This ornithological and naturalist tour, designed for observers and photographers, will allow us to explore the most emblematic landscapes of Patagonia. From the pampas to the Valdes peninsula, from the great Patagonian steppes swept by the austrian winds to the Perito Moreno, we will explore the Laguna Nimez in search of the Magellanic plover, the Strobel plateaus for the rare
hooded grebe, the nothofagus forests near Ushuaia to find the Magellanic woodpecker, and we will end up in the Beagle Channel to observe the colonies of several species of penguins

Argentina
15 days
Photo and bird watching tours Photo and bird watching tours
Birding tours Birding tours

Your travel expert

Xavier Amigo

Responsible for naturalist, botanical and ornithological travel. Responsible of fixing and profesional contact.

Xavier Amigo
xavier@ecuador-experience.com
Contact our expert
15 15 days

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Costanera del sur

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Arrival at Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport. Immediate transfer to our hotel in the San Telmo district to freshen up, drop off our bags and visit one of the most productive urban bird reserves in South America. La Costanera del Sur, located on the northeastern edge of the Argentine capital, is wedged between the urban area and the La Plata River. In the riparian and forest vegetation of the pampas more than 60 species live here.

Return to the hotel to freshen up.

Dinner in town and overnight in a comfortable hotel

transfer, bilingual specialized guide

Day 2: Buenos Aires - Trelew - Valdés Peninsula

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Morning transfer to the Jorge Newbery National Airport in Buenos Aires for our flight south. Trelew will be our landing point. Located on the northern edge of Argentina's Patagonian region, this city is the gateway to the Peninsula Valdés, a Ramsar sanctuary. We will immediately take the roads leading to the Valdés wildlife reserve to begin our observations. Here the birdlife mixes with the local fauna, in the middle of a low and sparse steppe, beaten by the Atlantic winds. After passing the National Park checkpoint, we will start our observations along the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus.

Arrival in Puerto Pyramide in the late afternoon to settle into our next accommodation.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel in the bay of Puerto Pyramide.

transport, bilingual specialized guide, entrance to Valdés NP

Day 3: Punta Delgada – Punta Cantor

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Thanks to the meeting of two great marine currents, one warm from Brazil and the other cold from Antarctica, the waters that bathe the peninsula are very rich and attract a large number of birds and marine mammals. On the cliff tops above the port we will look for specific species of the area. We then travel along the eastern coast of the peninsula, in particular Punta Delgada and Punta Cantor. Here, large colonies of Southern Elephant Seal mingle with Maned Sea Lions, attracting the covetousness of killer whale families. The steppe areas are home to typical mammals such as the guanaco and the maras, two species of armadillo, as well as several endemic small mammals. Thanks to the presence of the latter, several birds of prey can also be observed here.

Return to our accommodation on late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel in the bay of Puerto Pirámides.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 4: Isla de los Pájaros & Laguna del Ornitólogo

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This morning it will be time to change ecosystems. Along the road leading to our next observation areas we will look for the Rusty-backed monjita, the Band-tailed Eremobius and the Patagonian Canastero. Located in the Gulf of San José, "Isla de los Pájaros" ("the Bird Island") area is home to a large number of complementary species. Between coastline, beaches, scrubby vegetation and intertidal areas, we will look for the species missing from our list. We will then head back to Trelew to visit another site of great interest. Although at first glance the "Laguna del Ornitólogo" looks like a cesspool, the species present are remarkable and in impressive numbers .

Return to Trelew at the end of the day.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel in Trelew.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 5: Laguna Chiquichano - Trelew - El Calafate

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We will take this last morning to explore the urban lagoon of Chiquichano, located close to our hotel, where some unusual species may appear such as the Black-headed duck, the Many-colored rush tyrant. Early afternoon transfer to Trelew airport for our flight to El Calafate via Buenos Aires.

Arrival at El Calafate airport, pick up our rental car and take a short drive to our hotel.

Dinner and overnight in a charming hotel near Lake Nimez.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 6: Los Glaciares NP – El Calafate

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In the early morning, we will head back to one of the most emblematic national parks in the south of the country. Straddling the border with neighbouring Chile, this area of glaciers offers the most spectacular scenery. Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1981, this sanctuary is home to beech forests surrounded by rocky outcrops, home to the majestic Andean Condor. The list of bird species in this site is long. We will also take time to enjoy the scenery and take a short photo session on the Perito Moreno glaciers.

