PUMAS OF PATAGONIA

WHEN: May 9th-May 18th, 2020

COST: $5,890 per person (based on 2 people)

DEPOSIT: $950 per person

GROUP SIZE: 2 people 

Photo credit: BBC

Join Chase on his first ever expedition to the far reaches of South America to walk among one of North America's big cats, the puma. During the late autumn season in Patagonia, the crowds leave and colors have their last stand as winter quickly approaches, but that doesn't stop the pumas. This is an incredible time to visit the region as you will have the chance to photograph pumas in both colorful and snowy conditions, depending on the weather. Spending your time in large swaths of private land adjacent to Torres del Paine National Park, you will be accompanied by an expert tracker and guide as you drive and walk your way across the Patagonian landscape in search of this elusive cat. Unlike in the national park where you cannot go off trail, we have the ability to move freely in the private lands, which allow us the rare opportunity to get closer to the cats than most ever will.

Chances for seeing pumas are extremely high and one should expect to see them most if not all the days there. With the open landscape of Patagonia, pumas (aka mountain lions in North America) have fewer places to hide making them easier to spot. You can also expect to see guanacos, fox, birds, and more wildlife during your time in Patagonia. Not to mention the private lands you will be trekking across have some of the densest population of pumas in the world. 

Since Patagonia is located along the sea, the weather stays fairly moderate throughout the year. It is similar to the Pacific Northwest in winter where mild temperatures persist and snow may fall every now and again. As the days inch closer to winter, the temperatures may drop, but the weather gets better overall as the strong winds and rain that plague the region during the summer months diminish, giving us much friendlier conditions. Many say that even though the temperatures may be warmer a few months before, late autumn, winter, and early spring, make for a much more pleasant visit. 

 

So are you ready to head south for the experience of a lifetime? Keep scrolling to learn about this first time expedition!

WHY TOUR WITH ME?

  • 14+ years of experience out in the wild with a wide-variety of wildlife

  • Small group size to make sure you get a lot of one-on-one instruction and information

  • Degrees in both Organismal Biology and Zoology to give up to date information about the wildlife we encounter

  • Knowledge of many secret wildlife locations that the normal tourist would not know

  • Advanced knowledge of cameras and how to further your photography skills in the field

  • Deep knowledge and experience with guiding and photographing big cats

HIGHLIGHTS

What you can expect on this trip:

  • Finding some peace and solitude within the Andes Mountains of Patagonia (Chile)

  • Walking across the terrain in search of up-close puma encounters

  • Feeling the adrenaline pump through your body as a big cat stares you down

  • Watching other wildlife such as guanacos, fox, and more

  • Private photo instruction to ensure you capture the best images imaginable

  • Staying in a private cabana right within the heart of puma country

  • Experiencing some of Chile's brilliant culture

  • Exploring and photographing the dramatic peaks and glaciers of Torres del Paine National Park

COSTS

INCLUDED

  • 7 full days of puma tracking with 9 nights total (1 night in Punta Arenas)

  • Lodging within private lands adjacent to Torres del Paine N.P.

  • Unlimited instruction and information about the parks, wildlife, and photography

  • All meals while on safari (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

  • Post-processing lessons using Adobe Photoshop and RAW

  • Transportation from the airport and across the parks

  • Park and private land entry fees

DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Flights to and from Punta Arenas

  • Tipping (guides, porters, camp staff, etc.)

  • Optional Activities (condor viewing, visit to other glaciers, etc.)

  • Snacks (purchased while driving to and from parks)

  • Alcoholic beverages 

  • Trip Insurance (recommended)

SUGGESTED GEAR

  • DSLR camera body

  • Wide angle lens (e.g. 16-35,mm 24-70mm, etc. Mostly used for landscapes)

  • Mid range lens (70-200mm)

  • Telephoto lens (300mm+)

  • Flash

  • Tripod

  • Polarizing filter

  • UV filter

  • Camera bag capable of carrying gear and daily necessities

LODGING

Hotel Rey Don Felipe (Punta Arenas): This four-star hotel is perfectly placed in the heart of this southern city with access to nearby shops and restaurants. With modern amenities and tasteful decoration, this will be a great place to stay when transiting through Punta Arenas. 

Private Cabana (Private Puma Tracking Land): During our time in puma country, we will be at a small and intimate cabana, which comes equipped with 2 bedrooms and a small kitchen and living room. While there are no hotels in the area, this cabana will work to our advantage as it is right in the heart of the puma's territory. While no guarantee, it is possible to have pumas right outside our door when we leave in the morning. The one guarantee we can give is you will feel completely removed from all civilization.

TRANSPORTATION

Getting to Patagonia is fairly easy, even though the travel times can add up depending where you depart from. The best way is to fly to Santiago, Chile's capital city, which is about 7-11 hour flight from most North American cities. There are nonstop flights from many US cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, and New York. You can also find nonstop flights from many European cities such as Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome. If connecting, you can connect through other major South/Latin American cities such as Mexico City, Panama City, Lima, Bogota, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and more. 

Once in Santiago, you will need to fly to Punta Arenas, which is about a 3-hour flight. These flights are scheduled multiple times a day and are extremely affordable. If preferred, you can fly with Chase from Santiago to Punta Arenas (please let us know).

Once in Punta Arenas, we will have a private guide/driver to transport us from all our hotels and tracking locations. If you would like to add an extension after this trip, please ask us if you need assistance planning your route.

DINING

Meals will be provided for the majority of your safari. All the hotels and lodges we will be staying at are all-inclusive, meaning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert are part of the package. At some lodges, alcoholic beverages and other soft drinks are not included as are purchased snacks during our transits between the parks.

 

Each lodge/hotel can accommodate any dietary needs or restrictions. If you prefer a vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, etc, please let us know in advance so we can instruct the camps. 

DAILY ITINERARY

Saturday, May 9th: Arrive into Punta Arenas (PUQ) with transport waiting to take you to your hotel in town. Meet that evening for a briefing about the next week of puma tracking.

 

Sunday, May 10th: Wake up and enjoy breakfast before driving up north to the Torres del Paine region. After a 4-hour drive, arrive at our lodge by mid-afternoon and settle in for the evening. If time permits, take a walk around the area and do a quick search for wildlife. 

Monday, May 11th-Sunday, May 17th: Spend these seven full days waking up before sunrise and heading out into the vast expanse in search of pumas. Part of the time will be spent driving to certain locations and then heading out on foot to get close to the cats. Some days we may only walk a mile or so, while others we may trek up to 8-10 miles, depending on where the pumas are or how much they are moving. Luckily, the puma grounds are all about at sea level, so there's no lack of oxygen when hiking around! Return to the lodge after the sun has disappeared and reminisce about the day while preparing for the next one!

 

Monday, May 18th: Head back to Punta Arenas for your departing flight. A hotel can be booked for this night if you prefer to fly out the next day.

REGISTRATION

When I receive your registration information, I will respond within 24 hours with a registration packet and more information. Once the deposit is paid for, you will be asked to sign a liability waiver. The remaining amount for the safari must be paid in full 30 days prior to your departure. Tour fees can be paid through PayPal and will be asked to cover the 2.9% PayPal fee. 

If you wish to speak to me directly, feel free to call: (425) 301-1757, or email: chasedekker@ymail.com

MORE INFO

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