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'Birds of Chile'

What makes this trip special?

City life beside the Andes

City life beside the Andes

Santiago

Set against the backdrop of a long line of Andean peaks, Santiago is a colonial city, turned republican capital, turned modern metropolis. There's a lot to do, with good art galleries, unmissable museums, lovely parks, and a great range of shops, restaurants and hotels. Step outside the city and you are in some of Chile's most notable wine valleys.

High lakes biosphere reserve

High lakes biosphere reserve

Lauca National Park

Rich in wildlife, the Lauca National Park is home to over 150 different species of birds. At altitudes of between 3000m and 6000m this is typical Altiplano scenery, with a backdrop of conical volcanoes and stunning lakes.

Volcanoes and lakes

Volcanoes and lakes

Puerto Varas & the Chilean Lake District

Puerto Varas is a small town on the shores of Lake Llanquihue with stunning views across the lake to the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. It is a good base for exploring the southern part of the Lake District, touring around the lakes or sailing across them, active hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting, walking and birding in ancient forests, or just relaxing in wonderful scenery.

The Oldest Trees on Earth

The Oldest Trees on Earth

Alerce Andino National Park

This national park south of Puerto Varas takes its name from its many tall 'alerce' conifers (Fitzroya cypress). These are among the earth's oldest trees - the record for the species is 3,622. Very slow-growing, some extremely tall individual trees in this park are thought to be 1,500-2,000 years old. The park has excellent walking trails and good birds; its other wildlife includes puma (rarely seen), tiny pudu deer and the quique mustelid.

Seafood and stilts

Seafood and stilts

Chiloé Island

Chiloé's isolation from mainland Chile has preserved its long standing air of mystery and tradition. The island has some of the country's best seafood, and perhaps its most unique architecture in the form of its wooden churches and stilted houses on the sea front. There are large colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins towards the beaches of Puñihuil, and this is the only known place in the world where both species exisit toegther.

Chile's southernmost city

Chile's southernmost city

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas is a colourful relaxed town full of curiosities and tales to tell. Drive north to see Torres del Paine, board a cruise south into the fjords and channels that lead to Cape Horn, or take the ferry across the Strait of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego. There are good wildlife opportunities nearby, including the only King Penguin colony in South America.

Granite towers of Patagonia

Granite towers of Patagonia

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine is one of South America's most dramatic national parks. Its focus is a colossal massif thrown up from deep in the earth beside the Andes and the Southern Ice Field. The tall towers of Las Torres are set in a complex of other dramatic peaks and glaciers, ringed by lakes, low hills and steppe. It is a great destination for dramatic scenery, stunning walks, and Patagonian wildlife.

Itinerary map for Chile 'Birds of Chile' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Santiago
  • 2 Arica
  • 3 Putre
  • 4 Putre
  • 5 Quintero
  • 6 Puerto Varas
  • 7 Puerto Varas
  • 8 Ancud
  • 9 Punta Arenas
  • 10 Porvenir
  • 11 Cerro Sombrero
  • 12 Puerto Natales
  • 13 Puerto Natales
  • 14 Santiago
  • 15 El Yeso valley
  • 15 Santiago
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Birds of Chile'

DAY 1

Santiago

You are met on arrival and taken to your hotel in Santiago. As part of your transfer from the airport your guide introduces you to the area around your hotel, restaurants and places of interest. Relax, or perhaps take a birding walk in Parque Forestal.

DAY 2
BL

Arica

You are picked up from your hotel for the flight to Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, where you meet your local bird guide. Together you spend the afternoon exploring the Pacific shore, with excellent chances of Peruvian Booby, Willet, Guanay, Red-legged Cormorant, Inca Tern, Belcher and Grey Gull. Overnight in Arica.

DAY 3
BL

Lluta river and Putre

Early birding at the mouth of the river Lluta close to Arica. This area is well known for its abundance of shorebirds and gulls and it is not unusual to spot some rarities. Later you explore the Lluta valley, going inland to look for the area’s specialities. In the afternoon you are driven up to the Aymara village of Putre at 3400m with some birding on the way. You should have excellent chances to see Peruvian Meadowlark, Chilean Woodstar, Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail, Slender-billed Finch and Tamarugo Conebill. You stay for 2 nights in Putre.

DAY 4
BL

Lauca NP

A dawn-to-dusk day for altiplano endemics at 4000-4500m in the stunning landscapes and unique ecosystem of this World Biosphere Reserve, looking for Cordillera Canastero, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Flicker, Puna Ibis, Andean Negrito, Puna Plover, Black Siskin, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Andean Lapwing, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and many others.

DAY 5
BL

This morning you are driven to Arica to fly to Santiago, where you are met and driven to the coast for one night.