In the middle of the afternoon we will head back to the town of El Calafate.

Dinner and overnight stay in El Calafate.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 7: El Calafate - La Angostura

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Departure in the early morning towards the north. The long Andean road leading to Cardiel Lake crosses vast stretches of steppe as magical as it is desolate. We will explore these areas throughout the journey in search of some rare species. The arid steppes and vast forests of southern Patagonia are home to a variety of wildlife, specially adapted to the unique conditions of this extreme land. Arrival at our accommodation in the middle of the afternoon. Around our estancia, we will also try to observe another rare species, the Austral Rail. It was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in the 1990s. Several other species have also developed special characteristics to be able to live and reproduce in these hostile lands.

Dinner and overnight stay in farm accommodation.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 8: In search of the Hooded Grebe

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Today we have an important mission: to find one of the rarest species in the country, the Hooded Grebe. This bird's population has been reduced by 80% over the last 30 years, making it a critically endangered species. It begins its breeding season on the basaltic lagoons of the high Andes in Argentina in October. Its courtship is in complete contrast to its rather quiet attitude during the rest of the year. The dance ritual of this bird is intense and laborious. It is often compared to an aquatic tango. We will explore the different lagoons of these Patagonian areas to try to observe some individuals. The Strobel Lake plateau is an isolated region of barren desert steppes dotted with small lakes. The last census reported only 400 pairs, which unfortunately placed it in the sad list of the 10 rarest birds in the world and one of the most sought after in Patagonia. We will look through binoculars and telescopes at the lakes that offer the best conditions to search for these birds.

Dinner and overnight in a fisherman's lodge

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 9: Strobel - El Chalten

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Depending on the missing species, we can either complete the list or we can explore new areas around our accommodation with our vehicle, where we will look for Lake Duck, Chilean Flamingo, White-tufted grebe, Upland Goose, Magellanic Plover and Two-banded plover. The long Patagonian road down to El Chalten is dotted with various observation points. We will cross large areas of puna and grassy steppes, where we will try to observe some complementary species, probably not observed until now. We will also take advantage of this long crossing to focus our photography on the local fauna and landscapes.

Arrival in El Chalten in the late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight stay in El Chalten

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 10: Fitz Roy

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Today we will discover the sumptuous Patagonian landscape and the mythical Fitz Roy (3405m). Even if the latter is the most famous of these peaks, there are in fact three peaks that give the characteristic shape to this landscape. The Poincenot and Juarez mountains complete the trilogy. The jagged relief of these rocky ridges surrounded by glaciers, called Nunatak, gives an idea of the climatic past that these areas have undergone under the perpetual influences of glacial erosion. We will explore the black beech forests at the foot of this large nature reserve in search of some easy shots of forest birds.

Dinner and overnight stay in El Chalten.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 11: El Chalten – El Calafate

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In the early morning we will go to one of the promontories around El Chalten to observe the flight of the Andean Condor which nests nearby. We will then take the road to Bahia tunel, north of lake Viedma to try to observe some aquatic species. We will use the Calafate where we will spend a last night. We will make several stops along the Patagonian road to immortalize the beautiful landscapes and the local fauna. We will look for a large group of Darwin's rhea, guanacos and maras.

Arrival at the end of the day in the town of El Calafate.

Dinner and overnight stay in El Calafate.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 12: Laguna Nimez - El Calafate – Ushuaïa

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This morning, visit to the Nimez Lagoon. This huge urban lagoon, located just outside the city, is directly connected to Lake Argentino. It functions as a buffer zone for the conservation of a large number of species of interest. We will have lunch near the lagoon before heading back to the airport to fly to the end of the world. After a two hour flight we arrive in Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the continent. Once called Terra Australis Incognita, the region of Tierra del Fuego has been made mythical by the most intrepid explorers, of which Hernando de Magallanes, Robert Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin are the most notable.

Early evening arrival in the southern capital. After a short transfer to our hotel, we will have dinner in a traditional restaurant.

