Photo by: Cathy & Gordon Illg
Patagonia and PumaLand
- Patagonia in winter is a photographer’s dream, with snow packed peaks making for spectacular reflections in the surrounding lakes.
- Photograph Torres del Paine National Park ~ a world famous collection of granite spires, glaciers and lakes.
- Lodge is located on Lake Pehoe with views of the Torres del Paine peaks, not far from where the Puma’s roam.
- Seven days with acclaimed tour guides and professional photographers Cathy & Gordon Illg.
- Extend your stay in South America and travel to Brazil and the Pantanal with Cathy & Gordon Illg.
per person, double occupancy*
*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-7 participants. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $795.
Cathy & Gordon Illg invite you to join them on this amazing journey of what we like to call PumaLand in Patagonia, Chile. Photograph this vast land, a vaguely defined geographic region, Patagonia encompasses the southern tip of South America, including Chile and Argentina. Travel to Santiago and on to Punta Arenas, Chile. The Puma (Mountain Lion or Cougar) can be seen in nine million square kilometers of terrain, from Punta Arenas Chile, north to the southern border of Alaska, the greatest...
Cathy & Gordon Illg invite you to join them on this amazing journey of what we like to call PumaLand in Patagonia, Chile. Photograph this vast land, a vaguely defined geographic region, Patagonia encompasses the southern tip of South America, including Chile and Argentina. Travel to Santiago and on to Punta Arenas, Chile. The Puma (Mountain Lion or Cougar) can be seen in nine million square kilometers of terrain, from Punta Arenas Chile, north to the southern border of Alaska, the greatest latitudinal range of any terrestrial mammal on Earth. PumaLand is the one place where travelers can see Pumas in the wild on 92% of days, and normally for hours each day: 25,000 acres of open, rolling hills on the eastern edge of the Torres del Paine National Park and on the adjacent, private reserve). These cats are visible thanks to decades of protection from hunting combined with a high density of their favorite prey, Guanacos and hares. Your local guides are able to track and safely showcase these graceful but powerful top predators. In addition, you may photograph Andean Condors, Darwin’s Rheas, Chilean Flamingos, foxes, Black necked swans, geese and many other bird species all within the stunning views of the Torres del Paine towers. The landscape photography is famous around the world. Local guides provide wonderful tours for everyone, but above all they are great trackers. Expert guides enthusiastically undergo rigorous training about habitats, ecology, birds, trees, plants, animals and insects, in order provide guests with an incomparable wildlife experience. They are equipped with the most advanced communications and scoping equipment to ensure that daily discoveries are quickly available to all our guests. Every day they work round the clock to make sure that clients get to see and photograph the world’s greatest animals, up close in safety and comfort.
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 the wildlife, 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. 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. At Torres del Paine, the lodge is simple, with amazing views of the Torres del Paine mountain peaks. It is an easy drive to the Puma conservation, started by the Goic Family. Sheep ranchers by trade, they stopped shooting Pumas many years ago. At any one time there are on average 13 adult Pumas and 12 cubs living and hunting on the ranch. 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 and following the Puma in their habitat. You could be walking 3-4 miles in the morning and again in the afternoon. Not every day will be that long, as there will be some photography from the vehicle as well, but you should be prepared. You need to be comfortable scaling hills with your camera gear, occasional steep slopes, and climbing over boulders. We will be at various altitudes, from the coastline to 4,000’ feet above sea level. There may be a couple long drives on very winding, narrow roads.
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.
June 26: Depart Home for Punta Arenas, Chile
Depart Home for Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ), landing June 27. 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 June 26.
PLEASE NOTE: Those attending the Pantanal Photo Tour to Brazil can overnight with Illg’s in Santiago Chile &/ or Cuiaba Brazil, in order to rest prior to the program beginning. If you are attending both tours you will need to issue international flights multi-city, Home/PUQ; CGB/Home. Strabo will send suggestions for flying PUQ/CGB and booking airport hotels.
June 27: Punta Arenas
Your guide will meet you at the Punta Arenas airport, time to be announced. Enjoy the day on your own to rest and relax before an early start tomorrow morning. 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, enjoy great views of the Andes. 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. Overnight HOTEL PUNTA ARENAS
June 28-Jul 2: PumaLand - Torres del Paine
Depart after an early breakfast with your local guide to your lodge for the week. After lunch at the lodge you will begin your first Puma search. Enjoy another four full days photographing the wildlife and amazing landscapes. After breakfast each day depart on a 4-5 hour program, returning to the hotel for lunch followed by a second photo session each day.
Large herds of camel-like Guanaco will be a common sight along the entire drive towards Punta Arenas and other mammals potentially include Southern Grey Fox, Patagonian Hairy Armadillo and Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk. Chilean Flamingo, Upland and Ash-headed geese, Coscoroba and Black-necked swans and Silver Teal are all possible sightings along with thousands of waders such as Baird’s and White-rumped sandpipers and Wilson’s Phalarope at the roadside wetlands.
The experience of “Walking with Pumas” is extremely exciting. The Pumas are the only large cats in the world one can walk with, often for hours on end. The itinerary includes days searching and watching Pumas, along with photographing them in their natural habitat and surrounding landscape. This remote region offers unbelievable landscape photo opportunities, with vast mountains, and natural beauty.
The Andean Condor, is one of the world’s largest flying birds, with an impressive wingspan of more than 10 feet (nearly 3 meters); these magnificent birds soar over the summits of the Andes, all the way from Venezuela down to Tierra del Fuego. It is quite an amazing experience to see these colossal birds flying low, very close to the sea level. Overnight TORRES DEL PAINE HOTEL (B, L, D each day)
July 3: Punta Arenas - Santiago - Connect Home or Onward
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 will land home the next day July 4. (B) *Depending on flight departures you may need to overnight in Santiago before proceeding home, if so we can recommend the Hotel Diego de Almagro Santiago Airport which provides a free shuttle service, rooms estimated at $180.