DAY 6
BL

Pelagic boat trip

An early start for a pelagic trip from Quintero Bay 45min north of Valparaíso on a small boat for birders that sails out to the edge of the cold waters of the Humboldt Current to reach one of the world’s finest pelagic birding locations. You have excellent chances of Salvin’s and Black-browed Albatross, Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwater, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, and more. The boat takes up to 20 birders seated, with enough space for all to have clear views in every direction. There is an English speaking bird guide, chum for the birds, and coffee and snacks for the birders. You return to Santiago for an evening flight to Puerto Montt in the Lake District and on by road to the lakeside town of Puerto Varas.

DAY 7
BL

Rainforest endemics of Chile’s Lake District

This morning you meet your local bird guide for the next three days and spend today between three reserves: Vicente Pérez Rosales, Alerce Andino and Lahuen Ñadi. Today should produce Rufous-banded Miner, Des Mur´s Wiretail, Chucao, Magellanic and Black-throated Tapaculo, Magellanic and Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-throated Treerunner, Chilean Pigeon and Slender-billed Parakeet among others. Return to Puerto Varas.

DAY 8
BL

Chiloé Island

Take a ferry crossing to Chiloé Island (perhaps a few times) for Pincoya Storm-Petrel (new, very range-restricted, species), Wilson’s Storm Petrel, and Black-browed Albatross. On Chiloé, you visit Caulín Bird Sanctuary, and bird along the coast and in the northern wetlands, and visit the penguin colony at Puñihuil. During the day you have excellent chances to see Hudsonian Godwit, Franklin’s Gull, Ringed Kingfisher, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Black-necked Swan, Speckled Teal, Chiloé Wigeon, Black Skimmer, Humboldt Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, Imperial and Red-legged Cormorants, Pink-footed Shearwater and Magellanic Diving-Petrel among others. Tonight you stay on Chiloé in the town of Ancud.

DAY 9
BL

Quenuir wetlands

Head back to the mainland and take a boat into the coastal wetlands of Quenuir where you have excellent chances to see Snowy-crowned and Southamerican Tern, Red-backed Hawk, Cocoi Heron, Spectacled Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Sedge Wren, Coscoroba Swan, White-faced Ibis and Ochre-flanked Tapaculo. You take an evening flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia where you stay the night.

DAY 10
BL

Tierra del Fuego

Meet your local bird guide who will be with you for the next five days and together cross the Strait of Magellan by ferry to Tierra del Fuego to explore the continent’s last corner. Birding is coastal and moorland. Laguna de Los Cisnes has excellent chances for Southern-Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Black-throated Finch, Austral Canastero, Rufous-chested Dotterel and others. Stay the night in the small town of Porvenir.

DAY 11
BLD

King Penguins

Start today visiting an area in the Baquedano Hills before continuing to Bahia Inutil for its colony of King Penguin. This is one of the world’s more accessible places to see the second largest species of penguin up close. The site is in a well managed small reserve allowing you around 45min in the area. As well as the penguins, you can expect Magellanic Plover, Two-Banded Plover, Dolphin’s Gull, King Cormorant and Southamerican Tern, among others. Overnight in Cerro Sombrero.

DAY 12
BL

Straits of Megellan to Puerto Natales

You take the ferry back to the mainland via Punta Delgado, at the narrowest part of the Strait of Magellan and are driven to Puerto Natales, birding as you go. En route and by the shore of Last Hope Sound your targets include Flying Steamer Duck, Crested Duck, Lesser Rhea, Chilean Flamingo, Coscoroba Swan, Common Miner, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, and Southern Crested Caracara. Stay for two nights in Puerto Natales.

DAY 13
BL

Torres del Paine

Today you are driven into Torres del Paine NP with several areas to explore on the way. You have excellent chances to see Austral Pygmy Owl, Spectacled Duck, Silvery Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, South American Snipe, Torrent Duck, Patagonian Sierra Finch, Austral Parakeet, Yellow-bridled Finch, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Grey-bellied Shrike Tyrant, Patagonian Mockingbird and Cinnamon-bellied Ground Tyrant.

DAY 14
BL

Humedal Tres Puentes

Early morning birding locally then a birding drive to the outskirts of Punta Arenas, where you visit Humedal Tres Puentes with high chances to spot endangered Ruddy-headed Goose among others. You are then driven to the airport to fly to Santiago, where you stay for two nights.

DAY 15
BL

Maipo Canyon and El Yeso Valley

A full day’s birding with a local specialist in the Andes two hours south-east of Santiago. In the El Yeso valley you look for Mountain Caracara, Crag Chilia, Moustached Turca, Chilean Mockingbird, Diademed Sandpiper Plover, Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Yellow-rumped Siskin, Mountain Parakeet, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Creamy-rumped Miner and Andean Hillstar.

