Patagonia Photo Expedition

This trip is perfect for photographers of all abilities who want to learn from highly experienced local nature photographers. Capture the highlights of Patagonia's wildlife and iconic landscapes as part of an intimate group while sighting lakes and glaciers in Torres del Paine and unique penguin colonies on Tierra del Fuego. This trip is perfect for photographers of all abilities who want to learn from highly experienced local nature photographers. Capture the highlights of Patagonia's wildlife and iconic landscapes as part of an intimate group while sighting lakes and glaciers in Torres del Paine and unique penguin colonies on Tierra del Fuego.
7 Days
$3,998

Patagonia Photo Expedition - 7 - $3,998

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Boat trip to Magdalena Island; Torres del Paine National Park; Hotel Río Serrano

Day 2: Boat trip to Glacier Grey; Hotel Río Serrano

Day 3: Amarga and Azul Lagoons; Hotel Río Serrano

Day 4: Lake Sarmiento; Mylodon Cave; Puerto Natales; Weskar Lodge

Day 5: Ferry to Tierra del Fuego; Useless Bay; Yendegaia House

Day 6: Porvenir; Ferry to Punta Arenas; Hotel Diego de Almagro

Day 7: Transfer to Punta Arenas Airport

Start from Punta Arenas and end at Punta Arenas

Landmarks visited on Patagonia Photo Expedition

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Boat trip to Magdalena Island; Torres del Paine National Park; Hotel Río Serrano

After meeting your guide at Punta Arenas, we'll sail for Magdalena Island in the waters of the mythical Strait of Magellan. The Magellanic penguin colony in this protected areas numbers more than 150,000. As well as penguins, there are several other species of seabirds, such as imperial and rock cormorants, dolphin and kelp gulls, Chilean skua and South American tern to look out for.

We'll reach the imposing cliffs of Magdalena Island around 8:30am and have an hour to explore the trail towards the centre of the island. This trail finishes at the lighthouse which is now a ranger station. Penguins inhabit every available spot of the island's surface and their raucous braying calls can be quite overwhelming. Some penguins will be busy coming ashore from their feeding trips, taking a bath or preening and resting peacefully at the shoreline. Others will be walking with their characteristic gait towards their burrows to incubate the eggs or attend their chicks. South American sea lions occasionally patrol the coast along here looking for opportunities to catch a distracted penguin.

Around noon, we'll take a transfer to Torres del Paine National Park. During the journey to the park, we'll see how the strong westerly winds have sculpted the vegetation of the grassy steppes in Patagonia. We'll stop several times along the way for photography and to spot wildlife. We might see Andean condor, guanaco, southern grey fox and Patagonian skunk while also enjoying our first views of the sub-Antarctic southern beech (Nothofagus) forest – the world's southernmost woodlands.

At the picturesque coastal town of Puerto Natales, we'll have stunning views of the Chilean fjords with groups of beautiful black-necked swans feeding along the shoreline.There will also be splendid views of the Paine Massif in the distance, if its clear.

We'll arrive at the Hotel Río Serrano, and in the evening we can carry out a sunset photo session, either before or after dinner.

Meals: Picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Río Serrano


Day 2: Boat trip to Grey Glacier; Hotel Río Serrano

Every day of this trip in Torres del Paine National Park entails an early start in order to be in location to photograph the Paine Massif at dawn. Today we'll concentrate on photographing the Cuernos (Horns) and Paine Grande peaks, located in the southern face of the Massif and exploring the southern and western regions of this huge national park, covering 600,000 acres (242,000 hectares). The omnipresent Paine Massif, a magnificent set of rugged peaks, formed out of granite and sedimentary rock, dominates the landscape. The long-gone Indians of Patagonia named it Paine, meaning, 'blue', presumably referring to the hazy coloration when observed at a distance. You'll have the opportunity to explore the southern beech (Nothofagus) forest and its wide variety of plants and animals. When here try to spot the Magellanic woodpecker, Austral parakeet and the elusive huemul (Andean deer).

A boat trip on Lake Grey is the highlight of today. Colossal icebergs are stranded on the southern shore of the lake after a long and slow journey from the glacier front and its from this shore we'll board the M/V Grey II for a 3hr excursion through the icy waters of the lake to the impressive and actively calving front of the Glacier Grey. This is one of nearly 50 glaciers that originate from the massive Southern Patagonian Icefield – the world's third largest after Antarctica and Greenland. The face of the glacier is full of crevasses and the solid glacial ice colours vary from whitish to deep indigo. To the east of the glacier are impressive granite walls which are part of the Paine Massif, and to its west are the eroded and low summits of the older Andes.

The photography opportunities at this spot are fantastic and we'll be treated with a glass of Pisco Sour containing glacial ice, hundreds, or possibly thousands of years old! This evening we'll return to Hotel Río Serrano and there will once again be an optional photo outing for sunset and the dramatic cloud formations.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Río Serrano


Day 3: Amarga and Azul Lagoons; Hotel Río Serrano

There will be another early start this morning in order to photograph the Cuernos (Horns) in the first light of day. In the right light, the mountain base turns orange and looks very dramatic with peculiar lenticular clouds moving fast above the peaks.

Today's main activity will be exploring the alkaline ponds and reed-fringed lagoons located in the eastern part of the park, including the Amarga and Azul Lagoons. There are approximately 120 species of birds and nearly 500 species of plants in the park and you will see a good number of them which all make interesting subjects for photography. During the southern spring and early summer (mid-October through late-January), the huge variety of flowers that bloom in these magnificent landscapes are an unforgettable sight.

