Enjoy the Austral spring on the wild Atlantic coast of Patagonia.
The wild coasts and wide open landscapes of Patagonia are home to an interesting range of regionally endemic birds such as Rock and King Cormorants, Flying and Chubut Steamer-ducks, Upland and Ruddy-headed Geese, Austral Rail, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Dolphin Gull, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian Canastero, White-throated Cachalote, Sandy Gallito, Rusty-backed Monjita, Carbonated Sierra-finch and Patagonian Yellow-finch. We also visit the world’s largest colony of Burrowing Parrots, numbering over 100000 birds in a seven mile stretch of coastal cliffs, creating a spectacular sight, and that’s just the bird life! Naturally, we visit the world famous Valdés Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and breeding ground for over 250,000 Magellanic Penguins as well as Southern Right Whales, massive Southern Elephant Seals and Southern Sea Lions, which are on the menu for the notorious surfing Orcas! Inland we can also see strange mammals like the Guanaco and the Patagonian Mara. No wonder this region is one of the wildlife highlights of South America!
This will be our second visit to this amazing area but this exciting tour offers the chance to explore the wild Atlantic coast of Patagonia with the option of joining a cruise to the fabulous Falkland Islands afterwards.
Day 1 We depart Heathrow in the evening, on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires, via Paris with Air France (To be confirmed). Dinner and overnight in flight.
Day 2 We arrive in Buenos Aires this morning, where we will be met by our local guide and transferred to a hotel in the city. Once settled in, there will be an optional outing with a packed lunch to the nearby Costanera Sur reserve, which is jam-packed with waterbirds including Pied-billed, White-tufted and Great Grebes, Striated and Cocoi Herons, Coscoroba and Black-necked Swans, Silver and Speckled Teal, Lake Duck, Rosy-billed Pochard, White-faced Whistling-duck, Snail Kite, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Red-gartered and Red-fronted Coots, Plumbeous Rail, South American Stilt, Southern Lapwing and the strange Limpkin. We should also see Rufous Hornero, Argentina’s National bird, as well as Chimango and Southern Caracaras, Eared Dove, Picazuro Pigeon, Black-hooded and Monk Parakeets, Guira Cuckoo, Shiny, Bay-winged and Screaming Cowbirds, Great Kiskadee, White-rumped and Blue-and-white Swallows, Grey-breasted and Brown-chested Martins, Red-crested Cardinal, Spectacled Tyrant, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Rufous-collared Sparrow and many more besides! Dinner and overnight in Buenos Aires.
Day 3 This morning we take a domestic flight south to Viedma on the Atlantic coast of Patagonia and visit the world’s largest colony of Burrowing Parrots, where tens of thousands of these noisy birds nest in holes in the cliffs, creating an unforgettable spectacle. Heading west along the coast, we may find Elegant Crested and Spotted Tinamous, Cinereous and Long-winged Harriers, Campo Flicker, Golden-breasted Woodpecker, Short-billed Pipit, Crested Gallito, Firewood Gatherer, White-banded Mockingbird, Black-crowned and White Monjitas, Tufted Tit-tyrant, White-tipped Plantcutter, the dazzling Vermillion Flycatcher and the flightless Greater Rhea, the largest bird in the Americas! Dinner and overnight on the coast at Las Grutas.
Day 4 We explore the local area for birds like Two-banded and Semipalmated Plovers, Hudsonian Godwit, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped and Baird’s Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalarope, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Hudson’s Black-tyrant and the endemic but elusive Sandy Gallito. Weather permitting, we also take a pelagic boat trip in San Antonio Bay amidst an astounding wealth of sea life including Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, White-chinned and Cape Petrels, Wilson’s Storm-petrel, Southern Fulmar, Manx, Sooty and Great Shearwaters, Royal, Cayenne and South American Terns and Brown-hooded and Kelp Gulls, while numerous Common Dolphins ride the bow wave along with acrobatic Dusky Dolphins. This is probably the best pelagic trip I have ever done and last time we even had a remarkable close encounter with a pod of spectacular Killer Whales! Dinner and overnight in Las Grutas.
Day 5 We drive south through the seemingly endless Patagonian steppe, with stops along the way, on the lookout for four of the region’s endemic species; Rusty-backed Monjita, Patagonian Canastero, White-throated Cachalote and Carbonated Sierra-finch, as well as others like Long-tailed Meadowlark, Lesser Canastero, Southern Martin and Patagonian Mockingbird. Journey’s end is Puerto Madryn on the deep blue coast of Golfo Nuevo. Dinner and overnight in Puerto Madryn.
Day 6 We have a full day to explore the fabulous Valdés Peninsula, where the San Lorenzo ranch is home to a huge colony of over a quarter of a million Magellanic Penguins! Here we may also see colossal Elephant Seals, the world’s largest seal, plus Crested Duck, Blackish and American Oystercatchers, Dolphin Gull, the strange Snowy Sheathbill and three species of Cormorant; King, Rock and Neotropic. We can also look for Variable Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Great Shrike-tyrant, Common Diuca-finch, Mourning Sierra-finch, Patagonian Yellow-finch, the flightless Lesser Rhea and the elusive Darwin’s Tinamou. Weather permitting, we also take a boat out into the bay to watch the awesome forty foot long Southern Right Whales that come to Golfo Nuevo to mate and give birth. Dinner and overnight in Puerto Madryn.
Day 7 We head south to explore the wetlands of the Chubut valley, home to birds like Chilean Flamingo, Chiloe Wigeon, Red Shoveller, White-winged Coot, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Sharp-billed Canastero, Scale-throated Earthcreeper and Grey-headed Sierra-finch. Dinner and overnight in Puerto Madryn.
Day 8 This morning we visit the Punta Loma nature reserve on the shore of Golfo Nuevo, home to one of the largest colonies of Rock Cormorants and South American Terns, where large numbers of Southern Sea Lions haul out on the rocks and Southern Right Whales may be seen offshore. We may also see a range of shorebirds including Imperial Cormorant, Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Surfbird. From here you will be transferred to Trelew airport in time for lunch (not included in the tour price) and check in for an afternoon domestic flight to Buenos Aires, where you will be met and transferred to a hotel in the city. Dinner (not included in the tour price) and overnight in Buenos Aires.
Day 9 You will be transferred to the airport for an afternoon overnight flight, via Paris with Air France (To be confirmed). Dinner and overnight in flight.
Day 10 You arrive in Paris this morning and transfer to an onward flight to Heathrow, arriving this afternoon (To be confirmed).
If joining the Falkland Island cruise, you will be transferred to the dock at Puerto Madryn to board the ship on Day 8.
Cost £4595 for the Patagonia only tour, or £3095 as an extension prior to the Falkland Island cruise.
What the prices include:
Return overnight flights from London Heathrow to Buenos Aires, domestic flights from Buenos Aires to Viedma and from Trelew to Buenos Aires, six nights’ full board accommodation, one nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation in a hotel in Buenos Aires, all transport in Argentina, two boat trips, all reserve entry fees, field checklist and the services of your guides.
Single supplement: £295
A visa is not required for British citizens to visit Argentina.
The climate of Patagonia in October is dry with little or no rain. Temperatures range from 8 – 25°C.