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Eco Tours

BIRD WATCHING IN PATAGONIA

Code:FBIR 01
Tour:BIRD WATCHING IN PATAGONIA
Duration:10 Days
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 Journey from the Ocean, through the spectacular Andes Mountains, to the Patagonia Steppe on our Bird Watching Vacation. We are centrally located in the remote alpine Futaleufu river valley in Patagonia Chile, which has a unique rain-shadow microclimate making it an ideal destination for birds, and birders seeking a scenic comfortable, bird watching adventure vacation.

For more information about this tour, or for information about other tour options available, please CONTACT US.
DAY 1: THURSDAY SANTIAGO – PUERTO MONTT
Arrive in Santiago International Airport, Chile, clear customs, and transfer to a connecting flight to Puerto Montt Chile. Spend the rest of the day in the coastal Chilean city of Puerto Montt, the gateway to Patagonia, located on the Golfo Corcovado. The city of Puerto Montt is ringed by magnificent volcanic peaks, including the still active Volcan Orsorno. Enjoy shopping at the Angelmo Market for Chilean wool goods, or stroll the harbor area for coastal birds. Enjoy a salmon dinner at the Club de Yates restaurant and spend the night in the luxurious El Presidente hotel.

DAY 2: FRIDAY PARQUE PUMALIN - CAHITEN
Early breakfast at your hotel and ground transport to the harbor. This morning we will take a spectacular five-hour Catamaran ride across the Golfo Corcovado. We often spot Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins and numerous coastal varieties like, Albatross, Petrels and Shearwaters on this trip. We arrive in the small coastal fishing village of Chaiten and drop our baggage off at the Hotel Mi Casa, overlooking the bay, and then head off to the famous Parque Pumalin for a several hour trek to see the old-growth giant alerce trees, and experience a unique coastal rainforest environment. The Parque Pumalin rainforest is home to a wide variety of bird species including the magellenic woodpecker. We return to Hotel Mi Casa and eat dinner overlooking the Chaiten harbor and scenic bay below.

DAY 3: SATURDAY CHAITEN - FUTALEUFU
A hearty breakfast in Chaiten before setting out on a short bird watching hike along the Chaiten harbor and Santa Barbara beach coastline. After lunch we board a comfortable Safari bus and drive up the river valley along the Carreterra Austral, through a spectacular lake/fjord eco-system. We will cross the scenic Rio Yelcho, viewing snow-capped mountains, extinct volcanoes, glaciers, and the magnificent Lago Yelcho. We will finish this day's journey at our lodge, with wine and cheese, in the little alpine village of Futaleufu, where we will spend the night. The birds and wildlife we will encounter will be as varied as the habitats we travel through. As the day begins keep an eye out for Biterns, Egrets, Cormorants, Herons and Ibis' followed by Condors, Eagles and Falcons as we traverse the high mountain passes.

DAY 4: SUNDAY FUTALEUFU- LAGO ESPOLON
Wake up to a hot breakfast in the little alpine village of Futaleufu. before starting out to the headwaters of the Espolon river on mountain bikes and/or horses that will be waiting in front of the lodge to take you on this journey. The trails we will take wind along the turquoise blue
Espolon river, across small bridges, and white sand beaches, before reaching the spectacular waterfalls below Lago Espolon. The Futaleufu and Rio Espolon valleys are at the center of a unique rain-shadow microclimate ecosystem that provides a home to numerous bird species from different habitats. After viewing the falls we will board rafts and journey down the clear blue Espolon back to the village of Futaleufu. Our previous guests have compared this raft trip to a "magic carpet ride" as the water is so clear you feel you are floating in the air above the river bottom. There are some exciting, but easily negotiated class II-III whitewater sections on this trip. We spend another night in the village lodge.

