing the remote Valle Exploradores which offers commanding views of Cerro San Valentin, Patagonia's highest peak at 4,058 meters (13,314 ft), with views of several spectacular glaciers flowing off the north side of the Northern Patagonia Icefield. This newly cut road penetrates deep into the heart of the incredibly rugged Patagonian Andes and the lush temperate rain forest of the Pacific coast. We take a short hike through the old growth Nothofagus forest to a viewing platform overlooking the Exploradores Glacier. If conditions favor, this can provide for one of the most spectacular panoramic views in all of Patagonia. The valley also possesses several spectacular waterfalls, precipitous snow capped peaks, lush temperate rain forest vegetation and interesting birdlife, including Andean Condors or, the endemic and enchanting Chucao Tapaculo with its amazingly exotic jungle call. Overnight El Puesto Lodge in Puerto Tranquilo.

    Day 5

    Early departure with a morning boat excursion to photograph the exotic Marble Caves along the shore of Lago General Carrera. Leisurely drive south to Puerto Bertrand, birthplace of the amazing Baker River, the largest river flowing into the South Pacific (670-700 m3/sec.). Picnic lunch along the way. Afternoon photographic tour of the powerful Baker River Waterfall (15 minute hike). We will spend several hours here experimenting with time exposures, etc. in search of that perfect shot. Continue on to the Future Patagonia National Park presently in development by conservation philanthropists Doug and Kris Tompkins and Conservacion Patagonica. Overnight at the Estancia's luxurious new lodge which is adorned with spectacular photography and an interior made entirely of recycled materials from dismantled houses in Buenos Aires.

    Day 6

    Morning photography and hike at the nearby Tamango Reserve, soon to also be a part of the future Patagonia National Park. Here we will take a hike accompanied by a local forest service to try and see an endangered Huemul Deer, Magellanic woodpeckers, Steamers ducks, etc. In the afternoon we will make a boat excursion on the azure waters of Lago Cochrane where we will again be looking for the elusive Huemul deer. Afternnon drive back into the Chacabuco Valley (future Patagonia National Park). Overnight at the Estancia's exclusive new lodge.

    Day 7

    Early morning departure driving east through the remote Estancia Valle Chacabuco. Numerous opportunities to photograph native Guanacos (Patagonian Cameloids), Fox, Condors, Swans, Flamingos and other birdlife which abounds in this Patagonian Steppe region. We will ascend a new road that brings us to an unsurpassed view of Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia's 2nd highest summit. Continue east to the remote border post at the Paso Roballos, Checking out of Chile and entering into Argentina. (be sure to have your passport tourist visa paper handy!) After passing through the Argentine customs post, we find ourselves in the Santa Cruz province, one of Patagonia's most remote areas. If time allows, we will make a visit to the Estancia Correntoso, a beautiful historic stone construction owned by the Cvjetanovic family, 3rd generation descendants of the original Yugoslavian pioneers. Meeting the lovely owner Elvira Cvjetanovic and her mother and father is certain to be among the trip's most memorable experiences. Leaving El Correntoso we visit a small flamingo lagoon and then descend towards Lago Puyerredon (the Argentine side of Lago Cochrane). This area also provides wonderful views of Cerro San Lorenzo on clear days which starkly contrast with the arid, almost moon-like topography of this remote area. Possible visit to a 7,000 y.o. Tehuelche Indian pictograph site near the town of Lago Posadas. Overnight Posada del Posadas.

    Day 8

    Today begins with a predawn departure to try and catch the alpenglow on Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia's 2nd highest peak. Later we venture out into the wide open Pampas of the Santa Cruz province where the sky explodes with interminable size and scope, a long day in the vehicles with 7-hours driving through the vast emptiness of the Patagonian pampa. We will typically see herds of Guanacos, Nandus (Lesser Rhea Ostrich), Armadillos and wild horses that populate the pampas. We end up in the most photogenic mountain landscape in the western hemisphere. Cerros Fitzroy, Torre, Egger, Standhart, and Saint Exupery. Famous among climbers as among the World's most challenging mountains. We stay in the town of El Chalten, situated at the base of the Fitzroy mountain range. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Hosteria Stay.

