Birding Chilean Lakes & Chiloe Island

Spend five days birding inland wetlands, river systems, tidal beaches and thick temperate forests in the southern Chilean Lake District and Chiloe Island. You will be accompanied by an experienced local birding guide who will also provide you with a field guide and check-list. Your accommodation is a mix of simple guest houses and a local homestay (upgrades available upon request).

5 Days

$2,060

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Birding Chilean Lakes & Chiloe Island - 5 - $2,060

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Spend a day in the Alerce Andino National Park to find the endemics of the rainforest.
  • Visit the mouth of the Maullin River - one of the best birding spots in all of Chile
  • Travelling further south you visit the Island of Chiloe where it is possible to spot many migratory birds plus two species of penguins.

Start from Puerto Montt and end at Puerto Montt

Landmarks visited on Birding Chilean Lakes & Chiloe Island

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1 - Welcome to the Lake District:

Meet your birding guide at Puerto Montt airport and start a half-day birding tour. Depending on the arrival time, we will go directly to the Natural Reserve Lahuen Ñadi, very close to the airport, to visit the last patch of alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides) of the central valley. We will spend time inside the temperate rainforest looking for the elusive Tapaculos and some specialties of this unique ecosystem as the white-throated treerunner and the thorn-tailed rayadito. After that we will explore the area around the valley of Maullín river, grasslands and wetlands in Llanquihue. These wetlands are under a process of recovery and natural restoration in which our team is fully involved. We will then transfer you to your hotel in Puerto Varas.

Accommodation: Mero Gaucho or similar in Puerto Varas

Meals: Box Lunch 


Day 2  -  Endemics of the Rainforest:

Our birding day at Alerce Andino National Park will be focused on the elusive, tame and cryptic birds that inhabit this unique ecosystem, known as the Valdivian Rainforest or Southern Temperate Rainforest. The forest itself is a gem. The exuberant and dense vegetation is home of specialties that any birder wants to find once visiting the region. We will be walking through the trails looking for the four species of the Rhinocryptidae family: the chucao, black-throated huet huet, ochre-flanked and Magellanic tapaculo. We will also look for other specialties as the Magellanic woodpecker, white-throated treerunner, and thorn-tailed rayadito.  With some luck we will also have the chance to spot Chilean hawks and buteo raptors that inhabit these latitudes. On the way back from the park we will also have some time to scan the shore of the Reloncaví fjord looking for waterfowl and shorebirds.

Accommodation: Mero Gaucho or similar in Puerto Varas

Meals: Breakfast and Box Lunch 


Day 3 - Quenuir Wetlands and the mouth of the Maullin River:

The mouth of the Maullín River is one of the best spots for birding in Chile. More than the 50% of the migratory birds that visit the country choose this area as a residence for the southern spring-summer. Departure will be early in the morning to reach the birding area at the best time to spot birds. A boat or ferry trip (30/40 minutes)  is the best way to start finding different species of cormorants, sandpipers, shearwaters, terns and petrels. Once we get to the coast we start a walk, to reach two different wetlands where on a good day, we will find more than 50 species of birds such as pintails, ducks, grebes, whimbrels, godwits, flamingos (only during fall-winter, until October), kingfishers, skimmers, cinclodes, ibises, lapwings and many more. In the afternoon we will take the ferry to Chiloe island.

Accommodation: Family lodging in Chiloé at Chepu area

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch and Home-hosted Dinner included


Day  4  - Wildlife and penguins on Chiloe Island:

Our first activity in the morning will be the navigation of a wide, quiet and unspoiled river, with wetland characteristics, searching for its wildlife. After that we will move some kilometers north to navigate around the penguin colony in Puñihuil. Two species of penguins have their breeding spring-summer colony on the island: Magellanic and Humboldt penguins. During our way back to Puerto Varas we will continue birding on some marshes and then take the ferry crossing back to mainland.  

Accommodation: Mero Gaucho or similar in Puerto Varas

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch 


Day 5 - Transfer

Transfer from the hotel to the airport at Puerto Montt.

Meals: Breakfast

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Price based on 2 or 3 people.

This trip can be arranged for any date from November through to March.

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $2,060 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.

The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.

The following prices apply:

2-3 people USD $2060

4-5 people USD $1775

6-7 people USD $1700

8 people USD $1375

Includes

  • Bilingual naturalist guide: expert in bird life with International Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Meals as described in the itinerary - vegetarian, vegan and gluten intolerant options available upon request
  • 3 nights in Mero Gaucho Hotel or similar in Puerto Varas.
  • 1 night of lodging  at a family house in Chepu, Chiloé
  • Private terrestrial transportation, modern vehicles, window seat guaranteed for each traveller.
  • Metlife insurance coverage for each traveller between 18 and 64 years old.
  • Literature, field guide, birds checklist, spotting scope. Extra set of binoculars available upon request. 

Excludes

  • International and domestic flights
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Insurances and any other item not specified

We also recommend you bring:

  • Sun-hat and sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water resistant clothing
  • Bottles for water
  • A good book and a field guide to bring during your trip in Chile is Alvaro Jaramillo´s Birds of Chile. An English version is available on Amazon.com.  

Questions about this Trip?