DAY 5: MONDAY FUTALEUFU- LAS ESCALAS VALLEY
We start our horseback or trekking trip down the roadless upper Futaleufu river valley along the senderos used by the local Chileans. Horses carry our gear through forests and farmland ecosystems. We traverse the Class 5 Infierno Gorge of the Rio Futaleufu. Coming out of the Las Escalas Valley we go through an old growth Coihue forest to our remote tent camp at an isolated ranch. This is the half-way point of the Futaleufu River Valley trail. There will be ample opportunity for birding, sight seeing and photography throughout the day. This is a location very few people ever visit and is a real glimpse of a world that is that is quickly disappearing - a journey back in time. When night falls we use candles and lanterns to light our way, and finally settle down to sleep under the southern stars.

DAY 6: TUESDAY TRES MONJAS ECO CAMP
After breakfast we continue trekking or riding in the valley to the thundering Throne Room rapid, the most powerful rapid on this Crown Jewel of rivers, and one of the largest rapids in the world. We will spend some time bird watching and sight seeing, and if we arrive at the right time we may see some intrepid world class kayakers descending this mighty cataract. The ecosystems of this day will vary between forests and farmlands to riparian as we meander along the Futaleufu river. We continue along the "Wild Mile" rapids till we come to a spectacular confluence of two rivers under the gaze of the Tres Monjas peak. We cross a high foot bridge over the Futaleufu river to discover the rustic but luxurious riverside Tres Monjas eco-camp. This camp is so spectacularly located that many of our guests have declared it a combination of Yosemite and Glacier National Parks. At this camp we have hot showers, a wood sauna, and masseuse to soothe your tired muscles. Here you will have an opportunity to explore the Rio Azul valley, do more birding, or just relax on a white sand beach along the caribbean-blue Futaleufu river.

DAY 7: WEDNESDAY TRES MONJAS – LONCONAL LAKE
We wake up at to the sounds of two rivers flowing around the peninsula of Campo Tres Monjas. As we walk down the forest path, toward the dining lodge for breakfast, we look across the beach and the river to a view of the sun rising over the Tres Monjas peaks. Today we will get an introduction to sea kayaking on the nearby protected, and mountain ringed, Lonconao Lake. Partners are selected as we introduce paddling and rescue techniques before setting out on the lake. Our stable two man kayaks are very forgiving for the first time kayaker and allow us to concentrate on the scenery and wildlife in this spectacular place. Paddling under your own power, on such clean water, in a pristine setting, will be an experience you will not soon forget.

DAY 8: THURSDAY TRES MONJAS
This is an optional multisport ala-carte day to enjoy the beach, masseuse, sauna, and the incredible views. On this day we offer optional adventure activities for those that want them: fly fishing, sit on top kayaking, world class whitewater rafting, mountain bike riding, and a learn to kayak clinic. The bird watching from the camp is also very good and includes three different habitats: riparian, farmland, and temperate forests. This night we have a Chilean lamb barbeque.

DAY 9: FRIDAY FUTALEUFU - RIO AZULES
On this morning we will divide into two groups; the most adventurous group will get an early start crossing the Futaleufu river, to climb to the base of the Tres Monjas spires for one of the most spectacular and rewarding views of both the Futaleufu and Rio Azul valleys. This is an all day trek that will involve climbing above tree line and possibly into the snow line, depending on the season. On this trek we will likely encounter Andean Condors that live along the cliffs of the Tres Monjas Peaks. A lighter trek or horseback ride to the world class Terminator rapid is an option for those that want a more relaxing day. This secondary ride is as equally spectacular. On the banks of the Terminator rapid is an enchanting coihue forest that will provide us more bird watching opportunities. We will have a riverside lunch along side this powerful and spectacular rapid and then return to camp.

DAY 10: SATURDAY CHAITEN –PUERTO MONTT
We get an early start this morning to head back to Chaiten, to catch flights to Puerto Montt and a connecting flight to Santiago. In the evening you will board a flight from Santiago, Chile, to your hometown.


For more information about this tour, or for information about other tour options available, please CONTACT US.
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