Patagonia: Discover Chile & Aregentina

Tour Intro

Contract Strabo Tours for future tour dates/leaders, or a Group Tour for your photo companions and &/or family. Local guide versed in our photo tours.

We invite you to join him on this amazing journey of Patagonia, photographing this vast land in the midst of their autumn season. A vaguely defined geographic region, Patagonia encompasses the southern tip of South America, including Chile and Argentina. Travel from Santiago, to Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, and enjoy six days in the Torres del Paine Park. This remote region offers unbelievable landscape photo opportunities, with it’s vast mountains, magnificent glaciers, and natural beauty.

Tour Highlights

  • Patagonia in autumn is a photographer’s dream.
  • Lodges are in close proximity of your photographic locations.
  • Photograph and hike through the beautiful Valle del Frances.
  • Six days in Torres del Paine National Park ~ a world famous collection of granite spires, glaciers and lakes.
  • Visit an Estancia, for traditional Chilean lunch, and photograph this typical sheep-farming station.
  • Boat trip on Lago Grey through the icy waters towards the impressive Grey Glacier.
  • Nine days with an amazing tour guide.

Tour Itinerary

April 20: Depart Home for Punta Arenas, Chile

Board your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile, landing the morning of April 21, airport code PUQ. You will likely connect with a flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas. The group will travel together from the Punta Arenas airport to begin your adventure. The flight arrival time will be announced in your first packet of pre-departure materials.

If you would like to spend time in Santiago to rest, relax, or recover from jet lag, hotel options can be provided. In doing so you would have to depart home prior to April 20.

April 21-22: Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Torres del Paine Lago Azul Chile

Your guide will meet you at the Punta Arenas airport. This is Chile’s most southerly city and gateway for your explorations in Patagonia. From the air you will appreciate how long and narrow this country is. Traveling south, and looking to the east, enjoy great views of the Andes; several of its volcanoes are quite active. At some point, you will see how the topography drastically changes and the country transforms into a mosaic of fjords, islands, and glaciers. This is Patagonia, the scenario for your photography outings during the following week.

Drive towards Puerto Natales. During the journey, you will observe how the strong westerly’s (prevailing winds in Patagonia) have sculpted the vegetation of the grassy steppes. You will make several stops for photography, and perhaps observe Andean Condors along the way. Visit Estancia Cerro Negro, a typical working sheep-farming station, where you will enjoy a shearing and sheep dog show and a delicious Patagonian-style barbecue. At the picturesque coastal town of Puerto Natales, enjoy the gorgeous vistas of the Chilean fjord, ‘Ultima Esperanza’ (the Last Hope), with stunning Black-necked Swans feeding along the shoreline. The superb Remota lodge (bring your bathing suit) will be your comfortable base the next two evenings.

This time of year in the Southern Hemisphere is fall, a delightful time to visit Patagonia as its deciduous temperate forests are changing colors. Take plenty of time to hike and photograph at Cerro Benitez, these woodlands and the dramatic mountain setting that surround them. Cerro Benitez usually concentrates large numbers of the majestic Andean Condor. This afternoon there will be time for a photography discussion and review of images at the hotel. Overnight Remota Lodge (B, L, D both days)

April 23-24: Boat trip Last Hope Fjord - Biamaceda Glacier - Toprres del Paine

Today enjoy a scenic journey (3 hours one way) through the waters of Ultima Esperanza – Last Hope – Fjord. While sailing these smooth and sheltered waters, you have a good chance of seeing Chilean Dolphin, South American Sea Lion and King Cormorants. After landing, have a picnic lunch and a further easy hike through temperate rainforests to eventually see the glacier front. The vegetation and mountain landscapes are simply breathtaking. The destination will be the omnipresent 'Mount Balmaceda' and its impressive glaciers: 'Balmaceda' and 'Serrano'. Dense evergreen temperate forests cover the coastal slopes; the richness of colors will soon call our attention as we realize how blue is the dense ice from the glacier fronts. We will be at the fringes of the huge 'Bernardo O'Higgins' National Park.

The next morning will be an early start in order to photograph the 'Horns' with the first light. With the right lighting, the mountain base turns into orange colors and the scene becomes very dramatic with peculiar lenticular clouds moving fast over the peaks. There will be splendid vistas of the hilly terrain and if is clear, of the Paine Massif in the distance. While visiting the valleys you will be given a geological interpretation of the origins of the dramatic backdrop of Torres del Paine, one of the finest natural spectacles in Patagonia.
 

At the eastern corner of Sarmiento Lake, reach a location that commands the most incredible views of the towering peaks of Las Torres or the 'Towers', the pinnacles from which the park takes its name. As you move around the park, you shall observe confiding herds of Guanaco. During the morning visit the eastern side of the park to enjoy the views of one of the impressive waterfalls of Paine River and if it is clear, of the fabulous granite columns of the Paine massif from Laguna Amarga and Laguna Azul.