DAY 16
B

You have some free time today before your overnight flight back to the UK.

Guide prices for 'Birds of Chile'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid-range hotels with different specialist local bird guides escorting you throughout 2 people sharing £6,750
Prices are per person and include:
  • all transport within Chile
  • all accommodation
  • all excursions as indicated
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • airport and departure taxes
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Birds of Chile'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Birds of Chile'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
2 Arica 26°C rainfall 0mm
3 Putre 17°C rainfall 89mm
4 Putre 17°C rainfall 89mm
5 Quintero 23°C rainfall 1mm
6 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
7 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
8 Ancud 17°C rainfall 108mm
9 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
10 Porvenir 15°C rainfall 38mm
11 Cerro Sombrero 15°C rainfall 31mm
12 Puerto Natales 17°C rainfall 31mm
13 Puerto Natales 17°C rainfall 31mm
14 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
15 El Yeso valley 19°C rainfall 7mm
15 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Birds of Chile'

Day 1

Providencia

Providencia

A newly renovated, 75 room traditional hotel with a garden swimming pool and fitness centre, conveniently located near the Providencia metro station and close to the entrance to the Cerro San Cristobal. Rooms have cable TV, A/C and free Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant on site, as well as pleasant gardens and food is served in the terrace area by the pool.

 

Providencia
Double room
Day 2

Arica Hotel

Arica

Located by the beach, just 2 km from downtown Arica the hotel has 114 rooms: 35 Standard, 45 Superior, 14 Suites and 20 ocean view Cabañas. Services include 2 outdoor swimming pools, billiard and ping-pong room, Business Center, Conference and Events rooms, Wi-Fi in each room, Restaurant, Cafeteria, Panoramic Bar.

Arica Hotel
View of swimming-pool
Days 3 - 4

Q'antati

Putre

This is a small and relatively new hotel located at the edge of town. Q'antati has 10 rooms set in a couryard. All rooms are en-suite (some with nice views of the valley) and have central heating.

Q'antati
Hotel exterior
Day 5

Panamericana Quintero, at Quintero Bay

Quintero Bay (north of Viña del Mar)

The Panamericana Hotel Quintero is a colonial-style property ideally located on the seafront, just a 5-minute walk from the centre of Quintero. There is an outdoor swimming pool with panoramic sea views. Rooms at the Panamericana Hotel Quintero are bright, with colourful decor. All rooms have air conditioning and some offer scenic sea views. The hotel also has 2 restaurants, where guests can enjoy fresh seafood.

Panamericana Quintero, at Quintero Bay
Days 6 - 7

Puelche

Puerto Varas

Hotel Puelche is located a few blocks from dowtown Puerto Varas, facing lake Llanquihue and with views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. All 21 rooms (divided into Premium and Superior Rooms) at the hotel have private bathrooms, hairdryers, safety deposit boxes and minibar. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant and spa.

Puelche
Exterior of the hotel
Day 8

Hotel Ancud

Chiloé Island

Hotel Ancud
Outside
Day 9

Isla Rey Jorge

Punta Arenas

Located near the main square, this colonial building features 22 rooms (including one junior suite) with amenities such as cable TV, telephone, hair-dryer and safety box. The hotel also has a bar which serves food, a games room and internet access.

Isla Rey Jorge
Front of the hotel
Day 10

Yendegaia House, Porvenir

Porvenir

Yendegaia House, Porvenir
Day 11

Hosteria Tunkelen, Cerro Sombrero

Cerro Sombrero (nr narrow ferry to Pta Delgado

Family run, 22 room hotel conveniently situated in the northern part of Chile's Tierra del Fuego for the ferry that crosses the narrowest stretch of the Straits of Magellen. (This is a roll on, roll off service which crosses back and forth all day as soon as it is full - rather than operating to a set timetable).20 Bedrooms have central heating, private bathrooms plus 2 dorm rooms with shared bathroom which we don't use with our clients. There is a restaurant on site.

Hosteria Tunkelen, Cerro Sombrero
Days 12 - 13

El Muelle

Puerto Natales

El Muelle Hotel Boutique is a 9 room Bed & Breakfast with minimalist nautical décor. Located just one block from the waterfront on Last Hope Sound and a couple of blocks from the mainsquare of Puerto Natales, the hotel also offers tours and assistance with booking excursions. Some rooms feature views of the harbour.

El Muelle
Days 14 - 15

Providencia

Providencia

A newly renovated, 75 room traditional hotel with a garden swimming pool and fitness centre, conveniently located near the Providencia metro station and close to the entrance to the Cerro San Cristobal. Rooms have cable TV, A/C and free Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant on site, as well as pleasant gardens and food is served in the terrace area by the pool.

 

Providencia
Double room