    Day 9

    Early morning outing to drive up the road in hopes of catching images of the spectacular Fitzroy massif bathed in the dawn alpenglow. If everyone in the group is up for it, we will make an all-day hike starting right from town. We begin with a 2 hour walk up to the picturesque Laguna Capri where we will enjoy a picnic while photographing the area. Those who wish have the option of returning back to El Chalten from here. For those with the legs and energy to continue further, it is recommended to continue on from Laguna Capri hiking the trail along the base of the amazing Fitzroy Massif with its unparalleled opportunities to capture images of the mystical mountain spires. The trail continues on down along the Rio Blanco through an enchanting old growth Lenga forest aglow in autumn colors eventually ending at the Hosteria El Pilar where will enjoy a much deserved cup of tea and a snack. This is a long day hike, 6-7 hours with 300-400 meters elevation gain. One of the guides will have driven the vehicle around to meet us for the drive back to El Chalten. Hosteria stay in El Chalten.

    Day 10

    Today we have another full day to explore the Fitzroy area and we will choose the days activities depending on the weather conditions. The autumn foliage will be at its peak and the old growth native Lenga (Southern Beech) forest will be ablaze with color. A very nice waterfall is nearby where we may spend several hours playing with time exposures, etc. I this environment we are always on the look out for the large and impressive Magellanic Woodpecker. Overnight at Hosteria in El Chalten.

    Day 11

    Again we will make an early morning drive up the road in hopes of catching the spectacular Fitzroy massif bathed in the dawn alpine-glow. Return to Hosteria for breakfast. Driving out into the Pampa once again where there will be numerous opportunities to photograph the elegance of estancias and their flag trees against the barren landscape. After 3 hours on the road we arrive to the Perito Moreno Glacier and its massive snout that falls into Lago Argentino. Overnight at a hotel in El Calafate. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Hotel stay.

    Day 12

    Today begins with a predawn visit to the Laguna Numez Reserve to photograph native waterfowl and flamingoes. Then we depart on a full day drive leave Argentina at the Cancha Carrera post and enter into Chile near the edge of Torres del Paine National Park. This is Chileís premier national park offering unsurpassed mountain scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. We will stay at the Hosteria Pehoe in the park with spectaculars views of the Paine Massif right from the hotel. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

    Day 13

    Today we make a full-day photographic journey into the heart of the Torres del Paine Park. We will choose which drives or day-hikes to do considering the weather, views, and desires of the group. Valle Frances, Glacier Grey (possible boat trip across lake to base of glacier) or Valle del Silencio, a day without need for definition as the beauty abounds as will the photographic opportunities. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Hosteria Pehoe.

    Day 14

    We have another full day to explore and photograph this magnificent park. We will seek out spectacular waterfalls, magical mountain landscapes accented by the autumn foliage and, the abundant native patagonian wildlife such as condors, rheas, foxes. Perhaps, if luck is on our side, we may even be able to spot a puma! Overnight at Hosteria Pehoe.

    Day 15

    After our last morning in the park, that can be an early one again to get the sunrise, we will start our full-day journey south to Punta Arenas via the newly completed south road, stopping for lunch in Puerto Natales where we will have ample time to eat, walk the waterfront, and do some shopping for maps, gifts, etc. On the way to Puerto Natales we will stop by the famous Milodon Cave, discovery site for the remains of an ancient Pleistocene ground sloth. In Punta Arenas we will stay in the well appointed Los Navegantes Hotel.

    Day 16: Depart Punta Arenas

    Today we bid farewell and you will catch your flight back home. If you have an afternoon flight you can take advantage and walk around historic downtown Punta Arenas and look out across the Straits of Magellan. End of tour.....