After our picnic lunch, keep exploring the alkaline ponds and reed-fringed lagoons located on the eastern part of the park. After your return to the hotel, enjoy your delicious dinner while photographing the mountains and clouds at sunset. Overnight Hotel Las Torres (B, L, D both days)

April 25-26: Las Torres - Boat trip to Lago Grey

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Lago Grey, Chile Patagonia

600,000 acres. The landscape is dominated by the omnipresent 'Paine Massif', a magnificent set of rugged peaks, formed out of granite and sedimentary rock. The long-gone Indians of Patagonia gave the name Paine, meaning “blue”, presumably referring to its remarkable coloration when observed at a distance. There will be opportunity to explore the Nothofagus or southern Beech forests to study its diversity of plants and animals. Your guide will give you options regarding hiking trails, and photography viewpoints. Your local guide will accompany those that are physically fit for a full day hike to Mirador de Las Torres. The path is quite steep at various points, uneven, and you will need to climb over boulders ~ with the magnificent view being your reward. There are various options for those wishing not to partake, such as an optional horseback ride to the half way point, or there are shorter trails around the hotel. At the end of the day you will reach your accommodations at Lago Grey.

'Lago Grey' will certainly be one of the highlights tomorrow. Colossal icebergs are stranded on the southern shore of the lake after a long and slow transit from the glacier front. From this shore board the M/V Grey II, for a 3-hour excursion through the icy waters of the lake towards the impressive and actively calving front of the Grey Glacier. 'Grey' is one of the nearly 50 outlet glaciers which originate from the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, world's third largest after Antarctica and Greenland, and is one of the most beautiful and colorful in all Patagonia. The front is full of crevasses and the solid glacial ice colors vary from whitish to deep indigo. The glacier is flanked towards the east by impressive granite walls which are part of the Paine Massif, and towards the west by the eroded and low summits of the older Andes. The photography is great at this particular spot. You will be treated with a glass of 'pisco sour' or 'scotch' containing glacier ice of hundreds, possibly thousand years old! Overnight Hotel Lago Grey (B, L, D both days)
 

April 27: Lago Pehoe – Hike Valle del Frances

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Los Torres, Patagonia

You will have an early start in order to photograph the 'Horns' (Los Cuernos) at dawn. With the right lighting, the mountain base turns into orange colors and the scene become very dramatic with peculiar lenticular clouds moving fast over the peaks. We will board a catamaran to be transferred to the western shores of Lago Pehoe. Here we will initiate our hike to the "Italian Camp", located along the Rio Frances (French's River). We will take the boat back and be transferred to the hotel. Overnight Hotel Lago Grey (B, L, D)

April 28: Sierra Baguales

Your last day in Patagonia! Explore the impressive and seldom-visited mountain range, called Baguales – meaning ‘wild’. The name of this wonderful and remote location refers to the semi-wild horse herds that can be seen in the mountain surroundings. The peaks are very impressive and beg you to capture part of the grandeur of this unique corner of Patagonia. There will also be time and flexibility to re-visit some preferred shooting locations.

April 29: Punta Arenas – Santiago – Connect Home

Depart early this morning for Punta Arenas, flying to Santiago, and connect with your flight home (flight time from Punta Arenas to be announced). The majority of flights to North America depart SCL from 8PM-Midnight, landing home the next day April 30. (B)

Pricing and Details

Testimonials

Dan was very helpful in photography and more, I learned a lot from the experience with him and from the other participants. Dan was also very gracious in responding to my many emails about photo equipment

J. Meznarich

Dan made himself available to everyone based on their own needs. I wanted to let you know what a fantastic time I had with Dan and your tour group. All of the information I received from Strabo prepared me well for the experience – I have nothing but compliments for all the coordination you did to make everything flow smoothly.

D. Pollack

The photo tour was fantastic with plenty of time for photography. Places visited were interesting with a good deal of amazing subject matter. Lance and Sam were very helpful, especially for a beginner to photography. We give the trip a 10 out of 10.

R. Lee

Additional Notes

What to Expect

This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, we must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of what we do, and when we do it, will depend upon weather, and the light. In the event that changes may occur, we will need to be flexible, which will also allow us to take advantage of new photographic opportunities.

Health and Fitness

Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition to get the most out of the trip. You will find that every day includes walks/hikes to gain access to prime locations. We will be at various altitudes, from the coastline to 8,000’ feet above sea level. While you will not be required to climb these peaks, some of the best scenic views are from the tops of these formations. There will be a few long drives on very winding, narrow roads.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private toilet and shower/bath. The hotels have been chosen for their proximity to prime photographic locations. Majority of accommodations do not have elevators, and rooms may be on second floor, although there will be porters for your luggage.

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