Dinner and overnight stay in Ushuaïa.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 13: Tierra Del Fuego NP - Ushuaïa

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We cannot come to these southern lands without, of course, visiting one of the continent's most iconic and extreme national parks. The landscapes here, too, are breathtaking. The capricious waterfalls, the ancient forests shrivelled by time, the towering mountain peaks and their vast glaciers, give the setting a picture-perfect feel. The sub-Antarctic beech and maiten forests are home to many interesting species.

Dinner and overnight stay in Ushuaia.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 14: Glaciar Martial - Ushuaïa

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Today we will explore the Martial Glacier. Located close to the city, it is the most important source of fresh water in Ushuaia, hence the importance of conserving these nearby ecosystems.  On foot or by cable car, we will explore the trails and coniferous forests at the foot of this glacial cirque overlooking the bay and the Beagle Channel.

Return to the city of Ushuaia in the late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight stay in Ushuaia.

transport, bilingual specialized guide

Day 15: Ushuaïa

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We will finish this birding tour with a visit to the Bahia Encerrada urban reserve. Located a few steps from our hotel, it is home to some complementary species that are easy to photograph. The afternoon will be dedicated to cultural discoveries. We will take the opportunity to visit the southernmost city in the world. Situated at the foot of the Eastern Cordillera, this small town founded in 1884 is also the only Argentinean port located on the Pacific Ocean, because, according to some geographers, the Beagle Channel is the tip of this immense ocean. Over time, the village and the region have moved from a military role to a tourist vocation.

After this relaxing day, we will fly to Buenos Aires to catch our international flight home.

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transport, bilingual specialized guide

Dates of the next departures

Departures possible during the austral summer (between December and March).

You want a personalized departure date? Contact us Request a personalized date

Prices per person

You are a group of travelers and want a special rate? Contact us Request a personalized quote

Included

  • Private transportation (gas, road taxes, parking, insurance of vehicle and passengers).
  • All transfers as mentioned.
  • Bilingual English-speaking naturalist guide for the mainland
  • 24-hour assistance
  • Accommodation in double room, private bathroom (Hotels, Estancia de Charma and superior category lodge)
  • Meals as mentioned picnic for some hikes.

Not included

  • International flight. (You can consult our list of tour operators offering dry flights).
  • Entrance fees to the tour sites.
  • The value of PCR tests and other values related to COVID obligations.
  • Excursions and activities indicated as optional in the programme.
  • Luggage weight supplements for flights (23 kg allowed on domestic flights)
  • Some dinners (count between 12 and 25.00usd/pers/meal)
  • Single room supplement.
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks for all meals.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Personal insurance.
  • Bank commissions for payments.

Important note

Itineraries may be subject to last minute changes, due to natural events or changes in domestic legislation. The visitor must take into account and accept the possibility of last minute changes in the organisation of the trip. The operator therefore reserves the right to make any changes necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the travellers and to comply with the laws in force. The hotels are given as an indication subject to availability at the time of booking the tour. In case of unavailability, a hotel of the same category will be proposed

Photos: Xavier Amigo, Dusan Brinkhuizen, Daniel Pettersson, Pierre Ferron

Your guide for this trip

Xavier Amigo

Xavier Amigo

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A great enthusiast of the neo-tropical environment, he has now resided for more than 25 years in Ecuador, where he founded Nature Experience. A self-taught ornithologist and naturalist, he holds a diploma in Conservation Strategy and Techniques in the neo-tropical zone, an active member of several conservation foundations and a founding member of the National Bird Watch Network ( RedAvesEcuador). He will help you in the elaboration of your natural, ornithological and professional requests. He will also share with you his experience of more than fifteen years as a guide in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil but also in Peru and the Galapagos.

Characteristics of the trip

Travel theme

Ornithological and photographic trip

Accompaniment

Specialised bilingual guide

Arrival city

Buenos Aires

Departure city

Buenos Aires

Food

Local and family cuisine

Accomodation

Charming hotels, lodges and hacienda

Physical condition

None. Depending on the time of year, the weather conditions in Patagonia can be quite harsh and can be an inconvenience

Best season

During the austral summer (between December and March)
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