Patagonia Wildlife Guide
This beautiful big cat is the largest predator in Patagonia and the southern-most dweller of all its relatives. The Chilean government made puma hunting illegal in 1980, and numbers have since increased. Pumas take full advantage of the varied terrain in Torres del Paine and are able to live in the cold, warmth, forest & mountains. They are most often seen at dusk and dawn when out hunting for one of their favourite dishes...guanacos! Our dedicated puma tracking experts know these areas like the back of their hands, and give you the very best chances of observing pumas in their natural habitat.
There are four main type of whales to be found in Patagonia: the Orca or 'Killer whale', the Humpback whale, the Southern Right whale, and the Blue Whale.
Peninsula Valdes is the place to go for both Southern Right Whales (June-December) and Orcas (September, March & April). Humpback whales can be seen in southern Patagonia, for example on a whale watching adventure cruise, and blue whales can be spotted off of the Island of Chiloe.
Penguin reserves can be found throughout Chilean Patagonia, from Punta Arenas and Ushuaia to Peninsula Valdes, and Chiloe Island. Magellanic penguins are the most widespread of the breeds to be found in Patagonia, but it is also possible to see Humboldt penguins, gentoo penguins, and even king Penguins!
If you're totally penguin mad, then you might consider visiting the Great White Continent- Antarctica for even more breeds, and very different scenery!
It was around 6am, and creeping along a ridge in the dusky morning light was a female puma with two cubs. My guide and I gazed up at them in awe as they went about their usual business, then silently slipped over the ridge.
Chloe O'Keeffe Wildlife & Cruise Specialist
Southern Elephant Seals
Elephant seals are common in Patagonia and get their name from the strange shape of the male's nose which looks like an elephant's trunk. Seals can be found throughout the islands of Patagonia and kayaking is a great way to get up close to this creature.
Two of the best places to find sea lion colonies are in Tierra del Fuego and the Peninsula Valdes UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can kayak with them along the coast and paddle right up to their colony. Alternatively, you can see them in abundance on an Antarctic cruise.
The Andean condor (from the vulture family) can be found throughout Patagonia. Often seen circling the iconic Torres del Paine, or above Laguna Armaga, swooping down to feast on the remains of a puma's guanaco kill. This impressive bird has a wing span of 3.2 metres, the largest of any land bird. It is currently considered as 'nearly endangered' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This condor trip is designed to take you off-the-beaten-track to known condor nesting sites in Torres del Paine National Park.
If you're a keen birder check out this Chiloe island bird watching trip - unmissable for any bird enthusiast!
This endangered deer has short legs & a stocky build, enabling it to live on rocky terrain & climb mountain passes with ease. It's one of the most elusive animals in Patagonia & became a Chilean National Natural Monument in 2006. Despite this status, it's currently under threat from changes in its natural habitat, and predation by the puma. Your best chance of spotting one is on a hike in Torres del Paine, particularly in the vicinity of Lago Grey and Off the Beaten Track a little, for example in the Silencio Valley. Patagonia Park in Aysen is another great location for spotting them.
There are thought to be over 1,500 of this descendent of the llama species in Torres del Paine National Park alone. They live in herds for protection and to rear their young. They're very energetic animals who run around chasing one another, and mothers are fiercely protective of their young so it's best not to get too close!
You're likely to see guanacos on almost any trip to Torres del Paine National Park.
South American Sea Lions
These fierce yet fragile creatures are on of the largest inhabitant species of the Valdes Peninsula's coast, reaching up to 3 metres long, and weighing up to 350kg. Groups of males (who can be recognised by the thick mane covering their neck and chest) begin to colonise the area from December, and they defend their territory aggressively (beware!), whilst awaiting the arrival of the females. Each male has a hareem of up to 10 females, who give birth to their young a few days after arrival on the Peninsula, ready to mate again a week after birth!
There are several lively & energetic species of dolphin that add a splash of mischief and charm to Patagonia's waters!
Dusky dolphins can be recognised by their short, dark beak, black dorsal fin with grey crescent, dark pectoral fins and dark pointed tail which has a deep central notch. They are incredibly acrobatic dolphins, jumping high out of the water, making pirouettes and somersaults both forwards and backwards!
The fast-paced Commerson's dolphin is considered a coastal mammal, found along the Argentine coast from San Matias Gulf to Tierra del Fuego.
They can be spotted in groups of 2-10 dolphins, but live in pods of up to 100! They are speedy and active swimmers, often seen diving and jumping, swimming upside down, and surfing the waves and wakes of boats or even whales!