After we return to Hotel Río Serrano and enjoy dinner, we'll have another chance to photograph the mountains and clouds, this time at sunset.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Río Serrano


Day 4: Lake Sarmiento; Mylodon Cave; Puerto Natales; Weskar Lodge

During the morning we'll visit the eastern side of the park and enjoy the views of one of Paine River's impressive waterfalls. If it's clear we'll also see the fabulous Paine Massif from Laguna Amarga. We'll also head to viewpoint on the eastern corner of Lake Sarmiento from where we'll have the most breath-taking views of the towering peaks of Las Torres (the Towers) the granite spires after which the park is named. As we move around, we may see herds of guanaco, lesser rhea and the imposing Andean condor.

In the afternoon we'll visit Mylodon Cave Nature Reserve. This outstanding natural wonder consists of an enormous cave, carved out of the rock by the waves of an ancient lake. It was used as shelter for a large array of Pleistocene mammal species, including the giant ground sloth, or Mylodon, (Mylodon darwinii) when most of the surroundings were covered by glaciers. Our guide will tell us about the fascinating palaeontology of the area, both when we're out and also when visiting the visitor centre in the reserve.

There will be a rare opportunity to explore other minor caves at Benitez Hill; these smaller shelters, fairly easy to explore, were primarily used by pre-Columbian inhabitants several thousand years ago. We'll follow a trail goes southern beech woods with a good chance of seeing new forest birds as well as raptors and soaring condors. We'll also study the flora of the area – one of the most remarkable and dominant plants is the Chilean firebush (Embothrium coccineum), a relative to African proteas, whose flowers turn hillsides an incredible scarlet colour.

We'll finish the day at Puerto Natales and stay overnight at Weskar Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Weskar Lodge


Day 5: Ferry to Tierra del Fuego; Useless Bay; Yendegaia House

This morning we'll leave Puerto Natales with many memories of explorations and wildlife encounters in this beautiful corner of Patagonia. We'll drive east across the vast wind-swept steppes and along the straight-line border with Argentina.

We'll visit Pali Aike National Park with its many extinct cinder cones – a place that breaks the uniformity of this vast, big-sky country. The long-gone Indians extensively occupied this area and as such it is very rich in archaeology and paleontology. The birdlife of the area is also interesting and we may find intriguing species such as least seedsnipe, tawny-throated dotterel, chocolate-vented tyrant and the colourful white-bridled finch.

We'll later take a short ferry ride across the narrowest part of the Strait of Magellan where we should be able to spot the delightful and local Commersons dolphin. Once on Tierra del Fuego we'll drive along the shores of the vast Useless Bay (Bahía Inutil) to visit the king penguin breeding colony. This is a private nature reserve which aims to preserve the small number of kings that live here year-round and also breed here, attracted by the plentiful food supply in the surrounding sea. We will have plenty of opportunity to watch and photograph the penguins from a reasonable distance (maximum approach distance will be given by your guide and must be respected at all times during your visit).

We'll finish the day in Porvenir and stay overnight at Yendegaia House.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Yendegaia House


Day 6: Porvenir; Ferry to Punta Arenas; Hotel Diego de Almagro

Tierra del Fuego, the 'Land of Fire', is another landmark named by the navigator, Ferdinand Magellan. In 1520, while crossing the strait that now bears his name, he and his crew spotted a line of bonfires along the coast of a huge landmass. Tierra del Fuego is now a land of endless wind-swept steppes, rolling hills and lush temperate forests. Sheep-farming stations are dotted amidst these picturesque and colourful landscapes dominated by dramatic skies.

Today you'll be able to enjoy a relaxing morning exploring the town of Porvenir. We'll also visit the alkaline pools, home to large gorups of migratory birds such as sandpiper and plovers – your main goal here will be to see the Chilean flamingo. Later we'll explore the coast to see some of the many shipwrecks that have made these seas around here infamous over the years.

After lunch we'll head back to Punta Arenas by ferry and stay overnight at the Hotel Diego de Almagro.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Diego de Almagro


Day 7: Transfer to Punta Arenas Airport

After breakfast you will take a transfer to Punta Arenas Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

The price of USD $3,998 per person is based on double occupancy.

Trips are guaranteed to depart with a minimum of 3 participants. Maximum group size is 7 people.

2021

2022

2023

Start date Price (pp)
December 2021
12-Dec-2021 $3,998* Provisional Date Enquire
March 2022
20-Mar-2022 $3,998 Provisional Date Enquire
December 2022
11-Dec-2022 $3,998* Provisional Date Enquire
March 2023
19-Mar-2023 $3,998 Provisional Date Enquire
December 2023
10-Dec-2023 $3,998* Provisional Date Enquire

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $3,998

Additional Notes

Single supplement – For solo travellers there is a single supplement of USD $600.

Group size – 7 maximum, 3 minimum.

Includes

  • Meals: 6 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches, 5 dinners
  • Accommodation: 6 nights in hotels and lodges
  • English and Spanish-speaking naturalist guides
  • Private ground transportation during the tour
  • Boat trips to Lake Grey and Magdalena Island; ferry fares to Tierra del Fuego
  • National Park entrance fees
  • Tipping for restaurant service is included

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips for drivers and local guides
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?