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jeremie

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jeremie

 

As some of you know, I am a Frenchman living in Chile, South America, since 2012. I have traveled throughout Chile and discovered many of its most secretive places. I have tried in the past to give you some few tips in order to prepare any trip to Chile focusing on wildlife.

 

Well, I think nothing can replace pictures in order to motivate people to travel. I got back few weeks ago from Torres del Paine National Park with amazing memories of pumas in the snow. This was definitely and outstanding experience!

 

This project started a couple of years ago, when Karina decided to try to visit the park in winter. She imagined how exciting would be the experience to track pumas in the snow following the footprints... I know very little pictures from pumas in winter. She had the vision to take a picture of pumas in the snow, this was clearly a brilliant idea.

 

People usually think that Winter is really harsh in Patagonia. This might be true in the coastal areas, but Torres del Paine was literally windless, which make our stay very pleasant. Temperature was around minus 2 degrees Celsius, which is nothing difficult compared to my experiences in Tibet or Bolivia highlands.

 

We decided to share this trip with Francisco Espildora, one of our good friend, also a fantastic wildlife photographer. He is also known as the "condor man", he spends a lot of time in the High Andes over Santiago to track condors. He might have the best photographies of this majestic bird.

 

https://www.franciscoespildora.com

https://www.instagram.com/franciscoespildora/?hl=es-la

 

And hired Miguel Fuentealba, a local Chilean guide that settled in the region of Puerto Natales a decade o so ago. He almost knows all the corners of the park, and started to lead affordable puma safaris quite recently. He worked for a while as puma tracker for other guides and decided it was time to start to work as an independent guide.

 

The weather conditions were perfect, it snowed a couple a days before our trip in the Magallanes region, we would get our opportunity to shot pictures of pumas in the snow ... provided we can find them! My wish was to shot a portrait of a cub in the snow, with the foreground out of focus, which I call "foggy effect"...

 

To lower our budget, we decided to camp in the park. Nothing harsh compared to the snow leopard safaris in Hemis National Park. But there are other options in good, confortable lodges inside and outside the park. The cheapest option is Pehoe Lodge with a scenic views of the Cuernos, one of the most iconic peaks of Patagonia. Another option is the very expensive Explora Hotel. There other interesting options located just outside of the park around the Sarmiento Lake, but most of these lodges are closed in winter. Remember that days are very short in winter in Patagonia. Sun rises around 9:30 am and sets around 17:30. But lights is perfect for photography all the day round.

 

I will not make a day to day report. I will just list the sightings we got.

 

1- Amazing guanacos sighting in the mist at sunrise.

2- We missed a large male puma eating a "chulengo", this is the name given to young guanacos. Found it coming back from its meal, heading to the cave or cliff where he will stay all the day resting.

3- Found a very old skunk sleeping.

4- Found another guanaco kill, maybe 2-days old, located at the middle of a frozen lake, with two Chiean grey foxes feasting on with caracaras and condors.

5- Find a huge male puma with a female, people saw them mating few days later.

6- Find another female with her cub feeding on a swan 30 meters from the two other adults, displaying a social behaviors largely underknown.

7- Find three fresh kills while leaving the park with hundreds of condors, caracaras, Chilean blue-hawks and a couple of Chilean grey foxes.

8- Found a young skunk half way between the park and Puerto Natales.

9- Found a couple of Chilean blue hawks feasting on a dead hare 10 minutes before reaching Puerto Natales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chile is definitely a fantastic country to visit...   If you are interested to visit one specific area (Lake regions, Atacama desert, Hight Andes of Santiago) or find a specific species, I w

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jeremie

You can have a look to the spectacular portfolio of Francisco Espildora here:

https://www.patagonia.franciscoespildora.com/p-gina

 

Please note that Francisco is also a profesional guide, he leads expeditions for a Chilean photography company and also works as a independent guide. He has years of guiding clients in the high Andes of Santiago and the most remote corners of Patagonia and the altiplano.

 

Miguel Fuentealba is the perfect guide if you are interested to organise a puma safari in Torres del Paine. Be aware that demand is very high, it is compulsory to book very early before your trip.

http://www.iso100outdoor.com/pumas.html

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jeremie

If you want to stay longer in Chile, there are plenty of other options available.