What Our Customers Think
There is so much to see, you have to go to experience it. The wildlife such as the Rea, Condors, various species of Lama, the whales, all just beautiful.
Steve, UK December 2016
The wildlife was surprisingly abundant and all around us, from Guanacos, Pumas (spotted while on bus!), Andean Foxes, Condors, Carpintero Gigante, Caracara, Flamingos, Ibis, Falcons which followed us to Grey Glacier, and the ubiquitous Southern Lapwing.
Andy, UK March 2017
We had such an amazing (if exhausting!) time. Thank you for all you all have done for us; you make it all work so well and have given us more than I could ever have hoped for.
Margy October 2015
Meet three of Patagonia's most special creatures in this fantastic 11 day tour, led by hand picked specialist wildlife guides and trackers. Spot the elusive Puma in Torres del Paine, marvel at jumping Humpbacks in remote corners of the fjords,…
Combine wildlife with activity on this unique Torres del Paine trip, resting in hotels, hostels and camping. You will be actively looking for wildlife including, Rheas, Guancos and Pumas (if you're lucky), as well as having the chance to do…
This camping safari is a great way to see the pumas whilst keeping your costs down. Every day your guide will take you to the best spots for puma-tracking to give you the best-possible opportunity to see these elusive…
Paddle with this local kayaking specialist in the challenging Beagle Channel - sailed by Darwin, where you'll get up close to sea lions, see penguins, and see the wilderness of Tierra del Fuego. This trip can last from 1-3days and…
A flexible, multi-day itinerary with a sociable, comfortable eco camp as your base. Daily excursion options for all abilities with expert guides to support you. Return to a comfortable bed, wood burning stove and en suite bathroom. Meals and transfers…
Enjoy leisurely walks and kayak within the Peninsula Valdes Nature Reserve. You'll paddle up to sea lion colonies and spot killer whales whilst enjoying the rocky scenery around you. Accommodation wide you'll camp under the stars for 3 nights and…
Experience everything Patagonia has to offer over 3 weeks, including Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National parks, the Lake District, Tierra del Fuego & the Beagle channel. Staying in hotels and lodges and with moderate walks for people of…
Available as both a day trip or 2 day trip option, this trip is perfect for the wildlife enthusiast and the avid photographer. Get up close with the King Penguins and discover other sea wildlife.…
A nature and wildlife photo-orientated tour, led by local nature photographers. It has been designed for photo enthusiasts with different skill levels wishing to exploit the possibilities of landscape and wildlife photography alike. Encounters with charismatic wildlife including Andean Condor,…
A penguin enthusiast's dream - spend time observing and photographing four of Patagonia's penguin species (King, Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper and Magellanic) in less than 2 weeks, with expert guides and all logistics and accommodations covered from start to…
Ideal for photographers of all abilities who are looking to learn from experienced local nature photographers, and capture the iconic highlights of Patagonia's wildlife and landscapes as part of an intimate group. Experience the famous National Parks of Torres del…
A small vessel voyage into an isolated corner of the fjords, accompanied by marine biologists who can identify the humpbacks by their tail and dorsal fins. You'll be almost alone among large groups of whales feeding and breaching and at…
If short of time, this trip is perfect for whale watching. Spending a day and 2 nights in the middle of the Strait of Magellan, spot the region's whale species, including the humpback, with the help of on-board…
See Whales, Sea Lions, Penguins and other extraordinary wildlife as well as peaks & glaciers on this adventure cruise to the D'Agostini Sound. A lovely level of comfort to see the beautiful wildlife and scenery in this remote area. On-board…
Sailings of this 8-day, full-board voyage are rare. It explores some less-travelled areas of the region on a small, 20-person vessel with an expert photographer and guide, helping you get incredible shots of the landscape and the humpbacks, albatross and…
Search for the Blue Whales of Chiloe as well as dolphins and sea birds on this 6 day adventure in the Chilean Fjords. You will be joined by a naturalist guide who will help you make the most of your…
Patagonia is home to some incredibly unusual and diverse wildlife, from clumsy penguins to enormous whales and elusive big cats. Our expert naturalist guides and trackers responsibly and respectfully help you to to get up close and personal with these amazing animals, so that you can get a glimpse into their world, and capture your own photos to remember them by.
We've put together an interactive map to help you understand where and when you can find some of the best of Patagonia's diverse wildlife.
Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
Why not let us do the hard work for you? Our team of experts will work with you to design a 2-3 week adventure to your exact requirements, from hiking and horse-riding trips to wine-tasting tours and undiscovered lodges.
We’ll work around your budget and arrange flights, transfers and buses, to create your perfect trip.