Depending on what are you interests, you can combine puma safaris with wild trekking in pristine landscapes such as the Dientes de Navarino trek or the worldwide know "O" trekking of the Torres del Paine range.

 

If you are looking for wildlife, here are other options:

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jeremie

Cerro Castillo National Park, where the nearly extinct Andean deers are still easy to spot. There is an estimated 2000 animals living between Argentina and Chile.

 

Rent a Car at Carlos Balmaceda at drive very slow inside the reserve, especially beetween the Conaf heardquaters and the Cuesta del Diablo Pass. You need to book any accommodation close to Villa Cerro Castillo. Can be combined with the amazing Carretera Austral, San Rafael glacier and National Park, Jeneimeni National Reserve, Patagonia National Park, Glaciar Exploradores, Marble Caves on General Carrera Lake and the lesser known los Leones Glaciar in the Northern Icefield.

 

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jeremie

Patagoniaphotosafaris is a small company created by Luis Bertea, with the spirit of discovering the most remote corners of the Magellanic strait of Patagonia on board of the M/N Forrest. 

There are fantastic opportunities to see humpback whales around the Shagg Pass and Carlos III island.

On the other hand, the Almirantazgo Sound is another protected area that offers fantastic opportunities to see rare wildlife that usually inhabit Sub-atnartic island or the outer islands of the Patagonian archipelago. There are also many glaciers from the mighty Darwin range that reach the sound. Leopards seals, Southern elephant seals, Black browed albatros and Magellanic penguins are the usual wildlife that can be found during this trip.

 

http://www.patagoniaphotosafaris.com/index/

 

Here is Francisco's portfolio with first class photographs of the whales:

https://www.yubarta.franciscoespildora.com/p-gina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great photos! And great timing, as we are talking about the 2019 trip. As of now, Chile is on top of the list, with a "maybe" in early Dec 2019. The biggest problem for now is time: 2 weeks only, want to see Easter Island, lakes region and Torres del Pine. Do you think a private guide for 1 day for pumas would be possible? Advisable?

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jeremie

I would like to suggest you another fantastic place located in Northern Patagonia. Chiloe island is very interesting for its culture and gastronomy, but also protects some of the rarest species of Patagonia. I suggest to visit the lovely Chepu river and Tantauco private park. These are the best places to spot the Darwin fox, the "pudu" which is the smallest deer on earth. and the Chilean otter.

 

Chepu river is a great place to see the rare Chilean otter and the South-American kingfisher. It is also easy to spot pudus around...

 

 

 

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Tantauco Private Park is probably the best place to see pudu and Darwin fox in Chile. The park is protected by a private foundation.

 

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jeremie

Here are older shots from Torres del Paine... This is not only puma stuff... I would say this park is one of the most spectacular on earth..._JG08223.jpg.e46d7d9f69b753b387e53e22d1caaa7f.jpg_JG07940-2.jpg.41aff194a24e64daa040b78712317c00.jpg_JG07974.jpg.c92fd8354925e286cd027951c497b83c.jpg_JG08049.jpg.6a1674e58601cea54156ff0335ab0076.jpg_JG07969.jpg.64b9a4abf3f84efd355c6639d5d66611.jpg_JG07967.jpg.791383a1b0c83ab83e57e120e6e8c50f.jpg_JG08246.jpg.98c4954c2c09b3cf9e34d512f1b83465.jpg_JG08228.jpg.59d6b104965663a95ea4af980dbb0c4e.jpg_JG08338---Copy.jpg.7721bf1ab8aec32f1d5d2f2401c9083d.jpg_JG08433.jpg.d547279d3089be488ac06e428f866d2f.jpg_JG08363.jpg.91a96fa52f6d691490397769c2c0c6df.jpgtest_JG08206.jpg.da862ad4afaf1f0dee97df2419259d23.jpgPanorama-Goic.jpg.7df0a0bc1d26047e694981447795c0dc.jpg_JG07902.jpg.5edc63f2fbb5599dbbbd5c1edcb50178.jpg_JG07983---Copy-Recovered.jpg.d783b31669c8b071ff8b216b7b43f7d4.jpg

 

 

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jeremie

Chile is definitely a fantastic country to visit...

 

If you are interested to visit one specific area (Lake regions, Atacama desert, Hight Andes of Santiago) or find a specific species, I would be happy to help you to find the right guide and to help you to plan your trip!

 

I am not a biologist or a guide, I am just convinced that tourism is the best way to protect the natural jewels of Chile!

 

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jeremie

 

Just now, xyz99 said:

Great photos! And great timing, as we are talking about the 2019 trip. As of now, Chile is on top of the list, with a "maybe" in early Dec 2019. The biggest problem for now is time: 2 weeks only, want to see Easter Island, lakes region and Torres del Pine. Do you think a private guide for 1 day for pumas would be possible? Advisable?

 

@xyz99 I am delighted that you have placed Chile on the top of your list! I think it is feasible to visit the Lake district in 5 days. You will need 5 days to visit the Easter Island with the flights. I think you will need at least 5 full days to visit Torres del Paine, but I am afraid no guide will agree to track puma for a single day. The pressure would be to high on their shoulders. They usually take clients for a minimum of 3 days, and I have doubts they would be interested for a short guiding during the month of summer.  

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That's what I thought, too...but your pictures are showing me many other wildlife options. I wish you'd add locations for the ones in the last set. But in any case, thank you! You gave me something to think about.

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pomkiwi

@jeremie Beautiful photos and a great advert for your adopted country.

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jeremie
8 hours ago, xyz99 said:

That's what I thought, too...but your pictures are showing me many other wildlife options. I wish you'd add locations for the ones in the last set. But in any case, thank you! You gave me something to think about.

 

That's true I should have written the places where I took the pictures. The Magellanic woodpecker was taken at Altos de Lircay nacional reserve in Central Chile (I never miss them there), the Chilean flamenco and the Chilean avocet were taken at Laguna Chaxa at San Pedro de Atacama, the marine otter and the feeding humpback whale are from Caleta Chañaral the on the Coast of the Atacama desert, the condors, the white-sided woodstar and the viscacha are from Farellones an hour and a half from Santiago.

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Zim Girl

Absolutely stunning pictures @jeremie

Thank you very much for posting all this very useful information.

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TonyQ

Stunning photos.In particular the Pumas in the snow are beautiful, but so many great photos. Lots of useful information as well. You make Chile look very appealing.

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janzin

Amazing photographs! And fantastic pumas in the snow...what unique shots. I had a two week Chile trip all planned out for this coming fall, Chiloe Island and Torres del Paine, but we needed two more people to make it work financially, and I couldn't find anyone to join us. These photos remind me that I must revisit the idea for 2019 :)  If anyone might be interested, send me a PM!

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jeremie
Just now, janzin said:

Amazing photographs! And fantastic pumas in the snow...what unique shots. I had a two week Chile trip all planned out for this coming fall, Chiloe Island and Torres del Paine, but we needed two more people to make it work financially, and I couldn't find anyone to join us. These photos remind me that I must revisit the idea for 2019 :)  If anyone might be interested, send me a PM!

 

Please re-visit the idea for 2019, that  would be very sad you can't visit Chile. Chiloé Island and Torres del Paine make a great combination. If you wish I could help you to plan this trip to lower the costs.

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Botswanadreams

@jeremie Thanks so much. Amazing Pics. I hope we are getting healthy so old to have a chance to visit such places too.   

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sek07

wonderful post and photos

we have taken several trips to Chile and LOVED every one.  Torres del Paine, Atacama, northern Patagonia, the wine region outside of Santiago.  we found it safe, clean, wonderful food and modern easy airports.   and opposite seasons to the US make it a great easy trip flying overnight and not being jet lagged!

 

we didn't get to see a puma though, WOW those pics in the snow.

 

 

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Amazing photos! I am going over them, again and again, and can't get enough. Beautiful country!

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kitefarrago

Chile has been on my radar for a while now, but I work in education which means I'm unable to travel when small group wildlife and bird watching tours go there. An independent trip by myself is not feasible, I think. But your photos have certainly increased my appetite considerably. I had assumed that visiting during the austral winter was not an option, but you're making me rethink!

 

Thanks for widening my perspective, Jeremie.

 

Andrea

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Towlersonsafari

wow wow wow @jeremie what stunning photos. Can you describe what was involved in finding the pumas? how far did you walk, it looks like you got pretty close!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
poor spelling
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